Oh, You Know How Men Are…

Some days you are planning on happily lounging around in your pajamas and contemplating maybe doing a little weeding when you read something that causes you to have to think seriously about going down to the State Capitol and flailing around where everyone can see you and making a big scene.

World, look upon this bullshit:

Connie Ridley, the legislature’s director of administration, says she does “spend time talking with the members of the General Assembly about our sexual harassment policy.”

But Ridley says lawmakers haven’t set rules about consensual relationships between them and the interns they supervise.

In the case of House Democratic leader Gary Odom, he ended up marrying his intern.

Referring to the interns, Ridley said, “We do not want to find them with their picture on the front page of the newspaper having done something that’s going to embarrass the legislature.”

By contrast to Tennessee’s policy, New York prohibits members “from engaging in personal relationships with interns,” saying it did so “to prevent favoritism, morale problems, disputes or misunderstandings, potential harassment claims, and inferences of impropriety.”

Tennessee puts the responsibility on the interns, saying they “should avoid conduct” that might embarrass the lawmakers.

“I have even used the Monica Lewinsky intern incident,” Ridley added, “to remind them that those are the types of activities that we don’t want to see them involved in because it is very much an embarrassment to the institution, to themselves, to their family and to the legislators.”

Let me say that for you again: “Tennessee puts the responsibility on the interns, saying they ‘should avoid conduct’ that might embarrass the lawmakers.”

Let me be blunt, the fact that Connie Ridley can say outloud that it is somehow the responsibility of the interns to keep men with a lot more power than them in line shows that the program is deeply flawed.

It is not the responsibility of the person with less power, the employee, to keep the person who has authority in line. It is the responsibility of the person with authority to keep in line.


Listen, we all can see this for what it is.  Politicians, in this case men, want to behave like gigantic assholes who can use their power and authority to get access to women who otherwise wouldn’t even be in their same social sphere. So, the system is set up to put it on the young women to monitor and enforce the proper boundaries while the men with the power over their paychecks and (in this case more importantly) letters of recommendation can push those boundaries as much as possible.

And we’re all supposed to act like men just can’t help it.  They’re thinking with their dicks all the time.  It’s got to be on women to be the responsible ones.

But let’s be serious.  Most men don’t suck. They are concerned about their loved ones and the safety of others.  So, if men were constantly and always thinking only about their penises and how and when they might get to use them, most men wouldn’t do many of the things you see men doing every day–operating heavy machinery, driving a car, running major corporations, engaging in complex policy negotiations, making beer, etc.  They would, instead, put women in charge so that the world could operate while they sat at home and suffered under the burden of their compulsions.

But no, instead, somehow men manage.

So, this idea that they can’t be held responsible for their own behavior–that it’s one their underlings to keep the in line–is insulting to men.

And why, if they knew they were going to be held responsible not only for their own behavior but for the behavior of people much more powerful than them, would any students participate in the intern program?  Talk about a stacked deck.