David Letterman would have made a good squawman

 (Please click here for an explanation of “squawmen”)

Many people can’t  understand why a woman would have sex with someone  just to keep her job.

I am guessing those same folks would understand not wanting to piss off your boss.  Risk getting fired, or worse, blackballed in an industry you’ve worked really hard to establish yourself in.  Not wanting to anger the person who holds your economic security in his or her hand.

Talk show host Dave Letterman recently admitted to having sexual relationships with some of the women on his staff. 

Though he didn’t reveal details (and in this case, I doubt we’d want ‘em), it brings up an interesting and long standing challenge that women face.

Women still sometimes find themselves valued for their sexuality rather than their talent.  Or the two get mixed up all together and many women have to compromise themselves (engage in sex) to create opportunities to use their other talents—all with the hope of gaining or maintaining,  economic security.  Sound familiar? 

In the 1800s many women turned to prostitution because their sexuality was the only thing  they had of any perceived value.  Native women were often forced to compromise themselves simply to survive.   Is it really so different today?

Maybe it would have been fine for Letterman’s female staffers to reject him.   Maybe he wouldn’t have used his professional influence to hurt them professionally as a response.  Maybe he would take the high road and maintained emotional maturity.  Oh, BUT WAIT.  This is a married many who thought it appropriate to have sex with female subordinates. 

We don’t know how many were single, how many had kids dependent on them.  How many had worked really hard to get where they were professionally and didn’t want to risk it.   The point is none of that matters.  Because if even ONE of these women felt they had to have sex with Letterman or lose their position, job, or professional reputation, then this was horribly wrong.  And because a superior can NEVER know if they might make someone feel that way, they should NEVER force a woman into that position.  Any position, if you know what I mean.


4 Responses to David Letterman would have made a good squawman

  1. Kym says:


    It is risky for a boss (or teacher) to have sex with a subordinate for the reasons you mention. Sadly, whether its hardwired into our genes or conditioned by society, many women find powerful men attractive. Some women set out to have relationships with powerful men. That doesn’t absolve the man from being mature and refraining but neither are the women all victims. I’m inclined to let the women in this case define themselves– as victims, seducers, or equal lovers.

    • lynette77 says:

      Excellent point, Kym. When I read it I started wondering if these guys (and women) are ok w/ people wanting to be with them because of their perceived “power”, but I guess that is all wrapped up in who they are.

  2. As Kym so aptly pointed out, life is not always fair, and sometimes it’s difficult to ferret out who is the prey and who is the preyed upon. A beautiful woman can take advantage of a male’s weaknesses. Sometimes a woman will seduce her boss for a better position in the company hierarchy. The lesser endowed women in the group will always recognize that woman for what she is, and more likely than not, condemn the woman before the man.

    Jim Nefus, in Hettenshaw Valley back it the 1850-60’s, captured an Indian boy, treated and fed him well, and taught him to shoot and hunt. When he had the boy trained well enough, he sent him back to his people to convince the young Indian women that they could have white husbands in Sacramento. The boy told the young girls that they would be treated well, as indeed he was, and that they would be going to “the land of beans and honey.” The young Indian women went willingly. Jim sold them for “wives.” I’m not saying that there was anything moral or right about it. I’m sure that the Indian men didn’t like it very much. But, some Indian women were treated very well by their new husbands, and found life to be much better than they could have had trying to live in the wilderness. The Indian men that were left behind tasted the same bitterness that many men have tasted when a woman chooses another man over him.

    Life is just not fair, not back then, and not now.

    • lynette77 says:

      Hi Ernie,
      I’ve read some of that account about Nefus…. what sources have you found that indicate that the Native women taken by him and the Asbills were treated well? I would love to get any description of the lives of the women living with white (or Mexican) men… ?

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