Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Exposed in Iraq"

After reading "Exposed in Iraq: Sexual Harassment And Hidden Rank Structure of the U.S. Army" I thought how similar behaviors are true in all workplaces and even in public space. Any woman that exceeds in the workplace-- the higher the position she achieves-- will find herself surrounded by more and more men. This will place her in a vulnerable position in regards to her exposure to sexual harassment. Having worked in an environment with all men (valet/bell service) there were many times that I felt out numbered. When i worked at the hotel I feared that if I ever questioned their actions or words that I would be the one with more to lose. In this subculture largely dominated by men any opposition from my part would be deviant.

Marshall Thompson asks himself "Why did she play along? Maybe it was a defense mechanism-- an easier way to deal with the problem... But why did the female sergeant on the bus merely laugh and shake her head when her male commander made a joke about them sleeping together? Why wouldn't my coworker file a complaint against the men who had made her feel so worthless?"

Sadly, I feel like the answer is that it happens so often that we are casehardened to such actions. It's bothersome, but it would be destructive to pay mind to every demeaning word/action. It is a defense mechanism. However, it is as equally destructive to internalize all the anger that builds up overtime. More importantly, if as women we never speak up and stand up for ourselves then who will? There is no perfect answer. All I can say is that we should not feel shame, instead we need to take pride in the strength we use day to day.

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