The news that Time Magazine made the sexual harassment “silence breakers” their Person of the Year (instead of giving it to the Harasser-in-Chief, who clearly thought the accolade should be his) has resulted in pretty much what you’d expect: cries of “not all men”, whataboutery and barely disguised victim blaming.
The reaction to the topic on the Facebook page of BBC Scotland’s Kaye Adams programme this morning was pretty typical. I’ll give you a flavour. See if you can guess which gender the commenters are.
No nice people say “females” instead of “women”.
Women can’t be trusted. They just make this stuff up to ruin men’s careers.
A woman co-worker told me I had a nice bum, and I do, but it’s not fair.
Male models are objectified too but you don’t hear anybody complaining.
“Is it still okay to say hello to a woman or is that sexual harassment?”
Ooh, let’s think. Is saying hello to somebody exactly the same as, say, forcing them to watch you wank onto a potted plant?
“What about the female teachers that have sex with young lads at school?”
We can all play this game. What about sunrise? What about rain? Fucking magnets, how do they work?
I’m not claiming the moral high ground here or claiming to be different from the other guys (although of course I am. There aren’t many Carries out there in guy land). But arguing against people speaking out about harassment is like claiming kiddie-fiddling is the fault of sexy kids. That is not the side of the argument you want to be on.
No, it isn’t all men, but it’s a hell of a lot of them. There’s no sexual harassment Santa Claus, travelling the world abusing all the women all by himself.
If it isn’t you, then it’s somebody you know. Maybe your colleague, your guitar player, your golf pal.
This isn’t just the occasional guy making an awkward but good hearted attempt at wooing (shut up, Morrissey. You’re the indie Katie Hopkins). It’s the lived experience of almost every woman you know. Men, even male models and men in lycra cycling shorts, do not experience the crap that women do.
This isn’t women suddenly speaking up. This is women finally being listened to. If you’re telling them to be quiet, you’re part of the problem.