This is a combination of two comments, by the same wise commenter. I thought both were excellent, and together they are better still.
This is La Sylphide’s Comment of the Day on the post, Desperate Ethics Quote Of The Week: Louis C.K.:
Twice a summer I work as a “runner” for two huge music festivals: one country, one rock. I am often in close quarters, or in a car, with very famous people. I’m always professional. I’m always discrete. Rarely am I star struck. (O.k., driving Johnny Depp was pretty cool.) Most stars and their tour managers are kind and thoughtful. But now and then you get a blowhard, or two. One, very well known country star wanted me to share his cigar with him as I drove him to his private plane. “C’mon, sweetheart” as he held out the cigar to me, “it’s not THAT wet…” The whole car went silent. There I was, the only woman in a car with 5 men, a wet cigar, and a wink wink. I played dumb. I blew off his remark with a smile… They all laughed. Here’s the thing: he held no power over me. He couldn’t advance my career or ruin it. I had nothing at stake. And so yes, I can understand these women, in the same industry as Louis C.K., trying to make it, in a hotel room with him and wondering “wtf, do we do now ?!? How much damage will be done if we stay? How much damage will be done if we tell him to GFH? ” So very often, when you are dealing with someone who wields enormous power, it’s like navigating a mine field. For women, there are often split second decisions to be made: do I cross the street now because it’s late at night, I’m alone and he’s coming toward me, or if I cross the street will I anger him and make things worse.”
Maybe that’s where heroes come into play. There is something quite powerful about fear and survival, and being faced with split second decision making when you are always the person in a position of less power; and that has been the case for women, in many ways, for a very long time. I’m not one of those heroes. I admit that up front. I have ducked and dodged and managed to survive. I have dealt with sexual assault; my first at the age of 4, my last on a beach at 15. I have dealt with sexual impropriety and just bad behavior in the workplace. I was not a hero. I was selfish. I made split second decisions for my own survival, but I did not not think long term and what it might have meant for other women if I had spoken up. I own that.