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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Links - #metoo

We’re at risk of turning #metoo into rush to blame all men - "The panic has even struck the Girl Scouts, who warned parents that their daughters don't "owe anyone a hug" this holiday season. Parents who insist a little girl give grandma or grandpa a hug for a present can set her up to believe "she 'owes' another person physical affection because they bought her something."... Most of the sensational harassment cases in the media involved high-profile men working in unusual environments with little or no accountability. That suggests they are atypical... A recent Newsweek/Wall Street Journal poll found that 48% of American women had been sexually harassed at work... Except upon closer scrutiny, the Newsweek/WSJ poll showed nothing of the kind. It defined "harassment" very broadly. And women were asked if they had ever received "unwelcome sexual advances" at any point in their working lives. It did not distinguish between minor incidents and more serious cases of actionable harassment. And no time limit was given. The General Social Survey is one of the most trusted sources of data in the social sciences. In 2014, a random sample of Americans was asked a straightforward question: "In the last 12 months, were you sexually harassed by anyone while you were on the job?" To that question, only 3.6% of women said yes. That is down from 6.1% in 2002. These results do not suggest an epidemic. Nor even a trendline moving in the wrong direction... Sex panics are mass movements that arise in response to perceived moral threats to society - threats that are vaguely defined and wildly exaggerated... Soon after the Weinstein scandal broke, an anonymously sourced "S---y Media Men" list began circulating on social media. The blacklist accuses more than 70 male journalists of sexual harassment. But the charges range from "weird lunches" to rape. The informants collapse important distinctions between criminal predation and unwelcome flirtation. The men couldn't defend themselves - and anyone who tries can be accused of not believing victims, even anonymous ones... prominent feminist Jill Filipovic dismissed the scrutiny as "backlash." Writer Roxane Gay disparaged "all the hand-wringing about …the ethics of anonymous disclosure." As she explained in the New York Times, American women live in a state of siege. She suggested all men confess to "how they have hurt women in ways great and small"... Goldberg's reason for wanting Franken to resign is chilling. She claimed to need to see him fall because, otherwise, "the current movement toward unprecedented accountability for sexual harassers will probably start to peter out." In other words, it doesn't matter if he's guilty: The revolution could stall without more decapitations... Vice President Mike Pence has a rule: He never eats alone with a woman other than his wife. It was widely mocked as prissy just a few months ago. But now, in the aftermath of the scandals, some think it might be a good way to protect women... Unfortunately, a new puritanism seems to be ascendant. Timothy Noah of Politico suggests we could limit sexual harassment by making meetings with anyone behind closed doors a fireable offense... Federal laws against sexual harassment were enacted to protect workers from pervasive, severe bullying, coercion or extortion — not from normal human interactions."

One-Third of Office Romances End in Marriage - "Despite being considered taboo in most organizations, nearly 20 percent of those surveyed admitted to dating their direct supervisor, while 28 percent said they have dated someone higher up in the company's hierarchy."

