Episode 45: Me F*ing Too
Episode 121: Racism in America for a discussion of The Groveland Boy
Questions for Reflection
In each episode, we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. Our supporters over at Buy Me a Coffee now have exclusive access to the PDF versions of all our Questions for Reflection. Join us today!
Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering our Scars podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:05):
Where we share personal experiences, so we can learn from each other.
Beth Demme (00:08):
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to, but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:13):
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:17):
And I'm Beth. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled "Men."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:24):
Then we'll share a slice of life and the show will close with questions for reflection, where we'll invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life.
Beth Demme (00:30):
Okay, Steph. This topic has been on our list for a while, thanks to you. So, why are we talking about this? What are we talking about?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:38):
Well, we have put it off many times because I feel like I'm going to get backlash for it. And so, I have kept putting it off, but I just think we need to have an honest conversation about men. We did talk about having a conversation with a man here, so that they could have their perspective, but you know what? I think that's part of the conversation today is men have a voice everywhere, and so I don't know that they need to be part of this conversation. Maybe in the future we can have an open dialogue with a man here, but today we're going to be ladies talking about men.
Beth Demme (01:15):
I agree that we probably know what the men's perspective would be in this conversation, because I think we hear it all the time. I think it's just part of all the noise around us all the time. So, what is it about men?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:30):
So, this episode actually started by being titled "Love Letter to White Men". That was my original title idea. And you didn't love that title idea, so we squashed that.
Beth Demme (01:42):
Right. Because I think if I saw that in an episode list, I would not assume that it was sarcastic. I would think that it was genuine and that we are in some way being white supremacists writing a love letter to white men. "Oh, white men. We love you so much."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:57):
But that would make you want to listen and be like, "what?" And then you would realize that's not what it's about.
Beth Demme (02:02):
Maybe, or maybe I'd be like, "Oh, my word, they've gone off the deep end. I'm never listening again."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:06):
So, what I want to have a conversation about is the role of men in the world, specifically in our country, in our everyday life, and why I think men need to do more to make change in this world. Because currently men are in power. There's no surprise there. Men make the laws. Men take our rights away. They are in every aspect of life. And I am not someone that hates men, obviously. I see a need for all types of people. I think that's the bigger picture is I think men and women are awesome, and I think we need both represented in all things.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:56):
I think the world is a better, more inclusive place when we have all types of people, black, white, male, female, LGBTQ. I think when we have all types of people, then we get all types of voices represented and then laws will reflect what needs to happen for more people than just white men. Like I said, I don't hate men, but I do have a, I don't know the exact word, maybe a chip on my shoulder, about men, specifically white men. And that is because that's what I have the most interaction with. And they're the ones that founded our country. They're the ones that stole our country. So, that's primarily what I'm talking about.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:43):
For example, we talked about this in a previous episode, the Methodist church is going through a big turmoil. The Methodist church is staying, but there is a huge amount of bigots leaving to start their own church. Can't remember what it's called, but I think it's probably something like, "You're gay, stay away."
Beth Demme (04:01):
Maybe that's just their tagline.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:02):
Yeah. I think that's the tagline, really. But there is a church that a lot of us have been involved with that is more than likely going to go to the, "We're gay, stay away," churches and is going to leave the Methodist church. And I personally think there is one white man that could be a game changer in this not happening, and I clearly see it. I don't know if anyone else sees it, but I clearly see it. And I am very disappointed in this man for not stepping up and making a change.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:38):
And I don't really see other people. I see other people looking and being like, "He is an agony. He is so distraught. Oh, no. We feel so bad for this man that could do so much, but we need to hold his hand and sit with him and he'll be okay. We're going to make sure." Everybody thinks he's just like, we got to take care of him. He's the greatest. And no one is stepping up and saying, "Why aren't you talking? No. Stand up. You are the one that can make a change here." He has the power and he's not using it.
