Regardless of whether Hillary Clinton did or did not beat her husband, regardless of whether Clarence Thomas did or did not sexually harass Anita Hill, regardless of whether a quarter of college women have or have not been raped… our culture is being overwhelmed by a narrative in which men are branded as potential or actual threats to women.
The narrative overwhelms all rational consideration of what happens between the sexes, and has had a notably negative effect on behavior. Women might feel constantly threatened by men or they might believe that they can get away with acting recklessly. Men are being threatened with public denunciation, the kind that ruin their lives. Call it a permanent guilt trip, but this is one new face of female empowerment.
In the case of campus rape accusations, the men who are accused have now, thanks to the Obama education department, been deprived of due process. They are presumed guilty and are punished severely, even when proved innocent.
In some quarters unwanted touching is now taken to be equivalent to rape, and the actions of two drunk college students are taken to be solely the responsibility of the male.
Thus, feminism has created a hostile cultural environment that sees men constantly threatening women. Men and women are now in a permanent struggle. They can no longer cooperate. They can no longer help each other. They are sworn enemies. Women can exercise their power by accusing men of crimes, real and not-so-real.
To the feminist mind, women are fighting back and settling the score for years of sexist oppression. To the male mind, women are a threat. Possibilities for cooperative enterprise vanish in the storm of outraged rants.
Nothing very good is going to come of this. Nothing very good for men or for women, that is.
When all workplace interactions between men and women contain the potential for a lawsuit, to say nothing of a criminal prosecution, it becomes too risky for a man to develop a good working relationship with a woman.
The Daily Telegraph reports on Kim Elsesser’s new book, Sex and the Office:
A new book claims that male office workers are now so afraid of being on the receiving end of a sexual harassment case, they are reluctant to mentor, assist, befriend and even hold open doors for female colleagues.
Crushingly, Sex & The Office suggests men now view such ordinary, decent behaviours as “too risky” – and, in what will be a bitter irony for equality campaigners – claims that, as a direct consequence, women are now failing to advance at work.
This terror of being accused of sexual harassment is now so common it has its own term, “backlash stress”. It sounds like something straight out of a Claims Direct ad – where the only victims are men.
The book’s author, Kim Elsesser, a research scholar at the University of California, argues that a “sex partition” has sprung up, which impedes women from building the vital network of contacts both within the workplace and socially.
Effectively, the risk/reward ratio for a man mentoring a young woman has swung so far against the man that he will have no good reason to take the risk. Today, in our political correct age, most men do not even know what may or may not be taken the wrong way. They do not know what they should or should not say. They do not know what may be the occasion for a career-ending and marriage-ending complaint.
It’s all about threats and punishments. The Telegraph continues:
Tellingly, Elsesser adds that companies themselves are contributing to this mess, as they are now so terrified of legal action they send staff on sexual harassment training courses, and are duty-bound to follow up on any allegation, however minor.
Ludicrously, Elsesser cites examples of men who have been dragged in by their HR departments for simply opening a door for a female colleague or complimenting her on a new suit. “Stories like these spread around workplaces, instilling a fear that innocent remarks will be misinterpreted,” she says.
Call it another instance of the law of unintended consequences. The feminist effort to remove the consciousness of sex differences has seriously backfired. Feminists believed that by removing all instances of explicit or implicit sexual harassment they could create a gender neutral workplace where everyone would be judged by his or her or its abilities.
The Telegraph continues:
Above all, Sex & The Office is proof, if any were needed, that The Great Workplace Equality Project has spectacularly backfired. Who, precisely, wins if men are terrified of lawsuits and women are falling behind as a consequence?
In this toxic, paranoid environment, women will never be trusted as advisers. They will be frozen out of networks – or, increasingly, create their own women-only networks, which on the surface promise advancement yet deep down increase gender separatism. Would the single-sex workplaces of the 1940s be safer for all?
This is the bed Third Wave feminism has made. Now we all have to lie in it: wide-awake, hearts racing, eyes wide open, waiting for the lawyers to come hammering at our doors.
Empowered women are not using their power to advance up the corporate hierarchy. They are using it to threaten and intimidate their male bosses. As a consequence their presence is not going to be welcomed, especially in the informal moments where office gossip is shared and where networking takes place. And one might add how much they can really contribute to an enterprise if they have hair-trigger sensitivity to compliments and slights.
Reviewing Elsesser’s book for Elle, Lisa Chase explains the problem:
Friendship is the lube of on-the-job networking; friends share gossip or valuable insights about the boss. The more social support you get, the more productive and creative you are, she writes. More men in your network equals more money in your paycheck.
And then there is an obvious point, one that is so obvious that everyone fails to notice it. Elsesser explains that when men and women are thrown together for long periods of time they are likely to develop an attraction to each other:
So women don't get the intimate, informal access to power, and they get stuck. Another problem, Elsesser points out, is human nature. She introduces data that shows how hard it is for people who spend a lot of time together at work not to be attracted to each other, something called the "mere exposure effect."
It’s human nature. It’s not a social construct that can be legislated out of existence.