To our readers,
Recent months have seen an onslaught of discussion about sexual assault and harassment in the media. As survivors come forward and powerful people admit, apologize, step down, deny, and/or lash out, many of us witnessing it all from our devices are reminded of our own experiences and encounters, or those of someone we care about.
Tarana Burke began the “Me Too” campaign years ago, and in 2017 it was resuscitated as women around the world felt the urge to tell their stories. Thanks to Burke, these two words have connected women and nonbinary people of all ethnicities, socioeconomic classes, sexual orientations, and physical and neuro abilities, by weaving together these experiences across identities.
However, when the #MeToo campaign began to flood social media feeds last year, I couldn’t help but think that the ever-flowing river of the internet didn’t do justice to the act of so many people sharing and expressing their stories, opinions, and emotions. The level of time sensitivity manipulated by feeds that explode with near-gravitational force barely allows us to linger—we can like or comment or share but we hardly have time to meditate, to think deeply and carefully, to really feel what someone is saying.
When StS Nonfiction Editor Liesel Hamilton proposed we curate a mini blog series in response to the #MeToo campaign, Allie Ross and I were so motivated by the idea. This isn’t something we’ve done at StS before, so the editorial process was a learning experience for all of us working on the project.
As Allie, Kristen Brida, and I read submissions, we were greatly moved and inspired by each submitter’s bravery, as well as the bravery of those expressing allyship, and humbled by the opportunity to read their beautiful work. There wasn’t a single piece that didn’t speak to us in some way. As we’ve made selections and continue to do so, we aim to choose pieces that encompass all of the emotions and ideas found in the submissions overall, especially those that engage, or otherwise give breathing room to intersectionality.
The first piece we’ve chosen to launch the series a poem titled Pallid Mirrors by Athena Melliar. The element of mythology in this poem speaks to this tale as old as time, that being sexual assault and harassment. Melliar’s expert rhythm and lush sensory detail represents something we’ve seen in all of the submissions—a sense of willingness, readiness, and strong voice, even in work describing self-consciousness and fear. While certainly no one person speaks for all others, we aim to select work that participates in a larger intersectional feminist conversation, and encompasses this topic in that way, thereby providing permanence to discussion that shouldn’t be swept away in the tide.
In addition to engaging with this series, we encourage readers to visit, and if they are able, to donate at www.metoomvmt.org.
Finally, we hope you enjoy all of the pieces to come, and again, would like to express our gratitude to all of the writers and artists who submitted work to this series.