Women Have to Choose

Many American workers say they’re wary of interacting with members of the opposite sex at work. Women are worried about sexual harassment; men are worried about being falsely accused of sexual harassment. But how will women advance if they can’t socialize with men in the workplace?

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19 thoughts on “Women Have to Choose

  1. Here is a quote by Richard Fish from the TV Series “Ally McBeal”:

    “Personally, I hate sexual harassment laws. The original force behind them were disgruntled lesbians who felt they were not given the same opportunities – along with ugly women, who were jealous of pretty women who got all the breaks in the work force. My cause to action is simple, women are victims. They need special help. Look, at the evolution of these sexual harassment laws. What we are really saying is women really should qualify under the Federal Disability Act. They are less able. They cannot cope with romance in the office. They cannot contend with having to do a job and have a man smile at them. It is too much. Look where we used to be, first quid pro quo, then hostile environment, and now Seinfeld episodes. Women can’t take it; they bruise too easily. The laws are here to protect the weak and most vulnerable in society. She is woman, protect her! ”

    😀

    • A Fish-ism? Bygones. (I should turn in my testicles ‘cuz I love Ally McB as well.)

      But yeah, so long as we start out by assuming woman-as-victim, women will always be victims by definition. That is not a good starting place.

      • Are “we” in fact “start[ing] out by assuming woman-as-victim”? The word victim has become so loaded that it’s not terribly helpful — quite the contrary. Are women oppressed? Seems demonstrably true, using nothing more than andreas5’s evidence about the “selective uptake of feminist demands in corporate culture,” though there’s plenty more available.

        Speaking of victims, as in rape victim (or should we call them “rape recipients”?), many so-called solutions focus on how women need to change their lives to protect themselves, rather than inconveniencing men. Some have suggested only allowing men to go out at night accompanied by a female relative, which at first sounds shocking to the point of absurd, but how is that different to asking women only to go out in groups or with a chaperone to stay safe?

        In an article about rape culture, Amanda Taub (on vox.com, Dec 15, 2014) writes “[Rape culture is] … about cultural norms and institutions that protect rapists, promote impunity, shame victims, and demand that women make unreasonable sacrifices to avoid sexual assault. [It] pressures women to sacrifice their freedoms and opportunities in order to stay safe, because it puts the burden of safety on women’s shoulders, and blames them when they don’t succeed. As a result, certain opportunities are left unavailable to women, and still others are restricted by expensive safety precautions…. That amounts, essentially, to a tax that is levied exclusively on women. Over time, the cost of that tax adds up to opportunities lost and progress not achieved. When women give up social and economic opportunities in order to stay safe, that affects their progress overall, which in turn affects society’s progress overall.”

        Oh well! Too bad, ladies. The opportunities lost, the progress not achieved, and the costs to everyone, not just “them,” exemplify what I think Ted’s cartoon is all about.

      • lburanen – I think you’ve read a lot into my post(s) that I didn’t put there. I agree with most of your points above.

        I fully agree that it’s most important to change men’s behaviors and attitudes in the case of rape. I’m not suggesting that we reinstate the chaperone; I’m noting that we have done nothing to replace that institution. I’d prefer to teach thieves not to steal, but until that happy day I’m going to lock my doors.

        But let’s look at the other extreme. Are you suggesting that women should do nothing & wait for men to make all the changes? Should we discourage women from studying martial arts and shut down the Model Mugging schools? Should mothers *not* have explicit talks with their daughters about how & when to say no?

        But my larger point was about societal changes. Women are now wage earners, yet it’s still the man’s responsibility to ask her out & pay her way on a date. Why? Shouldn’t women step up, risk rejection and pay for dates? In the days of yore, unmarried women were addressed as “Miss” so that eligible bachelors knew she was available. Wouldn’t we then need a new version of “Mr.” so that women looking for a date know that a particular man is single?

        I know, we don’t use “Miss” and “Mr.” so much any more, but it’s the principle of the thing. Men & Women are like interlocking puzzle pieces. Change one & you need to change the other or they won’t fit any more.

      • @ CrazyH –
        I agree.
        That Fishism gives time-frame context to my previous anecdote about the Clinton Presidential Materials Project. Who was victimized?

      • @derlehrer – “Who was victimized?” yup, sounds like you got screwed without actually getting screwed.

        Me, I got screwed by an ex-girlfriend who deliberately got pregnant in order to have someone to pay her bills.

        Even though women are empowered, able to work, sexually liberated, and legally entitled to all the same rights & privileges as males; we still have this patriarchal attitude towards paternity. Women today have a choice, men don’t. I have heard very few women address that form of sexual inequality.

  2. I have to say I’m more than a little appalled by the tone and subtext (and text) of the comments posted here, many of which seem as though they could have been voiced by the gentlemen depicted in Ted’s cartoon:

    “Mind you, she was an overweight and unattractive person who would never have been a sexual target for any discerning male.” Except for the fact that it’s clear and grammatical, this could have been written by Donald Trump.

    “the upshot is that young women get raped at frat parties.” Wow. This never used to happen before the 60s. Another unintended consequence of feminism! And it’s a kind of roundabout version of blame the victim.

    “If men need to change their behavior to accommodate a new situation, then women need to do so also.” Well, yeah…. That’s kind of the point of feminism, I suppose — sort of…. Or put another way, patriarchy — a word none of the commenters used — is deleterious to men as well as women, though it may be harder to see from a male perspective. “Real” feminism is much more radical and far reaching, and hence threatening, than calls for “equality.”

    • > “If men need to change their behavior to accommodate a new situation, then women need to do so also.” Well, yeah…. That’s kind of the point of feminism, I suppose — sort of….