Beth Demme (05:11):
Well, I don't want to talk about one specific man, because I don't think that's fair.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:16):
I think the situation is valid though. I think that is my, and that's why I'm not saying the specifics because it's not about this particular situation. But it's about, there are men in power that can make change. I can't make that change because of the person I was born to be. And I love who I am, but there is certain things I can't make change unless the people in power make those changes. And so, that's what my point of sharing this story is. It's not about this particular situation, but it's about, there are key men in power that have a voice, and have a platform, and can use it, but are choosing not to. I want men to step up. I want men to say, "No, this is not okay," and make a change.
Beth Demme (06:04):
That's interesting because that's the opposite of where I thought we were going. Because I thought that you would say that you wanted men to step back, or to step away, or to share power in a different way.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:18):
Yes. I want there to be more diversity and to share power, but the people in power currently have to make that change and have to present that change. So, the first step is those in power have to say, "We need a change." Or in this situation, "We need to not change and we need to support the Methodist church." The people that are in power need to say, "This is not okay. This needs to change. We need more diversity here." And ultimately by saying those things and making that change, those men will step back and other people will take those roles, but it won't happen unless the people in power announce that it needs to happen.
Beth Demme (07:01):
I think part of what's at the heart of the turmoil, which is the word used, which is the perfect word, the turmoil that's happening in the United Methodist Church is I think it does come from a small group of men. I don't know for sure that they're all white. My hunch is that they're all white. So, a small group of white men who sensed that they were losing authority, that they were losing power, and so they want to shift so that they can retain power. I definitely think that's the root of the conflict, and I think that that's the motivator is to try to retain power.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:39):
Well, and I don't think men want to lose power. I think that's probably a human desire is, if you're at a certain place, you wouldn't want to lose that. I mean, I don't know what that feels like, but I would assume that that is, we wouldn't want to lose the status we have. There is more than likely always going to be two sides. There's always going to be people that don't want change and there's people that want change. And there are really good guys out there in power that I think can do more, and can make change happen. Because there's only so far we can make change. There's only so far protests can make it. But I guess that's part of my frustration is I'm not seeing the people that can make the change, change themselves. But I just continue to be frustrated with the power men have in our country, and especially when it results in taking away our rights as females.
Beth Demme (08:43):
Yeah. And it's frustrating that it's happening at a time when there are more women on the US Supreme Court than ever, and there are more women in the Senate and in the US Congress than ever. Because the reality is that even as those bodies are becoming more diverse, power is still concentrated primarily with men. And so, you have to look then not just at what's happening on a national level, but if you look at the state legislatures and governors, we just haven't reached parody yet. So, I was in law school in the 1990s. I went to law school from 1996 to 1999, and it was a big deal back then that women were half of most law school classes. If you looked at law students across the country, half of us were women. And it was like, "Okay, this is really going to produce change. And 20 years from now, you'll see, half the partners in law firms will be women," and that hasn't proven to be true.
Beth Demme (09:44):
Now, I'm not still practicing law, so maybe I'm part of the reason that it didn't pan out. Maybe many of us have left, but do you know? Do you know the woman you went to school with, how many of them are still practicing, and why they aren't still practicing, if they aren't? I actually only know of one other woman who's not still practicing, and she's actually gone inactive with her license. My license is still active. I can still practice law. She went inactive. And then I know some women who are not part of law firms. My best friend from law school is a judge now, so she's not in the law firm because she's on the bench.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:19):
Beth Demme (10:20):
So, I do think there's been growth actually in the judiciary, and I wasn't calculating that into my, my overall thoughts. And I don't know what the current statistics are. I don't know how many of law students now, I don't know what the gender breakdown is. I definitely agree that we live in a patriarchal society. I mean, I think it has changed, and is changing, and will continue to change. I think I have had different opportunities than my grandmother. I think my daughter has different opportunities than her grandmother. I think that we have seen change.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:51):
Do you think she has different opportunities from you?
