Personally I am glad to see that women from all walks of life (not just celebs) are coming forward to speak up about the *men who took unwanted liberties with them years ago. This can mean anything from a lewd remark to actual rape. I’m sure that, along with all the truthful allegations, that there are some who just want attention or money for real or imagined pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, there were (and still may be) often unwritten rules in Hollywood; women often had to “go along to get along,” which is a real shame. But I can tell you, as a women who worked with men from the mid-70s to 2013, that there was a lot of bad behavior going on, and no one stopped it. In fact, it was an accepted part of work life. It truly was a big boys’ club.
I and most of my fellow females I worked with endured sickening jokes about women, disgusting conversations fit only for a mens’ locker room, the occasional grope, grab or rub, and so on. It didn’t end there, either. It wasn’t uncommon for a woman to advance a great idea for a product, or process, etc., only to find out days later that her boss had taken all the credit for it. She, of course, got no recognition.
Heaven forbid that a women in the office would cry or complain or just plain stand up to a man about something. That woman would be considered “all emotional, just like a woman,” or labeled a “whiny bitch,” or worse, a “woman who thinks she’s as good as a man.”
As a woman in business during those times, you either learned to ignore it, rise above it, leave the company, or worst of all, become ‘one of the the boys.’ Trying to pretend that the awful things grown men said and did were ok didn’t make things easier; it made things worse.
Back then a man could get away with just about anything. For example: in a company I worked for, a VP and his secretary got caught in a conference room having sex. This happened, believe it or not, on work hours. Guess who got promoted to a better job at a different location to save his reputation, and guess who got fired?
People may ask, “why did these women wait so long to talk about this?” From my perspective and my own experience, here’s why:
- The powers that be at the time didn’t consider that any unwanted groping or sleazy talk in front of a woman was a big deal. It was a man’s world, and women just had to suck it up and deal with it, because it wasn’t going to change.
- Start complaining, and you would be blackballed and eventually marked for dismissal. Of course, it would be in the guise of the economy slowing down or the company having to cut back because sales were down. Bull! It was always because the woman spoke up and tried to upset the apple cart.
- Most men felt that women had no business being in business with men. That was the culture of the time, and had been for years.
Because of my own experience, I get it about not speaking up at the time. It would rarely get you anywhere because it was the culture of the times. We grew up with the old “boys will be boys;” this was how things were.
Granted, we have all come a long way. Attitudes have changed, we are in the PC times and that sort of thing just doesn’t fly anymore. Oh, it still happens, but it’s much more covert than back when I was working.
I understand why so many women are getting on board the “Me, Too” movement now. It isn’t so much about what happened in the past as the anger, frustration and humiliation they/we have lived with for years afterwards. All the therapy and meditation and sedatives in the world can’t take that experience away; it lies deep in the soul.
This current movement is much more about finding peace than anything else. It is transformative when you get to speak up and name the blame. This goes a long way toward healing for good. I personally believe that the “Me, Too” movement is more about finding peace and closure than anything else. When there is finally accountability for what happened years ago, that festering splinter of hurt, humiliation and shame can finally be pulled out for good.
*I understand of course that many men were taken advantage of as well. Being gay does not mean that he or she escapes victimization; sadly, it can happen to anyone.