I Don’t Want to Talk About It
There is a topic that falls under the umbrella of bullying that I don’t want to talk about. That topic is sexual harassment. There are a couple of reasons why I want to avoid this topic and those are:
- Sexual harassment is defined differently than bullying
- Male privilege
Is Being Called “Fat” Bullying?
As previously mentioned, “bullying” has the troublesome definition of being aggressive and repetitive. “Sexual harassment” is defined as being romantic/sexual and unwanted. I really like that it features the word “unwanted.”
People can make the argument that calling someone “fat” isn’t bullying. Some say that it isn’t aggressive enough. Their intention was to shame someone into adopting healthier eating habits or start exercising. That they are just expressing a truth. But I believe that it is disrespectful and most likely unwanted.
Sexual harassment has the benefit that it doesn’t require a greater severity before it counts. Although, sexuality can be a bit of a trigger itself and make it instantly severe.
Regarding Male Privilege
I saw an Occupational Health & Safety video that provided an example of sexual harrassment. In the video, an office worker received a bouquet of flowers from an ex-boyfriend. The video mentioned that since the bouquet was unwanted that it was harassment and recommends that workplaces impose a ‘no gift’ policy.
When I first saw this, I was stupefied. I understood that the office worker didn’t want the gift but how was it considered harassment? The ex-boyfriend made a sweet romantic gesture. Maybe he’s trying to patch things up. There are people who would love to get gifts. As much as receiving gifts have nothing to do with getting work done, why should there be a policy in place to remove potential joy?
As a guy, I didn’t realize that the interpretation of the gift was a creepy, “I know where you work. I can surprise you anytime I choose.” Her ex-boyfriend could be a predator.
It’s easy for me to empathize with a good guy who is dealing with romantic rejection but I have to temper that with the disheartening fact that there’s one sexual assault every two minutes and 90% of the victims are women. I’m not as worried that I’m at risk of being assaulted as women are. That’s my privilege.
It’s not that I think that the topic of sexual harassment should never be discussed but that there are other people who are more suitable to discuss it. In order to not blunder and stick my foot in my mouth, I’d rather not talk about it.