Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

Woman power

Female Mount Rushmore

I found this alternative to Mount Rushmore on a T-shirt for sale on Amazon. From the left are Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elizabeth Warren, Rosa Parks and Gloria Steinem.

 Duck and cover, boys. There’s a whole bunch of scattershooting coming up. I have a lot to say, I’m unable to organize it coherently, and none if it makes guys look good.

It seems appropriate, for some reason I may not be able to explain, to use the recent rash of sexual assault allegations as a reason to expound on my deep belief that we need more women in power.

I mean, we need women in charge, such as being president, having the majority of seats – and powerful seats – in Congress, and at least five positions on the Supreme Court. (Remember when Ruth Bader Ginsburg told of being asked how many women would be enough on the Supreme Court? Her answer was, when there are nine, just like there were always nine men for generations.)

I acquired my first female doctor 11 years ago, a dentist. (I’m scattershooting, remember? Keep up.) Since then, there has been an oral surgeon, an optometrist and, most convincing, my family doctor of the past several years. When my urologist retired this past summer, my first criterion for his replacement was to be a woman.

Generally speaking, I have more faith that women will make quality decisions, whether they concern my health or the well-being of the planet.

However, do not assume this to be a statement that all women are righteous angels nor that all men are selfish bullies.

Back to sexual assault charges.

In the recent past, it has been more the rule than the exception that such allegations have been ignored and/or the accuser vilified.

Just as black Americans, for decades, had been expected to give way to white people, women were expected to accept inappropriate comments and physical contact and shrug it off with a boys-will-be-boys attitude.

But that tide is changing.

Heck, since the investigation into Harvey Weinstein became public, that tide has become a tsunami.

And that is good. It’s way past time women are believed when they come forward with difficult charges.

The greatest payoff is still down the road, when sexual harassment becomes a rare event. Men who had never gotten the message should now understand with a heightened acuity: A woman is not your plaything.

What do I mean by tsunami?

The New York Times published its investigation into Weinstein on Oct. 5. Since then, men as prominent as Al Franken, Kevin Spacey, Roy Moore, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose and Andy Dick have been implicated as women and men have reported sexual misconduct.

 

Some have admitted guilt, such as John Besh, chief executive of the Besh Restaurant Group: “I alone am entirely responsible for my moral failings.”

Others have contested the charges, such as Andy Signore, senior vice president of content for Defy Media, whose lawyer stated: “Mr. Signore unequivocally denies allegations of sexual assault, harassment or retaliation of any kind.”

And that brings up a different matter of concern. During this rapid change in public perception, there may be collateral damage.

We must try to avoid automatically condemning all men just because they are accused, particularly when there is a single charge and it is denied. Remember, not all women are angels and not all men are bullies. However, that single charge deserves a fair hearing, and when the first accusation is followed by several more …

I know many men are sweating right now.

During my years editing newspapers, quite a few women worked for me. I honestly can think of no reason any one of them might have to call my character into question. Still, what if there was something said, what if there was a hug or a pat on the shoulder that bothered someone? See what I mean? A man who overtly crossed the line should be sweating bullets.

Holly O’Reilly tweeted:

 

Al Franken should resign.

Trump should be impeached.

Bill Clinton should play golf for the rest of his life.

Roy Moore should drop out of the race.

And it’s time for women to take over.

This is not a D or R issue.

I #believewomen.

Now it’s time to #ElectWomen

 

I cannot argue any of that.

At least until men learn how to behave and to respect others, let’s give women a shot at running things.

Everything.

Forty or 80 years from now, we’ll re-evaluate.

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