It seems that every day we are hearing of another famous person (man) being fired and/or accused of inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Men disrespecting women in the workplace and other areas of life has been happening since the beginning of time, and happens worldwide. Different countries and cultures have placed women in submissive roles for a very long time. Thank goodness the tide is turning, and women are finally beginning to have the support to stand up for themselves, and hold these slime ball men accountable for their actions! But we need to be careful, and make sure to look at each case individually. This is where things could get cloudy and confusing.
I’m so proud of these women who are able to gather the strength for this battle. I have been harassed in the work place and other places. Like these victims, I was afraid to stand up. I felt embarrassment, shame, and guilt. Was it something I invited? I’ve also had co-workers who have acknowledged a nice outfit I’m wearing, or have given me a compliment that I look nice. I have taken it as just that. A compliment…..and who doesn’t need a compliment every now and then? Being able to tell the difference is key, but where do we draw that line? How do we keep the violators from using that as a defense? I realize that sexual assault and comments made about anatomy are different than compliments, but some may not as we face this new era of empowerment. I’ve complimented the appearance of my colleagues. I work with a friend who has GREAT legs, and looks fantastic in a dress. I compliment her every time she’s in a dress, because I would love to have her killer legs! I know she takes it as a compliment, but it would be inappropriate for a man to say the same things I have said. I know she won’t accuse me of sexual harassment. She knows that isn’t my intent, and she is level headed enough to know the difference. Not everyone would get that.
My daughter worked in an environment with a lot of homosexual men for a few years. A few of them made inappropriate sexual jokes and innuendos made in her presence that made her uncomfortable. These things weren’t directed at her, but sex talk in the work place is inappropriate. She was very upset a few times about how they laughed at her when it was brought to the attention of management. After all, she couldn’t claim they were hitting on her, but she was uncomfortable. I’m sure she would have had a legal case against them, but didn’t want to lose her job, which is exactly what would have happened. With all of the awareness and training about sexual harassment in the workplace, they should have known better, even if they weren’t hitting on her.
I live in the South, where calling someone, “Honey,” “Sweetheart,” or “Baby,” isn’t meant in a condescending way. These are terms of endearment. They let someone know that they care about you. Said in another part of the country, however, it could be taken in a completely different way.
I despise what these men have done, and how they have used their power to humiliate and abuse their victims. My heart aches for the victims, who have had had to endure years of pain and suffering, sometimes sacrificing their careers or personal happiness because of these arrogant birdbrains. However, I’m also afraid that a few women are going to take it too far, and try to ruin someone over something innocent. This is the cloudy area I referred to earlier.
We are on a new horizon with all of this. We don’t really know what to expect, except change. This is GOOD! However, with change, we need to have guidelines, and use good judgement on all sides. We all need to mind ourselves and speak and act carefully. What is funny and acceptable to some may not be funny and acceptable to all. It comes back to that word I’ve written about quite often……respect. Respect and understanding for all should always be taken into consideration. Then……..we may just make it through this.