Thursday, 28 February 2013

A Culture of Groping

Baron Rennard is a Liberal Democrat peer, someone who is meant to stand up for equality and rights. He, until a few years ago, held the role of party Chief Executive, a position that gave him great influence and power within society, something that he has been accused of abusing in order to engage in acts that are not exactly acceptable. 

Several women have claimed that he acted inappropriately when in their presence, groping them repeatedly, something that is both illegal and incredibly demeaning. It was not along, however, before the reports started to come in of groping having been the normal practice in politics in the 20th Century, and something that is, by some, still practiced routinely. It seems that Baron Rennard, if the allegations turn out to be true, could just be one of many people who abuse their position in order to below those below them.

Many women have to face the choice of reporting their experiences, and risking their career by complaining about their boss, or just accepting that this is part of life.

Really, it is no surprise that we see cases like this. There will always be people in power who abuse it, whether it be making their workers jump through hoops, because they can, or through the much more sinister use of sexual harassment and assault. Yet, the fact that bullying through groping is so prevalent harks back to how society views women.

Society has made a lot of progress when it comes to treating women equally, with the government passing laws and business cracking down on harassment, but there are still many who see women largely as objects. They are there to be seen, maybe even to contribute to the paperwork, but are not really anything that matters. What is more is that this is not an old fashioned or archaic view, but something that really is relevant in modern society Some people really think women are there to look nice.

As long as advertisers use women to "sex up" their commercials and society believes that a women's looks are the main factor in deciding your behaviour towards them, then we will have a society that thinks of women as a something and not a someone. I do not regard myself as a feminist, but I do understand that everyone has the right to be judged not on their appearance but on the content of their character.

It is worth noting, however, that the objectifying of people is not limited to women, as recent surveys suggest that a whole new generation of people are putting emphasis on how they and others look. Both men and women are being judged more and more on their looks, the one thing that is largely irrelevant when trying to find out who someone is.

So, lets try and show a bit of respect for people, and encourage others to do the same as well.

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