#MeToo’s Impact Isn’t Pretty–for Men or Women

by Evil HR Lady on June 7, 2018

If you’re a male university professor, would you have a closed-door meeting with a female student?

What if you’re a female university professor, would you have a closed-door meeting with a male student?

What about a closed-door meeting with a student of the same gender, regardless of your sexual orientation?

And what if you’re a manager in the corporate world? Are the days of one on one meetings over, for fear of accusations or attacks?

I’ve personally had countless closed-door meetings with men–and women–and never had a single situation where I felt threatened or someone (to the best of my knowledge) felt threatened by me.

The Wall Street Journal reported on how accusations in the #MeToo era and tenure play against each other. It’s difficult to fire professor with tenure–accusations and even investigations that determine fault may result in rule changes but a professor keeping his job. Universities changed their rules:

To keep reading, click here: #MeToo’s Impact Isn’t Pretty–for Men or Women

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

grannybunny June 7, 2018 at 3:32 pm

The fact that some are over-reacting to the MeToo Movement, doesn’t make it a bad thing. Sexual harassment is entrenched in our culture, and change never comes easy. The Mike Pences of the World — those who either don’t trust themselves not to misbehave or don’t trust women not to falsely accuse them of misbehavior — can insist on never meeting alone with a woman not his wife. But, that extreme, misogynistic, position is not workable for most of us, nor for most organizations. It is estimated that a very small percentage of sexual misconduct allegations — 5% or less — turn out to be false, so false accusations are not a major problem. A much bigger problem is that the majority of sexual offenses remains unreported, so MeToo is a positive development. No, we don’t just automatically believe every allegation. Yes, there will be plenty of “he said/she said” situations in which proof — other than the testimony of those involved — simply does not exist. But, if an allegation is made, both the accused and the organization should take steps to prevent further such accusations, which could include measures such as no longer meeting behind closed doors. Each case is unique and fact-specific. Obviously, there’s a sea change of difference between someone being too persistent is asking a co-worker for a date and forcible rape, so potential remedies run the gamut.

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Mr Cautious June 7, 2018 at 4:16 pm

I’m with Mike: I never meet alone with a woman not my wife or daughters. As an ‘individual contributor’ in an office with low-walled cubes, that’s easily achieved. I’ve started avoiding sharing an elevator with a solitary female because it makes me uncomfortable– wondering if she’s uncomfortable. Stairs are healthier anyways.

Eventually we may get to a better social norm, and I’m glad Mad Men days are over, but I tred warily.

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Goober June 7, 2018 at 6:09 pm

“Stairs are healthier anyways.”

Just to play devil’s advocate, what if there’s a solitary female taking the stairs because she’s not comfortable sharing an elevator with a solitary male?

(Any good idea can be taken to a ridiculous, destructive extreme.)

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Mr Cautious June 7, 2018 at 10:33 pm

True, but very few people use the stairs, they’re relatively wide, and there are multiple exits!

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Goober June 7, 2018 at 11:06 pm

Ah, but *because* fewer people use stairs, stairwells are that much more deserted, making them a much more ideal place for . . . well, whatever nefarious activity you’re in the stairs to perform (like getting to another floor of the building).

Joking aside, if someone’s going to falsely (or mistakenly) accuse you of something bad if they’re alone with you in an elevator, I’d think they’d be that much more likely to in a stairwell.

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charles June 8, 2018 at 2:22 am

I’m with Mike too – it isn’t “misogynistic” to protect yourself.

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grannybunny June 8, 2018 at 4:22 pm

I guess now that marital rape is starting to be recognized as a reality, you’ll have to quit meeting alone with your wife, too, lest she falsely accuse you of misconduct. And incest is already taboo, so fie on you for meeting alone with your daughters. After all, one can’t be too cautious! Or, too ridiculous in the extreme. But — of course — you won’t quit meeting privately with your wife and daughters, because you trust them. And most of us also trust our known co-workers and friends and — likewise — trust ourselves not to misbehave in the absence of third-party witnesses. If someone gives you grounds to mistrust them, by all means protect yourself. Otherwise, severely limiting normal contact with others — based on the miniscule risk of a false accusation — borders on pathology. We’re told that people form their basic level of trust — or lack of same — in infancy, so that would be difficult to change. But, there are professionals out there that can assist in that process. Good luck!

