I didn’t stand a chance

 

Lately in these #metoo days, I’m feeling Crushed Under The Weight of the sexual harassment and discrimination I’ve finally realized I experienced all my life.

What’s horribly wrong with that sentence? The words, “finally realized.”

Up until now, I just thought that was part of being a woman. I didn’t even know to call it harassment or discrimination.

And that’s exactly the point. Harassment and discrimination are so woven into the essence of being a woman, they are the norm.  Think of the woman I could have become! The things I could have accomplished! If I had been free. If no one had blocked my way and stepped on me at every turn, comment, look.

The salaries I didn’t negotiate because I didn’t want to appear aggressive or lose the job if I spoke up. Ad nauseum infinitum.

That’s why actor/director David Schwimmer (Ross of “Friends”) produced #thatsharassment, a series of public service announcements showing men and women what harassment is, what it looks like. You can see them on youtube. It was devastating for me to watch, seeing the young me in exactly these situations, not knowing what was going on, feeling powerless, not wanting to put myself in jeopardy or hurt feelings. The confused discomfort on the women’s faces. Oh so painful. Oh so seething.

A thoughtful – and devastating – article to read is about how women are conditioned to have bad sex. The female price of male pleasure by Lili Loofbourow is a must read article. Bad sex is the norm for women, we are conditioned to accept less, to not want to hurt feelings again. As if. Oh how “nice” we women are. When and where did this go so wrong? Oh, let me think, it was all Eve’s fault. There needs to be some big sex reeducation for both men and women. And women need to insist on their pleasure.

And finally (for today, that is…) I’ve been consumed with the sexual molestation trial that has finally rocked the female U.S. Gymnastics organization. How is it possible that over 150 young women were sexually molested by their team doctor over the period of 20 years, and no one noticed or cared? The fact that the young girls didn’t realize it was molestation is sad, the fact that they didn’t talk to each other is infuriating, the fact that they didn’t tell their mothers is outrageous. And when they did talk to officials, it was disgusting that no one believed them or did anything about it. Oh, and pathetic that it took place often with their mothers in the room. I’m not blaming the victims or their mothers, just the sad state of women’s ability to speak up.

What does that say about us, about our society? How can we live in such a world?

Yes I’m seething. But now, I have to do something about it. I have to decide how I will personally manifest my activism and my rage. I begin by sharing it with you. Money in the form of donations will be next. And then, there must be action on my part.

xo Liza  😡

P.S. And oh, this: When the men’s sexual molestation case came up at Penn State, millions of dollars were paid to the male victims. So far in this women’s gymnastics case, just a trifling sum to one woman. Lawyer up women! Let the suing begin!

Hello my lovelies. Please share your thoughts below! We’ve got a lot of talking to do. Women talking to each other is how we begin. If you want to join our band of wise, witty (not this week) women who live big, enter your email in the box above so you won’t miss a thing.

 

10 thoughts on “I didn’t stand a chance

  1. I’m 73 and have been having the same feelings that you so succinctly express. I know I lost two jobs because in one case I was oblivious to my boss’s interest in me until years later when a fellow co-worker pointed it out and another when years of support was withdrawn when I made it clear I was not interested in a board member’s advances. At one job interview at a leading advertising agency the man interviewing me assured me I would not be obligated to perform certain sexual favors. In my last job before retiring, after waiting for a very delinquent vice president to show up for a required meeting, we had to sit through his regaling us about how he’d encouraged his daughter-in-law to doll herself up to accompany him to a major sporting event so everyone would think he was her “sugar daddy.” I had left a newsletter, for which I had an imminent deadline, simmering on my computer to attend the meeting, but I was the one boiling at this experience for which I couldn’t even come up with words to describe. And, finally, I’ll read Ms. Loofbourow’s book with interest. What I have to say on that subject probably would doom my response!

    1. Oh Teddee…thank you for sharing some of your stories. The stories could go on forever, I’m sure. Our younger selves took so much harrassment and abuse. How do we integrate this into the women we are today? Are we bitter? How can we channel our fury
      and knowledge into something good and better?

  2. We were (are?) an oppressed group and thus expected to be treated badly. Ever more remarkable things are coming into th light of day as stones are lifted. For example:
    https://www.nature.com/articles/550S18a
    Did you know women are hardly represented in clinical trials at all, such that some medications which work on men are really dangerous to women because-guess what?- we’re different! Follow the link above to read more. And, apparently, the cholesterol story may have to be rewritten because perhaps raised cholesterol protects women though it is an adverse indication for men. But why would you bother to find stuff like that out? Outrageous IT IS…..

  3. Maybe it’s just too overwhelming. I like to think of myself as a strong woman but I know that I’ve either lost jobs, or not even been considered for jobs because I was a woman – even though I was good enough to train the man who would get the job! Or I was a woman who didn’t fit the image they were looking for – I’m short & round and wear glasses, and brains and dedication only take you so far.
    Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies – we don’t want to make a fuss – we are taught not to brag – not to be too loud or too pushy – traits that in a women make you a bitch but in a man make you a “go getter” – we can’t win.
    I like to think if I’d seen someone being abused I’d have spoken up – but then I think of the pats on the back, the neck rubs, or the unsolicited comments about my appearance and realize that I didn’t speak up for myself.
    I went to the movie theatre last week and was annoyed to find that the times they had listed online was different from the ones on their boards. When I questioned it the 20 something male at the counter TOLD me that I must have gone to the wrong website and that it wasn’t their fault. The implication was that I was an older woman who didn’t have the brain power to go to the correct website. Told him to stuff his tickets & left!
    I’ve had a running battle going with my landline phone provider – they cut wires all over the province last Monday and left umpteen people without their landlines. I’ve had techs here who were no help and who just disappear – I was told 2 techs would be here between 8am and 10am this morning but it’s now 2pm and no one. When I email to ask where they are I’m told the appointment is for 8am to 9pm – even though I have an email from them contradicting this. Again, the implication is that I’m this hysterical woman who has nothing better to do with her time than wait around for them – and the fact that it’s now been 9 days is just tough! We can’t win – if we don’t stand up for ourselves we’re wimps and deserve it – if we speak up we’re too strident or hysterical or a bitch. It’s exhausting and it never ends!

    1. I hear you loud and clear Margie. It’s so endemic. Women, the majority population are treated like an oppressed class. I think we have to talk back, now, though. And talk to each other. Consciousness raising like back in the 60’s. Thank you for sharing your stories and your frustration.

  4. I like to think that the majority of us have not experienced oppression just because we’re women. At least not in America. May be the reason for fewer comments than you anticipated. I work with a large group of women at a local senior center and fortunately none of us connect with these stories on a personal level at all. I don’t discount the experiences by women who have been victimized, I just can’t relate, so to speak.

  5. I can relate to it as a young adult it was horrible and quite frightening. Thank goodness women are speaking out now and I think finally these men will start thinking of the consequences.

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