Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Feminism's Stealth Misogyny

It was going to be therapeutic. It was going to enhance awareness and raise consciousness. And naturally, once everyone became more conscious of the problem of workplace harassment, men and women would get along so much better.

If you believed that, you will believe anything.

And now, beyond the new consciousness of sexual harassment came the punishments. Dread, dire, Draconian punishments were visited on men. Not only on the men who behaved appallingly, who harassed and assaulted women at work, but men who had made seemingly innocent jokes, the kind that guys might share at the sports bar.

To be more explicit, if she says that you hurt her feelings, do not ask her to show you where it hurts!

So a man’s career would blow up in his face, but he would not be the only one suffering. His wife, his family would also suffer the indignity of public shaming, and also the possibility of impoverishment-- all because some junior assistant subordinate did not like the way a man looked at her-- fill in the blank.

So, the word went out from suburban precincts to Park Avenue enclaves. Wives told their corporate executive husbands to never, ever mentor a woman. If I ever hear of you taking a trip with a female subordinate, I will divorce you, take the children and everything else you have.

Sisterhood is powerful, and, funnily enough, more than a few women decided that having their husbands work with women was simply not worth the risk. For some reason, the gender neutered workplace was not very high on their wish list.

So, the ultimate victims of #MeToo were women, professional women, women who could have earned their way if only they had been treated well. Yet, for many men, it was simply not worth the risk.

You can be fairly confident that feminism, with its clumsy efforts to beat down men, to punish them for being men, will end up hurting women. Didn’t you know that feminism was stealth misogyny?

Anyway, Maria Chaplia explains the problem cogently in the Independent Women’s Forum.

She opens thusly: 

Recently, I asked a male friend who runs a small business if he is likely to hire a woman in the near future. To my surprise, he answered a quiet “no” due to a fear of getting MeToo’ed. He is not alone. It’s been estimated that approximately 20% of men are reluctant to hire women and an incredible 60% are uncomfortable mentoring women.

For the first time since women joined the workforce, the personal hurdles of sharing office space with men are now widely and openly discussed: from media and politicians to CEOs. However, instead of the anticipated empowerment, #MeToo has brought fear to the workplace to the detriment of the very group it sought to help: women.

So, women in the workforce became stronger and more empowered. And yet, they did not owe their strength to their accomplishments, to their having built something, but to having become radioactive. Do not touch! Do not get too close! Danger ahead, or, should I say, behind! 

Dare we mention it, but true strength does not lie in the ability to hurt people, to threaten people.

Men are increasingly afraid of accidentally doing something that women might deem inappropriate in the workplace: a wrong word, a wrong look, an unwanted hug, or virtually anything. 

Note well, it’s not only intentional harassment or assault. An accidental gesture can destroy a career.

So, thanks to #MeToo men have learned to avoid women, not to take meetings with them, not to lunch with them, not to travel with them. Obviously, this limits women’s career opportunities.

According to a 2018 online survey, when considering a one-to-one meeting, senior-level managers in the U.S. are 12 times more likely to avoid women, and a staggering 36% of men avoid any work-related interactions with women. Since the launch of #MeToo, women’s career opportunities have plummeted most dramatically in fields traditionally dominated by men, such as academia. The number of academic projects started by women since 2017 has dropped by almost 50%, according to a 2022 Yale study.

Again, thanks to #MeToo the risks in mentoring women are now too high. Keep in mind, businessmen perform cost-benefit risk analysis. Is it worth the risk of trying to mentor a woman? And, even if the interaction is perfectly innocent, this does not necessarily tamp down the gossip mill.

If women are constantly dismissed by their male supervisors, they don’t get valuable career advice and hence cannot grow personally or professionally. Not having a one-to-one meeting with a supervisor means that women don’t get a chance to present their achievements or discuss pay rise too. The greatest irony is that women are denied these opportunities because of their gender.

And, of course, as happens with minority staff, senior executives have learned that it is risky to criticize performance of anyone who belongs to a victim group:

But with #MeToo, it’s up to chance: is my male supervisor not nervous enough about my gender to give me honest feedback?

As more and more women face the unintended consequences of #MeToo, the backlash will necessarily come. And when it does, we should focus on building cooperation between both sexes based on merit and respect, instead of fear. Let’s hope that sexual harassment will be extremely rare by that time too.

Thus, the best laid plans often go awry, assuming that you do not read too much into the word “laid.”


Anonymous said...

"The greatest irony is that women are denied these opportunities because of their gender"

No. Women are denied these opportunities because of their behavior.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has spent years in the workforce knows this applies to blacks for essentially the same reasons.

370H55V I/me/mine said...

It's not stealthy. It's been out in the open for years. How much longer will men put up with it?

Anonymous said...

Women are denied these opportunities because of their gender, based on the behavior of some of the gender.

Anonymous said...

It appears that women have what men have done: ie: Have shot themselves in the foot (with a .45 pistol).