Sexual harassment is a perfect metaphor for some of the most important challenges of the twenty-first century: the challenge to our genetic heritage of protecting women; the challenge to the stereotype of innocent woman/ guilty man; the challenge to keep our workplace flexible and fluid rather than petrified and paralyzed; the challenge to respond to sexual nuance more with communication and less with legislation – understanding that communication at least responds to nuance with nuance, while legislation responds to nuance with rigidity’. When we respond to the nuance of the male-female dance with the rigidity of Stage I regulations, we are going backward, not forward.
If we desire to protea people from being hurt, we also have to make laws against love. And against marriage. And automobiles And gossip. If we desire to protea men from hurt, we would have to outlaw women’s sexual rejection of men. Most of us, though, would rather live in a country in which we are free to make our mistakes rather than in one in which we are subjea to litigation for each mistake we make.
Early feminists sensed this: they were strong opponents of proteaive legislation. They knew that as long as the princess was proteaed from the pea, women would be deprived of equality. The modern-day woman’s pea under the mattress is the rough spots in the workplace. When today’s feminists are proponents of protective legislation, they oppose equality.
Sexual harassment legislation is sexist because it makes only the man responsible for the male role in the sexual dance. It protects the woman who is sexual without proteaing coworkers from a woman who would use her sexuality for unearned advancement; nor does it protea the company from this woman. Ultimately, it ignores women’s role and therefore ignores women. Except as viaim.