The Tangled Ethics Of Men, Women, Sexual Harassment,Sexual Discrimination, Romance, Common Sense, And “Vive La différence!”

Mike Pence would not have a business dinner with Debrahlee Lorenzana. What’s wrong with him?

Many years ago I did a sexual harassment seminar for a New York law firm. Afterwards, the partner responsible for handling the firm’s EEOC and workplace matters told me that my ethics-based approach to the topic wasn’t sufficiently rigorous, since he believed that innocent contact between employees in the firm could spawn lawsuits. “I refuse to travel with female associates,” he told me. “I can’t be sure what they will think is harassment.”

“Wait,” I asked. “So because you’re afraid of being accused unjustly of sexual harassment, you engage in sexual discrimination?”

He sputtered something and left to arrange his sock drawer.

I think of this conversation often. I thought of it when Vice-President Mike Pence was reported as saying in 2002  that he never had a meal with a woman who was not his wife, and was promptly savaged for it by feminists and the news media. Because the new rules and practices of the workplace have developed amid contradictions and rigid doctrine rather than with attention to whether they were workable or not, Pence and that hypocritical lawyer years ago are both victims and victimizers. It is often impossible to know what ethical workplace conduct is.

The New York Times was happy to bash Pence for his candor as part of a requirement of membership in “the resistance,” but then, as is often the case for the schizoid paper, later competently and objectively examined the issue away from politics. A Morning Consult poll conducted for the paper  found that there is widespread fear of one-on-one situations, male-female interactions in the workplace.  About 25% think private work meetings with colleagues of the opposite sex are inappropriate. Almost 2/3  say it is prudent to be especially wary and sensitive around members of the opposite sex at work. A majority of women, and nearly half of men, say it’s unacceptable to have dinner or drinks alone with someone of the opposite sex other than their spouse.

Why do men feel this way? They feel this way because they are, like that lawyer, worried that a stray compliment or a touch will leave them open to a career-marring accusation by either a hypersensitive woman or a nefarious one. They feel this way because the standards of sexual harassment, which do not require mens rea but only that the object of “unwanted advances” is made to feel uncomfortable or that the work environment has become “hostile,” seem arbitrary and unfair to them. Why do women feel that they must be extra-careful among men? They don’t trust men, especially men in power. 40 years of feminist rhetoric and indoctrination has made them distrustful.

A lot of men are also untrustworthy. Or pigs.

Concludes the Times, absolutely correctly,

“The results show the extent to which sex is an implicit part of our interactions. They also explain in part why women still don’t have the same opportunities as men. They are treated differently not just on the golf course or in the boardroom, but in daily episodes large and small, at work and in their social lives….One reason women stall professionally, research shows, is that people have a tendency to hire, promote and mentor people like themselves. When men avoid solo interactions with women — a catch-up lunch or late night finishing a project — it puts women at a disadvantage.”

This mutual wariness and distrust makes equality in the workplace literally impossible.

The problem is even worse than the poll suggests. A majority of couples meet in the workplace, so obviously sexual attraction is a factor in the workplace that many don’t want to ban (though I advise business clients to officially forbid dating vertically in the organization chart, and to discourage horizontal dating at all within staffs and departments.). Some women also have special advantages as women that can help them advance in their careers, unless we want to require a sex-free gender-neutral work environment in which female allure and manipulation is considered unprofessional and taboo. [See the tales of Debrahlee Lorenzana, and the too attractive dental assistant.]  Do we want that? Is that even possible? Isn’t sexual attractiveness a legitimate part of the professional tool box? Men can use size, strength, a louder and lower voices and general maleness to project power, intimidation, leadership and persuasiveness. If women can’t use their own special assets, aren’t they at a permanent and unjust disadvantage? If the accepted management model is “act like a smaller, curvier man,” won’t women be permanently handicapped?

Again I find myself recalling (I know I’ve mentioned this here before) the question I got from a stunning female prosecutor after an ethics seminar, who asked me if it was unethical for her to use her appearance and attractiveness to influence an elderly judge well-known for his dirty old man proclivities. I told her that it was not unethical. “Every trial lawyer has special assets and skills, ” told her. I’m certain you are the object of bias and discrimination because of your appearance; you should not be reluctant to benefit from it to help your clients.

But if some women are allowed to make use of their ability to wrap vulnerable, easily-aroused men around their little fingers, how can other women complain when other men misread the signals? It is also undeniable that using sex in a business context, even strategically, is playing with fire. Those after-hours, private working sessions can take unexpected turns, and often do.  There is also the appearance of impropriety to worry about. Rumors that a manager is having a sexual affair with a subordinate undermines morale and inter-organizational trust.

I wish I had a magic solution, but there is none. Men and women in the workplace must be open to one-on-one meetings, collaborative travel, and the same kinds of business interactions they have with the same gender. That is the starting point. After that, it is a matter of co-workers being sensitive to basic ethical principles, such as fairness, openness, restraint, integrity, prudence, respect, professionalism and responsibility, and to be aware that the fiction that men and women are exactly the same and must be treated so is not practical or realistic, while accepting the important principle that the office is not a dating bar.

144 thoughts on “The Tangled Ethics Of Men, Women, Sexual Harassment,Sexual Discrimination, Romance, Common Sense, And “Vive La différence!”

  1. “Those after-hours, private working sessions can take unexpected turns, and often do.”

    My, my, a story as old as time itself!

    I recall reading in Playboy an article (the only reason I used to subscribe) about such things.

    The writer’s advice? If you’re alone in a room with a female that’s not your spouse, it best be your Sister or your Mother.

    He went on to say he recalled the experience of 10 friends whose encounters did take expected turns.

    The last thing seven of them recalled was opening a couple of hotel mini-bar vodkas.

    The other three were scotch drinkers…

    • Unfortunately, many (most?) men are wired this way. I have asked many men, fiends and mere acquaintances, how much resistance they would have, as married and happily so, if a young, attractive co-worker came on to them aggressively in a setting where they felt safe from discovery. The usual response is, “Not enough.”

      • This, too, is interesting, Jack. My wife and I have been married for 34 years. She is my 3rd wife, and I am her 3rd husband. In those years, I have to honestly say I have never been presented with an opportunity to stray, nor have I sought one. She is, literally, my perfect soul-mate, and I believe I am hers. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. In any case, I would NEVER do anything that would put our relationship at risk, certainly not for a little nooky in a one-night-stand. It took me a while to find her, and I will NEVER put that at risk.

