Golden Globes Confusing Cleavage, Hype and Hypocrisy
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 15 Jan 2018
One-way harassment — OK — I am attracted — Now what?
15 Jan 2018 – Much has been made of the feminist takeover of the 2018 Golden Globes celebration (Michael Schulman, The 2018 Golden Globes: Oprah leads a decisive feminist takeover, The New Yorker, 8 January 2018; Nicole Lyn Pesce, This is what happens when women take over the Golden Globes, Moneyish, 2018; Time’s Up: Activists Join Actresses on Golden Globes Red Carpet to Call for Gender and Racial Justice, Democracy Now, 8 January 2018)
Missing from the feminist declarations and media coverage is any sense whatsoever that there are other forms of “harassment” which may or may not involve women. By framing harassment as being exclusively male-on-female, the attention accorded to the latter has distorted the debate and undermined the credibility of the case that was so appropriately presented there. This is consistent with the wider approach through the media to harassment, sexual and otherwise, as discussed separately (Reimagining Intercourse between the Righteous Unrightly Challenged, 2017) .
The concern here is to explore harassment from a complementary perspective. Feminists have successfully made a case regarding male harassment against females — as they perceive it. How might males frame their understanding of harassment — whether or not women consider this perception justified? The question is complicated by the manner in which perception may vary enormously according to circumstances, to situation, to culture, to place and to time — especially historical time and periods of fashion. Any assumption, as now prevails, that there is a single appropriate conclusion to the matter is less than helpful.
As framed from a female perspective, the most offensive forms of harassment are physical — whether unwelcome touching or more forceful forms of abuse, most particularly rape. Other forms include gesture and verbal harassment, especially when a pattern of dominance is exerted. This includes harassment in a domestic context — within the family.
Clearly males experience analogous forms of physical harassment from other men, most notably in institutional settings — work place harassment, military bases, educational institutions, and especially prisons. Much has been made of harassment of minors by the priesthood and in institutions of care. However the question here is how males may perceive harassment from females, especially outside the domestic context or where they are beholden to superiors in an institutional setting.
The primary focus of this argument is that, in contrast to the emphasis (or threat) of physical harassment — as experienced by women from men — in the case of men the harassment is primarily visual, with whatever effects this may imply. This may indeed be reinforced by verbal harassment by women, most notably in the form of taunting or explicitly disrespectful looks, but that is not the concern here. Nor is the concern with what may be recognized in terms of “predatory women” — of relative insignificance from the perspective of women.
The argument here therefore contrasts the physical nature of the harassment considered unwelcome by women with what men may consider visual harassment by women. However the aspect explored here is how men may experience harassment by women as problematic rather than intriguing (as a potential come-on), and how this may indeed be considered “unwelcome”. This aspect is of course readily considered irrelevant by women, just as men have a tendency to be indifferent to the complaints of women regarding their experience of some forms of harassment. Is harassment to be framed solely as “one-way”?
Given the historically unprecedented current investment of women in their attractiveness, a particular concern is with how men are expected to respond to this visual stimulus — as questioned by the subtitle of the document.
Specifically, as the title itself suggests, it is appropriate to ask how men are expected to respond to the degree of exposure of breasts, exemplified at the Golden Globes, and notably featured in the media — when accompanied by a widely hailed and publicized deprecation of sexual harassment by men. Those claims can be seen as hypocritical in that there is a subtlety to that event through the symbolism of the “golden globes”, as may be only too recognizable by some, consciously or unconsciously, as well as as being deliberately intended by others.
Curiously the stars of Golden Globes embody prominently the only forms of globalization to which many can relate. However, in doing so, they also symbolize forms of globalization by which many are otherwise threatened. In a strange sense, through the drama of the media event, they are indeed attractive models of deep and unresolved cleavages in society.
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