The unexpected response to the sexual harassment crisis

Summary: The next phase of the gender revolution has begun with the tsunami of stories of workplace sexual harassment. Already the response has begun. It’s unexpected, but historians will consider it obvious and predictable.

Man touching shoulder of uncomfortable woman co-worker

 

It’s a revolution!

Suicide, investigation and a lawsuit follow booze-fueled UC Davis ag school retreat” — and a sexual harassment complaint! “Amazon Suspends Entertainment Chief Roy Price.” “Hundreds allege sex harassment, discrimination at Kay and Jared jewelry company.” “Five women accuse journalist and ‘Game Change’ co-author Mark Halperin of sexual harassment.” “Uber’s SVP of engineering is out after he did not disclose he left Google in a dispute over a sexual harassment allegation” — “Amit Singhal, a highly regarded engineer in Silicon Valley, denied the claims after top execs at the search giant presented them to him.” Settlements pile up against Bill O’Reilly at Fox. “Women in Tech Speak Frankly on Culture of Harassment.” The Air Force Academy had sexual harassment scandals in 2003 and after large-scale fixes, a jump in their numbers in 2014-15.

The plan is for us become happy buddies at work, toiling in unisex union.

Man touching shoulder of uncomfortable woman co-worker

The unintended consequences

The rules have changed. Now a single accusation of sexual harassment can damage a career, especially if it brings rivals out from under the rugs. Accusations can be made years later, with little or no supporting evidence (e.g., see David Brock’s book about the Anita Hill incident), driven by a wide range of motivations (from noble to malicious). There are few or no consequences to fake accusations if caught. Since some rape accusations are fake, then even more harassment accusations probably are.

Now men react to the new world, and new rules. Consider it a form of defensive driving.

(1) Pence was prudent and prescient.

“In 2002, Mike Pence told the Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.” {Source: NYT.} Feminists criticized him; now he looks not just prudent but prescient. Others are following his example.

(2) Obvious but unexpected consequences.

Unintended Consequences of Sexual Harassment Scandals by Claire Cain Miller in the NYT.

“In Silicon Valley, some male investors have declined one-on-one meetings with women, or rescheduled them from restaurants to conference rooms. On Wall Street, certain senior men have tried to avoid closed-door meetings with junior women. And in TV news, some male executives have scrupulously minded their words in conversations with female talent.

“In interviews, the men describe a heightened caution because of recent sexual harassment cases, and they worry that one accusation, or misunderstood comment, could end their careers. But their actions affect women’s careers, too — potentially depriving them of the kind of relationships that lead to promotions or investments.

“It’s an unintended consequence of a season of sex scandals. …

“‘A big chill came across Silicon Valley in the wake of all these stories, and people are hyperaware and scared of behaving wrongly, so I think they’re drawing all kinds of parameters,’ said a venture capitalist who spoke anonymously for the same reason. Some are avoiding solo meetings with female entrepreneurs, potential recruits and those who ask for an informational or networking meeting. …

“People were warier in jobs that emphasized appearance, as with certain restaurants or TV networks; in male-dominated industries like finance; and in jobs that involve stark power imbalances, like doctors or investors. …

“Dr. Mukund Komanduri, 50, an orthopedic surgeon with a practice outside Chicago, said he avoids being alone with female colleagues, particularly those he does not know well or who are subordinates. ‘I’m very cautious about it because my livelihood is on the line,’ he said. ‘If someone in your hospital says you had inappropriate contact with this woman, you get suspended for an investigation, and your life is over. …He mentioned a hospital colleague who lost his job because of harassment allegations. ‘That individual has created a hypersensitive atmosphere for every other physician,’ he said. ‘We basically stand 10 feet away from everyone we know.’

(3) Back to the future for America, as men and women get separate bicycles.

It’s Not Just Mike Pence. Americans Are Wary of Being Alone With the Opposite Sex.” by Claire Cain Miller in the NYT. Opening…

“Men and women still don’t seem to have figured out how to work or socialize together. For many, according to a new Morning Consult poll conducted for The New York Times, it is better simply to avoid each other. Many men and women are wary of a range of one-on-one situations, the poll found.” {Click to enlarge graph.}

Men and Women, Alone Together

Conclusions

What happens next? We can only guess. But remember one of the great lessons of the 20th century, repeated in several nations so far in the 21st:  Islāmic fundamentalists have proven that progress — the arrow of history — can run both forward and backwards.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see all post about society and gender issuesabout feminismabout rape, and especially these…

  1. It’s time to forcibly re-shape America to fight the campus rape epidemic! Even if it’s fake.
  2. The University of Virginia “rape culture” story crashes and burns. Will this become a story of failed agitprop? Or a win for the Left?
  3. The University of Virginia shows how change comes to America: through agitprop and hysteria.
  4. False rape accusations tell us something important about America.
  5. Horrific news from Sweden about sexual assaults by immigrants.
  6. See universities’ programs to regulate sex. The apps are amazing!

