An in-depth analysis of what Male Matters USA considers the sexes’ most divisive and destructive behavioral difference
by Jerry A. Boggs
CAVEAT: The views and facts herein may be too shocking and off-putting to politicized, ideological feminists, especially those at #MeToo. I provide a possible reason for that in my FOREWORD to “A Comprehensive Look at Gender Equality: The Doctrinaire Institute for Women’s Policy Research.”
Contains one depiction of nudity.
25,400 words in 3 parts, 2 hrs., more or less, depending on your reading speed
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Years ago, the media and virtually all other institutions ignored the “female” side to the gender story for fear of offending men. That was rightfully seen as sexism.
For the last three decades, the media and virtually all other institutions have ignored the “male” side to the gender story for fear of offending women. That is not yet seen by many as the sexism it is.
“I asked her out,” he said. “She refused. I kept asking. She kept refusing.”
“I’m your adviser,” she said. “It’s not appropriate.”
The “he”? Barack Obama.
The “she”? Michelle, his future wife. –Oprah.com
Had Obama been unattractive or financially unsuccessful, feminist Michelle might have filed a complaint in this textbook example of sexual harassment: a persistent, unwanted advance, a refusal to take a woman’s “No” seriously.
Today, had they not married, she might be a #MeToo member telling a 20-year-old tale of harassment by former-President Barack Obama.
A similar tale might have been told by the wife of Obama’s vice president Joe Biden, Jill Biden.
According to a 2012 Washington Post piece, this story about the former vice president and his wife took place:
“It was worth the trip to hear my wife say what she’s never said, that she’s always loved me.” He went on to ask, if that was the case, “why did it take five times?”
Biden has used the story of his five marriage proposals on the campaign trail as the example of his dogged persistence, and his wife confirmed it Thursday night. “Joe often tells people that I didn’t agree to marry him until the fifth time he asked me,” she said. “The truth is that I loved him from the start.”
She loved him even as she said “no” to his first four proposals. She taught Biden to persist: “I’m yours if you keep asking,” said her behavior in retrospect.
Today, had they not married, she, too, might be a #MeToo member telling a decades-old tale of harassment by former Vice-President Joe Biden.
But there are no #MeToo complaints against the men who married the women they “harassed.” How many marriages are born of the persistence which women have been advised is harassment?
“We need to understand the breadth of the problem if we are going to begin to address the problem and to change attitudes in a meaningful way.” –LA Times editorial, November 17, 2017
So what is the breadth of the problem?
According to such feminists as Catharine MacKinnon, and such media outlets as The New York Times, sexual harassment is epidemic; like the air, it’s everywhere. All men are made harassers in the waiting by the anti-female miasma of “toxic masculinity.”
After a bit of research, here is my answer to what is the breadth of the problem:
In a 2014 survey, about 2.4 million women said they were harassed at work.
To be sure, that’s a disturbing number – but much less so when you learn there are 66 million females aged 16 and older in the workforce, and 2.4 million women represent only 3.6 percent of them.
The 3.6 figure comes from the General Social Survey, one of the most trusted sources of social-science data. In 2014, it asked a random sample of Americans: “In the last 12 months, were you sexually harassed by anyone while you were on the job?”
“To that question,” Christina Sommers, author of The War Against Boys, wrote in the New York Daily News on November 26, 2017, “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.”
Another question, equally important, is: How many men are harassers?
Between October 2017 and the end of January 2018, I read many accounts of multiples of women alleging harassment of some nature by the same man. Over 85 women registered complaints of sexual misconduct against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Ex-TV personality Matt Lauer, too, is an alleged multiple offender. The ratio of one man harassing several or many seems to hold true across a broad spectrum of industries. Could, then, the typical harasser be described as a serial harasser?
Maybe only high-profile harassers who target multiple women elicit the media’s attention. Maybe there are thousands of men who harass only “once or twice” because they were burned by a woman and learned to cease and desist. But delving into once-or-twice harassers, I believe, draws us onto a slippery slope, especially considering the growing definitions of what offends and considering whom women are more likely to view or not view as harassers (I get into this later).
So, discounting the once-or-twicers, “serial harassers” would mean that if only 3.6 percent of working women are harassed, maybe only 2 percent or less of working men are doing the harassing. (Bear in mind, too, that men outnumber women at work: in 2016, 69.2% of males worked, vs. 56.8% of females.)