Beth Demme (10:54):
So, I don't know if Hannah would see this as an opportunity or not, or if she and whoever she ultimately marries will see this as an opportunity, but I think the default assumption now is that both people in a marriage will work that they'll both have careers. And I know that for her grandmother, that was not true. And for me, I think that it was shifting. I had the choice. Actually, I remember when I decided to stay home, my best friend from law school, the one who's now a judge, she and I were talking. And she was like, she doesn't live around here. She lives outside Atlanta. And she said, "The assumption here is that if a woman has children and is working, the assumption is that her husband isn't a, 'good provider.'"
Beth Demme (11:39):
I was like, "well, I feel like in my community, the assumption is that if a woman isn't working, that she is less than." You know what I mean? So, it's was two very different cultural views, that I think came from the choices we were each making, not necessarily from what society actually was, how they were viewing us, just how we were feeling about it.
Beth Demme (12:02):
So, she was feeling like, "Oh, I should stay home so that no one thinks my husband isn't making enough money." And I was like, "I should work so that everybody knows I'm smart." But we both had those choices. We were both able to make the choices that we wanted to make. And I don't know that a generation before me, I don't know that they had those same opportunities, particularly two generations before me. I don't think my grandmothers, plural, I don't think any of them ever considered having a career. But for Hannah, the assumption is she will have a career. So, I do think that's changing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:40):
Yeah. I would agree that I think the society's viewpoint of those things is changing. I do think there are certain people's opinions that never change, like especially older generations.
Beth Demme (12:53):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:53):
But I would say, yeah, the general, even my generation, I never felt like I wasn't allowed to have a career, or my friends, most of them, all my friends went to college and had some kind of career. So, I definitely think that changed. I think your generation probably created that change. But don't you think that Hannah has less rights than you did?
Beth Demme (13:15):
Well, I think when it comes to her healthcare, she has fewer choices, for sure, and will have fewer options. I rarely say anymore that I'm glad to live in Florida, but I mean, we do still have in the state of Florida a right, all women have the right to medical care. In the event of a pregnancy, they have until 16 weeks to end that medically if they need to, or if they want to.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:39):
Beth Demme (13:40):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:40):
As of August 2022.
Beth Demme (13:43):
Right. I mean, I think in the next legislative session, that'll be a big issue. I think that'll be a big question. So, you said that you think you might have a chip on your shoulder about this. Where does that come from? What are the experiences that led you to that viewpoint?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:59):
I think one of the big things that a lot of my opinions and a lot of my frustrations come from is in my past. I've been sexually assaulted by multiple white men in some capacity, some kind of situation. And I feel like especially during the #MeToo movement we saw so much of that come out. We knew that that was happening, but we saw so much of that come out and come to the forefront. And men have never been held accountable for the, overall in general, men have not been account held accountable for these situations. And in slight things too.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:40):
I had a situation where a man inappropriately touched me in just a split second, and he could do it, and he had no repercussions from it. And just those so simple things where men think that they have the right to do whatever the heck they want, from having that happen to me and from knowing it's happened to so many other people, and men doing it to other men too. So, a lot of my opinion comes from that. So, that's obviously trauma that is deeply rooted in me that a lot of the opinion comes from, but it's still that experience affects all of those other things. Because men are in power, they get to get a golden pass in a lot of these situations.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:27):
And it's just super frustrating to me that we haven't held these people accountable to the, and actually, I had a friend tell me that a husband didn't want a friend of his niece to come visit because it was, I think they were 13 or something. And he didn't want that friend to come because A, he didn't know the friend, and B, he didn't want the friend to accuse him of anything. And I was like, "Well, first of all, why would she have any reason to accuse him of something?" And I get that, but then also I'm like, I guess my frustration in that situation was realizing, why is your assumption that a woman would lie and say something happened when it didn't? And that's really frustrating to me that that's a overarching part of women being able to actually say when something happens, that men think that there's a majority of lies. There's lies everywhere in the world.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:30):
So, I'm not going to say that, women can lie, yes. Has it happened? Yes. But the fact that is an overarching thing, like, "Oh, I don't want to be around someone young because I'm afraid they're going to lie." Well, why would they want to lie about this? And then if they do say something, what did you do that was wrong? I don't know. I just was like, that's not okay that men now think because we're actually telling the truth when things are happening, that we're not really telling the truth. And so, that was just frustrating to realize, no change seems to be happening there.
