Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sexual Harassment Is Fun, Part II.

[I originally posted this as a response to Jen's comment, but I'm giving it its own space, and adding to. So there.]

In the news: A teacher in Italy is claiming she was fired from teaching religion because she dressed too sexy.

The whole thing is an extraordinarily delicate balance. Go too far in one direction and be labeled a bitch. Go the other way and you're a flirt, a "girl," someone not to be taken seriously.

One solution is to go form all-women companies. Over dinner one night, my girlfiriends and I formed a fake company. Our two favorite names for it: Stiletto and The Box. Yes. But then we open a new can of worms:

1) Cycles start to line up and that's not good for anyone (sorry, I know that's probably an anti-feminist comment, but it's true);
2) While women can be fiercely loyal to one another, we can also be just as fiercely competitive. And that gets ugly.
3) Male clients could be easy to get (hot girls & heels [Stiletto] = male clients), but hard to keep (for so many reasons, and you know them);
4) Female clients could be, simply, hard to get (see above re competitive). So. Where does that leave us?

I don't have the answer.

Perhaps if I could figure out what makes men go deaf to a female's voice when she's the only person in the room without a Y chromosome, I could begin to chip away at the sexual harassment problem. That phenomenon I don't begin to understand, no matter how many countless times I witness it. And "witness" is definitely the appropriate word, because when no one hears a word you say, you can talk all you want -- you're still relegated to observer.


Blogger Tai said...

You label this a "delicate balance" that exists primarily for women and I think you're right. Your solution, however, suggests that it is the action and responsibility of women to change. I think I disagree. While there are certainly things that women can do to avoid being a victim, I think that a very substantial part of the problem would be solved if we taught men how to behave properly around women. Just because a woman is "showing some skin" does not make her a sexual object. And it doesn't mean that she is inviting our off color suggestions.
As I write this, I'm wondering if this entire discussion has to do with the shame we have been told to feel about our bodies. I need to give it a think.

9:54 AM  
Blogger pamela said...

You're absolutely right that things won't change until men change. And, obviously, I don't mean all men, but those who act inappropriately. However, I don't see that happening, nor do I see a way that it would. So then the onus of change lies with women simply because it must.

I think we've definitely taken a lot of steps in the right direction in recent years, yet that may be why sexual harassment (in my opinion) has become less overt and, therefore, less easy to call out. Know what I mean? So now you'll hear, "Don't be offended but..." or something to that effect. But usually (regardless of the situation) if you have to start a sentence with "Don't be offended," you can bet money you're about to offend someone.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Tai said...

other phrases to watch out for:
"my best friend is (insert any race,class, or gender"

1:19 PM  
Blogger pamela said...

Absolutely. And, "I'm married, so..." I can say whatever I want and you aren't allowed to think it means something else...

5:17 PM  

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