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Will misconduct scandals make men wary of women at work?

48 Comments
By JENNIFER PELTZ

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Tough call. The difference between how I wish it was and reality is increasingly difficult to reconcile.

I want to say that men who don't do anything wrong have nothing to worry about. Also, I can't stand hypersensitivity about words and think everyone should just chillax and get along. But these days where any verbal mishap, inadvertent or not, can turn into a career-ending issue, coupled with the few but significant crazy men AND women (both predatory and hyper-sensitive) I've had the displeasure to meet over the years, I'm not so sure what to think.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

It will now have to include sexual harassment for LGBTQ too..you wanted fairness here it comes now...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

"If I were unwilling to have an individual conversation with you because of your gender, I'm communicating 'you're unreliable; you're a risk,'" says Johnson, a U.S. Naval Academy psychology professor.

Sadly THIS is where the new realities ARE heading, and not just at the office but also in social areas of live and marriage.

If I were a young man back where i am from the would NEVER get married, the risks for men getting married are huge, the odds are highly stacked against a successful long marriage MEANING, men will lose their wives, kids & assets at over a 50% chance as of NOW, its insane.

I have ZERO issues when it comes to spouses who abuse the other spouse, BUT this has come to exclude women, only men can abuse etc,

If a man really doesn't understand the difference between asking, "How was your weekend?" vs. "How much sex did you have on the weekend, har hat har?" then he had better get help, because he has been very poorly socialised and may need psychological help in fixing it. I've had it up to HERE listening to these wild imaginings about impossible scenarios where men say something totally innocuous like "How was your weekend" and go to jail for it.

GIT,

If only it WERE that simple, it was in the past, but no longer! I will back NO ONE who is abusive, power tripping etc over another, period!

But a great deal of conversations between people these days it all depends on HOW the message is RECEIVED. An obnoxious message is just THAT obnoxious. But the reality is just asking someone about the weekend/holiday CAN you someone in deep trouble, while the EXACT same to another person can be perfectly easy & enjoyable.

Given how EASY some these days take immediate OFFENSE it IS making a lot of people, clearly BOTH men & women think twice, three times before opening their mouths.

This is just the current reality, I suspect its going to get worse & people WILL act/avoid accordingly!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Supposedly all this fear is in response to the recent string of sexual harassment claims, but not a single claim in the news recently has been based on a "misinterpreted", "innocent" comment.

Katsu 78,

Incorrect, the recent Weinstein accusations etc have only brightened the light on this now. Even being in Japan rather far from western countries I have noted a distinct change starting, oh I don't know 5-7yrs ago wrt to interactions between men & women, EACH coming up with reasons to limit contact, even outright avoid (rather extreme), but some of the things I have heard I can understand why some people might want to avoid the opposite sex, NOTICE, this isn't just men, women also perhaps to a lesser extent, do similar.

And can I ask a favour, can you at least read my posts & others, we have CLEARLY pointed out we have no time of day for people who assault other people.

The fear men have is real, something closer to home here in Japan, in my early years I rode the trains(over 25yrs ago) in/out of Tokyo(thankfully those days are long gone!), anyway, I ALWAYS made sure both hands were up on the straps poles, reading book etc while riding jam packed sardine cans  to/from work, the last thing I wanted was to be accused of being a chikan, nowadays there sadly seems to be more & more reasons to have to be careful when we are out & about

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Are you saying these are acceptable and normal in the workplace?

At the risk of sounding (c)rude and callous, yes I am, provided ppl involved are ok with it (hence the 'sensitivity' bit in my post).