Beth Demme (17:05):
Yeah. That's a hard situation, because on the one hand-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:10):
I understand where he was coming from.
Beth Demme (17:12):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:12):
But to even bring that up, that she may lie that he would have done something to me is like, where is that coming from? If you know how to be respectful to a human being, why would you have a concern about that?
Beth Demme (17:27):
But at the same time, I can't say it's a completely unfounded concern.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:31):
I agree. No, I'm not saying it's not.
Beth Demme (17:33):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:33):
But to even bring that up, that the woman is going to lie.
Beth Demme (17:38):
Or that the teenager is going to lie.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:40):
Beth Demme (17:40):
I mean, that definitely sounds like it was a gendered situation, but I could also see it being a non-gendered situation that, I mean, I just think of teenagers as people who like drama, and sometimes, especially if it's a teenager I did not know, I would be-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:57):
But the wife knew the kid.
Beth Demme (17:58):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:58):
So, it wasn't someone that they didn't know completely.
Beth Demme (18:01):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:01):
And it wasn't where neither of them didn't know this kid.
Beth Demme (18:06):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:07):
And they knew their niece. They knew her, so they knew she has good friends.
Beth Demme (18:13):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:14):
I think there's many valid reasons of why you wouldn't want a strange young person in your house. I totally understand that. But just that to be one of your reasons, that the kid may lie and say I did something, I just find that very concerning to me, that that would be one of the positions that a kid's going to lie that I did something to them.
Beth Demme (18:37):
I mean, in our family, Hannah was never allowed to have a friend sleepover if I wasn't home. If I was out of town and Stephen was the only parent in the house, then our rule was, no, you can't have a friend sleepover because that feels uncomfortable. And she wasn't allowed to go sleep over at somebody's house if the mom wasn't there.
Beth Demme (18:59):
So, "Oh, if so and so's mom is out of town, no, you can't sleep over this weekend." And part of our awareness in that was that any kind of an allegation will ruin your life, and so you just want to be smart about it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:14):
So, you would have the two girls at your house with just you?
Beth Demme (19:17):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:18):
Or you and Stephen?
Beth Demme (19:20):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:20):
But not just Stephen?
Beth Demme (19:21):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:22):
Would you have two boys at your house with just you?
Beth Demme (19:25):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:26):
So, that was the same rule?
Beth Demme (19:28):
Yeah. But if I'm honest, it was probably for different reasons, that I would've just thought, "Oh, that's just too many kids. I just can't handle that on my own," rather than [crosstalk 00:19:37].
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:36):
So, then why is the rules different for young women than for young men?
Beth Demme (19:42):
I do think that it comes down to maybe an unfounded fear, but a fear of a false allegation or a misunderstanding. And there's just no reason to put yourselves through that in exchange for a sleepover. I mean, it's like, why would you do that? Why would you take that risk?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:59):
But why is there not the same concern for young men? Why are you concerned that a young woman is going to lie and say the man did something, but why aren't you concerned that a young man, a young boy is going to say the woman did something?
Beth Demme (20:13):
I don't know. Maybe it's even part of how girls are conditioned in a patriarchal world, that there is some-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:19):
What percentage of women do you think lie about allegations?
Beth Demme (20:22):
Well, I don't know. I don't know what the percentage is.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:25):
But why is there this perception that girls and women lie about being touched or something happening? Because that sounds like what you're talking about is that you guys have this perception.
Beth Demme (20:40):
Well, I guess in my experience, I've only experienced it with girls doing it. I've never experienced a boy doing it. So, I think that it comes just from experience.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:48):
But how do you know that the girl was lying?
Beth Demme (20:51):
Well, I guess I had to make a judgment call about what I thought had happened.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:54):
So, a girl told you something happened and you believed it as a lie?
