Men, #Me Too, and Moral Panics

 

Based on a post I wrote here, I wrote a much longer piece about the Weinsteining phenomenon for The American Interest. (Warning: the language is not safe for work and not appropriate for Ricochet. That I used those words there doesn’t mean you can use them here. If you can figure out how to describe the Louis CK imbroglio in family-friendly language, more power to you.)

I was flabbergasted by the response. I had expected nothing but vituperation. I was fully braced for it, and had just decided, “Well, you’ll have an awful week, but it has to be said, so just stay off social media until it all blows over.” I pretty much figured I was Hal:

I was wrong. It seems to be the most widely-read and widely-appreciated article I’ve ever written, at least to judge from the site traffic and the mail I’ve received in response. Even the hate mail seemed a bit wan and pro-forma. The authors’ hearts clearly weren’t really into it.

I don’t know what this means. Vanity would prompt me to think, “I am the greatest writer in the world and I wrote the best article in history, that’s why everyone loved it.” But narcissism is never your friend when you’re trying to figure out why people are doing strange things that you did not expect them to do. That wasn’t the best or the most important thing I’ve ever written. I pretty much dashed it off. I didn’t do any research in the archives or sweat blood over the prose.

Still, I figure a quarter of a million people will have read it by the end of the week.

When last I checked the records at the Bodleian, I discovered that no one–literally not one single soul–had ever checked my doctoral thesis out of the library. I don’t think anyone has ever purchased it, either. I’m pretty sure this is not because my doctoral thesis wasn’t as good as that article. I’d like to think it was quite a bit better, actually. If not, I sure wasted a lot of time.

When something connects with readers this much, it says something about the audience, not the writer. So I’m wondering, hopefully: Perhaps this reaction means we’ve passed peak hysteria? Maybe it means people are truly longing to have a bit of common sense back?

I sure hope so. Because if you were to read all the mail I’ve received since I published that article, you’d weep. Hundreds of letters–most, but not all, from men–expressing sentiments no one in a free society should even have the vocabulary to express.

Some of the people who wrote were quite prominent, but most were, I think, just ordinary guys–guys who are now so scared of women, so broken-hearted, so baffled, that I wish I could just teleport them off our planet to a sane place where women are kind to them and the rules about sex are clear. That seems to be all they want, and it hardly seems an unreasonable demand. From one such letter:

Every rejection, every break-up, every dissolution of a union and you die a little more inside; less of a person, a broken wrecked empty shell of a man; weighed down by so many missed opportunities, so much baggage and misanthropic self-loathing. I had a fiancée once – then she cheated on me and I was never quite right after that. They say you grow with each relationship, but I’d argue the opposite; with each you lose a part of yourself, until nothing more than a torso with a head flopping around on the muddy ground.

Being accused of sexual harassment on the other hand for starting a conversation – or even the paranoid fear of this happening – would be life destroying. I respect women (the best relationships I’ve had have all been FLR); I love women, I hold all of them in such high regard; as an atheist, to be seen positively by a woman is to glimpse the face of God – and it is precisely for that reason that rejection or a negative reaction is so debilitating. It tells the person being rejected they are worthless garbage. Now, however, it also comes with a (possible) side order of accusations of being a harasser.

The price and danger of speaking with a woman has changed from being humiliated in public and having one’s self-esteem wiped out (which as much as I hate it, I have always begrudgingly accepted as the price men must pay in order to date – you want to have a relationship, fine, then be prepared to suffer excruciatingly for it or accept soul crushing loneliness), to now facing vitriolic accusations, extreme pillorying, and possible arrest.

Try to empathise with this fact – the current climate takes a pre-existing instinctive horror, found in nice but shy men, and multiplies it by 10,000 burning suns. It’s days like these I honestly wish I were a gay man. So much easier (based on observing the lives of gay friends). Heterosexual men have the hardest time. Of all the options available to us in life, none are without some kind of judgement by others and a prolonged feeling of agony. It’s honestly no wonder I drink so much.

What can I say? Yes, I did write back to tell him to take women off that pedestal–we’re no substitute for God.

The piece received very little of the criticism I expected. Only a couple of death threats, and these were from readers who were furious at my suggestion that the Trump presidency might be a source of general social anxiety. (I think they might be missing the point, or a bit too deep in their bubble — whether or not you think his presidency should be a source of anxiety, it’s incontrovertible that for many Americans, it is a source of anxiety. Receiving their messages sure didn’t reduce mine.)

