I wrote on masturbation on LinkedIn. Yes, you read it correctly.
I somehow gathered the courage and presented my views on why we should talk about it openly to spread much-needed awareness.
As expected, the post received some interesting-but-saddening comments that forced me and might also force you to reassess where we are heading.
It isn’t the first time that I talked about a taboo topic on LinkedIn. A few months ago, I wrote how people like to assess a girl’s character by examining her virginity.
Back then too, some people mocked me while a few others abused me publicly for writing on social issues on a professional platform. However, some common comments on both the posts were:
“LinkedIn is not Facebook or Twitter.”
“This post is not relevant for LinkedIn.”
“Please spare a professional platform at least. This topic doesn’t have to do anything with a job search.”
I was taken aback by the comments. At first, I thought it to be a passing wind. But later, I realised that the platform isn’t a problem; the mentality is.
People don’t talk about social issues and taboo topics on a professional platform like LinkedIn. They consider these topics to be inappropriate for LinkedIn where they come to find jobs, get new business deals and build professional relationships.
But professionals are humans too, right?
Employees, businessmen, leaders, recruiters, startup owners, entrepreneurs, executives, and even investors are humans too. They think, act and express as all other humans do. Then, why can these issues be discussed freely on Facebook and Twitter, but not LinkedIn?
When I wrote about females’ virginity for the first time on LinkedIn, a gentleman messaged and asked me to remove the post. Further, he also suggested that I repost it on Facebook to reach a wider audience. When I asked him the reason for saying so, he gave a weird logic, saying, “Literate and educated people are not narrow-minded. They know what’s right, what’s wrong. Facebook is the right place to write these posts since everyone from youngsters to old people uses Facebook”.
I was surprised by his logic. But when several other people also sent me similar requests, I realised where this mentality has stemmed from.
People wrongly assume that professionals or educated people are mature enough to understand these issues and stay well within their limits. If it was the case, there would be nothing like “Sexual Harassment at the Workplace”.
Sadly, the cases of workplace sexual harassment have been so horrendous that the government had to come up with POSH Act, which deals exclusively with sexual harassment of women at workplace. The Times of India reported that POSH complaints in BSE 500 companies have risen by 28%.
If you thought that work-from-home environment would reduce the cases of workplace sexual harassment, you’ve been proved wrong. 29% of women don’t consider work from home to be a safer option as compared to being in the office.
Every other day, I see a post from a female where she reports how she received unjustified requests or creepy messages from a fellow connection on LinkedIn. I think that 5 out of every 10 females have received creepy messages at least once during their LinkedIn journey.
Like Rome wasn’t built in a day, mentality can’t be developed overnight. You can’t expect a person to have a different mentality at home and in office.
Stereotypes and prejudice that people have created in their minds remain intact forever. Once they step into the professional world, they carry the same perceptions and mentality which they possessed outside the professional world. In such situations, you can’t differentiate between the professional and personal world, and between the professional topics and personal topics, as such.
For a long time, everyone has been advocating to include sex education in the school curriculum. It’s high time that we make these topics a point of discussion on professional platforms, in boardroom meetings, and even casual networking discussions during seminars and conferences.
We can’t run away from discussing taboo issues by tagging them under “fit for personal lives” or “relevant to Facebook” categories.
Whether we have to stop workplace sexual harassment or other kinds of sexual harassment, the first step is to spread awareness about the sensitive topics like virginity, masturbation, menstruation, etc. and change the mindset of people. For that to happen, we shouldn’t hesitate to discuss them on open platforms or during professional meetings.
Remember, every professional is a human first of all. When we discuss these topics continuously across various platforms, only then, we will be able to change people’s mentality and tell them: Harassment is harassment everywhere. Crime is a crime wherever you go.
According to me, people should openly discuss these topics and share their ideas and views on even professional platforms like LinkedIn, Quora, and other meetup platforms. But it may be solely my point of view.
I would leave to you to decide whether you think that these topics should be restricted to Facebook or Twitter. There are some other associated topics also like dowry and reservation that demand everyone’s attention. But should LinkedIn be the place we should talk openly on?
What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below.