Friday, January 5, 2018

Pre-MeToo Dialogue on City Homicide

There is hope that the events of 2017 will change things for women...for the better.  I hope that's true, though, I'm not sure it is.  And if it is true, I'm not sure how long the change will last.

One thing I feel that IS very likely to change is what will be allowed and tolerated in the fiction we consume.  There might not be a large reduction in the amount of misogyny we see in real life people, but I think there will be a reduction in the amount we see coming from fictional people.

I just saw a scene in a 2010 episode of City Homicide that I don't think would make it to screen in 2018.   

Wilton Sparkes (Marshall Napier) has joined the homicide team in an investigation involving homicide.  He knows everyone in the group except for Allie Kingston (Nadia Townsend). When introduced to Kingston, Sparkes says, Nice to meet you, Love.

Kingston is not pleased with this, and her facial expression clearly communicates that.  

Later they are disagreeing about the case and Sparkes uses the term "love" again. 

This time Kingston is more vocal about her dislike of the term. Don't call me love.

Sparkes replies, You prefer Darling or Sweetheart?

Stanley Wolfe, the supervisor, (Shane Bourne) chides Sparkes gently. Yeah. That's enough.  I'll give him credit for that.  But a few moments later, he assigns Kingston to partner with Sparkes in the investigation. She protests, and Wolfe refuses to give into her.

I can't say I'm fully against people calling each other things like love, sweetheart, darling, etc. in the workplace.  I can picture situations where it's harmless and maybe even endearing.   I think there would have to be a closeness between the speaker and recipient.  Let's say I had an awesome boss for the past five years. He's been kind to me. He's been appreciative, fair, fun, helpful, etc.  I'm going to the local coffee shop to pick up a muffin and he says, Hey Love, do you mind picking up a blueberry scone for me? 

No, I don't think I'd be horribly offended.  

Sparkes, though, doesn't use the term in an endearing way.  He uses it in a condescending way, and I think it's mostly about TRYING to get a rise out of Kingston.  I think it's something that many men tend to do.  They say something for the sole purpose of getting under our skin.  Then when we act offended, it's our fault. We don't have a sense of humor. We're too sensitive. We force people to walk on eggshells around us. We need to lighten up.  Blah, blah, blah, blah.  

And as for my blueberry scone scene....

Though I imagine it wouldn't bother me, other people might be offended, and they have a right to speak out against the behavior.  Then, unless the behavior immediately stops, I'd label the workplace as a hostile environment.

I haven't finished watching the City Homicide episode.  I wonder what will happen. Wolfe is forcing Kingston to make allowances for Sparke.  Will Wolfe pull Sparke aside and request that he behave appropriately with Kingston?  It seems he believes that Kingston needs to learn something by being forced to work with Sparkes. Does he also believe that Sparkes needs to learn something by working with Kingston?

I'm also wondering about all the powerful shitty, fucking, assholes we've heard about in 2017.  I imagine when there were complaints against them, not much was done to help these women and men.  I imagine they received very little support from their workplace.  But you know, until watching this episode of City Homicide, I think I pictured things more along the lines of sweeping it under the rug.  

How many times was it even worse than that?  How many times were victims punished for their so-called sensitivity to harassment by actually having to spend more time with the perpetrators?  

Well....I'm going to go and finish watching the rest of the episode. Will Kingston become more tolerant of the harassment? Will Sparkes realize it's not okay to talk to people in ways that make them feel uncomfortable?  Will the two find peace by the end of the episode? Will they be besties?  Will they continue to hate each other?  AND...I wonder...how would the episode be different if written in 2018?