The #metoo movement is not perfect. Stop expecting it to be.

In between the flurry of conversations about the Republic Day and all the crap going on in our country(ies), read an unsettling conversation today that reeked of “I told you so” and skepticism (and fear) about the #metoo movement this morning. I have had my own struggle with despair and cynicism (and anger and frustration) these past few months, and found myself reaching out to several people for wisdom. I wrote it all down as a reminder to myself a little while back – and it felt appropriate to share a part of it today:

The #metoo movement, or any movement for that matter, is not perfect. Changing the status quo never is. It requires challenging years of conditioning. Challenging that conditioning in itself is like setting off the trigger – it brings out all the fears and insecurities that we have picked up over the years. Challenging the conditioning also means giving up the security of the known and starting to think of possibilities within a space that we actively participate in and create when we start this process. With that responsibility comes the definitions of fairness and justice we carry, the definitions that in themselves come from the conditioning and fears and insecurities we are fighting. It is a long process and it’s hard. And damn, it’s easier to justify hopelessless on some days. But maybe, just maybe, the hopelessness also stems from perfectionism, that darned belief we have all inherited about the perfect answers. The need for the change-makers to know the very perfect answers before they ask for it is yet another way the status quo maintains its power.

Stop asking the movement to be perfect. It’s about baby steps. It’s about noticing that there needs to be a movement and standing by it. It’s about then doing your very best to figure out the best way to do it. Allow the making of mistakes while holding high standards – remember that by asking for change we are venturing into a world that is new to all of us, with new questions, and hierarchies and outcomes we might not be able to predict. That’s the difference between blind idealism and believing in possibilities. Be the latter, and then set high standards of integrity and kindness while you are at it. Remember the things you felt when you experienced injustice, and let that be a reminder of what you shall not take anymore for/from anyone, even as the one asking/fighting for a little more power. And while you are at it, take the time to think, to consider, to reflect on what it is that you are fighting for and with, and that that is good enough to stand for. And then, stand for it.

Jayati Doshi
26th Jan, 2018. 7.52pm EST