        • Same here, d_d. My 3rd marriage, the product of finally having figured out what a successful one entails, and one I wouldn’t put in jeopardy for all the money in the world. I also couldn’t imagine hurting her in this way.

          • What’s really funny, Joe, is that she and I were chasing each other around the country since high school. I graduated from a small town just outside of San Antonio in ’63, she in San Antonio in ’65. She and I both went into the service, she AF, me Army in ’65. After discharge, she moved to Fredricksburg, Va., me to Richmond. I moved back to Texas, she moved to Shreveport. I moved to San Angelo, so did she! And yet, until that fateful day in Corpus Christi, 35 years ago, we never met. I’m not particularly religious, but it was almost like God was trying to tell us something.

        • dragin_dragon wrote, “I will NEVER put that at risk.”

          I’ve went through a divorce because of an unfaithful wife; even though her serious problems with alcohol is probably what led her to stray, infidelity is a line crossed that makes a relationship irretrievably broken for me. I made a promise to be faithful and I refuse to break that promise regardless of the circumstances.

          Over the years through college, the military, and the kind of work I did long ago, I was presented with multiple opportunities and what came out of my mouth was always something like “I made a promise to my wife and I won’t break that promise”. Never break your promise to be faithful, it’s not just about respect for your spouse, it’s also about self respect.

          If it takes a strategy of personally avoiding any kind of privacy with other women for a person to keep their promise to be faithful, it’s a strategy that can work but it’s also a strategy that is likely doomed to failure. If a person does not trust themself enough to keep their promise then when a privacy situation does arise that is unavoidable the person has no experience in how to deal with it. Avoidance of all forms of privacy with women who are not the wife is only a stop-gap measure to a problem and not a real solution.

          • Infidelity sucks, Zoltar.

            I think having been cheated on before has made me more determined to never, ever be unfaithful in my relationships. Knowing how hurtful it is makes me never want to do that to another person, especially not to the wonderful woman I’m with now (and hopefully for the long haul).

      • “if a young, attractive co-worker came on to them aggressively in a setting where they felt safe from discovery.”

        Think the resolve firms as the variables (age, attractiveness, intensity of pursuit) get adjusted?

        I recall having very good female friend ~ 20 years ago with whom I got along famously. She always wanted to take it a step further, something with which I had no interest, I just wasn’t attracted to her.

        I always felt guilty about how shallow that was, but finally accepted the fact (rationalization?) that love (attraction) has its reasons, which reason knows nothing of.

        dragin_dragon; you’re a lucky man and your belief that you would never put what you have in jeopardy is laudable indeed…in theory. I’m not referencing you, but humans (especially the Y-Chromosomal) are prone to shit-canning theory and fucking up in reality.

        But I feel the same way you do, and while opportunities have surfaced, the “she’ll never know” doesn’t enter into it, but the I’d know does.

        I didn’t get married until I was 47, and married (her second) the gal next door, through the backyard anyway. 15 years and not a day goes by without my being reminded of my profound good fortune.

        Little things that have a tremendous cumulative effect? Every day I say two things at least once each: “I’m sorry about everything” and “is there anything you need to yell at me about?”

        Eye-rolls & sighs? Oh yeah, but if it ain’t broke, I won’t mess with it.

        • Paul W. Schlecht wrote, “while opportunities have surfaced, the “she’ll never know” doesn’t enter into it, but the I’d know does.”

          I agree.

          It’s not just about respect for your spouse, it’s also about self respect.

          • This is the same ideas I expressed during the ‘duty to rescue’ threads. It is not about who the person is: it is about who I am. Cheating is about who I am, as well as who I have to sleep with each night.

  2. This is interesting. In my rather lengthy career, I was accused of sexual harassment exactly once, when I replied to my secretary “Yes, ma’am.” to a question about what I wanted done with a schedule. She made a suggestion, I replied. I thought that ended it, but my boss stepped into my office the next day and told me she didn’t appreciate being called a Madam. The hearing, of course, was brief and to the point. “Really?” End of hearing. Apparently, good manners was considered ‘harassment’.

    • I had a similar experience happen to me while ago in China. Apparently the word for Ms is a term that is used to describe a working girl. Boss told me about it to let me know but I heard she got an earful for an obovius misunderstanding. Needless to say, she constantly avoided me after that.

    • I’ve run into that routinely because I use “Yes Ma’am” and “Yes Sir” all the time; it’s was ingrained in me long before my military days and the military reinforced it, it’s not likely to change. My response has been reasonably consistent to ladies that take offense to my use of “Yes Ma’am”.

      “Ma’am” is not equivalent to “a Madam” and saying “yes ma’am” is using manners and a verbal sign of respect for the position and/or the person. They should not reject or diminish respect from others or others will loose respect for them.

      • Isn’t the “yes, ma’am” what put a decorated general in line for a swift toungue-lashing from Sen. Boxer a few years ago because she earned the duty to be called Senator. “It’s just a thing.”


        • johnburger2013 wrote, “Isn’t the “yes, ma’am” what put a decorated general in line for a swift tongue-lashing from Sen. Boxer a few years ago because she earned the duty to be called Senator.”

          That wasn’t a “tongue-lashing”, that was Sen. Boxer being a self centered pompous ass when she interrupted, General Walsh graciously complied with her request, as he should have, and moved on.

  3. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t go on about rape culture when there is no reasonable evidence and then cry sexism when men reasonably refuse to be drawn into any situation that can be used to make harassment charges. It’s not simply be aware of ethics issues. You have to be preemptive. Almost every social,occasion can be used as a hammer. In fact, there’s probably an example in social media to prove it in every possible iteration.

    • If I were younger I’d probably wear a body cam or at least a voice recorder. I’m actually surprised more men don’t.

      • I wish I had been the day I stopped to help a young woman who was having car trouble. I ended up being charged with battery, kidnapping, sodomy and other unsavory and serious crimes (charges were dropped after six months of hell for my wife, children and myself). I haven’t stopped to help anyone since then. That was pre cell phone. These days I would call 911 but I would never stop. Oddly enough, I still have a bit of a guilt feeling when I don’t help because it is contrary to the way I was taught to act growing up.

        • I’m sorry that happened to you. I’ve seen teachers careers threatened over innocent hugs. It’s a jungle out there in many ways.

        • I can think of some innocuous explanations for all but the sodomy charge. How did that get up there, if you don’t mind me asking?

