You’re going to want to eat that porterhouse steak

People have been saying for weeks it’s not just Hollywood and journalism and broadcasting, it’s also the less glam places where most people work. Like factories for instance; like automobile factories; like Ford.

The jobs were the best they would ever have: collecting union wages while working at Ford, one of America’s most storied companies. But inside two Chicago plants, the women found menace.

Bosses and fellow laborers treated them as property or prey. Men crudely commented on their breasts and buttocks; graffiti of penises was carved into tables, spray-painted onto floors and scribbled onto walls. They groped women, pressed against them, simulated sex acts or masturbated in front of them. Supervisors traded better assignments for sex and punished those who refused.

That was a quarter-century ago. Today, women at those plants say they have been subjected to many of the same abuses. And like those who complained before them, they say they were mocked, dismissed, threatened and ostracized. One described being called “snitch bitch,” while another was accused of “raping the company.” Many of the men who they say hounded them kept their jobs.

There were lawsuits and an EEOC investigation in the 1990s, there was a $22 million settlement and a promise by Ford to do better. In 2017…

In August, the federal agency that combats workplace discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, reached a $10 million settlement with Ford for sexual and racial harassment at the two Chicago plants. A lawsuit is still making its way through the courts.

Will there be more lawsuits and EEOC agreements in 2037? Will anything ever change?

It certainly doesn’t seem as if the culture is up for changing right now, notwithstanding all the toppled gropers and rapists. Trump is in the White House and porn is on many workplace computers, so why would anything change?

Men still stake their claims today, according to workers. Some women say they know how to shut down unwanted advances — “I don’t play,” they snap — while others say they have never encountered harassment. But James Jones, a union representative, said the problem should not be minimized, describing the attitude of many men at the factories: “You’re going to want to eat that porterhouse steak.”

Sigh. That’s an attitude that’s been reinforced by popular culture for generations – women are this Tempting Alluring Thing and men have every right to do their best to consume them. What the women may want comes into it only as resistance to be overcome.

As Ms. Wright settled in, she asked a co-worker to explain something: Why were men calling out “peanut butter legs” when she arrived in the morning? He demurred, but she insisted. “He said, ‘Well, peanut butter,’” Ms. Wright recalled. “‘Not only is it the color of your legs, but it’s the kind of legs you like to spread.’”

You’re going to want to eat that porterhouse steak.

As the affronts continued — lewd comments, repeated come-ons, men grabbing their crotches and moaning every time she bent over — Ms. Wright tried to ignore them.

And what is that about? What is shouting “peanut butter legs” about, what is grabbing their crotches and moaning about? That’s hostility more than sex, or hostility entangled with sex, hostility because sex is not forthcoming plus hostility because hostility, aka misogyny. No gurlz allowed, get out of our factory, bitches are stealing our jobs, yadda yadda.

The union didn’t help because the men are in the union too, of course, so it was all just “hey you should be flattered.”

There’s a lot more. Well done the Times.

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