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Old 03 November 2017, 09:41 PM
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Ponder Is 'Weinsteining' getting out of hand?

The fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandals and the ripples from the “#MeToo” movement are having indubitably positive effects — above all, exposing and bringing to account predators who have enjoyed impunity due to their power and status. But there are some pitfalls. Many people — not just men with skeletons in the closet — fear that careers may be destroyed over minor misconduct and ambiguous transgressions. Troubling rhetoric abounds, condemning all sexually tinged dynamics in the workplace, stereotyping men as abusers and women as perpetual victims in need of quasi-Victorian protections.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed...101-story.html
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  #2  
Old 03 November 2017, 09:57 PM
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I'm linking this article because it's being discussed in a few other places I hang out in. One of my Facebook acquaintances brought it up first; he's someone who is a dedicated liberal on most issues, but also despises anything that smacks of "political correctness."

I agree to the premise that there is some danger in lumping the occasional inappropriate remark or unwanted flirtation with actual rape, coercion, or continuous verbal harassment. For one thing, I think it puts more men on the defensive: comparing someone who put his hand on your shoulder once when you'd rather he didn't, or maybe made an unwelcome double-entrende remark, with a serial rapist is bound to produce some resentment.

However, that doesn't mean that the less extreme examples are things that should be tolerated or accepted. An example I occasionally use: if suddenly transported back in time to 1942, and given the choice of experiencing the next few years as a Japanese-American in an internment camp or a Jew in Auschwitz, I'm pretty sure I know which of the two just about everyone would pick. But that doesn't mean that interment camps weren't wrong. The existence of a greater wrong doesn't magically turn the wrong into a right.

I'm also aware that part of the problem is simply that people are different. A remark that one woman finds humorous, or a mock-flirtation that she finds fun and flattering, another woman might find to be inexcusably inappropriate and uncomfortable. I try, these days, to err heavily on the side of caution -- to the point where I think I might even go too far in that direction, resulting in less friendly relations with some co-workers than otherwise might exist. (Then again, I just generally am not sociable at work, so it may not matter.)

Anyway, I'm just throwing it out there, if anyone else wants to comment. If not, that's fine too.
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Old 03 November 2017, 10:07 PM
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I'm also aware that part of the problem is simply that people are different. A remark that one woman finds humorous, or a mock-flirtation that she finds fun and flattering, another woman might find to be inexcusably inappropriate and uncomfortable.
I have lost count of the times I've seen TV shows and movies use the notion that women are actually flattered by wolf whistles and catcalls as a plot point. While I'm not going to deny that there must be a few women who would actually feel this way it's by no means the way most women feel when this happens to them but you certainly wouldn't know that based on sitcoms etc. If nothing else happens in Hollywood I'd really like to see a little more attention being paid to how most women really feel when they are rated and judged by random strangers on the street.
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Old 03 November 2017, 10:18 PM
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This sounds like #notallmen2
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Old 03 November 2017, 10:24 PM
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I would note that (a) the article is written by a woman, but (b) she's a contributor to Reason and The New Republic (something I didn't notice till after I posted it), which means she may (or may not) be motivated more by a political agenda than personal feelings.

Another place the article was linked was on Mark Evanier's blog -- he gives his usual sensible take on the whole thing here.
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Old 03 November 2017, 11:02 PM
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I think there is a disturbing narrative that says talking about all of these things together is somehow equating them, and treating "minor" transgressions as far more than they should be, tarring with the same brush, and all the other arguments for treating the worst actors as sui generis.

Of course these things should be talked about together. They are related. No one is equating them. And it is utterly ridiculous to treat Weinstein as sui generis, and pretend that what he did has nothing to do with a single unwanted flirtation from a coworker. The ubiquity of inappropriate sexualization of women is a huge part of why and how Weinstein was able to do this not just with impunity, but virtually without it even being publicly remarked on.

Why the NFBSK would it not all be discussed together?

Why would we not talk about both Nazi concentration camps and US internment camps as illustrating racism, and how it can play out in scapegoating and the othering of racial and ethnic minorities? They are related. Talking about them together does not mean they are being equated.
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Old 03 November 2017, 11:18 PM
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If someone’s standard is “Well, I’m not as bad as Weinstein,” then their bar is pretty low. Harassment and rape might not be the same thing, but they are on the same spectrum.