          • Same as the others; totally fabricated accusation by the woman. I have only a guess as to why she made them. She later dropped all of them.

            • John; Yikes!! What happened to her?

              I was accused of rape after consensual sex in early 1975, swore out a statement and all the rest, scared the shittake out of me!

              She later recanted and I was told she’d been charged with either filing a false report or obstruction of justice, the only thing I knew for sure is that I had been exonerated.

              I cringe to think how it would have played out today: presumption of guilt, demands for my forcibly…um…detached boys on an platter, and the steady drumbeat of the pan banging brigade out front.

              • As far as I know, nothing. On the advice of my attorney I totally dropped it and did not make any effort to find out. This was back in 1991. Much like you, the only thing I knew for sure was that it was over and I could restart my life. I was still in the Air Force and the civilian authorities agreed to let the military handle it so I would have been tried under the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Marsupial Justice as it was fondly referred to).

  4. Mike Pence’s policy is quite common within Protestant Christian circles. It’s partly about making sure you don’t lead yourself, or someone else, into temptation and partly about being seen to be doing the right thing; or rather not doing the wrong thing. The idea of setting boundaries has been around in Christian circles for a very long time indeed. To describe that as discrimination is drawing a pretty long bow. Just as with the law, where justice must be seen to be done, so behavior must be seen to be above reproach.

    Just imagine Mike Pence doing a dinner meeting alone with a ‘strange’ woman these days; the media would be full of Russian prostitute spy stories before he got home!

    Perhaps someone can explain why you’d be having a business meeting over candles and wine in the first place?

    In my roles in church organisations I often meet with women. In-home meetings are never alone and others tend to take place at a coffee shop or similar, always in a public area, and very rarely alone. My wife always knows about such meetings. At our church facility the ministers offices have glass panels in the doors and are not curtained. It is said that the three G’s are the great traps for those in ministry; Gold, Girls and Glory!

    It’s not discrimination, it’s practical and reasonable. It’s not foolishness, it’s sensible. Too many ships have been wrecked because the Captain over-confidently sailed too close to the rocks and got caught up in the current and more than a few lives wrecked because someone made baseless claims to that effect. I’d be surprised if you can’t think of a case in your own circle.

    • I’m with Pence on that one, for all the reasons you just said.

      The only possible reason anyone could have for considering such a policy anything but sweet and wise would be the one Jack stated…that it could possibly be discriminatory. But I can’t imagine very many work scenarios that would require me to meet a co-worker, alone, for dinner, in order to conduct business (under any other circumstances, that’s a date.) Sure, if you’re whisking away random dudes on one-on-one dinner outings that are directly work-related, and refuse to give Sally a turn, yeah, that’s discriminatory. But probably not relevant to most.

  5. And, being a man, I also take the same kind of precautions with children. For instance, when my daughter had a sleepover party with about 6 girls (all aged about 12), my wife announced the day before that she had a meeting that evening. My response was that either she was with me at home taking care of the party or that I would cancel the party.

    • I’ll admit that I am more comfortable if my girls are in the presence of other women or gay men. However, two of my daughter’s closest friends have divorced parents. Luckily, the dads have both remarried now so I didn’t have to agonize over the sleepover decision. But, I hope that if I knew the father that I would be comfortable enough to let them sleepover — I don’t know though.

      • Spartan,
        A) I appreciate your honesty with this; and B) I completely understand. So, keep in mind, my following commentary comes from a place of understanding why you would act the way you would in this situation, not judgement. This is more in line with starting a conversation.

        Having said that, why is it ok to to profile, stereotype, to pass judgement on someone, solely because of their gender, and the statistical likelihood that someone, due to their gender, would cause harm to your daughters, if that specific person has given you no reason to see them a a threat?

        Everyone stereotypes, especially when A) the stakes are too high to be wrong; and B) it’s unlikely the “recipient” of our stereotyping will ever know what we’re thinking..and if they do, refer back to A. But we all still do it.

        I get that the percentage of people who are pedophiles is disproportionately in favor of men, and any good parent isn’t going to play fast and loose with the safety of their kids, just to appear to be “fair” to a stranger. And it’s ok for women to take precautions when out jogging alone, and they come across a man who, regardless of what they’re doing, make them feel uncomfortable, because, again, disproportionate percentages. In these situations, how you feel when safety is involved legitimately trumps any other possible facts in the situation, of the feelings of the other people involved, because the stakes are too high to be wrong.

        But, then, why is it not ok to do this to other demographics, when there is a genuine, sincere fear that the stakes are too high to be wrong? I know that men aren’t a protected class, but so what? I have previously been a preschool director; my job was literally to convince parents to entrust their children to me, and I was damn good at it. I have proven to be more trustworthy with children then ~80-90% of the adult population…but if someone didn’t know me, they’d be justified (which I understand) in not trusting their child around me, because Im a male who’s a stranger? But not justified in their distrust of me, if it was because I was black and a stranger?

        Even if they sincerely believed that the disproportionate statistics of blacks and violent crime gave them good reason to be distrustful?

        • Chris; GREAT points!

          I believe it was the inimitable Humble Talent that posted a while back about a glaring disparity: the monumentally disproportionate yet seemingly acceptable profiling of Y-Chromosomal Units across the spectrum.

          I couldn’t retrieve it, perhaps someone else could?

        • I’m not sure what the aim of the question is CB. Do you think Spartan should trust men more, or are you advocating that people should discriminate against black people more? Sparty has already acknowledged that she is not behaving fairly by being wary of her children unsupervised around straight males.

          Is it the same as discrimination against black people? Perhaps. I tend not to think so on my end however. There are biological differences between human males and females, and one of the biggest ones is that males tend to have a lot more testosterone than most females. FtM transgender people talk about how once they started receiving hormone therapy how their sex drives increased a lot ( and indeed, it is sometimes used as a libido enhancer ), and how much more aggressive they became in pursuing sex, and just in general. We do get the ‘roid rage stereotype from somewhere.

          So unless you are positing that there are similar biological differences in the races regarding criminality, your comparison doesn’t hold up. And if you are, well that’s a much longer, more involved conversation.

          • (I attempted to post this several hours earlier from my phone, it didn’t go through, and when I tried to resend, the website wouldn’t let me, b/c it said it was already posted (which, it clearly wasn’t) which is why the following only addresses deery’s comments, and not Spartan’s follow up comments)

            A) The aim of my question was to spark a conversation about why one behavior is acceptable, and another similar one, not. It was not to judge, or spur Spartan to act in a different manner. Not to be snarky, but I said as much in my preface.