Where is the line between office flirtation and sexual harassment? - "When I was 23 years old, my boss would look down the gap at the waistband of my jeans when he walked past my desk. I was an entry-level fact-checker at my first magazine job, and he was an older and more powerful editor. My career, at the time, was in his hands. Once, when we had finished working on a story together, he suggested we get a drink to celebrate. It was a Friday night, and I remember feeling extremely nervous as we sat across from each other in a dark bar. He was flirting with me, I could tell. The next weekend, he asked me out again. A few days later, he kissed me on the steps of the West 4th subway station without first getting my consent. We’ve now been happily married for 14 years and have three children... If I had not been interested in my husband’s advances, would that have been harassment? Was it harassment anyway, since he was my boss? Today, many people seem to think the answer is yes... I’ve felt a rift with many of the younger women I know, who claim to understand exactly where to draw the line between legitimate behavior and abuse and seem to view harassment as any interaction with a man that has made them uncomfortable... Attempts by men to express confusion about where the lines are have largely been met with derision... A friend of mine told me about a recent date he went on with a woman he met online. After dinner, he asked her if she wanted to go back to his place. She declined. They went on several more dates, though, and eventually she told him that the reason she didn’t go back to his apartment that first night was that he didn’t ask forcefully enough. That same friend told me of a memorable line he’s seen in several Tinder profiles: “likes to be chased.” I laughed, because who doesn’t? But what my friend saw in this current moment were mixed messages: It’s good to be aggressive if your date is interested, but read the room wrong and you are done. It feels great to be chased when you are attracted to the person doing the chasing. Otherwise, the chaser might be seen as a predator. Some people see this confusion as a small price to pay. Better to—as Gessen characterized this line of thinking—“have ten times less sex than to risk having a nonconsensual sexual experience.” But this calculation doesn’t just protect women from abuse; it protects us from experiences that I’m not sure I’d relish giving up... a world where interested parties fear crossing this new boundary we seem to be edging toward, where any power differential or wrong move is seen as predation, robs women of the ability to consent as well... the difference between John being my husband and my harasser cannot just be that it worked out. The difference between actions that can get you married and actions that can get you fired can’t simply be whether or not the person you are interested in is interested back"
Another example of how feminism hurts women

When Does a Watershed Become a Sex Panic? - "I am also queer, and I panic when I sniff sex panic. Over the last three decades, as American society has apparently accepted more open expression of different kinds of sexuality, it has also invented new ways and reasons to police sex. David Halperin, a historian and gender theorist at the University of Michigan, has called this “the war on sex”... campuses had begun instituting rules of “affirmative consent.” Halperin reminds his readers that when Antioch College introduced this standard—which requires explicit verbal affirmation of the desire to take every sexual step—it was “widely ridiculed.” That was in 1991. Now, the principle of affirmative consent has not only been adopted by countless colleges but has become the law for colleges in New York and California... the policing of sex seems to assume that it’s better to have ten times less sex than to risk having a nonconsensual sexual experience. The problem is not just that this reduces the amount of sex people are likely to be having; it also serves to blur the boundaries between rape, nonviolent sexual coercion, and bad, fumbling, drunken sex. The effect is both to criminalize bad sex and trivialize rape."

The myth of the sexual-violence spectrum - "Bex Bailey, a 25-year-old former member of Labour’s National Executive Committee, says she was raped at a Labour Party event in 2011. She said she had been told to cover it up by her Labour colleagues, and that it could harm her career if she reported it. Suddenly, everything else seemed trivial. The talk of a journalist’s knee being touched in 2002 (an allegation which, as I type, has just toppled Michael Fallon from his position as defence secretary) and the ‘unwanted advances’, in other words bad flirting – all of this suddenly appeared trivial next to the allegation made by Bailey. It felt strange to talk about what she was alleging in the same breath as everything else. And so it should. There is no ‘spectrum’ of sexual violence in the way people are now talking about it... as more and more accusations have been made, Bailey’s allegation has been lost in a sea of trivialities. This climate makes trying these more serious allegations very difficult... The most worrying element of this is its impact on young people. In a recent survey conducted by YouGov, 28 per cent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 said they believed that winking is a form of sexual harassment"

Study: A LOT Of Young People Think Compliments, Drink Invites Are Forms Of 'Sexual Harassment' - "over 1/3 of those polled ranging in age from 18-30 (male and female) said a man "commenting on attractiveness" would "always" or "usually" be a form of sexual harassment. When it came to asking a woman out for a drink, about one in four young males and about 12.5% of young females said it would "always" or "usually" be a form of sexual harassment. For reference, those polled in Sweden, Germany, and the U.K., all polled around 0% for this particular hypothetical."

Over-friendly, or sexual harassment? It depends partly on whom you ask - Daily chart - "Swedish men, for example, seem to feel entitled to make sexual jokes around women: only a quarter of them said such behaviour would be harassment. In contrast, three-quarters of American men expressed that opinion. Similarly, a quarter of French women under 30 believe that even asking to go for a drink is harassment, whereas almost none of their counterparts in Britain and Germany share that view."