It doesn’t sound to me as though there is a “toxic masculinity that makes all men harassers in the waiting.”
Let’s zoom in on who the harassed women are.
The group most likely to report being harassed is, I believe, attractive young women between ages 18 and 40. (Fewer young white women report harassment than 20 years ago, but they still report more than older women and black women, for whom claims have not changed. #MeToo, take note: In the 20 years, claims overall have dropped 40 percent! Sidebar comment: That decline, oddly enough, just happens to coincide with a rise in the use of online porn, which feminists in the Catharine MacKinnon vein want — wrong-headedly, it turns out — banned “to protect women from sexual exploitation”! The rise in online porn use also coincides with the decline in rape.)
Young attractive women may represent no more than 20 percent of the entire female workforce (my wild guess), or about 13.2 million. But they may account for 80 percent, or almost 2 million, of the 2.4 million harassed. Two million of the possible 13.2 million young attractive women at work equates to 15%; 15% of young attractive women being harassed at work would appear to mean, for this group, yes, a problem. But 15% of the roughly 20% of working women who are attractive — a minority of a minority — does not constitute an epidemic of sexual harassment against women.
I believe this analysis helps us better understand the breadth of the sexual harassment problem.
What makes the harassment seem like an epidemic? I think mainly three factors: (1) The two million-plus harassed women with quick, easy access to such social networks as Twitter (the whisper network permits a new kind of mob agitation); (2) radical feminists and the mostly liberal news corps that have for decades ignored the male side and the deeper understanding of the male-female dynamic; (3) repetition, repetition, repetition.
Still, it goes without saying the more-than-two million women harassed each year deserve to be heard and understood.
Most of all, they deserve to be given an understanding of why they are victims of workplace sexual misconduct. That understanding provides the best path to a solution — the best path to harmony between the sexes.
To that end….
When a boy is around 10 or 11 years old, he may start becoming conscious of the media’s incessant portrayals of beautiful girls and women in magazines, newspapers, and movies. He can’t escape the bombardment.
To him, beautiful females, unlike handsome men to women, often seem to be held out as a prize. He may grow to feel inadequate because he can’t have one of these “genetic celebrities,” as they’re called by gender researcher/author Warren Farrell.
“Every day in about half the advertisements, a man sees the constant reminder of the woman he was not worthy of.” -Warren Farrell, who proposes a White House Council On Boys and Men and who wrote the stunning 2018 book “The Boy Crisis,” which I believe has the potential to transform society from one of alienation to one of peace and caring.
“We live in a society drenched with sexually objectifying images of women,” the National Center on Sexual Exploitation says. “…[W]e are bombarded with sexually objectifying images both in brick and mortar stores and in online advertisements virtually every day. These images are so ubiquitous, the average person feels powerless to change the status quo.”
(Wait, haven’t feminists told us for years that women are the invisible sex?)
If a boy is to have a girlfriend at all — even an unattractive one — he knows he will probably have to reach out to her first and risk rejection.
Many girls at this age also reach out. But they are often pulled back and restrained by parents and others who lecture, “Let the boy approach you.”
A girl may learn to think: “How do I get a guy to approach me?”
A boy may learn to think: “How do I keep a girl from rejecting me?”
Because of their different socially assigned role behavior, males and females very early on set out to develop two different psychologies when contemplating creating heterosexual relationships. Their different behavior can turn the sexes into two strangers destined to often alienate each other. Psychologists who explain the sexes’ different behavior from a neuroscience standpoint should, I believe, take this into consideration.
When grown women want to reach out first, they, too, are sometimes told, “Let him make the first move.” (People who say “Let so-and-so…” have the power.) In my office some years ago, I overheard a 40-ish woman tell a female co-worker friend she was going to ask out a guy in her department. The friend’s reaction was stern. “No. You wait until he asks you.” I thought: Talk about female conspiracies! The brazen woman who wanted to break the rule would, perhaps to stay in her friend’s good graces, have to resort to the traditional ways of attracting a man: wear her best makeup and clothes and make frequent friendly appearances near her “target.”
A boy learns something different, usually on an unconscious level: To prevent or diminish the pain of rejection, he turns females into “sex-objects who aren’t important enough to hurt him.” Yet seeing females as unimportant sex-objects still may not mask the fact that the sex-object is very powerful and can indeed hurt him. (See more work by gender expert Warren Farrell, author of many books on the sexes, including Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say, Chapter 8 of which is online here as a quick sample of his insights into things gender.)
