Sexual harassment doesn’t just happen to actors or journalists. Talk to a waitress, or a cleaner


Alissa Quart and Barbara Ehrenreich in The Guardian:

There certainly is room for outrage about both the mistreatment of thespians and models, and the manhandling of waitresses or women picking berries in the fields (We should try for a both/and campaign. It could be called #MostofThem!).

Then again, that inclusive strategy rests on a tacit assumption that the airing of the pain of, say, actor Mira Sorvino will inevitably help less well-born women. And we think the associative property here is probably a fallacy. It’s basically a trickle-down theory of female empowerment. We know how well trickle-down theories of all kinds tend to pan out.

So how can we excavate the vast iceberg of sexual harassment that lies beneath the glittering tip of celebrity abuse?

This is a powerful moment for sharing our stories, but it can sometimes feel like we are only reproducing class divisions that have long existed in the feminist movement – where we are aware of the elegant suffering of celebrity comics, businesswomen and starlets but not those of the working mothers who are handing us our fries or fluffing our pillows. We are not seeing the way the latter are harassed in so many other ways. Working-class women regularly have their purses searched (ostensibly for stolen goods) or are expected to work overtime without pay. This kind of casual hassling is part of the general humiliation that most low-wage workplaces inflict.

More here.