The Wave of Sexual Harassment and New Power

by laeti.y.felix on April 27, 2015 - 11:15pm

          There was a TED Talk called ‘What New Power Looks Like’ that had taken place in June of 2014 by a man named Jeremy Heimans (http://www.ted.com/talks/jeremy_heimans_what_new_power_looks_like?language=en).  He explained two concepts called New Power and Old Power, and the good and bad aspects of both types of powers.  In a blog titled ‘Some Thoughts on Old Power VS New Power’ published on Sunday November 30th, 2014 in a blog site entitled “De-mass’d”, the author Leora Kornfeld explains the definitions of what old power and new power is and gives some of her opinions about the topic after she read an article in the Harvard Business Review by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms.

          Old Power, according to Kornfeld’s definition, is a concept of having businesses that are, in essence, monopolies that have well-established rules and authorities that monitor everything that is being run.  These companies may receive a lot of feedback and comments from the consumers to improve but typically the companies turn the other cheek and do not internalize those feedbacks and comments and remain as they have been running.  Such old power establishments may include places such as banks, telephone companies, or General Electrics.

          New Power, according to Kornfeld’s definition, is the concept of having an establishment where there is no one particular founder or head of the establishment that makes it grow but has a mass of audience members contributing to the growth of the company and each play a role in making the company what it is nowadays.  Examples of new power would be websites such as Wikipedia or Craigslist.  For Wikipedia, someone built the site but a massive amount of consumers who use the website play a role in editing and creating pages on it in order to make Wikipedia the website it is today.  Without the consumers’ help, Wikipedia would not be the website it is now.

          The topic I would like to focus on is the topic of sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment does not seem like it has anything to do with the concepts of New Power and Old Power, but it in fact does have relevance.  There are laws and policies that are held in place by the government to help victims of sexual harassment and to charge and convict the perpetrators of sexual harassment but there are faults in the system which highly disappoints the victims, if the victim is willing to bring the case to light.  The court system may typically be seen as an Old Power, because it is supposed to have authorities to enforce the laws that have been set in place by the government  (in reality, it often does not happen but for the sake of this argument, let’s say that the court and law employees enforce the laws).  Because of lack of enforcement by the justice system, victims of sexual harassment are now taking to the internet to create websites that try to help other victims to teach or help them with what they have gone through.  Such websites and forums now work as a type of therapy session for victims because some of the websites allow users to talk about their experiences and have input about information or add onto different account user’s anecdotes.  These websites and forums can be seen as New Power.  With the internet nowadays, it is amazing how New Power is starting to take off and help people in a variety of ways!

 

The following is an example of a website/forum to help people:

http://au.reachout.com/sexual-harassment

 

The following is the blog post that Leora Kornfeld had written:

http://demassed.blogspot.ca/2014/11/an-article-that-caught-my-eye-recently.html