Continued from Part 1
In this part, I take the gloves off.
How do some men feel about sexual harassment and RFs’ influence on how it’s viewed and dealt with? Comedian and liberal Chris Rock says, “What’s the difference between sexual harassment and just being an idiot? If my father didn’t harass my mother, I wouldn’t be here. Anita Hill started this whole thing. If Clarence Thomas looked like Denzel Washington, this would never have happened. When an ugly man wants some, you call the police.”
“Anybody can sue for sexual harassment because it is completely subjective,” writes Adam Carolla (in his book In Fifty Years, We’ll All be Chicks). Picture an office where there’s a Cool Guy and a Creepy Guy. Attractive receptionist comes in wearing tight new jeans. Carolla writes: “Cool Guy comments, ‘Somebody’s been working out.’ She replies, ‘Oh, it’s only the jeans.’ Cool Guy looks her up and down and says, ‘You do have good genes.’ She laughs.
“Now, same scenario with Creepy Guy. Receptionist walks in, Creepy Guy says, ‘Hey Kelly, nice jeans.’ And she marches straight off to Human Resources to file a report.” Rather than enforce a no-fun policy in the workplace, surely it would be more satisfying (and effective) for Kelly to deal with Creepy Guy herself, via a slap in the chops.” -Kyle Smith, Nov. 20, 2010, New York Post.(Male Matters USA: A very good commentary, except that Kyle Smith apparently believes that to maintain control over who compliments her — and therefore to combat “sexual harassment” — a woman should get angry at and inflict violence on Creepy Guys who use the very same compliments as Cool Guys. To see the potential consequences of a “slap in the chops,” read “Rihanna’s and Chris Brown’s Abuse.)
For another view, suppose men announced to women, “We men have decided that it is women’s role, and only women’s role, to raise the children. Even though we want children as much as you do, we men will take no part whatsoever in the role of child-rearing.”
Suppose men added, “We will never acknowledge when you do well in your role of caring for children. Our only feedback to you will be to criticize you when we think you take care of the children improperly or make them angry. We will then call down your toxic mothering and label you ‘abusers.’”
Wouldn’t a lot of women feel this is sexism compounded with cruelty? Feminists would not be amused in the least by men stereotyping mothers as potential abusers.
Imagine, then, how men might feel (if only more men felt free to express how they feel!) when they realize this: RFs, by fixating only on sexual harassment outside the context of all male-female flirtations and courting interactions in the workplace, have in effect said to men:
“It is your role, and your role alone, to initiate male-female relationships even though women want romance, love, and sex as much as you do. It is your role to take the roughly 100 initiatives (see immediately below) Warren Farrell says must on average be taken to move a relationship from first eye contact to first sexual contact. We do not want women to take any part in this except to say yes or no to your initiatives. Moreover, we will not commend you when you perform this role correctly and every day countless good relationships result. Our only feedback to you will be to denounce you when we think you ‘do it wrong.’ We will then assail your toxic masculinity and call you ‘harassers.’”
Re 100 initiatives: and the attendant 100 risks of rejection. The effect on the male psyche of rejection’s constant threat has not piqued the curiosity of social researchers other than Farrell.
Mainstream feminists and the media often discuss men’s abuse and violence. When is the last time you heard something like this:
Many feminists say the childcare problem cannot be solved until men equally share the responsibility for raising children. To my knowledge, no feminist has said, “Sexual harassment cannot be solved until women equally share the responsibility for initiating and advancing romantic and sexual male-female relationships.”
Can you imagine this being uttered by feminists such as Yvette Caster?
“Despite being a feminist,” she said, “and despite being more than capable of affording my own dinner, I still want a man to pay for me on dates.”
Is Caster the sort of hypocritical feminist who fuels men’s anger, the anger that at times might push male bosses to harass and use their leverage, just as women sometimes use theirs in divorce proceedings and falsely accuse their husband of abuse to get a favorable court ruling?
Let’s examine her statement. It tells me she doesn’t take the initiative to ask guys out. Why do I think that?
Suppose she asks a man out to dinner and he, like some women, has a hard time saying no and accepts. After they dine out, does she expect him to pay for something that was her idea and he wasn’t keen on?
Look at that expectation from his view: He felt pressured into accepting an undesirable date, and now Caster wants him to pay for it. How presumptuous, arrogant, and sexist would that be? (But we’re told he’d better not expect sex from this feminist just because she expected him to shell out a hundred bucks for an evening he wanted to pass on.)
I’m sure Caster is not so insensitive or stupid she can’t see the unfairness in asking a man out and then expecting him to pay. So, no, I don’t think this “enlightened” feminist-chauvinist asks men out. (Many women subscribe to “Whoever asks, pays” and conveniently stack the deck against men.)
Thus we have yet another way of reinforcing the male-initiates rule — with the full blessing, it seems, of feminists who demand equality. Couldn’t Caster’s expectations and behavior be called another example of toxic femininity?
…[A] story of an exchange with a female friend of mine: She had a dry spell dating. Guys wouldn’t ask her out. I told her to try ask guys out, I know there are lots of guys who’d love it. She said she had tried, once, and got rejected, so she’s back to the old pattern. This alone made clear to me how massively different our worlds are. For I had lost count how many rejections I had taken at that point. But only one of us had a choice in picking a pattern. -Hitch, August 24, 2010, Greta Christina’s Blog (Italics by Male Matters USA)
How the sexes learn “harassment” behavior
Examples of how men at work “do it wrong” and become sexual harassers are often shown in the videos used as part of employers’ training against sexual harassment. The videos, as well as the rest of employers’ training programs, seem sometimes to be influenced by the thinking of such RFs as Catharine MacKinnon, a law professor at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan. MacKinnon has made such statements as:
“Politically, I call it rape whenever a woman has sex and feels violated.”
“Men who are in prison for rape think it’s the dumbest thing that ever happened [MacKinnon can read men’s minds]… It isn’t just a miscarriage of justicbe; they were put in jail for something very little different from what most men do most of the time and call it sex.”
