Silence Is Acceptance
He did it. He admitted to it. He did it and I am so disappointed.
Give me this one more day to grieve the loss of who I thought Matt Lauer was and I promise you won’t hear about it from me again.
There are just a few things I need to get off my chest about it.
First, let’s take a moment to consider - a moment of consideration that Matt himself clearly didn’t take - his wife and his three kids, and how this impacts their lives. Not to mention the shame of the entire world knowing how your dad disrespected not only these women he’s accused of harassing, but his wife and mother of his children.
Can you imagine the humiliation of Matt’s wife, Annette Roque, when she runs into the neighbor at the grocery store? Or at her kids’ school?
How is she supposed to answer when one of the moms in the school asks, “How are you?” with a slight tilt of her head, lips turned down into a pout because she just feels so bad for her.
How embarrassed his daughter must be as she walks through the halls of her school, knowing kids are whispering and talking about what a perv her dad is.
And please don’t even get me started on the message he’s sent to his two sons. “This is how we treat women,” he’s said to them, without ever saying a word.
And, “This is how you behave when you’re way up at the top of the food chain at work.”
And, “This is how much I respect your mom.”
Along with all those lessons, Matt’s kids also get to reconcile that this person he’s portrayed himself as is in complete contrast with the real picture of who he is, and they now know he’s a big fat liar.
And let’s talk about this:
Do guys really think showing off their junk is a turn-on to women?
I say this as a completely straight woman, and I’m sorry to share this with the fellas, but mens' bodies are completely for function - there’s no real beauty there (unless you’re Adam Levine, in which case, this point does not apply. Obvi.)
I mean - abs? Yes, they're pretty to look at. A nice, round set of buns? Very nice.
But a penis is just not really all that fascinating to look at for anyone besides the guy it's attached to.
Most women do not get aroused by a man - their boss, in particular - pulling out their dingy.
There were some great points brought up in the Facebook comments on my post about this yesterday, and one of them pointed out what I think is a reason for the flood of sexual harassment accusations.
The comment was, “I've experienced sexual and other harassment in the work place. It was minimized and I was expected just to laugh and shrug it off, which I did. “
When I was in high school, there was this one guy who always swatted me on the butt in the hall in between classes.
I didn’t like it, but I didn’t hate it, either, but that’s not the point.
The point is, I laughed it off because it just wasn’t a big deal.
One of my first jobs out of college was working for a guy who would make crude comments about women’s bodies, while the rest of us (all young women) would throw out the awkward laugh.
We didn’t like it, but it just wasn’t a big deal.
I realize these are hardly the same as your boss calling you into a room and dropping his Joe Boxers, but my point is this: letting these “not a big deal” moments slide not only minimizes them, they normalize them.
Letting them slide - or even worse - laughing them off is the same as granting permission for a next time.
Silence is acceptance.
And granting permission almost encourages a bolder move the next time.
And bolder still the next.
And before you know it, you’re eye to eye with Matt Lauer’s willy.
Do you think Matt went straight to giving his colleague a sex toy right out of the gate? No. I’m sure he started with a smack on the ass or something else and it was shrugged off.
My friend’s comment made me think, “Yes! I laughed off those butt-swats and vulgar comments, too!” Because it was expected. And it "wasn't a big deal."
Her comment made me realize many of these stories are coming out because people are looking around and saying, “Wait a second, what that guy did to me was a criminal act?” Because all this time, they’ve been thinking, “Yah, I know it’s not morally right, but that’s just guys for ya!”
This normalization and acceptance of “locker room talk” and swatting asses and grabbing boobs has been such a part of our culture for so long that we’ve accepted it as just the way it is.
Silence is acceptance and women aren’t being silent, anymore.
Now you: ever had a swat on the rear or an inappropriate touch that you shrugged off because it was just a guy being a guy? I'm dying to know what your thoughts are on all these harassment accusations recently - tell me in the comments!
PS - I realize the flood of people coming forward to expose their harassers all started because one brave woman came out against Harvey Weinstein, giving confidence to another and another and another. Most of the experiences of these men and women were far more devastating than the ass-grabbing I talk about in this post, and I do not mean to minimize their stories.
I'm just pointing out that it doesn't have to be a violent attack to be wrong.