A boy’s focus on sex stems not just from an unconscious need to protect himself. It stems also from:
The biological sexual need that both sexes have (and which females have been taught to suppress, limit, or deny, the effect being a diminished supply that I believe tends to artificially heighten males’ desire for sex);
As mentioned, the media’s constant in-your-face portrayals of the prize: beautiful, sexy girls and women.
The fear of female rejection helps propel boys and men to the publications and outlets that feature beautiful female nudes. These further fuel the desire for the beautiful sex-object.
“In high school,” Farrell says, “a 15-year-old boy, the less mature sex, is expected to risk the rejection of the more mature sex. Having fewer social skills and being more likely to be a ‘failure to launch,’ he may feel overwhelmed, withdraw and fall addict to the world of internet porn.”
“The best-selling magazines to men are Playboy and Penthouse,” Farrell adds. “These represent men’s primary fantasy: access to as many beautiful women as desired without risk of rejection.”
The magazines tell men access to beautiful women is possible once you gain financial success or status. Even the most attractive man looking at these magazines feels he needs success or status just to win over his female counterpart in looks. (The woman, usually, merely needs to be attractive; granted, the majority of women aren’t attractive, nor is the majority of men. Often she has to do nothing; she’ll be sought out and pursued. She may experience a surplus of attention that feels like harassment.)
“So while in men’s magazines success is a power tool to get sex and love, and therefore the look of success is crucial, in women’s magazines love and sex are power tools to get success—and therefore both the look of love and the sexual tease/promise are crucial.” (Recognize here a big driver of the gender wage gap?)
Is it any wonder that the men accused of sexual harassment in late 2017 are either successful or have status, men who likely turned the women into unimportant sex objects?
And that most if not all of the women alleging sexual harassment are beautiful young starlets?
It appears men view women as sex-objects in an era when women seem to increasingly view themselves as sex-objects. This is evidenced by the possibly millions of women who over the years have uploaded to the internet nude selfie photos and videos showing them participating in the most graphic sexual behavior you can imagine.
“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
“Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).”
(See the 2014 Boston Globe opinion piece “Rethink Harvard’s sexual harassment policy,” issued by 28 members of the Harvard Law School Faculty. It states, “Harvard has inappropriately expanded the scope of forbidden conduct, including by [among other things]: Adopting a definition of sexual harassment that goes significantly beyond Title IX and Title VII law.”)
Sexual harassment as defined by the EEOC gets complicated. Such terms as “severe,” “hostile,” “offensive,” “harassment,” and “unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance” are subjective. Their definitions can vary from person to person. Many women view the above Obama-type persistence for dates, which may come more often from co-workers, as sexual harassment. Some say a man’s compliment is sexual harassment because it makes them feel uncomfortable.
The Centers for Disease Control provides an example of how definitions can keep expanding, in this case the definition of sexual violence or coercion:
“Sexual coercion is defined as unwanted sexual penetration that occurs after a person is pressured in a nonphysical way. In NISVS, sexual coercion refers to unwanted vaginal, oral, or anal sex after being pressured in ways that included being worn down by someone who repeatedly asked for sex or showed they were unhappy; feeling pressured by being lied to, being told promises that were untrue, having someone threaten to end a relationship or spread rumors; and sexual pressure due to someone using their influence or authority.”
Near the end of the report, the CDC puts all or most of these in the category of sexual violence. The report covers the period of 2010-2012. I shudder to think what the definition of sexual violence has included since then, given how much more alienated the sexes seem to have become in the last decade. Might it one day include accidental “unwanted” glances exceeding one-tenth of a second?
We are wading ever more deeply into the sexual harassment quagmire–primarily because, in my view, the sexes do not equally share the sexual initiative-taking.
The definition seems to keep expanding and depends not only on who you are, but also on where you work. Tennessee State University announced it considers whistling “in a suggestive manner” (the “wolf” whistle?) to be sexual harassment. Depending on the whistle’s tune, it can result in a student being suspended or expelled. And sometimes sexual harassment is confused with flirting. Many employers impose zero tolerance that allows no distinction between physical assault and lewd jokes. So does it matter much how the EEOC defines sexual harassment?
