This is a Man’s World

Et tu, James? James Brown - It's a Man's Man's Man's World

I’m not able to add anything more profound to the current conversation, but adding more evidence highlighting how sexual harassment has been the rule, more than the exception.  Because #METOO.

At the time, I didn’t realize it was sexual when the high school teacher kept a supply of my favorite lollipop in his desk for me, so I could have one during class.  He would check on my way in, whether I used lunch money for a Blow Pop that day.  I do remember someone asking why I was the only one to get a sucker…but I don’t remember his answer.

In college, I came out swinging when 3 guys at a party thought they’d turn the lights off and see what happened.  I wriggled free, grabbed somebody’s balls and twisted, and then picked up some scissors to defend myself. I ended up screaming profanities and walked home by myself late at night, crying.  My friends and I called the guy I was ‘messing around with’ and cussed him out.  He was livid and I was scared, so I carried a kitchen knife to finals the last day before winter break. That was my first semester.

Also in college, circa sophomore year, hanging out in my “boyfriend’s” dorm, he went to the bathroom and his roommate came in, locked the door, and started taking off his shirt.  I said, “If you don’t turn around and leave, I’m going to hurt you.”

Years later in Oakland, CA, I interviewed at a local black-owned cable company startup the owner said “Is that all the makeup you’re going to wear?”  I like women to wear more makeup” and “women should always wear dresses/skirts to work.”  He also did some other illegal interview tactics trying to find out if I had children. I went home and wrote a terse letter telling him why I wasn’t going to sue him, but the next woman might not be so generous. No TV show for me.

At a bank data center, a technical support co-worker wouldn’t let me leave the secured office until I gave him a hug.  The other 4 or 5 women who also sat in this locked area laughed and scooted their chairs to try to corner me as I continually walked around the perimeter to avoid all of them.  It wasn’t until I said, “you know…they call this sexual harassment” that all activity stopped.  He never talked to me again, not even on a support call; he would transfer me once he recognized my voice.

At a brokerage company, my desk was located in a locked computer room because we worked on equipment and I came back to an anonymous dozen red roses on Valentines Day with a note that said, “If you need help licking your lipstick off, let me know”.  That really gave me the creeps, moreso because there were less than 10 people who had key access to that room.  I reported it, HR started to investigate and the janitor fessed up. Nothing happened to him. He avoided me like the plague.

At the same company, I had on a new Eileen Fisher dress one day (I remember because it’s the only Eileen Fisher dress I’ve ever owned) and showed it to my smoking buddy who worked in HR.  He said, “that looks accessible”.  I turned around and walked off,  deflated and cheapened.  My other co-worker convinced me that I had to tell the man’s boss, since he actually works in HR, but I didn’t want to file a formal complaint because I confronted him directly about how inappropriate he was.  He never talked to me again.

Sigh.

Same company.  Is third time a charm?  Taking bids from a vendor, one salesperson said, “you give good voice”.  I immediately removed him from consideration and avoided numerous phone calls until I finally decided to be direct.  He said I completely misunderstood. No, I didn’t. I have been told I should have my own phone sex company multiple times.  On the flip side, I’ve also been told I should be in radio.

I’ve had a random man press himself on my back as I reached into a laundrymat washer to retrieve clothes.

I certainly don’t have the answers, but I think exposing the magnitude of the problem is a best first step. #METOO

 

MeTooIt’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World
This is a man’s world, this is a man’s world
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl
You see, man made the cars to take us over the road
Man made the train to carry the heavy load
Man made electric light to take us out of the dark
Man made the boat for the water, like Noah made the ark
This is a man’s, man’s, man’s world
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl
Man thinks about our little bitty baby girls and our baby boys
Man made them happy, ’cause man made them toys
And after man make everything, everything he can
You know that man makes money, to buy from other man
This is a man’s world
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing, not one little thing, without a woman or a girl
He’s lost in the wilderness
He’s lost in bitterness, he’s lost lost

 

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