Present Tense

A Tipping Point…

We are swimming in the soup of enormous cultural changes and I worry that we will now slide into a gender war.

Every woman in the US has known that this has been going on forever. We have all known that we are considered ‘less’ than men.

We all know that there is a cultural knee-jerk reaction to believe the man when a woman makes an allegation of sexual abuse, molestation, harassment or touching.

We are told “well, that’s just him” or “maybe, you misunderstood” or “he was just joking around…where’s your sense of humor?”.

This has been our ‘normal’ for as long as I can remember and for as long as my mother can remember…and my grandmother and so on and so on.

Did you know that in many cases, women couldn’t apply for credit without a male co-signer until the 70s? So no credit cards, no mortgage. We couldn’t vote nationally until 1920, the year my mother was born.

So, as we traverse this new territory where suddenly, we are seemingly in the middle of some cultural epiphany; where we are learning that men seem to think we are property or playthings. We are in grave danger of further division.

Obviously, all men are not abusers. Obviously, all men do not look at women as potential conquests, and yet, I find myself wondering what exactly DO men think of us?

I spent my career surrounded by and outnumbered by men. That was just the nature of broadcasting and media for most of my career that I entered in the early 80s.

It has changed some and I suspect that MOST women have worked with more men than women and the things we’ve heard come out of their mouths were often shocking and at times, painful.

Things like, “She’d be so much better looking if she grew her hair” as a woman left the room. Or, “No wonder, she’s not married” or “I’d hit that”.

Yup….over and over and over and over, day after day after day. Guy after guy after guy.

So, for the men: when we hear things like this come out of your mouth, is it any wonder why we feel angry and unworthy and yes, frightened?  Or when you sit by and let another man say these things without calling him out?

Is this how we are judged, even though we are competent professionals?

It’s all about who is fuckable, right?

So, yes. The pain, the humiliation, the fear and the overwhelming feeling that nothing that we do matters, because, well….’you’re a girl’ is suffocating.

Now, some brave women are coming forward and saying “Enough”. We are asking to be treated with little more respect. We don’t have to be adored or worshipped or put on a pedestal.

In fact, I have found that men who tend to claim their adoration and worship of women, are often the worst offenders in treating us like trophies or playgrounds.

The danger right now is that this will pit men against women (again). As women, we have to be careful not to paint with too broad a brush. To not demand too harsh of a punishment for men who just acted like a jerk. There is a difference between criminal and abusive behavior and being an asshole.

That is a very thin line, I know. But, in order for this to really begin to change, we have to muster what we women are best at: compassion and balance and love and nurture.

This is our wheelhouse. Let’s not allow ourselves to tip over into the default reaction of male energy: punishment and anger and domination.

This is but another test of our times. Jupiter is in Scorpio and that is a time to dig up the secrets. These things have been happening forever. All of the horror that we are seeing on the news every night isn’t new.

It’s just been buried and now, we are unearthing these dark secrets and behaviors. It is very hard to look at, but we HAVE to SEE it and acknowledge it. All of us. This is the time we have chosen to incarnate and it is both exciting and overwhelming.

It’s okay to be angry. I certainly am. And frustrated. And overwhelmed. This is hard, but we have to guard against becoming hardened.

Practice compassion and empathy and intellectual honesty. This is non-partisan. It is a human problem and if we divide into our tribes, we perpetuate this behavior.

How we reacted in the past (Bill Clinton, etc) is not relevant now.

The cosmos is asking us to grow up. It’s time.

November 22, 2017 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , ,

10 Comments »

  1. Hearing the barrage of news features on this topic were tumbling around in my head with no clear framework. Your blog gave me clarity & points to hang my thoughts on. Thanks, Jane.

