As a woman attending medical school long before it was commonplace — I was one of two women among 120 men in my graduating class — I can certainly join the “me too” chorus. I was treated to two attempted rapes and myriad other offenses. Ivy League professors liked to stand behind me as I worked in the lab or library, and shove their erections in my back, one humming a tune. A powerful professor ordered me to clean his coffee cup “to show you know you’re just an inferior woman.” When I refused, throwing the cup on the floor, he canceled my MD-PhD fellowship. It took a protest to reverse his decision.
So I am happy to see this uprising of voices. What bothers me is that I heard them before — after Anita Hill’s testimony, when Betty Friedan’s book appeared, and Simone de Beauvoir’s, and Kate Millett’s, and following Gloria Steinem’s work, and after the early-1970s lawsuit by New York Times women.
All those times, the pundits said this is a turning point, this is the end.
Listening to the thousands of women speaking out now, I also think about probably millions of women who couldn’t get the jobs they wanted because their prospective employers didn’t think they were desirable to molest.