When all of the sexual allegations and firings and public apologies first started happening, I was almost angry. Angry and incredibly frustrated because I thought, Here we are so close to change and yet I can't even imagine a world where that is possible.
I was driving home from work ranting to a friend on the phone one day when I realized that I have never had a female career model to look up to, because they are all men. I've had a female supervisors, never a female boss, and I've worked for a few companies and have rarely ever seen a female in a corporate position. I haven't been able to look up to a woman career-wise because there haven't been any around me.
The fact that this has actually progressed and could inspire change is so exciting, but it's also terrifying. We're living in a time where we have groundbreaking news every single day (the toxic underbelly of the scientific world, Mario Batali's wandering hands), but we also have no experience with such an influx of terrible information and how we should be handling it. My fear is that it will cause a sex-cultural regression.
It may sound outlandish, but it really isn't that impossible. As recently as a little less than a century ago, women were regarded as innocent beings who must be pure, obedient, and endlessly giving. We were not given a chance in the workplace and we were looked down upon when we wore revealing clothing or stayed out late.
Today, we live in a world that is the complete opposite of that. We are looser with our sexuality - rightfully so, but if people in power in our society see that as the problem, then we could be in trouble.
I'm not saying I think we're going back to being housewives, but I do think this can potentially cause men to regard women as things they are not supposed to touch or be sexual with, which can really harm us as a culture. That wouldn't make us equal - it would just put us in another impossible reality. Today, we are forced to grin and bear it, to do whatever it takes to please our managers, to take the jokes and the grabs and the leers and just go with it. That doesn't mean tomorrow we want to be considered too fragile to touch.
One extreme to the other is not what we need. What we need is a new formula entirely - one where men and women are people. Good, bad, lazy, hardworking, funny, efficient, trustworthy, not worth a shit - this is how we will think of each other. Not as a male or female. Not as a possible victim or not.
The answer to this sexual revolution isn't to box women up and mark them as "off limits," but rather to finally include them in a society they deserve to be an equal part of. To stop the sexualizing, infantilizing, patronizing, and all the other "izings" you bastards do to us and let us grow as a nation.