Skip to comments.Can men respect women if they're trained to be perverts?
Posted on 10/18/2004 6:43:11 PM PDT by wagglebee
In a culture that sexualizes women constantly, the line between water-cooler chat and harassment is increasingly thin.
Bill O'Reilly, the conservative talk-show host whose "The O'Reilly Factor" is the highest-rated cable news show, has been sued for sexual harassment by his former producer Andrea Mackris. Mackris alleges that on many occasions, both in person and over the phone, O'Reilly engaged in lewd and lascivious conversation against her will. She goes so far as to state that O'Reilly unlawfully engaged in, and gratified himself with, phone sex, with Mackris on the other end of the line.
To be sure, O'Reilly enjoys the presumption of innocence in the suit, until proven otherwise. I personally respect and greatly enjoy O'Reilly as a broadcaster and I am sorry to see his public standing undermined by these allegations. While some of the content of Mackris' affidavit seems possible, readers of it will discover that other parts seem directed squarely at Roger Ailes, the chairman of the Fox News Channel, thereby undermining her credibility. Furthermore, Mackris does not explain why she didn't just hang up when O'Reilly allegedly harassed her repeatedly over the telephone.
Be that as it may, this sordid and sorry tale brings to the fore all that is wrong with our increasingly perverse culture. The question that the growing phenomenon of sexual harassment in the workplace raises is this: Can we really expect to have a healthy office environment, where men treat women as colleagues and intellectual equals, when everywhere else in the culture women are being so completely sexualized?
Is it realistic to ask men to separate what they see on television and in magazines from their interactions with women in the boardroom? With men being deluged in virtually every electronic medium with the message that women want to be recognized for their bodies rather than their brains, is it reasonable to expect that men will suddenly think differently the moment a woman dons a business suit?
Never in history have women been so sexually exploited as they are today.
College girls expose their breasts in exchange for a T-shirt on the "Girls Gone Wild" videos. MTV has transformed the women's music industry away from an emphasis on vocals and toward an emphasis of cleavage. Posters of Victoria's Secret models, dressed in thongs and the most revealing lingerie, line our mains thoroughfares, billboards and buses. Are men really expected to shut all this off the moment they stand in front of a copy machine?
Can we really expect a pure office environment to emerge from a degenerate culture? Indeed, in an environment where everything from the Internet to sporting events is sexualized, it even becomes difficult to determine what exactly constitutes harassment in the work place.
Let's see. If a man watches "Sex and the City" and, knowing that his female colleagues love the show, mentions at the water cooler how much he enjoyed the previous night's episode of Samantha giving a stranger oral sex, is it harassment? Or is it small talk?
And let's say a boss comes into the office after watching the Super Bowl and asks his secretary if she saw Janet Jackson's breast pop out during the half-time show, is he making lewd and inappropriate comments? What if a guy sees some new movie about sex and comments on the nude love scene is that harassment? And if it is, can we at least recognize that we have made a huge portion of American culture off-limits in the workplace, because of how perversely sexualized it has become?
So that I am not misunderstood, let me make it clear that my purpose here is not to let men's boorish, and possibly illegal behavior, off the hook.
On the contrary. I wish that all men were gentlemen, behaving in a dignified and refined manner, especially around ladies. And I also wish that it didn't take the threat of legal action to get them to behave as gentlemen. Lewd comments on the part of lecherous men is the last thing that women should have to tolerate.
But let's acknowledge the incredibly mixed, contradictory and unfair signals that are being given to men. In life outside the office, men's lechery is encouraged in order to persuade men them to watch television or part with their cash. Near-naked twins sell them beer, women in thongs advertise the Miss America pageant, and Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera simulate masturbation in coming attractions for their shows on HBO and Showtime.
After being fed the idea in every corner of the culture that women primarily desire sexual attention, these men are expected to believe that women are going to be insulted, rather than complimented, by uncouth comments about their bodies.