            B) I honestly don’t have an opinion on what Spartan should do, and the point of my post was to spark conversation, not change her behavior. But gun to my head, I think she should take whatever reasonable measures she can to maximize the likelihood that her children will grow up safely. I also think she should take measures to minimize the emotional harm that might come do others in the course of doing so. (I.e., if she’s going to discriminate based on gender, to take measures to not let on to the male that she suspicious of, that she’s making decisions based on his presence.)

            C) Again, I’m not judging Spartan, because Idont care if her behavior is fair when it comes to the safety of her children (within reason), but where did she acknowledge that she wasn’t behaving fairly?

            D) And most importantly, I doubt that Spartan, or 99% of the population take into consideration the testosterone levels of males vs females when deciding whom to leave their children in the care of (Spartan, correct me if I am wrong, please). Rather, people consider statistics and historical trends of males when left alone with children. If decisions WE’RE made based of testosterone levels l, it’s STILL be a giant assumption that any particular male you were wary of had normal levels of testosterone, or that any woman you were ok with didn’t have elevated levels.

            So, in other words, bringing in the biological differences of males v female as a way to discredit the analogy to race, when no one is considering biology when deciding to discriminate against males is just a red herring.

            • So, in other words, bringing in the biological differences of males v female as a way to discredit the analogy to race, when no one is considering biology when deciding to discriminate against males is just a red herring.

              ? How is a “red herring”? The biological differences seem to be the key, even if most could not articulate it as such. Otherwise what do you think people are chalking it up to? “Man culture”?
              I agree that deciding against leaving your children around known or unknown males, when you perhaps would not have the same hesitation in a similar situation with a woman is absolutely stereotyping. Is it the same as discrimination against black people? In some ways, perhaps. As I pointed out, there is some deviation, because men in fact, as a group, biologically are much more likely to be both sexually aggressive and sexually transgressive. Though it says nothing at all about any individual male. That is grounded in biological facts. Does it work for black people the same way? Only if you think there are significant biological differences in the races.

              • And the point I’m making is that while those biological differences do lead to the statistics being as warped as that are, no one’s considering biological differences when stereotyping (IMO); they consider the stats, trends, and prior stereotyping. Biological differences dont cause disproportionate violent crime numbers for blacks, but black pathology sure as hell is a contributing factor. And the end result is the same: a staggeringly disproportionate of blacks engage in violent crime. Just like Spartan is allowed to be “irrational” when considering her children’s safety, everyone else is allowed to be “irrational” when considering their own. And when I’m choosing to avoid a group of black thugs (or white thugs, or white skinheads, or any other demographic that gives me an uneasy feeling based on prior knowledge, experience, and my current gut feeling) on the street corner looking shifty, I am making that choice based on my own history of observed behavior. Im not going to do so in a way that draws attention to what Im doing, but if someone notices and their feelings are hurt, Im sorry (I mean that sincerely), but at the end of the day my safety trumps my consideration of your feelings. Which is why Im not judging or condemning Spartans actions.

                • Um. Ok. I don’t think it’s illegal to avoid people on the street you feel are shady, whether it’s rowdy teens, drunks, or whomever. In your own private life, while it might not be ethical, you are free to let your preferences run amok. Now extending that out to jobs? the police? getting service from businesses, etc ? Then I think we might run into disagreement in those realms.

                  • Why are you talking about job offers and getting services from businesses? This whole point stemmed from trusting fathers to supervise overnight sleepovers, and whether it’s ethical to discriminate based on gender…in your private life. Which is why I was talking about avoiding people on the street corner….in my private life. Why “legality” popped up for you, is beyond me.

        • See what Deery said below. What are you asking me to do? Discriminate against men more or less or discriminate against other racial groups more or less? I think I am more evolved than most humans in that I recognize where I have issues.

          As for my children, I am allowed to be completely irrational. For the record, I don’t like it when my children sleep over anywhere, but I do have more comfort when they are with women. My eldest daughter is joining swim team, you can bet that I or my husband will be at every overnight meet. I also still make them wear life jackets when they play in the ocean and wear helmets when they ride their bikes. I rarely use babysitters at all — maybe 1-2 times a year and it is always someone we know.

          So I guess your complaint against me should be that I am a helicopter parent more than anything else. I’m sure Deery would agree.

          • Sigh..
            I am not asking you to “do” anything. I am not judging you, I understand why you would make the decisions you do (both of which I stipulated in my initial post) and I advocate, very much, for your right to be as (reasonably) irrational regarding your kids safety as you want to be. I am not calling into question your parenting, nor am I advocating that you behave differently.

            Please, everyone choosing to respond to this, please read the above paragraph before doing so!

            The only reason I stop short of saying I would act the same way, is because I have been on the receiving end of anti-male discrimination in the world of childcare, and rather than perpetuate it, I would just do my due diligence to “clear” any male my children would be alone with, treating them like an individual who can choose to, or not to, act badly on his own volition, and not simply based on his gender. But I take that stance only b/c of my own experiences on the other end, not b/c Im some enlightened individual. I also understand that people do not have the time to do their due diligence with every single person that their child comes into contact with, and so leaning on stereotypes becomes a normal, efficient way to minimize children’s harm, which is why most choose not to do what I would do…it takes to %^&&$% long.

            I wasn’t asking the questions to put you on the defensive; I was simply introducing the question into the EA environment, for any- and everyone to answer, why we have chosen to be cool with discriminating against men, based on stereotypes, when we condemn judging based on stereotypes when aimed at just about every other demographic?

            But, to answer the question you and deery threw out there, IF I were asking anyone to do anything, it’d simply be to consider why stereotyping is such a dirty word, if we’re all perfectly comfortable rationalizing when WE do it. I like what Other Bill said elsewhere in this comments section: “Stereotypes derive from observing repeated human behavior. Stereotypes don’t create human behavior. ” That’s why I dont think stereotyping is as big a boogeyman as others do. What you do with your stereotypes, and how it affects the aggrieved party are the bigger issues.

            • Chris, my beliefs about “stereotypes” is roughly equivalent to yours. Keeping in mind that among various ethnic groups and within various ethnic groups, as well, it is possible to have a VARIETY of cultures. Thus, when a hoodied black kid with his walking shorts down around his knees is stopped and questioned about his presence in an affluent neighborhood, that is not stereotyping, that is reasonable suspicion. Thus, if a goofy-looking (optional-it could be Carey Grant for all I care) white male is seen hanging about the door of a girls restroom, for say a half-hour, I’m going to be suspicious…perhaps more suspicious than if this guy is a striking, well-dressed and classy looking woman. However, I’m going to be suspicious of BOTH.