      Really? Can you cite examples of new behaviors practiced by feminists which replace the previous norms? I suggested going out in groups, but we’re not doing that today. We’ve got Tinder to introduce people. In the past you might ask a mutual acquaintance about a potential suitor, but we’ve done away with that – what have we replaced it with?

      Hell yes, men need to change their attitudes. I’ve often advocated that the penalty for rape should be one testicle per incident. But if you put 100% of the responsibility for changing society in the hands of men then you are accepting that men are 100% in charge.

      And I’m pretty sure that is *not* the point of feminism.

      • @andreas5 –

        I generally agree with what I understand you to be saying. However, I am not altogether certain whether you are agreeing with me, disagreeing with me or expanding on what I have said.

        ?

      • “But if you put 100% of the responsibility for changing society in the hands of men then you are accepting that men are 100% in charge.”

        +1. What feminism has turned into, since its coming to prominence in the 70s, is a motif for complaint. When you allow your enemy to define all your terms, are you really going to get anywhere?

    • Feminism gets easily confused with the selective uptake of feminist demands in corporate culture:

      Change of grammar in corporate lingo (0.02$) and repainting of corporate branding in pink once a month (0$, would have been repainted anyway), and a token woman or two on the board (0$ provided we’ll be paying her the same as her male colleagues for once)?
      Done and done.

      Better working conditions and equal pay for women (cost increase of 10-30% of payroll)?
      (crickets.)

      Shittier conditions (including fear of litigation), lower pay, less respectability, job insecurity, part-time, and “flex-work” all around? (what sociologists refer in part as “feminization” of a profession)
      Now you’re talking!

      The neo-liberal class excels at divide and rule. After the civil rights movements achieved inclusion in social programs, defense of same programs by (white) workers was less enthusiastic for some reason, playing in the hands of those who were waiting in the wings to dismantle them altogether.

      Now the proverbial white working class Trump voters have some intuition that minorities are to blame for this. Indeed, the regression started about the time they were included, and even left analysis would concur that the two trends are related.

      Likewise, we’re seeing a backlash against feminist on the part of back-sliding males who noticed their pay and respect begin to shrink about the time the women’s rights movement started to have some impact.

      Also, clearly feminists are to blame for sexism since if all women were to vanish, sexism would cease to exist as well (along with the human race within one generation…).

  3. The most deleterious effect of the new order of things is that malicious women have the power to destroy a man and his career by joining forces to take him down, simply because they don’t like his personality. It takes only two women who want to get rid of him (and sometimes only one) to accomplish the task.

    I speak from experience as a former federal employee of the Clinton Presidential Materials Project in Little Rock (precursor to the Clinton Presidential Library). I was targeted by two women who wanted to get rid of me before my six-month trial period had been reached. A group of us employees were scheduled to pick up materials from a professor at UALR, which he was donating to the library/museum.

    When everything was loaded into the van, there was scarcely room for the employees. I jokingly said, “Looks like [un-named female] needs to ride on my lap,” to which she responded, “I don’t think so.” Mind you, she was an overweight and unattractive person who would never have been a sexual target for any discerning male. Still joking, I said: “Okay, then I can ride on your lap.” She and Ms. Ware (whom I detested) decided to use this incident in a conspiracy to accuse me of “sexual harassment”!

    Dr. Alsobrook (the director of National Archives’ Clinton Presidential Materials Project), whom I had overheard exchanging dirty jokes with Ms. Ware on occasion, chose to side with these two women and asked for my resignation. (What transpired between Alsobrook and Ware is open to your judgment.) Needless to say, any defense or rebuttal of mine was completely futile. I had no recourse but to resign.

    Sometimes the scales of justice are subject to influences outside the realm of justice.

  4. The solution to one problem is frequently the source of a new problem.

    How does one address a protected minority when they choose to use inflammatory language about themselves as a personal privilege? I have experience this problem in relation to the overweight, people of a so-called “race”, and sexual orientation.

    DO NOT view this youtube video if the c-word offends you, and I do not mean “cutey”, as in cutey pie.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4DJGrhsG

    • > The solution to one problem is frequently the source of a new problem.

      Yep. And it’s nowhere more evident than in the women’s rights movement. Ted outlined one example above.

      We used to have single-sex dorms, chaperones for Sorority/Fraternity parties, and a potential suitor had to ask her father for permission to date his daughter. Before that, a chaperone was required at all times when a young man & woman were together.

      Women felt that this reduced them to chattel, and wanted to be in control of their own decisions. That’s perfectly reasonable. But we haven’t replaced the former protocols with new ones: the upshot is that young women get raped at frat parties.

      In many countries in Europe, a boy & girl don’t go out on a date, instead they go out with multiple friends of both sexes. I suspect this reduces the incidence of date rape.

      Many families still don’t adequately prepare their daughters for real-world sexual situations. I’ve read far too many stories of girls who had sex without really wanting to, not because the boy forced them, but because they didn’t know enough to say ‘no’ at the appropriate time. That’s heart-breaking for both parties.

      You can’t change one wing of an airplane and expect it to fly straight. You must change both wings. If men need to change their behavior to accommodate a new situation, then women need to do so also.

      • I tried the video I posted earlier and got the same error message. But I found the same video elsewhere with a different identifying number.

        Try searching for “silicon valley c*nty” and substituting letters for the asterisk.

        If you proceed through the alphabet in alphabetical order and get to “v” you’ve gone too far.

        Good luck in your searches.

      • It didn’t take a lot of imagination to come up with the replacement letter, and I found a couple of YouTube videos that addressed the subject. 😀

  5. Ay-yup, been there, worried about that.

    Societal change is a generational thing. I have a lot of faith in the Millennials who seem to be much less hung up about such things. Gender equality is soooo last millennium, they’re working on transgender equality today.

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