Sarah Vine on the 'hysterical Westminster witch hunt' - "Allegations are rather vague and vary wildly, from being ‘handsy’ at parties to ‘impregnating’ a woman. Leadsom, by contrast, was unequivocal. ‘If people are made to feel uncomfortable, then that is not correct,’ she told the House. ‘In terms of the consequences for the perpetrators, I think I have also been perfectly clear: in the case of staff, they could forfeit their jobs; in the case of Members of Parliament, they could have the whip withdrawn and they could be fired from ministerial office.’ Watching her grim expression and hearing her speak, I was reminded of that line in Arthur Miller’s 1953 play The Crucible: ‘We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!’... If someone is upset and an MP puts a reassuring arm around her shoulder, is that inappropriate? If they make a clumsy joke, is that an ‘unwanted advance’? Knowing MPs as I do, many of them are so socially inept, they make asking for a cup of coffee sound deeply suspicious. But just because someone is a bit odd, does that make them a pervert? No. Or perhaps that depends on your point of view. Because there is a strong cultural and generational element to this, too. Most of the accused are over 40; most of the accusers are in their 20s. In other words, it’s the revenge of the millennials, many of whom will have had their senses of humour surgically removed at university. Theirs is a generation that seems permanently aggrieved, in a perpetual state of disgust at anyone over the age of 30... Anne Robinson put her finger on the button when she pointed out that in the Seventies, pioneering young feminists such as herself had a more robust attitude to men behaving badly than the ‘fragile’ women of today... The sensible and sane way to deal with unwanted sexual advances is to adopt the Julia Hartley-Brewer model in respect of having her knee importuned by then MP, now defence secretary, Michael Fallon: firmly decline — and threaten to punch his lights out if he does it again. By the way, this incident took place 15 years ago — 15! — and Julia, now a radio broadcaster, has said until she’s blue in the face that she wasn’t ‘remotely distressed or upset’. But the problem with the current generation of young women is that they have somehow got it into their heads that they don’t have to stick up for themselves, or take responsibility for their own safety... Common sense and the intelligent rules of human behaviour have been replaced by a childish desire to push boundaries and a touchy, uppity tendency to take offence at the slightest thing. Thus you have women waving their breasts around in public in so-called ‘free the nipple’ protests — and then complaining when men are caught ogling them. ‘Slut-walks’, in which girls dress as provocatively as they can before parading in public, are espoused as expressions of female empowerment, when actually they’re just banal and offensive. Like that stupid ‘Metoo’ hashtag that started trending after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, these are not real expressions of emancipation: they are empty, attention-seeking gestures... the real problem: social media. A place where those who can’t find success in the real world find safety in anonymity, and where mediocrity feeds the hunger of the mob to tear down those who dare to rise above the norm as a way of assuaging their own inadequacies. George Orwell was almost right. It is not Big Brother who threatens our freedoms in the 21st century, but his nastier internet-age sibling, Little Brother: hundreds, thousands, millions of shrill individuals, one toxic groupthink, whipping each other into a self-righteous frenzy of hate before descending like locusts, stripping their victims to the bone and leaving destruction in their wake."

Sexual freedom is turning into sexual fear as a counter-revolution shifts our attitude towards sex - "The Crown actress, Claire Foy, was forced to issue a statement saying she had not been offended after angry Twitter users pointed out that actor Adam Sandler had touched her knee — twice — during their appearance on The Graham Norton Show... Foremost propeller of this is a form of modern feminism which is, in fact, barely disguised contempt for men. In an essay, sociology professor Lisa Wade argues: “We need to attack masculinity directly. I don’t mean that we should recuperate masculinity — that is, press men to identify with a kinder, gentler version of it — I mean that we should reject the idea that men have a psychic need to distinguish themselves from women to feel good about themselves.” Other women writers have taken it upon themselves to issue instructions for men on how to behave. This “feminism” isn’t producing guides for helping men. It is producing manifestos for torturing them... Attractive people attract attention and not all find this a disadvantage. Unless we decide that only a super-class of beautiful people are allowed to seek sex, we should accept that people in the lower to middling ranges of attractiveness should be allowed the odd punt too."

Sexual McCarthyism - "“There’s a strand of Western culture that requires some kind of demonized enemy,” says Ellen Schrecker, author of Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America. “In the late ’40s and ’50s it was Communists, but today it’s operating in the realm of sexuality. We’re obviously in the middle of a Red scare about sex”... In France, with its tradition of sexual discretion–not to mention after-work (or cinq-à-sept) affairs–the American scandal seems, to say the least, surreal. “Because I love America, and because it is a model for democracy, I wish for the victory of Clinton,” says Jack Lang, the former French minister of culture and one of Europe’s most vocal champions of the United States. “Tyranny begins when one power, one church, one party introduces itself into the private life of its citizens.”"
From 1998

Ladies, You Haven’t Been Raped If Someone Catcalled At You - "Depending on the circumstances and my mood, I’ve found these advances anything from hilariously awkward to enraging. Either way, I mostly forgot them at maximum half an hour later, which is the appropriate reaction to minor incidents with unpleasant people... The #MeToo mob has gone from the serious allegations levelled against powerful men like Bill O’Reilly and Weinstein to women working themselves up into a righteous lather over a stolen kiss to celebrate the end of a bloody war, or a 97-year-old mentally slowing former president making jokes and patting rumps from his wheelchair. As Matt Walsh pointed out in The Daily Wire, let’s hope for their own sake these ladies never visit a nursing home, if George H. W. Bush’s tame antics produced such offense. But the slide from exposing the truly heinous into the minor leagues of “harassment” is all part of the plan for many on the Left... In this age of snowflakes, even speaking about traditional gender roles makes some woman somewhere feel unsafe, prompting gutless universities to issue unconstitutionally broad harassment policies that turn on the subjective feelings of the recipient... In our rush for universal female victimhood, we cheapen the experiences of real victims and create a more hostile environment for their #MeToo stories... The path our society has chosen to deal with this is forcing decent men who do not want to make women uncomfortable to retreat into treating women asexually, as interchangeable with men. We all lose if the wonderful dance between masculinity and femininity, even deployed completely innocently, is lost for all but the most unscrupulous among us."

From chaperones to modesty wear, a sexual reformation is underway | The Spectator - "Nell Minow, an American film critic, recently described how in 2010 she had interviewed the Friends actor David Schwimmer. When the noise in the restaurant grew too loud, he asked her whether she might like to move to a room upstairs with him, and if so, would she like a chaperone present. She praised him for this behaviour. ‘He understood what it is like to have to be constantly on the alert and he wanted to make sure I understood I was safe.’ When I read Minow’s story, my reaction was to think what a patronising arse Schwimmer must be. A woman journalist shouldn’t need a chaperone when she is doing her job. But, in the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein allegations, it has become clear that, for many women, safety is starting to trump liberty. We are moving towards a chaperone culture, in which women, delicate lambs that we are, must be protected at all times... There is political chatter about the possibility of ‘women-only carriages’ on trains. The orthodoxy of ‘safe spaces’ —which began as part of the women’s movement before becoming a university campus cliché — is starting to infiltrate public life... The #MeToo hashtag, which trended on social media in the days after the Weinstein story broke, revealed just how many women considered themselves victims of sexual abuse. But also, how alarmingly wide that definition ran. On my own Facebook feed, the experiences described stretched from rape to ‘feeling as if a man once looked through me’. The implicit message of all these confessional posts was clear: if it hasn’t happened to you yet, you’ve just been lucky. Or perhaps you are in denial. It’s as if a new feminist movement is advocating victimhood, rather than equality. And women who protest about this new reality are denounced as traitors to their sex... I heard a story recently about a woman who had been on a date with a man who was younger than her. After a few drinks, they ended up back at her house. The woman was keen to go to bed with him, but he refused because he was so worried about doing something that might later lead to recriminations. In the current climate, who can blame him? Professional life is becoming a nightmare. Young women feel uneasy about the lay of the land. What career can you choose that won’t involve creeps? And men in positions of authority will inevitably become more anxious about hiring women. It must just seem easier to hire other men, who are less likely to interpret a clumsy comment as sexual assault."

