As everybody and his sister, I wanted to watch that episode of “Madam Secretary” where Tea Leoni is first rudely groped at an official meeting, and then she socks the offender into his face breaking his nose. Attagirl! I watched it, and it was wonderfully acted by all parties. I can well understand that since a country was named, its authorities became offended and tried to stop the airing of the episode. But fiction is not fact; the show creators could choose another country. The whole point is, a woman is mistreated, and she exercises her right to defend herself. Frankly, while watching I never once thought, “Oh, what a bad country!” Because as did millions of viewers I never took it as an insult to the country itself. I did think, “What a jerk! Serves him right!” We are living in turbulent times, and the daily news tells us about all kinds of violence against women. Well, surprise bad guys! Women can often defend themselves, put up a good fight and yes, break a man’s nose in the process. This scene reminded me of an old French movie called “Fanfan La Tulipe”. In it, the very young and impossibly beautiful Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida plays a young girl who caught the king’s fancy. At first she naively mistakes his motives for some paternal or noble interest. When he tries to press his unwanted attentions on her however she smacks his cheek and escapes. She stumbles on La marquise de Pompadour, the king’s favorite and his official mistress, and recounts her troubles. The celebrated experienced marquise rolls her eyes, clasps her hands and breathes out ecstatically, “A slap in the king’s face! I’ve been dreaming about doing it all my life!” Of course she helps the young Adeline.

Now it is a slap in a president’s face. Good for her – good for us. Though I do not consider myself a feminist, I understand, for instance, why Emma Watson became one. No, I didn’t notice any overtly feminist moments in the new “Beauty and the Beast” where this extremely talented actress plays Belle. I simply enjoyed watching it, like millions other movie-goers.

What would a man do if he got attacked, groped, insulted? I sincerely hope any man would try to defend himself to the best of his abilities. Why does it come as a surprise that a woman acts the same? There are situations when patience is not a virtue; quick action is needed instead. Being an incorrigible optimist I believe that men and women can achieve understanding and treat each other with mutual respect. As a realist, I am always ready for something else. “Girl, want to go spend a nice time with us?” two drunks leered at me in the dusk. I asked them, astonished, “Do you address ME like that?!” I mean, one can see I am not a spring chicken as the saying goes. “Sure, mature is much better!” they laugh, obviously thinking that they are irresistible. I never accost any male like that, yet some men believe it is all right to accost women, anywhere.

We have power!

Maybe the day will come…


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