To give you an example, am with a female colleague at a conference, another woman walks past, my female friend to me: "look at those bo*bs!". Can't tell you the number of times that happened to me. Bottom line is, we were both fine with her comment. As I wrote earlier, imo "one can laugh at (or say) everything but not with everyone". All about discernment i.e the same remark to a new colleague or someone who's more conservative, prudish etc would have been totally inappropriate. Was absolutely fine to someone like me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But in a season of outcry over sexual misconduct, some men are suddenly wondering whether they can compliment a female colleague or ask about her weekend. Even a now-former female adviser to the head of Pennsylvania's Democratic Party suggested on Facebook that men would stop talking to women altogether because of what she portrayed as overblown sexual misconduct claims.

This is a tough one. I’ve already heard men where I work ( a very male-dominated environment ) wondering if it is a good idea to employ more women given this kind of climate. I find this sad in the sense that I’d like to see more women in my industry as a whole, and that women may not be given a job in the first place ( particularly in male-dominated industries ) because of the potential hassle it can cause.

What we don’t need is something like the PC debacle. An idea with some merits gets taken to exasperating extremes by hysterical, offence-seeking nit-pickers and the whole thing ends up becoming ridiculous, creating a very ugly backlash. A quick look at politics can tell us how dangerous that backlash can be.

A sensible way forward which can help cut out the sleaze while not turning the whole thing into fingers-on-blackboard screeching from the offended would be helpful.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Years ago I had a coworker who was accused of sexual harassment over the most benign non-sexual comment which was taken in completely the wrong way and out of context (I was there when he made it). Once the gears of the HR department began to move, there was just no stopping them. The feeling of humiliation and unfairness was so great that he ended up quitting and it basically ruined his life. Prior to this experience, I would have never believed that something so ridiculous and unjust could have happened anywhere, but now I am extremely careful. I think people working at large companies should be very cautious about every interaction.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And since the norm these days is guilty until proven innocent, your entrusting your reputation and career with every woman that you decide to have a private meeting with. Because if she slaps you with a #metoo on facebook after your meeting you're finished. You'll have absolutely no recourse to defend yourself.

Honestly, this thread is an eye-opener to me. I mean I never thought other men 'feared' women so much. Again as someone who's been working for 15-20 years in a female-dominated environment (70/30 to sometimes 90/10), I have never witnessed such pbms and certainly never seen/heard of women falsely accusing men of sexual misconducts in the workplace.

And again, plenty of sexual innuendos, sexist jokes etc along the way (both from men/women to/at men/women) but I guess we all knew what we were saying, to whom etc. Imo it's all about cultural, social & sensitive awareness.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes. I will not interview or hire female staff anymore. Female managers can hire female staff, not male ones. Those who are, I am planning to isolate their desks from the teams and keep the females together in a group. Also, if there is a LGBT person, they will need to sit separate also. All interaction needs to be via email among different genders. Any interaction outside office will be personal responsibility and company will not be liable. All staff have to sign this amendment already. Isolation is essential, because every statement apparently can be used as a harassment. So, no...better to stay apart.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Depends on the work-environment and/or company culture I guess. Have always worked in a female dominated workplace and never witnessed/heard of such issues, I mean ppl, men or women, complaining about so called 'sexual misconduct' (yet plenty of dating, casual or not, crude/sexist jokes - yep women too - etc taking place)

As goes the saying, "you can laugh at everything but not with everyone'. Same with dating/asking someone out etc. All about discernment i.e when, how, who etc.

Companies should institute a minimum 3 person meeting rule, and socializing (fraternizing) with coworkers should be outright banned.

Come on BB, do you really believe that? One on one meetings (man/woman) are and will always be fine. Let's not overreact to an issue that's still very manageable/fixable if we all use a bit of common sense & thoughtfulness.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Have always been wary, especially in Japan. A compliment like 'Your dress looks nice on you' could be misconstrued very easily as sexual harrassment. I have had a woman say those words to me just after I gave her a compliment at work. You are guilty until proved innocent as far as I have seen and even if you are proven innocent, some people still look at you as if you got away with something.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

One can be sure by consulting a psychologist to get treatment for their paranoid delusions. Seriously, this talk about sexual harassment is stemming from men in positions of power explicitly demanding the women under them have sex with them, or exposing themselves to women, or tying workplace success to sexual access. And you're worried about getting in trouble for asking about their weekend? Try to have the most basic sense of perspective about this - it's not all about you.

