I’m on social media, specifically Twitter. There are occasions when I see tweets about women being angry with men, in general. It’s historical, as far as I am able to determine: Hoe poorly women were treated in the past, and then today, how much they have to put up with in the workplace as to sexual harassment. I can’t speak for the past, because I didn’t live until the mid-20th century. I can say that presently, yes, there are places where women are still discriminated against. I’ve actually witnessed it. I’ve also witnessed where women, who were in power, harassed men. Yes, I am one of those.
This is not a whataboutism post, I’m not declaring that men are harassed as much as women, Not by far. what I am saying is that if we look, in the workplace, the numbers of sexual harassment filings within any company, we’ll find there is a magnitude more against men than there are against women. Why is that? I know that the two or three times I thought I was inappropriately approached, by a female supervisor, I just put it off to this person being, well, uncomfortable or just clumsy around me. One woman, a Sr. Program Manager at a company I used to work for, once told me, “You’re looking really good today. Now if we could just get you out of those jeans.” Of course, what she meant, was that she’d prefer if I wore slacks to work instead of jeans. But think about that by itself, without context I just provided.
It’s come to the point in corporate America where if a woman looks nice that day, by what’s she’s wearing, that it may lead to a sexual harassment charge. So what do men do? We say “Good morning”, or whatever and that’s about it. Want to mentor a woman that has potential to rise in the company/ Be careful about being alone with her because it’s possible you may make what she considers an inappropriate statement. So women are no complaining that their male supervisors/senior management will not help advance their careers. That’s a shame. I’ve worked with both men and womwn who were top-notch and for anyone to fear that they may be accused of inappropriate behavior, is what holds everyone back.
Why am /i writing about this? Just today, a friend, someone I’ve known for several years and respect immensely, was accused of sexual harassment today. She has been accused of inappropriate touching (placing her hand on a male subordinates shoulder), as well as comments which she of course denies making. It may cause her to be fired and she was, as anyone may take, upset by the charges against her.
I think we’ve gone too far. I’m not saying there aren’t real instances of sexual harassment, which need be dealt with severely by companies, but we also need to take a step back and take a look a policies which today, punish those for what used to be considered as just being friendly.