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    • I was in the oil industry for 10 years and now tech for 25 and I have to confess a profound sense of shock at what I'm reading on social media. I guess I had a vague notion that the Trumps and Weinteins of the world were just unusual creeps. I don't know how I came this far with so little realization about how pervasive it is.

      Perhaps it's because I just avoided obvious creeps? In the 90s I was on a flight with a guy I knew who was a VP of Netscape. He recognized me when I boarded. He was in First Class, me in coach. During the flight he walked back to recruit me to Netscape. He sat in the open seat beside me and I could tell he'd been drinking.

      When a young flight attendant passed by, he pulled her into his lap. I thought ugh, creepy drunk, no way I'm going to Netscape. So he recruited someone I knew well, a woman, and she got rich when they went public. I have no idea if he behaved himself at work, didn't let myself think about it, and I tried not to question my decision.

      Maybe being a man all those years and avoiding the obvious creeps led me to sail along in my cluelessness?

    • Maybe being a man all those years and avoiding the obvious creeps led me to sail along in my cluelessness?

      I think this is a really big part of it. I know it has been for me.

      Creeps tend to be creepy in private, or in isolated scenarios where they know those around them won't call them out. And since they're being creepy to women, other men may not be around to see what's happening.

      One thing I've been trying to do is speak up when another man says or does something creepy, douchey, or sexist, even if I don't think they meant it in a negative way. As a man, it's easy for me to just silently judge someone and move on, but that's because I'm never the target. If this creep targets a woman, that woman may not have the option of just silently judging him and moving on.

      It's up to us to let other men know that these things aren't okay so that women don't have to. There's no such thing as "locker room talk"; there's just talk. A man who says awful things in the presence of other men is probably saying or doing much worse things to women in private.

    • Well, if a women has posted that hashtag, you can almost be guaranteed that she isn't only talking about an isolated incident. It is a personal assault we've experienced on several occasions, each time unwanted to the zillionth degree and sadly, won't be the last time. But men talking and recognizing that this is something everyone needs to talk about and work towards stopping is the right direction. Check out Dear Catcallers on Instagram. You've probably seen an article circulating on this but if you haven't, it will give you a visual to go along with the hashtag #metoo.

    • I've been emotionally and psychologically sick for the past two weeks over this.

      It wasn't really much of a surprise to see how many people have personally experienced sexual assault as I've witnessed it countless times. That, along with the willing disregard for "others" in our current society, has caused us to reach a boiling point.

      This boiling point, while painful, is causing stories to come pouring out. And that is pushing everybody else to share their personal experiences. The level of support is astounding.

      However, back to my original statement of being "sick".

      I feel this way because I'm afraid that even with the current public discussion is that we are going to simply do the normal "American" thing and move on.

      I've seen it with countless other issues, from LGBT rights being stripped, to Puerto Rico being ignored, and the discussion on Gun Control in our country after the worst mass shooting in modern US history is already a distant memory.

      It's tiring, it's exhausting, and it is emotionally draining.

      I truly hope that all the men that are pulling the levers of power finally stop this cycle and do something. But hoping won't make that happen, only speaking up and calling our elected representatives will.

      Keep speaking up on this issue, and all others. It's too important to let #metoo become a relic of the internet-meme-snapchat-throwaway culture and fade into the background. It's the only way we as a society can cure ourselves of ignorance.

    • I feel this way because I'm afraid that even with the current public discussion is that we are going to simply do the normal "American" thing and move on.

      I've seen it with countless other issues, from LGBT rights being stripped, to Puerto Rico being ignored, and the discussion on Gun Control in our country after the worst mass shooting in modern US history is already a distant memory.

      It's tiring, it's exhausting, and it is emotionally draining.

      You are so right. I found myself thinking about exactly this today. I read an excellent advice column response about inappropriate sexual behavior from a friend and I was thinking about the emotional labor framing that Captain Awkward uses:

      I think there are two questions women can ask themselves when a man does something that creeps them out that are way better than “but did he MEAN IT-mean it”:

      1. Does he do this behavior to other men? Do his dad or his boss or his male buddy have to say “Whoa dude, consider the pants” when they chat with him?
      2. Do we think he’s doing even a tenth of the emotional labor in this situation that you are? 1/100th? 1/1000th?

      This week has felt like a century. I don’t know about y’all but I’m done with doing this much work around men behaving badly.

      I felt some profound recognition, reading that. I have not been on the #MeToo hashtag, but I've been in so many offline conversations about Weinstein and about sexual harassment and abuse. About power dynamics and consent. About reputation and rumors.

      Because of this cultural moment, I am finding out about incidents that the victims never mentioned before; and then having to deal with the third-party revenge fantasies of our mutual friends. Discussing rape culture and missing stairs every day, and dredging up near-misses and bad incidents from my past to compare and contrast with my friends'. And I'm one of the 'lucky ones'! (A friend said to me today, "I think I'm one of the 'lucky ones', because I've only experienced A & B, little things...and then I remember a C and a D, and oh yeah, actually, E-F-G, and now there's a whole fucking alphabet of 'little' things.")

      And my biggest fear, like Adam, is that it's all going to be for naught. That this many people -- not just women, if mostly women -- will have shown their scars, and processed with their friends and family, and tired themselves out doing this work, and it will be for nothing.

      Being subjected to sexual misbehavior is intensely draining, even on the lowest level. Just questionable behavior from a friend, with no employment involved or physical threat or anything overt, creates a huge amount of awkwardness and social work that devolves on the person who is uncomfortable. (Does he mean that or doesn't he? Maybe he's just really huggy? I don't want to be aggro and make a big thing of this, but I don't want his hand there: I'll just put my purse here to block him. I'll mention my boyfriend a little more than I need to, in case he is actually interested. I'll take the less convenient chair. I'll move to the other couch. I'll set a boundary, but in a funny way!) It gets exponentially worse as the behavior and the context escalate beyond that: and right now everyone who has a history of being drained by this is doing a bunch of processing and discussion. No wonder we are sick and tired.