We all behave pretty much according to societal expectations. A large part of these expectations is gender-role expectations. As everyone knows, males have always had certain gender-role expectations and women certain others.
Individual men and women interpret each expectation in their own way according to how they were socialized to interpret it. They also decide how the expectation should apply to them — or whether it should apply at all. Thus the sexes can have a broad range of behaviors in response to each expectation.
Take, for example, the traditional expectation that the man should initiate male-female interactions and relationships. (Below, near the end of this Male Matters USA commentary, just before PRIMARY REFERENCES, I offer what I think is the “biological” reason for the male-initiates custom.) Some people fully believe in this expectation and act accordingly; some do not believe in it in the least; some think men should show the first sign of interest and the woman should take it from there (accept or reject); some think the woman should throw out the first sign and the man ignore or respond. (There are probably myriad possibilities.)
With this in mind, please be aware that I wrote the following to reflect what I think are the sexes’ general, long-enduring, most common responses to gender role expectations regarding initiating and advancing male-female relationships. To the reader who believes they are not the most common, I suggest he or she read the January 2013 New York Times piece “The End of Courtship?” The last couple of paragraphs of the piece show that many women still insist on traditional ways of meeting and dating. (Note that the examples provided, in true New York Times fashion, make men look cheap and bad, perhaps to give the impression men are to blame for courtship’s end, which upsets many women.) I also suggest the reader see the April 30, 2011, Psychology Today’s “Why Don’t Women Ask Men Out on First Dates?”
“Together, we came to understand how we beg men to express feelings, but then when men do express feelings, we call it sexism, male chauvinism, or backlash.” -Warren Farrell, author of The Myth of Male Power
Here’s how the media often treat men:
When someone says blacks’ violence must be blamed on the individual, the media, especially the liberal media, usually reply, “No. You must understand the underlying dynamics between the races that spawn black violence.” When someone says sexual harassment must be blamed on the underlying dynamics between the sexes, the liberal media tend to suggest, “No. You must blame the individual man and tell him he must change.” (The “Don’t offend women” response seems to kick in: Don’t upset women by telling them they, too, should change.)
Some years ago in an earlier time of sexual-harassment frenzy, Cosmopolitan, then and now the top-selling single women’s magazine, told women how to get a relationship going in the workplace. In doing so, it told them how to unwittingly set themselves up to be sexually harassed. (Wikipedia says of Cosmopolitan: “The magazine, and in particular its cover stories, have become increasingly sexually explicit in tone, and covers have models wearing revealing clothes.” To send what message?)
Setting the stage for men to sexually harass women.
Media outlets often acknowledge sexual harassment’s chilling effect on office romance. But that hasn’t deterred many of them, such as Fast Company, from telling readers who’re looking for love that a great place to look is at the workplace. “Hooking up with your coworkers,” the February 2017 edition of Fast Company says, “might make you better at your job.”
Do these media outlets advise women to conduct their on-the-job search for romance by directly approaching an appealing man and asking him out? Some do, but probably most do not. Following a decade of media focus on sexual harassment, Cosmopolitan told women some years ago, while under the stewardship of a woman (the late Helen Gurley Brown), to take these tactics in the workplace:
- “Brush up against somebody in the elevator…”
- “If you have good legs, wear a very tight, short skirt and very high heels. Bend over with your back to a man (to pick something up or look in a file drawer, etc.)….”
- “You cross your legs and your skirt rides up….” Source: The Myth of Male Power, pp. 289-90) (Italics by Male Matters USA)
“Cosmo sends the same messages about female sexuality as Playboy,” says the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), according to a CBN News report dated March 28, 2018. The message: women first and foremost are men’s sex objects. (Looking through any issue of Cosmo, one might also think men first and foremost are women’s success objects, which for some reason NCOSE doesn’t seem to recognize.)
The NCOSE, like such feminists as Catharine MacKinnon, supports the removal from view of all sexually explicit material. This approach to addressing women’s sexual exploitation, presumably including sexual harassment, to me seems akin to cleaning all surfaces to prevent a disease from spreading and doing nothing to understand and arrest the disease’s true cause. Both NCOSE and Mackinnonites appear to think the only cause of sexual harassment is sexually explicit depictions that trigger toxic masculinity, which all men are, again, afflicted with.
