“…men have the ability to do bad things without feeling guilty about it”
– Roger Ailes, Former CEO of Fox News
Excerpt from the Movie Bombshell.
I recently watched a movie titled Bombshell which is based on the series of sexual harassment cases reported by female staff of Fox News in 2016.
Primarily, the movie hightlighted how women in the media and broadcasting industry in America were being objectified and made to endure various forms of sexual harassment if they wished to build a successful career on TV.
Infact, one of the criteria for hiring women for the TV channel by the movie’s antagonist Roger Ailes (former CEO of Fox News) was how “sexy their legs looked.”
And it got me wondering that if something this unethical could happen in a company as “Public” as a Television Channel, imagine what level of impunity would exist in companies and organisations that were not so public.
While watching the movie, the only thing I could think of was my 4-months old niece. I thought, what if she chooses to venture into TV or acting some time in the future, would she have to go through this same level of harassment if she really wants to be successful?
Scratch that, how about when she’s in the university, would she have to endure raunchy advances from lecturers or professors?
And I get it. I get that there’s a lot of advocacy being done for women to protect them from Sexual Harassment. I get that there are several female-oriented initiatives that are being set up to protect women and their rights. But we need to ask these questions: “Do these initiatives provide a suistainable solution to sexual harassment? Are these solutions preemptive or are they mediatory? Do these solutions prevent sexual harassment from happening or do they just provide a means of settlement to victims of sexual harrassment?”
In the movie Bombshell, one of the new things I learnt about sexual harassment is the fact that most women are actually very reluctant to stand up and speak about it because they don’t want to be defined by that small, negative episode in their lives. I don’t blame them. Who would want to give up a thriving career to settle for being referred to as a victim of sexual harrassment. It takes alot of courage and willpower for abused women to stand up and speak against all odds. Because of this, I don’t believe a mediatory solution is best for sexual harassment as this is what most of the female-oriented Initiatives and NGOs provide.
This is quite similar to the scenario of a predator and a prey. The best way to protect a prey shouldn’t be by teaching it self-defense or how to avoid getting into a predator’s trap or telling the prey not to work home alone at night. Imagine teaching Rabbits how to fight Kung fu so they don’t get eaten by a Lion, that’s not feasible or sustainable.
Instead, I believe that the best way to protect the prey is by stopping the attack from happening in the first place, and this can only be achieved by domesticating the predators, by teaching them good home training, by showing them that not all PREY IS FOOD.
We need to start acting preemptively. As much as there are female-based initiatives protecting women and fighting for their rights, there also should be male-based initiative to teach our boys about why sexual harassment is wrong and why they should treat women equally and fairly. We really can’t save the rabbit from the lion by teaching it Kung Fu.
The only solution to global sexual harassment is to teach boys about it. To teach them to acknowledge their feelings and use their words, so they get to feel less like Predators and more like Human beings.
Let there be no more “Mr. Hard Guy” on these streets.