Everywhere we turn these days, women are speaking their truths. Using their voices to tell stories they’d rather forget. Sometimes they are demonized for it, but increasingly they are celebrated, their faces landing on magazine covers, their stories told and retold under the viral #MeToo banner. With twelve million Facebook interactions in 24 hours—more than #EverydaySexism and #YesAllWomen amassed in a year—#MeToo became the social media face of a movement that denounces sexual harassment and assault while validating the women who’ve experienced it.
Beneath all the high-profile names, the politics and the agendas, #MeToo is an interrupter—a woke moment when the collective consciousness shuddered just long enough to glimpse our depravity. And I don’t use that word only to describe the perpetrators of these predatory acts, but also the state of a culture that supports it. Where were our ideas about gender born? How wrong must they have been to allow this age-old story of sex and power to play out unfettered for so long?
To answer such questions, we must look to archetypes, the building blocks of our collective psyche. In the Abrahamic tradition, even for those with no religious affiliation, the building blocks of gender identity are Adam and Eve. The prototypical first couple, Adam and Eve are the embodiment of our largely unconscious ideas about what it means to be a man or a woman.
Therein lies the problem.