I find myself talking to people about workplace sexual harassment a lot. We live in a society that sees itself ideally as merit-based – you get what you earn. My argument about sexual harassment is, if you’re being treated or viewed as a sexual object in your place of work, you’re not being given a fair opportunity to prove your merit as an employee. So to me, eliminating sexual harassment at work is one of the biggest ways that we could create a truly egalitarian society.
And it should be easy — we have laws in place, and a government agency – the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – to investigate claims of sexual harassment at work. Most employers have policies about sexual harassment that are clear-cut. Most often it’s defined as either making remarks about gender or sex that create a hostile or uncomfortable workplace atmosphere, or taking actions in a supervisory role that discriminate based on sex or sexual performance. Easy! Right?
Yet in these conversations, I find people defending sexual harassment as it’s defined by law. That is BONKERS. Here are the four most common defenses I’ve heard of sexual harassment at work, and the reasons they are wrong. Keep reading »
Sofia Coppola: I feel like you and I are so on the same page about how to approach things. Have you ever worked with a director you didn’t agree with? And if so, what did you do?
Kirsten Dunst: I have, and it takes all the fun out of what you do. You just get through it instead of having a meaningful experience.
SC: What if a director pounces on you while working? Has that ever happened?
KD: No [laughs]. I don’t give off that vibe. I think that you court that stuff, and to me it’s crossing a boundary that would hinder the trust in your working relationship.
Kirsten Dunst is a real dingaling, isn’t she? First, in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar last month, she professed her love for traditional gender roles, telling the mag, “You need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman.” And now, in an interview with her “Marie Antoinette” director, Sofia Coppola, for W, Kirsten rather smugly says that she hasn’t ever been sexually harassed by a director because she doesn’t give of “that vibe” or “court that stuff.” In other words, if you’re an actress that has been sexually harassed by someone with power in the industry, you must have asked for it. It’s almost like she’s conflating sexual harassment with a consensual affair, as if the two things are the same and/or cross the same boundary. But they aren’t the same. At all. Seriously, Kirsten, hush. [Defamer]
Oh, good ol’ double standards! Reddit asked its users yesterday which double standard they hate most in modern society and commenters, both male and female, had some pretty sobering (and funny) observations to share. Do these ring true in your own life? Keep reading »
Before she transcribed this interview, our intern told me that she wasn’t entirely sure who Anita Hill was. I could hardly blame her. Even with a segment on the Anita Hill testimony during a gender studies class in college, I didn’t know too much about Anita Hill myself.
The new documentary,”ANITA,” revisits Anita Hill’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 after she revealed that her former employer, Clarence Thomas, had sexually harassed her. A quiet law professor in Oklahoma, Hill had privately revealed the sexual harassment she suffered under Thomas, which was then leaked to the press. Immediately thrust in the public eye, she was asked to publicly testify against Thomas and decided to go for it. Sexual harassment laws were on the books, but this was the first time in many people’s memory that a woman subordinate to a very powerful man had spoken out. Not at all surprisingly, Hill was repeatedly asked to repeat graphic testimony about Thomas’ behavior; she was accused of being a liar or a “scorned woman”; and worst of all, treated as if it were her character that was under consideration. That both Hill and now Supreme Court Justice are both Black only added another layer of pressure to her decision to speak up. Thomas famously accused the 14 all-white men seated on the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating Hill’s allegations of conducting a “high tech lynching.” (He later blamed “pro-choice liberals” for going after him.) Eventually, Thomas was narrowly confirmed by the Senate. Keep reading »