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Against Overgendering Harassment

About 30% of the victims of sexual harassment are men. About 20% of the perpetrators of sexual harassment are women.

Don’t believe me? In a Quinnipiac poll, 60% of women and 20% of men said they’d been sexually harassed. Opinium, which sounds like a weird drug, reports 20% of women vs. 7% of men. YouGov poll in Germany finds 43% of women and 12% of men. The overall rates vary widely depending on how the pollsters frame the question, but the ratio is pretty consistent.

The data on perpetrators is less clear. The best I can find is this Australian study finding that 21% of harassers are women. The German poll finds it’s 25%. I’m less confident on this one, but 20% seems like a conservative guess.

If you prefer anecdotes to data, you can sift through this Reddit thread with 2474 comments. For example:

I’m a junior ncm in the Canadian forces. I had a chief harass me daily which resulted in administrative actions when I tried resisting her abuse. My introduction to her was when she was telling the 20 or so people “Under her” that her dildos name is George…it went downhill from there and eventually she was groping me on the daily. I requested a geographic posting to get away from that lunatic and get an investigation underway but I was told by my WO that “these things happen for a reason”. Eight months later I was suicidal and that WO was signing my counselling and probation with her husband.

I went up to get a drink in a crowded bar and a rather large woman ruffled my hair and said ‘I like this one’. She then started thrusting into my backside. I wasn’t sure how to respond… I just kinda waited for it to stop. It was pretty uncomfortable and I felt kinda vulnerable. In the wake of all these sexual harassment stories, I looked back on this moment and considered for the first time that that was actual sexual harassment. Huh.

Don’t believe random Redditors, but do believe random bloggers? Then for what it’s worth I’ve been sexually harassed by two women, and I see no reason to think my experience is anything other than typical.

But then is it odd that so few of the recent high-profile victims of sexual harassment have been men, and so few of the high-profile perpetrators women? No. Everyone has made it clear from the start that they don’t want to hear about this. The viral Facebook message that started #MeToo – at least the one I saw – urged women to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment, and men to come forward with stories of times they perpetrated sexual harassment. The slogan “BELIEVE WOMEN” got enshrined into a mantra, pretty ominous if you’re a guy wondering whether people will believe your harasser’s story over yours. The mainstream media strongly discouraged men from coming forward with their own cases, with articles like I’m a man who has been sexually harassed – but I don’t think it’s right for men to join in with #MeToo. Their excuse was the usual – it’s not “structural oppression”, so it doesn’t count.

(The “structural oppression” model is false, by the way. Homosexual male harassment is more prevalent than the percent gay men in the population would imply, suggesting that gay men harass men more often than straight men harass women. The obvious explanation for gender differences in harassment has always been that men constitute 80% of sexual harassers for the same reason they constitute 83% of arsonists, 81% of car thieves, and 85% of burglars. Since most men are straight, most victims are women; when the men happen to be gay, they victimize men. Men probably get victimized disproportionately often compared to the straight/gay ratio because society views harassing women as horrible but harassing men as funny. If this theory is right then it’s men who are the structural victims, which means it’s your harassment that doesn’t count and you’re the ones who shouldn’t be allowed to talk about it. The “it only matters if it’s structural” game isn’t so much fun now, is it?)

Could this kind of ploy really shut up everybody? It didn’t have to. Men absolutely came forward with stories of harassment by high-profile women in Hollywood, and they were summarily ignored. By freak coincidence I came across this story from last month where Mariah Carey’s bodyguard accused her of sexually harassing him. Carey is much higher-profile than most of the men involved. But she didn’t even publish an apology, or a denial, or try to pick holes in his story. She just assumed nobody would care – and she was right.

Having silenced or ignored all men who might be sexually harassed, the media proceeded to treat sexual harassment in the most gendered way humanly possible, constantly reinforcing that only men can do it and only women can suffer it. The Guardian, being commendably honest about its priorities: We Must Challenge All Men About Sexual Harassment. Newsweek worries about how Women Are Attacked By Men In Almost Every Workplace. The Independent thinks the story is how powerful men seemingly never face the consequences of their actions toward women.

