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Lindy West's tips for not sexually harassing your coworker

Following the #MeToo movement, men say they're having a difficult time interacting with women in the workplace. That's according to anew Pew Research Center survey. New York Times columnist Lindy West calls B.S. on that — and has some tips for men at work. 

A post shared by KUOW Public Radio (@kuow) on Apr 6, 2018 at 9:03am PDT

Bill Radke: 

If you buy this Pew survey, why do you think that some men find it harder to interact with female colleagues these days?

Lindy West: I mean, it's a little baffling. I don't buy it.

There are all kinds of things that we don't do all the time, every day. Like I don't find it hard to not go hit my colleagues with a hammer, you know? I don't want to be too harsh, but I think a lot of men have been getting away with a lot for a long time, and haven't had to think very hard about their behavior. And when you've been completely unfettered, any small request for a minor restriction feels like a grave oppression.

BR: Do you think that that gender is something that should have no place in the workplace? Should we have blinders on?

LW: I mean we're here, we're all human beings, and we're stuck in workplaces 40 hours a week — for many of us. And obviously it's not realistic to say that everyone is like, ‘No one should have feelings for their co-workers or crushes or any kind of gender complication.’ But we can be professionals. It’s part of the job to be a professional. I threw together some advice along these lines. I mean, I carefully came up with some very helpful wisdom.

Tip #1 Unless you work in a genital-related field, do not talk about genitals at the office. 

Tip #2 Interact with your female colleagues the way you would interact with your male colleagues IF a powerful female superior was in the room.

Tip #3 You might not think you know how to interact non-sexually with other people, but you do! Think about how you might conduct yourself at your child's band recital, or while giving your sister a shoulder massage, or while being arrested.

Tip #4 You know when you go to a bar, and there are 100 people there, and you don't have sex with 99 of them? Treat your coworkers like those 99 other people at the bar. Turns out, you don’t have sex with people ALL THE TIME!

Tip #5 How about just do work when you're at work? Remember that the other people there have to be around you. They might like you, but they are being forced to be around you. Make your mutually captive experience as painless as possible.

Tip #6 If you feel yourself becoming horny at work, just close your eyes and think of the Microsoft Windows Store, statistically the least sexual place on earth. 

It just seems so melodramatic — ‘I don't even know how to talk to women now.’ Really? Do you know how to talk to your mom? Do you know how to talk to your child? Like c'mon, you can do that. But that's the theme. It's like — you can do this.

Produced for the web by Brie Ripley

Year started with KUOW: 1985 – 1986, 1991 – 2004, 2012
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