Sexual Harassment: Over The Top

Sexual+harassment+should+not+be+taken+lightly%2C+even+if+it+was+%27a+joke.%27+Photo+from+Brobertsonlaw.com
Sexual harassment should not be taken lightly, even if it was 'a joke.' Photo from Brobertsonlaw.com

Sexual harassment should not be taken lightly, even if it was 'a joke.' Photo from Brobertsonlaw.com

Sexual harassment should not be taken lightly, even if it was 'a joke.' Photo from Brobertsonlaw.com

Preston Pagel, Editor in Chief

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“It’s not okay, it’s embarrassing for someone to point out someone else’s physicality, it is very personal and very pointed,” said Mrs. Blanchette, a physical education teacher at D.C. Everest Senior High School.

Mrs. Blanchette’s remark sounds like common sense. However, the news is prevalent with sexual assault scandals including individuals like Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, and even our own president, it is not.

From kindergarten on, we have learned that you don’t mock someone due to their appearance since it is degrading to the individual you are making fun of.

Even if you are complimenting someone’s appearance, the manner in which you compliment them can cause the remark to be taken out of context, or create and unintended context which was the case with the junior skit.

 When readers walk away from this editorial, nevertheless, we want them to walk away thinking that sexual harassment is horrible and no joke.

The skit was a lose-lose scenario for all involved.

Teachers and faculty members were outraged over the comment made toward a fellow coworker. Students involved with not only the over the top comment, but also with the Baywatch Babe, Pamela Anderson costume, were disciplined on an “individual basis,” according to D.C. Everest Senior High School Principal, Dr. Thomas Johansen.

A male faculty member said that he was “angry and shocked” by the comment and found it unnecessary.

He gave an example of how skits are actually supposed to go.

“Students want to gain power due to the teacher-student dynamic, look at the faculty skit it didn’t attack any specific student(s).”

The teacher said that students want to be on the same level as teachers so they are willing to bring teachers down to their level.

He said that students who made the attitude comment did not think about how it would affect the teacher to which it was pointed, only about how it will cause a laugh.

To be fair, the two students who made the comment said that they did not mean for the comment to be offensive as it was intended to be used just as a joke.

Nonetheless, as Health Teacher Mr. Plaza said, we are in a “hypersensitive society” and we need to be “more careful with what we do and say, and think about how it affects different races and sexes.”

Mrs. Blanchette said imagine how much different the scenario would be if a teacher made the same comment towards a student.

“If we were to flip the situation, parents and students would be calling for [teacher’s] resignation because of the lack of professionalism but also the attack of a sexual nature. I can say that if it were my child, this would not be acceptable. It was rude, it was disrespectful, it was embarrassing, it was an attack.”

She, however, said there was a difference between the Baywatch Babe act and the comment toward the teacher. The difference is the teacher it was aimed at does not portray themselves similar how the Baywatch Babe was portrayed.

Mrs. Blanchette is right. We still feel that the Baywatch Babe act sends the wrong message to everybody.

We believe that both the attitude comment and Baywatch Babe incident were unnecessary as they were highly demeaning and does not represent D.C. Everest values. According to Dr. Johansen, it comes into question whether the homecoming skits are going to happen each year because of events like this, which could potentially stop future generations from experiencing the experience.

Sexual harassment should be something we all unequivocally denounce.

Nonetheless, Hollywood culture, advertising, bosses and certain political leaders have caused our youth, and even some adults, to believe that it is okay to make derogatory comments toward women.

Individuals who thought that the skit comment was demeaning yet still laughed, experienced cognitive dissonance, which occurs when an individual must decide between two contrasting things or actions.

Many who saw the skit may have had to reconcile their laughter with the appropriate message it sent.

One source noted that students felt emboldened to add the over the top comment.

“Leading up to the 2016 election, it was clear that you didn’t make those remarks, but now people are making their implicit thoughts explicit.”

The faculty member said she believes that this isn’t only the case with gender issues and discrimination but also with the national anthem controversy, race, political ideology, etc.

The Everest motto is DCEONE, to show that we are all part of one school regardless of our race, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, and/or political ideology.

“Homecoming is a week where students are supposed to feel like they are part of a positive culture, the whole DCEONE.”

The DCEONE motto is to show that we are stronger together as a school and a community, and that students’ opinions matter just the same as faculty’s. By dividing ourselves as we did during the Homecoming skits this year, we are failing to live by a motto that shouldn’t be that hard to achieve. Yet, here we are writing this editorial that could have been easily avoided.

A female administrator, made a good point about the hypocrisy of society today.

“I wonder what would have happened if we focused on male body parts instead? That is the double standard society has created.”

She is always aware as a woman of the fact that we single out women out much more than men so the harassment that occurred during the skit didn’t come as much of a surprise.

She also thinks that it is easiest to discriminate and harass women in today’s society, above all else, since there are blurred lines about what is allowed.

“We certainly wouldn’t make fun of someone for being disabled as we all know that is wrong. However, it is easy to single out women for their looks in society today.”

Punchline

We believe that the issue of sexual harassment can be curbed just like any other issue if we all unequivocally denounce it for what it is. However, the problem is getting everyone to do that. Some are hesitant to speak out against it, even though they think they morally should.

Others sadly believe it is a political issue and believe that if they denounce it, they are contradicting their political values.

Our goal for writing this editorial is to make those people, who are hesitant to speak out, or those young females who believe they must go along with society’s view of women, feel emboldened to speak out against sexual harassment.

The words of Mrs. Blanchette puts the whole scenario into context.

“If you’re a bystander and don’t do anything about the bullying and harassment, you’re indicating consent. When we stand aside as a society, we allow this to happen. We are saying this is okay and more and more things happen and it just sort of snowballs. Bystanders have a role too, and instead of being a bystander you need to be an upstander.”

A new NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll reports that almost half of women, 48 percent, are a part of #MeToo and sexual harassment. It is shocking to think that one out of every two women you walk past on the street, is sexually harassed at their workplace.

We should note that men experience sexual harassment in the workforce, as well, but are statistically much less likely than women to report such a claim, something that is often forgotten.

While many want this issue to go away, our job as journalists is to bring it up and create a conversation around a sensitive topic. We realize and accept that journalists are supposed to minimize harm, if possible, but we feel that this issue isn’t going away anytime soon and is more timely than ever. Furthermore, we recognize the discomfort all women may feel by reading this; consequently, not putting it back on people’s plates could forever cement for young, impressionable women in this very school that the inappropriate reference is somehow acceptable and the norm.

Thankfully, the junior skit wasn’t broadcast in front of younger children, our younger brothers and sisters, who we fear would idealize it since they know no better. However as high schoolers and young adults, we should know better. Nonetheless, what picture are we sending to the newcomers of the high school, the sophomore class if we let this go unchecked?

We don’t know about you, but it definitely is not a picture that we want to paint.

Our call to action for the Everest student body is this: Let’s fulfill the school policy, and become DCEONE, again, by speaking out against sexual harassment, and bullying of all sorts. The problem will not go away if we all remain bystanders, only if we become UPSTANDERS.

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