It’s the beginning of a new era.
We are part of a sea change in our history. How exciting is this? We will be telling our granddaughters about a time when women were powerless against men who tried to dominate us sexually by using power, control or harassment, and they will look at us in disbelief.
Oprah’s speech last night at the Golden Globes was historic. I expect that excerpts from it will be heard for generations. And what made it perfect, was that it didn’t bash men as a whole. It gave credit to those on our side. It encouraged the rest to evolve.
My hope is that this Hollywood movement has a ripple effect throughout all industries, onto the street, and into the home. I dream of a time when no man would ever jeer at a woman on the street to make her feel sexually threatened. When no husband would ever deride his wife in an effort to control her. I dream of a time when all of society view these activities as abuse, and decide that it won’t be tolerated.
The pendulum will necessarily swing too far in the other direction. Some women will now feel compelled to run to HR every time a male coworker admires her dress or a new hair style.
Let’s vow to make this over-correction as short-lived as possible.
Let’s find the happy medium. Quickly. It’s our obligation to help guide the men who are trying to find the new boundaries. If your male boss says to you, “You look great in that dress,” don’t get offended. Smile and say something like, “Thanks. I like this dress, too. It’s one of my favorites.” If he doesn’t get the hint, then the next time, say something like, “I’m sure what you meant was that you like this dress, not the way I look in it.” If there’s a next time, THEN there’s a problem. (Of course, if he says, “You look hot in that dress,” that’s when you go to HR.)
With this new power for women comes great responsibility. Let’s not let it go to our heads. Let’s use it wisely.