Although I do agree that comments that appear accusatory are unhelpful. They automatically put others on the defensive, and it’s hard to respond well when you’re on the defensive.
This is totally true, but is also the reason I have stopped commenting. Because I cannot find a way to say “did you actually take in anything I said?” in response to subsequent comments without getting accusatory.
The thing is, we women are sitting at our keyboards actually facepalming. Like, literally facepalming. Because every time somebody says “well I never saw it in my day” and tries to offer explanations for why that is and why things were therefore so much better back then, there are women like myself yelling at our computer screens “I was there. My friends were there. WE experienced it.” The level of anger and frustration that comes with this, combined with dredging up memories that for many may actually be painful or distressing, can perhaps come out sounding accusatory. Sorry not sorry.
I honestly don't know the answer to that. I can quite clearly remember some horrific sexual violence cases in the 70s and 80s, it's not a new thing.
I absolutely can accept your experience, I am not in any way denying the truth of your assertion that you never saw (or realised that you were seeing) behaviour of the kind we're talking about. However, can you understand that when you open with an assertion of "well, I never saw anything like that" it feels like an attempt to negate the experiences of those who were on the receiving end of such behaviour?
If my experience was real then somehow my cohort was different and there might be something to learn from that. Or I could simply have been blind and you can ignore my experience.
I think you may have just made exactly one of the points I was trying to make; that sexual harassment was less visible in previous decades not because it didn't happen, but because some of it was normalised and even humourised. Instead of ignoring it, how about we learn from it?
I am absolutely gobsmacked by the number of older men on here crying "not in my day". As a woman born in the 70s, whose teen years spanned the 80s, I can without a shadow of a doubt tell you that this sort of behaviour is not new.
To be fair, I didn't attend many gigs as a teen (the drinking age being 20 in those days, and Dunedin not being a destination for bands big enough to play somewhere bigger than a pub), but I did have a social life, and I was on the receiving end of some pretty gross behaviour. And not just from teenage boys (although there was plenty of that). There were older male relatives whose compliments on my appearance were accompanied by knowing winks; bosses who felt entitled to stand over my desk and stare down my top; customers who thought that my being good at my job as a receptionist was actually my way of coming on to them. A friend at high school had to deal with a teacher who became excessively and creepily over-friendly towards her. This stuff has always been there. What was different "in my day" was that we didn't report it. We sometimes discussed it with our friends, but mostly we just internalised it, because that was what society had taught us to do.
That PE teacher even became jokingly referred to as "Mr Fanny Hassler" (a play on his name) when word of his behaviour spread, because sexual harassment was apparently a laughing matter. In fact, why not go back and re-watch some 70s comedies; try Threes Company, I Dream of Jeannie or even M*A*S*H*, and you'll see a hell of a lot of entitlement, misogyny and objectification masquerading as humour. That was the sort of environment women were dealing with.
Luckily over the years hard campaigning by feminists means that we women can now speak up about this stuff. Not always, but more than we ever have before. We're more willing to share our experiences, more willing to call out the men whose behaviour is wrong. You men who say it didn't happen in your day, it did. It either happened in silence and shame, or it was so accepted that it didn't make a blip on your radar. Either way, your disavowal of it further shames those women who have remained silent all these years.