The Sexualization of Everything

The excellent Peter Sean Bradley writes

concerning this blog:

I happen to know empirically that your correspondent is absolutely correct. As an attorney who practices plaintiff’s employment law, I have seen a strange sociological transformation over the last decade. Originally, sexual harassment law was conventionally understood as male on female. A man would be lewd with, or proposition, or tell an untoward joke toward a female. This was easily understood as raising issues of sexual security or gender propriety and would be quickly understood as wrongful. So, most men learned that they shouldn’t tell dirty jokes to women in the workplace.

Then, fairness and equality became important and sexual harassment was understood to include women engaging in similar behavior to men. So, women came to understand that they shouldn’t tell men dirty jokes or proposition them in the workplace. [Of course, given the different sociology of men and women, these kinds of cases are of the "man bites dog" stories. Woe betide the attorney who files such a case absent truly exceptional facts. I truly think that there is an unwritten "you should be so lucky" affirmative defense for these kinds of cases.]

Then, sexual harassment lawsuits began to encompass “same sex” harassment. So, we are now at a point where no one can safely talk about topics that were typically referred to as “guy talk” or “girl talk” within their own gender in the workplace. I currently have one woman client on “report” because she engaged in “girl talk” about the effects that age has on the female body in a private conversation with another woman. I have seen several other instances of this phenomena.

So, as a result the injection of potential or implicit homosexuality has effectively warped what was once considered to be an ordinary aspect of human interaction, or, as your correspondent observed, sexualized virtually every aspect of human interaction. How we get out of this impoverishment of an aspect of social life isn’t clear to me under the existing legal regime.