Have you heard of Fuck Off Funds? The idea isn't new, but it seems newly relevant in the era of #MeToo.
Regardless of whether you’re a woman working on the factory floor at Ford or an A-List actress, the current reckoning is pointing to the fact that work isn't a safe place for many women. In fact, a recent study shows 25% of women say they’ve not only endured unwanted sexual advances at work but they’ve endured it from men who held power over their jobs. And it doesn’t stop there. Almost two-thirds of Americans say that they see most men getting away with the behaviour. So how do we combat a system that wasn’t set up to protect us?
The recent seismic shift in tolerance around workplace behaviour reminded me of the 2016 article on Fuck Off Funds by Paulette Perhach. Perhach makes the case for a savings account created for the sole purpose of leaving a job. As Perhach writes, “You save up a Fuck Off Fund of $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, then enough to live half a year without anyone else’s help. So when your boss tells you that you look nice, asks you to do a spin, you say, “Is there some way you need my assistance in the professional capacity or can I go back to my desk now?” When your boss attempts to grope you, you say, “Fuck off, you creep!” You wave two middle fingers in the air, and march over to HR. Whether the system protects you or fails you, you will be able to take care of yourself.”
Of course, a Fuck Off Fund is only great if you can afford it. It's not a solution for everyone, because it's important to remember that many of the most vulnerable women who experience workplace harassment are negotiating the racialised wealth gap.