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Nancy Ahern

is the Executive Editor of the Tocquevillian magazine, and a freelance writer and columnist in Arizona.


    My, how nice you look!

    by Nancy Ahern

    March 26, 2004

    A story carried by Reuters is a demonstration of how the sexual harrassment sword can indeed cut both ways. It ought to serve as a warning to the rabid anti-male feminists who wield that particularly charmless weapon.

    The story recounts how a female receptionist in Sweden had been fired for sexual harrassment. The receptionist did not pressure a co-worker into having sex. The receptionist did not make sexually explicit comments that lead the more sensitive around her to feel uncomfortable. The receptionist did not make sexual overtures to her boss in order to attempt to gain favor. The receptionist committed the heinous crime of telling a male client he looked good.

    "I joked with a client about how handsome he was," the receptionist told the daily Sydsvenska Dagbladet. The man said he had not been offended by the woman's remark.

    The report further notes that it "is not uncommon in Sweden for women to accuse men of sexual harassment, but the opposite is rare."

    Perhaps the opposite needs to become less rare, in order to provide a set of "consequences" that hard-line "all-male-female-sexual-intercourse-is-rape" feminists need to understand.

    No, I'm not serious in the above statement -- all such incidences are unacceptable. When sexual harrassment is real -- when a man or a woman feels pressured or threatened into having sex, or is made to repeatedly feel uncomfortable concerning sexual advances or innuendo after requests to stop have been ignored -- it is valid. Sexual harrassment charges really require a
    victim. The victim is the person who is the object of the sexual advances. It is not a bystander overhearing a conversation who merely feels disgusted. It is not a repressed someone who, snooping through a co-worker's office, discovers lurid photos of the co-worker's girlfriend or wife. And, it is not a company whose unoffended, rather content clientele has shared a friendly
    conversation with a receptionist.

    I wish I could offer a solution to these spurious and damaging claims of sexual harrassment. I fear such pointless watering down of a reasonable and serious situation will indeed cause backlash, to the point where genuine harrassment is too easily blown off.

    Oops. I said "blown." Fire me.

    © 2003 Tocqevillian Magazine