ONTIVEROS: The Dame’s got it all wrong on women and sexual harassment

SHARE ONTIVEROS: The Dame’s got it all wrong on women and sexual harassment

Angela Lansbury arrives at the Academy (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

After I cooled down a bit I thought, man, I am glad I never watched “Murder, She Wrote.”

Damn that Dame Angela Lansbury – known for that popular TV murder mystery series as well as acclaimed roles in films and on stage. Unfortunately, she’s added her two cents to our collective conversation on sexual harassment. Lansbury was quoted last week as saying that since women make themselves look good they have to take some blame for sexual harassment.


“There are two sides to this coin. We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us — and this is where we are today,” the 92-year-old entertainer told the London-based Telegraph. “We must sometimes take blame, women. I really do think that.”

What Lansbury said is a bunch of royal horse manure. I’m can’t let it slide because it gives us a chance to look at an accepted culture in which a belief has flourished, embraced by some men — particularly those in power — that they can say and do anything to women.

Nope, not gonna give Lansbury a pass for her age. My mother-in-law is 93 and no way would she ever utter such a horrid sentiment. Having raised seven children, my mother-in-law would tell you that one of the first lessons parents must teach is Don’t Touch.

From early on, kids learn they’ve gotta keep their hands off lots of stuff. Don’t touch the pretty glass vase (it might break); don’t touch the dog (it could bite); don’t touch the birthday cake (no one wants someone’s grimy fingers on food).

They absolutely should be expected to remember that lesson when it comes to other human beings, particularly when we’re talking about touch with sexual connotations. What we have to ask now is why so many males seem to ignore the Don’t Touch lesson once they become adults with power.

It angers me to no end that Lansbury would use her prestige to give credence to the idea that just because a woman looks attractive, sexy or whatever, that that translates to a permission slip for touch. It does not.

There are a lot of reasons why a female might put some effort into looking good. I could offer a few of them. Instead, I will tell you one thing I know for certain: It is never so that any man who has the urge can come up and touch her.

Actually, I’m not giving reasons because it doesn’t matter why. No man should think it’s OK to take away the positive vibes a female has about her appearance because he wants to put his hands on her.

Because that’s what happens when some male touches a female when she does not want that to happen. At the least, it makes her angry; even worse, it makes her feel ashamed or as if she did something wrong. She did not.

Men can privately admire a sports car and keep their hands to themselves. No one should have to tell them to do the same with women. But as we are seeing almost daily, it looks like we do.

The Dame is wrong in accepting this damaging culture that most certainly must end now. There is such a thing as self-control. Use it, men, and teach the boys around you the same lesson: Keep your hands to yourself.

Email: sueontiveros.cst@gmail.com

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