In today’s atmosphere George H.W. Bush’s fanny patting “David Cop a Feel” seems like a small offense. The reality is this act reveals the very insidious, pervasive sexual bullying that goes on in our culture on every level. President Bush, a cultured, educated, admired man felt completely comfortable with his behavior for a reason.
Women of my age have dealt with these actions and far worse over and over in our lives. Comments about our bodies—good and bad. Rating of our looks and sexual desirability. Unwanted sexual conversations and attention, sexual assault. Most of us dealt with this treatment as politely as we possibly could. Politely because we were all taught to be kind, not to hurt anyone’s feelings—not to make anyone angry. Politely because in many cases the person assailing us was a boss, a relative or someone much stronger and more aggressive than we were.
These men not only held our safety in their hands but our economic well being. They controlled far too much for us not to be polite, to be kind, to smile and simper—sometimes to just give in. To never tell. Am I surprised about President Bush, Harvey Weinstein et al? Not in the least—unfortunately people with power are often bullies and men have always had the power and for the most part still do.