BEYOND the Locker Room Banter

I took a while to reflect on some recent things that have taken flight on media as of recent. I’m not really the kind to post subjects relating to politics, as much as a lot of my work has to do with policies, but as I thought about what’s been written in social media and multiple news outlets/agencies, I wanted to take the time to talk about the recording of Donald Trump and Billy Bush in addition to the sorry excuse that what he said was “locker room talk.”

Many have shared their views of disappointment, many have come forward with additional accusations, and athletes have countered that locker room talk doesn’t have such words. First off, thank you male athletes out there who are standing up to such absurdities and crass comments of women. Secondly, I’m thankful that such crass comments are considered wrong by so many — both men & women alike, because this shows me that there is something in humanity that tells us what’s right & wrong.

However, I want to go beyond such an excuse, because frankly as a Asian American woman, Christian, and Republican (who is not voting for Trump by the way), I have been the victim of sexual harassment at work and a victim, as so many women have been all over the world, of being cat called by the opposite gender. It’s downright uncomfortable and let me tell you, I do feel violated when a man is using his thoughts to undress me. An aspiring actor/screen writer once told me: “When I wear make up to auditions, in the subway, I know men are looking at me, even though I’m covered up. It’s uncomfortable.”

I was a victim of sexual harassment when I was working at a nursing home, interestingly enough, by a male patient. Being the youngest at the time, let me just say, reporting that to the director of nursing was really scary, but necessary, because I no longer felt comfortable providing care to that particular patient. While resolution came quick, I soon was providing care to that patient again. You better bet that I was a lot smarter, wiser, and a lot more careful around him.

This was years ago, but I still remember it as if it was yesterday. I recalled recently, while attending a sexual harassment training, of how multiple women came forward, describing how they were sexually harassed at work with one person even going on to describe how her previous manager “hired pretty girls” as his personal assistant.

More recently, while helping my department with store surveys, my colleague and I, while going door to door to various stores was catcalled twice while walking by men. Let me tell you, I was dressed in cargo shorts and a dry fit t-shirt (similar to the ones women wear for soccer jerseys) while my collegiate was dressed similarly.

Trump’s words were “disturbing,” as Michelle Obama would put it. However, it’s not surprising as this as been going on far beyond what’s mentioned on the news as of late. Like I mentioned before, I’m glad the limelight is now on how wrong such comments are. However, I will have to take that limelight away from the two who were talking so crassly and point the house lights towards men with their wandering eyes and lewd thoughts, because this goes beyond the locker room conversations if indeed this is true. I’m sorry, I’ve never walked into a male locker room before, so I don’t know. However, as a woman who doesn’t dress provocatively who still sometimes feels uncomfortable in a sleeveless dress or shorts that are mid-thigh, and full on make up, enough is enough doesn’t quite cut it. We see what people in the public eye are scrutinized for, but this isn’t just for those who are in the limelight. Ordinary men are capable of this and it is not ok.

Today, while driving to work, I was listening how a passenger on a Southwest flight was kicked off for harassing a female flight attendant as she was doing the demo on how to use a life vest. His comment was “I was just playing.” And “I didnt’ do anything.” Honestly, I’m glad he got kicked off, because it serves him right and props to the flight attendant for calling him out on such a statement made in front of over 60 passengers.

This evening, I read on USA Today, that Billy Bush essentially had to play along with what Trump said and any rebuke on his part would lead to his demise with Access Today (i.e. He’d be fired), according to his lawyer. My comment on this: Yes it’s scary, but as a journalist, anchor, and interviewer, would you not stand up for the women whom Trump was demoting to mere objects to be objectified purely on looks and gender? Would you not want to take the higher road and defy what’s mentioned? Do you not know what was said is also said of your own counter part, family member, sibling, significant other, or close friend?

Excuses are out of the question when it comes to how certain men view and treat women. Rather than denouncing those in the media, such ought to be denounced in our own communities, places of work, and schools. In fact, the need to raise up men who have integrity, value women for who and what they are, and to stand up for what’s right is very much needed. Our culture needs such a shift. Perhaps those in the public eye can be our examples. However, as of now, can I honestly say such is the case?

Perhaps such culture shifts need to start small, in our own ordinary lives, like the Southwest flight attendant calling out on the man who made such remarks or even reporting cases of sexual harassment.

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