To understand, see where this began…

Unwanted Advances - Sexual Paranoia
Available at Amazon.

Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus by Laura Kipnis (2017). She is a professor of media studies at Northwestern University. From the publisher…

“From a highly regarded feminist cultural critic and professor comes a polemic arguing that the stifling sense of sexual danger sweeping American campuses doesn’t empower women, it impedes the fight for gender equality.

“Feminism is broken, argues Laura Kipnis. Anyone who thinks the sexual hysteria overtaking American campuses is a sign of gender progress is deranged.

“A committed feminist, Kipnis was surprised to find herself the object of a protest march by student activists at her university for writing an essay about sexual paranoia on campus. Next she was brought up on Title IX complaints for creating a “hostile environment.” Defying confidentiality strictures, she wrote a whistleblowing essay about the ensuing seventy-two-day investigation, which propelled her to the center of national debates over free speech, “safe spaces,” and the vast federal overreach of Title IX.

“In the process she uncovered an astonishing netherworld of accused professors and students, campus witch hunts, rigged investigations, and Title IX officers run amok. Then a trove of revealing documents fell into her lap, plunging her behind the scenes in an especially controversial case. Drawing on investigative reporting, cultural analysis, and her own experiences, Unwanted Advances demonstrates the chilling effect of this new sexual McCarthyism on higher education. Without minimizing the seriousness of campus assault, Kipnis argues for more honesty about the sexual realities and ambivalences hidden behind the notion of “rape culture.” Instead, regulation is replacing education, and women’s hard-won right to be treated as consenting adults is being repealed by well-meaning bureaucrats.

“Unwanted Advances is a risk-taking, often darkly funny interrogation of feminist paternalism, the covert sexual conservatism of hook-up culture, and the institutionalized backlash of holding men alone responsible for mutually drunken sex. It’s not just compulsively readable, it will change the national conversation.”

18 thoughts on “The unexpected response to the sexual harassment crisis

  1. Look here kids. This is what happens when you take beta/red pill internet bullshit seriously – you develop holes in your brain and then write blog posts like this.

    Tell me again why I should feel bad why serially abusers like O’Reilly (pro-tip: don’t reference people who have recordings of them sexually harassing people if you also want to make the snide insinuation that these accusations are dubious) have gotten fired after years of sexual harassment could no longer be ignored by advertisers? Doesn’t really seem like a revolution to me, just some late comeuppance for scumbags who had it coming.

    1. A more interesting example than O;Reilly is our former touchy-feely VP Biden. Where is his “comeuppance”? Or is he not a convenient pinata for the Attack Press just now?

    2. I don’t see how that contradicts my point: serial abuses with power feel untouchable and get away with it for years and most don’t even suffer real consequences except for the most egregious. The thing you seem to miss is that if you have enough power (irregardless of party affiliation) – like a Trump or Clinton or Ailes – you can usually get away with harassment and abuse for years and suffer no real consequences unless you’re so egregious – like an O’Reilly or Weiner or Ailes – that you get a little ‘comeuppance’. Gotta love that unmistakable blend of persecution complex and sexual entitlement all American right-wingers seem to have though.

    3. Folorian,

      I don’t understand your comment.

      You: ““Tell me again why I should feel bad why serially abusers like O’Reilly ”
      Me: “That’s quite a reading FAIL. This post says nothing remotely like that.”
      You: “I don’t see how that contradicts my point”

      I don’t reply to comments making up stuff and giving rebuttals to that.

      “serial abuses with power feel untouchable and get away with it for years and most don’t even suffer real consequences”

      Wow. That’s not remotely true in the new world. Hence the adoption of “defensive driving.”

