Turning the Sexual Harassment Corner

One after another, there have been important moments during which a national conversation about sexual harassment prompted political observers to believe that society had turned decisively against a culture of systemic sexual harassment in the workplace and elsewhere. Yet those moments always faded. Is the post-Harvey Weinstein moment different? Only the future will tell.

5 thoughts on “Turning the Sexual Harassment Corner

  1. I do hope we’re turning that corner, so what’s on the other side?

    One of the big problems is how our society views sex – it’s something that a boy takes from a girl. He “becomes a man” while she “loses her virginity” – how the heck can the same act be good for one & bad for the other?

    We need to teach our children differently. Sex is a cooperative venture where everybody wins. Your first time should be a joyful rite of passage no matter whether you’ve got an innie or an outtie. (As usual the Millennials get this better than their forebearers, but we’ve still got a long way to go)

    Obviously, men (boys) have a lot to do. Don’t teach your sons that women are objects to be acquired – rather they are potential equal partners in life. You are naturally bigger and stronger: a Real Man uses that strength for defense, not offense. If your drinking buddy grabs a waitress’ ass – that’s not a laughing matter: punch his fucking head and demand he apologize. If you see a stranger do so, even better – punching his fucking head doesn’t lose a friend. (not that you need a friend like that … but still.)

    Women need to make some changes as well. #MeToo is a great start: shine some light on the darkness and much of it will simply disappear. We need to go further. Today, we teach our daughters to be polite and non-aggressive and considerate of others. These are arguably good traits – but when an ex-president grabs your fanny at a photo shoot, it’s not the time to be nice. HE’S not being nice, call him on it. Shout, “Don’t touch me you bastard,” plant your heel and deliver your best backhand. If the first woman GHWB grabbed had reacted that way she could have saved the others the same embarrassment.

    Standard Disclaimer: GHWB is the guilty party in the above scenario. It’s not *her* fault that he grabbed her – however, his mommy didn’t teach him manners so it falls to the rest of us to do so. Passively accepting his pawing does not achieve that goal, public humiliation works much better.

  2. «I couldn’t think of a figure from Greek mythology akin to Pollyanna.» Neither can I, Iburanen, but had there been such a figure, I can just about imagine what Aristophanes would have made of her….


  3. The overwhelming response that this movement has met here in Sweden leads me to believe, naively perhaps, that at least here, we’ve reached a tipping point and that matters will not return to status quo ante. Den som lever får se !…


    • Why am I suddenly put in mind of Susan Faludi’s 1991 book Backlash? It’s deja vu all over again.
      Like Henri, I too want to believe that perhaps we have reached a tipping point. From the perspective of one’s own quotidian existence, it’s hard to be optimistic, but change can and does happen: sexism still thrives in the patriarchy, but women can vote now and have jobs outside of teaching and nursing; racism and classism also still thrive, but the lives of people of color are arguably better than they were only a few decades ago; being gay no longer garners a life sentence in prison doing hard time.
      But in the non-newsflash of the day, if we give up on the possibility of change, however glacial, then we can be certain there won’t be any at all.
      It’s hard to channel Pollyanna* when Sisyphus keeps hogging the limelight, but as my Greek son-in-law says, slowly slowly….
      *I couldn’t think of a figure from Greek mythology akin to Pollyanna. Any suggestions?

      • @lburanen

        > Any suggestions?

        I don’t think you can get there from here.

        Pandora did give us hope, but only after first releasing all the ills of the world (much like Eve in the Judaeo-Christian-Muslim tradition.) Cassandra wasn’t exactly an optimist. Them dam wimminz wot started the Trojan War weren’t rays of sunshine either.

        How about Gaia? She’s more of a realist than an optimist, she’s the best I got.

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