On the meta-level, the same publications pushed the narrative that men can’t possibly understand sexual harassment, or men will never believe accusers’ stories, or men refuse to believe other men can be harassers. The Guardian writes about Men Who Are Silent After #MeToo, and the Washington Post about how Some Men Disagree About What Counts As Sexual Harassment. Do any women disagree about what counts as sexual harassment? Yes, the stats show that they disagree exactly as much as the men do – but who cares? The story is that women are always victims and totally understand exactly what’s going on, and men are always perpetrators with their fingers in their ears denying that a problem exists. We are told to worry about Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Harassment (against themselves) but about Why Men Don’t Speak Up About Sexual Harassment (that they see happening against women). Needless to say, every line of evidence we have shows men are less likely to report harassment that happens to them than women are.

Is this really that bad? Might the 3:1 ratio justify focusing on women? Our society already has an answer to this, and in every other case, the answer is no.

I mean, for one thing, we’re telling people to stop using the phrase “pregnant mothers” since sometimes transgender men get pregnant. It seems kind of contradictory to think of this as a pressing issue, but also think that the fact that only 30% of harassment victims are men means that we should always use female pronouns for generic harassment victims, and always generically call perpetrators “males in position of power”.

But there’s also a deeper issue. Suppose I write about how we need to do more to support the victims of terrorism. Sounds good. But what if I write about how we need to do more to support the Christian victims of Muslim terrorism? Sounds…like maybe I have an agenda. If I write story after story about how Christians need to be on the watch out for Muslim terrorists, but Muslims need to be on the watch out for other Muslims being terrorists, and if I tell Muslim victims of Christian terrorism to stay silent because that’s not “structural oppression” – then that “maybe” turns to “obviously”. This is true even if the numbers show terrorists are disproportionately Muslim.

Or suppose I write about how we need to do more to help the victims of crime. Again, sounds good. What if I write about how we need to do more to help white victims of black criminals? Again, this does not sound so good, unless you happen to be Richard Spencer. If I write articles like “We Must Challenge All Blacks About Crime” or “Whites Are Attacked By Blacks In Almost Every Neighborhood”, then probably I am Richard Spencer. This is true regardless of whether the statistics show a racial skew in perpetrators. Nobody would accept “yeah, but I’m right about what the ratio is” as an excuse that your motives were pure.

Frames like “We need to do more to support the victims of terrorism” are an attempt to come together to stop an important social problem. Frames like “We need to do more to support the Christian victims of Muslim terrorism” are a hit job on the outgroup. Do I think that sexual harassment is being used this way? I have no other explanation for the utter predominance of genderedness in the conversation.

I’ve previously talked about two visions of social justice. The first vision tries to erase group differences to create a world free from stereotypes and hostility. The second vision tries to attack majority groups and spread as many stereotypes as possible about them in the hopes that the ensuing hostility raises the position of minorities. I think the gendered nature of the conversation is deliberate, being done with exactly this vision and for exactly the same reason some people talk about “Christian victims of Muslim terrorism”. I think this is unfortunate. Why?

Because it ensures that nobody has more than half the picture.

I wonder if the woman who wrote this knows any of her close female friends who are harassers?

I mean, statistically, some of them have to be. According to the German study, 6% of women admit to being harassers. Know more than a dozen women? One of them’s probably a harasser. Don’t know which one it is? Congratulations, now you can understand why some men don’t know which of their same-gender friends is a harasser either.

There’s a truism that rich people can’t understand what it’s like to be poor. Why don’t you just get a minimum wage job, earn $7/hour = $60/day = $18000/year, save half of it, after few years you’ve got enough to go to a cheap college and get your ticket to the middle class? It’s possible to figure out what’s wrong with this from a third-person perspective, but it’s much easier to get the first-person perspective and be like “Oh, I guess that’s what it’s like”.

The reason this tweeter can’t understand how it’s hard to believe that your friends are sexual harassers is because she’s never tried to consider the question from a first-person perspective. I predict the sort of person who makes tweets like this is exactly the sort of person who would say “How dare you say any of my female friends could be sexual harassers! Don’t you even understand structural oppression?!”

Likewise, do you think this woman knows any men who are victims of sexual harassment? If you were a man who’d been sexually harassed, would you admit it to this woman and expect a sympathetic ear? Once she contemplates why she doesn’t know so many men who have been sexually harassed, maybe she’ll understand why some men don’t know so many women.

But more than that, if men were included in the conversation – if it were understood that a man who was sexually harassed by a female Hollywood celebrity would have the slightest chance at a fair hearing – then maybe they would feel like it was more in their self-interest to support victims.

And if women were included in the conversation as potential perpetrators, they might understand why some people find it scary when people lose their careers over unsubstantiated allegations.

