The Guardian

#MeToo isn’t enough. Now women need to get ugly | Barbara Kingsolver

‘Don’t say that to me, don’t do that to me. I hate it.’ I armed my daughters with these words to deal with harassment. Let’s no longer mollify powerful men
Illustration by Sébastien Thibault

In each of my daughters’ lives came the day in fifth grade when we had to sit on her bed and practise. I pretended to be the boy in class who was making her sick with dread. She had to look right at me and repeat the words until they felt possible, if not easy: “Don’t say that to me. Don’t do that to me. I hate it.” As much as I wanted to knock heads around, I knew the only real solution was to arm a daughter for self-defence. But why was it so hard to put teeth into that defence? Why does it come more naturally to smile through clenched teeth and say “Oh, stop,” in the mollifying tone so regularly, infuriatingly mistaken for flirtation?

Women my age could answer that we were raised that way. We’ve done better with our daughters but still find ourselves right here, where male puberty opens a lifelong season of sexual aggression, and girls struggle for the voice

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