Inappropriate touching now but wasn’t it always inappropriate?
Oh how the times have changed. Was it always ok for someone to touch you intimately when you didn’t know them? Give you a hug for a little longer than need be? Kiss you instead of shake your hand for the first time you meet (although note that is acceptable in Europe)? Pat your leg randomly?
These intimate interactions often unseen except for the two people who are engaged in it have been going on forever. What has changed is that the person on the receiving end, who the majority of the time happens to be a woman, is saying enough is enough.
Culture has changed but the reality is this type of behavior was never appropriate, it just was never called out for what it was. Bad behavior. Perhaps, just perhaps, the person (mostly men) diving in for the kiss, the squeeze, the touch, did that as a way to connect intimately to show that they care….particularly politicians.
When Hillary Clinton was running for the NY Senate many years ago, we went to a small event downtown. There were about 10 Senators and 15 people from the tech community who were interested and quasi-involved in politics. It was extremely memorable for a few reasons. First, the tech people were honest and forthright and did not hold back one iota. Second, I got to sit next to Hillary. No matter what you think about her, she is smart, funny, poised and a tough cookie. Third, after the event ended, the Clinton’s made their way back to the kitchen where they hung out for a long time talking with the staff as long if not longer than the people who were at the table.
Fourth and perhaps most memorable, is the hug that I received from Bill Clinton. He put his arm around me and squeezed me insanely tight. He told me he loved what I had done at Mouse. I had never met him before. Of course, he was prepped about everyone in the room. Also, it was at the end of the meal and he is laser sharp so he certainly recalled the conversations at the table. But, that hug, that squeeze, that delay was a bit over the top. I remember thinking well this guy is the President of the United States but I don’t know you so not sure that hug was ok, a handshake would have been fine.
Now we all know the history of Bill Clinton but perhaps if this happened today, he would be more cautious, and more self-aware or I would have been more aggressive about outmaneuvering him and making sure it was a handshake, not a body squish. Remember that segregation was never ok either but it went on for years until people finally said enough is enough.