Men’s Turn to Be Scared

As sexual harassment accusations proliferate against prominent man, especially in workplaces, don’t be surprised if you see some men shying away from any interaction with women.

7 thoughts on “Men’s Turn to Be Scared

  1. I am thoroughly enjoying the spectacle as the true aggressors get drug out into the light; but I’m also concerned about going overboard. The French Revolution was ultimately A Good Thing, but a lot of innocents lost their heads along the way.

    I’m seeing more and more stories that read “he asked me out and I felt uncomfortable.” That’s not harassment. So long as it’s the man’s job to make the the first move, women will be approached by men they find unattractive.

    The most common workplace romance is still the woman who marries her boss. So, if her boss asks and she’s not interested it’s harassment – but if she *is* interested it’s True Love. … and how is he to know whether she’s interested without asking?

    Many places of business ban workplace romance – but that’s not realistic. I’ve dated co-workers before, (never subordinates) we’ve got shared experiences and time to talk; it’s only natural that we find compatible members of the ‘opposite’ sex.

    I don’t pretend to have the answers, but the questions are fascinating.

    • Crazy (if I might be so familiar):
      I too am grateful to see aggressors getting their comeuppance, probably more than most men are. But…. “I’m also concerned about going overboard”? Correct me if I’m wrong (Ted?), but I think that’s the point of the cartoon: that the overreaction, whether clueless or willful, by men who still don’t get it is a bit disingenuous, and very frustrating. (“For Christ’s sake…”)

      Of course revolutionary change, French or otherwise, will create problems and misunderstandings, and yes, a few innocent victims may be harmed, as we sort out the implications of major social changes – many of which, unfortunately, are left to HR departments to legislate. We’re still sorting out a lot of changes that came out of the women’s movement and the (supposed) rise of feminism in the 70s. (OK, the “supposed” is unfair – there have been many changes, for which I’m extremely grateful, but it can often feel unnecessarily glacial.)

      The overreaction depicted in the cartoon is troubling, because it trivializes the situation and draws attention away from the serious issues to be addressed. Disproportionate sympathy for the poor men taking their turn being scared is like having to fire people right before the holidays and saving the greatest concern for oneself: Why does everything happen to ME?!

      If there are stories that read “he asked me out and I felt uncomfortable,” then perhaps the problem is that we’re publishing and focusing on the wrong kinds of stories rather than making a concerted effort to stop being hysterical and focus on identifying and solving the real problems.

      It’s no longer incumbent upon men to make the first move, but yes, it’s still true that women will be approached by men they find unattractive. And men will be approached by women they find unattractive. But “attractiveness” is not the issue (see previous paragraph).

      Even if “[t]he most common workplace romance is still the woman who marries her boss,” which I find questionable (is there actual evidence for this?), that also misses the point: we’re not talking about “workplace romances,” but about sexual harassment, threats, assault, and rape. These are not romances, but abuses of power. You said yourself that you’ve never dated subordinates (and BTW, I thought you were married… 😉 ), which is exactly the point: dating a coworker and dating a subordinate are not equivalent situations.

      In the case of workplace romances among coworkers, asking may be the best if not the only way to find out if someone is interested, but if you’re the boss and that person says no, it should stop there. In many cases, if you’re the boss, perhaps you shouldn’t be asking in the first place. And come to that, no matter who’s doing the asking, if the other person says no, it should stop there.

      Where’s Allan Bakke now that we need him?

      • @lburanen

        We’re pretty much on the same page here, except that I wasn’t talking so much about over-reaction by men – but rather society as a whole. My current example is Al Franken – I don’t think he’s a predator. (I could be wrong, I don’t know him personally.) If guys-in-general walk a little more carefully than they need to, then that’s a good thing overall. But if the true predators are walking scared, that is an absolutely wonderful thing.

        Are women asking men out now? If so, that’s a huge step in the right direction. I must admit I’ve been out of dating scene for some time. I’m a Boomer, we threw out all the old rules – but never got around to creating new ones. Where to now?

        We definitely agree that the small-change stuff draws attention away from the real problems. And of course, it’s been politicized. I’ve seen parallels drawn between Roy Moore & Bill Clinton, purely for political reasons. Clinton’s no saint, but he didn’t drag a 14 y/o home and fondle her against her will.

        Unfortunately, societal change is a generational thing. Your daughter will have it better than your mother did.

      • Craze — I tend to agree about Al Franken, though sadly, I suspect if he hadn’t stepped down, he’d be crucified by the Rethuglicans, screaming about “double standards” — well, they’d know, I guess.

        I’m also a boomer, but was tossed back into dating a few years ago — or into dating, I guess, for when I was but a wee slip of a girl, no one “dated” in the conventional sense, leastways no one I knew. You’re lucky to be out of it. It’s not for the faint of heart. Like politics, I imagine. (I could make a joke about at least being told “I love you” while you’re getting fucked, but I’m too much of a lady for that.)

      • @lburanen –

        :chuckle: I think we’re going to get along fine. We may have gotten off to a rocky start, but that happens any time people with strong opinions get together.

        So – from me, personally, “welcome, and please stick around.” I believe our little community could use some perspective from those of the female persuasion. Our last [openly] Lady Poster got run off by a true-to-for-real dyed-in-wool misogynist.

        (yeah, yeah, I’m expressing a gender bias. I *believe* the regulars to all be male. Does it matter? It does help understand a poster’s POV, but their comments/arguments stand on their own regardless.)

        Oh – and feel free to address me however you wish. I started using “Crazy” for my own amusement, and it worked so well that I stuck with it.

      • OMG, an openly Lady Poster?! What’s next? Women in engineering?! 😉 Yes, I believe this little community could certainly benefit from a woman’s touch (some air freshener, coasters, a few bright throw pillows….) 🙂 Thanks, Crazy, for welcoming me into the club! (BTW, your posse — that’s *posse* — want to talk to you on the playground after class….)

        Being run off by misogynists — silenced, I believe is the term — is understandable. No one likes being abused, even virtually. So, yeah, I think “gender bias” — or just gender — does matter, if not so crucially in identifying people who leave comments, then definitely in other realms, such as… well, any, I think, save possibly for sperm banks. (I’ll let someone else point out the role of women in the “aids” that are provided for donors.)

        Currently the Guardian is running a series on mothers (the literal kind), including at least one article about how electing women to public office does make a difference in alleviating The Mother Load. Doubtless an increase in the percentage of women in almost any workplace will likely reduce the incidence of sexual harassment and abuse. Shine the light on ’em, as you say, and watch ’em scatter like bar patrons when the police show up.

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