The alarms are going off at Mind Control Central. As the news hits their screens the little mind controllers are scurrying around, plaintively asking each other: Oh, woe is us? What can we do? What can we do?
They are, as always, at a loss.
But they cannot escape the news. They have taken solemn vows, they have sworn on the latest book by Anita Hill, to end sexual harassment in the workplace. Like good little mind controllers they know, better than you do, that the way to do it is through sensitivity training. Teach men not to rape… tell them that rape is bad… there, that will do it.
Because the problem with sexual harassment is that men do not know it is wrong and that they do not know how much damage a woman can do if she accuses them of having committed such a grave sin.
After all, their colleagues in Scandinavian countries, having subjected their young women to an increased threat of rape, are now proposing to teach the young Muslims they have allowed into their country—the better to prove how tolerant they are—that rape is not a good thing to do. How is that one working out?
In America’s Mind Control Central, the news on the screens has set off alarms. It is not good. It’s not as though sensitivity training does not work… in the sense that it does not diminish sexual harassment. The most alarming news, the news that has set off the buzzers on their desktops, is that sensitivity training makes sexual harassment worse.
Who would have imagined such a thing? Too much sensitization tends to desensitize people. The more you make something appear to be happening everywhere the more people think that it’s the norm. Besides, when you talk up all the different ways you can sexually harass someone, you inevitably give people ideas. And if you have a choice between submission to the mini-mind controllers and defiance... which would you choose?
The Guardian has the story:
One Journal of Applied Behavioral Science study that evaluated a sexual harassment program for university employees found that men who participated in the training were “significantly less likely” to consider coercive behaviors toward a subordinate or student as sexual harassment compared with a control group of men who hadn’t done the training.
Men who completed the 30-minute training – during which officials discussed actions that constitute harassment, the harms of harassment, the importance of reporting and possible discipline – were also significantly less likely to report harassment.
The men’s surprising responses may have been an “effort at self-preservation intended to defend and protect against a perceived attack on them”, the authors wrote.
In other words, the training appears to make some men feel threatened and afraid that they will be subject to false accusations, said Shereen Bingham, co-author of the study and professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha school of communication. As a result, they may respond in a defensive manner.
“We were surprised … it certainly appears to be irrational,” said Bingham. “The only explanation can be psychological or emotional.”
The little mind controllers are beside themselves. Who would have thought that when men are informed about the difference between the sexes they are more likely to be more aware of the difference between the sexes?
To be fair, sexual harassment sensitivity training is not just about the difference between the sexes. It’s about imposing a narrative in which men are predators and women are victims. Over at Mind Control Central, no one can imagine why men might push back at this designation.
The Guardian continues with the bad news:
Other studies have shown that when workplaces actively inform men of sexual harassment policies, it can also have unintended negative effects. A study published in the Social Psychology Quarterly found that after men learned about harassment rules, it triggered implicit gender biases, effectively making it more likely for them to stereotype women.
“The purpose of sexual harassment policy is to make men and women more equal in the workplace,” said Justine Tinkler, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Georgia and co-author of the study. “If the policies are sort of activating gender stereotypes rather than challenging them, they may not be promoting that broader goal.”
Tinkler has also studied how sexual harassment trainings can provoke backlash and how people who say they support harassment laws are resistant to the enforcement of those policies. Trainings can also reinforce men’s feelings that women are “emotional and duplicitous in the way that they both want sexual attention, but don’t want sexual harassment”, she explained.
How would you like to be named: Tinkler?
But, I digress.
The mini-minds at Mind Control Central are puzzled. How can this be happening? Having the best intentions they are producing the worst results. Filled with righteous fury at sexual harassment and at how badly it is inhibiting women from achieving their full potential, these mini-minds do not get how their best laid plans are producing just the result that they do not want to produce.
Naturally, we can conjure up a series of possible explanations. Anything to edify the mini-minds at Mind Control Central.
Consider this: young men today have been subjected to moral harassment from the minute they started attending school. They have been demeaned and diminished, taught that their masculine tendencies are criminal, downgraded and silenced in class, and told that women are better than they are at everything that matters.
If you imagined that there would never be any blowback you should apply for a job at Mind Control Central.
This might well provoke male solidarity: members of an oppressed class band together to defend themselves. This means that they will be less likely to report instances of sexual harassment, no matter how clear. After all, who wants to be a snitch? Who wants to suck up to the matriarchy? Any man who does so will immediately lose his man card and become a male feminist. The indignity would be unbearable.
Next, consider the fact that the victim-based narrative imposed by the sexual harassment training squad sees women as perfectly innocent creatures that would never send out any signals of sexual attraction or interest. Since most young women in business are unmarried, they are available. And they tend, consciously or unconsciously, to signal their availability. Since many of them will happily date men whom they work with, how’s a young man to know whether the signals he is receiving are or are not for real.
At times, women do not even know that they are flirting or are spraying pheromones around the office. Hint, the longer a woman’s hair the more pheromones she will be spraying. Given that young men are generally doltish when it comes to reading such signals, no one should be surprised to find that they misunderstand.
We all know that in some cases sexual harassment does exist. We all know that in some cases women are entirely clear about their disinterest and suffer abusive behavior from men. But, that is not what the studies are testing, so we will leave that issue to the side and to the lawyers.
To confuse matters more, women insist that they want to be treated just like the boys. Some of them can curse like drunken sailors; some swagger around like linebackers. Yet, when someone uses foul language in their presence their knickers get into a twist. What’s a guy to do?
And finally, we raise two points rarely noted by those who are trying to wrap their mini-minds around this issue.
Most men understand that as a business or a profession has more women in it, it, and they, will lose status and prestige, to say nothing of income. Once a business or profession becomes identified as a woman’s, the men who are in it will suffer and new men will avoid it. The reason, of course, is that when a job loses status and prestige women will not want to marry the men who have it.
And, at last, alas, if men and women compete in the workplace, if they compete for titles, for promotions, for responsibilities, for salary and for bonuses… are you really surprised that men, and even women engage in some subtle and not-so-subtle forms of psychological warfare?