I’ve found it fascinating watching the men and women around me and on social media discussing a high profile case this week.
There has been an overwhelmingly male chorus singing from a familiar song book. I may be being unfair to men, in that in most cases they spoke over the top of, or instead of women, so the women may have shared their view – I just didn’t hear it. These voices were at work, on radio panels (I’m looking at you RNZ) and on social media. The songs were “it’s PC gone mad” and “he is a really nice guy” “He is really well respected” “he is just a touchy feely guy”.
Most people are.
Very few people have their friends and colleagues spouting off to the media about what an asshole they are. Most people have a place where they fit in and feel at home. Most people have mates who think they are a good bloke, a top guy, a bit of a hard case.
It doesn’t mean that for some people they aren’t a danger, an unsafe person, a creeper, that person at work that you avoid. And just because your mother/colleague/wife loves you, doesn’t mean you aren’t a total asshole to someone else.
I would really like people to remember two key things.
1) It’s REALLY important to remember that safe is a movable line, and it is set by the receiver of contact, not the giver.
2 ) Creepy out of line behaviour doesn’t happen because people are always sneaky. It happens because people are entitled and the people around them let it happen.
Here is an easy example of that movable safe line…
People who catch crowded commuter trains in Japan will feel safer with someone standing close next to them on public transport than people that commute on NZ trains. Your personal bubble is what you are used to, and it is often the same among people of the same living environs/culture. But even within a one similar group, not everyone is the same, and direct physical contact beyond a basic handshake should be carefully evaluated. People who have their personal safety violated in the past will not feel safe with hugs from randoms that might be seen as totally okay by the other 60% of the workforce.
As a self-aware professional, it is part of my job to assess how I interact with my colleagues just as much as I do my clients. I can easily go a day without physical contact and come to work for the next twenty years. Missing out on physical touch is nothing compared to the feeling of someone encroaching on your personal space and feeling like you are in a constant state of defence. People need to stop seriously thinking that their right to touch others as they see “normal” is equally important as someone else’s right to NOT BE TOUCHED WITHOUT ASKING.
Any sense that your way is the best way and people should just accept your behaviour involving their space and body is a massively entitled view. This is an especially odd view when you consider that most of the men I was listening to today were deeply concerned at their rapidly vanishing super important right to act how they choose at work. So they DO UNDERSTAND THAT WE HAVE RIGHTS.
Our right to feel safe just isn’t as important as their right to do what they want.
Heads up lads. You will know when the feminazis are winning, and it won’t be because you can’t harass us at work. It will be when you are held accountable for those actions and the population stops seeing you as a nice guy for it. I'm gonna add in an extra wish that the media ceases it's witch hunts of women who dare to complain.
It doesn’t seem that extreme to me. But then, what would I know?