Why Do Men Think Man-Handling is Okay?

In light of the recent sexual harassment allegations against some of the biggest names in Hollywood, the question of man-handling has loomed over women across the country.

It all started when Harvey Weinstein, well-known film executive and co-founder of Miramax, faced accusations by several actresses and models from events dating back to the 90s.

Every day, another reputable man who is known for his acting or comedy or political recognition is accused of sexual harassment by not only one, but several people. Most recently, and most famously, comedian Louis C.K. and “House of Cards” actor Kevin Spacey have been identified by women and men as sexual predators from events in years past.

In a CNN article from November 1st titled “The (Incomplete) List of Powerful Men Accused After Harvey Weinstein,” the #MeToo discussion is referred to as “the biggest national conversation on sexual harassment since the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas battle.”

Anita Hill worked in the Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alongside judge Clarence Thomas prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court. She recounted the disturbing comments he made to her during this time in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee as forms of sexual harassment. Though he holds his position on the bench, this event sparked the issue nationwide of men in high ranks abusing women in all senses.

This issue has continued today, perpetrated by men who entertain the public and are well-known for their name in movies and TV shows. However, this is an equally prevalent topic in the workplace, where women in lower positions are met with improper behavior from their bosses — usually wealthy, powerful men.

According to a survey done by Cosmopolitan, one in three women have been sexually harassed at work. Within this statistic, 44 percent of women say that they have experienced touching by men in their workplaces, while 25 percent have gotten disturbing texts or pictures from coworkers.

As the allegations of sexual harassment by celebrities roll in and the statistics of harassment in the workplace remain true, I can’t help but recognize the same trend of man-handling within my college experiences thus far.

Weeks ago, my friends and I went to a “stoplight party” where girls dressed in the color associated with their availability. Single girls wore green, while girls in relationships wore red. My friend and I wore red, excited that we would be safe from boys approaching us to dance or any unwanted advances that we usually dealt with.

It had barely been an hour, but both my friend and I had been grabbed by the waist, grinded on and approached by several different guys. I was grabbed by the arm by some random guy who pulled me closer to him and asked if we had met.

On the walk back from Allston to our residence, we theorized that the boys may have had an inside goal to hook up a girl wearing red, rather than focus on the girls who were obviously available in green.

Obviously, we were not assaulted or harmed in any way, and our experiences do not even come close to matching the victims of the men in recent news. But the experiences are comparable. I wonder why young men, students of a reputable university, believe it is their right to put their hands on me, even when I am making it obvious that I am not available? Wasn’t the point of the party to clearly identify who is willing to be approached and who is not?

 

A man’s behavior toward women is a mystery and an ongoing controversy in this day and age. I stand with the women who have said #MeToo.

 

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