I was reading an article today. OK, I read the title for an article today. Apparently a cop is claiming the city’s mayor wanted to have sex with her. She is suing.
I was thinking about this and trying to remember all the information I had learned over the years about sexual harassment. I tried to recall information I had just gone over recently at work; one of those “sit at the computer and watch videos about harassment and try not to laugh at the acting” things. It didn’t take me long to come to a startling revelation: we are yet again punishing people for being human.
When I was little, I really had no idea what “harassment” was. Because it had the “ass” sound in it I just assumed it was bad. It wasn’t until I was 14 and working at a Boy Scout camp that I became more aware of what harassment really was. We had a talk, at a staff meeting in the beginning of the summer, about harassment: what it was, what it looked like, and what it did to people (especially kids). Basically, this is what I got out of it.
Harassment had two parts: 1) harassment is picking on someone constantly when they wanted you to stop. 2) harassment is putting someone on the spot, asking them to do something (like participate in a lunch-time skit of some sort) which may be embarrassing.
That second one seems to be a little odd, to me. Camp is supposed to be a safe place where kids can be put in (minor) embarrassing situations such as skits, games, plays, and sing-alongs. It’s not to make fun of people, it’s to loosen them up, get them moving, and help them have fun and get to know each other. Sadly, this had to be carefully monitored (more than usual – there is a usual amount of monitoring these things, such as making sure staff member do not pick a kid known to dislike such situations).
No matter what harassment really is, it is bad. Add “sexual” in front of it and you have something horribly, disgustingly perverse… right?
Let’s say I saw a girl out at the bar. She’s hot, so I go over and let her know. Her and her friends laugh and walk away. No harm done (except to my fragile ego). Now, let’s go to work the next day. There’s this hot chick at work you wouldn’t mind taking out for dinner. So, you mildly comment on her looks to let her know you’re interested. She smiles and walks away. You get the idea she might be into you. Now, you just have to pick a time and place to ask her out; you don’t want things to get too weird when- I mean if she says no.
The next day you’re called into the bosses office. You are being fired for committing sexual harassment. What!?!
That’s right. Hot chick turned you in for being more nice and tame than you are in the local bar. You didn’t say, “nice ass!” You didn’t ask her to wear tighter clothes to work, or attempt to take her in the copy room. All you did was say how nice she looks and talked about seeing a movie soon, hoping she would invite herself. You meant no harm and had very innocent intentions (for a guy). However, she is claiming you were trying to get her to sleep with you. Sorry, hot girl. You’re not that hot.
So, you are being fired for… wait for it …being a guy! You saw a pretty girl and asked her out and now you’re living on the streets. That’ll teach you to have a penis!
Seriously, though. What if we are teaching women that any sort of personal comment by a man to a women in the workplace is sexual harassment? C’mon people, I’m not talking about sexual advances which a woman is obviously deterred by. (If you have to search the office for that girl, she is probably hiding from you for a reason.) I’m talking about a casual comment made towards a woman about, say, the way she put up her hair that day. I know it’s a work-place, and you are expected to be professional, but you work with these people every day. At some point, you’re not longer just co-workers. You know what I think?
I think all these sexual harassment seminars are giving women the wrong idea about men. Sure, guys think about sex every 3 seconds or so. But women think about sex almost as often. It’s not like guys are constantly thinking about ways to seduce their co-workers. We don’t sit around wondering, “gee, who can I sexually harass today?” You women simply think you’re soo hot, guys just want to jump you all day. As if.
Basically, what I’m getting at is that a sexual advance is probably always unwarranted, unless you’re wearing shorts no bigger than you’re panties and dancing around at a club or bar (let’s face it, you’re looking for something, right?). However, commenting on someone’s looks and even asking someone out (even a couple times after having been told no) is not sexual harassment. If you are a woman you are warranting an advance by a man (not a perverted, sexual advance, but an “advance” nonetheless). If you don’t want that guy talking about how nice you look then tell him to stop. If he’s a good guy he will stop it.
In conclusion: Sexual Harassment = bad, bad, bad! However, just cause some guy asks you out at work doesn’t mean he wants to plow you like the winter highways. Get over yourself.