At the risk of beating a comatose horse, let it just be said that I for one am getting kind of tired of the whole sexual harassment fiasco. The #metoo movement (which I joined several weeks ago) is already getting old for me.
Let’s get this straight: Women have been sexually harassed ever since they stepped across the doorstep of any office building, any business, any establishment, any job. It used to be expected for men to flirt with waitresses, for instance. And the waitresses had to go along with it, it was their job, it was understood, unless they were mavericks.
So now, is “oh, you look nice today!” a term of sexual harassment, for any sex? If so, women need to step up at this point. They need to draw a line, to say when they are uncomfortable, to say, “let’s rephrase that.”
Yes, “Let’s rephrase that.”
The bottom line for me, what I want to know as a citizen of this country with sexual allegations flying like a throng of bats at dawn, is this: Where are the allegations against Donald Trump? And where is his voice on this? He has had harassment lawsuits brought against him since he’s been in office, but as is the usual policy, those things are put on hold until he is no longer Commander in Chief. Eventually those suits will get settled and paid out of court with zip-locked lips.
The sexual harassment landscape that we are all now traipsing through has been around since — time immemorial. What we need now is a reckoning — not a continual stream of “this guy” and “that guy” who did wrong, but the women who went along with it, too.
We are at a tipping point. I once — like the women who faced Louis C.K., Matt Lauer, and my former boss, who shoved his tongue down my throat after shoving me up against a car and putting his hand up beneath my dress into my crotch — tried to ameliorate the situation. You might think: “Why would she bend over a chair in Matt Lauer’s office if she didn’t ‘want’ to do it?” Or I even asked myself, later, “Why did I try to make him feel better after assaulting me?” I was just trying to get outta there, keep the status quo, “no harm no foul.” He was my boss.
The answer is simple: It’s all about who has the power. I probably would have bent over, too, had it been Matt Lauer, and I was a junior 20-something producer. If I’d been working for Charlie Rose and was waiting for instructions for the next day, and he walked out naked from the bathroom right in front of me, I probably would have pretended that that was normal. I have actually been in situations where men have asked me if they could take out their penis and ejaculate in front of me (my current boyfriend cannot imagine this possible; he said “who would DO that?”) and once I said, “Okay” to one of them, and just braced for uncomfortable impact. In answer to my boyfriend’s question, I said, “that’s what those guys DO.”
What men — including Trump — and a lot of women like me have not gotten so far is to realize, finally, that No, it’s not OK. Women as well as men have to step up and say it’s not OK.
Tom Hanks did an interview with PBS regarding the Harvey Weinstein scandal in which he said, “There’s always been sexual politics.”
Ever since I saw that I’ve been rattling around in my brain wondering, “what ARE sexual politics?” There is “sexual,” uh-huh, and there are “politics,” uh-huh. But I can’t reconcile the two. Is it flirting in the office? Is it putting the boss’s power over the inferior (woman)? Everyone remembers the cute, flirty secretary to the boss who gets what she wants (or away) by flipping her skirt or hair and making a pert bon mot in response to some uncomely comment.
What women, and Trump, have to do is come out publically and verbally against this. Finally, we are at a point where we are allegedly all equal in the workplace. Let’s just forget about the glass ceiling — an aged metaphor. All women, and men and women who are rearing girls, need to step up to the plate (probably softball, in our cases) and say, when the man says, “Nice skirt!” you don’t say, exactly, “go f* yourself,” but “yeah, you, too, nice haircut! Keep it to yourself.”
Trump should be the first to say all people are equal in every way, and that sexual harassment is a real thing and should not be tolerated.
Don’t hold your breath.