Befuddled and Betwixt

 

Paying the piper.

I just caught myself up on The Handmaid’s Tale.  Love it!!

One of my concerns is how it portrays men, not to exclude religious dominance or perception but as hypocritical bullies.  I hope we will never get to that point.   I love men, shortcomings and all. Obviously, the climate here is not one I would do well with.

I remember once many years ago, my daughter thinking she was in love with this handsome “older” man from Persia. He admitted that he had singled her out because, she was a virgin and young enough to be trained.  Of course, I nixed it.   It might be peaches and cream for awhile… until the luster waned. She was too much like me and she would not have taken such rigid rules for long. She’s been married three times since and is now off to fulfill her dream to be an actress.  I digress.

With all the hoopla going on about sexual harassment, women and other diversity issues, we sometimes tend to lose focus on other equally important factors.

What is our gauge?  I am specifically referring to the Academy Awards and the possible why’s of the selections made and that are up for vote. I’ve already been hearing murmurs from some that the selections may have been due to peer pressure, to filling quota’s, or shunning, because they thought other work out there had more merit but got vetoed.  I’m inclined to agree a certain amount of that has to be true.  A case in point might be the film by Harvey Weinstein’s company.  I’ve not seen all the nominations for best picture but I’ve read the screenplays and found them worthy candidates on writing alone … sans viewing them all.  All but one anyway.  It just didn’t rock my world, at least not beyond the first ten.

Is it fair to artists involved in his project (which was done prior to the scandal) have their work shoved aside because of his bad behavior? I read other comments that tend to agree with me on that, while at the same time it is understandable, after all, why should he profit?  I hesitate sometimes to bring up incongruities of this nature and as I’ve mentioned before, for so many years everyone knew this existed and what I don’t understand is why such a heavy ax coming down now when so much of the work in Hollywood has exploited such behind the scene “goings on”?  It was never right. Never should have been, but it was. It is aptly illustrated, if not a bit over the top, but very well done in The Handmaid’s Tale. 

Women in the past had no say and no recourse.

It really is not far fetched because that was basically the plight of women not that many years ago.  Now is this every man’s dream? To put us back in our place?  God forbid!  In God’s defense, He never intended it to begin with. That of course, is how I perceive it, given my knowledge of His word.  WE were, after all, produced of Adam’s rib, not his ass or his head or any other part of his body.  So, if we believe that, we are meant to be equal and at the same level, rib to rib, eye to eye, taking into consideration, of course the differences in our various statures.

Hugh Hefner, in his Playboy magazines reinforces men’s perceived entitlement and the attitude of the day with his cartoons:

 

Women having fought tooth and nail for years to earn the rights and privileges they have today and are only barely a step ahead of race, but only barely.

For awhile, I resented the big push for equality.  Not because I didn’t think it was necessary or appropriate but because of how forcefully it was being done.  Could there not have been a more congenial way?  I was living in a fantasy world. The reality is that sometimes you’ve got to club people over the head before they’ll listen.  That goes for all the hollering and noise being made to be heard and listened to.  Yes, at times it has been downright offensive.

It’s like, I hear ya, quit cramming it down my throat. I get it, I understand and agree. Yet, that’s just me and there are many more people out there of the same mind who have yet to come to terms with it.

My husband has a hard time with some aspects of the MeToo movement. I don’t believe he knows, not that I care, I’ve just never gotten around to bringing it up. (To be honest, I echoed it not expecting the explosion it would cause or how quickly it would grow.) He was raised by a single mom (his dad died when he was 8) and he never formed the machismo attitudes that has plagued men for centuries.  He was the guy I ever dated who didn’t run around to open doors for me, because “women aren’t helpless and there’s nothing wrong with their arms”.  You get the picture.  We mostly went dutch on dates. He lacked a lot of the finesse men learn from other men.  The only thing he cared about was riding his bike to a competitive level as a young adult. He wasn’t into playing the game. So, he doesn’t get it and doesn’t in a genuine way.

So to hear so many women out there emerging with stories he can’t conceive, is difficult. In fact, he worries that guys today may not be able to ask a woman out, tell her she’s hot or with an accidental touch while talking without finding himself slapped with a sexual harassment charge.  That’s his perception.  The latest episode of The Good Doctor had a young woman tell the doctor not to touch her. He had laid his hand on her shoulder to reassure her that everything would be fine. There was obviously no ill intention there.  He agreed readily, but you could see his mind processing it. I was waiting throughout the whole show to see if you would make more of it.  She didn’t.

It reminded me of the time, many years ago when I got “counselled” by the elders of my church that I shouldn’t touch when I talked even though it was only on the forearm or hand.  I remember being deeply  hurt by this, because I mean’t nothing at all by it and it was just a conversational mannerism. I did not process it well so I knew and understood what my hubby was saying. “They” said, it could be misconstrued and be a temptation to some man, whose home life may not be perfect. Yikes!  That’s their problem was my thought.  So, I learned to talk without touching and it was difficult.