One criticism I saw repeatedly is that I failed to appreciate what this was really about: equal opportunity in the workplace. I was referred, for example, to this article by Rebecca Traister, called “This Moment Isn’t (Just) About Sex.”

I read it closely. I genuinely, deeply disagree with her. For example, she writes,

What makes women vulnerable is not their carnal violability, but rather the way that their worth has been understood as fundamentally erotic, ornamental; that they have not been taken seriously as equals; that they have been treated as some ancillary reward that comes with the kinds of power men are taught to reach for and are valued for achieving. How to make clear that the trauma of the smaller trespasses — the boob grabs and unwanted kisses or come-ons from bosses — is not necessarily even about the sexualized act in question; so many of us learned to maneuver around hands-y men without sustaining lasting emotional damage when we were 14.

Rather, it’s about the cruel reminder that these are still the terms on which we are valued, by our colleagues, our bosses, sometimes our competitors, the men we tricked ourselves into thinking might see us as smart, formidable colleagues or rivals, not as the kinds of objects they can just grab and grope and degrade without consequence. It’s not that we’re horrified like some Victorian damsel; it’s that we’re horrified like a woman in 2017 who briefly believed she was equal to her male peers but has just been reminded that she is not, who has suddenly had her comparative powerlessness revealed to her. “I was hunting for a job,” said one of the women who accused Charlie Rose of assault. “And he was hunting for me.”

My response is that there is no contradiction between seeing oneself as smart and formidable and seeing oneself as an object of male attraction. They are not mutually exclusive. It is not a “cruel” thing to be reminded that one is a woman. Depending on the circumstances, it may certainly be awkward. It may require telling someone, “No.” If that doesn’t work, we are then in clear criminal territory, and of course I support laws against rape, or any similar bodily violation, and the enforcement of those laws.

But there is nothing about learning one’s colleagues find you attractive that should negate a woman’s self-esteem. It is entirely possible for a man to see a woman as smart and formidable and therefore desirable. Inherent to Ms. Traister’s argument is something like a Madonna-whore dichotomy–the very form of thought that feminists have long noted and deplored. If your male peers see you sexual, in her view, then they must not respect you.

But this is not so.

Of course it depends what kind of grabbing and groping we’re talking about — in her article she mentions accounts of rape in the workplace, which obviously is not in any kind of ambiguous grey zone, no less the zone I describe in my article. But an unwanted kiss? A hint that an employee may also have “erotic” or “ornamental” attributes in addition to her professional skills? There is no reason for any woman to feel degraded by this, unless she herself is insecure about her value as an employee.

By such logic, I would observe that even though I’ve spent my life thinking and writing about foreign policy, nothing I’ve written about foreign policy has ever made as much of a splash as an article I wrote about sex: I would thus be horrified. But I’m not. I get it. Sex sells. It will always sell. I chose to write about this, and now I’m going to go back to writing about foreign policy, because that’s a more important use of my time.

I do not feel horrified at the discovery that I can become very popular, very quickly, by writing about sex. I don’t think this entails I am only valuable to my readers when I write about sex. I think it entails that as always, sex is on everyone’s mind. And if I can use this fact to direct people’s attention to more important concerns — like Europe and the future of NATO — that’s a bonus, not an insult.

It’s not just men who are afraid. I’ve received many letters from women, too, who are deeply worried about what this will mean for us. They agree with me. The backlash will be terrible for women as a professional class. Any woman with an ounce of sense can see where this inevitably leads: strict sexual segregation. The number of men who have written to me that they now refuse to be alone with a woman unless there are witnesses is chilling. This is a Puritan, reactionary movement, dressed up as feminism.

To be clear, I was unnerved by all the attention that article received, even though it was overwhelmingly positive. But I was unnerved because of what it says about America right now, not because of what it says about me. It doesn’t seem healthy that Americans are thinking so much about this. I’m still at the top of The American Interest’s “trending” list. My article is sitting next to Adam Garfinkle’s reflections on the significance of the US recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He is a wonderful, deeply learned writer. Anything he has to say about Jerusalem is by definition more important than anything I have to say about sexual hysteria and moral panics. But readers are clicking on my article instead of his.

