If you’ve paid even vague attention to the news recently – or even just social media – you may have been struck by the seemingly unending tidal wave of men being called out for assault, harassment and generally awful behavior. This is inherently a good thing; people who’ve been coasting along while having gotten away with heinous acts are increasingly being held accountable for what they’ve done. We, as a society, are finally waking up to the fact that so much of what we thought of as just “business as usual” is, in fact, fucking horrible.
And there are more people waking up every day with the realization that they weren’t so different from the Weinsteins, the Taibis, the Ratners. Yeah, they may never have locked the door and refused to let a woman out until she blew them, but they weren’t that far off either. They may have taken advantage of those “blurred lines” or let the liquor do the persuading. They were the shitty edgelord who loved to taunt women with raunchy, offensive “jokes” and terrorized marginalized people because of the lolz.
Some were the guy at the club who played grabass or at the party who thought it was funny to rub his boner against someone’s leg. Others were the “hey, what’s a casual boob-grab between friends, look everyone else is laughing,” bro. Boundaries were things that happened to other people because hey, all’s fair when it comes to getting your dick wet, right?
Over time, though, they’ve grown. They’ve changed. But at the same time, they’ve also never faced the consequences of their actions. They’ve skated along – like so many others have – because that was how life was. And now, as victims are feeling increasingly empowered to speak up against the harassment and assaults and crimes they’ve endured… these guys are starting to wake up to the magnitude of what they have done.
Of course, this is a deeply personal topic for me. After all: part of the Doctor NerdLove branding and story is that I used to be a turbo-douche and did a lot of shitty things in my time. I’ve learned – and I’m still learning – but that doesn’t change things. And while you can’t change your past, you can change your future.
And then the question becomes: what do you do now when you realize just how awful you were? How do you make amends or find redemption after having been such an asshole for so long?