No one ever argues the case for sexual harassment. So much to the dismay of angry feminists, politically correct liberals, and overly sensitive PAX viewers, I’m going to take my rightful seat on the throne at the left of Satan and once again play devil’s advocate. For I am an actual fan of certain kinds of workplace socializing that could possibly fall under the heading of sexual harassment.
Before you take the time out of your busy schedule to pen a pissed-off letter declaring me the undisputed whore of Babylon, first of all, I already know that. Second of all, there are certain levels of sexual harassment — I’m not talking about the kind that involves any sort of physical contact, intimidation, or unwanted advances. However, I’m all for a good joke, which in some cases and around the wrong sets of ears can be taken far too seriously with sometimes ridiculous repercussions.
I was only a teenager when Anita Hill’s very public sexual harassment accusations against then Supreme Court Justice Nominee Clarence Thomas played out on televisions across the nation. There was no doubt in my mind that he said the things she accused him of, but at the same time I couldn’t help but think “Jeez, lady, learn how to take a joke.”
He wasn’t trying to play grab-ass or telling her that she’d get further ahead at work if she showed off her sexy gams in a miniskirt. He made jokes, albeit bad ones, but jokes nonetheless — probably the same lame gags that he shared with his male coworkers. There were far more legitimate concerns that could have been brought up against him becoming a Supreme Court judge besides his pathetic attempt at acting like he was on Def Comedy Jam. And as far as putting myself in Miss Hill’s shoes, I would’ve been more upset if he had been sharing his shitty witticisms with his fellow male peers, but acting completely different when in my presence. I wouldn’t feel like I was part of the team, and therefore I wouldn’t consider myself an equal.
Maybe I feel this way because of the various industries I’ve found myself employed in. When it comes to the radio and comedy worlds, there’s a certain understanding that you will be faced with people who, on occasion, may be completely inappropriate. It’s just considered part of the territory, and not only do you have to develop a thick skin, it behooves you to verbally be able to throw it right back in the face of your so-called “harassers.” But at the same time, you’ve got to stand up for yourself if the line, wherever you have personally set it, has been crossed. In my recollections of someone taking a gag to the point of confrontation, the offensive party has been more than apologetic. At least to my face.
Believe me, I know my opinions will infuriate a lot of readers, especially any of those who have considered themselves sexually harassed. Clearly it can be a brutally traumatic experience, but in the litigious society we live in, it seems that some men and women are almost looking for an opportunity to blow an innocent comment out of proportion and reap the financial benefits. Let’s just say if I were sued for every time I made sexually inappropriate one-liners in the workplace, I’d be living in a Frigidaire box under the Cooper River Bridge.