I appreciate that sex sells, but since when does Jerusalem fail to sell? What does this mean about the degree to which we’ve become insular and inward-dwelling?

I’d usually complain that far too much media attention was going toward Jerusalem–as opposed to all the other parts of the world that require attention. Yet it seems to me aberrant that Americans who read The American Interest, which is, after all, a foreign policy journal, would not first click on Adam’s article. His is a lot more important, in the big scheme of things.

Or maybe, as I wrote to Adam, “it’s for the better that the world is so busy being obsessed with sex that it forgets to be obsessed with Jews.”

Anyway, that’s all I want to say about this subject. I’m now going to go back to thinking about Europe and the future of liberal democracy.

Finis.

There are 93 comments.

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  1. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    “When something connects with readers this much, it says something about the audience, not the writer.”

    And the subject-matter — and the eloquence with which the writer presented that subject-matter.

    • #1
  2. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Turning every woman in the west into a randomly timed grenade wandering around society without a warning sign generally threatens the ability of daily life to happen.  Jewish identity politics is so far down the priority stack for most people after that, that its a blip on the radar.

    I have been the victim of a false sexual harassment claim by a floundering employee who knew that they were going to get fired, and were desperately trying to pay their rent.

    societies have a hierarchy of needs as well, and this kind of stuff just throws it into a pan of acid and the stack starts to dissolve from the bottom up.

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    You were writing about what has become the most profound of foreign policies.

    I said “that’s a nice dress.” I did not say “take it off.” I did not say “I want to wear one just like it.”

    I have begun to understand why Victorian gentlemen retired after dinner for cigars and brandy without the ladies present. They weren’t discussing things they didn’t want the womenfolk to hear. They were depressurizing.

    • #3
  4. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    Normal heterosexual behavior is being marginalized  and criminalized.  It’s a symptom if a society which has begun its decline.  Once upon the slope, decline naturally accelerates of its own momentum.

    You’d like to brake that bus, or get off–so would I.  But it seems all we can do is commiserate with those of our fellow passengers  who have also seen the looming abyss.

    Why do we have two genders?

    Because that’s how our species is perpetuated.

    Each and every one of us is a product of heterosexual desire, or at least, of the drive to reproduce.

    To villify that is to become a doomsday cult.  Like the  Cathars,  the Shakers. I don’t want to believe it, but I’m afraid we can’t come back from this.

    But in some corner of the world, a new fertility cult religion is nascent, I have to believe that.  It will grow and grow, the children raised within its ancient creed, the  most ancient reverence: veneration  of the life force, will  repopulate the globe.  And it will all start over, the trajectory.

    • #4
  5. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Stage 1: Trump is elected president.

    • #5
  6. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    The last moral panic involved Satan worshippers in the nation’s day care centers in the 1980s.  What are the similarities between then and now?

    • #6
  7. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    Zafar (View Comment):
    The last moral panic involved Satan worshippers in the nation’s day care centers in the 1980s. What are the similarities between then and now?

    That  was, literally, a witch hunt! But I don’t think it was as widespread as the current hysteria over  heterosexuality.

    it was worse in the U.K. than here, wasn’t it? I think it was the Orkney Islands where children were summarily snatched out of their beds to save them from the imaginary Satanists,  and some of them did not get home for years.

    One similarity, though, was an overwrought, unreasoning insistence on “believing the victims”, even though, in the Satanic-cult situation, they were children who, under the stress and boredom of intense questioning, made up clearly fabulous stories.  I remember one kid who claimed the accused SundaySchool teacher had brought a big dead elephant into the classroom adjoining the sanctuary! Instead of offering the kid some juice and sending him back to the sandbox, the adult interlocutors solemnly and seriously struggled to incorporate this into their preconceived narrative, in accordance with their sacred creed, “We believe children!”

    Well–like in Salem (a minor and short-lived incident probably caused by ergot madness)  this is what a special tribunal always does.  It has to find evidence of the offense it was convened to investigate, in order to justify its existence.

    • #7
  8. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    I’m not sure Trump is the cause, though I’d be willing to bet that the issue of powerful men abusing women was brought front-and-center to the public mind by a Clinton-Trump campaign, and under circumstances likely to intensify feelings of cognitive dissonance. After all, either way we were going to have a masher/accused rapist living in the White House. The difference is that Trump’s presence there brought out crowds of women in pink hats focusing attention on and  raising awareness about sexual abuse.