    Comment by Glenda | November 22, 2017 | Reply

    • Glenda:
      Thanks…I felt the same way, which is why I sat down to write it out. Glad it offered a bit of clarity in very confusing times. Jane

      Comment by janelondon | November 22, 2017 | Reply

  2. Honest reaction from a woman: I am horrified by all of this and not in the way everybody else seems to be. Whatever happened to our honored “innocent until proven guilty” principal? It is a foundation of our country. All these men are assumed guilty because of the current media swarm and focus. Some of the accusations are for actions that are decades old. I can barely remember details beyond a year or two and yet the people involved are being asked to account for details after 30 years. And frankly, I don’t think that the majority of these accusations are worthy of ending a career. Were they rude, indecent, and intimidating? You bet. But I believe the punishment now being handed out are disproportionate to the crime. Especially when they have had no opportunity to prove their innocence. If I were a man today I would be terrified that perhaps some woman who happened to be near me at a Christmas party 25 years ago is going to make national news by accusing me of harassment because I told her she looked really great that night with perhaps too much of a glean in my eye. That I don’t even remember.

    Comment by Jodi | November 22, 2017 | Reply

    • Jodi
      I agree with you about the degrees of bad behavior. Personally, I don’t think that Al Franken’s behavior is a “firing’ offense”. I tried to make that distinction in my piece, but I also don’t really think that the time passing gives the offender a pass. We do need to tread carefully, here.
      Thanks for the comment. Appreciate that you took the time to write and be heard.
      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | November 22, 2017 | Reply

      • I don’t think they should get a pass, but I do think that after many years/decades it is hard, if not impossible, for both people to remember the details. I’m 50 and I couldn’t give an accurate account of anything from decades ago. Details fade. If the accused has the right to a “fair and speedy trial” (even though most of these will not go to trial as they are not really a civil or criminal manner), how can that be achieved in these circumstances? It can’t. Hopefully this current climate of women feeling strong and empowered enough to speak up will bring about sweeping changes in that the accusers of the future will do so promptly and that men will learn and behave better. 🙂

        Comment by Jodi | November 22, 2017

  3. I agree that a man being a jerk and doing something stupid in his youth is forgivable as long as it’s not criminal. HOWEVER, I might not be able to give an accurate accounting of my youth, but I remember vividly when I was accosted in the parking lot of the grocery store and I’ll bet money he does as well. The reason he will remember is because I fought back and left a mark. We don’t recall details, but we recall instances of behavior. We recall things we have done that we ought not to have done. I recall past actions that I regret 30 years later. They don’t forget and neither do we.

    Comment by KandisG | November 22, 2017 | Reply

  4. Once again Jane London has given us a thoughtful bi-gender approach to a multi-faceted issue without sounding to preachy or one sided. Starting the conversation with our kids may change the world enough to allow our mothers and daughters to grow up without feeling like that girl.
    I know that Ms London caught me with my hand in the cookie jar with the ” I’d hit that statement” I used to work in a male dominated field where, if an especially attractive female walked into our domian, we would page over the intercom “K.I.W. ( know I would) in a certain section of the store, so we could go check her out. I am ashamed that I still join my fellow males in this practice today. Ms. London’s blog has gotten me to re-examine my motives and try not to be a joiner to my base instincts.

    Comment by Kyle Glady | November 22, 2017 | Reply

  5. Jane – this was very thoughtful. I agree – definitions are critical. But i am 66 years old, and I will NEVER forget my piano lessons teacher who put his hands up around my 12-year-old back alongside MY BRA NEXT TO MY BOOBS. (Geez…I had fried eggs at 12….if that.) I never said anything to anyone. BUT I NEVER FORGOT. Anyone who claims a 40-year-old incident is an idiot.

    Comment by Edie M Kellogg | November 24, 2017 | Reply

  6. and, Jane….I’m totally off Facebook (since 11-08-2016) – I can only hope I still see everything you write/post/text/tweet/…..etc.

    Comment by Edie M Kellogg | November 24, 2017 | Reply

  7. […] Former radio personality Jane London implores us to distinguish the criminals from the assholes, and not to start a gender war, as we respond to the emerging reports of bad sexual behavior among men in visible and powerful positions. Read A Tipping Point […]

    Pingback by Recommended reading | Down the Road | November 25, 2017 | Reply


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