      • Corporate HR departments are ruthless about punishing male peons accused of misbehavior. Guilt or innocence is often irrelevant.
      • The risk is different at higher levels, where accusations can be made for profit. Defense is often more expensive than settlement, in this as in most legal matters these days.
    4. Dang Larry, I was expecting a more alpha move than a lame ‘you didn’t read my blogpost correctly’

    5. Folorian,

      “‘you didn’t read my blogpost correctly’”

      Experience has proven that replying to these is a waste of time. It’s like debating someone screaming speeches in the park in response to voices in his head.

      Try responding to direct quotes, which ensures some relevance of your comment to the text.

    6. Love getting responses that are longer than my original ‘irrelevant’ posts. What ‘irrelevance’!

      “Corporate HR departments are ruthless about punishing male peons accused of misbehavior”
      – Not in my experience or in the hundreds of stories carried by the press recently. Discussion would be easier with you if you were even remotely tethered to reality.

      “Defense is often more expensive than settlement” – this is just reflexively discrediting any SH allegation as cynically motivated. There’s a huge risk for victims to accuse people who have power over them, exactly the reason serial abusers feel they can get away with it. Recent scandals corroborate this dynamic, they contradict your ‘theory’.

      Keep chugging along there red pill boy!

    7. Folorian,

      (1) “Not in my experience or in the hundreds of stories carried by the press recently.”

      False. Most of the stories in the news now (see the links I provide) ended with the guy being terminated.

      (2) “this is just reflexively discrediting any SH allegation as cynically motivated.”

      That’s not a logical inference from what I said.

      (3) “There’s a huge risk for victims to accuse people who have power over them”

      Yes, that has been true in the past. The first line in this post is “It’s a revolution!” Also, see Yves Smith’s comment in this thread, based on her years at Wall Stree.

    8. Folorian,

      The “revolution” has been happening for over a decade, at an accelerating pace.

      One early milestone was the California law requiring employers to provide supervisors with 2 hours of interactive sexual harassment training and education every 2 years, effective 17 Aug 2007 (CA Govt. Code Sec. 12950.1, CA Admin. Code Sec. 7288.0). Effective 1 January 2018, SB 396 requires mandatory California harassment prevention training for supervisors to include content on harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

      These courses have become increasingly stern in tone over the past decade. In the recent versions, guilt seems assumed from accusations.

      Also roughly a decade ago, major US corporations and governments began mandatory sexual harassment training — and stories began to circulate about increasingly strict enforcement. Rare at first, hence shocking. Then more common, then assumed (“He was stupid to believe he’d get away with that.”) Now the wave has reached the previously immune ranks of celebrities, senior managers, and Silicon Valley.

    9. Follow-up to Folorian —

      More evidence about the “revolution” in gender roles — and the treatment of men. Students at many college across the nation are required to take courses about behavior. “Sexual assault”, “Sexual harassment”, etc. They are required for California State colleges and universities. Many are quite draconian in tone, featureing false lessons such as “victims never lie” (or “always believe the victim”) and “the victim is never to blame” (i.e., responsibility is never shared – there are only white hats and black hats). The California course also features a racial spin: most of the good men are of color, the bad men are usually white.

      Here is a website for one of the major vendors of these “courses” — “Not Anymore.

  2. The incoherence of the gender revolutionaries is on display with the Mike Pence pileon. On the one hand, “keep your hands to yourself, sexist pig, and stifle those sexist complments.” On the other hand, “What do you mean you won’t be seen alone with me? So you’re still trying to maintain the glass ceiling, you sexist pig!”
    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/mike-pence-and-the-sexism-of-the-billy-graham-rule/521328/

  3. I think the unintended consequences of which you speak here is that the result of women’s rights has now come full circle so that women are, once again, being treated differently in the workplace out of fear. That’s an interesting angle to this and I can understand the reaction of men. Two personal anecdotes:

    Years ago I was the band leader at a charismatic, rock and roll church, subordinate to a female worship leader. The church had a very strict policy about any staff member being alone with a member of the opposite sex to whom he/she wasn’t married. I respected the policy, but it made the working arrangement a bit more complicated due to the need to find a third person (a chaperone, essentially) when we wanted to work on our music one-on-one.

    I’ve worked for the same medium-sized software company for 18 years and I’m happy to report that I’ve not seen this fear infect my work environment… yet. We have a very modern work environment that is an open plan yet dozens of various meeting spaces ranging from very small hideaways to large conference rooms and I see no evidence that men and women are shying away from working closely together even one-on-one.

