You’d think after the Harvey Weinstein firestorm catapulted the rampant issue of sexual misconduct into an urgent national conversation, men would take a hint regarding their own behavior. But as guest host Tracee Ellis Ross pointed out on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week, it seems that many are still somehow unclear about what’s okay and what’s not. So the black-ish star used her hosting gig as an opportunity to share her latest project: a (fake) children’s book designed to clue men in about the predatory garbage women have to put up with from men daily.
The book speaks directly to a figure most women sadly know well, a figure who’s become ubiquitous in recent headlines: The Handsy Man.
With the help of colorful and creepy illustrations, Tracee Ellis Ross breaks down all the seemingly obvious things this familiar and confused character needs to stop doing, from placing his hand on an employee’s knee to exposing himself.
“You may not compliment my butt, you may not call me ‘ho’ or ‘slut,'” one page reads. “And even if you’re stoned or drunk, do not expose me to your junk.” Other pages specify no unwanted touching, no hair smelling, and no following women into parking garages.
Ross’s story doesn’t call out any men by name, but one reference in the book —”You cannot smell my hair you creep, or grab my boobs while I’m asleep” — sounds a lot like the groping allegations against Senator Al Franken. Then again, with new horrifying accounts coming to light daily — and many more that won’t be told at a national level — it’s hard to pinpoint anyone specific.
The book concludes with a powerful reminder that none of this is complicated to understand:
If it takes breaking the situation down into terms so simple a kid could understand them to get men to recognize the prevalence of what women are dealing with, that’s another sad reality we’re all going to have to process. But at least we have a queen like Tracee Ellis Ross drawing further attention to the issue, and countless other brave women telling their stories.