But in faulting only sexual depictions and men, they excuse the possibly hundreds of thousands of women who recognize their female sexual power and freely and frequently upload nude photos and videos of themselves participating in the most extreme sex acts.
And before they take on the insurmountable task of getting to a ban of all sexually explicit material, they may want to verify that the explosion of depicted sex, especially online, has not driven down rape and sexual harassment.
These indirect initiatives recommended by Cosmo, you’ll note, are very sexually suggestive. When a woman puts them into practice, she virtually screams, “I’m a sex object and I want sex!” (This helps explain why some men, accused of harassment mistakenly blame a woman’s “dressing and acting like she wanted it,” even though that may have in fact been the message a particular woman wanted to send.)
Might some men, weary of hearing “toxic masculinity,” a slur slung far and wide to explain sexual harassment, think these indirect initiatives are toxic femininity? (See this view on toxic femininity, and this one (which preps you on Rose McGowan before you read my discussion of her below), and this one on toxic feminism.)
At a party (and hopefully not at work!), which of these two women pictured below advertises sex more by seeming to say, “I’m a sex-object and I want it!”? Which of them is more likely to be approached by a man looking not for love but solely for sex? To whom is she more likely to say “Yes” — a George Clooney lookalike or a Harvey Weinstein lookalike?
Rose McGowan in her “naked dress” at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards.
To some, fashion is a statement. In the photo immediately above, what statement was celebrity Rose McGowan, who accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her in 1997, making a year after the rape at the 1998 Video Music Awards? If making a statement, to whom was she making it? Was she telling male on-lookers she wanted sex — and, being dressed for it, wanted it right that minute — because, as Stephenie Weiss said in a NY Times comment, “We [women] want sex as much as men,” and as journalist Daniel Bergner told Salon.com, female desire is “base, animalistic and ravenous”?
Could children see McGowan? Did she prompt some people at the awards to take offense, which CBS’s Charlie Rose prompted when he allegedly paraded naked in front of female employees? Why should our biases allow attractive women like McGowan to get away with exhibitionism far more readily than anyone else? (It’s against the law in most places for women to expose their breasts, etc., in public.)
Suppose, say, the attractive Brad Pitt or Matt Damon attended an awards ceremony wearing a “naked outfit.” What would happen? Compare your reactions to his display of his body and sexuality with your reactions to McGowan’s display of hers. Might you realize you have somewhat of a double standard? (Incidentally, PBS’s Charlie Rose, who admitted to parading nude in front of his female employees, should have had the presence of mind to know that in this society his septuagenarian body has no appeal to anyone — except possibly to septuagenarian women. But he and Rose McGowan may have exhibitionistic disorder, or at least a subtype — which is acknowledged in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.)
Update on Charlie Rose: Women are “falling all over themselves to approach Rose….”
Update on Rose McGowan: “Last month, she revealed the details of Weinstein’s alleged assault for the first time, claiming he performed ‘forced oral sex’ on her in a hot tub without her consent.”
Until now, I had pictured a horrible, violent rape by Weinstein — not forced oral sex in a hot tub!
This is similar to an experience I once had. On my first date with a young woman I barely knew — I’d met her in the office building we both worked in — I arrived at her apartment to take her to a movie. She said, “Before we leave, let’s sit in the living room and chat for a bit.”
Within 30 seconds after we seated ourselves on her sofa, she brushed her hand across my lap. She unzipped my fly and proceeded to give me oral sex. I like oral sex as much as the next person, but I felt ill at ease. I also felt a little manipulated. I wasn’t sure I wanted more than a few dates with her, or even a second date. Did she give me the “gift” of oral sex in the way a man gives a first date a rather expensive gift in the hopes of assuring future dates a woman might not want? I know her intent was also to please me. Was Harvey Weinstein’s intent to please McGowan? Did he think his persisting for oral sex would soon see her enjoying it? We dare not ask such questions.
Maybe I read the New York Daily report too fast and my eyesight is too poor, but I didn’t see where it tells why they were in a Jacuzzi together and undoubtedly both naked. Worse, it doesn’t explain the photo below of Weinstein and McGowan taken in 2007! Ten years after he raped her and ten years before she described the assault! Before posing for the photo, did he yank her over in front of everyone at the Orpheum Theater and say, “Get over here and let me put my arm around you and you’d better smile”?