We have often talked about these websites, like Tinder and other sites that hook up for sex only.  How does one navigate through these? It is a given or assumption that it’s all about the sex.  Isn’t it like playing with fire?  The implication being that the end goal is sex? How does anyone risk their job and reputations with a possible single misstep?  How does one know?  Not everyone is, as hubby calls it, socially aware.  Many people are ill trained to navigate through social situations adroitly.

women and sex2

I have been hearing, in the wind, the importance of teaching our young, both men and women of what is appropriate behavior. Yay!

A few months back, my young great grandson, in kindergarten, got called out for  possible inappropriate touching.  I didn’t get the whole story, but I immediately got a visual of a cartoon I’d seen many years ago (I’m guessing in the 50’s or 60’s) with two children of the opposite sex, looking down their shorts, realizing they were not the same.  It’s interesting how this was once considered a joke, whether appropriate or not and not taken seriously.  I don’t recall the comment that went with it but that alone surmised that kids will be curious.  In the 50’s sex wasn’t really discussed at least not in my experience and the word alone was bad and not mentioned, period.  Times have changed and perhaps that’s the biggest reason all this media attention. Needless to say my granddaughter had to have a sit down talk with him and explain the why’s and wherefore’s, which he is, even at 6,  savvy enough to expect. Once explained, he got it.

I am so glad this teacher had the decency to call my granddaughter first rather than making more of it than necessary. The other parent was also a party to this discussion. End of story.  That’s how it should be done.

Yes, WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT NOW!  Or, at least we should.

There is a scripture in the Bible that I always liked and that regardless of  religion or personal beliefs. It makes sense and one to consider as the first step for most things.

Matthew 18:15-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

If Your Brother Sins Against You

15 If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

____

There was a radio talk show Saturday that asked the audience to call in with grudges they still had against someone who had wronged them in the past.  There were so many and these people were willing to air them and admit they had not let go. The point of the show was to give the worst experience a prize. I wondered how many of them made an effort to take the above steps?

Basically,  if you have a grievance against another, go to them and not blab it to everyone.  If the party in question is not amicable to a remedy, then call in another as witness that you made an effort to fix the problem. If at that time it is still not working then you call in a higher authority. In theory this would be the best solution, but for some it isn’t enough and perhaps it shouldn’t be.

There’s the added danger here that if sexual harassment is not exposed and out in the open, it could occur again with a more timid victim or someone who finds the whole experience too embarrassing to reveal.  That’s what has occurred in the past. So how do you nip it?  Put it out for everyone to see.  20 years ago or so Monica Lewinsky and others  like her were derided, ridiculed and humiliated for their efforts.  Today, women are being applauded for coming forward. It is a different time.

Right now, it’s people in power and those who have money being exposed. I wonder if there are those and how many who have paid a hefty price to keep “their garbage” out of the media?  I know it seems as though we’ve heard an excessive amount of dirty laundry being aired, but I would bet there’s more out there than we know about, those we never hear about.  I’m wondering how much has not been exposed but instead hushed or kept quiet? Is it even possible? I’m guessing not if there’s money involved. What about Joe Blo at your typical workplace?

50 years ago —

When I was a very young girl, I had a doctor who molested me.  Of course, I said nothing, but… many years later he was found out when several women came forward. He lost his license and was prosecuted.  By then he was quite old.  I never added my name to the list. Why? Because it was embarrassing to me plus I questioned my own perception of the event and I didn’t want anyone to know.  When the others testified against him, I realized it wasn’t just me but by then it was enough for me to see it finally caught up with him. He died soon after.

I have a friend who came forward when she was about 15 and instead of being protected, she was humiliated and put in a sanitarium for trying to expose the person, who happened to be her father and the mayor of the city.  Her sister who was also molested, was angry with her for airing their dirty laundry.  No one came to her aid. This was over 50 years ago.

Even though a good many men and women are wriggling in discomfort over these issues coming to light (including myself, after all I am from another generation), it is a purge to endure. In that way I am befuddled and betwixt.  On one hand it’s uncomfortable but on the other, it’s necessary.

Perhaps in the end, it will be a good thing.

Yes, times have changed. I wonder how it will play out in the end? I’ve posed this question before, and still not heard about the women who abuse their power?

A film with Jennifer Anniston illustrates this in Terrible Bosses. In my mind, sexual harassment is sexual harassment. Could there be a possibility of a backlash? Hmmmm…

when women vote

 

Please note: All photos are from the www and I’m hoping these were old enough to be fair game.

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Accusations Are Flying.

Good grief!

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.

Consider Clinton.

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.

TEACH 

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.

PEOPLE CHANGE

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”.