“Compare victims’ reports of rape with women’s reports of sex. They look a lot alike.”
“The major distinction between intercourse (normal) and rape (abnormal) is that the normal happens so often that one cannot get anyone to see anything wrong with it.”
“Male sexuality is apparently activated by violence against women….”
“Yet women’s sexuality remains constructed under conditions of male supremacy.”
“Women are socially disadvantaged in controlling sexual access to their bodies through socialization to customs that define a woman’s body as for sexual use by men. Sexual access is regularly forced or pressured or routinized beyond denial.”
“You grow up with your father holding you down and covering your mouth so another man can make a horrible searing pain between your legs.” (See my commentary “Catharine MacKinnon: Reduced to Redundancy.”)
The videos swayed by such thinking, I believe, cast men as sexual predators-in-training who almost always “do it wrong,” while concealing the fact that in real life the vast majority of men obviously “do it right” and create millions of relationships and marriages each year.
Although MacKinnon suggests “male power” forces women to say “yes” when they mean “no,” many men report hearing mostly women’s “no” in response to their requests for a date or sex. Sometimes they hear, “Not a chance” or even “Drop dead.” “As most men can attest,” author Cathy Young writes in Newsday, “women routinely reject them with very little trepidation.” When I asked a woman to dance some years ago, she looked at me and said, “Get in line.” How’s that cocky arrogance? And toxic femininity?
Do such insults in response to men’s initiative-taking sound like they were flung by women intimidated by “male power,” about which, no doubt, many women laugh in private circles? Of all the people I wish would read this commentary, I wish most that MacKinnon would read it. But of all the people who’d refuse to read it, she’d refuse the most. Twice she declined to debate Dr. Warren Farrell. Is she afraid of something?
More important, the videos fail to take into account that many if not most women assume little or no responsibility for directly initiating the workplace relationships women desire as much as men and which many women’s magazines encourage them to go all out for.
“Do you wonder what’s wrong with you if a man doesn’t make a pass at you? Men and women can never be friends as long as women expect that unless men come on to them as lovers, they have been rejected.” -feminist Victoria Billings, author of The Womansbook, a tome not kind to men.
This raises a question: To avoid feeling rejected, how often do women flirt with or come on to a man merely to goad him into making a pass, then, reassured of their attractiveness, reject him? This might be called “hurt transfer.” How does this behavior — which could be defined as another example of toxic femininity — help curb gender divisiveness and lift us out of the sexual harassment quagmire?
A training video’s theme sometimes is men’s persistent requests for dates or sex, such as Barack Obama’s persistent date requests of Michelle.
Regarding repeated requests for dates, San Francisco’s Department on the Status of Women, in its FAQ, says, “Examples of behavior which may constitute sexual harassment include but are not limited to ‘repeated requests for dates which are unwelcome.’” (You’ll soon see why women’s “No’s” are sometimes ignored, and you’ll see a “rule” for women from the book “The Power of the Pussy”: “Make them work for it, and make them work HARD for it.” You’ll also read what I think about that rule.)
This persistence is the type of harassment that women at work understandably often find bothersome and harassing. (See this on bosses’ requests for dates of employees. And this Cosmo piece on sexual harassment and women complaining about persistent date requests. Irony alert: Cosmo teaches women how to get themselves harassed, then allows them to complain about being harassed! Toxic femininity?)
- Workplace lewdness is usually illustrated as behavior conducted by males toward females. Here in the picture we have two black men being lewd toward two white women — as if no white women have ever been lewd toward black men. Antimale sexism combined with racism. -Salary.com
The harassers seen in the sexual harassment training videos are nearly always cast as overbearing boors who pay no attention to a woman’s “no.” (For sure, the promos for the videos almost always cast men as harassing women — and a woman reprimanding the harasser.) Some men just don’t get it. They persist…and persist…
Examining the sexes’ traditional and most common courting behavior
As surely as women are taught by Cosmo-type magazines the value of wearing come-hither clothes and “being sought, protesting, then allowing ourselves to be overcome” (Working Woman, August 1994; emphasis mine), men are taught to use persistence as a way of overcoming women’s No’s.
Thinking politically, some men might be inclined
to call women the Party Of No.
A pre-2017-sexual-harassment-scandal photo: Did Oprah know beforehand her kiss would not be unwanted? Did she ask for permission? “May I kiss you on the cheek?” Suppose the picture was of Weinstein kissing Oprah? Would she now be claiming Weinstein made an unwanted advance, so that, should she run for president in 2020, she’d not be smeared as having an association with a rapist?
One not-so-subtle teacher of male persistence is movies, which have a long, consistent history of teaching it.
In 1981, a previous peak time of sexual-harassment concern, “Body Heat’s” male lead apparently calculates that the female lead’s lucid, no-means-no refusal of his advances might be disingenuous. On her front porch moments after she ends their talk and locks him out, he seizes a chair and smashes it through her door. When he enters, she doesn’t flee in terror from what appears to be a man gone berserk. Instead, she receives him and shrink-wraps herself around his body, kissing him as if she hasn’t seen a man in decades. She then leads him upstairs to her bedroom. It’s later revealed that she was after him even before they met and even as she was later saying “No.”
In the 1991 “Frankie and Johnny,” Frankie’s resistance to dating Johnny is in time worn down by his smothering persistence.
In the 1992 “Lethal Weapon 3,” a woman tells a man she wants the two of them to stop their sensual horseplay of showing each other their body scars. Presumably she has signaled she doesn’t want their fooling around to get out of hand. His response? He stops but then grabs and kisses her in the way that in 1995 got U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood into trouble with the National Organization for Women and the Senate Ethics Committee, which recommended Packwood be expelled. Her reaction? She goes to the floor with him and they graduate from sensual horseplay to consensual sex-play.
Which sex do you think about when you see the title of the 1999 movie “Never Been Kissed”? Women say, “I’ve never been kissed.” Men say, “I’ve never kissed anyone.” Passive vs. active. Different behavior, different language.
In the 2002 “Clock Stoppers,” the lead female insults the lead male by calling him “Bozo.” She fluffs off his romantic overtures twice. When he persists to a third try, she gives in.