Instead, since we’ve chosen a narrative where one side can only ever be a victim and the other can only ever be perpetrators, we’ve made it impossible for anyone to see both perspectives. Self-interested men worry only about how to avoid allegations, self-interested women worry only about how to make sure all allegations are believed, and nobody worries about how to make a system where they expect fair treatment no matter which role they find themselves in.

The solution is to treat harassment the same way we treat terrorism. It’s something that’s bad. It’s something that some groups might do more often than other groups, but this is not the Only Relevant Factor About It, and we are suspicious of people who seem more interested in stereotyping the groups involved than in making sure everyone of every group gets justice.

And once we get good evidence that someone is guilty, we have drones bomb their house. Seriously, the terrorism model has a lot going for it.

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844 Responses to Against Overgendering Harassment

  1. John Richards says:

    “I’ve previously talked about two visions of social justice. The first vision tries to erase group differences to create a world free from stereotypes and hostility. The second vision tries to attack majority groups and spread as many stereotypes as possible about them in the hopes that the ensuing hostility raises the position of minorities.”

    I feel like neither of these are a good option for social justice. What does “erase group differences” mean? You correlate stereotypes and hostility, but the two aren’t necessarily intertwined. I hold a lot of stereotypes about the Finns, for example, but I’m not an anti-Finn. A world without group differences is a world without different cultures, right? A bland, technocratic world where everyone runs around in beige jump suits?

    Group differences don’t have to be a bad thing. The true social progress comes from acknowledging difference, living with difference in a pluralistic and loving way. Anti-semitism is a good example. The solution to anti-semitism isn’t to “de-Jew” Jews or to assimilate them, but rather to acknowledge that the various Jewish cultures do have a distinctive flavor, and to celebrate what positive things they bring to the world.

    • Aapje says:

      A world without group differences is a world without different cultures, right? A bland, technocratic world where everyone runs around in beige jump suits?

      A world with maximum tolerance for infinite cultural differences is a world where you can never assume anything about anyone and thus can never trust anyone to behave according to a shared morality. Because people are expected to be maximally tolerant even at their own expense, the most aggressive and those who act always get their way over others.

      I don’t see how this is less of a dystopia than having no differences at all.

      Isn’t it more sensible that we need a balance, rather than maximize one value?

  2. Humbert McHumbert says:

    Perhaps what’s making the difference between Mariah Carey and Louis CK/Matt Lauer is that Carey only has a single accuser?

    As this response points out, there have been several men in trouble for harassment against men (Spacey, George Takei).

    Plus, as some others have pointed out, the most relevant number would seem to be “What percentage of total incidents of sexual harassment happen to women vs men?” as opposed to “What percentage of women vs men have ever been sexually harassed in their whole life?”

  3. Worley says:

    Everything you say is true … But (and I’m a man here), we really don’t care about random bad things happening to men. There’s lots of cultural baggage about how men should be strong and able to take care of themselves, but at heart, we really don’t care if 10% of men die to random ugly causes, and we *certainly* don’t care if 10% of men are shut out of the breeding market (die evolutionarily) due to random ugly causes.

    This attitude has softened a bit over time — at least it’s now legally possible for a man to be raped — but things haven’t changed all that much.

    I’d like to see some study if this is a constant over human cultures. But it seems that this is likely instinctive. The females of the tribe are very much a limiting resource for the growth and dominance of the tribe. The males of the tribe are limiting only if you don’t have enough of them to expend in warfare against other tribes.

  4. Murphy says:

    I think I just accidentally wrongly reported a comment. there doesn’t appear to be any confirmation of “are you sure you want to report” so if you miss-click once it immediately reports it.

  5. Eddy says:

    I don’t quite understand the ‘it’s structural’ argument (in a steelmanned version) and thus Scott’s response with the stats on gay men, can someone explain both of these for me?

    • Viliam says:

      If a group G makes X% of the population, but they are more than X% of targets of some bad thing… and you also have a theory of why society would do this specifically to them… then when the bad thing happens to a person from G it’s “structural”, and when the same bad thing happens to a person outside G it’s just random.

      The motte is that society sometimes actually has a meme which encourages doing something to some people; for example that you should kick gingers. But even if that is true, there will still be other reasons why people get kicked; and then someone could use that as an argument against the existence of the meme, like “hey, it’s not true that our society has a rule to kick gingers; I am not a ginger, and someone kicked me yesterday in the bar fight”. Then the response “that was not structural” is an abbreviation for saying that there are two kinds of reasons for being kicked, one specifically for gingers, the other for everyone, and your experience of being kicked belongs to the latter category, which does not disprove the existence of the former category.

