This is the narrative growing out of the Hollywood Producer/Starlet stories: Men are pigs and use their workplace power to make innocent women put out to get anywhere.
That is true, many men use power to get sex.
No one would deny that attractive women sometimes also use sex and sex appeal to get ahead in the workplace. A major question to me is whether in fact the situation is consensual, or similar to extortion or similar to bribery.
If a producer can give a starring role in a movie, and lots of attractive women could fill the role in a satisfactory way, is it wrong for a sexual relationship to form between the producer and a starlet? It depends.
Extortion is the criminal offense of trying to obtain money, property or services through threat or other form of coercion. The threat need not be an illegal act, threatening to expose some embarrassing fact about the victim would be sufficient.
Bribery is offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.
Some things can never legally be sold. The determination of a judge or police officer, human organs, sexual favors. Still, everyone in America agrees that a woman can give sex for any reason or no reason at all. It can’t be for $15 in the front seat of a car, but a woman who accepts a diamond and decides that she likes her suitor would never be accused of a crime. Neither would her suitor, as long as no force was involved. Offering gifts, praise and attention are not even metaphorical use of force. In that case it is a consensual union.
I don’t see how you could make the case that sexual relations between a starlet and a powerful producer with a part to offer is like extortion. A starlet may want the part, but it is not force to deny or offer it.
In a way the producer has a legal duty to his backers to choose the starlet with the best chance of creating a hit. In that case if the starlet offers sex for the part, it is most like a bribe. Both parties are wrong in a bribery situation. Clearly the person initiating the bribe is the greater wrongdoer, but it might well be the starlet offering a bribe as a producer soliciting one. It depends on the facts.
I don’t think you should hit on people who you have workplace power over. If we outlawed that, however, women would be the most outraged. Students could not date and marry their famous professors, surgeons would be totally off limits to nurses, waitresses could never date the chef or restaurant owner. Women love to marry higher status men with power in the workplace and defend their prerogative to do so.
I’m not defending Harvey, the stories are of non-consensual behavior. But I certainly am not equipped to judge the facts in the accusations, maybe ten or more years old, against men for pig like behavior. Did the woman flash her thong in a job interview? (We all know that a woman should be able to flash her thong at a man without him getting the idea he can try to turn the relationship sexual.)
I think this is a witch hunt and it totally ignores the agency of women. If you mix men and women in the workplace with large rewards available, you can expect some attractive women to use their sexual power over men to forward their aims. That may be flirting, promises of future relations or outright sex. Our culture accepts that that is perfectly fine for the woman. But if the man gives in to the offer, he is a pig.
For a somewhat concurring view see JudgyBitch.
Virtually 100% of women, at some point in their lives, capitalize on their looks and appeal. From the barista at Starbucks to the cop in her just-a-little-too-tight uniform, women have always known, and understood how to use, their physical appeal to men.