Beth Demme (20:59):
Yes. I don't think girls always tell the truth. I don't think boys always tell the truth. I don't think people always tell the truth. And I have been in situations where girls have tried to manipulate me by telling me stories. I also just finally finished that Devil in the Grove book, where we had an episode about that a few weeks ago. And there were so many historical examples in that of where white women lied about their interactions with black men, that had deadly consequences for the black men. So, I can't sit here and say women never lie, because that's not true.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:33):
No. But I think it's shortsighted to say women lie. Humans lie.
Beth Demme (21:39):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:40):
Beth Demme (21:41):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:41):
But to put it to constantly have this image that women lie about sexually assault, being sexually assaulted, I think is we will never progress in this world if that's the perception. And why do you think those women were lying? Especially in that situation, I didn't read the book. I saw the movie. We talked about this in episode something, we'll put it in the description. And we don't know. That's the thing. In that situation, we don't know. From my viewpoint of that, her husband was manipulating her.
Beth Demme (22:13):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:13):
And the police officer was manipulating her.
Beth Demme (22:15):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:15):
So, to blame women for lying, which yes, it was a blatant lie. And yes, it was unlawfully the black men were accused of something that these women said. But in this situation, I believe that woman was coerced into saying it by two powerful white men telling her this is what she has to say. So, I guess I don't think it's fair to continue to say women lie. I guess my question would be, why are these women lying? Who is telling them to lie? Why are they lying? That's what I want to trace back to. But it seems like in our society, we're not tracing it back. We're saying the woman is lying, and we're not trying to figure out why the woman's lying. Who's controlling that woman? Who is telling her that I'm going to beat you up if you don't say this? Yet, we're just stopping with women lie. Because we're not saying it about men, if you're ending it with women. But also at the beginning, as we mentioned, men are in power. So, you don't think men are taking, have power over these women?
Beth Demme (23:16):
No, I do think that happens. Yeah, for sure. I mean, definitely in the [Groveland 00:23:22] case, that happened. So, we've talked about how it's not fair the way that women get lumped together, or the way that risk is calculated when women are involved. Do you think that maybe you're lumping all men together and is that fair?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:40):
Yes. Yes. Asterisk.
Beth Demme (23:43):
Okay. So, yes, you are lumping all men together.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:45):
Beth Demme (23:45):
Yes. That is fair, asterisk.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:47):
Beth Demme (23:47):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:48):
Because all women are lumped together. And all women's rights are taken away at one time. But asterisk, because there are some good men out there. There's a lot of good men out there. I mean, Stephen, your husband is a great man.
Beth Demme (24:07):
Thank you. I agree.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:11):
We had my bro (Daniel) on the show who I think is a great man. Not great with politics, but everything else. Had to put that out there for Beth, because that was her favorite thing.
Beth Demme (24:19):
I was about to say asterisk.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:22):
Asterisk on that. But yes, when I think of men, I am lumping a stereotype together, but I also can distinguish between them. But when I say I think men need to step up, I think men need to step up across the freaking board. And I think some women need to step up in certain ways, but that's a whole other conversation. Yeah. And I think it's okay. I know I obviously have a lot to say, because welcome to my world, but do you agree with any of this? Do you think I'm completely coming out of left field?
Beth Demme (24:59):
I agree that when there have been documented cases of people lying, it would be good to know why they were lying. So, if a woman has made a false allegation, it would be good to know, well, why? What was really behind that? Either what was her motivation, or what were the forces behind her that were pushing her to make the allegation? I think we have moved to a place, I will say that for myself. I personally have moved to a place where my default is I believe women. I think that probably has always been my position, but for sure it is my position now. So, for example, when Brett Kavanaugh was nominated for the US Supreme court, I absolutely believed the woman who said that he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. I just believed that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:49):
Because it's true.
Beth Demme (25:50):
Because it's true. And it didn't matter to me how much he denied it. And I don't think that she had anything to gain. So, looking at her motivations, there's nothing, she lost a lot by coming forward. She lost a lot by telling the truth.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:06):
And he's now on the Supreme Court.
Beth Demme (26:07):
And he's now on the Supreme Court for life.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:11):
And he just took away our rights as females.