    I read somewhere that all the campaigns for ‘raising awareness’ about breast cancer served mainly to make women paranoid about breast cancer without reducing its incidence one iota.  One could argue that #BLM’s campaigns have served primarily to make black people paranoid about police officers; the incidence of officer-involved shootings has been steadily declining for decades even as black activists and pliant pundits have described it as epidemic.

    After the child-sex-abuse panic of the late 80’s, rules were created to prevent rare behavior that had been presented as rampant. So my 70 year old neighbor, a grandmother who volunteers at the elementary school helping little kids with their reading, is not allowed to touch them nor let them sit on her lap or close to her on a sofa. When the children, disappointed, ask why, she has been trained to say “because it’s not safe.”

    So yes. The present hoo-hah will eventually die down, but women will be poorer for it,  just as little kids and poor black people have had their lives impoverished (or in the latter case, lost) by preceding panics.

     

    • #8
  9. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    I’m not sure Trump is the cause, though I’d be willing to bet that the issue of powerful men abusing women was brought front-and-center to the public mind by a Clinton-Trump campaign, and under circumstances likely to intensify feelings of cognitive dissonance. After all, either way we were going to have a masher/accused rapist living in the White House. The difference is that Trump’s presence there brought out crowds of women in pink hats focusing attention on and raising awareness about sexual abuse.

    I read somewhere that all the campaigns for ‘raising awareness’ about breast cancer served mainly to make women paranoid about breast cancer without reducing its incidence one iota. One could argue that #BLM’s campaigns have served primarily to make black people paranoid about police officers; the incidence of officer-involved shootings has been steadily declining for decades even as black activists and pliant pundits have described it as epidemic.

    After the child-sex-abuse panic of the late 80’s, rules were created to prevent rare behavior that had been presented as rampant. So my 70 year old neighbor, a grandmother who volunteers at the elementary school helping little kids with their reading, is not allowed to touch them nor let them sit on her lap or close to her on a sofa. When the children, disappointed, ask why, she has been trained to say “because it’s not safe.”

    So yes. The present hoo-hah will eventually die down, but women will be poorer for it, just as little kids and poor black people have had their lives impoverished (or in the latter case, lost) by preceding panics.

    I have a good friend who always played Santa, growing  out his white beard every September.  No more.  “Because it’s not safe”–for him! 

    • #9
  10. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

     

    Zafar (View Comment):
    The last moral panic involved Satan worshippers in the nation’s day care centers in the 1980s. What are the similarities between then and now?

    I think what’s interesting about this round, Zafar, is that the panic demands the infantilization of women. Women are being described, or even describing themselves as completely powerless in situations where they did/do, in fact, have power and agency. Not, obviously, in the case of rape but certainly in many of the other situations described.

    But to recognize that the women involved  had power and agency means holding the victims/”victims” bystanders and enablers to account as well, a category that included not just Meryl Streep but…Hillary.

    I don’t think this is really about Trump. I think it’s about Hillary-and-Bill. It’s about the responsibility that comes, ineluctably, with power. If women are powerful, women are responsible. If Hillary is smart, knowledgable and powerful enough to be president, she had the power to protect Bill’s victims.  Why didn’t she?

    The fantasy is that women are better and more moral than men. Scratch the surface of “I’m with her” and you’ll find a conviction that it is important to have a woman in the White House because a woman will listen, a woman will care, a woman will nurture, a woman won’t be blinded by toxic masculinity to the sufferings of humanity…

    This is where the cognitive dissonance comes from; that fantasy smacking up against reality. Every single one of the creeps outed in this panic have had female enablers, Hillary chief among them.  pundits on the left are kinda-sorta condemning Bill but they aren’t condemning Hillary. When they do, we will have made progress…but don’t hold your breath.

