Some might say “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen sounds the like the ideal anthem to accompany the #MeToo movement, as another powerful, prominent man seems to fall from his pedestal every day, made to pay the price for his previous indiscretions.
Saturday Night Live, however, debuted the perfect anti-harassment song, chock full of comical references to the disgusting behaviors we women must rebuke regularly. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Hell.
“Hey there, boys. We know the last couple months have been frickin’ insane,” cast member Cecily Strong states at the beginning of the music video, referencing the onslaught of sexual harassment and assault allegations that continue to dominate the daily news.
“All these big, cool, powerful guys are turning out to be, what’s the word? Habitual predators?” cast member Aidy Bryant says. “And it’s, like, dang, is this the world now?” At which point Strong responds: “Oh, this been the damn world.”
“This ain’t a girl group, we just travel in a pack for safety,” Bryant adds as she, Strong, cast member Kate McKinnon, and host Saoirse Ronan — clad in pastels, surrounded by rainbows and lollipops that create stark contrast with the dark subject matter at hand — innocently explain the issues women have faced throughout history under the guise of some saccharine pop song.
“Now House of Cards is ruined, and that really sucks,” sings Ronan’s platinum blonde pop princess persona. “Well here’s a list of stuff that’s ruined for us: parking, and walking, and Uber, and ponytails, and bathrobes, and nighttime, and drinking, and hotels, and vans.”
But, beyond the comedic approach to these undeniable truths, the ladies of SNL — more specifically, Leslie Jones — briefly tapped into one harsh reality that deserves far more attention than it’s received: the impact sexual misconduct has on women of color.
Jones soon appears to inform the women that “it’s, like, a million times worse for women of color,” with which all the ladies were in agreement. After all, despite the fact that a woman of color, Tarana Burke, founded the “Me Too” movement long before hashtags existed, this marginalized demographic continues to be ignored.
In an Op-Ed published by the Washington Post last month, Burke explained that women of color have been “screaming about famous predators like R&B singer R. Kelly, who allegedly preys on black girls, for well over a decade to no avail.”
Burke also quoted actress Jane Fonda who, in reaction to Hollywood’s outpouring allegations against Harvey Weinstein, highlighted the fact that the skin color of his accusers helped the story earn national attention.
“It feels like something has shifted. It’s too bad that it’s probably because so many of the women that were assaulted by Harvey Weinstein are famous and white and everybody knows them. This has been going on a long time to black women and other women of color and it doesn’t get out quite the same,” Fonda said.
While SNL’s passing reference was a much needed nod to those who continue to suffer silently, as Burke wrote, “history has shown us time and again is that if marginalized voices — those of people of color, queer people, disabled people, poor people — aren’t centered in our movements then they tend to become no more than a footnote.”
“I often say that sexual violence knows no race, class or gender, but the response to it does,” she added. “’Me too’ is a response to the spectrum of gender-based sexual violence that comes directly from survivors — all survivors. We can’t afford a racialized, gendered or classist response. Ending sexual violence will require every voice from every corner of the world and it will require those whose voices are most often heard to find ways to amplify those voices that often go unheard.”
We’re all singing the same tune, but we need to give the voices in the back of the choir some time at the microphone. We have always had the power to lift up those who need help, but this time, by working together, we have the opportunity to command and direct the national dialogue regarding women’s health and safety. We must continue to speak out while others are willing to listen because, as history has proven time and time again, there’s no telling when society will opt to change the station.
(This post originally appeared on Storia.)