Up ’til now, I’ve been reluctant to weigh in on #metoo. After all, it’s been a long time since a 50-something employer chased a 20-something me around the office shouting, “who’re you afraid of, me, or yourself?”
I’m now prompted to speak by the overwhelming pervasiveness of the issue and the confusion it is generating in some men.
Every day there’s a new outrage, with charges of inappropriate behavior hurled at seemingly inoffensive men. (Garrison Keillor, for God’s sake!)
Then there’s the recent online survey, which reveals that 51% of women say they’ve been subjected to inappropriate touching and 77% say they’ve been subjected to verbal sexual harassment.
Needless to say, the unremitting media coverage has prompted a lot of regular guys, who’d never think of exposing their genitals or groping a woman, to question their own behavior. Good. We need their help.
So, today’s blog is directed to all those nice guys who want to know what they can do differently to make the world safer for their wives, sisters, daughters, etc. Here are four steps they can take.
- Express distaste at offensive jokes (or comments) that define women by their breast size or other anatomical features.
- When a woman has been assaulted or harassed, don’t ask what she was wearing.
- Call out men who behave badly, or fire them if you’re in a position to do so.
- Encourage your daughters to fight back and support women who do.
In other words, stop sanctioning predators and predatory behavior. A culture that allows harassers to get away with harassment is a breeding ground for abusers and abuse.
Pass the message on to the good guys in your life. I promise to be funny again next week.