Don’t Touch Me, Baby! (part I of III)

By October 18, 2017Activism, My Blog

I have been waiting for the right moment to share my feelings about a certain subject, and in the light of the news coming from America, felt the time had come for me to speak up.

For those of you are not following the story, some big shot American film producer and former film studio executive, Harvey Weinstein, has engaged in sexual misconduct and assault over many years, abusing his position of power over women whose careers to some extent depended upon his good will.[i] Apparently during this time, only one person had the courage to confront Harvey on the subject, namely Brad Pitt, who – even before he was established in Hollywood – threatened Harvey with a “Missouri Whooping” if he didn’t stop harassing his girlfriend at the time, Gwyneth Paltrow.[ii] My respect to Brad for his courage, though apparently it didn’t prevent more abuses.       Watercolor by Tawee Kesa-Ngam

It has to stop.

Why can’t a woman enjoy her mind and body, and shine her light, or express her power, intellect, sexuality, or sensuality openly without a man interpreting it as an invitation or right to be physically intimate with her, or attempt to be?

For all the women who have been forced to dim your light in order not to be noticed, in order to protect yourself from men you fear would take your expressions as an invitation to penetrate your space, both literally and metaphorically, please let your light shine and know there are many men on your side.

I am one of them. For the record, I would like to use this opportunity to apologise to any women whose boundaries I have disrespected in any way, or made uncomfortable in any way with my behaviour. I am truly sorry. I didn’t understand.

Now I do.

“I was a kid,” Gwyneth said, “I was signed up. I was petrified.”[iii]

I know that feeling.

See, it has happened to me. I am friendly, full of joy and zest and energy, engaging with man or woman, black or white, rich or poor, and I like to communicate with my hands and eyes. I think it’s beautiful. It’s me. I am open. I am illuminated. I am tactile, and don’t always think about it. And, yes, though I’m a man, there have been a few times where my ease and openness, my light, my touch, has been misinterpreted and my space violated by women.

I felt “confused,” “powerless,” and “I was shaking.”[iv]

To all women out there, you are not alone. I understand in my own very limited way how it might feel, and so please know you have a genuine voice in me, and many of my friends. We see you, we believe you and we are here for you. Let us know when you need us, and please teach us how to be better people.

Love,
John McInroy

[i] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/us/harvey-weinstein-accusations.html

[ii] http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/article178239306.html

[iii] Ibid

[iv] Text messages I sent to a good friend who helped me through one particular experience.

John

About John

John McInroy is a South African born social activist, philanthropist, social entrepreneur, ultra endurance athlete, international field hockey player, actor and vegan yogi.

3 Comments

  • Sadia Chand says:

    Bodhi, I love this blog. Like you, I am a tactile, open and playful individual. I love to express my feminine side, although I work in a male dominated world. I have been blessed with an abundance of beautiful men in my orbit who have embraced me with my intellect, ability for strategic thought and my mini skirt (without prejudice). And a small minority of others who only saw the mini skirt. I know both sides of the coin. Over the years, I have had to learn how to navigate the tricky circumstance of drawing the boundary without losing the client/project. I honour you for writing this….for your acknowledgement of being able to express ourselves in our entirety without being taken advantage of. I love surrounding myself with equally fun and playful men who can be respectful of a woman and her abilities. You are one of those amazing men. Big love and gratitude xxx

  • Jim Eshelman says:

    Namaste Bodhi Ji,

    I personally have been spared, and I genuinely empathize with anyone having had intimacy forced upon them. I know that such can occur for any gender upon any gender. At the same time, I am uncomfortable with guys taking “metoo#” as their opportunity to share.

    My rationale for this feeling is that it fits the all too common case where guys usurp the story, effectively wrestling ownership of a topic from women and making it their own.

    I think even an apology, generic in how I’ve seen many express it, also has a limited benefit. In noting this, I do not criticize your blog, as I am certain you put it all out there with benefit to all in mind. I see this issue as something wherein guys can learn and keep the spirit going long after media reporting and posts die down. I think it largely a male responsibility in seeking change.

    The Patriarchy hurts everyone all the time. I hope males can see and take that to heart. I hope they also expound on it in any way possible. I hope this imbalance of energy (Ha over Tha) in our culture can be revisited continually, as I see this as root cause for colonialism, racism, (pick an ism) and also reflected in a growing, global corporate capitalist control of world resources.

    Down with the Patriarchy!
    Gratitude and Peace!
    Jim

  • Shelley says:

    “Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.
    Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s.
    I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49 years of age; I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.  
    We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.
    If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.

    Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals. ” http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/9/emma-watson-gender-equality-is-your-issue-too

    Thank you for inspiring change and for allowing people to experience a different perspective by making your very personal journey so public ♡ We all need to be taught how to be better people. We need to realise the harsh divide between men and women that we have created and subconciously reinforced. We need to find our way back to being one ♡

    Keep planting the seeds ♡
    x

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