In Jennifer Lopez’ 2010 “The Back-up Plan,” the Lopez character repeatedly resists a man’s requests for a get-together, only later to capitulate under his persistence.
In that same year, “The A Team” shows the character “Face” kissing a woman he’s never met. She slaps him. He kisses her again. She grabs him and kisses him back, hard.
In the 2015 “Spectre,” actor Daniel Craig, in true James Bond fashion, pushes a resistant woman he just met against a wall and forcibly kisses her. Then — ta da! — she gives in and responds in kind. Bond, without asking “May I…?”, starts undressing her. And then….
Pay no attention to her objections, full steam ahead!
“Many women acknowledge eventually marrying men to whom they had at first said ‘No;’ that is, men who had in fact persisted.” -Warren Farrell, “The Myth of Male Power,” cassette tape version
“When I accidentally met my second husband — because he made it happen — any relationship with him could not be further from my thoughts. He was really ugly. But we had friends in common and he was very persistent. He was bright, witty, bold — to make a long story short, soon I was seeing him as uniquely handsome, so dear he was to me.” -Commenter Gina Oliveira at Huffington Post, September 5, 2013, in reply to jf12
But now you have this shibboleth, “No means no.” Well, no. Sometimes “No” means “Not yet.” Sometimes “No” means “Too soon.” Sometimes “No” means “Keep trying and maybe yes.” -Camille Paglia, the UK’s Spectator, October 2016
Did Paglia describe toxic femininity?
Farrell observes that few romance novels are titled, “He stopped when I said ‘no.’” Women are still falling in love with successful men, not men who stop at the first “no.”
So it goes, in movie after movie, from the unliberated 20th century to the “liberated” 21st century, women resisting, men persisting, women finally yielding.
To be sure, movies use the persist/resist gimmick to create the all-important conflict and sexual tension that are essential story elements. And sometimes, as in “Body Heat,” the gimmick has legitimacy as an indispensable thread of the plot. In “The Back-up Plan,” the Lopez character resists the man ostensibly because “she has a habit of pushing people away when they get too close.” But have you noticed that uniformly the persister is a man and the resister a woman?
“Men in the fantasy model,” Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld explains decades ago in The New Male Sexuality, “are always rewarded for not listening to a woman rather than taking her seriously. Is it any wonder that men in the real world have trouble knowing what to do when a woman says ‘No’ or ‘Stop’?” (Emphasis by Male Matters USA)
And is it any wonder that some men are led to think that while a “No” said with sincerity is how one woman makes her refusal clear, it may be how another woman tests a man’s sincerity?
In real life in 2009, long after men’s hitting on women was labeled sexual harassment, there is still this occurring, as reported at PsychologyToday.com:
“As we all laughed, she added: ‘[Men] need to hit on us more!’” If humor was the intent, sometimes humor masks one’s true feelings. I suspect this women was serious. Without realizing it, she may have wanted men to take even more risks of being accused of sexual harassment.
Many men, especially young, inexperienced men on campus, booze it up to dull the fear and effect of rejection. Once drunk and fearless, a man is more apt to become aggressive.
Expounding on why women sometimes say No but mean Yes, Zilbergeld says a woman may initially resist a man’s advances to avoid being considered “loose” or “easy,” or to buy time to decide whether she likes him enough to go out with him, or whether he measures up to her (and to her friends’) standards.
Kate Fillion writes in Lip Service, “One-third of women consistently tell researchers that on at least one occasion they have said No to sex when what they really meant was Yes; ‘liberated’ women are as likely to do this as are women who accept traditional gender roles.”
When men hear this, the message some get is “Don’t pay attention to her No — at least her first one or two No’s. Maybe don’t back off until she gets angry. Only then will you know for sure she really meant No.”
Men pick that message up, perhaps unconsciously, also when they overhear a woman say of the man in her life, “I didn’t like him at first. Now I’m in love!” This suggests she found love the way women in movies find it: he made an advance, and she resisted; he persisted, and she gave in and was then “swept away” by love born of a man’ s refusal to take no for an answer.
The message “Don’t listen to a woman’s ‘no’” pops up in lots of places. In a July 1992 letter to Ann Landers (well after sexual harassment had become a hot topic), a woman writes: “I am a professional, single, attractive woman in my late 20s. Two years ago, I met a wealthy man. I did not encourage him, but he pursued me relentlessly and was very persistent. I finally gave in.”
Around 1995, a woman in my office, after reading my op-ed about sexual harassment in a newspaper, said, “Bunk. Women initiate all the time.” Why, then, two decades later in 2014 the need for this book for men by a “Certified Dating Coach and Law of Attraction Coach”: “Read Her Signs“? And, also in 2014, the need for a book for women, The Power of the Pussy, which reflects the views of an earlier book for women, The Rules: “Don’t let them get into your pants easily. Make them work for it, and make them work HARD for it. If he does not want to work for it, let him walk, and [you then] move onto the next man (men are like buses, in 15 minutes another one will come around)…Who is next?”
Think of how women would react to a man’s book exhibiting such sexist contempt toward women:
“Don’t let them get into your wallet easily. Make them work for it, and make them work HARD for it. If she does not want to work for it, let her walk, and [you then] move onto the next woman (women are like buses, in 15 minutes another one will come around)…Who is next?”
Surely men could say these books urge women to employ toxic femininity.
The problem for the male, Bernie Zilbergeld says, is to differentiate between refusals that are real and those that are ambivalent or merely facades. If a man backs off when a refusal seems to be a facade, he may fear that not only will he lose out on a possibly great relationship, but also will be viewed by the woman as a wimp for giving up and lacking the desirable male bravado.
Many men, says Zilbergeld, stop trying to figure out if rejections are real or fake, and forge ahead regardless of what the woman says.
Video clips from television show males taking initiatives and females engaging in nonverbal proceptive signaling. In one video (removed or lost), the over-voice says it’s women who make the selections with their “steady stream” of hints and suggestiveness. But hints won’t always work, as every woman knows. The man may be too shy, uninterested, or thinks a “hinting” woman may be a tease looking for an ego-stroke: Come on to me so I can reject you and look desirable and better than my competition. Moreover, one woman’s hints and suggestiveness differ from another woman’s. Some women, as I point out later, look in the opposite direction to show their interest!
Although many women complain when men persist, many others complain when men don’t persist. Oprah- and Dr. Phil-style talk shows featured topics like “Women Upset Because Men Didn’t Call Back”! Sadly, men are put between a rock and a hard place – criticized when they overdo the pursuing, and criticized when they underdo it.
Meanwhile, no one seems to understand that, contrary to the advice in such books as The Rules and The Power of the Pussy, pursuing and calling back are women’s responsibilities, too.
“Being there for ten years, I’m also a little offended that I didn’t get cat-called like that.” -Jillian Barberie-Reynolds, of “Good Day LA,” appearing on the Joy Behar Show Sept. 15, 2010, and commenting on the Ines Sainz cat-call case.
Japan may have less of a sexual-harassment problem than we do. If so, it might be due to what Tokyo manga artist Tomomi Nakamura explains is the reason for a fairly recent trend in movies.
Japanese movies often depict a sexually charged moment when the hero slams his hand against a wall, blocking the path of the heroine, and becomes romantic. The scene is called “kabe-don.” (A 2015 discussion is here.) The reason for kabe-don, Nakamura says, is that “…in reality, boys don’t pursue girls strongly enough.” (She’s saying, “C’mon, guys, take the risk of making my sexual-harassment accusation more certain!”) For Japanese women, kabe-don, like romance novels, supposedly helps make up for the reality of those disappointing, passive Japanese men.
If I recall, all this derives from:
There are not enough babies in Japan. That’s because there aren’t enough marriages. And that’s because there aren’t enough male-female relationships. And that’s because “boys don’t pursue girls strongly enough.”
There you have it: One of Japan’s major problems — one that carries serious implications for Japan’s future, economic and otherwise, laid at the feet of young Japanese men.
When a Japanese romantic movie depicts a man blocking a woman’s path, it doesn’t seem to teach Japanese men to behave that way with women. But an American movie showing James Bond pushing a woman against a wall seems to teach aggressiveness to American men.
Japanese women, like American women, don’t seem to realize, or care, that one reason men often don’t pursue women strongly enough is the fear of rejection. Sometimes the stronger the pursuit, the stronger — and more humiliating — the rejection. Role reversal can quickly make women sympathetic.Many American women may be as enthralled by both kabe-don and James Bond’s brusque aggressiveness in reality as Japanese women are by it in movies.
Hayley Phelan, a New York Times contributor, is one to admit it. On March 12, 2018, she writes in the Times:
And then there are the memories of being brusquely, and without permission, pushed up against a wall — and loving it. In fact, those were the steamiest moments I could recall. [Italics Male Matters USA. Phelan provided no context to this scenario. Had their relationship just begun? Was it similar to some of the relationships Harvey Weinstein had with the young starlets now claiming assault? Was this how Phelan’s first sexual encounter with Mr. Brusque began?]
A rape survivor, Ms. Rand is well versed in feminist theory; she understands just how important and vital a shift such behavior from a young man is when it comes to casual sex. Yet, in practice, she had mixed feelings. “It’s difficult because on the one hand you’re like, ‘Dude, if I didn’t want it, I would stop you,’” she said. “On the other hand, that can be used against you if it was assault.”
What message do Phelan’s scenarios, which might be labeled more examples of toxic femininity, send to men? Ignore women’s “No” when asking for sex? No, it’s worse than that. The message, especially in the first scenario, is:
“Don’t even bother asking me. Just attack me à la Harvey Weinstein. I’ll love it!” (Are you now beginning to see Weinstein a little differently? It’s understandable that Weinstein’s victims may have been too frightened to protest during his attacks, but it should also now be a bit more understandable how they arrived at that point.)
Phelen confirms the suspicion of perhaps many men who think they should behave in the Weinstein way that #MeToo warns women is sexual assault.
#MeToo’s warning is not without its downsides, for both sexes.
Phelan quotes Jessica Tallarico, 30, of Toronto, a newly engaged friend of hers:
“After being exposed to so many accounts of different women’s sexual abuse or harassment, I was hyper-aware and hyper-sensitive about it. So on one occasion, playing around affectionately in bed, my fiancé got the tiniest bit rough and I had such an adverse reaction to what would normally be playful. Adverse as in, I became defensive, flooded with a bit of fear. This felt so strange to me because it happened with my partner who I love and trust immensely, and he did nothing wrong or really that out of the ordinary.”
Phelan reveals another downside:
Mr. Mobley said that post-#MeToo he and many of his male friends have sworn off making the first move. “Now, I just sit back and wait for the girl to do it,” he said. “I know there’s been a lot of sexual situations that have not come to fruition because of it, and I’ve even had girls be like, ‘Why didn’t you kiss me?’” (Did it occur to her that if she’d wanted a kiss, she should have kissed him, instead of holding him responsible for creating something she desired without telling him?)
Thus, gender alienation is heightened, courtesy of #MeToo feminists, toxic femininity, the hyper-ventilating anti-male media, Power of the Pussy thinking, and millions of intimidated men. It results mostly if not entirely from the sexes’ unequal initiating of first contact, romance, relationships, and sex. #MeToo feminists and most of society are apparently unable to recognize this. Does their false belief that “men have power and privilege and are oppressive” justify, to them, not walking a few miles in men’s shoes? Does it excuse them from experiencing at least an inkling of male behavior in reaction to female behavior?
Many #MeToo feminists are as sexist and oppressive as they say men are. Much of what they teach women regarding the male/female dynamic can be called toxic faux feminism.
When feelings become fact, the stage is set for repression and censorship. That is because, in the absence of tight definitions, almost any behavior can be construed as sexual harassment. A remark meant as praise can be experienced as an affront, an expression of sexual interest as a breach of trust. Victims, real or imagined, multiply. –Prof. M. Patricia Fernandez Kelly
It’s proclaimed in some employers’ training programs that sexual harassment charges are always valid, and flimsy or false charges are a myth, as I heard it said in a training session over three decades ago. Suppose Bill Clinton, while president, hadn’t been restricted by political correctness, hadn’t sacrificed personal power for political power, and therefore could have expressed his personal feelings regarding sexual harassment. What might he might have said about the “myth” of false charges after having denied the charge that he sexually harassed Paula Jones and several other women?
As for flimsy charges of sexual harassment, Chris Byron wrote in the September 1994 Men’s Health magazine, “No one has yet been found guilty of sexual harassment for a tip of the hat, but charges are certainly being filed on increasingly flimsy grounds.”
In May 2018, a man in a crowded elevator asked — jokingly, he said — to be let off at the ladies’ lingerie department. A female scholar was not amused. She complained. Isn’t it time to start asking for explanations of exactly how such statements offend: what, exactly, is the damage to you? Otherwise, without changes in the sexes’ behavior, resentment is bred when men suppress themselves around the “truly fragile sex” but don’t forget.
It stands to reason that flimsy or false charges of sexual harassment would begin surfacing. “Given the expansive terminology,” writes John Cloud in Time (March 23, 1998, p. 50), “just about anything can count as a hostile environment, depending on who’s defining the terms.”
A man need not even be persistent. “For some women,” says Warren Farrell, “any initiative – even one – could make her feel uncomfortable and therefore create a hostile environment. And that is all she needs to have her lawsuit upheld.”
Not even the man’s intent makes a legal difference. (Imagine intent not making a difference in the case of bodily injury or homicide.) And if it’s her word against his, a “bare assertion” of sexual harassment can stand without factual support. A woman no longer even has to inform the man that he’s bothering her. She can merely complain to a girlfriend at work. The EEOC’s decision number 84-1 says this is “sufficient to support a finding of harassment.”
Extremist interpretations of sexual harassment disturb even some in the American Civil Liberties Union, normally pro-woman in matters of gender:
“There has been,” says former ACLU president, Nadine Strossen, author of Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight For Women’s Rights, “too easy a leap from discrimination on the basis of gender to the false assumption that any sexual reference to or about a woman, or in the presence of a woman, is sexist. I find that absolutely contrary not only to free speech but to women’s equality.
“One thing I discovered in doing research for my book was the shocking extent to which, although our legal system has so far without any dissension rejected the [Catharine] MacKinnon/[Andrea] Dworkin argument in the context of pornography laws, [it] has accepted their world-view through the Trojan horse of sexual harassment law and practice. Their view boils down to: Sex is inherently degrading to women, so any sexual image or reference [is harassment].”
As a result, Strossen says, sexual harassment “has disintegrated into simplistic demonization of sexual expression.”
I remember as a child in the late ’40s chanting the empowering maxim, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But for years now, grown women have been taught by radical feminists a modern version: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can utterly destroy me!”
More and more we have expanded the concept of sexual harassment. More and more we have stripped away the requirement of factual support for a complaint of harassment, and have pressured employers, who normally hear both sides to a grievance, to hear only the victim’s side to a grievance of sexual harassment. More and more, RFs and the media indoctrinate women to suspect every man is a harasser in the making. More and more, they have portrayed the female as a powerless, fragile creature who is easily offended and harmed by the mildest innocent male indiscretion – and whose dignity, it turns out, can often be restored only by ample monetary compensation.
All things considered, why shouldn’t we expect unscrupulous women (who are as numerous as unscrupulous men), their eyes on the gold sometimes easily mined for being “offended,” to file flimsy sexual harassment charges, notwithstanding RFs’ suggestion that such women don’t exist and so false charges are a myth?
Are false accusations a myth? Bear with me as I go where political correctness and identity politics staunchly forbid:
Mothers and female babysitters are sometimes caught on video attacking the tiny children who cannot report victimization. “Prime Time Live,” for example, on November 19, 1997, presented the nightmarish, heart-rending video of mothers in maternity wards clamping their hand over the nose and mouth of desperately struggling infants. (If that doesn’t make you double over in anguish, nothing will.) In Great Britain, researchers using covert video cameras in just two hospitals filmed 33 parents suspected of child abuse, almost all of them mothers, in the act of deliberately smothering their newborns.
Other videos, such as the one that aired February 21, 2001, on the Maury (Povich) Show, revealed female babysitters abusing toddlers and even babies – slapping them, banging them on the head with objects, and tossing them around like rag dolls. If a hidden video camera operated day and night in every home in America, who knows how extensive women’s violence against children, theirs and others’, might prove to be.
In When She Was Bad,author Patricia Pearson writes:
“Women are more likely to commit major physical abuse of their children than are men”:
- 56.8 percent to 43.2 percent.
- Women are more likely to kill their children than are men: 55 percent to 45 percent.
- Women commit almost all of the murders of newborns.
- “…[A]ccording to the National Center on Health Statistics, the killing of infants climbed 55 percent between 1985 and 1988, until it was several times the rate at which adult women were murdered.” (Emphasis by Male Matters USA.)
- (Similar data can be found in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.)
Here’s one reason society thinks men are more sexually abusive than women:
In his 2018 book The Boy Crisis, Warren Farrell writes, “Juvenile detention centers are filled with dad-deprived boys. A US Department of Justice report found that 7.7 percent of boys in these centers reported being sexually abused by adult staff.”
Farrell says, “[O]nce uncovered, the systemic sexual abuse by male priests was a worldwide scandal; in contrast, the systemic sexual abuse by the female staff—although uncovered by the Department of Justice—is still ignored.” (Emphasis by Male Matters USA)
Many people, 40 years into the quest for gender equality, still tend to turn a deaf ear to male victimization and sometimes to tune out male experiences altogether. Our lack of equal compassion for males, which Farrell documents in “The Boy Crisis,” and our proclivity to deny female agency, no doubt drive a goodly number of people to avoid empathizing with the boys in the above report and to reflexively ask, “But how many of the boys initiated the sex?” It may not occur to them that it doesn’t matter who initiated it, just as it doesn’t matter when adult men have sex with girls who initiated it. Adults must say “No” and show they mean it.