Panicking about Sexual Harassment Is Bad for Women - "A BBC survey carried out in the aftermath of publicity surrounding the Weinstein allegations suggests that half of British women have been sexually harassed at work. This is appalling. But more than a quarter of respondents said the harassment they had experienced was in the form of inappropriate jokes or “banter.” When harassment is defined this broadly it becomes utterly meaningless... In my book, Women Vs. Feminism: Why We All Need Liberating from the Gender Wars, I explore how feminism has changed over recent decades. I argue that feminism was once a bold campaign for women’s liberation that assumed strong and powerful women could compete with men as equals. Now, all too often, feminism claims the exact opposite. As the enthusiasm for women to join in with the #MeToo campaign shows, victimhood has become an attractive proposition today. Not only does it provide access to platforms, resources and power but it also, more importantly, leads to a moral beatification. Contemporary political culture reveres the victim and continually reinforces the authority of those who suffer. The victim is placed on a pedestal, a heroine, blameless. The only demand the victim makes of us is to believe her and in so doing affirm her identity as a victim. The assumption of blamelessness, however, is at best a hollow victory. To be blameless is to have lacked all ability to control your own destiny. The primary objective of feminism today seems to be securing recognition that all women, however successful, are victimized. This victim status sits easily alongside an assumption of equality: women are equal, indeed superior, to men because of the suffering they endure and the disadvantage they have overcome... For a previously unidentified problem to encompass so many people in such a short space of time is quite remarkable. Daphne Patai, author of Heterophobia is cynical about the processes that led women to attach this label to their experiences. She suggests the efforts, particularly virulent on university campuses, to uncover and name this newly discovered problem are best described as a “Sexual Harassment Industry.” Patai argues this industry offers women a “training in victimhood,” through which they “learn how to identify the injuries they suffer” and come to see themselves first as “victims” then as “survivors.” According to Patai, the sudden explosion in the number of sexual harassment victims suggests the offense is too broadly defined and the problem overstated... over the course of four decades, definitions of sexual harassment have become ever more expansive and are now incorporated into the law. But one problem is that the more broadly sexual harassment is defined the more subjective it becomes – what one woman experiences as unwelcome another might see as a compliment"

Confusing Sexual Harassment With Flirting Hurts Women - "On Medium, author and podcaster Coner Habib asserts, “If every woman who had a boundary violated called out every man who had done so, there would be few men left un-accused, and few women left unwounded.” (Presumably only women have boundaries and only men ever cross them.) On Twitter, prominent feminist writer Jessica Valenti has written that it’s good for men to be afraid. Moreover, the social media mockery of clueless men who can’t tell flirting from sexual harassment has often gone hand in hand with assertions that all workplace flirting is harassment—such as this viral tweet from singer/songwriter Marian Call. “dudes are you aware how happy women would be if strangers & coworkers never “flirted” with us again, like ever, this is the world we want,” she tweeted. Never mind that plenty of women flirt at work, or that romances thrive even in this age of dating apps. (Among under-35 respondents to an informal 2015 survey for the online magazine Mic, nearly 18 percent of those currently coupled had met their partner through work and fewer than 10 percent through online dating.)... “Don’t be a sexual predator or a sex pest” is self-evident. “Don’t make unwelcome invasions of personal space or sexual jokes” is more complicated -— especially in creative industries, from journalism to entertainment, where an informal work environment is often the norm and sex-themed conversation and humor may be part of the work itself. Is it sexual harassment for a TV producer/director to talk to Lena Dunham about her much-publicized onscreen nudity while mixing informally at a restaurant after a shoot, or to show her a still from his show that has nudity in it? Dunham and her producer Jenni Konner thought so... David Corn, the Washington Bureau chief for Mother Jones, is under investigation for past “inappropriate” touching—from hugs to pats on the arm, back, or shoulder—that seems to have been non-sexual and gender-neutral... Does this mean all uncomfortable interactions will be treated as entirely the man’s fault while female employees are presumed to have no agency? Does this mean that a woman who discusses intimate issues with a male friend at work can accuse him of harassment for making personal comments in those discussions? No wonder men are nervous... A manager at a wastewater treatment plant in Olympia, Washington was suspended for bringing a copy of Esquire magazine for his lunchtime reading, apparently offending a female co-worker with its racy lingerie ads. Another corporate manager was placed on probation for hugging a secretary who had just lost her mother—on a complaint from a co-worker who witnessed the hug. An insurance company manager was demoted with a big pay cut and transferred to a less desirable location after an office administrator unhappy about being denied a raise complained that he had given her humorously bawdy greeting cards—despite undisputed evidence that she had been at least as raunchy with him and other co-workers. A Miller Brewing Co. executive was fired for discussing a “Seinfeld” episode containing some risqué humor... Nearly twenty years ago, dissident feminist academic Daphne Patai wrote a thought-provoking book titled “Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Politics of Feminism.” Patai argued that while remedies against sexual assault and extortion are essential, it is better to tolerate “the petty annoyance of occasional misplaced sexual attentions” than to endure the repressive vigilance required to stamp out all unwanted or offensive workplace behaviors"

