Thursday, 11 August 2016

Raging epidemic

It's the elephant in the room. It goes on all the time - in homes, on the street, in workplaces, at public events. It's a raging epidemic nobody is able to control. Yet ordinary folk like you and me seldom discuss it.

Physical, verbal and emotional harassment of women. Going on everywhere you look, sometimes stealthily, sometimes quite blatantly. Every day of the week.

Men don't want to discuss it because they'd rather pretend it doesn't exist. Or they don't want to admit they're guilty of it. Or they keep silent out of male solidarity.

Women don't want to discuss it because they've already discussed it to death. Or because so many men trivialise it and excuse it that complaining is pointless. Or because it's too degrading and humiliating to talk about.

It's not going to stop until society as a whole takes it seriously. Until there's a zero tolerance attitude. Until all the men in positions of responsibility veto such behaviour from their employees instead of turning a blind eye or condoning it. Or doing it themselves.

It's not going to stop until it's treated as the disgusting, perverted, dehumanising activity that it is. Until it's seen as a sickness, an addiction, a mental disorder. Until those concerned are ostracised and condemned.

It's not going to stop as long as men see it as harmless banter, as a joke, as normal male behaviour, as something that impresses other men, as something women are gagging for really, or as something women have invited.

I hate misogyny of any kind. Men who indulge in it sicken me. I don't want anything to do with them. They need to wake up, smell the coffee, and treat women with the respect and courtesy all human beings have a right to.

28 comments:

Wisewebwoman said...

Good to see a man posting about this Nick. I can't count the number of times. I'd venture 100s and 100s. No matter where the place, the time, the occasion, most women walk in fear. I remember so many incidents on the job, male crotches just about stuck in my face, laughter when I asked men to move away, usually I moved away. And your job on the line for not laughing it off or "get" the joke.

Lately I'm finding drag queens really offensive as a man I care about performed in such a show. Women portrayed as one dimensional jokes, highly sexualized and grotesque in portrayal. I posted my despair at a feminist site and was heartened to see it termed as another form of harassment. Women as caricatures. Strictly sexual. One doesn't see drag queens birthing or slaving for a minimum wage, etc.

XO
WWW

Hattie said...

Where it really gets women is when they are not in an economic position to deal with the harassment. Otherwise, you can just move on and say, well, so and so is a jerk. And I agree about treating women as a big joke.

Judy Harper said...

Unfortunately, women are sometimes part of the problem. I have sat and listened to flirting and innuendos between a woman and a man. She thinks he's so cute, yet a guy she doesn't like will say the same thing, after seeing the interaction, she wants to turn him in for harassment. In a workplace, to me, it's got to be all or nothing. I don't feel you can pick and choose who you take sexual innuendos from.

Nick said...

www: I'm of two minds about drag queens. From one viewpoint, they're just exaggerating and sending up the whole female stereotype. On the other hand, as you say, they can be seen as mocking women from a privileged male position. Kind of depends on what message the particular drag queen is putting across, I guess.

Hattie: Very true. Many many women are in a situation where they're forced to go along with this crap or risk all sorts of negative consequences.

John Gray said...

I think some of what you say is right
And that should be stamped out BIG STYLE
But 80% is bollocks .....lets get real
Stilly
behaviour is always a part of the work place we all should jump on it

Nick said...

Judy: True, women are sometimes complicit in the harassment, which makes it harder to stop. And yes, in a public situation sexual innuendos should be unacceptable whatever the circumstances.

John: How do you mean, 80% is bollocks? Are you saying 80% of complaints are invented and just the work of trouble-makers? It seems to me the vast majority of complaints are genuine and cause serious emotional distress.

helen devries said...

Harassment in the workplace used to be one of the things I dealt with...
I had hoped that attitudes had changed,but it seems from what you say that they have not.
Most of it the the abuse of power; knowing that the woman needed to keep the job.
It was a pleasure to tear down the facade of injured innocence of the men concerned. They knew exactly what they were doing.

CheerfulMonk said...

I was lucky that it wasn't very common where I worked, because the managers took the matter seriously.

Dave Martin said...

Genuine harassment is of course completely unacceptable - just don't forget there will always be some women who use their looks and sexuality to manipulate men to their advantage, and in a way this is also harassment.

Nick said...

Helen: The abuse of power is indeed at the root of it. And also I think the fear of losing power, as women become more confident and take over jobs from men. And yes, the phoney displays of injured innocence are pathetic to watch.