      And the bailey is insisting that non-gingers never get kicked, or making up pseudomathematical arguments how a non-ginger is 100 000 times more likely to mutate into a spiderman than to be kicked. Or, insisting that when non-gingers are kicked, they don’t actually feel the pain, or that their suffering is morally irrelevant for some other reason, and therefore a non-ginger complaining about being kicked should just be laughed at, or otherwise silenced.

      • Eddy says:

        Thanks for that, I’m not sure I totally get that’s the structural argument though, these explanations usually involve words like ‘hierarchical’ and ‘structure’. I think what you’re describing is merely disproportionate impact.

        E.g. Suppose 10 rich people control the colleges and jack up the price so the remaining 90 poor people can’t afford it. Poor people are being kept out of college in direct proportion to their making up of the overall population, but this denial of their access to education would be no doubt a form of structural (class/income based) oppression. Or have I missed something?

        • Viliam says:

          Yes, “structural” = “disproportionate impact” plus a specific kind of explanation (some conspiracy of people in power, whether conscious or not). But if you have the disproportional impact, and the victim group is one of those whom the ‘right side of history’ considers worthy of empathy, making up the explanation is a simple exercise.

          Poor people are being kept out of college in direct proportion to their making up of the overall population, but this denial of their access to education would be no doubt a form of structural (class/income based) oppression.

          For a traditional Marxist, this would be an obvious example of structural oppression. For a SJW, talking about poverty and class is a gaffe; the SJW would instead spin this story to talk about poor women, and make it an example of misogyny. But even in that version, it would be considered structural.

  6. shenanigans24 says:

    I don’t know if I’ve ever asked for sex in my life. I’ve had sex plenty of times but I’ve always just read social cues made a move, reacted to the reaction, etc. By some definitions I’m a rapist for that. In fact if accused I could not say I received verbal consent or even asked for it. It was however always consensual.

    I have has sex with my wife by persuading her even when I don’t think she wanted to at first. And she has done the same to me. By some definitions that’s rape.

    I have had sex with someone after we were drinking. By most definitions that’s rape. In fact nearly everyone I know has done the same and are doing the same at a bar or club near you. All rapists I suppose.

    Our society in general has a very unhealthy view of sex. There’s a public claim of how sex “should be” that is totally divorced from how sex actually is.

  7. Prussian says:

    But there’s also a deeper issue. Suppose I write about how we need to do more to support the victims of terrorism. Sounds good. But what if I write about how we need to do more to support the Christian victims of Muslim terrorism? Sounds…like maybe I have an agenda. If I write story after story about how Christians need to be on the watch out for Muslim terrorists, but Muslims need to be on the watch out for other Muslims being terrorists, and if I tell Muslim victims of Christian terrorism to stay silent because that’s not “structural oppression” – then that “maybe” turns to “obviously”. This is true even if the numbers show terrorists are disproportionately Muslim.

    This is false equivalency. There is a world of difference between:

    1.) people doing bad things on their own steam because they give in to their base instincts
    2.) people doing bad things as a matter of ideology and state sanction.

    Harassment in the west is an example of number 1. Islamic jihad is an example of number 2.

    A parallel would be racism. There is a difference between casual racism done by people who are jerks (model 1) and the ideological and state supported racism of the Confederacy, the Third Reich, or North Korea. You can say, talking about type 1 racism that all victims should be taken into account, even if it is not all equal (e.g. victims of anti-asian racism suffer less than victims of anti-black racism; it’s still bad). But that argument is completely invalid when you are talking about type 2 racism – it is completely okay to say you are 100% against the fanatical racism of the Nazis or of the Confederacy – because it is a distinct, legal and ideological entity, not a diffuse ‘original sin’.

    Back to harassment vs islamic jihad… Here’s some facts:

    There are thirteen counties that would execute me as an atheist.
    There have been four major islamic genocides in my lifetime alone.
    Almost every single majority islamic country has persecution of its non-muslim minorities.

    There is simply no comparable case with harassment. There are no state supporters of sexual harassment; even neanderthalers like Bill Clinton & Donald Trump do not push through legislation saying, “Sexual Harassment – yay!” There are no widespread ideological advocates saying in round terms that sexual harassment is a good thing and should be encouraged as a Holy Duty.

    All of those things, however, are 100% true of islamic jihad. That is why it is absolutely legit to say, “I want to help Christian victims of Muslim jihad” if you are talking about, say, the Middle East or the Sudan, for the exact same reason that it is absolutely legit to say “I am supporting the black victims of white racism” when talking about the Confederacy or the segregationist south or Apartheid South Africa.