    1. dell,

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience. Note, however, the first sentence of this post: “It’s a revolution!” Change has arrived suddenly. It will take years to spread throughout the society. We can only guess at its affects.

      “We have a very modern work environment that is an open plan”

      That is in part a reaction to senior managements’ increased awareness of this problem. Most Wall Street firms (my biz for 3 decades) long ago switched to glass walls for private offices. These “fishbowls” were meant to reduce the frequency of severe inappropriate physical conduct. The problem remains of inappropriate behavior between workers outside of the office. A senior exec of a firm I worked for was fired for telling a very racist joke over drinks. Was the person who reported him a rat, informer, or whistleblower? It’s a matter of values.

      Note these revolutions have already had one effect: the group cohesion, the feeling of being a tight team, that existed in good offices when I entered the work world in the 1970s is gone. It’s just people in boxes, alienated from each other and the firm.

      The exception to this is in the Silicon Valley (I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, providing marketing advice to tech firms). Now the revolution has reached them. Only time will tell what comes next.

  4. Yves Smith, proprietor at Naked Capitalism (moderate left website).

    “While I know plenty of women who have been harassed, I also know two men and one woman personally who were falsely accused, and the process of getting the case dismissed was terribly damaging psychologically to one of the men. And worse, I know of no women personally who pushed cases where they have legitimate grievances.

    “So my limited sample says there is a propensity for people to resort to the sexual harassment charge when they want to get someone in situations where a smear will do damage even if they lose (as in there are no adverse consequences for them to make flat out false or highly questionable charges. This is admittedly a comparatively rare set of circumstances yet it is disturbing that that does happen and with enough frequency that with my comparatively small circle I know of this many cases.

    “But it also reflects that I stopped being an employee in male-dominated companies pretty young and thus know only generally pretty decent men. In one case amounted to three women separately complaining each only of one incident each that literally consisted of the man saying the woman was wearing a nice dress or cute shoes [I forget what the third one was but it was of the same ilk]. This was in an environment where management had an agenda against the man, and I assume they couldn’t go after him on the usual default, expense account abuse).”

    From today’s Links” post.

  5. Claire Cain: ““Men and women still don’t seem to have figured out how to work or socialize together. ”

    That assumes there’s anything men can do that won’t draw complaints. See Mike Pence, for example.

    1. PAT,

      And vice versa. See this from the essential Closing of the American Mind by Allan Boom.

      ——————————

      “Relations between the sexes have always been difficult, and that is why so much of our literature is about men and women quarreling. There is certainly legitimate ground to doubt their suitability for each other given the spectrum—from the harem to Plato’s Republic—of imaginable and actually existing relations between them, whether nature acted the stepmother or God botched the creation by an afterthought, as some Romantics believed. That man is not made to be alone is all very well, but who is made to live with him?

      “This is why men and women hesitated before marriage, and courtship was thought necessary to find out whether the couple was compatible, and perhaps to give them basic training in compatibility. No one wanted to be stuck forever with an impossible partner. But, for all that, they knew pretty much what they wanted from one another. The question was whether they could get it (whereas our question today is much more what is wanted). A man was to make a living and protect his wife and children, and a woman was to provide for the domestic economy, particularly in caring for husband and children.

      “Frequently this did not work out very well for one or both of the partners, because they either were not good at their functions or were not eager to perform them. In order to assure the proper ordering of things, the transvestite women in Shakespeare, like Portia and Rosalind, are forced to masquerade as men because the real men are inadequate and need to be corrected. This happens only in comedies; when there are no such intrepid women, the situation turns into tragedy.

      “But the assumption of male garb observes the proprieties or conventions. Men should be doing what the impersonating women are doing; and when the women have set things right, they become women again and submit to the men, albeit with a tactful, ironical consciousness that they are at least partially playacting in order to preserve a viable order. The arrangement implicit in marriage, even if it is only conventional, tells those who enter into it what to expect and what the satisfactions are supposed to be. Very simply, the family is a sort of miniature body politic in which the husband’s will is the will of the whole. The woman can influence her husband’s will, and it is supposed to be informed by love of wife and children.

      “Now all of this has simply disintegrated. It does not exist, nor is it considered good that it should. But nothing certain has taken its place. Neither men nor women have any idea what they are getting into anymore, or, rather, they have reason to fear the worst. There are two equal wills, and no mediating principle to link them and no tribunal of last resort.”

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