Workplace Sexual Harassment: Framing the Issues July 25, 2011Posted by FCM in feminisms, gender roles, PIV, rape, trans.
Tags: PIV, rape, sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, trans
i wrote about issue-framing here and i wanted to write about it again. yes, its that important that feminists get this and understand it at a deep level: men get it and understand it and use it against us all the time. and its time for us to start doing it too, en masse. we need to frame the issues to benefit *us* for a change, because issue-framing is at least half the battle, if not more. if youve never thought about it or cant tell who benefits from the way issues are currently framed, chances are whomever it benefits, its not you.
so. on the issue of workplace sexual harassment and sex-discrimination: how is this issue currently being framed? well, undercover punk has cited this paper about a million times and i just had the extreme displeasure of reading the article in its entirety: apparently, if you frame the issue of workplace sexual harassment and discrimination just right, you get to include protections for transgender and transsexual persons “right” to gender-nonconform in the workplace. thats right! men are constantly, CONSTANTLY bemoaning the fact that there are any social controls on them at all, and this includes having to wear “appropriate” clothes to work. and…shaving. solution: call yourself transgender, and you get to redefine workplace-appropriate, to suit yourself.
you also get to work within the current frame of sexual harassment and discrimination, which is intended to and does benefit men (and not women) and to further frame (and reframe) the issue to benefit men, MOAR. those special snowflake men who dont feel the way they imagine men should feel (ie. the opposite of what they currently feel, when they imagine they feel like women feel. got that? good). and transmen get a bit of a coattail-ride here, so they arent saying anything, but they absolutely should be. heres why…
when the question is asked (in the offending–and offensive–article above) “what is the harm of sexual harassment and sexual discrimination” the author answers her own question, as authors are wont to do. heres what she said to herself:
self? the problem with it is 1) the unfair consideration of biological differences between males and females; 2) the resort to archaic notions about the skills, abilities, or desires of men and women; 3) the perpetuation of stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity; and 4) the unwelcome instigation of sexual behavior in inappropriate settings.
lets hope she came to this conclusion after she did her research and not before…but theres probably not much chance that that happened is there? oh well. if teh menz can routinely start with a conclusion and work their way backwards, (ie. how can we make it so we win, no matter what?) instead of actually being honest and examining the issues objectively, so can she. im just saying.
so anyway, shes framed the issues thusly (the “problems” in her estimation are sexual harassment versus sexual discrimination) and narrowed it down to 4–apparently shared–harms. but i think it can actually be narrowed down to 2, and she didnt include either one of them. first, i think the “harm” of workplace sexual harassment is that references to unwanted PIV are a rape-threat. okay? everyone, and i mean everyone considers PIV “sexual behavior” (instead of calling it what it is: penis-in-vagina, and female-specific harm) and “unwanted PIV” is fucking rape. thats what it is. of course, men have framed this issue to benefit themselves: they dont know their PIV-references are unwanted until they try it, and are rebuffed! but guess what dickwads? from my perspective, its unwanted the first time, and you shouldnt get a second chance to rape-threat me (ie. referencing unwanted PIV) at fucking work. but they do. and they get second, third and fourth chances too, being that the standard of illegality of this rape-threatening behavior is apparently “its so egregious that it would tend to repulse a dirty old male attorney.” DUBIOUS. STANDARD. at best.
and the harm of “sexual discrimination” is probably two-fold: one, if women cant work for a living, or be truly upwardly mobile (aka. gainfully employed) we are going to be financially insecure and threatened with looming homelessness, both of which lead to our vulnerability to mens PIV-centric sexuality and being threatened with male violence and rape. and two, if you force women to behave “femininely” in the workplace, and forbid them to act “masculinely” you are reserving true success (as defined by men in the male-dominated workplace) for men, and leaving women at the bottom being sweet to everyone and making the coffee. and…see #1 for why thats a problem. and, see “sexual harassment” for more context too (see, even differentiating harassment from discrimination is questionable when viewed from womens perspective isnt it?)
these are the harms of all of this, to us. to women. its not that we think “sex” and the workplace dont mix, who has time to worry about that? jesus fucking christ. i cant even open up my email or buy my lunch without being bombarded with a hundred demeaning and sexually charged images every day, at work. no, thats not the problem at all (well it is, but we arent talking about the complete eradication of pornified images from the entire world, or im not in this post).
and i dont give a fuck, as it were, whether i am allowed or forbidden to “express” my real, true heartfelt gender at work: whether i even have a “heartfelt gender” is highly questionable. again, who has the time for such namby pamby idiotic bitching about trite bullshit that doesnt even matter? what i do care about is that pretty much however i *behave* at work, whether its stereotypically feminine or not, i am at extreme risk of failure, or failure to thrive, because i was born female and for no other reason but that. women-born-women literally cannot do anything right, where feminine behaviors are not correlative with male-defined success, and masculine behaviors are reserved for men. thats the harm of enforcing stereotypical behaviors at work, for women. its not oh boo-hoo, you arent honoring the trueness of my preferred favorite gender. its not oh poor me, everyone gets to act out their gender except me. okay?
and this is how the transactivists are framing the issues of workplace sexual harassment and sex-discrimination–issues that women and feminists have been working very hard on to gain any ground at all mind you. we gained an inch or two, and they took the wheel and laid on the gas and are off into poor-teh-menz territory quicker than shit. what about teh menz! which is ironic, considering that the way it was before demonstrably and intentionally benefited men too. they win, no matter what. this is what happens, when they are allowed to frame the issues, including the alleged harms and the “solutions” too.
we cannot let them do this. or at least, it behooves all of us to see what they have done, and what they are doing and to name it. quite alot depends on it. women-centered reality is the only one thats going to save any of us from mens tyranny: we have seen the world through mens eyes, including our own destruction, and its all very…sexy, actually. which is fucking hideous, and a huge red flag that something is very, very wrong.