For any men who find themselves surprised by the onslaught of sexual harassment news and the #MeToo movement, Tracee Ellis Ross has a message for you. Ross, filling in for Jimmy Kimmel as host of Jimmy Kimmel Live, decided to use her platform to talk about what she declares should not be considered a scandal but rather a “systemic problem about the abuse of power that takes place across all industries and has enabled a culture of inequity to persist for far too long.” Like Ross says in her segment, the basic decency required to treat women like people is not that complicated but many men still appear to be quite shocked and confused. Without needing to name names, she breaks down the issue in the form of a rhyming children’s book, addressed to all the men who still need some handholding or guidance in regards to conceptualizing what sort of behavior is not appropriate in the workplace, and understanding why so many women are not at all surprised by the outpouring of sexual assault allegations.
Breaking down the dos and don’ts of appropriate office behavior, Ross “brings it back to basics” as she tells the tale of “The Handsy Man,” a workplace harasser who attempts to touch or expose himself to the women in the office. Some behaviors Ross’ book lists as inappropriate include using slurs to refer to women rather than referring to them by their given names, exposing oneself to women, unsolicited massages and following women to the parking garage. Whether inappropriate touching happens in the office or in a mansion, Ross breaks down what should be common sense to all, but appears to be difficult to grasp for a large subset of the population.
“I shouldn’t have to say this crap,” Ross reads from the book, and she’s right—at this point, no one should need this much guidance to understand the sexual assault epidemic but if keeping it simple and telling the tale of a serial workplace creep through an elementary rhyme is what needs to be done in order to get the message across to men who still don’t understand the meaning of the word “no,” then so be it. “I’ll say it clearly, nice and slow. If she doesn’t consent—the answer is NO,” also appears on the screen alongside the animated story. There are quite a few men who could benefit from reading of Ross’ children’s book, and maybe next time she hosts a late night talk show she can give a few pointers to some of those same men on how to properly apologize to the people they’ve sexually assaulted.
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