Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! On Workplace Sexual Harassment April 20, 2011Posted by FCM in books!, news you can use, PIV, pop culture, rape, sorry!.
Tags: dworkin, jamba juice, mackinnon, sexual harassment
okay i am feeling a lil bit cynical, so sue me! the above video is a PBS special on “teenagers” (read: girls) being sexually harassed at work. this girl got her first job at jamba juice, and within a few months she was run out of the place by a male supervisor twice her age, who aggressively and violently harassed her. early on, she had a feeling that something was wrong…but she “didnt know enough about how things worked” to know for sure if it was wrong or not, so she let it go. (note: this *is* how things work, in the world of work, when you are female. sorry! really, i am.) later, when things got really really bad…she still didnt report it, because she wanted to keep the job. eventually she did report it. and in the end, even though this doods behavior clearly violated jamba juices corporate policy on sexual harassment and the assistant manager asked her to come back, and promised to fire said dood…dood kept his job. it ended badly for her, and not for him. in her words: “he didnt go, i went.”
yep, that sounds about right! welcome to the world of work baby girl! it totally bites!
now…lets just get a few preliminaries out of the way. first, make no mistake: workplace sexual harassment is all about men asserting male power as rapists and impregnators of women. okay? thats obvious. when women dare venture out into the public sphere, men routinely and immediately threaten them with rape. they exploit womens specific vulnerability to male bodies, to deliberately elicit a predictable terror response. male workplace harassers are terrorists. period. this is obvious, where they call specific attention to our biological femaleness, using rape threats and allusions to unwanted PIV, when rape (and in fact all PIV) is known to kill us. rape threats also serve to remind women, specifically, that we are not like men. that all this bullshit about “equality” is just that: complete and utter bullshit. that we are there on mens turf for many reasons perhaps, but our “equality” is not one of them. and that we had better toe whatever line they decide to draw, or we might find ourselves
raped impregnated, against our wills.
take a deep breath, and accept that this is true about both men, and the workplace, if you havent already. it will save you time. seriously.
also preliminarily is this: most of what men do to women at work, terroristically, using rape threats, is not against the law. see for yourself: its not technically (meaning: legally) sexual harassment, unless dood tells you you have to fuck him to keep your job, *or* his behavior is so extreme that it would tend to repulse a dirty old male attorney (yeah its a dubious standard to be sure):
catharine mackinnon has written extensively on workplace sexual harassment: in fact, she made it up. before her, what women experienced at work, at the hands of sexually predatory men, was just “womens reality.” workplace sexual harassment didnt even have a name, until she named it. she wrote about what “reality” is for women, and sexual harassment is a HUGE part of that reality: studying federal workplaces (in the US) for example, she notes that sexual harassment occurs more often than it doesnt. that is STUNNING, but not surprising. not for any of us who have ever had a job, anywhere, ever.
see, women cannot put down roots in any profession, in any environment, because we are constantly, constantly harassed and objectified. by men. at work. it causes us to have less job satisfaction, and NO economic security, as we continuously seek out a better environment (there isnt one) and lose seniority and respect (and money) with every move. men have no idea what its like to be on the receiving end of this, and yet mens success in the workplace is very much tied to this, to womens transience, low pay and lack of and loss of seniority, caused by being deliberately objectified and continuously sexually harassed and threatened, BY THEM. and thats the way it fucking is. we ARE being constantly harassed and threatened, with rape. the data is there, if only anyone were willing to believe it. they arent: instead, they prefer to believe gendered fantasies about women “prefering” to stay home and raise kids for example, where they are only fucking sexually harassed by ONE man, and not all men. but i digress.
but, what i really want to say is this, and i say it to the young uns reading: professionalism, education, student loans etc will not take you out of the system. all women are stuck within the concentric circles of sexualized oppression that dworkin described in right-wing women, and theres no getting out of it. none. its tempting to believe that theres an empowerful-ization attached to education and the career track etc, but theres really not. because STEP ONE in living in a woman-centered reality has to be this: NEVER become dependant on a man, for any reason. to be dependant on a man means to be subjected to a male-centered reality, central to which is dangerous PIV-centric sexuality and regarding women, all women, as whores. they fucking demand it. they make it so. but in the workplace, men are everywhere: they are your bosses and colleagues, and you are dependant on them, if you get out here alone, saddled with debt, needing a job. thats the part i apparently missed when i was planning all of this out. at the time, i *thought* i was doing the smart thing, but the result is just a variation on the same theme.
i have said it before and i will keep saying it: i now believe that if me, my sister and our best childhood friend had teamed up early on and decided to have a go of it, of taking care of each other and committing to do so always, it wouldve been so much smarter. my mother could have benefitted from this arrangement too. the four of us essentially blew it, and with compound interest (and seniority) working like they do, it might be too late to properly cure it. and thats IF i could get them all on board! right now, my sister and our friend, arent.
my mom and i now are starting to see what we’ve done, and are exploring a better way for the two of us…but in the meantime we’ve wasted decades. its so painful to realize, but its true. professionalism, individualism, empowerfulization, WHATEVER, for women, is not the way out. it never was.