    (N.B.: the reason saying “I’m helping white victims of black crime” is repellent is because crime is case 1.)

    *sighs* Scott Alexander is a good guy. He has a rare intellectual honesty and generosity, and a willingness to consider arguments that run counter to his own. But on this subject, he seems to have an instinct of evasion. I don’t think he’s ever read a single serious work that argues against his position on this, or read any of the arguments there. I get why – I felt the same way. These are horrible facts, genuinely disturbing facts, to face. Yet the world isn’t what what we want it to be.

  8. Damien says:

    This piece is a good counterbalance to the typical narrative, but has several issues:

    1. Statistics on sexual harassment and sexual assault have poor methodology, mixing together central and non-central offenses. All of the prevalence claims about sexual harassment or sexual assault (e.g. “1 in 5 women” have been sexually assaulted) should be taken with a gigantic grain of salt. This means we also have to take the male victimization rates with a grain of salt, too. It’s not clear whether males and females answering these surveys are talking about the same things. Everyone—on all sides—who is trying to do any sort of politics based on these prevalence numbers just needs to stop.

    2. “Sexual harassment” is a really bad concept: conflating verbal, non-verbal, plausibly-wanted, and implausibly-wanted advances. There is no “true” prevalence of this gigantic grab-bag category. I get that Scott is trying to counter the narrative on sexual harassment among good people who have compulsory belief in this concept because it is required by middle-class society and HR—but it should be taboo’ed by anyone who wants to think clearly about this subject.

    3. It’s a bad analogy to compare inter-gender offenses with racial crime or religious terrorism. First, in “sexual harassment” it’s the “protected group” experiencing most of the victimization, while in the other examples, it’s the other way around. The analogy between these things will fall flat for people who always side with protected groups: if you side with women, blacks, and Muslims, then there is nothing wrong with protesting discussion of black crime and Muslim terrorism, while shouting from the rooftops about male-on-female sexual harassment.

    Second, it’s likely that the race and religious examples have much more lop-sided ratios that the gender case. If you believe that there is no Christian-perpetrated equivalent of 9/11 or Rotherham, then it makes sense to believe that the religious terrorism case is more unilateral (other people, of course, would claim that it’s unilateral the other way, based on Middle East bombing by the West, wars, etc…).

    We need to stop these analogies between gender, race, and religion of the form “if you wouldn’t say X on the subject of racial conflict then you shouldn’t make an argument of a similar form on the subject of race.” Such a move is operating at the level of respectability taboos about what is acceptable to say about certain groups, and then importing that taboo by analogy into another discussion where it is probably misleading. This obscures the reality that some groups do have more one-sided conflicts than other groups do.

    • gbdub says:

      this gigantic grab-bag category

      I think we can all agree that grabbing a man’s bag is harassment, and certainly workplace inappropriate *ducks*

    • takashoru says:

      Hmm, very well reasoned. I agree with your point 3, and largely skipped that section of Scott’s post as a result.

  9. Tatterdemalion says:

    I am sceptical of your statistics on the fraction of people who have been harassed who are male, for the same reason I’m sceptical of all such things: they’re based on self-reporting.

    I don’t think it’s an even remotely safe assumption that likelihood of reporting a given experience as harassment is not strongly correlated with gender. So it might be that 25% of those who have been harassed are male, but it might very well not be; the absence of good data shouldn’t increase our faith in bad.

    • gbdub says:

      I don’t think it’s an even remotely safe assumption that likelihood of reporting a given experience as harassment is not strongly correlated with gender.

      I agree – but if you had to make a guess, would you expect men to under- or over-report sexual harassment? I rather strongly suspect it is under. If nothing else, women have been told to expect it and look out for it much more than men have. Merely being reminded frequently that something might happen to you makes you more likely to notice/remember when it does.

      • Tatterdemalion says:

        A priori I would agree with you – my guess would have been that men would be less likely than women to report the same experience as sexual harassment.

        But I’d also have guessed that the ratio of likelihood of experiencing it was much lower than 1:3, and I’d have more confidence in the second guess than the first, so I still view “men are overreporting more/underreporting less than women” as the most likely explanation (although obviously I’m far from certain of that).

        One distinction that I think may be relevant is between “reporting sexual harassment” and “answering yes when asked by a survey whether you have ever been sexually harassed”.

