Is it just me, or are people getting worse?
I worked at a job once upon a time – decades before #MeToo – where the boss took a lot of indecent liberties, verbally if not physically, with the women at work. This was in the 1980s.
And he wound up as the subject of seven sexual harassment lawsuits, and lost his job after about a year.
Again – 1988.
And as I’ve slogged through three decades in the working world since then, I’ve listened to a lot of pundits bemoaning that there just aren’t enough female managers, and enough respect for women. I’ve also worked for a lot of women; my first field after radio, technical writing, was pretty much dominated by women. My current field, perhaps less so.
I’ve also heard few stories from women about predatory bosses and coworkers. A few, to be sure – I’ve had a few good female friends who’ve related some shocking stories of coworkers and sexual predation on at least a rhetorical level…
…all pretty much followed up by a visit to HR, and some sort of consequence for the guy, commensurate with the severity of the indiscretion.
Let me sum up; over thirty years in the workforce, and a generalized knowledge that there are consequences, at least in the civilized world (forget about ad agencies and showbiz) for guys acting like neanderthals.
And so since then, as I have watched the #MeToo “movement” make sexual harassment a part of the “national conversation” yet again (that’s right, kids – it’s not the first time), and read stories like this…”
All woman live on a spectrum of misery because, we can only assume, we are women. I have endured attempted rape, and sexual assault on public transport. I have been fired from jobs for not being demure or flirtatious enough (because only two female archetypes are acceptable, and both have terrible pitfalls.) On my first day of work at a famous newspaper, a famous male journalist invited me to place a cigar in a place from which no words come. I giggled, and that giggle – it was a tragic giggle – tells you everything.via, ironically, “Unherd“
I’ve had to wonder – am I (or, really, the decades of female friends I’ve had in the work force) been unshakeable pollyannas? Have I managed, at random, to steer a course through the working world without encountering my share of predatory guys? Have I – who spent most of the past 20 years neck-deep in raising kids – just been too buried to notice?
Or is it the industries that’ve spawned “#MeToo” – the “elite” reaches of showbiz, the media, academia and politics, where power is one of the perks (for men and women), and the sense of entitlement that comes with the career for people who’ve never really known anything else?
Or is it the current generation, the millennials who as adults collect grievances and diagnoses the way they used to collect Pokemon cards? And for whom, like the raft of fake hate-crime hoaxers that’ve plagued our campuses, the perception of grievance is the same as an offense?
It’s not a rhetorical question.