There’s a long overdue going on in the public arena right now, of the many, many men who have used their positions of power to elicit or coerce sexual favors from workers they bossed. The scenario is identical: a male gatekeeper/supervisor/boss forces sexual submission on an aspiring worker. It’s disgusting behavior. It happens all the time.
“They just let you do it,” a former reality TV show host boasted in an “Access Hollywood” interview. That’s the behavior of a predator. And the secret, distasteful conduct continues because no one wants to face the humiliation of having been abused that way, and until now, it just wasn’t a subject that could be talked about.
But I wonder, can women, even women in inferior roles, prey upon men’s lust, for their own advantage? Of course, they can.
Sally Hemmings comes to mind. She was literally the chattel property of Thomas Jefferson, an American “Founding Father,” and president of the United States, and his mistress. She and her brother, who traveled to Europe with POTUS, were not treated like ordinary slaves. A small compensation for their freedom.
Until recently, the American cultural portrayal, via Hollywood, depicted women as beguiling, yet innocent. But now, raunchy actions by nice-bad-girls is routine, even on network TV where some popular sitcoms pride themselves on delivering abundant numbers of “slut jokes” in every episode. Women can be, and are, sexual predators.
I was a manager once in an environment where I was told by a trusted co-worker that “the word on the street” about me, was that I was “weak for the sisters.” Into that work environment who should appear, but none other than an aggressively ambitious and drop-dead-gorgeous volunteer who conspicuously threw herself at me. In order that we might continue our courtship, I required that she leave the job.
Having discovered my own weakness, it’s enabled me to notice certain things so I can seek to avoid danger. Muslims are taught to practice great restraint, “to look at the beauty of a woman and then cast down your eyes.”
I notice how women dress for effect. I notice the ultra-tight skirts. John Lee Hooker sang: “Big Legs, Tight Skirt, ‘Bout to Drive Me Outta My Mind.” I notice the cleavage so low and the sweaters so tight, they would make a baby cry. Do some women prey on vulnerable men in the workplace?
Does aggressively flirtatious conduct by women amount to predatory behavior?
The bottom line response is always “No means no.” We have all digressed from mannerly, dignified behavior to trying to see how much we can get away with, men and women alike. The lines are blurred.
But there is a hidebound contingent of the society which fought and lost the battle against the birth control pill because it would increase promiscuity. Those some people resist abortion because it permits those who did not use adequate pregnancy prevention methods to terminate the unborn life that results from the sexual contact these folks consider to be forbidden acts by unmarried “heathens.”
Childbearing is at the crux of the decided disadvantage women have in the arena of physical conquest when it comes to sex. There are obvious times and stages in the life cycle when men have a superior physical advantage, and men maintain that superiority in most aspects of male-female relations.
And while the pendulum has swung toward freakishness in the pursuit of more liberated ideas about interactions between the sexes. It will certainly swing back toward modesty, I’m certain.
If 2011 was seen as the year the Arab Spring uprising was born, then I think 2017 will be the year of the Women’s Spring, when women and men calmly and intelligently learn to follow the rules we’ve known for a long time, such as: “to look at the beauty of one another and then cast down our eyes.”
It might work.