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B-N Native's Column Captures Women (And Men) Confronting Past #MeToo Stories

Monica Hesse
The Washington Post

The new gender columnist for The Washington Post says the Kavanaugh hearings showed we are in a desperately important time to be asking questions about what it means to be a woman and a man.

Monica Hesse grew up in Bloomington-Normal and was back in town recently to promote her new novel, “The War Outside,” and to receive a Hall of Fame alumni award from University High School.

Hesse said she feels the fight over Kavanaugh’s confirmation was not really about testimony over what happened 35 years ago.

“I am watching a generation of women and men finally wrestle with and reconcile with different versions of stories they’ve been telling,” Hesse said on GLT’s Sound Ideas. “My inbox is overflowing with women talking about things they now see as assault, but that for decades they thought, ‘Well that was just my job to push him off.’ And now they’re really mad. Like, why should it have been my job all that time?”

Hesse’s recent column, “Dear Dads: Your Daughters Told Me About Their Assault. This Is Why They Never Told You,” went viral. It was published Oct. 2, during the height of the Kavanaugh confirmation fight. She later spoke to NPR’s All Things Considered about the column and reader reaction to it.

“We’re finally ripping off a Band-Aid we’ve needed to rip off for a long time,” Hesse told GLT.

Recently the public discourse about gender has revolved around sexual harassment and sexual violence. With Kavanaugh now confirmed, Hesse said she sees that conversation—and her column—moving into broader topics. That includes how we behave at work, dating norms, and what it means to be a powerful woman in America.

“It’s a pretty rich topic without a chance of running out anytime soon,” she added.

Hear more from Hesse, a 1999 graduate of University High School, by listening to the interview below:

You can also listen to GLT's full interview:

GLT's interview with Monica Hesse.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.