Wednesday, November 22, 2017
The Slippery Slope to Sexual Harassment
(He) “Moonlight becomes you; it goes with your hair. You certainly know the right thing to wear...”
(She) Thank you, Bing.......We'll see you in court.
Bing Crosby directed these words to Dorothy Lamour in Road to Morroco, a very successful movie way back in 1942. None of us needs to be told that the times have been a-changin' since then. Nowadays men are increasingly wary of what they say to women. Tip-toeing is making a comeback.
Being High and Mighty is perilous if you are going to keep that frat boy mentality. Every day a prominent personality is in the news for alleged physical or verbal abuse of a woman. None of us takes this issue lightly. In the minds of many, including this writer, true sexual abuse of a woman is reason enough to justify the death penalty. Certainly the issue is worth another look, so let's do that.
Speaking about myself and many other men I know, males admittedly are not 24/7 the swiftest of God's creations. But in the main they are likable guys who mostly try to do good as they lumber along in this vale of tears. That's the premise. Second, the environment surrounding them is dangerous all by itself. Advertising in print and broadcasting hammer the same theme day after day: youthful female attractiveness. Beauty products are designed (and named) to attract the eyes of both sexes, but the gaze of women especially. From their earliest days women hear about “being pretty”. As the years roll by they are urged to gain and/or retain their appeal to men. Stay young, avoid wrinkles. Theirs is a brutal test of time.
Magazines flaunt young women's appeal, partially clothed, or less than. Pin-up photos of a sexy someone adorned the foot lockers of men in the military and the dorms they returned to after service. It has always been so, but nowadays things have gotten totally out of control in an age of no restraint at all. Good manners, common decency and respect for womanhood have been lost to boorish behavior. Who loses? Yes, women first and foremost, but really all of us get hurt. Absolutely, women have to stand up, report and be more than brave in facing these idiots. But gentlemen, you and I have to rally and protect all women. We have to change our mindset and think of every woman singled out for an indecent remark as our sister, sweetheart or spouse.
The days of light-hearted flirtations are over. We are now in far sterner times. There should be some middle ground between recognizing attractiveness by giving compliments and being sued. But I'll be darned if I know where that middle ground is given the wide range of opinion among ourselves, plus the vested interests from the left or right. And further, if there was a Citizens Code for Compliments, who would set those standards?
For decades we summed it up nicely in memorable music and words like “a pretty girl is like a melody that haunts you night and noon.” But no one wants to sing that tune while doing time in the slammer.