Where We Go From Here
#86this: Main Menu
BY THE CHERRY BOMBE TEAM
Photo and Cake by Lyndsay Sung
Thank you to everyone who shared their words and artwork for #86This, an online issue dedicated to harassment, gender, and moving forward. It's never easy to talk about sexual harassment and abuse that you have experienced, so we appreciate your contribution and applaud your bravery.
Many of you have asked where we go from here. If you frequent restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and/or bars, read and share Katie Abbondanza’s “What if Customers Had a Code of Conduct.” Unless you’ve worked as a server, barista, or bartender, you might not realize how the constant barrage of touching and comments about one's appearance can wear someone down. If you are a concerned business owner, manager, or employee, read Ovenly CEO Erin Patinkin’s “Real Change, Right Now.” “It is time to create actions that abolish all harassing behaviors and environments,” she wrote.
Or read any of the essays in #86This to get a better sense of what different women go through day after day, in kitchens, in dining rooms, at home, on the street, even behind a cheese counter. Everyone’s story is unique, everyone’s truth her own, but you will also be surprised at the commonalities.
At the end of the day, all we can control is our own behavior. Be respectful, call out harassment when you see it, and stand up for others—if you can. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, from the economic to the emotional, not everyone can speak out. If you can help those without a voice, do so.
Don’t forget you have the power of your pocketbook. Spend your money at female-owned and –run establishments or on female-owned brands. Do you know which businesses in your town or city are female-owned? Do you have a favorite female chef where you live? If not, ask around or do a little online sleuthing and see who is deserving of your hard earned money.
Who’s not deserving? Many of the restaurant groups called out for harassment. Rebranding the parent company and sending the harassers into exile but letting them continue to reap profits is not the answer. They each need to issue moving-forward manifestos and share them on their websites and with the media. They owe it to the public that has spent countless dollars in their establishments; they owe it to the editors and influencers who helped promote them and their properties; and they owe it to every one of their employees who experienced or witnessed any form of abuse or harassment. In addition to hiring more women and getting serious about harassment training and policies, perhaps these groups need to pay a social penalty for what they've done. Should they be endowing culinary school scholarships for women? Donating to Time's Up? Giving money, resources, and volunteer hours to socially-minded food organizations such as Hot Bread Kitchen, Brownsville Community Culinary Center, and CUESA?
On a final note, we appreciate everyone who took the time to discuss #86This with us. Most of the feedback was positive, but a few readers said they are tired of the harassment issue and didn’t want to relive their own trauma, or that of others. Some of you were upset by one essay as you felt the author had excused abuse and harassment in the past. We understand how much anger and pain exists because of sexual abuse and harassment, and we fully respect your feelings and opinions regarding this issue.
To everyone who has been abused or harassed and to everyone doing their part to stamp out this behavior, please know that we are with you. #86This will be an ongoing project.