        • Thegnskald says:

          So, given weak evidence, you don’t update the belief that says the evidence is wrong, and instead update the belief that says the evidence might be strong?

          • Tatterdemalion says:

            Given weak evidence that contradicts my beliefs, I continue to hold those beliefs, but with less confidence than previously.

        • gbdub says:

          ThatsNotHowAnyOfThisWorks.gif

          We know how often men self-report harassment – it’s in the study! This number is either an over-, under-, or on-the-money assessment of the true rate.

          You and I both would have agreed, prior to seeing the study, that any self reported rate of male harassment victimization would be low. We both would have agreed that the actual rate of men would probably be lower than that for women.

          Upon seeing the actual self-reported rate, we both get evidence that the “true rate” is closer between men and women than we would have guessed. So we should update our belief on that.

          But why on earth should we update our belief on how likely men are to self report given actual victimization? There is zero new evidence for that.

          Keep in mind, if you disbelieve the 20% number, you are arguing that, not only are men over-reporting, but they are over-reporting relative to women who are over-reporting less. I don’t think either of us have any priors that would justify that assumption?

  10. Viliam says:

    I also had a problem to fully imagine how unwanted female attention could be bad… until one day, a woman tried to blackmail me.

    At that time, my favorite way of spending free time was walking through local parks and talking. I often did it with my friends. I sometimes used it as a way to get familiar with new people: when I met someone interesting online, and learned that they live in my area, I often proposed them to take a walk from place X to Y and have a chat. I met a few interesting people this way.

    With this woman it started similarly. I was in a mood to take a walk, my friends were busy at the moment, and I remembered that I have recently debated someone online who mentioned living near my area… so I sent her a private message, whether she would like to meet me in real life and have a talk while walking. She agreed, we walked and talked. She turned out to be somewhat weird and boring, so I was prepared to say “thank you, goodbye” at the end, and not invite her anymore.

    But she asked me when are we going to meet again. I was like “uhm… I don’t know… I am quite busy during the following weeks”, but she kept pushing pretty hard, and asked about every specific day during the next week, so at the end I just said “you know, I actually don’t want to meet you offline anymore” only to stop her. That really offended her. She accused me of “playing with her” with a tirade progressing from sobbing to anger. Somehow, she reframed me into a predator that needs to be punished.

    The she told me she was married. (First I was like “huh, now I have absolutely no idea where this is going”.) She told me that her husband is a strong guy, and that if she tells him that I tried to seduce her, he will probably break my neck. And the only way for me to avoid this fate is… to choose a specific day within the next week when we will meet again. (With the assumption that we would later meet again, and again.) When I make up my mind, I am supposed to send her an e-mail.

    (At that moment, she knew my real name, because I used it at the website where we met. My full name is quite unique, and it is not difficult to google more data about me.)

    When I got home, I had no idea what to do next. But after I calmed down a bit, I decided that cooperating with blackmail is probably always a bad idea. (At least all movies suggested that it only ever leads to increased demands, which didn’t seem unlikely in this case.) Also, if her threat was to claim I was “seducing” her, more encounters would only mean more evidence in her favor. So I needed to say “no”, and I needed to say it sooner rather than later.

    So I turned on my computer and sent her a short mail saying that I do not want to communicate with her anymore, and any further messages from her will be deleted without reading; then I also blocked her on social networks, and… hoped that everything will turn out to be okay.

    This happened about a decade ago. I have no idea whether she told anyone anything, but I felt no specific consequences (such as getting beaten up by an unknown muscular guy). She sent me a few dozen e-mails; I admit I actually read them, I just never responded in any way. She accused me of being evil; of purposefully breaking her heart; later she wrote she was completely over me and just wanted me to know I was actually a completely unattractive fat guy; later she wrote she was ready to forgive me and remain friends if I just agree to meet her once again. I ignored everything, and the intervals between mails kept increasing. She also tried to “friend” me on social networks using dozen fake accounts (but it was always quite obvious it was her; she wasn’t very smart). She tried to “friend” my family members and girlfriends, even years later… yeah, this was the most humiliating part, when I had to explain people “you know, there is this crazy woman; if you receive a friend request with [certain characteristics], just block it”; luckily everyone was full of understanding. And during the last few years, nothing, so maybe it is already over.

    Unlike other similar stories, at the end pretty much nothing happened. Except that I didn’t do the “meet interesting strangers and have a talk while walking in the park” thing ever again. And I also stopped blogging in my native language.

    It’s crazy how disproportional impact can simply “meeting the wrong person once” have.