Please, someone help me understand McGowan!
Go here for a Deadline.com piece that chips away at McGowan’s credibility regarding the hot tub “assault.”
I remember reading in the ’70s of a report on groupie girls. They’d walk into the dressing rooms of members of a rock band and proceed to disrobe. They wanted sex apparently so they could say they had “scored,” had bedded down with such-and-such rock star or his bandmembers. Rockers are humans, meaning they aren’t always in the mood. I suspect some felt pressured to go through with it or face a smearing by the groupies, a diminished rep.
Back to the naked outfit business:
A man’s “naked outfit” is not the correct gender comparison here. A generally accepted idea in society is that men want women’s bodies and women want men’s money — thus women are sex-objects, men success-objects. At the Video Music Awards, McGowan flaunted her body as a sex-object. As a success-object, a man would have to flaunt his wealth. He can’t just pull up in a fancy car and strut in a tux. He’d have to, say, wear a billboard displaying his investment portfolio and bank statements that show off his millions and other assets, perhaps under the caption “Male Power.” What might some women’s reaction be? Admiration? Desire? Resentment? Jealousy? Might not those have been some of the internal reactions some men at the music awards might have had — but knew they didn’t have society’s permission to voice — when McGowan showed off her sex-object assets with the understood caption “Female Power”?
“Many of these men are so physically disgusting, too—the thought of them forcing themselves on young women fills me with heaving disgust. Enough already.” –Claire Berlinski, freelance journalist, author of Brave Old Word: Europe in the Age of Trump
Harvey-Weinstein lookalikes may learn a brutal lesson. They may believe all they need to do to be accepted by an attractive woman is to acquire status or financial well-being. But many of these men eventually learn the attractive woman, especially if she is a beautiful starlet, wants and can get a man who is both successful and attractive himself.
Even the ordinary-looking woman may want a successful man so that in marriage she has three options available to her: work full-time, work part-time, or stay at home full-time raising their children. If attractive, she likely also wants an attractive man. Besides wanting her own eye-candy, she wants to up her odds of having attractive children.
Suppose it had always been the other way around: women were known for wanting just attractive men, and men were known for wanting attractive and successful women. (That’s becoming more possible and thus more expected as more women gain success; men’s growing expectation of female success will help close the gender wage gap.) What would radical feminists say? Would they call it a double standard? Would they demand that men stop treating women as beauty-AND-success objects?
FLASH UPDATE JULY 13, 2018, ON WEINSTEIN, who said:
“I was born poor, ugly, Jewish and had to fight all my life to get somewhere. You got lotsa girls, no girl looked at me until I made it big in Hollywood. Yes, I did offer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone. But I never, ever forced myself on a single woman.”
“The power of [women’s] indirect initiatives,” says Warren Farrell, “is that they put neither the woman’s ego nor her career on the line.” (If you’re receptive to men’s feelings, you might understand this female power could stir in many men a resentment toward women.)
But the problem with many of women’s indirect initiatives is that they attract Mr. Wrong as easily as Mr. Right, both of whom must put both their ego and their career on the line if they want to fnd out which of them indeed is her Mr. Right.
If Mr. Right responds, all is well and a courtship may begin. But if Mr. Wrong responds — which in reality may happen often — how is a woman instructed to handle him?
Is she told Mr. Wrong is the occasional price a woman must pay because men can’t always know for sure if a woman isn’t interested until they make an advance? Is she advised to say politely and convincingly, “No. I’m sorry, but I’m not interested”?
Sometimes she does receive such sensible advice. Increasingly, though, it seems she’s told differently, mostly by the largely unquestioned theorizing of radical feminists (RFs henceforth; radical feminists shouldn’t be confused with equity feminists, who are concerned about equity also for boys and men). She is encouraged to think of Mr. Wrong as someone who offended her and created for her a “hostile work environment*,” especially if he approached her again after being told No.
She may be advised to find out if Mr. Wrong violated one of the rules that keep multiplying as a result of the ever-expanding definition of sexual harassment. (In “Ninth Circuit Court Denies Men Equal Protection At Work For Expressing Less Emotion Than Women,” I analyze another troubling expansion added in September 2005.)
