Monday, October 5, 2015

Does Feminism Undermine Women's Careers?

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.


Anonymous said...


"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." You have the word "not" there -- and I'm pretty sure that's not what you mean.

-- Days of Broken Arrows

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you... correction made...

Sam L. said...

When you must operate in a damage-limiting mode, and it has to be a 99.9-100% no-damage mode, then you cannot trust anyone who COULD cause or get you into trouble. Efficiency and effectiveness take nose-dives.

KCFleming said...

Feminism is simply Marxism for gender, and as such it revels in balkanizing the classes.
I don't think they ever wanted equality at all.
They want to rule, but -like most Marxists- they don't have any clue what an endpoint might look like or what they'd do when they got there (some sort of utopia, no doubt), they just know how to upend the current social structure.

But the majority of women thought feminism was indeed about equality, but instead found balkanization, which is both unpleasant and unending, needing constant effort of complaining and fighting your co-workers.

For example, many male MDs no longer perform pelvic exams at all, given the risk a single accusation can have. An extra appointment with a female provider is needed. As a result, women get charged for 2 visits, and there is a delay, given the far fewer women practitioners available.

priss rules said...

The bigger problem is it undermine's men's careers.

Men have a huge disadvantage because life isn't only about jobs and money but about spouse, family, and children.

A woman without a job can be an attractive mate for a man with a job/career, but most women will not even look at a man without a job/career.

So, a woman can fulfill her life as wife and mother without a job, but a man cannot fulfill his without job, especially a good job.

So, treating men and women equally in the work force is a huge disaster for men. As women take more and more of good jobs, it not only means men losing jobs but even losing the opportunity to marry and have kids.
Women don't have that problem cuz men will readily marry women who choose not to work.

priss rules said...

The whole point of feminism-as-practiced-currently isn't so much about men vs women as about making white women hate white men and ally with non-whites.

Theoretically, feminism can be an all-around female war on all men, but in actual practice, feminism is a political ally of multi-culturalism and anti-white-ism.
So, feminism generally makes white women side with non-whites and leftists against 'evil white men'.
In truth of course, white men are the best-behaved in the world. White collge male students are least likely to rape and beat up women.

There are many more cases rape and mistreatment of women in the black, Muslim, and Hispanic community. But if white women were to know this truth, they would grow closer to white men for protection from men of other races.

As feminism is allied with and controlled by anti-white 'leftists', white women and white men growing closer simply won't do. Rather, in order to break the unity of white men and white women, the 'leftists' seek to drive a wedge between white men and white women. And this is done through endless hysteria about how 'privileged white boys' are the biggest threat to white women. So, white women come to feel closer, at least politically and morally, with black men and Muslim men than with white men even though white men are least likely to hurt them.

When the reality isn't there, it is made up, as with the UVA rape hoax cooked up by Sabrina Rubin Ederly and promoted by Rolling Stone mag. Sabrina was never fired despite her horrible breach of journalistic ethics that, btw, stretches back to her time in school. Some people can get away with anything.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

KCFleming is right on. It's a Marxist interpretation with a groupism label. Marxism, in whatever form, is always positioned as the kind, compassionate, right kind of thing to do for the "common good." That's why the "common good" always nosedives under a Marxist regime. First everything sounds great, especially when funding change with other people's money. Then you get rampant inflation and no jobs. And then the regime has to go looking for enemies to redirect the conversation.

Marx had it wrong on labor, and he had it wrong on capital flows in a free enterprise system with minimal government intervention. Government is the source of corruption, not the answer to it. Once the corruption becomes institutionalized, "Peace, bread and land" are not available. They become monopoly interests of the state. So the vaunted people get "War, starvation and confiscation."

The feminists do this all the time. It has nothing whatsoever to do with equality, because it's not equality of opportunity, it's equality of outcomes. That's how equality gets measured by the Left: outcomes. So if everyone isn't getting, living and succeeding the same, there's something wrong. It's a rigged conversation at the outset. Realizing the goal is impossible, which means that more remedy as a remedy will fail. That's why Lefties are always unhappy, always angry, always disappointed, etc. They want to be! It's not about care or compassion... it's about being a victim, inciting victims, and exploiting victims. It's the intellectual rationalization for laziness. Victimhood as a lifestyle. All the remedies are feints. They just yield more problems, more upset, more injustice.

Like Marx said, we'll all be poets. We all know how well poets do.

Utopian ideas require savage means to implement, horrific means to secure, and terrifying means to stay in power, which yields... more evil outcomes.

It's all based on the ideal that the serpent brought to the conversation in the Garden of Eden: "You can get something for nothing." It never works out that way, does it?

Stuart Schneiderman said...

The connection of modern feminism with Marxism comes to us from no less a Marxist than Friedrich Engels who laid it all out in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.

priss rules said...

"Feminism is simply Marxism for gender, and as such it revels in balkanizing the classes."

Feminism is controlled by ideologues in colleges and by executives in the business world. The ideologues may indulge in some leftist Marxist talk, but successful women in business want more money and privilege. What they mean by 'equality' is they want to be equal with the richest men. They are fully satisfied with being unequally richer and more privileged than the 99% of men and women.