Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sexual Harassment Isn't a Hollywood Thing or a Political Thing - It's an Every Day, Everywhere Thing

Matt Lauer, eh? Another one bites the dust. I'm sure there will be more famous guys added to this growing list in the next month... the next year.

But honestly, there's so much focus on "men in power" when the reality is that MOST women have been on the receiving end of this stuff. This is not a political thing or a Hollywood thing or a power thing. This is something that has been an entrenched and accepted part of our society forever and if you (speaking to the fellas here) haven't seen it, that means you haven't been looking for it or you have blatantly ignored it.

To those of us who have lived on the receiving end of it, this kind of thing isn't news, it's just the everyday consequence of being female.

It's bullshit and a rude awakening when it starts happening to you but if all goes well you learn not to internalize it and you do your best to advance in life knowing it's an uphill battle. I was 14 the first time a guy ever followed me, like really got creepy, followed me for blocks not at a distance but close enough to reach out and grab my hand. I was LIVID and told an adult. The response? That it was something I was going to have to learn to deal with.

I was like 10 the first time some gross adult man made comments, like sexual comments, about my body in a bathing suit when I was outside playing in the sprinkler with a friend. You get kind of used to the idea that going to a club or riding packed public transportation may mean some rando guy grinding his boner into your backside. You watch your drink like a hawk, you walk chin up through the catcalls, and you grin through the locker room talk so you don't get branded as not a team player at work.

That is life as a woman and frankly, I am so done with the wide-eyed surprise of men who are like, "Oh my gosh! I didn't realize!" It was all around you, dude. You just didn't want to see.

 Look, I have a daughter. And I've actually really been dreading the talk... Not that talk. I mean the "Most men will look at you and feel they have some RIGHT to your body and sometimes they won't hide the fact that they feel that way" talk. The "They will follow you and try to touch you and say disgusting things to you and then call you a bitch if you don't laugh" talk. The "Here's how to defend yourself against a rapist" talk.

And then having to tell her what that adult told me way back when. It's just a part of being a woman. Sorry.

But really, how horrible is that? Can't we do better for our daughters?

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