Katsu78,

Enough with all the shaming tactics already, above one, of many you have posted on this thread, tossing out misogyny etc , you are merely making many of our points VALID, ie people now NEED to be overly watchful of what they say & to whom

0 ( +3 / -3 )

GWToday  01:38 am JST

Katsu78,

you are merely making many of our points VALID,

Pointing out how this misogynistic fear-mongering has no rational support or evidence makes it more valid? That's a pretty strong commitment to irrational anxieties.

It says a lot about the people who spread them that women, the group that makes up 50.8% of the population, are so mysterious to these people that they have to invent mythology to justify their fears of them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This style of argument is getting tired and makes the left... look shrill...

Interesting choice of words. This is text, so there's no possible way to interpret my intonation, so shrill can't be meant literally. But 'shrill' has often been used as a slur against women, particularly women in power, particularly women who assert their rights. Simply because our argument pertains to women, you've used a gendered slur

Yes, you caught me out. The smoking gun is there before all our eyes. The word ‘shrill’. I’m a goose-stepping bigot, a misogynist in a wife-beating shirt, a racist, a homophobic/transphobic/xenophobic/Islamophobic lout who needs a crash course in the use of gender-neutral pronouns.

Keep up the crusade. Draw attention to ‘gendered slurs’ and don’t forget to keep asking the mods to silence anyone who transgresses into brutally oppresive and sexist language.

Pass me the revolver. The left is doomed.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Hey man

I object to the use of the word ‘man’. Who are you to define my gender? Don’t pigeonhole people with your assumptions.

The ‘fears’ I have come from working in a male-dominated environment where people are already talking about the wisdom of employing women in the current climate. What I worry about is what I outlined - this idea being hijacked by the hysterical types. The petty-minded, the childish, the nit-pickers, the types who like to see opposing ideas deleted from view etc.

These people are a real danger.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Katsu78,

Ok if you have time open this link from an MRA's site, lots of links, many are un-related to the specific topic of this thread, but there are many that are, click on a few & read with an open mind, good luck!

https://www.avoiceformen.com/the-facts-about-men-and-boys/

And if you want to learn about men that are trying rather hard to avoid issues with women search MGTOW, not my cup of tea, but I understand some of their reasoning some issues

There is PLENTY of obvious changes happening around us, even in Japan, hell look at how many young Japanese DONT marry, rather huge issue/problem in this country

0 ( +1 / -1 )

GWToday  11:56 am JST

...open this link from an MRA's site... search MGTOW...

ME: I insist that the problem of men being accused of sexual harassment for innocent comments doesn't really exist, and is just a misogynistic, delusional fear. I will maintain this position until someone provides objective evidence that the problem is real.

GW: What about a vague direction to two groups notorious for their misogyny and lack of evidence to support their claims?

facepalm.jpg

Appealing to MGTOW is particularly galling, as this whole issue stinks of their philosophy. A bunch of pathetic sad-sacks consistently fail to form satisfying relationships with women, so instead of exercising the slightest self examination, they just conclude the problem must be every other woman in the world. So to punish woman-kind for failing to recognize their greatness, these losers proclaim they're "going their own way" from the women who already want nothing to do with them.

Kind of like how the guys who consistently get into trouble with women in the workplace just assume the problem must be with all women, and how "you just never know what will set them off", and then to punish them, vow never to hit on them at work again. Yes, well done, you're such an independent maverick. /s

0 ( +1 / -1 )

BBush

Agreed!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If a man really doesn't understand the difference between asking, "How was your weekend?" vs. "How much sex did you have on the weekend, har hat har?" then he had better get help, because he has been very poorly socialised and may need psychological help in fixing it.

