Enough with the quotation marks. Since news dropped in the past couple of months about Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Al, Franken, John Conyers, and Roy Moore, not to mention the stories about our pussy-grabber-in-chief, I’ve seen way too many quotation marks on my social media feeds.
The punctuation is used to demean and diminish the women coming forward telling their stories about being victimized by men in positions of power who have greatly abused that power. Here’s the thing, folks. When you choose to put quotes around words like accuser, accusations, and allegations, you are working hard to discredit these women, along with their information and their stories.
There is no such thing as an “accuser,” only an accuser. “Allegations” are not lodged, only allegations are lodged.
The personal opinion of strangers reading about these incidents on the Internet has no bearing on the reality that accusers have come forward, making allegations against these men ranging from poor behavior to criminal pedophilia. They are legitimate accusers making legitimate allegations. That does not change, even if you think they are politically motivated or part of an organized smashing of the patriarchy.
To prove my point, right here, right now, I can accuse Mickey Mouse of sexually harassing Miss Minnie. I didn’t just “accuse” Mickey, but I did accuse him. Regardless of how absurd my accusation may be, and whether or not you believe me as the accuser, I still made an accusation, not an “accusation.” Your personal response to my accusation does not change the fact that I just accused Mickey of wrongdoing.
My example is preposterous, of course, but intentional. However we feel about this cultural tipping point that is happening in America, this reckoning of mythic proportions, it is changing our landscape, one can hope for the better. Women, and to a much lesser degree, men, are coming forward to both name their abusers and hold them accountable for their actions. It is no longer business as usual.
Perhaps that is where the quotations marks are coming from — in general, it is hard for us humans to accept change. Even when the status quo is rigged and wrong and in some cases, criminal, it is the status quo and provides familiarity, in the absence of anything else. As we hurtle towards this brave new world that just might require men to not expose their penis in the work place, our collective equilibrium is off. It will take time to adjust to that for some, but tick tock, folks.
The misuse of quotation marks to belittle someone who is attempting to right a wrong that was done to them is not helping us reach that brave new world. It is, quite honestly, a microaggression. Those innoculous seeming punctuation marks are a tell to the anger and outrage folks are feeling towards women who dare challenge that status quo that benefits men, and not just the famous and wealthy ones.
Check yourselves, folks, along with your punctuation.