            • No need to “sigh.” I didn’t take any of this personally, although you did direct a series of questions in my direction.

          • As for my children, I am allowed to be completely irrational.

            Well said, Sparty.

            I have a question, for any and all: my 15 year old daughter has a group of friends who have recently come out as gay/bi/whatever and atheist. For the sake of discussion, let’s assume they are sincere in these beliefs and orientations.

            We know and love many of these girls, know their parents, and have had them over many times over the years. My wife and I do not treat them any differently in personal interactions than before they ‘came out.’

            However, I am of the opinion that the frequent sleep overs with these girls are done for now, at any house.

            IMHO, 15 is too young to have this complication in a child’s life (an opinion echoed by many of the parents) and she should be focusing on other aspects of her identity and development. We have spoken with her about her friends, and she does not consider us homophobic (but does say certain other parents are, based on their words and actions) since we have not ever treated a child differently than always.

            Our reasoning is that a sleep over with a self proclaimed lesbian or bisexual girl is no different than a sleep over at a boy’s house: being the object of sexual interest is the key component we want to protect her from at this age. While this ‘identity’ thing may just be a ‘trendy’ fad in her circle, my wife and I feel that we cannot take that chance. In our minds, the risks are too great to allow her to be put in this situation, as much as we can prevent it.

            What do you think? Am I being reactionary and old fashioned, or appropriate?

            • “As for my children, I am allowed to be completely irrational.”

              While i understand, and agree to the general sentiment, this irrationality still does have its limits. A good example of this is the Good Samaritan who was beaten by the ignorant dad who “thought” the Samaritan was trying to abduct his daughter (despite the multiple eyewitnesses who overheard the Samaritan asking the child to ID her father, and the fact that the father’s own negligence led to the child wandering away in the first place).

              If you’re unfamiliar with the story, the father then berated the cops for not pressing charges (bc it was obvious the dude was trying to help), and then doxed him, “outing” him as an abductor, on Facebook. Im sure he “thought”, irrationally, that he was protecting his daughter, and other kids, when in reality, his complete irrationality blinded him to reason.

              • A fair point, CB. I did read that story, and came away with an understanding that the dad (and his family, perhaps) are a bit unstable, anger management wise. Embarrassment at letting a child get away could also have been a contributing factor.

                If I was the Good Samaritan, I would have also handled things differently, as was discussed in the thread at the time.

                If the father beat me, I would have pressed charges. We cannot allow such behavior to go unchallenged in society.

                • Very true; I don’t like judging the Samaritan, but, man, to let this dude punch you (when you clearly are in the right), to allow him to berate you and others (once you were past the point where it was obvious he was wrong), and to allow him to force you to flee your home by putting your personal info online, with no response at all? That’s not noble, it just enables more of this behavior in the future. This Trailer Trash is going to continue going through life, believing he’s “Teflon Cletus”

            • Personally, appropriate. A 15-year-old girl is totally unable to decide if she is or is not LGBTQ+. It sounds more like this was a group decision, possibly for shock value. My belief…you’re handling it exactly as you should.

              • A 15-year-old girl is totally unable to decide if she is or is not LGBTQ+.

                You cannot be serious? How old were you when you made that weighty decision that you were straight? Why would you think it would work any differently for someone of a different sexuality?

              • Kids know by that age. I don’t know if they fully understand if they are trans, but they certainly know if they are attracted to males or females. It was never anything that I consciously thought about, I just knew.

            • I actually have experience here!

              My mother thought one of my two best friends in high school was gay, and she put her foot down re sleepovers. (For the record, she wasn’t gay, but she was very tomboyish.) I will tell you that this damaged my friend to no end, and my pleading/explaining to my mother about “even if my friend were gay, that doesn’t mean that I would ever sleep with her because I’m not gay,” fell on deaf ears. In my early twenties, I did have a gay female roommate, and she used to laugh when I told her this story. She told me that the last thing gay girls want to do is try and turn straight girls, that it is hard enough having gay relationships in the first place.

              For what it is worth, my mom now regrets how she treated my friend and invites her over whenever I am back home.

              I think you should examine if you might have some male bias here. Girls are wired differently. There’s a reason why there are a million movies where the teenage boys persuade (or try to persuade) the girls to have sex. For the most part, it’s not an important part of our lives at that age — gay or straight.

              I would suggest allowing a sleepover, but perhaps just exerting a little extra supervision and reminding your daughter that any sexual activity at this age is inappropriate. My guess is that she is a good kid and will understand the parameters perfectly fine.

  6. They feel this way because the standards of sexual harassment, which do not require mens rea but only that the object of “unwanted advances” is made to feel uncomfortable or that the work environment has become “hostile,” seem arbitrary and unfair to them.

    I wonder how that came to be.

    • It came to be because the law had to step in when too many powerful men abused employees, and too many companies let them do it, and where manners and ethics should have ruled, the ham-handed law took over.

        • Mens rea is typically an element of crime – the intent to commit some crime against another or another’s property. Sexual harassment in employment cases usually hinge on a hostile work environment, which is really, really hard to disprove. It is almost a strict liability cause of action against the employer.


          • Sexual harassment isn’t a crime, but a civil matter. You don’t go to jail for sexual harassment. Therefore, no mens rea required.

  7. I work with all men. I am not kidding, I am the only woman in my entire division. These types of policies hurt women in the marketplace — if my bosses had this policy, I wouldn’t be able to work here.

    In my experience, especially when I was younger, I was the victim of out right harassment — partners propositioning me, some telling me that “everyone has a price,” one partner who routinely asked me out, another who took his pants off in my office, another who cornered me on an elevator …. the list goes on and on. I never had a relationship with anyone in my office — I never even flirted with anyone in my office. I do know of a few women who had affairs at my firms, but, for the most part, it was the men doing the pursuing. I acknowledge that this is anecdotal, but the Fatal Attraction women are outnumbered by the hound dogs.

    • I second everything Sparty has to say on this issue. I’m a generation older than she is but it was just the same in my era in big law firms. Her experience matches my wife’s in the corporate world. The dirty dogs outnumber the vamps by a factor of a zillion.

    • Sparty is right. This reflects human nature as much as our society.

      This is also why I oppose genderless bathrooms: men are predisposed to be hound dogs, and the bell curve centers to close to the ‘predator’ side.

      Just sayin’

      • Agreed. We weren’t put on Earth to make Gloria Allred rich. We were put on Earth to multiply. And it’s one of the things humans are good at. I’m a little surprised by the tenor of Jack’s post. He sounds surprisingly somewhat like a liberal or progressive in that he seems to think the only thing standing between humankind’s perfection is a few more good laws and policies and education. But he’s not that naive and he’s probably not saying that. I’d say “Honor they father and mother” is about all we really need on this subject. I’m not sure how you can honor your mother and not respect women.

        • How could the post suggest that “only thing standing between humankind’s perfection is a few more good laws” when the law isn’t mentioned in the post once? Where does the post suggest that human nature can be “perfected”? To the contrary, when I say most men are pigs, I mean always and forever.

          • Fair enough. I guess I just think this is one of those areas where even eloquent rationality like that expressed in your summary paragraph can’t even measure up to this task. It assumes people can be rational about this stuff. I don’t think they can. This will be problematic for generations to come.

            • Maybe some day we’ll all evolve into Dr. Spaaks. Cool and collected in all things. But I doubt it. It didn’t work out too well for the Shakers.

                • Whew! “Aspiration” That’s a word that’s fallen out of favor during our life times. When we were kids, almost everything was aspirational. Movies, TV, music. There were sly undertones, but still, for the most part, the idea was to be better.

      • This may be our most profound disagreement. I don’t think men are predisposed any more than women are. I think they’re taught though culture that it is not only acceptable, but expected of them.

          • You have a very Rousseau-like, Romantic outlook wherein all humans have to do is get back to their pure, natural state and everything will be harmonious. You should check out Camille Paglia’s writings. As do I, she believes civilization is civilizing rather than corrupting.

            • Hah. There are all sorts of conflicting messages sent about men’s behavior. Just look and the messages sent by Mr. and Mrs. Clinton.

              • What is the conflicting message in locker room banter? Why are you so defensive about the mention that you need to attack the Clintons? They’re products of the culture, it only makes sense that it would influence their behavior.

                No one has clean hands when it comes to perpetuating sex-role stereotypes.

                • “Sex-role stereotypes” is Authentic Frontier Gibberish. Stereotypes derive from observing repeated human behavior. Stereotypes don’t create human behavior. Humans aren’t born androgynous and then become educated into male or female.

                  • Bullshit. If society expects something of you good or bad, and everyone behaves toward you according to those expectations, you don’t think your behavior changes?

                    • Society expects me to be well endowed, good at sports, a good dancer, and love fried chicken, so my behavior changes to make it so?

                      But, I also hate watermelon and rap music, and have never had an ounce of desire to embrace either of those things, so…..

                    • i don’t think anything can make you well endowed if it isn’t already so. But if you’ve been encouraged to dance and eat fried chicken, if people are always offering you fried chicken. Does that not increase the chances that you’ll eat it?

                      I assume you don’t eat dogs, that somewhat taboo in the western world. If you were raised elsewhere, do you think you would do it?

                    • This “little” sub-thread has been an interesting read. The following jumped out at me.

                      valkygrrl wrote, “If society expects something of you good or bad, and everyone behaves toward you according to those expectations, you don’t think your behavior changes?”

                      There is something about that statement just doesn’t work for me. It does seems to be a prominent opinion of many people to the point of being almost universally accepted as a society norm regardless of its actual truth. What’s ignored with that opinion is that each of us have hardwired in our genetic structure certain traits that have nothing to do with society and some of those traits tend to shape our opinions and actions in-spite of outside forces from society.

                      Just to prove my point; what we as society choose to define as “mental illness” using medical professionals and in some cases strive to directly change behavior that is not society compliant but is genetically natural to the individual and steer that non-conforming behavior towards society norms by introducing medicines into the body. This is literal behavioral modification through chemical manipulation of the body to force compliance to today’s societal norms.

                      Furthermore; if the opinion “If society expects something of you good or bad, and everyone behaves toward you according to those expectations, you don’t think your behavior changes?” was universally correct then why do we continue to have problems in our society like crime? Our prisons are literally full of people that do not conform to society norms, how can this be explained if the society is the predominate force that changes behavior.

                      I’m sure that some of you can think of other examples, so let’s leave it there for discussion sake.

                      My point is that society can only affect the behavior(s) (sometimes only specific behaviors) of those within that society that are susceptible to being manipulated by society – which of course is the majority of society, but even that susceptibility is limited.

                      Question: What if today’s norms were to dramatically shift over time and society determines that thinking like a Liberal or Progressive is a mental illness and individuals that think like that should be chemically manipulated to think like the “normal” people. 😉


                    • Z, if you get some time, Google Thomas Szasz, then peruse his ideas and research on mental illness and diagnoses. Let me know what you think.

                    • Fifty Years After The Myth of Mental Illness by Thomas Szasz

                      Now I know why you referred me to Thomas Szasz; that was a very interesting read! I’ll have to read more.

                      I really like this closing passage…

                      “Formerly, when Church and State were allied, people accepted theological justifications for state-sanctioned coercion. Today, when Medicine and the State are allied, people accept therapeutic justifications for state-sanctioned coercion. This is how, some two hundred years ago, psychiatry became an arm of the coercive apparatus of the state. And this is why today all of medicine threatens to become transformed from personal therapy into political tyranny.”

                      Interesting how related my question above is to that passage.

                      I seem to recall reading something about using the word “illness” in “mental illness” is misuse of the word a while ago, I’ll have to ponder a little more on it but it certainly feels right to me that its use is misuse.

                      “Psychiatry is conventionally defined as a medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mental diseases. I submit that this definition, which is still widely accepted, places psychiatry in the company of alchemy and astrology and commits it to the category of pseudoscience.” Why so? The reason was plain: “there is no such thing as “mental illness.” “ Roy Porter

                      I also remember a brief conversation not too long after the 2016 election about psychologists are quacks, psychology being a pseudoscience and psychiatry was close behind and you seemed to agree with that. Is this at least part of the basis of your agreement?

                    • Sho’ nuff my friend. It’s also the main reason I retired when I did, 10 years ago.

                    • valkygrrl wrote, “If society expects something of you good or bad, and everyone behaves toward you according to those expectations, you don’t think your behavior changes?”