I've had it up to HERE listening to these wild imaginings about impossible scenarios where men say something totally innocuous like "How was your weekend" and go to jail for it.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

If your interactions with colleagues causes them to complain about your behaviour then you are doing it wrong. Why penalise others due to your own behaviour? Why look at others as the problem? Employers need to ensure those who lack the ability to interact respectfully with others have training and necessary supervision until they behave with basic decency and civility. If they persist, they should go.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In an era which followed the "free love" orgy of the 60s, throughout my career there were occasional instances in which male persons in power crossed certain lines. Especially when I was in my 20s and my superiors were in their mid-to-late 30s. No criminal lines were crossed, but.

However, at the time I did not set certain boundaries. It was my responsibility to do so even though nothing in my up bringing or experience gave me a skill set to take that responsibility.

I was young, inexperienced and wanted to be thought of as an equal, but clearly, there were people who tried to take advantage of my naivete. I was flattered by the inappropriate attention as I didn't know any better. I unwittingly gave my consent.

Even though it was not appropriate, am I going to start calling out all those men now and accuse them of misconduct? No.

We live and learn, people. Sometimes we learn from harsh mistakes. No point turning the past into the witch hunt of the present. I believe that's what this phenomenon is: a modern day witch hunt.

Frankly it frightens me. Men are being accused and condemned and their lives ruined without due process of law. Some of those men are not guilty of more than an imprudent flirtation, innuendo or misreading another person's receptivity. However, no one has to bear the burden of proof for anything.

This is dangerous. The backlash against women--from those who have the means to hold them down or back or shut them out--has already begun.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

katsu78Dec. 14 10:01 pm JST

roughneckToday  07:48 pm JST

Yes. I will not interview or hire female staff anymore. 

Let's be honest - we can be pretty confident that anyone who makes claims like this anonymously on the Internet was never in a position to interview or hire female staff in the first place.

Not that it is any of your business, but I own the company.

I don't want any trouble. No paranoia of being a victim or being accused. The men in the firm are working fine and productively. I don't need to break that in the name of equal rights with added victimization/false accusation risks.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Pointing out how this misogynistic fear-mongering

Again, the attempt to invalidate an opposing point of view by characterizing your opponents as motivated by hate, fear or prejudice. This style of argument is getting tired and makes the left ( and I see myself as on the left ), look shrill, narrow-minded and incapable of engaging with arguments in a grown-up manner.

Quit being part of the problem.

The problem here is a very real one and smear tactics don’t help anyone.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Women are oppressed and men are evil - that is the end of it, so stop complaining.

More pertinant than the sameness of the rest of this story is

Vice President Mike Pence has long said he doesn't have one-on-one meals with any woman except his wife and wants her by his side anywhere alcohol is served, as part of the couple's commitment to prioritizing their marriage. 

Just thinking that this - regardless of the christianizing and letting Mrs Pence give her 20c worth as she is reported to do, often - could be one conceit for bumping Trump.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

goldorakToday  09:27 am JST

At the risk of sounding (c)rude and callous, yes I am, provided ppl involved are ok with it (hence the 'sensitivity' bit in my post).

I don't think that's crude or callous. The definition of sexual harassment in most jurisdictions doesn't hinge so much on the "sexual" as it does on the "harassment". A comment can only be sexual harassment if it is unwanted.

If everyone involved is okay with each specific comment of a sexual nature (and by involved, I'm counting people who might overhear it, not just the direct participants), then there is nothing wrong with them.

This problem is easily solved by exercising basic empathy. It's sad how much that terrifies so many men in this thread.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Katsu78,

As expected more of the man-shaming tactics, see you still like that M-word LOL!! Guess it was too much to expect an open mind, and thanks for handing all the blame to males, its sadly typical of more & more women who fail to take  responsibility for their actions, quick to blame others.

