Letting Men Off the Hook

Flattr this!

Melissa NelsonThree years ago, when Melissa Nelson was 33, she was fired by her boss because he felt that her beauty would tempt him to have an affair with her. (Apparently his wife agreed.) Ms. Nelson sued but her case was dismissed. The court ruled that being fired for being a threat to her boss’s marriage was within the law.

Excuse me? Where does it say that the law exists to protect men from their own sexual impulses? If that were the case, rapists might as well go free because, after all, they can’t help it. Especially if a woman dresses “provocatively” (a value judgment if I ever heard one). Why not expand that to “especially if she’s beautiful”?

I’m sick of the excuse that men are at the mercy of their “innate” natures. Girls are told that they have to be the ones to make sure that sex doesn’t happen between them and their dates or boyfriends, because “boys will be boys; they will always go as far as you let them.”

[This is insulting on two counts: it assumes that men can’t control themselves, and that women can (in other words, that they never want to have sex that badly). Both sexes are defined by their supposed normal sexual behaviors.]

I take issue with the attitude that it is the woman’s responsibility to keep men from temptation. If it was all right for Melissa Nelson’s boss to fire her because of the temptation factor, then every male boss could make a case for not hiring women at all.

Because, you know, men would behave themselves perfectly if women weren’t around.

 

Published by

Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

One thought on “Letting Men Off the Hook”

  1. Clearly you did not read the full case as what you present is not the whole story.

    Both of them were married. Their relationship over time became inappropriate and a threat to his marriage (and to hers if her husband had actually known about it).

    So he decided it was best for all that they stop the relationship and have no further contact. I agree with that.

    However she should not have been fired. She should have left when she found another job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *