So in talking about sexual harassment in the workplace, I wanted to talk about the mind sets of women. Women that should know better. Women that accept men talking down to them which in turn, lays a foundation for the acceptance of sexual harassment.
Recently, I had lunch with a woman who was retired from a job as a life-long secretary in New York City. She was an efficient worker, and had worked for professionals in a field for many years. She was good at her job and enjoyed it. She was very pleasant and a knowledgable woman. Except for the idea that women “had their place”.
She told me this story of acquiring her last position. Her new boss was deemed difficult and had acquired many secretaries before her. She was determined to stay with this man, because the money was good and she said, she didn’t think he was all that bad. So I questioned her, “What was considered so bad about him that so many others left after a few weeks? After all, if he couldn’t keep other secretaries, there had to be something about him that was wrong/harassing/too demanding in the workplace…?”
She went on to tell me that he was a boisterous man, and could be rather loud at times, but that didn’t bother her. And then the bomb hit. She said, “Well, you know, he would always call me honey, or dear, or sweetheart. But I didn’t mind. I considered it a name of affection. After all, he was my Boss.” And there you have it. He. Was. My. Boss.
So I asked her, “What if you called him, honey, or dear, or sweetheart?” Her eyes opened up to the size of saucers. She gasped, literally. “Oh my god, no!” she said. “I never could. He was my boss! That was not my place!” I just looked at her with amusement. “But it was his place to call you those terms of endearment? You have a real name.” She was looking at me as if I was the one making a mountain out of a molehill. “What’s the big deal?” she asked. “He didn’t mean anything. That’s what he called the women in the office. They were only secretaries. He was the boss.” There it was again. He. Was. The. Boss. Giving him the right to demoralize anyone beneath him simply because of his title.
“But did he call the men in the office by anything but their real names?” I asked. “Oh no, always their real names.” she replied succintly. End of that question. As if I was ignorant for even asking the question in the first place.
No matter what I said, how I said it or why I tried to explain that it was wrong for this boss to call her and other women “dear, honey or sweetheart” instead of their real names, she just didn’t get it. Nothing I said could penetrate her armor.
When I look at women that support Trump, even though he has treated women demeaningly, has been caught on tape talking about women in lewd and lascivious ways including women that have spoken out about his fondling and kissing them against their wills, I cannot understand their admiration of this man and his lack of morals. A predator is a predator. They do not change their coats. They cannot change.
I find this type of acceptance of men that push women down and negate them fully unacceptable. It only encourages them further. Years ago, I felt that surely by this time, our world would have changed. It has not. And apparently, with women still supporting these types of predators, it is not going to change in the near future. This is a deplorable situation for the young women of tomorrow.
I will say this again. You are your own person. You do not have to submit to a predator’s will. You do not have to be their fantasy. If you do, you are allowing them to continue their fantasy at your own expense. And with that comes the degradation of your own character. Stand up for yourself. Be strong and fight back. Take down predators one by one. We should not allow them in our world. If not for yourself, for your daughters, for your granddaughters. No means No.
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