If these conversations are making some men (or women, they’re capable of pushing themselves on people, too) uncomfortable, then maybe they’ve been a little too comfortable up till now. All of it, to whatever degree, needs to stop.
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Old 03 November 2017, 11:43 PM
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Yes, and even the worst of it won't stop if there are not conversations about the breadth and depth of the problem. If people who are doing these things, and crucially, the people who help them, the people who could speak up but don't, and the victims themselves, are told that it matters whether the behavior meets some arbitrary standard of being that bad, then it becomes a line drawing exercise where a lot of terrible--and very severe--behavior will go on, and go unreported.
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Old 03 November 2017, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by E. Q. Taft View Post
I'm also aware that part of the problem is simply that people are different. A remark that one woman finds humorous, or a mock-flirtation that she finds fun and flattering, another woman might find to be inexcusably inappropriate and uncomfortable. I try, these days, to err heavily on the side of caution -- to the point where I think I might even go too far in that direction, resulting in less friendly relations with some co-workers than otherwise might exist. (Then again, I just generally am not sociable at work, so it may not matter.)
I highly recommend not flirting at work. In general, if you wouldn't behave that way with a male colleague, don't treat a female colleague different. Even if you and the colleague enjoy it, chances are the people around you are rolling their eyes and not enjoying the show.

If you are interested in a colleague - ask them out and do your flirting outside of work (if they accept).

However, please don't be a Mike Pence :P and assume that all working women are evil corrupters.
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Old 04 November 2017, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by erwins View Post
If people who are doing these things, and crucially, the people who help them, the people who could speak up but don't, and the victims themselves, are told that it matters whether the behavior meets some arbitrary standard of being that bad, then it becomes a line drawing exercise where a lot of terrible--and very severe--behavior will go on, and go unreported.
Agreed. In fact I think a huge part of the problem is what is deemed “not that big of deal” in various environments. At colleges it has been “not that big of deal” to have sex with someone who is falling down drunk. Apparently in Hollywood it has been “not that big of deal” for producers to corner actresses in hotel rooms. And even here, it was “not that big of deal” to some posters that Spacey invited a 14 to his home and assaulted him.

It is a big deal. It’s always a big deal if you’ve crossed the boundary of consent.
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Old 04 November 2017, 04:08 PM
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Well, obviously, Weinsteining has gotten out of hand, his behavior was completely out of bounds. . . oh, wait that's not what the author is worried about.

FTR, women are perfectly capable of saying "not all men."

ETA: Once again, someone argues that men shouldn't have their careers ruined over silly little things like abusing women. Nothing new, just the same old crap.
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  #12  
Old 04 November 2017, 04:43 PM
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I highly recommend not flirting at work. In general, if you wouldn't behave that way with a male colleague, don't treat a female colleague different. Even if you and the colleague enjoy it, chances are the people around you are rolling their eyes and not enjoying the show.

If you are interested in a colleague - ask them out and do your flirting outside of work (if they accept).

This.

Much of the complaint in the article posted seems to be this:

Quote:
Except in college, nearly every man I have ever dated was either a co-worker or, once I switched entirely to free-lancing, someone I met through work. This is not unusual, even in the age of dating websites and apps. An informal 2015 survey for the online magazine Mic found that men and women under 35 were almost twice as likely to have met their current significant other through work (17.9%) as through online dating (9.4%). [. . . ]
sexual interaction will happen unless the workplace is regulated to a dehumanizing degree and realistically, some unwanted sexual attention will happen as well.
But the thing is -- humans have invented this thing called 'language', by means of which it's possible to clearly express desires and intentions. It's not a matter of 'we have to be able to use dirty jokes and innuendo and flirting at work, even though we know that many people don't like this and some of them are seriously disturbed by it, because otherwise there's no possible way for workmates who might form genuinely consensual partnerships to get together'. It's perfectly possible to ask a workmate out. Pick a moment when they're not in the middle of a serious work discussion and just ask them. Make it clear that an answer of no is entirely acceptable, and that if the answer is 'no' or the softer 'not now', either to the one date or after the date if accepted, you will never bring it up again; if they change their mind it will be up to them to say so. Because we have words, this can be done. 'I'd like to ask you something, if you've got a minute? it's fine if you don't want to, and if you don't want to I'm only going to ask this once: but would you be interested in going out with me?' (And then, and this is crucial: if they say no, whether hard or soft no, stick to it. Do not ask them again, either overtly or covertly.)

And, for those who actually do want to try a sexual relationship, replacing office innuendo with clear wording has the huge advantage that they don't have to guess whether the 'flirting' means anything or not, and risk being horribly embarrassed when they try to take somebody up on what wasn't an offer after all.
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Old 04 November 2017, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
And, for those who actually do want to try a sexual relationship, replacing office innuendo with clear wording has the huge advantage that they don't have to guess whether the 'flirting' means anything or not, and risk being horribly embarrassed when they try to take somebody up on what wasn't an offer after all.
I mean, it basically boils down to what we tell toddlers: use your words.