As I said MGTOW isn't for me but they do, along with MRA's make incredibly poignant observations about male/female relationships & the issues/problems that come up. Slagging them off the way you did is typical female response to thinking that threatens the status quo

But hey, if you want to ignore everything around you your choice

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Burning BushToday  10:54 am JST

"How was your weekend?" 

These days, that seems to be enough for some women to cry foul.

No, it doesn't.

There have been no sexual harassment verdicts based on nothing more than a complaint that the victim was asked nothing more than how their weekend was.

There have been no sexual harassment cases that hinge on nothing more than a victim being asked how their weekend was.

There have been no sexual harassment complaints that hinge on nothing more than someone being asked how their weekend was.

There have been no sexual harassment complaints based on anything equivalent to someone being asked how their weekend was.

There is no evidence or any rational reason to think asking someone how their weekend was will lead to sexual harassment cases in the future.

This is straight-up misogynistic fear-mongering.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Burning BushToday  03:18 pm JST

There have been no sexual harassment verdicts based on nothing more than a complaint that the victim was asked nothing more than how their weekend was.

Really how do you know that?

Because you made the claim. And because as usual you provided zero evidence to support it.

Because for sexual harassment to occur, there has to be an action that is of a sexual nature. "How was your weekend" in and of itself isn't sexual.

Neither one of us can define what sexual harassment is, only the recipient of the comment can define it.

Of course I can define it. Sexual harassment is whatever is defined as sexual harassment by law in the jurisdiction in question. You realize these laws are written down, right? You can go look them up if you wanted to.

So if a woman feels that a "How was your weekend?" comment was out of line,

No woman has ever or will ever feel that "How was your weekend?" in and of itself will be of a sexual nature. No judge would ever rule a defendant in a case where "How was your weekend?" was the only action in the complaint.

And her employer is bound to listen to her complaint and take it seriously.

[CITATION NEEDED]

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

roughneckToday  07:48 pm JST

Yes. I will not interview or hire female staff anymore. 

Let's be honest - we can be pretty confident that anyone who makes claims like this anonymously on the Internet was never in a position to interview or hire female staff in the first place.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Pointing out how this misogynistic fear-mongering has no rational support or evidence makes it more valid? That's a pretty strong commitment to irrational anxieties.

Katsu78,

Your proving my point again! With this ""tossing"" out of the word misogyny.....by YOUR logic I could toss back misandry at you! BUT what does that achieve...... NOTHING, just makes things worse.

Shaming men will NOT bring them round, it IS doing the exact opposite, just so you know!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

JimizoToday  09:56 am JST

Again, the attempt to invalidate an opposing point of view by characterizing your opponents as motivated by hate, fear or prejudice. This style of argument is getting tired and makes the left ( and I see myself as on the left ), look shrill, narrow-minded and incapable of engaging with arguments in a grown-up manner.

At this point in the thread I count 24 comments apart from my own frequent contributions, and not a single one can provide evidence that false/mistaken sexual harassment claims are a problem. The article this is all in response to cannot provide a single piece of evidence that this is a problem either.

Supposedly all this fear is in response to the recent string of sexual harassment claims, but not a single claim in the news recently has been based on a "misinterpreted", "innocent" comment. We're talking about the Weinsteins of the world making women actors perform lesbian sex scenes for their personal enjoyment just to have a chance of advancing their careers, or the O'Reillies of the world masturbating over the phone at their female employees and then firing them when rejected, or the Frankens of the world grabbing women's body parts without their permission, or the Moores of the world groping underage girls and leaving them on dark streets alone when they refuse sexual advances. The stories prompting this fear are anything but ambiguous, yet all you guys who are so deeply angry at me for calling you out are wringing your hands at the danger you'll get into for the most innocent of things.

That is not a rational fear. By definition, fearing a thing you can provide no evidence that you should fear it is an irrational fear.

And now we have people proposing that innocent women be punished for these men's irrational fears. That's misogyny. There is no other way to describe it. If you don't like feeling like you've been called a misogynist, then stop engaging in misogyny. Like for example:

This style of argument is getting tired and makes the left... look shrill...