    • takashoru says:

      Wow, you have my sympathies. That’s a really horrible thing to experience.

      • Viliam says:

        Thank you!

        Before this, I already had a few bad experiences; either bad things that happened, or things that didn’t happen but I was much more afraid imagining they would. What was new in this situation was how surprisingly quickly the situation escalated from “it is just another peaceful day” to “I am in deep trouble and I don’t see any way out”. With other bad experiences, the bad situation either increased gradually, or I had somehow willingly contributed to it. This one was like stepping on a landmine while hiking.

        Later, when I was reading on reddit about men who were raped by women, quite many stories happened like this: a guy suddenly given a choice between doing what he does not want to do, or facing consequences of a false accusation he would have trouble to deny credibly. In my case, the stakes were much lower, but it was the same pattern. So I can easily empathize with how unexpected can be such situation, and how helpless the guy can feel. (And how completely irrelevant it is whether the guy is physically stronger.) And when anyone says that false accusations only happen in one of million billion trillion cases, of course having a similar experience myself makes those statistics much harder to believe. In real life, this is quite simple; and the blackmailer can always choose to not fulfill the threat in case of refusal, so there is virtually no danger in trying.

  11. P. George Stewart says:

    I think part of the problem is that what counts as harassment has been broadened too much by Feminist ideology. The reality is that there’s a fine gradation of behaviour when it comes to unwanted contact, and not all of it requires the law to step in – for most of it, people are quite capable of dealing with themselves, in a proportionate manner, and that includes women. And some unwanted contact may turn out to have been welcome after all (you never know unless you try.)

    There’s a slight imbalance because men are physically stronger and generally more aggressive in pursuit of sex, therefore to some women (not all, but some) intrinsically more intimidating, but that’s about it. Both sexes are just as capable as each other of rude, mean, nasty, vindictive, harassing, etc., behaviour.

    Girls are not sugar and spice and all things nice, and boys are not all frogs and snails and puppy dog tails. Human beings of both sexes are relatively big, potentially mean and dangerous animals. It helps nothing to elevate doggerel to the level of public policy.

  12. Gigg says:

    You raise some valid points but there’s good reason to think that women (on average) experience sexual harassment/assault as more threatening and traumatic than men do, something these polls don’t really capture. Partly because of differences in physical strength but there seem to be about more than just that. Classic example is the story of the woman who tried to get revenge on the guys by uninvited sending them pictures of her genitalia, turned out most guys appreciated it. Same with how women and men react to being pressured into unwanted sex when drunk, women have much more negative reactions after the event while men are better at shrugging it off. Some might say this is just because of gender norms that don’t allow men to feel vulnerable etc but from an evolutionary perspective this makes a lot of sense, historically women risked a 9 month pregnancy from unwanted sex which men never did. It would be strange if evolution didn’t make women generally more cautious about sexual contacts. I agree that a narrative such as men are always perpetrators and women are always victims is unhelpful, but so is ignoring the obviously gendered pattern we see in issues like these. As always a middle ground is preferable

  13. armorsmith42 says:

    > Seriously, the terrorism model has a lot going for it

    Just to clarify: this end paragraph is, in fact, a joke despite the use of the word “seriously”, correct?

    • takashoru says:

      Yes, very much so, yes. “Seriously” is a discursive marker, in this context, and definitely not a literal modifier of the sentence.

  14. Reasoner says:

    I’m a straight guy. I’ve been catcalled twice in my life. My drunk female boss also patted me on the butt at a company party once. These are some of my fondest memories, that I look back on when my self-esteem is low. Does anyone have tips for getting women to harass me?

    (I was also groped by a gay guy at a party once. I didn’t enjoy it, but it didn’t bother me much.)

    • gbdub says:

      I’m sure many women are flattered by (at least some of) the catcalls they receive. Doesn’t mean the ones bothered by it don’t matter.

      • Thegnskald says:

        It does imply that some set of preferences will go unsatisfied.

        The real issue isn’t at the object level, it is at the meta level; what criteria do we use to determine what nonviolent behaviors should be considered unacceptable, given that some proportion of people will be left unsatisfied with any criteria?

        It is pretty clear the criteria can’t rule out all behaviors that will cause emotional harm to at least one person. Likewise, we probably can’t include all possible behaviors as acceptable.

        I don’t see a strong meta-level argument against whistling at an attractive woman, to pick what I assume is the least offensive form of the behavior, which doesn’t also rule out behaviors we would like to keep, such as complimenting strangers.