     

    • #10
  11. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Thank you Claire for what I view as a desperately needed rational response to what has seemed to me to be overwrought nitpicking by some very insecure individuals. Yes, I have also wondered how much of this is politically motivated. But, in attempting to be fair to the women who are publicly describing their “ordeals”, I have had difficulty overcoming what seems like, in many cases, trivial indiscretions. Yes, men can be real stupid idiots. Is that some suddenly newly acquired aberration of the Y chromosome?  I don’t think so. And is a woman wanting to be appealing physically as well as intellectually not to be allowed any longer? I say let’s all just get over it. Rape and attacks are and always have been against the law. A pinch, a pat, a peck…just a nuisance of, sometimes, unwanted boorish behavior. Men have to deal with man to man behavior. Women have to deal with woman to woman behavior. We all have to deal with men to women behavior. Sometimes, in each instance, errors are made. Criminalizing those errors cannot be positive. However, learning how to express one’s unhappiness with someone else’s behavior without having to make it a career ending scandal could be a positive outcome of this current epidemic. We need to just lighten up.

    • #11
  12. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    cdor, I gave a sermon Sunday positing that the erosion of manners not only means men misbehave, but it means we don’t have a vocabulary with which to respond to misbehavior without condemning it as a crime.

    Maybe I’ll post the sermon here?

    • #12
  13. Nick H Coolidge
    Nick H
    @NickH

    Don’t sell yourself short, it’s very well written. Thought provoking too. At first I was troubled by your statement that we shouldn’t hold all men to the same standard, that when some men engaged in crude behavior (that I won’t be able to describe here) it was excusable. But then I realized you are holding them to a standard: honesty. If a man is honest about being kind of a creep towards women, then we shouldn’t be shocked when he acts that way. I’m not sure I agree with that completely but I can see your point. That part aside, I wholeheartedly endorse the article. It’s definitely something that needed to be said, and in the current environment it’s something that men can’t say themselves.

    • #13
  14. Doctor Bass Monkey Inactive
    Doctor Bass Monkey
    @WhiskeySam

    No one ever said the death throes of western culture would be pretty.

    • #14
  15. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Brava!  I pray that fever-pitch has, indeed, passed; I fear it’s not likely until our relationships are sterile heaps of ash…

    • #15
  16. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    The best way to handle these people is with humor and scorn.  They are fundamentally unserious people.  The bulk of who cant even change a tire.  The rest are Sans Culottes.  We know how to take care of such people.

    • #16
  17. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    After the last 100 years of experience, we can’t let your flowchart stand without certain amendments. Stage 1 must read “Certain people perform some evil or anti-social act or are only accused thereof“. Now, we can add a Stage 7. “If the cycle as described starts to run strongly under its own power then those who can control it will take advantage and step it up to a purge. People will be falsely accused intentionally and be destroyed.”

    Gulenists certainly exist in Turkey. However, I don’t think the 10s of thousands of people who have been purged by Erdogan are all actually Gulenists. They just were accused of being Gulenists. Good enough. Many, many people in the Soviet Union weren’t Trotskyites but they became Trotskyites as soon as Stalin accused them of it. Even Hitler wasn’t as precise a murderer as you might think. The Nazis had a concept called “White Jew”. This was a Christian that didn’t want to play the fascist game and needed to be purged.

    Just another day in the neighborhood.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #17
  18. Snirtler Inactive
    Snirtler
    @Snirtler

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    cdor, I gave a sermon Sunday positing that the erosion of manners not only means men misbehave, but it means we don’t have a vocabulary with which to respond to misbehavior without condemning it as a crime.

    Maybe I’ll post the sermon here?

    Yes, please do.

    • #18
  19. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    It seems to me that both feminine and male roles have long been reduced into not just silly caricatures but caricatures that are quite unattractive to the other gender (yes there are only two). I’m starting to think that this entire mess is a construct of some sect of elites that are merely using it as a tool to make us all find each other so repulsive that we stop breeding. Its all about population control and accumulating wealth and power. All the folks behind it are lounging in their estates laughing about it all. They engineered a virus that attacks the mind, body and soul. Once infected, the zombie roams the culture in a empty daze looking for someone with a brain or life-force that they can devour.

    • #19
  20. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    This is all the predictable effluvia of a barbarous age.  In the rush to tear down all traditional mores and niceties in pursuit of Authenticity and Equality, we did not leave any behavioral expectations in place to preserve respectful zones for personhood. Combine that horrible error with a smaller role for family (and fewer, smaller, non-extended families) and women are no longer presumptively a daughter, sister or niece whose mistreatment is not only a serious offense per se but offends others entitled to respect and the community at large.