                      Consider that there is intentional and long term generational brainwashing but even then there are limitations…

                    • “Just to prove my point; what we as society choose to define as “mental illness” using medical professionals and in some cases strive to directly change behavior that is not society compliant but is genetically natural to the individual and steer that non-conforming behavior towards society norms by introducing medicines into the body. This is literal behavioral modification through chemical manipulation of the body to force compliance to today’s societal norms.”

                      You only have to observe the evolution of the Diagnostics & Statistics manual, compared with emerging societal norms, to see that this is true.

                • The funny thing about locker room banter is that no one with half a brain believes it. It’s just bravado. No one within earshot believes it.

                  • You don’t know that. A lot of so called “banter” isn’t funny at all. Call a guy “gay” or other implied synonyms and it will begin to stick. If it goes on and on, and he fights back, then he’s just being “on the defensive” which makes it that much worse.

            • It’s probably a mixture of both nature and nurture. Fact: Testosterone is a powerful chemical. Fact: Education and culture are powerful forces. Hypothesis: A culture which teaches more healthy ways to manage the effects of testosterone would have lower rates of sexual harassment and assault and less excuse-making when men express those effects in a toxic way.

              • Doubtless true, Chris. All I’m saying, as I tried to suggest to Jack above, is don’t hold your breath waiting for improvement. And don’t expect policies like the Obama Education Department’s “Dear Colleague” letter to help.

                And don’t expect all cultures to be positive in this respect. This is my gripe with hip hop “culture.” How far has it set back respect for women? Yet it is highly regarded in popular culture. Go figure.

              • “Banter” sets the parameters of what’s accepted. If enough people say it, it’ll become expected of others, if it spreads to enough people then the topic of the banter will be considered acceptable. Banter move from subculture (Bros in locker rooms) to culture (Bros.)

                By the way, there’s a job opening for Office of Government Ethics Director. Gonna apply?

                  • But Ethics Czar is an imperial level title. Your son would be an ethics arch-duke. Think of the alliances you could make marrying off your progeny. How many swords, do you think, a position like that would bring to house Marshall?

                    • As you might guess, anyone who eschews the more conventional paths available to one with my experience and credentials to pursue the thankless mission of professional ethics is not motivated by such things. Or especially rational, come to think of it…

                    • ” anyone who eschews the more conventional paths available to one with my experience and credentials to pursue the thankless mission of professional ethics is not motivated by such things.”

                      I wonder what your sphere of influence would be in such a position?

                • Valky and Jack: Sorry I first didn’t read further down when I hit Other Bill’s bit about locker room “banter.” You covered it.

        • Agreed to a point. Testosterone has a lot to do with it too, but I think the cultural acceptance is what makes them act on it. I do see this changing for the better though.

          • I think the only determinant is what children learn from their parents. It’s up to mothers, in large part, to raise decent boys and men. The dads as well, but I just think it’s a guy’s relationship with his mother that determines how he will treat women in his life. Maybe it’s some kind of modeling. And of course how the father treats the mother is important, but I think it’s the mother that carries most of the weight. I also think daughters’ relationship with their father is important in determining how girls relate to guys. Maybe dragon_dragon can shed some informed light on this. But my point is, I think familial pressure is more important than societal pressure or norms. It’s too deeply ingrained a behavior. It has to come from very early on and within the family.So it’s up to you, Sparty, to make sure your girls know how to take care of themselves vis-a-vis guys. But you know that.

            • OB, you have, perhaps inadvertently, hit on something. Up until roughly 12-13, young boys stay closer to their mothers. Young girls, to their fathers. Thus, it becomes incumbent on BOTH parents to learn, develop, beg, borrow or steal, parenting skills.

              • And yet…a way-too-high percentage of them don’t give a flying &^%$ about acquiring parenting skills, and would rather wing it/do what was done to them. Of all the things I hate in this world, poor parenting is at the top of the list, by far.

                  • People probably feel overwhelmed by the array of choices you have when looking for parenting advice. Child psychologists? Self-help books? Clergy?Family & friends?

              • Thanks for the fact, dd. I’m a momma’s boy. Which I’m fine with. It’s has made things considerably easier for women in my life, certainly my wife, and thus for me as well.

        • I don’t think men are predisposed any more than women are. I think they’re taught though culture that it is not only acceptable, but expected of them.

          valkygrrl, as much as it pains me to say this… we may actually agree here.

          Since we do not know how men would act sans socialization, we can only speculate on ‘cave men’ and look to fiction (Tarzan? Planet of the Apes? Pete from ‘Pete’s Dragon?’) as to what interactions would look like between the sexes with no cultural or social constraints or knowledge. We can guess from animal interactions, but such humans would have additional intelligence and complex feelings, making such comparisons limited at best. Men are stronger and faster, generally, so there is that.

          Because you have a point: all of my examples ARE ‘tainted,’ if you will, by societal upbringing and seen through that lens. This means that culture does teach the sexes, and it is ingrained from birth by the behavior of those around the baby.

          Culture generally teaches men to be aggressive (to compete), to provide for the community, and to protect the weak, young and old. There are exceptions and gradations to each of those (Islam comes to mind on protecting), but this seems to be the basic bedrock cultures are built on, because they are necessary for the culture to survive. If these are not taught in a culture, historically other cultures will destroy it (however that happens) because the other cultures will be more successful (more babies (greater population), more ‘weak’ but brilliant inventors (innovation), wisdom passed from the experienced oldsters (knowledge accumulation), stronger families, etc.)

          When daily survival is not in jeopardy, and population increases past needed replacement birthrate, the bell curve naturally spreads out. There are more variations in attitude, personality, and inclination among individuals, male or female. Men have (or want) to compete for female attention in this situation. This is socially acceptable, within limits. Men have been socialized to pursue women. Many men are not of the inclination to victimize others, or have been taught discipline and/or social mores to keep impulses in check. A certain percentage of men are, as Jack describes, pigs (we can argue with percentages and gradations later.) Of the worse pigs, a certain percentage will take advantage of a female, given opportunity. Agreed so far?

          Given those qualifications, I reassert my observation that “men are predisposed to be hound dogs, and the bell curve centers to close to the ‘predator’ side.” If this is a result of culture or inherent in the Y chromosome matters little to the assertion. Men ARE like this, and no amount of wishing will change that. It is observable and generally accepted by society as a cost of our culture, if not necessarily ‘just what a male is.’

