After watching CBS This Morning featuring TV reporter and photojournalist Ann Curry, I could not hold my tongue any longer. When speaking about the recent scandals at CBS that led to the dismissal of Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer, she conveyed a clear awareness of behaviors, yet weighed her words very carefully to not cause colleagues more pain. Then said without missing a beat: “I do not know one single woman that has not experienced some form of sexual harassment.” Wow. Not me.
If you are thinking that I have not worked in a male dominated environment, not true. When I was in my late twenties I worked for Kendall, a division of Colgate-Palmonive, in a medical sales position where my boss was a man. As it often is in sales, we would have days together ‘on the road’ and there were regular sales meetings – with plenty of male senior managers – at hotels and even resorts. No problems to report.
Was I not attractive enough? Was I just lucky? Or did I clearly convey a ‘don’t fuck with me’ attitude? Not even sure I know, but I do know one thing: there are usually two sides to every story.
There are blatant, inexcusable, criminal cases of sexual harassment with the likes of Harvey Weinsteins…YET – with all these #metoo stories I can’t help but wonder how and why some women react the way they do in certain situations. How some women choose to go along with certain situations because of what they hope to gain. Money. A promotion. A leading role in a movie. Or how others allow themselves to be victims by putting themselves in OBVIOUS inappropriate circumstances, such as going to a man’s hotel room when you have no interest in sleeping with him. Sorry, the answer is no. I am not victim shaming here, I am saying that if you are a grown woman, use your brain, use common sense, and be proactive to protect yourself. Don’t be naive. Always be aware. Uphold your standards.
Another statement made by Ann Curry is that women in society have not been valued. I have to laugh. Certainly we have had societal stereotypes over the years with more men in the workplace, but there are PLENTY of highly successful women in the business world and beyond. Speaking for myself, I have always felt highly valued, for who I am and what I do.
How about you?
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Candy, I agree with you. I’ve been a lawyer in a large firm for more than 25 years, where women have always been far outnumbered by men, and have not encountered anything close to what I would define as “harassment.” However, this term is not defined and to some, an offhand remark in the hallway is what they perceive as harassment. Workplaces have a lot of different dynamics and colleagues and bosses can be harsh, insensitive and sometimes downright mean, but to me harassment has to be a pattern of clearly sexist behavior directed only against women or one really shocking incident that *everyone* agrees is intolerable. I question whether all women have experienced that kind of harassment.
Candy, this is very well articulated. I have 2 adult daughters and a daughter in law. I have 6 granddaughters. All are beautiful and smart. Worthy of every professional opportunity they may pursue. While I too would never blame a victim we do have a responsibility to put ourselves in safe situations.
Assaults against women both socially and professionally ought to be dealt with at the time. My concern with all of the news breaking all too late and after the fact could actually take us back as women in the work place. I’m afraid women will lose their opportunities because they are women.
I very rarely take the time to comment on your blog because I always enjoy and find you fun! This is a serious matter and we should always be making good decisions.
Thank you. Honestly, I was a bit wary of expressing myself for fear of many women seeing me as ‘victim shaming’. Also interesting is that I feel GINGER influenced me greatly in this regard – to be strong, to be aware, to be confident – and not to be naive when it comes to ANY man and sexuality.
I very much appreciate your post.#Not Me. I have been in the health field for 37 years. I have never had harrasment in all those years working with Male employers or co workers. I value myself and others. My parents raised me with a work ethic and the importance of not putting myself in vulnerable situations.
Thank you so much for this post. I really benefit from your blog especially the GOYA!
PS. I’m turning 60 in July, Wishing you a strong and sexy 60
Thank you Shelley! And thank you for taking the time to comment.
I do think some women have experienced sexual harassment and even rape that they’ve done NOTHING to bring on themselves. However, I agree that we ALL, men AND women have a responsibility to be a grown-up. This is NOT “putting it ALL on the woman” – as I’ve been accused of saying. There is a generation gap about this and it’s HUGE. Why that is, I don’t know. I agree with Joanne, especially “Assaults against women both socially and professionally ought to be dealt with at the time.” I understand that years ago, it was more likely a woman would not be believed, and even in recent years it’s not guaranteed she won’t draw a nutcase judge if her complaint goes to trial. But, that’s a chance everyone takes. Going forward, I hope women will start taking responsibility for their own safety. Though, I suspect the men who do bad things are very skilled at picking out the woman who are more likely to put up with it. And, Please, stop calling mild sexist comments “harassment”.
Or worse, “assault”.
Yes, I so agree with you on not calling mild sexist comments “harassment/assault”. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
I couldn’t disagree with you more. I think you should consider yourself one of the lucky few. If Ruth Bader Ginsberg is stepping forward to tell her story, then your argument about victims/targets being young and dumb entirely misses the mark. You should stick to clothes and save the social commentary for your narrow circle of #notme friends. Enjoy patting yourselves on the back for being smarter than everyone else – including a Supreme Court Justice.
I completely recognize that true sexual harassment is a serious crime. Just as all men are not sexual predators, all women are not innocent victims. What concerns me is defining the crime and the choices some women make when faced with precarious circumstances. Ms Ginsberg’s story actually fuels my position – she made a statement similar to Ann Curry: “Every woman of my vintage knows what sexual harassment is…” Every woman??? Insinuating that all have experienced some form of sexual harassment? Really, I find that very difficult to believe. If it so happens to be true, perhaps these #metoo women could learn something from my “narrow circle” of #notme friends.
But, please notice: RBG DIDN’T put up with it! She didn’t worry, or think she had to be nice because he was in a position to control her grade. While some of the women here say they never had any experience with harassment, I think most of us have, in some form or another. But, all adults, men OR women, are responsible for taking care of themselves. That means, leave if you have to.
“Former Reader,” No need to be rude and intolerant of another person’s point of view. Your comment, “stick to clothes” is rude and condescending, not warranted given Candy’s sincere interest in expressing her experience.
“Another statement made by Ann Curry is that women in society have not been valued. I have to laugh. Certainly we have had societal stereotypes over the years with more men in the workplace, but there are PLENTY of highly successful women in the business world and beyond.”–While we should acknowledge how far women have come over the decades of slow, painful, plodding progress we should be ware not to become complacent. Just because we have a place on the podium does not mean we should get too comfortable there. I am a young person working in healthcare. I’ve had my share of “things that are not rape but certainly not OK”. I wear scrubs most of the time and fashionable sweaters, button-downs. It’s been a mixed bag. While I am so glad that you’ve had this experience ” As it often is in sales, we would have days together ‘on the road’ and there were regular sales meetings – with plenty of male senior managers – at hotels and even resorts. No problems to report.” I am a little sad to see there was no mention of empathy here for people who haven’t had such an easy go of it. There’s a big difference between a passing asinine comment that isn’t work-place appropriate and being cornered in your boss’ office. I get it. But there should be some empathy for people who fall in a gray area and come out with stating their discomfort with whatever happened to them.
Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment. In terms of not being complacent about women’s progress, while I hear your point, my preference is to be grateful for the countless opportunities today, and personally accountable for what I can or cannot accomplish. Regarding lack of empathy, you are right, I was not being empathetic, and for many women and the awful situations they have faced, I should be. Suppose I came across that way in my desire to show a difference of opinion and another perspective.
Thanks again for commenting, and by the way, I’m a nurse too.