Beth Demme (26:14):
Yes. With the help of a woman.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:16):
And there are some bad women out there. I'm not saying always vote for the woman or always trust the woman, has your back. But I think the society has created a certain type of woman, Christian society has created and indoctrinated this viewpoint in women. And I feel like there's a lot of women that look down on women.
Beth Demme (26:38):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:38):
And look down on women like us. So, I definitely don't think we're all in this together. I wish we were.
Beth Demme (26:45):
Right. Well, and I don't know exactly how this fits in, but what I see happening is this is a big generalization, but I think it's a fair one to make, that if I think about toxic masculinity, if I think about men who are just really just toxic about their manhood, then when they meet a man who happens to be gay, they will treat him as if he is a woman. And if they meet a woman who is strong, or sure of herself, or disagrees with them, then they will tend to assign masculine attributes to her.
Beth Demme (27:24):
So, they try to insult her by making it seem like she's less of a woman and more of a man. But a man who is not what they see as being, "masculine," they will try to demean by making him seem feminine. And I think that it teaches a certain kind of woman about what society expects, and then therefore how she needs to present herself.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:49):
I've never thought of it necessarily that a masculine man would treat a gay man as he would a female. I don't necessarily know that I totally agree with that, but I've never even conceptualized that.
Beth Demme (28:05):
Well, this episode didn't go where I thought it was going to go. I thought we were going to talk about men holding power and not being willing to make room for other people, and we were going to talk about politics and that all the things, the intersection of race and gender, and we just didn't talk about that. We didn't go where I thought we were going to go.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:20):
Well, are you happy with where we went?
Beth Demme (28:23):
For the most part.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:24):
What was the part you didn't like?
Beth Demme (28:26):
I didn't think that this was going to be a #MeToo episode. I didn't think that we were going to get into that aspect of it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:33):
Well, I think that has to be part of the conversation when talking about men in power. I think that's a huge part of men's power structure in this country.
Beth Demme (28:43):
Well, it didn't come up in our planning, so I wasn't expecting it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:46):
Oh, okay. So, would you like me to cut that part out?
Beth Demme (28:50):
I mean, I would, but I know you won't. I think it's hard because on the one hand, I want things to be less gendered, but at the same time, I want the experience of women to be acknowledged and validated, and I want the things that are amazing about women to be celebrated. I think I want both at the same time. And not only is that probably impossible, but maybe it's not even fair.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:18):
So, you don't think if you bring #MeToo in the conversation that you can talk about the power of women? Is that why you don't think that those go together?
Beth Demme (29:29):
I think a lot of what happens in #MeToo moments is based on women being seen as less than. I think that men take advantage because they see women as less than.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:42):
Because men have the power.
Beth Demme (29:44):
Because men have the power.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:45):
And believe that they can control women that way.
Beth Demme (29:48):
Yeah. And that they can just get away with it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:49):
Yeah. And they have.
Beth Demme (29:51):
And they have. So, at the same time that I'm saying I don't think we should look at gender in that way in the workplace. So, there shouldn't be a rule that a man and a woman can't be alone together at work. The rule should be two people can't be alone together at work, that that should not be gendered. But at the same time, I'm saying, "But let's celebrate everything that's amazing about women." Well, that's gendered, so I'm maybe trying to have my cake and eat it too.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:17):
I do think celebrating and separating the genders is important, in the sense that we need to make sure that there is a good representation of men and female in all places, and people of color in all places. So, I would say it is important to celebrate women, because we're a minority. We are not the majority. We are not in most places. So, I do think it is important to celebrate our accomplishments, people of color's accomplishments. I mean, it goes without saying, celebrating men's accomplishments, because that's what we do in every single holiday, in every single day of the year, we basically do that. So, that's not something that we need to make time for. But I do think it's important to celebrate women's accomplishments, and I don't think talking about Me Too diminishes them. I think it brings power to women to acknowledge these horrible realities that are happening. And by continuing to put them aside or put them in a separate category, I think we are doing a disservice to women because this is the reality for many, many, many women in this country and in their places of work.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:28):
And maybe that's why there's not the same division of women lawyers anymore. Maybe they have had something happen in the workplace that made them realize I don't want to be here. I don't want to be in these situations anymore. I don't know what leads women to choose to leave certain professions.
