Wednesday, March 9, 2011

International Women's Day Sexual Harrasment

I suppose it would not be wise to let International Women's Day go by without a comment of some description. I already had a 'rant' about the unfairness of being a girl in a man's world in January and one 'rant' is enough but that's what women do, we are just so self effacing in the face of male expectations that we stand aside and wait for the 'kick in the teeth'. For a male world seeing a submissive female  the temptation is irresistible.

In the 1960's & 70's Sexual Harassment was part of my working life. It was a day to day occurrence and one just lived with it. I was in the theatre so I was considered 'fair game'. I put up with it, we all did, but I did not enjoy the experience. I have been chased around more wings, spot lights and photocopiers than I care to mention mainly by happily married men who ought to have known better.

One of which told me only the other day when I spoke to him that he really did not wish to speak to me again as it was 'inappropriate'.  For whom? I ask myself. Considering I never told his late wife I think his behavior then and now was  and is 'unacceptable'. But he is a man and can do such things as of right and I am a 'silly' woman who should be flattered by his advances. Today I should have complained! I had a lucky escape from this man's attentions and at the time I was scared.

For most of civilization as we know it half the population of the world has been treated as second class citizens little better than slaves. In my day women were not given an education. My father who went to the best schools money could buy let his daughter be educated by Irish Catholic nuns. If I had been a son I should have gone to Eton and Oxford.

Girls of my age were taught to be wives. We had to be virgins to be marriageable and we had to marry 'well'. Lady Di is the best but not only example. No way could a girl of my age get a pension or a decent income even if we deserved it. My famous example was the 'Desert Song' with John Hanson, who a famous family man nevertheless chased every woman in sight. The leading lady and I, the comedy lead got less than the chorus boys  and we all got less than the donkey and yet the show could not have gone on without us.

No wonder I became an Equity Deputy, the youngest in UK at the time as no one else would take on the job for fear of not being employed again. Exploitation of women was the norm. It is getting a bit better but not much.

I won't even start on religion! The devoted and saintly nuns were so impure that they could not 'serve' at Mass. They had to say the responses form the alter rails and give way to a seven year old spotty rude boy who picked his nose who could serve as he had a penis! Today they can serve at the altar if no male is around but only if the local Bishop allows it.

Oh yes women have a long way to go as yet. Headscarves for all is still what most men secretly want.  Wives are essential to success in life as they allow men to get on with the job. I really could do with a wife!

So that's enough of a 'rant' until next year but oh so good to get off one's chest. Next year I shall tell you of my escape from a hotel room in Durban where I was harassed by a white South African policeman! Now there's a story.

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