The movie 9 to 5 was made in 1980. That’s thirty-seven years ago. Thirty-seven years and it feels like nothing has changed.
I have been reflecting this past week on sexual harassment. I have been absolutely shocked by the allegations from so many women against Harvey Weinstein.
I can remember being in high school and a grown man putting his hands on my shoulders and rubbing them. I still remember how gross it made me feel. But I didn’t know what to do.
Another instance was at the same place of employment. I was eating ice cream with a spoon and a much older adult male decided he was going to share my cool treat with me.
He grabbed my spoon and licked the ice cream right off of it. At the time I knew it was weird. I felt it had a sexual undertone, but I didn’t know what to do. So I took another bite- completely grossed out that his gross ass tongue and lips had been on my spoon. And then said creep helped himself to another bite. Licking the damn spoon.
This man was old enough to be my father. He actually had kids my age. I’ve always thought about how weird this was, but never really knew why.
The other super strange thing is, the place I was working, at the time, was a family owned business. My uncle owned the business and my dad and other uncles and brothers and cousins all worked there as well.
This guy knew who I was. He knew who my dad was. My dad was his boss. And yet somehow he thought this was an acceptable way to interact with a young girl.
This explains two things. Why car salesmen are stereotyped as creeps. And why I really don’t even like ice cream to this day.
And here I am still dealing with this same bullshit today. In the past couple of months I have been complaining to my friends that I think I’m being sexually harassed. It kind of started out as a joke. But as the weeks have past, it’s really bothering me.
Last week this particular creep put his hands on my shoulders. I was brought right back to the time in high school. I just remember thinking, “did you just touch me?”
What in God’s name makes you think it is in any, way, shape, or form okay for you to put your hands on me? What in the actual F?
And then guess what I did? Nothing. I just waited for him to take his hands off my shoulders and just thought about what a creep he was the rest of the night.
And now I’m pissed. At myself. For not turning around at that very moment and telling that SOB to not ever put his hands on me again. And I’m pretty sure I’ll be calling him Harvey from now on.
This man is not my boss. We are both volunteers. I am not afraid of him at all. If anything, I’m sure I could take him down. He has a waistline I could only dream of. He has no authority over me and yet I still didn’t do anything.
So I can’t just imagine these women in Hollywood. Whose livelihood depended on how they reacted to the harassment. I had zero to lose, and I said nothing. But even I can only take so much.
The icing on the cake was yet another creepy old man I volunteer with. I walked into the office and he has his freaking pants undone, halfway down his legs. In an office. That I work in. There was another woman in the office with me. When I walked in and saw what he was doing I was so pissed.
I said, what the hell are you doing? He just laughed and said he was tucking in his shirt. With his pants down. Something that can be done without ever unbuttoning your pants. I let him know in no uncertain terms that he is to never pull his pants down again in my presence.
Keep your old-freaking-man balls in your old-freaking-man pants. You freaking creep.
Finally I was strong enough to do this. Enough is enough. And again, I have absolutely nothing to lose by saying something.
I feel horrible for these actresses who were all violated in some way by someone with an extreme amount of power over them. It’s not easy to come forward at the risk of losing everything and never getting hired again. I just can’t imagine.
I don’t think most men understand this. I talked to Beau about it. But he just doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a woman and feel so violated by some creep putting his hands on you. Or making an inappropriate comment to you. He doesn’t understand that fear.
Because no one has ever made him feel that way.
Although he was quick to point out how just a few months ago he was felt up in a bar. As my friends and I all looked on in bewildered amazement. But that’s a story for another time.
Beau deserves better. Hollywood actresses deserve better. I deserve better.
We all freaking do.