(Regarding internet searches for the topic “women’s violence against children”: I believe much if not most of the media are biased against men and for women. Google, too, seems to exhibit this bias. That’s why, I think, Google’s search-results for the topic yield mostly links to men’s violence against women. It will not be a happy time for Google when men en masse learn of its bias. For more on female violence, see my commentary “Female violence against males — always provoked?“)
Because of media cover-ups, few people, apparently, are aware of women’s sexual abuse of children. The liberal media and feminist ideologues like Catharine MacKinnon try to prevent us from becoming aware. David Axlyn McLeod, PhD, MSW, reported in November 2013 that “Female sexual offenders are significantly underrepresented in the literature. Largely due to a failure of our society to recognize women as offenders, we allow them to avoid detection, prosecution, and interventions like tracking, registration, or mandated treatment.”
An August 2017 report says, “Most alarmingly, research has found victims sexually abused by both females and males said the abuse committed by females was more psychologically damaging than the abuse committed by males.”
See also the 1994 book Female Sexual Abuse of Children, by Michele Elliott (editor).
Not as repugnant as women’s violence and sexual abuse of children but perhaps just as stunning are the revelations in two 2014 reports, Time Magazine and the APA journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity:
“…[W]hen asked about experiences in the last 12 months, men reported being ‘made to penetrate’ — either by physical force or due to intoxication — at virtually the same rates as women reported rape (both 1.1% in 2010, and 1.7% and 1.6% respectively in 2011).”
“…[I]f the CDC figures are to be taken at face value, then we must also conclude that, far from being a product of patriarchal violence against women, ‘rape culture’ is a two-way street, with plenty of female perpetrators and male victims.”
“…if being made to penetrate someone was counted as rape—and why shouldn’t it be?—then the headlines could have focused on a truly sensational CDC finding: that women rape men as often as men rape women.”
“A total of 43% of high school boys and young college men reported they had an unwanted sexual experience and of those, 95% said a female acquaintance was the aggressor, according to a study published online in the APA journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity.”
And in the October 2017 Scientific American: “…[T]he CDC’s nationally representative data revealed that over one year, men and women were equally likely to experience nonconsensual sex, and most male victims reported female perpetrators. Over their lifetime, 79 percent of men who were “made to penetrate” someone else (a form of rape, in the view of most researchers) reported female perpetrators. Likewise, most men who experienced sexual coercion and unwanted sexual contact had female perpetrators.”
You’ve already guessed where I’m going with this:
If without provocation women can batter (see video of women caught abusing children and even infants!) or kill defenseless little children, whom they are supposedly socialized to love, they can, without provocation, batter or kill men, whom they are advised daily to fear, distrust, and hate by RFs and much or most of the liberal media.
And if some women can kill men and children, if some can rape men, others can certainly commit the far less innocuous crime of falsely accusing the hated, distrusted, and feared male of sexual harassment. (See a false accusation being made as it happens, and witness the power women know they have over men.)
And if some women can do all that, including using sex to abuse, others can use sex as leverage.
The mostly liberal media often report that men use power to get sex. Typical of their cover-ups to protect women’s image, they never report women using sex (or the promise of it) to attain status and special deals.
“Having sex with a rock star,” says May Wilkerson, “is basically the American dream (or with a YouTube star if you’re under 30)….”
Wilkerson said this in 2017. In the late ’70s, as I said beneath the 2007 Weinstein/McGowan photo, I read a report about groupie girls. I pointed out that some of them would enter the dressing rooms of rock stars or their bandmembers, disrobe, and have sex (often just giving oral sex). Their goal: to attain special status and become part of the rock star’s team, and maybe to be able to brag about it to their friends. (We find that women do initiate sex if they want something badly enough.)
That report was similar to the one in a ’78 edition of Rolling Stone: “It’s one thing to wait outside the gates of Yankee Stadium hoping to snare an autograph from Reggie Jackson. It’s another altogether to give blow jobs at the backstage door to the local kid who works weekends at the civic center when the big bands come to town.”
Then there is Led Zeppelin’s drummer who “slept with 4,500 women.” (How can one keep track after, say, the first 500?) It is hard for me to imagine that the drummer could devote the time needed to seek out and seduce such a huge number of women. (In all of my 76 years — as of 2018 — I haven’t talked to that many women.) Most of them undoubtedly came to him. Sometimes they may have waited in line for their turn.
Warren Farrell in my Prelude tells how magazines train the sexes: “…[L]ove and sex are power tools to get success—and therefore both the look of love and the sexual tease/promise are crucial.” (Emphasis by Male Matters USA)
Status is a power tool for men. Sex is a power tool for women. As said, because of gender politics, the liberal media drumbeat the former into your brain and almost never mention — or even think of — the latter.
What do you think at this point about the media reports on Harvey Weinstein, while bearing in mind women’s aforementioned violent and unscrupulous behavior, as well as their penchant for using sex as a power tool?
In the interest of fairness, justice, and the recognition of female power and agency, it becomes not only appropriate but necessary to point out this:
No doubt for many young, aspiring actors and actresses, to be famous and seen by millions on the big screen is heady stuff. It is, I believe, powerful enough to seduce some to cross the line to unscrupulous behavior. They may be farther pushed in that direction by the fierce, aggressive competition for movie roles. How many of Weinstein’s accusers, thinking other starlets may have been using sex to obtain a Weinstein sign-up, promised or initiated sex on the spot to land a role?
On April 13, 2018, in the prosecution’s sexual assault case against Bill Cosby, Janice Dickinson, a former model and reality TV star admitted she fabricated passages in a memoir — including a story of “rebuffing” the comedian’s advances. (Luckily, Cosby got what he deserved).
To be sure, Weinstein may have often told a beautiful young female starlet, whether she came on to him or not, something along the line of: “Okay, I’ll see what I can do about getting you a part in my next movie.” Or he may have outright lied, perhaps knowing he could not fit her into any part.
