Men "Wonder If Hugging Women Is Still OK," According To An Article Now Getting Roasted On Twitter
These are trying times. Twitter is at its wit's end; global warming is changing the face of the planet as we know it; people are melting candy canes on their pizza; and, apparently, men don't know if they're allowed to hug women in the workplace.
This recent concern started with an article published by The Associated Press and shared by CBS Los Angeles, titled, "In Wake Of Weinstein, Men Wonder If Hugging Women Still OK." The article talks about feelings some men are experiencing now that so many women are reporting sexual misconduct in the workplace; unfortunately, many of the points made in the piece seem to miss what qualifies as "misconduct" and trivialize what, for survivors of harassment and assault, is a very real issue. Aside from their concerns about hugs, the article features snippets of interviews with various men in business roles speaking about how difficult it is to figure out how specifically they can touch or speak to a woman in the workplace — if it's "gotten to the point now where men can’t say, ‘That’s a nice dress’" and whether or not they can ask a female intern to fetch them coffee. Questions that not only miss the mark on what constitutes harassment, but minimize the very real issues and incidents that occur in the workplace.
In other words: yikes.
True, there are some kinds of acceptable behaviors that vary depending on the office. What constitutes harassment, however, does not. And, as many people are pointing out, whether it is "accepted" or not, there really is no need to hug someone in an office setting — and anyone's concern about not being able to do that is, frankly, concerning.
Outrage was further sparked by the way the the men in the article seemed to view themselves as victims in situations of sexual harassment, when the support should be focused on the people dealing with it — many of whom are just finding the courage to come forward with their stories in the wake of the last few months.
CBS Los Angeles shared it on Twitter on Dec. 4, and, well, it didn't go so well with some of the readers. People minced no words at expressing their thoughts. Here are some of the more memorable responses.
It's A Mystery
@CBSLA Men: How will we know if women want us to hug them Women: You could ask us Men: It's a mystery forever— (@bad_episode) #
Well said, Josh Silverman. Ten points for you.
@CBSLA Revised headline: After hearing victims' stories, men ask "how can I make this about me?— (@astraeafights) #
Work Is For Work Only
@gokpkd @CBSLA Yeah, I thought work was for like, working. Silly womanly me, I guess there's a real need out there to hug and compliment women while you're on the clock. (Notice they're not wondering if they can hug their male coworkers?)— (@withanaich) #
She makes such a good point at the end, there. "If I hug Bob, is he going to take it the wrong way?" has probably never crossed the minds of the men thinking the same thing about women.
It's A No
@CBSLA It's a no, for me. Never liked them ever. From anyone. https://t.co/kWtm9FpH2m— (@ko14vonn) #
I'm gonna have to go with NO.
Even Elementary School Kids Get It
@CBSLA Ask first. This is not rocket science. Before you touch someone, ask if they want a hug. If they say no or look uncomfortable, back off and don't touch them. Why is this so hard for some men to understand? I teach this successfully in grade one.— (@velvetpage) #
Come on, guys. You gotta keep up with the kids.
Consent Is Nonnegotiable
@CBSLA Wild thought...people *could* just keep their hands to themselves unless they've received explicit permission to touch someone. Also, maybe don't touch women/mention appearance at work. It's inappropriate and unprofessional. Ask yourself: Would I say this to a male coworker?— (@whitlynnn) #
When in doubt, ask. Asking for permission isn't weird. It's respectful.
Is This Even Real?
@CBSLA i thought this was.... an onion article— (@spacetrsh) #
Nope, not an Onion article.
How Is This A Question?
@CBSLA In wake of common sense decency and basic social skills, people who respect the dignity of individuals wonder what the hell kind of question is that even?— (@tsamneb) #
Is it really that difficult?
Nobody Is Entitled To Another Person's Body
@Lokifreign @hannahtraining @withanaich @gokpkd @CBSLA You can't be "deprived" of something you were never guaranteed in the first place. Women not wanting to be touched in the workplace doesn't take AWAY anything from men lol, they aren't given a free pass to our bodies! Sorry!— (@thatwimpydeer) #
Amen. Women's bodies aren't property to be used as people wish. They don't owe anything anything.
Just Don't Hug
@CBSLA who gives a shit? if you are upset that you can't hug someone you are probably the type of person who shouldn't be giving hugs.— (@thejoeklein) #
An Easy Rule Of Thumb
@CBSLA Easy - shake hands with coworkers/acquaintances and hug friends/family. This was never hard if your motives were good to begin with— (@tlmlarsen) #
This will always keep you out of trouble.
What Kind Of Hugs?
@CBSLA Wtf kind of hugs are these men trying to give?— (@withherstill) #
Not that it matters, but are these regular hugs... or creepy hugs?
@CBSLA https://t.co/P1uUgtXvti— (@gabyfane) #
Some women don't want to be hugged, period, and that's OK.
Yes Means Yes, No Means No
@CBSLA Then those men are freaking idiots. It's very simple, if she wants a hug you can, if not you can not.— (@ramblingriter) #
"It's very simple." Indeed it is.
The World's Smallest Violin
@CBSLA https://t.co/pTNzm0Gi9D— (@staunchdolt) #
Twitter feels so bad for you fellas. Actually, not really.
Just Because It's The Norm Doesn't Mean It's OK
@CBSLA whHaaAt wiLL we DO if wE CAnt fOiST oURSeLveS on WOmeN at wOOoORRRrrrkKkKkk https://t.co/Cil7a2Icfz— (@gokpkd) #
Honestly, the one good thing to come out of this article is quality use of this Spongebob meme.
Women Need A Voice, Women Need Support
@CBSLA I can't finish this inane article that takes a position using the harassment allegations from the man's point of view. That's trash.— (@mochamomma) #
How about more discussions with survivors about the treatment they receive and how we can all be better people?
This isn't even doing it justice. See all the amazing Twitter responses here.
There are so many things wrong with this discussion that even with all of the quality commentary online, it's hard to know where to even begin. This piece is undoubtedly controversial, but it serves as an important reminder: there are still people out there confused about what exactly sexual harassment is, why it's harassment, and why it's a problem — particularly for women.
Another disappointing part of all of this? These thoughts could have been expressed in a meaningful, productive way, by the people in question reflecting on their own insecurities rather than projecting them on women.
For instance — if anyone truly feels confused or concerned because they're not always sure what's work-friendly and what isn't, it's as simple as asking the person, and then respecting their answer. They can express the desire to be a part of creating a safe environment where everyone feels protected, rather than creating an environment where abuser's actions are. It is, and always will be, that simple; in any case, it's evident that in some offices around the nation, a refresher on sexual harassment in the workplace is long overdue.