That advice is more likely to be followed if Mr. Wrong is unattractive. According to a 1994 study, reported on by Psychology Today, Sanford Braver, a psychologist at Arizona State University, found the more handsome a man is, especially if he is single, the less likely he is ever to be accused of misconduct. See also the November 2019 study, “Oppression or Opportunity? Sexual Strategies and the Perception of Sexual Advances,” which says, “Finally, the same behavior from an attractive or physically attractive actor is perceived as less harmful than from an unattractive actor.” (I can hear women telling an unmarried female co-worker who complained about Mr. Handsome Single Guy, “Are you crazy? You’ll never be able to date anyone from this office.” Or: “I wish he’d sexually harass me.”)
“Male power,” despite popular feministsplaining, has little or nothing to do with it. (On men’s “power,” see Warren Farrell’s book, The Myth of Male Power.
“The bad behavior is a defense against being powerless.”
—Christopher Kilmartin, author, The Masculine Self
“Men with ‘hostile masculinity’ find power over women to be a sexual turn-on. They feel anger at being rejected by a woman. [I would say they feel deep hurt that is expressed as anger, one of men’s few ways of expression. An angry man is often a man who is crying. -Male Matters] This is something that researchers believe probably happened to them a lot when they were young.”
“Dr. Malamuth says he has new, unpublished research that shows that men who are aggressive toward women are more likely to look for or create a situation where women are more vulnerable. So it’s no coincidence that they are the ones who seek out power—especially over young, beautiful women, who were the ones who tended to reject them when they were young.”
“Men with ‘impersonal sexuality’ prefer sex without intimacy or a close connection, which often leads them to seek promiscuous sex or multiple partners. Often, but not always, this type of person has had a difficult home environment as a child, with abuse or violence, or they had some anti-social tendencies as adolescents.”
“Males who hurt hurt us,” Warren Farrell says in “The Boy Crisis.”
Many feminists explain women’s abuse of others as the result of the women having been abused themselves — but men abuse because of the “patriarchy,” “male power and privilege.” Do they really want men to roll over and accept these different explanations?
-Quotes from the Wall Street Journal’s “Power’s Role In Sexual Harassment,” by Elizabeth Bernstein, February 5, 2018
“Conventional wisdom,” Psychology Today says of Braver’s and his partner’s study, “holds that sexual advances from people in positions of power have a coercive edge, and thus are felt as more harassing. But Virgil Sheets, Ph.D., and Sanford Braver, Ph.D., found that it has little to do with a man’s position within the organization. Attractive, single men were least likely to be accused of sexual harassment. Although the team expected that people with higher status would be more desirable as a potential date or mate–and so less likely to be seen as harassing — social status didn’t seem to affect the subjects’ perceptions of harassment.”
But another study, reported on by The Journal of Social Issues in 1982 (approximately the end of another high-peak era of sexual-harassment complaints, perhaps resulting from Lin Farley’s 1978 book The Sexual Harassment of Women on the Job), had this to say in an abstract:
Female flight attendants were asked to “record the incidence of sexual harassment by personnel of higher, equal, and lower status.”
“It was hypothesized that the lower the status of the harasser, the more negative the recipient’s affective state. Results show the affective state of the recipient is most negative with lower-status personnel engaging in moderate verbal and physical harassment.”
Are sexual-harassment laws largely in response to women’s desire to keep unattractive and/or unsuccessful men away?
Who creates sexual harassment? Men only, as the liberal media and feminists say? Or men, women, courting behavior, Cosmo/Playboy-type magazines, and radical feminists? Think about how each contributes to setting up conditions for the harassment.
When a man compliments a woman at work, he often does so merely to foster harmony, as he might do with another man. If he is interested in her romantically, he may compliment her to show not only that he likes her, but also to test out her responses to see whether she might be receptive to a request for a date.
Such “testing-out” compliments have long been part of how men try to open the door to a date and a relationship with a woman. Since the Ninth Circuit Court in 1991 expressed the view that even well-intentioned compliments can form the basis for sexual harassment claims, some men in the workplace have shifted from testing women out with words of appreciation to dodging them as much as possible.
Sometimes at work, married men, such as Fox News’ Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, seek affairs. Sometimes so do married women: Meanna found that women “get bored more quickly from sex with a long-term partner.” Many married women, like single women, learn how to “initiate” in the indirect Cosmopolitan style above.
See Part 2: How do some men feel about sexual harassment and radical feminists’ influence on how it’s viewed and dealt with? In this Part, I take off the gloves.