How many of these women now accuse him of assault because after “giving him sex” a promised deal fell through or was false, a tease, to begin with? If these women take legal action for sexual assault, their accusations would be the counterpart to Weinstein’s assaults of the women who declined sex after he offered a deal, or who declined the sex they’d promised after he fulfilled a deal he’d promised.
This seems a good place to ask a defensible and sensible question regarding the above mere 3.6% of women in 2014 who claimed they were sexually harassed at work: What percentage of the women responding to the survey were unscrupulous feminists who wanted to gin up the numbers and falsely claim they were harassed? Who would know they’d lied?
Besides rarely or never discussing women’s violent or unscrupulous behavior, leading feminists and the liberal media rarely or never discuss a male proclivity to be the opposite of violent — men’s desire to rescue. (Men frequently fantasize about being a hero who swoops in to save the world from disaster. That’s one reason “hero” movies — Superman, Batman… — are popular.)
According to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, more than 90 percent of the selfless souls who’ve jumped into flood waters, burst into burning buildings, and rescued often complete strangers from danger or violent assault — sometimes at the cost of their own lives — are male. Far more men pull women from the jaws of violence and death than the other way around.
By ignoring — and thus preventing you from hearing about — both men’s long history of rescuing people and women’s violence, feminists and the liberal media are able to convincingly use sexual-harassment/assault accusations as “more proof of toxic masculinity.”
To this reporting bias, add the money incentive.
“The mere accusation,” Suzanne Fields writes, “whether proved or not, is worth a ‘settlement’ rather than an expensive and messy trial, as one of the cases against Mr. Cain [Herman Cain, presidential candidate who campaigned in 2011] suggests. The lawyers call it ‘damage control.’ Any chief executive officer would tell you that ‘settling,’ even when he believes the accused party is innocent, is usually the easy way out. That’s what his attorneys are telling him, too.” (See the book The Judicial War On Men, by Eric Nelson.)
Increased incentives to complain about sexual harassment likely generate more accusations. RFs may insist that more accusations prove sexual harassment is worsening. And it’s worsening, they may claim, only as a result of heightened misogyny and a male backlash against women asserting themselves. They will likely demand even more legislation and incentives to make it even easier for women to come forward and complain…which in turn will increase the reporting even more…which will further increase RFs’ demands for even more legislation “because sexual harassment continues worsen.”
“I think we’ve overemphasized gender or sex,” Nadine Strossen says, “and underemphasized harassment. Harassment is harassment – it doesn’t matter what basis you do it on! If I’m harassed because I’m a member of the ACLU or because I have curly hair, it doesn’t matter what the basis [is]. The same is true at work: if anybody is doing something that interferes with your ability to work, it doesn’t matter what in particular they see about you that makes them do that.
“The law [says] that you are protected against religious harassment. If we were to transpose the overly broad concept of any sexual reference to a woman as sexual harassment, then what about an employee talking about gay rights or reproductive freedom in front of an employee who’s a fundamentalist? They could say that it’s religious harassment at work.”
Postal worker Kimberly Thompson wrote, “Beginning in early 1990 through April 1993, I was continuously harassed by Carolyn Jones, Mary Edwards, [and] Jeanette Michaels [last names are changed]. All are supervisors on my tour [who] caused extreme stress that culminated [in] a forced resignation.”
As Thompson explained, one of these supervisors stole her eyeglasses, and another accused her of having an affair with a co-worker and threatened her on the job and at home. One of them even rammed into her car and came after her with a knife.
After fleeing the knife-wielder, she reported the incident to the police. But when she reported it to the postal inspector, she was told nothing could be done about the knife threat because the incident did not occur on the job. In fact, nothing was done about anything. Even after she returned to work, she continued to be harassed by her supervisors Jeanette Michaels and Mary Edwards, “for any little thing (my seating stool was not in the proper groove or I was too long in the rest room). Michaels and Edwards would come past my station with remarks like ‘We’ve got the right one, baby,’ or ‘There’s always a next time’ and ‘If she has any sense, she would resign before she gets fired, because the next time it’ll stick.’”
Had the emphasis that’s given to sexual harassment been given also to this common but non-sexual harassment – which afflicts at least as many men – Thompson might have been able to forestall the hostile work environment she was forced to endure. Moreover, we might not automatically picture harassers as male.
By emphasizing gender or sex, we also pay little or no attention to the harassment and humiliation of children by adults.
In 1992, at West Utica Elementary School (Michigan), parent volunteers Pamela Munro and Patti Rosinski accused a 2nd-grade boy of exposing himself in school. They put a letter in the book bags of the boy’s 24 classmates, urging parents to complain to the school district about the boy disrupting class. In the letter, they said the boy’s “outbursts” were “perverse, unruly” and said “at the present time he is suspended for exposing himself to the class.” The boy’s parents, rightly, sued the school and the parent volunteers for false accusations, violation of the boy’s privacy, and damage to their family reputation.
My feeling about this incident is this: Only in a culture which, taking cues from RFs like Catharine MacKinnon, has become hysterical over sexual harassment and has stereotyped males as rapacious beasts, would two adults, possibly feminists, feel the need to punish and humiliate a little seven- or eight-year boy for exposing himself in class. Had the child been a girl, the two women likely would have handled the matter in a private, caring way, so as not to undermine her self-esteem, correctly seeing such a child as misguided and not fully aware of what she had done.
Criticizing the over-emphasis on gender or sex as diminishing women, Katie Riophe writes in The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism on Campus, “The assumption that women in the workplace can be sexually harassed by male peers or even subordinates – Catharine MacKinnon [argues] the fact that being a man gives you so much more power that [women] need special rules. That [is like] saying that women who are in a position of power aren’t really; their power and their authority is so fragile that a dirty joke by a man [even if he’s a lowly janitor] can puncture all their years of hard work. I find that offensive.” RFs’ version of “sticks and stones.”
