Today I thought I'd express my mixed feelings about an incident that occurred in the Cricket Big Bash this week. It's been splashed about in the media a fair bit and I have really mixed feelings about the incident. If you need to check it out, you can see the incident here.
I was watching when it occurred and my first thought was "Gayle's a creep" and then my second was, "wow, not the way to handle that, Mel."
I worked in a male dominated industry for most of my life and I grew up when women weren't given a lot of respect, so I am a little toughened to the way women are treated. So my initial reaction was that Gayle's sleaziness was inappropriate. But this behaviour happens and I think if Mel had have cut him off with a firm but polite refusal, nothing more may have been said. As it was, she reacted visibly and he kept going because he took it as flirting, or that he was 'winning' (getting a reaction from her, making her affected by him).
What he did wasn't right - it's their profession and therefore their workplace, so it should remain non-sexist and non-discriminatory - but until this stops happening, I think women need to stand up for themselves, especially if they're in male dominated industries.
Women should not be walked over, or ignore the smut, or accept it. I mean, a polite but tough put down. Something like, "I don't think that's appropriate" or even, "I hardly think this is the place for those comments". It addresses the issue head-on and stops it being blown out of proportion like this has been.
Yes, sexual innuendo and banter can be harmless fun if the two people know that that is what it is. For a woman who doesn't know that, it can be downright uncomfortable and creepy. It can make you concerned for your safety and your integrity.
When a sleazy comment is left without being addressed immediately, it undermines a woman. I felt Mel lost the chance last night to assert herself. It was left to others to apologise and defend her. It made her look weak, which I'm guessing isn't what she would want. But maybe there's more to this story...maybe he's a serial offender and she was making sure everyone knew that.
Whatever the case, it concerns me and makes me all muddled up.
How do you feel about this issue? (I know Rhyll won't care because it's cricket!)