Beth Demme (31:47):
Right. And how the economic realities also impact the decision when women leave the work workforce. This is a really specific hypothetical, but say that there's a couple and it happens to be a man and a woman, and they have a child who has developmental disabilities and needs a parent to stay home. If the economic reality is that the woman is making less, because by the way, women make less than men, even when they're doing the exact same job, then which job is the couple going to give up?
Beth Demme (32:17):
They're not going to give up the job that's paying more. So, she's going to end up losing out because she's going to be the one who forfeits her career out of necessity for the family.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:27):
Yeah. I would agree, which I think becomes a whole other conversation about women's place in the workplace and why we might not be seeing the same amount of women as we thought we would when you were in college, and how that's changed. And yeah, that could be a whole other conversation.
Beth Demme (32:44):
And I can't imagine that there is a woman alive who hasn't had a #MeToo moment. I mean, Hannah is 18 and she's had them. She's working as a server and she had somebody say to her just in the last couple of weeks, as he was paying the bill, he made a comment about being able to watch her walk away.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:06):
And what did she do?
Beth Demme (33:08):
She left everything on the table and went and reported it. And then after that person had left, went back and got the check.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:15):
And what did they do when she reported it?
Beth Demme (33:17):
They totally took her side and they were like, "You don't have to go back to the table and that's not okay." And they didn't confront him about it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:24):
Beth Demme (33:25):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:27):
And he's still able to eat there. They didn't say you can't come again?
Beth Demme (33:30):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:30):
Of course not.
Beth Demme (33:30):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:31):
Yeah. So, nothing happened to him.
Beth Demme (33:32):
Nothing happened to him.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:34):
Because he was able to do whatever he wanted to, and he can continue to do whatever he wants to do.
Beth Demme (33:38):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:38):
Which again, is why I think #MeToo is always part of that conversation. Because if that was a black man, do you think it would've been different?
Beth Demme (33:47):
I actually don't know. When she told me the story, I didn't ask about race and I pictured it as a white man, but I don't know. Again, just having just finished that Devil in the Grove book about the Groveland Boys, I think socialization for African American men when it comes to their interaction with white women is just a whole different topic.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:09):
Which is why you don't think a black man would probably have ever said that to her.
Beth Demme (34:16):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:16):
Which is so interesting that men can be taught that that's inappropriate and you can't say that, and yet white men have not been taught that and think that that's okay.
Beth Demme (34:29):
Right. I don't know that's always true.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:31):
Beth Demme (34:33):
I mean, my sense of it is that black men have been taught to, or have been socialized or whatever, just culturally have been taught to defer to white women in a way that they are not taught to defer to black women. And so, I think it's an issue of intersectionality between race and gender.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:52):
I would agree with that. But I do think it shows us that how to treat a woman can be a taught experience.
Beth Demme (35:01):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:01):
And it can be where you would never think that that was okay to say to a woman.
Beth Demme (35:06):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:07):
Beth Demme (35:09):
Right. Because I mean, it has to be taught, because I think it's been taught that it's okay to say that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:13):
Beth Demme (35:13):
It has to be learned behavior.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:15):
Beth Demme (35:15):
Yeah. I just had a memory pop into my head and I'm trying to decide what to do with it. The first person who ever sexually harassed me was a black guy. And we were in middle school. We had English class together, and every day he would try to touch me. And every day he would say something sexual to me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:34):
In middle school?
Beth Demme (35:35):
In middle school.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:36):
Beth Demme (35:37):
And I asked to be allowed to move seats, and my teacher was very strict and she would not let me move seats. And I wasn't comfortable telling her why I wanted to move. I was just, so I didn't, although I think if she had paid even a reasonable amount of attention, she would've understood what was happening. But that throws into question a lot of things that I've said today, so I'm like, I probably don't want to bring that up.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:59):
Well, I mean, that's your reality.