The Price of Extremism
“The men in my office are terrified of saying or doing anything that in any way acknowledges the differences between men and women, and many of the women walk around like hand-grenades with their pins half-pulled.” -Nick Wright, Halifax, Nova Scotia, commenting in the New York Times, November 3, 2014, regarding “Street Harassment Law Would Restrict Intimidating Behavior“
Protect-the-woman laws similar to those pertaining to sexual harassment have historically ended up hurting women. Around 1908, in response mostly to pressure from women’s groups (which had power decades before RFs first complained that women have never had power), states began passing hours-limitation laws to prevent employers from requiring female employees to work more than a certain number of days per week and hours per day.
Employers, with less control over women, began barring them from productivity jobs subject to such things as last-minute product orders which, if not fulfilled immediately, would go to the employer’s competitors, thereby hurting everyone in the company. Employers were forced to reserve these jobs for the group still under their total control: men.
But now with a smaller pool of workers available for these jobs, employers were compelled by the law of supply and demand to raise the pay. So began in earnest the sexes’ division of labor and the gender wage gap, now touted by feminists as prima facie evidence of women’s oppression — all started mostly by women wanting to protect women.
It’s not surprising, then, that protect-the-woman legislation regarding sexual harassment is also backfiring on women.
“There’s no doubt about the fact that the climate has been counterproductive,” says Ricki Gaull Silberman, vice-chairman of the EEOC. (Women’s Freedom Network newsletter.) “It limits women’s opportunities, although nobody will admit to it. Managers are afraid to give travel assignments to women, late-night assignments, [work behind] closed doors. We are in danger of reinstituting the protective laws of the early 20th Century that we were so proud of getting rid of in the name of equality.” (See also Rene Denfeld’s The New Victorians: A Young Woman’s Challenge to the Old Feminist Order; it speculates that expanding sexual harassment is part of the antimale war waged by RFs who desire gender segregation.)
Mariana Parks, Vice President at the Seattle-based Washington for Policy Studies, notices the extreme importance of a mentor for anyone serious about a career. “You learn your best lessons from the mistakes you make,” she says, “but someone must be willing to sit down with you and tell you that you’ve screwed up. Now we have created a situation, with the deadly cocktail of affirmative action, EEOC lawsuits, and sexual harassment lawsuits, in which people are increasingly unwilling to tell women what they are doing or have done wrong because it creates a paper trail. In the long run, this will be a huge impediment to women’s advancement.”
Female executives may find male executives becoming more reluctant than ever to include women in their circles, even as diversity programs call for women’s inclusion. Many men, says Judith Tingley in Genderflex: Men & Women Speaking Each Other’s Language At Work, are paralyzed by the fear of saying or doing something that will brand them as sexist pigs guilty of harassment.
…[I]t is clear that sexual harassment policies have damaged the work place as well. Among the less visible costs are: women have acquired the status of victims who require protection from a paternalistic State; women are losing mentors who are unwilling to risk complaints; women are being viewed as “the enemy” by male co-workers who do not associate with them more than is necessary. -Wendy McElroy
Some employers now consider the female employee a potentially greater liability than males. They fear that at some point, probably when a woman is disciplined or fired, she will file a sexual harassment lawsuit and cost their company thousands of dollars just to settle.
“…[T]he law of unintended consequences is among the most potent laws in existence. Governments, for instance, often enact legislation meant to protect their most vulnerable charges but that instead ends up hurting them. Consider the American Disabilities Act (ADA), which was intended to safeguard disabled workers from discrimination. A noble intention, yes? Absolutely — but the data convincingly show that the net result was fewer jobs for Americans with disabilities. Why? After the ADA became law, employers were so worried they wouldn’t be able to discipline or fire bad workers who had a disability that they avoided hiring such workers in the first place.” –Superfreakonomics, 2009, pp. 138-39, paperback
Warren Farrell writes:
A friend of mine who ran one of the largest research firms in California let go a woman who was unable to get along with most of the employees. A few weeks later, she sued him for sexual harassment.
He had no interest in her, had never had a complaint against him for such behavior, nor had anyone in his company ever had a complaint against him for sexual harassment. Well, there was one exception: The woman who filed the complaint had herself been the subject of complaints that she had sexually harassed two different men and discriminated against them when they were unresponsive. Nevertheless, the legal hassle that resulted diverted the firm from its function and catalyzed a decline that eventually led (in conjunction with the recession) to the company’s extinction.
The potential for such destructiveness, says Farrell, “makes even female employers more desirous of hiring men.” Take Pittsburgh restaurateur Sarah J. McCarthy. According to Nadine Strossen, “McCarthy has said that the overly broad concept of sexual harassment as all speech with sexual connotations has made even her, an avowed feminist, ‘fearful of hiring women.’” (See a Bloomberg Opinion piece on the price women pay for “our culture’s vanishing burden of proof when a prominent man is accused of any sexual impropriety.”) Many employers, both male and female, may be wondering if they’d be better off operating in another country where business is not terrorized by RFs and political correctness.
“After I gave a speech about the importance of hiring women, even one of my women managers said, ‘I like what you’re saying about hiring women, but the higher up in the company I go, the more afraid I am to hire a woman for the company, ’cause all three of the lawsuits we’ve received have been from women. I’m afraid of being the one to hire somebody who will sue the company.’” –Why Men Earn More
Although Cosmo-type magazines still tell women the workplace is a great place to look for romance, some women now think the workplace offers a dismal place to look.
“Another problem with guys,” Devon says in a letter to romance columnist Cheryl Lavin (July 6, 1997, Detroit Free Press), “is that they’re not sexually aggressive enough [Japanese women’s complaint!]. They don’t know how to sweep a girl off her feet and turn a girl on. They’re too scared and intimidated. The whole ‘90s thing with date rape and sexual harassment suits have made them scared and made sex a lot less fun.” (Spoken truly like someone who sees romantic initiative-taking solely as the responsibility of men — and who is blind to the risks she wants men to take.)
“…[W]e all have to be careful. I don’t know of one executive in this town who will hire a female assistant. That’s the corrupt side of it: Women have claimed that men have done things they haven’t done, and men are afraid.” –Bill Maher, formerly of “Politically Incorrect” Playboy interview, Aug. 1997