A professor I’ve known for years has a reputation for making inappropriate comments to women. I’ve heard him refer to a student’s looks or ask about her sexual orientation or inquire about her sex life. His words always seemed more clueless than anything — but the more I think about it, the more bothered I am that I never said anything. I rationalized the things he’d say as just harmless but, also, if I’m honest, he was really important to my career and that definitely stopped me from challenging him. It’s difficult: The comments weren’t okay — but they appeared such a product of his being a retrograde awkward dork. At the same time, if he’d had zero power over us, would I or someone else have been more likely to say something? Probably. If you’d asked me then, I probably would have said that it just wasn’t worth it to try to explain to a clueless man why he’s clueless. Today, I’m annoyed at myself for not acting differently.”