Beth Demme (36:01):
Yeah, no. That's totally my reality.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:02):
And it still goes with our premise of men.
Beth Demme (36:05):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:06):
And again, it's all based on our histories. I haven't had these interactions with black men, so that's why, my trauma comes from white men, and that's where I'm seeing and that's who has the majority of the power. So, can a black man be inappropriate? Yes. Can a white lady, a black lady? Yes.
Beth Demme (36:29):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:29):
Does it happen? Probably. But is it the majority? No. And I still think the premise of the majority of these, stories being men specifically, I still think that is accurate, and men thinking they have the right to do it.
Beth Demme (36:49):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:50):
So, I think overall, if a man is listening, A, you don't have the right to touch another human.
Beth Demme (36:57):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:57):
Specifically women. B, if you're afraid that a woman's going to lie about you doing something, well, don't do something, number one. Number two, it's always probably a great idea to always have two adults around, two people around, multiple people, just for safety in all aspects. And if you, man, out there, don't know how to be appropriate around a woman, find a woman that you trust and ask her. She'll tell you. And she'll tell you if something's appropriate or not. And also, if you're about to say something to a woman and you start by saying, "I know this isn't appropriate, but," don't say it. And if you start to say something, "This is going to sound racist, but," don't say it. So, there's a couple things that if you say that before something, it's still racist, it's still inappropriate, and you still shouldn't say it.
Beth Demme (37:48):
And all you've done is acknowledge that you know you shouldn't say it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:51):
Keep that in mind. Men. Thanks for listening.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:59):
All right, Beth. So, you just moved in Hannah into her dorm room.
Beth Demme (38:04):
Yes. My husband and I are officially empty nesters now. We have no more children living at home.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:11):
Beth Demme (38:11):
No more people other than us. And it's too new to really know how it feels. Right now it still feels weird.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:19):
Beth Demme (38:19):
So, we'll see. We'll see how it goes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:22):
You might get some more, might adopt a couple more, huh?
Beth Demme (38:24):
No. We're done with that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:26):
Beth Demme (38:26):
Nope. No pets and no kids. We're all done.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:30):
Beth Demme (38:31):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:32):
You can start parking them inside.
Beth Demme (38:36):
Yeah. So, it's very new. It still feels weird. It feels like on the one hand I'm so proud of them. I'm so happy for them. We're patting ourselves on the back just a little bit as parents like, "Oh, my gosh, look at this. They flew the coop. They're out on their own." And at the same time, sad.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:55):
But it's been a day with Hannah gone?
Beth Demme (38:57):
It's been not even 24 hours.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:58):
Okay. So, I mean, I'd give it a week.
Beth Demme (39:01):
Right. Exactly. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:02):
See if she comes home. Just give it a week.
Beth Demme (39:05):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:05):
No, she's pretty set in her plans.
Beth Demme (39:07):
She's pretty set.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:08):
Beth Demme (39:09):
She did say that she would like to be intentional about having dinner together once a week, which I thought was really sweet.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:15):
Beth Demme (39:15):
Because she's in town. Both my kids are still in town, they just don't live in our house.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:21):
They're pretty close.
Beth Demme (39:22):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:22):
Well, Hannah's not that close.
Beth Demme (39:24):
Right. They're close enough. I mean, within 20 minutes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:30):
At the end of each episode, we end with Questions for Reflection. These are questions based on today's show that Beth will read and leave a little pause between for you to answer to yourself, or you can find a PDF on our Buy Me a Coffee page.
Beth Demme (39:40):
Number one, what is your reaction to Steph's view of men? Do you have a similar view? Why or why not? Number two, think of a time when you had an interaction with a man that made you feel uncomfortable, inferior, or less than. If you could go back, what would you have done differently, if anything? Number three, do you think men need to do more to create an inclusive world? And number four, what's your favorite thing about being the gender you are?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:12):
Discovering Our Scars podcast is produced by Beth Demme and Stephanie Kostopoulos. Thanks for joining us.