Summary: Journalists tell us exciting, even heart-breaking, stories about #MeToo. That’s how they build a narrative. But to understand we need to see the numbers, like the ones shown here.
A look at the best available numbers
The NYT hired Morning Consult to do a telephone survey asking men about different kinds of workplace behavior: “In the last year at work, have you …” Let’s look at the answers, starting with the two most common “yes” answers.
- 19% – Made remarks that some might consider sexist or offensive?
- 16% – Told sexual stories or jokes that some might consider offensive?
About 25% of the men in the sample answered “yes” to one of those questions. But these days, with so many strident feminists, what are the boundaries to “some might consider offensive”? In California, repeated use of the wrong pronoun by nursing home worker can get up to a year in prison. There no rules these days. It would have been more useful to ask using the standard of many States (e.g., California): if a “reasonable woman” would find the behavior objectionable.
Ten percent of the men surveyed said they did one or more of the following…
- 7% – Displayed, used or distributed materials (like videos or cartoons) that some might consider sexist or suggestive?
- 4% – Made gestures or used body language of a sexual nature, which embarrassed or offended someone?
- 4% – Continued to ask someone for dates, drinks or dinner even though he or she said no?
- 3% – Made attempts to establish a romantic sexual relationship with someone despite that person’s efforts to discourage it?
- 2% – Touched someone in a way that made him or her feel uncomfortable?
- 1% – Made attempts to draw someone into a discussion of sexual matters even though the person did not want to join in?
- 1% – Made uninvited attempts to stroke, fondle or kiss someone?
A few men admitted to going far over the line.
- 2% – Offered or implied rewards if someone engaged in sexual behavior? Or treated someone badly if he or she didn’t?
Twelve percent admitted to doing 3 or more of these actions. Six percent did 3 more excluding the first two, remarks and jokes. (The NYT added, sententiously, “But actions like jokes may not be entirely benign.” They don’t explain why.) The NYT said that a telephone survey by SSRS found similar rates of reported behavior. But buried deep in the article are these two gems.
“In separate, smaller surveys, women were only somewhat less likely than men to admit to harassing behavior, even though men, in polls and in formal complaints, are far less likely to say they’ve been sexually harassed. …
“Workplace harassment may be decreasing. In surveys of federal government employees, the percentage of women who said they had experienced one of eight harassing behaviors in the last two years was 18%, less than half the percentage it was in 1994.”
Look at the numbers
Survey by YouGov and The Economist. Detailed results here.
Results show women consider many behaviors to be situational: sometimes harassment, sometimes not. This is especially so for young women. These are the results for women 18-24. The survey didn’t ask how men should know when it is harassment — and when it is not. The answer will be revealed during your hearing at a campus tribunal, or from the verdict of your friendly corporate HR apparatchiks!
Is it sexual harassment to wink at a woman (if you’re not a romantic or sexual partner, or friend)? Always, say 5% of women. Never, say 16%.
Is it sexual harassment to compliment a woman on her attractiveness? Always, according to 4% of women. Never, according to 11%.
Is it sexual harassment to ask a woman out for a drink? Always, according to 1% of women. Never, according to 31%.
Evidence of successful indoctrination of young men: is it sexual harassment to ask a woman out for a drink? Usually, say 3% of women 18-24. Usually, say 10% of men 18-24.
Bottom line: relations among the genders have become a minefield. Nobody knows what the rules are today, nor what standards will be applied in five or ten years to today’s behavior.
By Christina Hoff Sommers (see Wikipedia) at the New York Daily News.
“We’re at imminent risk of turning this #metoo moment into a frenzied rush to blame all men.”
“The General Social Survey is one of the most trusted sources of data in the social sciences. In 2014, a random sample of Americans was asked a straightforward question: ‘In the last 12 months, were you sexually harassed by anyone while you were on the job?’
“To that question, only 3.6% of women said yes. That is down from 6.1% in 2002. These results do not suggest an epidemic. Nor even a trendline moving in the wrong direction.“
For another perspective
The vast apparatus build during the past generation to protect women — Corporate Manuals, the 800 Hotlines, the HR staff — has proven ineffective. This is usually ignored by the #MeToo hysteria, and the reasons why are unexplored.
“The Sexes after Weinstein” by Heather Wilhelm at National Review.
“In a distressing number of the stories surrounding the ‘Me Too’ movement, speaking up doesn’t factor into the equation. Sometimes, as in the Weinstein case, the silence stems from threats, or fear, or intimidation. But other times, it’s a distressing refrain: ‘I froze.’ ‘I didn’t move his hand.’ ‘I pretended it wasn’t happening.’ Sometimes, the silence stems from what one writer described in the New York Times: ‘I was so surprised and naïve, I guess, that I didn’t say anything.’ …
“‘I know from talking to my female students that they’re often at a loss about how to deal with the binds they find themselves in, especially in the context of hookup culture,’ Northwestern professor Laura Kipnis told the roundtable. ‘What surprises me is that they often feel unable to say no to guys and just sort of yield instead, even when they don’t really want to. Somehow all the messages about assertiveness from the last few generations have gotten dissipated, and we’re back to Square 1.'”
For More Information
Ideas! For ideas about using Holiday cash, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.
- It’s time to forcibly re-shape America to fight the campus rape epidemic! Even if it’s fake.
- The University of Virginia shows how change comes to America: through agitprop and hysteria.
- False rape accusations tell us something important about America.
- Feminist revolutionaries seized control of colleges. Now come the tribunals…
- The unexpected response to the sexual harassment crisis.
- Weaponizing claims of sexual harassment for political gain.
- Mysteries and ironies of the next new sexual revolution.
- Worrying while the harassment fires burn out of control.
- Second thoughts about romance in the #MeToo age.
A counterpoint to the debate.
Well worth reading: Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women (1995). From the publisher…
“Philosophy professor Christina Sommers has exposed a disturbing development: how a group of zealots, claiming to speak for all women, are promoting a dangerous new agenda that threatens our most cherished ideals and sets women against men in all spheres of life. In case after case, Sommers shows how these extremists have propped up their arguments with highly questionable but well-funded research, presenting inflammatory and often inaccurate information and stifling any semblance of free and open scrutiny.
“Trumpeted as orthodoxy, the resulting ‘findings’ on everything from rape to domestic abuse to economic bias to the supposed crisis in girls’ self-esteem perpetuate a view of women as victims of the ‘patriarchy’.
“Moreover, these arguments and the supposed facts on which they are based have had enormous influence beyond the academy, where they have shaken the foundations of our educational, scientific, and legal institutions and have fostered resentment and alienation in our private lives. Despite its current dominance, Sommers maintains, such a breed of feminism is at odds with the real aspirations and values of most American women and undermines the cause of true equality. Who Stole Feminism? is a call to arms that will enrage or inspire, but cannot be ignored.”