Default sex

So, it seems one of the biggest problems with feminism is that is starts with “femin” because some young men assume that must mean it is an ideology to disempower men while empowering women.  Conquerer/conquest – as if every ‘ism’ is only about who is on top.

©2000 Marion Pennell

©2000 Marion Pennell

Women have dealt with language: mankind, He, him, his – for their whole lives.  Who are the protagonists in almost every book we read in school?  Who were we studying in history?  Women were a footnote, a muse, a plot device, at best.

The default sex is not the one that produces the next generation (men have to live long enough to impregnate, women long enough to raise the spawn), but mankind, with woman as a derivative thereof.  Mother Earth vs. God our Father.

During our debate on feminism on the bus yesterday, two young men were very engaged.  One told me that men are raped by women more than I would think.  And apparently one man who was so raped and traumatized was turned away from a women’s shelter.  So I assured him that since he asserted it was such a large problem, it would be easy to mobilize men to create men’s shelters.  Since women have been on the front lines creating their own resources, surely, men would be able to muster the same.

The most contentious argument was about sexual harassment in the workplace.  The belief expressed seemed to be that women are so sexually enticing, they simply discombobulate a man at work.  Then, when he responds, it is so so so so easy for that vixen to bring down that man with merely an accusation.  (Umm, when I am at work, I am actually working.) (Also, if every woman harassed at work actually came forward, HR would be busy for a long long long time.  I was once told by a VP to sit on a computer programmer’s lap for “favours” – those favours being getting the programmer to do his job for my department.)

©2005 Marion Pennell

©2005 Marion Pennell

These were very young men, and the only women they were talking about were sexually attractive young women.  When the subject of middle aged MPs harassing young female MPs on the Hill came up, yes it was concluded this was not a problem until there were female MPs.  I assert that if an old man institution falls apart when women join its ranks, I don’t think it was the women that created the problem, rather it was the underlying character flaws of those old men that are now thankfully being exposed.

I should never ever ever know about anyone’s sexual inclinations in the workplace.  Beyond the workplace, unless we are actively dating (after dating has begun, not as an invitation to date), and I have expressed an interest, there is simply no reason in the world for me to know what sexually excites you.  Ever. Don’t casually express it to me.  Ever.  Not as a friend, not as a joke, not when you see an attractive woman.  It’s not clever, or endearing, or sweet for you to tell me about your masturbation habits, or which celebrity’s hacked photos turned you on.

I reminded the young men that in the workplace, should anyone not be able to separate the personal from the professional, HR would need to get involved on behalf of the coworkers. Then, if he is such a slave to his biology that he cannot work because of his sex drive, I would suggest he would not be a competent employee.  I have never been so horny I cannot work.

©2005 Marion Pennell

©2005 Marion Pennell

Comments on aesthetic beauty are obviously different from sexual innuendo.  You know that.  I know that.  When it is said, the speaker knows.  When it is heard, the audience knows.  These old men would not want their peers hitting on their daughters.  I hate playing the ‘daughter’ card, but unless some men can be provided with a specific example to their own male point of view, it seems empathy for women is impossible.

To envisage sexual harassment in the workplace as a hot encounter between two attractive beings who cannot contain themselves is some kind of sitcom fantasy.

We are too busy to be complaining without reason.

©2005 Marion Pennell

©2005 Marion Pennell

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