          Now, if this trait is truly a cultural one, then there is hope to change it, if a society can protect itself from another culture destroying it and supplanting those changes with the baseline above. For I also assert that a culture that cannot protect itself will fall to one that can, either through absorption or conquest, when contact is made between the two. History bears this out.

          Note that I am not suggesting a right or wrong here: just statement of facts in evidence as I have observed them. Those could be debated, as the implications are complex and cross ideological lines rather quickly.

          • If I suggested a couple pieces of science fiction would you consider reading them? They’re popular enough that your local library should have them so no investment needed.

              • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin is hardly new, it came out in 1969 and won the Hugo and Nebula awards.

                A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers is new, it’s a stand alone sequel to The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet The latter was an enjoyable yarn and quite good for a debut novel, but not needed to read and enjoy Orbit It’s a Hugo finalist this year.

                Then there’s the Imperial Radch books by Ann Leckie, only a few years old. Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, Ancillary Mercy. Justice won the Hugo for best novel, the latter two were finalists with Sword losing to The Three Body Problem (I voted for The Goblin Emperor that year,) and Mercy losing to The Fifth Season (I voted for Mercy and placed Seveneves second.)

                So five books, all award nominated two winners, one might or might not win in Helsinki this year.

                  • You do realize they’re going to delve into issues of socialization and alternative society set-ups. Sci-fi is all about, ‘what if.’

                    • Starship Troopers, Honor Harrington, anything by Piers Anthony, Armor, Hubbard… alternate societies are old hat.

                      Unless you think I will alter my worldview significantly from the fertile imagination of a sci-fi author?

                      Starship Troopers makes a lot of points… not all valid OR rational. But it made me think, as did all of Heinlein’s stuff.

                    • I too like books that make me think. I also like bog-standard adventure stories, Honor Harrington, Kris Longknife, Esmay Suiza, Karrigan G’ladheon, Mercy Thomspson, Paksenarrion Dorthindottr, Kate Daniels.

                    • V,

                      We share Scifi in common, like Spartan and others here.

                      So are our different political viewpoints cultural, chromosomal, or intellectual?

                      I am betting cultural with a large addition of intellectual. What do you think?

                    • Funny story: at 5, I watched Gilligan’s Island every day in the summer. The show drove my mom crazy, so she changed the channel to the only other station we could get that day, which was showing… Star Trek. I threw a fit, and was sent to my room for a nap. I snuck into the hall to rebel and watched the show for lack of anything to do… and was hooked.

                      I think it was the episode where Kirk had to anger Spock to break the spell of the pacifist flowers… but that was a long time ago.

                    • Yes, always about “what if,” but the hero almost always is a strong individual who works outside the system. That’s why everyone can love sci-fi regardless of political beliefs.

                    • “Dovahkiin, Dovahkiin, naal ok zin los vahriin,
                      Wah dein vokul mahfaeraak ahst vaal!
                      Ahrk fin norok paal graan fod nust hon zindro zaan,
                      Dovahkiin, fah hin kogaan mu draal!”

                      Dragonborn song from Skyrim

                    • Have you tried Witcher III or Dishonored (I or II). I love Skyrim, but I love these worlds even more.

                    • My sons play Dishonored, but my time is too limited these days… pesky job, exercise, and family duties get in the way

                      I have snuck in a round or two of Star Wars, Command and Conquer:Generals, and Lord of the Rings on my PC. They are old but good time wasters.

              • If you count socialization then yes men are predisposed. But women are sexual creatures too. I contend that if men and women were socialized the same way, the number of lotharios (lotharias?) would be similar between the sexes.

                We’re born screaming and unable to control our limbs. The rest is learned behavior. I don’t discount that people have different personalities, I just don’t accept that what’s between your legs, instead of what society says about what’s between your legs, is what determines it.

              • Which is why I suggested the books that I did. They offer more to think about and they do it in a more comprehensive way than a 200 word blog comment could.

    • “the Fatal Attraction women are outnumbered by the hound dogs.”

      That may be, but comparing Fatal Attraction women to hound dogs is an inappropriate equivalence.

      The Fatal Attraction character was a dangerously psychotic, passive-aggressive, OCD driven, predatory stalker.

      I’m not condoning or excusing their conduct, but hound dogs (I suspect not intended as flattery) are males who indulge in indiscriminate sexual behavior with multiple partners.

      Wouldn’t females that indulge in indiscriminate sexual behavior with multiple partners be referred to as, in an equally unflattering manner, round-heeled sluts?

      • I wasn’t comparing the two. There are lots of other female stereotypes that are not necessarily interchangeable. I could have said Sharon Stone, gold diggers, wanna be wives no. 3, M.R.S.’ers.

    • Since more or less all the other important points and perspectives have already been covered, my only remaining question is this:

      Where did these men get the idea that this was in any way an acceptable way to behave? A guy took off his pants? How did he explain that one to the boss? (Please tell me he at least got fired, if not prosecuted.)

      It makes me suspect there’s some sort of warped vestige of the “women-aren’t-real-people” idea that survives in the minds of some impressionable boys, passed down from sleazy fathers, uncles, cousins, et cetera. Perhaps a man’s mother wasn’t a strong or good role model, so they didn’t have the starting point of respecting her. Perhaps she was a great role model, but he compartmentalizes that away with a Madonna-whore complex (and through the miracle of wishful thinking, any woman he desires becomes a “whore” and thus undeserving of respect).

      Contributing factors to the survival of this destructive meme probably include the following, in no particular order: wishful thinking (because wouldn’t it be nice if boldness got us everything we wanted?), bias and bigotry (because it’s easier on the brain to model huge numbers of people using a stereotype), arrogance, lack of empathy, resentment of the heavy-handed feminists who dehumanize men and push unreasonable rules, terrible role models, and outright stupidity.

      I guess I need to amend my question. Knowing where this probably came from, why aren’t we identifying people who grow up like this and exposing them to healthier paradigms? It could be part of sex ed. Sex ethics? Alternatively, if we trust neither the parents nor the teachers to teach appropriate paradigms, we could create a powerful meme codifying respect (and deconstructing disrespect) and package it in a popular work of fiction, or just in an institution or cultural role. (This ties in with what Other Bill was saying about aspiration.) We need modern-day cowboys, or space heroes, or something.

  8. “So because you’re afraid of being accused unjustly of sexual harassment, you engage in sexual discrimination?”

    That is absolutely the nuttiest thing I’ve heard since the CNN clowns who are continuously stepping into the dung heap of their own making…

    Its not discrimination – its common sense self defense…

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