Point

Point/Counterpointworkplace Sep 2, 1998

Sexual Harassment In The Workplace Must Stop

By Nadine Kramer-Luchs, Executive Director, Women's Action Project

Sadly, some 30 years after the Women's Movement first brought to the national spotlight the discrimination and double-standards women face in our male-dominated society, the sexist attitudes and behaviors we have been attempting to change all these years still prevail.

Despite countless attempts on the part of women to address the issue, sexual harassment in the workplace remains as rampant as ever, and we as a society show little interest in changing this fact.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is no laughing matter. It is not "flirting," it is not "harmless," and it is not "affectionate." It is a deliberate and reprehensible misuse of power that bespeaks of a powerful misogynist undercurrent in the way men view women. The reduction of female co-workers to subservient, objectified pawns to be toyed with and abused by male superiors is not only offensive; it is a way for the entrenched male power structure to preserve that power through the perpetuation of myths that have kept women economically and politically disenfranchised for centuries.

The dismissive, insulting treatment that women receive in their places of work from such abusers of power only serves to "keep them in their place," enabling male employers to protect the unwritten law of the "glass ceiling." This prevents women from ever rising past a predetermined level within their career fields, ensuring that they will never be taken seriously as anything more than lust objects by the predominantly male bosses who control their economic destinies. Capable women are routinely passed over for promotion in favor of less competent males or "token" women who have learned to "play the game" of falling into a sexualized role with regard to their superiors.

Now more than ever, we need to deliver our message loud and clear: Sexual harassment in the workplace must end. For nearly three decades, we at the Women's Action Project have been toiling to achieve this, fighting in the courts and in the arena of public discourse. But our work is far from over. We have won some victories, but on-the-job sexual harassment is still a sad reality for millions of women every day. Yes, we have a long road ahead of us, but we will not stop until women in the workplace receive the respect they so richly deserve, not only as women, but as human beings.

Counterpoint

I Love The Way Your Tits Bounce When You Type

By Bruce Mulholland, Vice-President of Marketing, Global Tetrahedron

Hel-lo, nurse! I gotta tell ya, in all seriousness: I love the way your tits bounce when you type. Let's see if we can't crank it up a couple more words per minute and really get those beauties movin'. Ka-Pow! Talk about boosting your office morale! If morale gets boosted any higher around here, nobody's gonna get any work done for the entire fiscal quarter! Gimme some sugar, baby!

Sure, you may not be the brightest bulb we've ever hired for this position, but, hey, with a body like yours, secretarial skills aren't exactly a priority. And speaking of positions, I don't know about your performance in this position, but I'd love to see how you perform in a couple of others that come to mind. Arooga!

Take a memo, honey: From now on, I want all of my secretaries to wear fuzzy blue sweaters. Seriously though, I love that top. Christ, you look like a million bucks, do you know that? Grrr-Rowr! If I wasn't a married man, I might get myself into some serious trouble here. Hell, I just might, regardless!

C'mon. I'm only kidding. You can take a joke, can't you? Sure you can. I'll bet that's not all you can take. Cha-ching! From where I'm sitting, it looks like you're not even wearing a bra, are you? What color underwear are you wearing? Man, oh, man, I tell you, if this keeps up, one of these days I swear I'm gonna end up in the hospital. And actually, I'm praying to God that I do. What a way to go, baby!

Say there, little lady, how's tricks? Well, if it isn't little Miss Hot Stuff. My, aren't you looking great today. What a knockout outfit. Did you do something to your hair? Could I do something to your hair? Whoops! Looks like I dropped my pen. Sweetie, would you mind bending over and picking that up for me? Hoo-doggie! File under "T and A"!

Seriously, though, I think you have a real future here at this company. I see big things in front of you. Two, in fact. Yowza! Is it hot in here, or is it just you? I think you could go far, but the real question is, how far do you think you'd let me go? I can talk to some of my friends upstairs. We can work something out. You know, a little quid pro quo, if you catch my drift. What this company needs is a team player. You know how to play ball, don't you? One hand washes the other, right? You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours, so to speak.

I love my wife, but oh, you kid!

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