Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How #MeToo Hurts Women

Once upon a time Wall Street was decidedly inhospitable to women. At a time when trading floors were oozing testosterone men seemed to believe that women would ruin the mood. They thought that they needed to max our their the manly aggressiveness in order to succeed in trading. Surely, they did not want to get in closer touch with their feminine side. Or so they thought. Michael Lewis wrote a book called Liar’s Poker where the power players were called “big swinging dicks.”

Evidently, men who suffer a testosterone rush are unlikely to behave in the most gentlemanly fashion toward women.

More than a few horror stories have emerged from those testosterone filled swamps. And yet, the large financial firms have made progress, if not in hiring women, if not in promoting women, at least in not harassing women. At a time when much of the actual trading is being done by computer programs, the threat of being overexposed to female pheromones seems to have been mitigated.

And yet, Bethany Mclean points out that the #MeToo movement is closing doors for women. It is depriving them of opportunities and causing them to lose mentors and sponsors. What would be more ironic than that this mass cri de coeur would work against women? Somehow or other, Mclean points out, women are often labeled complainers, not simply about untoward gestures or harassing behavior, but for other reasons too. People who complain are quickly diminished, for not being team players. 

What is happening to the reputations of businesswomen when we are regaled, on a weekly basis, by the constant whining and complaining of the sorest of sore losers, the champion of women’s empowerment: Hillary Clinton?

Just a thought.

We had heard rumors about how #MeToo is hurting women. Mclean reports:

“But you can be excluded nonetheless, because some men have a fundamental lack of ability to work with women. That’s the killer part. That’s the experience most women I know have had.”

That exclusion is especially devastating to women’s careers. “Power in an organization is all about information and access,” says Melanie Katzman, a New York psychologist who runs a consulting firm that advises corporations, including big financial firms. “If you can’t speak comfortably with a woman with the door closed, that woman is being cut off from information and access.”

And also,

The politically incorrect, but nonetheless widespread, fear is that #MeToo is going to make more subtle forms of discrimination even worse. Even before #MeToo, Sherry wrote in her Times op-ed, she was told by banks’ H.R. departments that men were often afraid of hiring women because of the risk that even innocent comments could be misinterpreted and cause legal problems. “More than once I was told that it’s just easier to fire a guy or—my favorite line—that ‘there’s just less drama with men,’ ” she wrote.

Again, it’s getting worse. Why take the risk of losing your career and your livelihood:

There’s anecdotal evidence that this problem is getting worse. Katzman says she’s hearing stories from men who are “really nervous about being alone with women.” One client told her he wasn’t taking a female colleague on a business trip, because he feared that if he fell asleep on the plane his behavior might be misinterpreted. “I’m very concerned,” Katzman says, “that under the guise of protection we may be legitimizing the marginalization of women.”

She adds, “Some well-intentioned men undermine women by protecting them and sometimes men use ‘protection’ to intentionally undermine women. Women have worked so hard in areas like trading and finance to say, ‘I’m not brittle!’ This is a return to the old concept of women as fragile.”

The evidence is piling up:

“We have heard anecdotally that there is a chilling effect and that men are pulling back from sponsoring women,” says Stellings. She heard that one company made a rule that men and women could not meet behind closed doors in the office. “That is the current environment,” she says. “Most people think that is ridiculous, but there are some people who feel like the lines are not as clear now.” Stellings says she had a conversation with a senior woman executive, whose male colleague told her, “Well, I’m just not going to take women associates out to lunch now.” The woman replied, “I assume, then, that you won’t take the men out, either.”

One might stop for a moment and examine the retort at the end of the last paragraph. The woman thinks she is clever. She thinks she is being a good social justice warrior. Yet, she comes across as impudent, and as more involved with the pursuit of gender equity than with what is good for the company. Does that make her someone you would want to work with?

Could it be that feminism is more the problem as the solution?


Sam L. said...

Feminism is a solution; a highly acidic solution. It eats holes in trust.

Anonymous said...

One only has to read the article to see why men might not trust women. Just the last remark itself tells one more about an attitude that men are the problem according to women. The article just screams MEN ARE THE PROBLEM. Given the current environment and listening to "#ME TOO" women and their seeming joy at seeing men destroyed is enough to have men take action to protect themselves. It literarily drips of a coy misandry.

Jack Fisher said...

I can't take anymoar of this seriously. It's a tossup over who bitches more, libtards or conservatives.

Anonymous said...

I am just confirming that this is a real phenom. My 2 sons are mid thirties and are both at the director level in their companies. They confirm to me that they are now super sensitive to interactions with females in the workplace and will not spend any time alone with women at work if at all possible. Their male co-workers and friends at similar middle management levels are all very very aware of the #metoo trap and take scrupulous precautions. The girls just managed to include themselves OUT of the boy's club in a big way.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting the number of people who cannot and will not see the damage this does to both males and females at every level. Trust is one of the most important attributes one can share with another individual. When that trust is broken it affects every aspect of life. This is especially dangerous in business and in our personal relationships.
I suspect one only has to come close to being "burnt" by this sort of thing to understand that one unfortunately chosen word can ruin one's career to understand.
There is this concept call "espirit de corp" that underpin every highly functioning organization. Anything that lessens that can and will be a disaster waiting to happen and in many cases this can lead to the death of team members and the unit itself. Unit here is defined by its global implications as well. To discount the importance of this is to underestimate its affect on how every thing works.

Ares Olympus said...

This article suggests the feminist solution, that we need more women in positions of power, although the article at the end with a woman's fantasy power as revenge, and you have to wonder if reality isn't quite as simple as her righteous narrative makes it.

The reality of power often is simply self-control, the ability provoke someone else by disrespectful words until they act badly, and then your conscience is free to treat them like trash for their weakness in falling for your expert bait.
Several weeks ago, Renee LaChance, a general contractor in Portland, Ore., was discussing a renovation with a male electrician when he unleashed a stream of explicit comments about her breasts.

“Haven’t you been paying attention?” she asked him, flabbergasted that all the recent news about harassment had not deterred him.

Her solution was simple. “I’m the person in power in the relationship,” she said. “I fired him on the spot.”