Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Ben Affleck, Roy Moore, Conyers, Matt Lauer and the list, now up to 34, keeps growing etc. etc.
Let’s see now… Did it start with, or was it further back than Bill Cosby being hung out to dry?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not validating or minimizing misconduct if it is indeed true and many may be. Neither am I giving credence to hype.
As more and more people “come out” with accusations and pseudo righteous indignation the more incredulous it becomes. Some may be true, some not.
Really, didn’t the public turning a blind eye to our “bad boy” president, not endorse this behavior? Because… at the time, not many people cared one whit when Bill Clinton did “his thing” in the White House, even though it is now currently being revisited. Perhaps it is about time.
It was those who stood behind him and rallied for him that bear the blame. It was the proverbial you that gave men in general, permission to say and license to do what they do or have done. If the president can do it, why can’t I? Come on now people, take responsibility for your part in this!!!
So to blatantly and unequivocally accept it all, how can you? Unless you were there and I’m sure you weren’t then how can you put so much credibility behind these accusations? What happened to innocent until proven guilty?
THEN AND NOW
What the public fails to consider, is that social norms since forty years ago has changed dramatically. Certain conduct or dialogue then is repulsive today, yet it was not uncommon and women had little recourse for it and men were expected (more by other men) to behave badly. I’ve seen women do it too, cajoling them and leaving some men with the idea of open invites, but I’ve also seen men take sincere friendliness the wrong way. (like where in the hell did they get the wrong idea?) I’ve seen women plot to snare men. ( Monica Lewinski holding on to her tainted skirt? Get real. Don’t you find that suspect?)
Many of the men that have crossed my path over the years have said and done things I thought totally inappropriate at times. I was an attractive model and flight attendant and I heard just about everything. I met famous and not so famous people and I can’t even begin to recall how often I was hit on, leveraging sex and/or seen men behaving badly, which was too often, but can I attach a name to all of them? No! True, I hated it, but I moved on, it’s what we did in those days. It was not a reflection of me or the sum of them and I went on with my life. It was how things were.
Quite frankly, I personally cannot remember with any detail who or what someone may have said that was out of bounds. I take that back. I encountered several that did but only two that stand out. One, was a coworker, a pilot (I don’t even remember his name however) who rudely grabbed me. The other case was of a woman on one of my flights who deliberately groped me in an inappropriate manner, does that count? I refrained from creating a scene because I was totally embarrassed. I stayed clear of her for the remainder of the flight as she smirked at me lewdly and I was relieved when she was gone. It was quite disconcerting on many levels. Was she a lesbian or did she think I was? What did I do that made her think it was okay? Haven’t we all asked that?
How many women have grabbed a guy between his legs, rubbed up against him, flaunted her cleavage suggestively or kissed an earlobe teasing a man, not to mention giving him the “come hither” look (that’s what it was called in the olden days) and how many men found this uncomfortable or a violation of their space? Will these men please come forward?
Does it excuse bad behavior? Certainly not! In my day, it was always up to me to set the boundaries and my choice to nip it in the bud. As a girl, I was not given guidelines as to what was appropriate or inappropriate behavior and some times I let things fly, not knowing what I should have done or stupefied that I hadn’t reacted indignantly, but that was more out of embarrassment. Many young men were less so taught and I think that in part is why some are stating their apologies rather than denying their guilt. Now don’t be fooled, the more that do it, the more suspect they become. Some of those can be genuine but it could also be a sham… like “Ooops!, I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar!” “I was a bad boy, I admit it, now get over it”
I recall too, that men targeted certain women. If she looked like a “good girl”, they left her alone. I remember specifically the “Coffee, Tea or Me” cracks, thanks to the Helen Gurly Brown book that came out during that period. It brought a great deal of uncalled for comments for flight attendants. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for this exposure if not simply to raise public awareness that any untoward conduct is unacceptable.
It was only an insightful parent that could/would teach these guys otherwise, which was rare then, and then to have it undone by their peers who influence them otherwise. It is only recently that a progressive mother, who did not appreciate being treated like trash (and some men who had the foresight to see it as demeaning), began teaching their sons and daughters a little more about respect for self and others. It’s up to us.
In fact, for men of past generations, it was encouraged for them to be cads. It was a sign of their virility, their manliness. Even more so if you were in a position of power. It came with the job and everyone knew it, so why act so surprised? I’m not saying we shouldn’t be indignant, but everyone knows this has been going on since time immemorial.
Also, consider this. I’m not the same person I was forty or fifty years ago. I don’t know about you, but I did some pretty stupid things in the 60’s. To hold me accountable for these is ludicrous because although I may have known I did stupid things, I certainly couldn’t tell you what they all were, nor do I want to, much less be reminded of them. (That’s why I’d never consider running for politics. I’m sure there’s been a toe or two I may have stepped on in my past and… that was not forgotten by someone and bound to bite me in my present.) Frowny face here.
If they really did it and they are recent infractions then yes, by golly, hang them from the rafters. They should be held accountable.
But… Consider this:
If we are so quick to be judge and jury to everyone that is accused then what about our own sins? Are we the same person today we were ten, twenty, thirty or even forty years ago? How many of us do NOT have regrets? How many of us took those and resolved to do better, right?
To say they are not better today than yesterday is to say there is no hope for the countless of people in prison waiting for a parole or who will some day be released. What about the prisoner who reforms whether by accepting Christ or by whatever means and becomes a new person?
Yet, even they have advocates who campaign for them to be given a chance. Doesn’t everyone deserve that?
FEEDING OUR MINDS
There’s also the issue of what we are feeding our brains. Look at the shows on TV, books, movies and media we follow, that are being produced because it’s what people absolutely love. They are sexual, conniving and violent and suddenly the same people that love these are incensed? I see a double standard that was and is still, only different. (It’s no wonder I like Hallmark, but even they hug now and then.)
If nothing else this is bringing the issue to the fore. Granted, it is terrifying to some men altogether. A gentle pat on the shoulders or back will no longer be tolerated or looked at the same way or so I’ve heard said. My husband was sad because he was hesitant and afraid to hug our great grand daughter because of all that’s been going on. Will an accidental brush be considered deliberate? Who hasn’t grabbed someone accidentally thinking they had their spouse or partner? To what degree are people going to take this?
I greet people with a hug and sometimes a peck on the cheek. I like hugs. Are my associates going to be afraid to hug me now? Is everything going to be suspect?
I just bet the people in Europe, who tend to be touchy-feely, are having a field day with this. Those Americans, what will they think up next?
Awareness and change is the key NOT overreaction. Think and be considerate of others.
It boils down to the old adage “Do unto others as you would have done to you”.