      So I'd like to add to some of the great suggestions above for cishet dudes of privilege*, including Ryan's to call men out for "creepy, douchey or sexist" behavior/words, whether or not you think they mean it:

      -Recognize (and help other people with your privilege set to recognize) that although this conversation is important, not everyone wants to have it or continue it right this instant. Lots of survivors don't want to talk about it, especially publicly; and the emotional labor component means someone who HAS been talking about it might want or need to take a break from it.

      -Talk about it amongst yourselves too, even if you're not calling anyone out at the time. That 'sailing along in obliviousness' that Chris and Ryan talked about is a real phenomenon. But hopefully guys like George Clooney who say they only knew HW was hitting on young actresses will talk with their friends (hey, Brad Pitt knew more than that, George! Go have coffee!) and discuss how people making sexual passes across that kind of power differential is a major red flag, even if you don't know about the coercion applied in private. You can talk about times you missed something, or did notice something. You can talk about the jokes or events that have made you uncomfortable in the past, and how you wish you had responded, so in the future you will feel better prepared. This is a way of taking emotional labor onto yourself and sharing it with other privileged folks.

      *I specify several forms of privilege here since of course although the current discussion is centered on women being harassed at work by men, abuse is way more wide-ranging than that, and survivors of all genders have come forward. For obvious power-dynamic reasons, the silenced are usually marginalized on at least one axis.

    • Great post, Felicity. One of the things that worries me is how my behavior is different around women than it is around men. I'm totally comfortable giving a close man-friend a hug and I'd think nothing of inviting them to lunch. And my eyes naturally check out what their T-shirt says and what pants they're rocking.

      With a woman, they would have to initiate the hug and I would be conscious of not making it too emotional. I wouldn't invite them to lunch without someone coming along, and although it feels awkward, I keep my eyes on their faces. I'd like to think the main reason I do these things is I want them to feel safe around me, but I confess that it sounds personally embarrassing and threatening if anyone could misinterpret.

      I feel bad that this feels pretty unfair to women, and it seems awful to both of us that I do it because so many men behave badly.

    • Being able to avoid "obviously creepy guys" is a luxury most women don't have. it's their boss or their neighbor or their brother-in-law. People that are part of the fabric of their life.

      And I wouldn't think of "creepy" as a binary trait. Or one that can easily be assessed. You probably know and engage with a "creepy guy," you just don't know that he's creepy because he isn't as blatant about it as the guy on the plane.

    • Ugh, that's awful. I'm sorry.

      I have to admit I'm extra careful around women to avoid taking chances of making them uncomfortable or to be accused of being creepy. That too must disadvantage women in some ways, no? I wouldn't think twice about going to lunch with a guy but I don't remember the last time I did that with a female coworker without inviting a third person. 😔

    • I have been wrestling with this one quite a bit as well. The AV industry and my former employeer has been trying to bring women into technology for the past 20 years. However I see that nothing has changed. It takes a seismic change like we are seeing now to move the conversation into the public space. I am purposely going to avoid politics, you know why? It isn't political it is Human Rights.

      I wrote in my recurring non-cyclical column on my AV site about this issue at https://avnation.tv/2017/11/bradfords-brain-balloons-0020-harassment-sucks/

      To sum it up for those who don't want to click

      'Harrasment needs to stop in all industries and locations. This problem is a
      global problem. It is not limited to just one industry. I have seen it
      first hand in the AV Industry.

      My belief is that we all have a responsibility of addressing this
      issue. My opinion is, “If you see harassment happening in the workplace
      and don’t take action, you are complicit.”

      I have multiple times. If needed I will do it again It takes courage.
      It is scary. That is secondary to the importance of taking action and
      making sure people know it is not okay. It may even help the victim feel
      better as they will know they are not alone and have support.'

      I have felt the social repurcussions of my actions. I would do it again wihtout hesistation. I have realized that if people aren't wanting to be social with someone who stands up for others being persecuted I don't want to be social with them.

      I am amazed and apalled at what women go through. If you want to get an idea of how ingrained and legislated into the system this situation is take a listen to the New York TImes Podcast about sexual misconduct in the US Congress. <https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tuesday-nov-21-2017/id1200361736?i=1000395079298&mt=2> I might have been yelling Whiskey Tango Firetruck as I listened. Well not exactly Firetruck.

      Harassment happens in many more places than some people know. Such as being the only employee of Jewish heritage in an office location with over 700 people; it kind of gives one perspective very clearly. I am in no way saying I understand or downplaying what women go through but between that and a few other incidents I have learned it really sucks.

      Some of it is also simple but more difficult. For instance I try very hard to not compliment a woman on their looks. Saying "you look nice today" seems innocous but just getting out of that habit helps. Saying, "hey I enjoyed talking with you about xyz." can often be more rewarding from what I have been told. Sometimes it is also other actions, such as stopping a meeting to make sure that a woman's comment and idea gets heard. I also have a personal policy for webmeetings, especially ones with women, no cameras unless everyone has a camera. Basically if I can see you, you get to see me. If a woman on the call doesn't have her camera working, even if it just a USB glitch, if I am hosting I turn off everyone else's camera. Why? So that no one thinks it is an appearance issue.

      Also I will say, don't assume that it is okay to touch a member of the same sex/gender identity. Always ask. Simply asking shows awareness and respect. You wouldn't enter someone's house without knocking, don't enter their personal space without asking.

      There are many other things as well that can be done. Being aware is the first thing, move from there.

      I have no answers, I am just sharing what I have found works from talking with my coworkers and peers.