LETTER- So much for Brazen solidarity
It was with shock and disgust that I read the Brazen Careerist column in which Ms. Trunk instructs women to accept the "boy's club" that is the corporate ladder and endure sexual harassment in order to "gain power" and ultimately initiate change "Harassment works: For you, the career-climbing woman."
I'm sure Ms. Trunk recognizes the potential distaste in her bold statement but feels that her advice is a clever way to gain advantages without making enemies (of those who feel threatened by a woman seeking equality and respect in the workplace). For the sake of completion, let's follow this absurd fantasy through and think carefully about the actual results.
This strategy of power games and tacit acceptance may work for Ms. Trunk, whose photograph projects confidence and attractiveness. She very well may be able to turn the tables of sexual harassment through crafty hiring schemes and job bargaining. But what about the less-brazen careerist who is not so capably manipulative, who doesn't necessarily have the skills, or perhaps (gasp) the desire to participate in the corporate climb.
Would we encourage a culture of silence in this situation too? Or should the only ones who speak out on inappropriate workplace environments be the ones who have less to lose?
A strategy of silence is nothing more than complicit participation in the system; and last I checked, that doesn't change anything. Suggesting otherwise is pure rationalization.
For an issue already heavy with stigma, why consciously repress its discussion? Surely the best way to eliminate sexual harassment is to create a culture in which such behavior is unacceptable, not one where talented women become "pariahs."