Gretchen Carlson shares her own experiences with harassment as well as the stories of other women within the pages of Be Fierce. After making her own story public in 2016 Carlson has been a champion for change and has been diligently working to create a world in which harassment will no longer be acceptable. Throughout Be Fierce she not only shares stories, but also provides a plethora of resources that can provide aid to those who feel they have no where to turn.
Be Fierce is a work that shows the strength of so many women in the face of unexpected adversity. As Carlson discusses her own life she takes the time to discuss others who have faced heartbreaking challenges in their attempts to be successful. In many of these stories she has changed the names of the women for their own protection as well as the companies they worked for, but this does not change the impact of their words. The most tragic thing I took away from many of these stories was that even when women sought out help they found themselves further mired in what felt like a never ending system of inequality. Many of these women either left their chosen field or were forced out after making their concerns known within the company.
When I read these words I was astonished. During my time in grad school we had to take not one, but three different harassment focused online training sessions to ensure we understood the appropriate way to behave with students and faculty. In all of these sessions reporting was something we were expected to do if we felt someone had violated the basic rules set out as appropriate behavior by the college. Throughout the examples provided by Carlson I continued to see that reporting, even today, can lead to consequences that are never discussed. There is even a chapter with a dedicated section on how your contract may limit your ability to fairly be heard when you report and another on how Human Resources may vary from company to company, which could mean an unfair advantage being given to the company. This information is exceptionally important to know and beyond that her discussion of contracts and knowing your work environment feel invaluable. These are things I have never been taught or even had mentioned to me as I’ve searched for jobs.
While all of this might feel disheartening, Carlson does emphasize the positive strides that women, as well as men, are making and the changes that are being made through the public discussions of this issue. While not mentioned in this work the recent #MeToo tag on Twitter that arose in connection to the public allegations brought forward in connection to Harvey Weinstein has continued to bring this issue into the public eye. This tag, in some capacity, has existed previously and this resurgence should be noted as part of a larger discussion of sexual harassment. Carlson also discusses men who are working to change the mindset of those around them in terms of appropriate behavior. She also highlights how society needs to change the way that boys are taught to behave. At a certain point she uses her own son as an example, noting that instilling boys with an understanding of what is appropriate behavior early on in connection to women will help to change the current culture dividing men and women.
Carlson provides her readers with an appendix of resources and organizations that are connected to helping those facing harassment as well as those that are working to change the narrative of what is acceptable behavior. I appreciated the sheer magnitude of resources laid out. She also provides further reading on the subject of harassment, which can provide you with a better understanding of the magnitude of the situation in modern society. I would like to thank both Gretchen Carlson and the number of women who shared their stories for their bravery and their dedication to helping create a better world for others.
You can find Be Fierce in bookstores and for online purchase today.
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