What complicates the question of harassment is the fact that women are being subtly conditioned to use their sexuality to get ahead in the office. No less a branding genius than Donald Trump advised women on "The Apprentice" to play up their sexuality in commercial settings in order to gain power over men. Many women fall for this degrading advice by coming to the office dressed like streetwalkers. Dress codes today are considered outmoded and draconian, and fashion dictates that many women wear blouses cut very low and skirts cut very high. Yet men are expected not to notice. A woman's breasts can be spilling out of her blouse at a board-meeting, and men are expected to see her intelligence.
On my radio show, one man called in to say that there is a woman who works right across from his cubicle who wears see-through blouses nearly every day. "She's essentially wearing only a bra in the office, and I often have to put my hand in front of my face to block her out to stop myself from staring."
I am not blaming the victims or insinuating that women are inviting harassment. Far from it. No matter what they are exposed to and no matter how women dress, men must be in control of themselves and treat women as dignified and intellectual equals. I have never, and will never, excuse boorish behavior. But that does not change the fact that sexual harassment in the workplace is being vastly increased by a culture that both fosters the idea that women are primarily sexual objects, and that puts no emphasis on men and women dressing modestly and professionally.
And you can be sure that until such time that the sexual exploitation of women is reversed and women reclaim their dignity by refusing to be portrayed on television and the Internet as the lecherous man's playthings the number of women who have to suffer through male crudity is only going to increase.
She counter-sued AFTER O'Reilly brought his extortion charges, correct?
Get aload of that turtle neck! LOL
She's got no case.
You know, there are options between burka and see-through blouse.
Two words: Hate crime.
Two more: Racial discrimination
Both of these are predicated on how a person feels...in the first, the perp...the second, the 'victim'
It's on yo' pro-file page !
Uh, guys, if we just look at her from a physical standpoint, I think she's quite attractive. She's in pretty conservative dress that's for sure, but she's not "ugly as a mud fence". Let the hair down a little and put a smile on her and she would be quite pleasant to look at.
Man... you'd think you guys were describing Rosie or something...
LOL! Forgot about that..Was at my sister's and she said she wanted to see how high my heels were...
If I had a couple more white russians, I'd hit it.
I agree. I've seen uglier. And looks aren't everything.
Wish I had known about this T-shirt trick when I was in school.
Ok, and just so no one think's I'm nuts, I just saw the other pics of her a few posts up from here. Definately not too attractive in those. But heck, in those side by side shots she doesn't even look like the same person.
Multiple personalities maybe? ;)
we would be ashamed to hear anything differently from you, x...
unless it was challenge to swordplay.
Well, I can tell you it doesn't work at the office...
College girls expose their breasts in exchange for a T-shirt...
Wish I had known about this T-shirt trick when I was in school....
- - -
Yeah, the exchange rate USED to be dinner and a movie.
Actually, if you follow the chain back, the guy was saying that Anna Kournikova is "ugly as a mud fence."
It's the look on her face like she is trying to protray a puritan look like I'm a fragile pansy that is about to wilt..,
Oh, I get what you're saying.
Cute kitty on your FReeper page.
One day a few years ago, my boss came back from lunch very very drunk (a perfectly normal event). I noticed him coming out of a woman's office about a minute before I went in to talk to her. I found her absolutely livid.
Because we were good friends, she talked to me about what had happened, though she swore me to slience. My boss (who was not her boss) had hit on her using language that she described as "filthy." This woman was no prude. She was not at all offended by the proposition itself, but the crudeness of it offended her deeply.
I tried to convince her to file sexual harrassment charges against him, but she had 2 worries. 1) It would be very bad for the company. Some people would take his side, some would take hers, there would be open warfare (I would have been on her side, against my boss. It would have been very hard). and 2) Her boyfriend, who also worked for the company, would bring his shotgun to work and it would be very messy.
Instead, she just spent the next year or so until she found another job, saying NO to every request - work related or not - that my boss made of her.
Tell me again that everyone knows how to deal with this?
do her lips ever move?
The author of that statement obviously knows nothing about history.