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BBC Two’s The Mash Report Provides Handy Guide on How Not to Sexually Harass People

It’s awesome to know that countries all over the world have their own satirical news shows to deal with these troubling times. BBC Two’s The Mash Report, which is basically their Daily Show, took on sexual harassment and the Me Too movement by giving viewers a hilarious handy-dandy guide on how not to sexually harass people.

From the moment the segment begins, it’s on, with correspondent Rachel Parris telling host Nish Kumar to “stop sexually harassing her” when he speaks to her.

Parris: “Even talking to a woman is now completely off-limits, isn’t that right, Nish?”

Kumar: “No!”

Parris: “No, it’s not, Nish. But it’s fun to pretend to be confused about that, isn’t it?”

From there, it’s on to visual aids, with Parris walking Kumar through a series of scenarios and asking whether each is sexual harassment or not. For example, telling a woman you work with “Hello! You look well” is totally fine! But yelling “Nice whaps!” at her from a car? Not so okay.

Following the visual aids is some sexual harassment role-playing, which is when my favorite moment happens. Parris asks Kumar how he would greet her as a friend at the pub, and he goes in to hug her. Hugs are totally fine! But then she asks him to hold the hug a little too long, making Kumar very uncomfortable.

 Parris: “Does that feel right? Or wrong?

Kumar: “It’s feeling…more and more wrong by the second.”

Parris: “Yes, Nish, that’s right! If it feels wrong…it is wrong!”

Now, this segment is using very extreme, obvious examples to illustrate a point, but the fact is…there’s nothing actually confusing about any of this if one is a thinking, feeling human being. Take that hug moment, for example. One can imagine being hugged for “a little too long.” You know what that feels like in your body if someone did that to you…so don’t put another person in that position.

There’s never a reason to touch someone without asking unless they’re falling off a goddamn cliff, and you’re the only thing between them and plummeting to their death. And even then, they’d probably be screaming “HELP!” which is your cue to, you know, help.

But seriously, there’s never a reason you have to put your hand on someone’s shoulder, or back, or knee, or anything else, without asking. Even if you’re trying to comfort someone, a simple “Would you like a hug?” or “Can I give you a hug?” is great, and if they need a hug, they’ll gladly say yes.

I’m not talking about accidental touching, either. It’s clear when something is an accident (because you don’t continue doing it), and generally, in polite society, if you accidentally brush up against or bump into someone…you say excuse me and back off. It’s called manners.

For those who can’t help but spew “compliments,” here’s the thing: if the compliment stems from you being turned-on by someone, there’s no need to verbalize it at work. Period. And if the only time you ever feel the need to comment on someone’s appearance or clothing is when you’re attracted to them or want to date them? Maybe you should reevaluate how “altruistic” and “nice” your compliments are.

And yes, there is a right way to ask out a co-worker. Ask. And accept whatever answer they give you. The end. That’s it. There’s no secret. No game. Ask. Get answer. Accept whatever it is. And if it’s no? Move on, and go back to being coworkers. Nurse your pride at home, and don’t take your disappointment out on your coworker.

But this isn’t actually confusing or difficult for people who about anyone other than themselves. This is all common sense and being a decent human being. I guess what Parris said is true. It’s fun to pretend to be confused about that, isn’t it?

(via BBC on YouTube, image: screencap/BBC Two)

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