Interesting choice of words. This is text, so there's no possible way to interpret my intonation, so shrill can't be meant literally. But 'shrill' has often been used as a slur against women, particularly women in power, particularly women who assert their rights. Simply because our argument pertains to women, you've used a gendered slur to attack the side you disagree with, the side you can't provide a single rational reason to argue against.

I'm not part of the problem and I'm not going to apologize for my tone. If your behavior is truly innocent, you have nothing to fear from sexual harassment allegations. If you are afraid of sexual harassment allegations, you must have something to fear. The only way I will take this claim back is if someone provides an evidence-based argument, which we all know no one here is ever going to do.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

GWDec. 15  09:52 pm JST

Even being in Japan rather far from western countries I have noted a distinct change starting, oh I don't know

I ask for evidence, I get vague recollections.

That's because there is no evidence. random groups of men who may or may not even exist who are afraid that women are out to get them doesn't actually mean women are really out to get them.

And can I ask a favour, can you at least read my posts & others, we have CLEARLY pointed out we have no time of day for people who assault other people.

I will believe a person who says they oppose sexual harassment when they demonstrate it with their actions. Anyone who supports the delusional fears on this thread that women are out to destroy men in the workplace for innocent comments is demonstrating the opposite of that.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Burning BushToday  07:39 pm JST

No woman has ever or will ever feel that "How was your weekend?" in and of itself will be of a sexual nature

I certainly hope so, but how can anyone be sure.

One can be sure by consulting a psychologist to get treatment for their paranoid delusions.

Seriously, this talk about sexual harassment is stemming from men in positions of power explicitly demanding the women under them have sex with them, or exposing themselves to women, or tying workplace success to sexual access. And you're worried about getting in trouble for asking about their weekend? Try to have the most basic sense of perspective about this - it's not all about you.

Everything is open to subjective interpretation, context and nuance.

The law is not.

Most certainly, I think we can all agree that complimenting a woman on her clothing or appearance at work is out of the question and totally unprofessional.

If you don't know how to do so in a way that is appropriate, you shouldn't.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Burning BushToday  11:11 am JST

Possibility 3 is terrifying. I don't want to explain myself to an HR panel of my coworkers as to why I asked a coworker for coffee and what kind of innuendo I used when doing so.

If you don't know how to ask a coworker if they would like to join you for coffee without using innuendo, you definitely should not be asking them. Your repeated attempts to undermine the very idea that women are capable of being reliable witnesses to their own abuse is more than enough reason for you to stay away.

The only thing I disagree with is your presumption that every other man must be as bad at talking to women without harassing them as you seem to be afraid that you are.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

JimizoToday  06:42 pm JST

Yes, you caught me out. The smoking gun is there before all our eyes. The word ‘shrill’. I’m a goose-stepping bigot, a misogynist in a wife-beating shirt, a racist, a homophobic/transphobic/xenophobic/Islamophobic lout

Hey man, if you think the best way to prove your fears aren't irrational isn't to provide some evidence to support them, but to instead throw a pity party where you sit around and insult yourself, feel free. I'll go pop some popcorn.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The only men who are worried about being accused of misconduct at work are men who know they have good reason to be accused of misconduct.

This is such a stupidly easy problem to avoid if you genuinely want to avoid it: If she isn't comfortable with it, don't do it. If you don't know if she's uncomfortable with it, don't do it. If you think she's comfortable with it and then see that she isn't, apologize and don't do it ever again. If you are her superior in a workplace hierarchy that her job depends on your power, don't do it.

All it takes is the basic empathy humans are born with. The problem is that these workplace predators don't want to exercise empathy, they want to somehow blame women for their own personal guilt for being a predator. To which I say, if they're afraid to work with women, let them find jobs where they can go off and work alone. The workplace is better off without them.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

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