    It is less about women being put on a pedestal and more about retaining some residual sense of the sacred and of wonder with respect to sex and sexuality.

    Even where sin is concerned, where once upon a time there could be daring romantic adventure in the face of horrific social sanction we now have a whingeing entitlement mentality in which we are constantly besieged with demands to affirm and applaud all manner of sexual misadventure and perversion as a matter of right.  Even the possibility of Forbidden Love is dissolved in the boring tepid acids of politicized social ruin.

     

     

     

     

    • #20
  21. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    This is all the predictable effluvia of a barbarous age. In the rush to tear down all traditional mores and niceties in pursuit of Authenticity and Equality, we did not leave any behavioral expectations in place to preserve respectful zones for personhood. Combine that horrible error with a smaller role for family (and fewer, smaller, non-extended families) and women are no longer presumptively a daughter, sister or niece whose mistreatment is not only a serious offense per se but offends others entitled to respect and the community at large.

    It is less about women being put on a pedestal and more about retaining some residual sense of the sacred and of wonder with respect to sex and sexuality.

    Even where sin is concerned, where once upon a time there could be daring romantic adventure in the face of horrific social sanction we now have a whingeing entitlement mentality in which we are constantly besieged with demands to affirm and applaud all manner of sexual misadventure and perversion as a matter of right. Even the possibility of Forbidden Love is dissolved in the boring tepid acids of politicized social ruin.

    OldB,

    Agreed.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #21
  22. Retail Lawyer Member
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    Foreign Policy is distant and slow moving, while the current moral panic is fast moving and potentially close, and new and amazing.  Will my boss be there tomorrow?  It is very important.

    Why now?  My theory is that it was festering below the surface for decades, while the actual bad behavior was getting worse and spread wider.  And for obvious reasons our liberal institutions thought it was their duty to suppress it. But now that Hillary is no longer viable, the truth can be told, with a vengeance!

    I read your article when it came out.  Excellent!  I have ever since been pondering the super powers you have recently acquired.  Use them wisely.

    • #22
  23. Dominique Prynne Member
    Dominique Prynne
    @DominiquePrynne

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    the panic demands the infantilization of women. Women are being described, or even describing themselves as completely powerless in situations where they did/do, in fact, have power and agency.

    Yes! Yes! A 1000x Yes!  This is what feminism has wrought?  You’ve come a long way baby, right back around to the starting point!  Toughen up, buttercups!

    Women should pre-plan an escalating smack down for untoward and unwanted attentions….you can start with “Bob, I’m flattered by your attention/interest etc, but I strictly do not mix my social and professional life.  Now where were we on this project?”  (This is the Scarlett O’Hara defensive  move)

    Next, go to…”I’m really surprised by your <comment/suggestion/action>, I’ve always had such respect for you and your wife and family…I’m sure the stress is just getting to you…Now, where were we on this project?”  This brings up the family, strokes the male ego with your “respect” and gives the cad an out to save face…while maintaining your non-threatening position so you don’t get shunned and fired immediately, which gives you time to plot your next move.

    Next go to… the Mom-means-business-voice:  “Bob, your comments/actions are inappropriate and I will not tolerate such…if you would like me to continue to work/stay in my good graces, your will cut it out immediately!  <Get agreement and assurance the action will stop> Now, where were we on this project?”

    Finally, (in the case of ridiculous persistence or unwelcomed physical contact):  “Bob, if you touch me again, I will defend myself and you will have a hard time explaining the slap imprint and fingernail scratches on your face.  Capiche?”   – The “Godfather” defense.

    I have deployed all these and with 100% success.  We moved on and got on with the project and no damage done…to me or to my clumsy/lecherous work colleague.  I would guess that the vast majority of workplace harassment could be handled with the above suggestions or similar.  Now, if it’s Harvey Weinstein rape-rape…that is a totally different deal.  But, I believe that few men are rapists or instruments of sexual assault.

    Ladies, if you need #metoo to fight your battles… you should stay home, join the nunnery or adopt middle eastern practices of only traveling with a male relative.

    • #23
  24. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Dominique Prynne (View Comment):
    Women should pre-plan an escalating smack down for untoward and unwanted attentions….