I was among the early supporters of #metoo, but this is starting to get ugly - "we are getting very close to witch-burning territory with the persistent revealing of names and the indignant justification that this has merited on social media. Once a witch is burnt there is little use in saying "whoops, we were wrong. Sorry about that.""

Monica Lewinsky Sets Internet On Fire, Says The One Thing That Will Shame Hillary Forever - "Hillary Clinton can’t win for trying. She tried to take the high, arrogant road and came out hard against the sexual predator and former mega Clinton campaign donor Harvey Weinstein.
No one bought her crocodile tears. She didn’t even give back all his cash – she said there is no one to give it to. The Clinton Foundation also is not going to give back the money and worse, it just came out that none other than Harvey Weinstein helped pay Bill Clinton’s legal bills when he was accused of sexual assault. But that didn’t stop Hillary from going all with her fake outrage... You were complicit in what Bill did to countless women, none more obvious than how you helped silence poor Monica."

#MeToo: 'Some contributors use it as a platform to pour scorn on all men' - "The truth is that the majority of both young men and women sexually objectify themselves to some degree in order to bolster their physical attractiveness to find a mate. In fact, many women are far worse objectifiers of women’s bodies than men. Pick up a few women’s gossip and celebrity magazines in any newsagent and observe the manner in which famous women’s bodily imperfections or weight fluctuations are commented on, often in very judgmental and disapproving tones. It is women who both compile and drive the demand for these magazines not men. Too much of the debate in the mainstream and social media around gender issues is dictated by a strain of feminism that views masculinity as inherently problematic"

#MeToo: the return of recovered memories - "this atmosphere in which to question the hunt for devils is to risk being suspected of being in concert with devils: the post-Weinstein climate, the search for sexual harassment everywhere, is not a measured, analytical moment, but rather has more in common with the ‘recovered memories’ episodes of the 1980s and 1990s when people came to be convinced that they had been abused, when many of them hadn’t been."

The #MeToo movement reveals feminism’s obsession with victimhood | Coffee House - "It also creates an impression that being a woman in the 21st century is a living hell. Not only is this false, it is destructive. In 2015, Girl Guiding UK found that seventy-five per cent of girls and young women said anxiety about potentially experiencing sexual harassment affects their lives in some way. A 2016 survey suggested that 41 per cent of young women expect to face discrimination at work. These young women had not faced harassment or discrimination: their anxiety was around what might, potentially, happen to them in the future. It may be the fear of sexual harassment, more than the reality, that is holding women back today."
Teaching women they are (or are going to be) victims has consequences
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