Jean: Me too, I've always worked in places where women are treated as equals and not as hot totty.

Nick said...

Dave: I agree there are some women who deliberately exploit their "femininity" to manipulate men, but I think they're far outnumbered by those men who see women as fair game to be preyed on relentlessly.

kylie said...

Please don't let's talk about complicit women! Even if it's true it feels a lot like victim blaming.

I have to admit that I have been harassed so rarely that I have no understanding of the fact that some women are harassed on a daily basis.

the most galling was when I was in a meeting at work, a male colleague openly mocked me and my female boss agreed with him. So many levels of wrong there.

Bijoux said...

I thought this was going to be a post about heroin.

Nick said...

Kylie: Victim-blaming is abhorrent, and the blame should always be pinned firmly on the perpetrator. I would say that even if there's an element of cooperation by the victim, she's still a victim because it's the man's responsibility not to take advantage but keep himself to himself.

Bijoux: I gather heroin is also a raging epidemic, though I have no first hand knowledge of it. I once had a friend who took heroin regularly and insisted it wasn't addictive.

mia more said...

I think some women play a double game. I notice this every day in my job. They love to get compliments and then feel offended when it turns into a less polite manner. I work half time and when I started my job , I put the limit immediately telling my boss that I'm in this place for my professional skills and not to hear any sort of remarks concerning my look etc He swallowed twice but it works. I only had one time a remark from a collegue who wondered what I must be able to do with my long legs. I replied that many guys speaking all the time about sexual issues, have often problems in their pants. He blushed and avoids me whenever he can. And one other thing as long as advertising need nearly naked woman in suggesting positions to sell a car or Washington powder we still have a long way to go.
Mia More

mia more said...

Washing powder sorry

Nick said...

Mia: Brilliant! I admire your forthright, no-nonsense attitude to unwanted remarks. I bet your boss doesn't get spoken to like that very often! I'm sure you're right about a link between constant sex talk and hidden sexual problems. And I agree, the constant media and advertising emphasis on scantily-clad nymphettes in suggestive poses just puts the wrong ideas into male heads.

Washington powder conjures up some interesting images!

Rummuser said...

I am with you one hundred percent on this one Nick.

mia more said...

Haha yes à very special powder.

Nick said...

Ramana: It's really about time men grew up and realised women are not in this world solely for their sexual gratification.

Mia: Just add water and *poof* an instant replica of the White House.

tammy j said...

there was a guy in our office who made very insinuating comments...
never touched anyone but he was extremely uncomfortable to be around.
when someone said something about him someone else remarked ...
"well. boys will be boys."
the boy in question was in his FIFTIES.
now there are courses of action one could take.
although... you still had to work with him. sometimes it just wasn't worth it. especially if he was your superior.

Nick said...

Tammy: That's almost as bad as actual harassment, isn't it - just constantly feeling uncomfortable and wondering what might come next. I hate that "boys will be boys" excuse. Firstly, they're not boys, they're grown men, and secondly, boys can choose to be civilised human beings and not some barbaric stereotype.

Maria said...

The whistling from a crowd of men at a girl passing in the street is also harassment. Terribly embarrassing!
Greetings Maria x

Nick said...

Maria: Absolutely. Did you ever see that video of a woman walking around New York and getting non-stop verbal harassment from the men she passed? Not just embarrassing but infuriating, I would think.

Ms Scarlet said...

I have been harassed. One I reported to the police, and he was arrested etc. [I wasn't the only woman complaining].... actually now I'm thinking about it I have quite a long list of events.... usually involving trains or lifts and where a woman finds herself alone. The lift was possibly the worst.... mainly because I have a hunch that he probably went on in life to force himself on other women.... he had such a respectable persona - suited and booted etc. BUT, thankfully I don't have to deal with harassment everyday.
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet: Oh, the respectable persona, how misleading that is! The number of "respectable" besuited gents who feel up any available woman shamelessly. And very likely are mistreating their own wives in the privacy of their suburban semis.

Secret Agent Woman said...

It's everywhere and endless. And I agree about the idea that as long as women's bodies are used to sell things, it isn't going to get better.

Nick said...

Agent: Very true that using women's bodies in advertising doesn't help. It only encourages the idea that other women's bodies are there to be ogled at and treated as merchandise.