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Nicholas June 11, 2018 at 3:00 pm

The argumentum ad absurdum is a bit of a stretch here. The trust I would place in the woman I publicly pledged my life to is not even remotely in the same ballgame as the would place I have in the people I work with, not the least because the latter is confined by necessity and by happenstance to a much narrower scope. Moreover, due to the taboo nature in many Western workplaces of such topics as politics, religion and ethnicity, a company can and often does wind up with employees of widely divergent value systems working together. This doesn’t have to pose a problem, but as soon as work is not uniformly clear, transparent and non-confessional such value divergences can certainly come out in the open. In fact, I would argue that it is often unwise to hastily trust someone outside the scope in which we know them. This is particularly true in modern, atomized society where reputations are far more obscure.

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Betsy June 7, 2018 at 5:14 pm

Over my 30+ years career in real estate and banking, I’ve experienced and witnessed many instances of sexual and racial harassment that were treated as the norm, no big deal, why so sensitive? Many powerful men felt threatened by the women who started entering the workforce in the 1960s and 70s. They didn’t know how to relate to us in a business context and often were opposed to our being there in the first place.

MeToo is a long time coming, this isn’t an issue that just appeared suddenly in the last few years. What is different is that society as a whole has taken a much less tolerant stance towards both racism and sexism. As the “old ways” slowly die off, we are experiencing the missteps of a newly formed consciousness about fair treatment for all. I expect it will get better.

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Nicholas June 11, 2018 at 3:08 pm

The movement would have a lot more staying power if it could come to terms with the fact that worse things than sexual harassement are happening to women all over the Western world, especially North America, in circumstances such that the people who call it out are often silenced as bigots, racist or cultural insensitives.

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Julie June 8, 2018 at 5:40 pm

As with any volatile issue, the #MeToo movement is both good and bad. It’s great that egregious behavior is being outed and those people are facing consequences for their actions. The downside is that some people will “jump on the bandwagon” and claim victimization where there is none.

I suspect that with time the issue will settle itself and calm down. I, personally, have no issue meeting with a male one-on-one (I do so frequently at my job) as we are both professionals and only doing our jobs. Besides, if he did try something I’d kick his butt clear across the office. 😉

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Nacho June 10, 2018 at 8:21 am

I love how the article just kind of glosses over the upsides of the movement. “Yeah, it’s great that women no longer feel like they can’t speak up if their boss whips his dick out while talking to them, but what about the poor CEOs who no longer feel like they can meet one on one with female subordinates, least one of them point out that he starting masturbating during the private meeting?”

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Nicholas June 11, 2018 at 2:42 pm

@Nacho: “I love how the article just kind of glosses over the upsides of the movement.”

Plenty of outlets have been singing its praises without pointing out the very real downsides, not the least of which being that some of its lower-integrity incarnations are sure to produce a major backlash, at term.

One of the biggest problems is the massive amount of equivocation that’s been going on. For example, a boss masturbating while his female employee is in his office is sexual harrassment, but a simple facial expression that she finds disquieting is not. Cat-calling is sexual harrassment; asking someone ONCE to go out on a date is not. Rape is a criminal act; a bad sexual performance is not. From the initial months, there have already been enough high-profile conflations of these notions to compromise the movement’s credibility in the eyes of many. For those who hoped that the phenomenon would help reduce actual instances of harrassment, assault and violation, that cannot be a good thing.

On a similar note, while we can all agree that cat-calling, tush-pinching, public masturbation and rape are all wrong, they are not even remotely in the same boat in terms of either the sanctions they merit or the level of social forgivability (or unforgivability) that can be attached to them. Unfortunately, the same boat is exactly where “#metoo” tends by its very nature to put them.

Moreover, the movement’s failure, for the most part, to call out the very real and very pervasive problem (mostly in prison, granted, but that doesn’t make it any less horrific) of the rape of men makes it clear that this is a “woman thing” and therefore that much easier for men to brush aside. This is especially ironic since many of the hashtag’s biggest cheerleaders are also ideologically committed to demonstrating that the differences between the sexes are largely artificial and at least theoretically committed to breaking them down. There’s a cognitive dissonance there that will eventually force a choice to be made if the movement is to survive.

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