This Book Is an Event, Prof. Muta!

--- Book Review for “That Love Is Sexual Harassment, Boss!”

It’s been nearly a quarter-century since the first sexual harassment lawsuit in Japan (the Fukuoka Sexual Harassment Case in 1992). Until then there was no such term or idea of sexual harassment in this country. And one of the key players who got it entrenched here as sekuhara was Proffessor Kazue Muta, the author of this book.

You might think there must be a lot of rebukes to men in this book if Ms. Muta, a renowned feminist, says, “. . . is sexual harassment!” But, in fact, I don’t think I’m the only one who felt her compassion for those doing the harassing at the back of her deep insight. For example, she comments like this, referring to somebody accidentally saying or doing sexually discriminating things:

“If you are an ordinary man, it’s possible that you will occasionally be a little under the influence of drink, and might let slip some barnyard words in front of your female staff. That’s for sure a yellow card for sexual harassment. But when you’re sober the next morning and realize you said the wrong thing, just apologize straightforwardly. Then it will hardly be a serious affair.” (p.54)

This remark of Ms. Muta must come as such a relief to not a few people (perhaps including me).

For a long time there has been common belief that feminists are man-haters. But I believe this book demonstrates that a feminist attitude which can provide women with a comfortable work environment and support their lives will lead to a better society for men also.

Actually, many sexual harassment cases are not fundamentally black and white. But most of them end up being “black” after the longtime development of troubled relationships between colleagues, a boss and a subordinate, or a teacher and a student. (p. 136)

This book is full of practical lessons about things such as, “the deep division between men and women,” “the way things become complicated,” “sexual harassment advisories and sexual harassment warnings,” “three requirements of an office romance,” and even “in case you should be sued.”

Professor Chizuko Ueno recommends this book as “a household necessity like Home Health Handbook.” Absolutely. This is a must-read not only for men, but also for women in order to understand the feelings of “insensitive” middle-aged men.

I feel guilty that I read through the whole book with such amusument despite the matter’s life-changing seriousness.

I bet this book will be an event in the sociology world. At the end of this book there is a story of Ms. Muta’s “personal experience of secondary damage from sexual harassment,” which signals her long, hard, everlasting battle against sexual harassement.


Original article written by moomin (http://wan.or.jp/book/?p=6940)

Translated by A. Tawara

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