On my way home from work yesterday the news was on in the taxi. The continuing news about the Movie Producer rumbled away in surround sound before the driver angrily switched it off. He announced,
“If these women didn’t want this to carry on then they should have said something at the time! Look at them all now coming out of the woodwork!”
“mmm…” I offered out of politeness. Politeness; sometimes our downfall.
“I think it’s hard when a man is so powerful and intimidating…” I continued.
He continued to disagree with me all the way home and I tried to block most of it out because that very day, at the age of thirty five, a mother of two – I had been intimidated by a man to the point it had made me cry – at work, in front of an even more powerful man.
The man, who was significantly taller and wider than me had been rude, passive aggressive and continued to express his displeasure at me being there. My back was to him, and his colleague (bullies are always better off with an ally) as I heard him talking about me, disgruntled. I daren’t turn around.
In that moment I hated that I was five foot three. I hated that I was wearing flat shoes which made me sink even further into the ground. I hated that I was blonde – I imagined them looking at me like I was some dumb girl. I felt like I had zero status.
Out of God knows where I found myself complaining about him to his manager. There wasn’t any courage in this – it probably came from myself finding more and more truth falling out of my mouth the more stressed and exhausted I get nowadays.
And then I knew they were coming, I felt the heat in my neck. I choked and there they were. Stupid tears. Always letting me down. Always making me look even weaker than I am. The man looked horrified.
What the man in the taxi, another large in stature older man, could never comprehend is how it feels to be intimated like that.
I told the taxi driver a man had made me cry at work to which he replied:
“my daughters wouldn’t let a man do that … they’re strong.”
Unfortunately I am not that strong. I could fight a lion for my children … but myself? On a bad day – I would lie down and let it start at my feet.
The little girl in the photograph was told to say yes, respect her elders, respect her superiors, always be polite. Too polite.
The news over the last few weeks has made me think many things. The most honest and disturbing thing being – I can’t say if that movie producer had asked me to get into his hotel room with the aggression he did to that model on the recording –
I’m not certain I would have had the courage to have said no.