Why is that so hard?
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Old 04 November 2017, 05:17 PM
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And is it so impossible to understand that for the most part "Weinsteining" isn't about colleagues in a workplace it is about someone using their position of power to their advantage. Workplace relationships are fine if handled maturely - that isn't what the discussion should be about.
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Old 04 November 2017, 06:35 PM
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“Relationships” being the operative word here. The OP article is talking about a man who was commenting on women’s bodies and kissing people on the mouth without their consent, something he doesn’t even deny. A kiss on the lips with someone you’re not in a relationship with? What the NFBSK? Why is anyone (in the OP article) defending that?

This article is presenting a false dichotomy, IMO. Either we are allowed to discuss sex and behave sexually in the office with everyone, or we’re not allowed to date at all. That’s absurd. As others have pointed out, there is plenty of room for consensual behavior somewhere in the middle.

ETA- I somehow doubt the guys in the OP are being fired only for the behavior the public knows about. Is Amazon really axing a guy for one incident 10 years ago? Or was he on probation and repeated a behavior they’re aware of but can’t legally discuss? I don’t think we know the whole story.

Last edited by Little Pink Pill; 04 November 2017 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 04 November 2017, 08:34 PM
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I have had multiple co-workers at multiple jobs who managed to date, and in some cases form partnerships with/marry, co-workers. They all managed to do it without sexually harassing anyone or otherwise acting inappropriately. No dirty jokes, no overt workplace flirting, and oh yeah, no unwelcome mouth-kissing.
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Old 05 November 2017, 12:20 AM
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It still drives me bonkers that if two colleagues of the opposite sex go to lunch, people wonder if they're dating.

When I was starting out I had advice like 'never have lunch alone' because you needed to network for your career.

Ask someone to go to lunch with you as female in a male dominated field and you're not sure if they see it as friendly or as you're hitting on them

Weinsteining - has it gone to far? Nope! People really need to have some deep thoughts about this as a culture.
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Old 05 November 2017, 09:27 AM
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Weinsteining - has it gone to far? Nope! People really need to have some deep thoughts about this as a culture.
This. It seems that many people may have turned a blind eye to certain behavior due to the power of the predator. We've spent the last 15+ years saying, "see something, say something" for terrorism and we need to do this when we hear or see harassment.
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Old 05 November 2017, 02:41 PM
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I think it's important to note that sexual harassment and assault- particularly of women- is not just about people in power taking advantage.

In our culture, a woman complaining about any harassment isn't really accepted except under very specific circumstances (stranger, violent attack, "actual" harm/penetration/etc, and even then it doesn't mean anything will actually happen in response to such an act).

So even women in positions of technically more power often are harassed and assaulted. Women are taught to not be a "bitch", that it's good to be "one of the boys", to just go along with things. Women are awarded with more acceptance when they respond with banter or humor when someone crosses the line- even if they really aren't ok with the situation that occurred.

Being blunt, straight forward, honest....those things are often punished.

In my experience, I've become less concerned with how I'm perceived and much more forward and blunt, but I also am very safe in my career, I have a supportive husband, my colleagues are supportive and caring and would have my back at work, and I'm not out and about at night and in public like I used to be when I was young.

But I *still* guard my responses with people I don't know or in places I'm not sure of- particularly when alone. And unwelcome advances still happen even though I'm older and fluffier than I used to be. Now it's more of a monthly occurrence rather than daily.
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Old 05 November 2017, 07:52 PM
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If you're worried that an increase in scrutiny of sexual assault and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace might cause you to be 'unfairly' reprimanded or even lose your job, then maybe your concern is based on a suspicion of wrongdoing on your own part. Maybe you are part of the problem. The fact that you do it does not mean it isn't assault. You may not be the 'villain' of your own story but that does not mean you can do no wrong. Oh, but you hug and kiss and comment on the appearances of random female coworkers all the time! Well.... have you tried not doing that? It's pretty easy if you try! And if your 'banter' towards your female coworkers is different than the banter towards the men, then maybe, just maybe, it isn't 'just' banter' after all. The difference makes it banter-plus-something-sexual and it's the something-sexual that women object to rather than the 'just banter'. Women know what banter is. We are neither stupid nor naive.

The question posed by the OP is all wrong. The question, when you get right down to it, is 'Should people sometimes just put up with sexual assault?'. The short answer is 'no'. The longer answer is 'are you NBSKing kidding me?!'
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