It’s been hard for most of us men to learn but learn we must. Women are fast moving into positions of leadership in whatever fields they enter, and they demand that they not be objectified. (as in seen only as sexual beings).
The message is clear. We, men, have been slow to get it.
Women are saying, respect me for what I do, for what I contribute, and do not sexualize me. And, should I choose to be sexualized, I will be sending you a clear signal for you to proceed.
Women are saying, I have a right to look as good as I wish and still expect to not be objectified.
Because Mr Cuomo did not get the message, a competent and sometimes brilliant governor is now standing on the edge of a long political career.
The fact that he has political power made him overconfident and, according to published reports, he overstepped the line.
He still has a chance of not being pushed over the edge and keep his office, but it will take some daring on his part.
Here’s my advice:
Accept every allegation that is true and apologize.
Ask to meet with each person who has complained about his behavior – with a witness for their side and one for his – and express, face to face, how much he regrets that he was the cause of the distress inflicted.
Vow to embark in an effort to help other men avoid the mistakes he made. For instance, the Governor could start a foundation/program to teach men in positions of power to restrain from sexualizing their employees. The Governor would then become a defender of women’s rights and help them develop the voice that would put an end to misbehavior the very moment it happens. Not wait and let it fester.
In their quest for autonomy and affirmation in the workplace and in life, women may sometimes hesitate to assert themselves when confronted with unwanted sexual advances, but it is clear they eagerly wish to be able to speak on the spot if an advance is not to their liking.
Women have all the right in the world to feel they are in control of their bodies at all time.
We, men, have got to learn that.
I believe the Governor has the capacity and emotional fortitude to do this.
But he must act quickly.
If he does, he may well stay in power and even rise further.
And his example help other men.