    While I heartily agree with this, I would point out that, as things currently stand, many young women are expected to learn this through experience – that is, they only learn to defend their innocence after they have lost it, which is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs, at least if conservatives still value innocence as much as they’ve said they value it in the past.

    The genuinely innocent are most at risk of not recognizing a sexual advance until it is too late, unless they are explicitly taught about such things beforehand. After all, continual defensive awareness of the sexual subtext of every situation is more difficult when you’re not really aware of sex to begin with. That some conservative women were apparently more sexually precocious in youth shouldn’t make it a duty for all to be.

    • #24
  25. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    This is all the predictable effluvia of a barbarous age. In the rush to tear down all traditional mores and niceties in pursuit of Authenticity and Equality, we did not leave any behavioral expectations in place to preserve respectful zones for personhood. Combine that horrible error with a smaller role for family (and fewer, smaller, non-extended families) and women are no longer presumptively a daughter, sister or niece whose mistreatment is not only a serious offense per se but offends others entitled to respect and the community at large.

    It is less about women being put on a pedestal and more about retaining some residual sense of the sacred and of wonder with respect to sex and sexuality.

    Even where sin is concerned, where once upon a time there could be daring romantic adventure in the face of horrific social sanction we now have a whingeing entitlement mentality in which we are constantly besieged with demands to affirm and applaud all manner of sexual misadventure and perversion as a matter of right. Even the possibility of Forbidden Love is dissolved in the boring tepid acids of politicized social ruin.

    Yes sir. That was outstanding.

    • #25
  26. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Dominique Prynne (View Comment):
    join the nunnery

    These shrieking, shrinking violets wouldn’t last a minute amongst the nuns/sisters of my acquaintance; they’re not psychologically, emotionally, or spiritually fit enough…

    • #26
  27. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Dominique Prynne (View Comment):
    Women should pre-plan an escalating smack down for untoward and unwanted attentions….

    While I heartily agree with this, I would point out that, as things currently stand, many young women are expected to learn this through experience – that is, they only learn to defend their innocence after they have lost it, which is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs, at least if conservatives still value innocence as much as they’ve said they value it in the past.

    The genuinely innocent are most at risk of not recognizing a sexual advance until it is too late, unless they are explicitly taught about such things beforehand. After all, continual defensive awareness of the sexual subtext of every situation is more difficult when you’re not really aware of sex to begin with. That some conservative women were apparently more sexually precocious in youth shouldn’t make it a duty for all to be.

    Fiction (especially visual – TV, movies) can be used to provide virtual experience.  Too bad it appears that few with the knowledge and skills have wanted to craft and present tales containing such “useful” elements.

    • #27
  28. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    When a Man is interested in a Woman, he is often unable to see her as her, but projects his ideal on to her. She is God in the sense that the feminine is the ultimate judge of his worth as a man. I think your first letter was spot on about what it feels like, and telling him not to do that with women is to challenge something fundamental. Yes, in order to enter into a relationship we have to abandon the ideal and be with the real woman. Pity we have thrown away all the wisdom of the past that tells us how to do it.

    I recommend Jordan Peterson vids for a lot of this made very clear. Better than how I learned in school for sure.

    • #28
  29. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Well all I know is that the feminists have ruined it for everyone as usual. Men are afraid to tell us we’re beautiful or to ask us out. Which is exactly what the feminists wanted. Phooey.

    I agree with @dominiqueprynne that women should have a plan for the instances when it’s actual harassment and not just a guy being nice to you. I taught my daughter to have a policy, as I call it, have the lines ready to go. We practiced them. There are ways to deflect unwanted attention without making a federal case out of it. These young women today have no idea what we had to put up with before there was such a term as “sexual harassment.” I’ve never seen such a ridiculous display in my life as this recent hysteria.

    I feel sorry for men. Because let’s face it, it’s only “harassment” if you don’t want him. If it comes from someone attractive, we call it “Hey let’s go.”

    • #29
  30. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Percival (View Comment):
    You were writing about what has become the most profound of foreign policies.

    I said “that’s a nice dress.” I did not say “take it off.” I did not say “I want to wear one just like it.”

    I have begun to understand why Victorian gentlemen retired after dinner for cigars and brandy without the ladies present. They weren’t discussing things they didn’t want the womenfolk to hear. They were depressurizing.

    Bring back the cigar and brandy ritual?

    • #30
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