I am Re-upping this blog post in wake of the calls for Senator Al Franken to resign today, December 6, 2017:
It doesn’t pay to have political heroes, I’ve decided.
At least not the living kind. And definitely not one who is a male of the species. But then again, there are women who do seemingly use their sexuality to get what they want from some men with political power (Louise Linton, opera gloves, leather skirt, hands all over the money, cough cough). They aren’t my heroes, either.
My heart dropped when I heard the news about Senator Al Franken (D-MN) today. I have read his book, “Giant of the Senate,” and was delighted with his combination of whip smart humor and razor sharp intelligence boxed up in what seemed like a Mid-western morality. He has been my hero during the Senate Judiciary hearings, asking pointed, direct and pertinent questions about the Russian interference in the 2016 election and what role may have been played by the Trump campaign.
Now I find out he’s just another guy hyped up on testosterone.
Yes, his apology was more sincerely stated than others currently standing in his shoes. (What’s that, Roy Moore? Thou shalt not apologize is the 11th Commandment? Does that mean it doesn’t count?)
But wouldn’t it be refreshing if men quit apologizing for sexually harassing women because they simply – quit.
Here’s a hint – if what you are doing while women are present is at all work related, don’t go there. Laugh at Mother Pence all you like – he is at least a man who knows what his temptations may be and uses his wife’s presence to shield him from either directly or indirectly giving the impression he has hands and eyes for anyone but her.
But then again, all you have to do is look at the way Barack and Michelle Obama look at one another, and you know how deep their love is. Besides, she would hit him in the head with a frying pan if he messed around, and he knows it. Love you girl. You are fierce.
Yes, our political class is a disappointment, for a lot of reasons. But then, they always have been. It is just the American way to sanitize and glorify our Founding Fathers and Honest Abe, Teddy R, FDR, JFK and Bobby. Yes, GOP, Ronnie too.
We all know Thomas Jefferson had children with Sally Hemings and was not always a gentle owner of slaves. But, he did give us the Declaration of Independence and was a truly brilliant man. So we pretend the first part never happened and never bother to fully read the second beyond knowing it guarantees our right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Or you at least had that guarantee if at the time it was written you were a white, male property owner, preferably with ancestry that could be traced to the Mayflower.
Still, maybe Jefferson should have put a footnote in the Declaration for the guys in Congress and elsewhere on just what “happiness” entails.
It is not getting what you want, when you want it, on demand or by force.
Second hint to you guys out there: “‘No’ is a complete sentence.” There is no equivocation, qualification or amplification needed. It’s just “no.”
But don’t worry. For every guy with a little bit of cash, there is a version of Louise Linton for you too. You just might have to hear “no” for a while until you find her. And no matter what they told you in junior high gym class, you won’t die from your, er, you know – unless you took Viagra beforehand and it is now four hours later. Then, get thee to an emergency room.
I know this is sounding very tongue in cheek, irreverent and maybe a little bit mean (sorry, Louise Linton – but you make yourself such an easy target).
But none of it is funny. None of it is laughable. In fact, it’s hard not to cry over it and let go with my flood of #MeToo tales. We women all have them.
And that’s what’s truly wrong in our society. That there isn’t a woman out there who hasn’t been through this at some point in her life. Probably even Louise Linton.
For some, it comes at far too young an age. For others, it goes beyond sexual taunts and suggestions and turns into improper physical contact, physical violence, rape and even homicide.
It’s not that enough men aren’t sympathetic to the problem. They are. Even some of the ones who are part of the problem, like Al Franken.
He is willing to be accountable. That’s a step in the right direction.
But we won’t have solved the problem until a woman can go to work to earn her paycheck without fear or prejudice based on the fact that she is – a woman.
The Good Old Boys Club needs a 12th Commandment. Simply put – Thou shalt not…
What Is Sexual Harassment
Any of the following unwanted behavior may constitute sexual harassment:
- wolf whistles
- discussion of one’s partner’s sexual inadequacies
- sexual innuendo
- comments about women’s bodies
- ‘accidentally’ brushing sexual parts of the body
- lewd & threatening letters
- tales of sexual exploitation
- graphic descriptions of pornography
- pressure for dates
- sexually explicit gestures
- unwelcome touching and hugging
- sexual sneak attacks, (e.g., grabbing breasts or buttocks )
- sabotaging women’s work
- sexist and insulting graffiti
- demanding, “Hey, baby, give me a smile”
- inappropriate invitations (e.g., hot tub)
- sexist jokes and cartoons
- hostile put-downs of women
- exaggerated, mocking ‘courtesy’
- public humiliation
- obscene phone calls
- displaying pornography in the workplace
- insisting that workers wear revealing clothes
- inappropriate gifts (ex. lingerie)
- hooting, sucking, lip-smacking, & animal noises
- pressing or rubbing up against the victim
- sexual assault
- soliciting sexual services
- leaning over , invading a person’s space
- indecent exposure
Compiled by Martha Langelan in Back Off! How To Confront And Stop Sexual Harassment and Harassers
From “The Feminist Majority” Web Site