The list keeps growing daily. Men in powerful positions using that power to take advantage of women. The public fire storm started, really, with Bill Cosby – but then the Harvey Weinstein bomb dropped. After he fell from the top, more and more powerful and often revered and respected men started to fall. Learning of Louis C.K. really crushed me because he was one of my personal heroes. The Matt Lauer revelation was especially strange to me, because I had no idea he was such a scum bag. I have The Today Show on the Studio TV every day. At first, the things I saw him doing seemed like they were in good fun. Like this clip:
It’s totally harmless comedy – but once you realize that behind the scenes he’s been making comments like this:
Then, you see things in a totally different light. Oh yeah, like how Katie Couric told Andy Cohen about Matt’s affinity for ass-pinching. (Watch it)
I’ll be honest, I am kind of a flirty guy. Now, I will admit that my flirtations never happened in the work environment. I also have to admit that I’ve never been in any kind of powerful position so there was no way my past flirtations could have been misconstrued as a power play. That being said, I also have not done the things that these guys have done! Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K. all did some pretty disgusting things and asked the ladies to watch them do it. That’s the part of this I don’t get. I just cannot relate to the power play thing.
It is Time to Look Inward
I have heard some guys I know joke a little and say that they need to watch what they say now. But the problem with that statement is that they should have always been aware of their words and actions. Now is no different from last year, except that women are getting fed up and are calling these guys out on their misogyny. For so many years (and even now) victim blaming is a real thing. “She was asking for it, wearing that dress…”, etc. You’ve heard it all before. Hopefully that way of thinking has reached the end of its days. It will not end completely, unfortunately, but hopefully we will see a big change.
I am more mindful about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behavior. While I am in no danger of being inappropriate with anyone at work or otherwise, I will definitely pay more attention. I specifically remember a few times in previous places of employment where the boss or another co-worker was VERY inappropriate with a female in the workplace. The females in all of these cases, on the surface, seemed to go along with it, but I have no idea if they seemed to do that because they were afraid of what would happen if they called it out. In light of what has been going on in the media, I would have to assume that the majority of those women were just playing along because it was the safe thing to do. I also remember when the conversations or comments were harmless or misconstrued to be something else. The event was discussed and things never reached the fever pitch. Nobody was fired or forced to resign and all was well. As long as a respectful conversation can happen, maybe some misunderstandings can be avoided.
On the other hand, I would not be surprised if we started seeing a string of allegations on cruise vessels. We learned all about sexual harassment in the workplace even back in the 1990’s, but there was still a considerable amount of misogyny and inappropriate behavior committed by department heads onboard the ships. I have no names, but I do remember seeing it happen. We can only hope to see a trend and see it spread to every place of business, big and small. There are tons of these cases happening around the country and we don’t hear about it. It’s not Matt Lauer, it is Matt Somebody who is a manager at some store in some small town and he makes lewd comments to his female employees. But they really need their jobs so they won’t say a word. THOSE are the guys who really need to fall. I couldn’t care less if another famous person loses his job. Does he need it to survive? Probably not. But if Matt Somebody loses his job because he’s hurt others, he’ll feel that sting – and he should.
Rule of thumb: treat others with respect. Treat others how you would like to be treated and you should be good. If you can identify with any of the behaviors we have seen on the news – and you have been making excuses for them – seek counseling immediately before you hurt someone.