        To a significant extent, I think the term “catcalling” is too vague; it includes both offensive and inoffensive behaviors. There is a qualitative difference between yelling that you’d like to bend someone over a table and expressing a nonspecific appreciation, such as by whistling.

        (Of course, somebody might argue that any expression of appreciation of attractiveness is objectification. My response is going to be, effectively, so what? Everybody objectifies everybody. We don’t live in a universe in which minds observe other minds directly, we are meatbags observing other meatbags, and at best are attributing mental characteristics to them based on our own flawed internal models.)

        • gbdub says:

          I tend to think a move toward an “ask” culture, where asking politely is not considered offensive, everyone can and does say no (or yes) openly, and that answer is respected, is a fine goal. Certainly when dealing with strangers (or near strangers) at least.

          I don’t know how we get there from here.

          Regarding your last parenthetical, I tend to agree. I would also add, to go way off topic, that we tend to excuse the ways women objectify men, considering them less superficial for some reason. And frankly how do you not objectify a stranger who is the subject of your sexual desires/fantasies? You only know them superficially, any attraction to them will be by necessity superficial.

          E.g. a man salivating over a hot underwear model is gross, superficial, objectifying. A woman turned on by a famous guitarist is fine – why? It’s just as superficial and objectifying. You’re not turned on by Joe Rocker the human being, you’re turned on by his the fame and guitar playing. You will necessarily objectify him, because you don’t know him as a human being, all you know is his skills / reputation that you value. “Looking hot in a bikini” and “professional modeling” are their own skillsets likewise earned through a combination of effort, skill, and good genes.

        • takashoru says:

          Re Objectification: Yesss

          I want somebody like Scott to write a full post on objectification. Not Scott, though, because this post will be likely significantly more controversial than his boundaries.

      • Aapje says:

        @gbdub

        Many women seem to have a large drop in sexual interest at a certain age and then start missing it. An interesting event was when Jessica Valenti wrote a story against catcalling and then just one year later wrote that she missed being catcalled.

        It’s also interesting that Bill Burr talked about how he is often harassed by older women, who presumably are missing sexual interest of men and are trying to boost their self-esteem this way.

        I think in general that it’s damaging to people’s self-esteem if they never feel desired. Perhaps the optimal level is somewhere in the middle and men & older women get too little sexual attention on average and young women get too much.

        • vV_Vv says:

          Many women seem to have a large drop in sexual interest at a certain age and then start missing it.

          It’s called “hitting the wall”.

          An interesting event was when Jessica Valenti wrote a story against catcalling and then just one year later wrote that she missed being catcalled.

          Apparently they changed the title of the latter, it used to be more salty.

  15. Some Troll's Serious Discussion Alt says:

    Know more than a dozen women? One of them’s probably a harasser.

    Like how half the people you know are probably creationists?

    • joncb says:

      I would be legitimately surprised if half of the people Scott knows are creationists. The social circles he runs with will tend to self select towards atheism. Less Wrong literally compared religion to racial insanity (see “Raising the Sanity Waterline”). At the absolutely least i’d expect the dissonance of “spiritual but believe in evolution” to be rampant among those that weren’t explicitly atheist.

      Do you have a corresponding theory that would suggest that the probability of female harassers would be less than in the general population?

      • vV_Vv says:

        Do you have a corresponding theory that would suggest that the probability of female harassers would be less than in the general population?

        8.6% of adult Americans have a felony conviction. How many convicted felons do you think that Scott knows, outside those that he has to interact with because of his profession?

  16. jhertzlinger says:

    If you rewrite that to discuss illegal aliens and crime instead of men and harassment…

    • rlms says:

      Illegal aliens commit 80% of crimes? Or are victims of 30%? Actually, I think I can guess which one you were going for.

  17. Bugmaster says:

    FWIW I tried to click “Report” on your comment in order to bring it to Scott’s attention, but all I got was a dialog box that said “Cheating, huh ?”. That’s… less than helpful.

  18. Bugmaster says:

    Ok, so let me see if I can steel-man the other side in this argument.

    The focus on male harassers/female victims is not born of malice, or incompetence; but rather, of necessity.

    In our society, men are generally more sexually aggressive than women. This is most likely due to a self-reinforcing feedback loop: our evolutionary history rewarded male primates for aggressive sexual behavior; early human societies have reflected this trend; as the result, males of our species continued to be selected for aggressive sexual behavior. In practice, this means that men are overwhelmingly more likely to sexually harass someone than women are; and, since most men are straight, male-on-female harassment is the most common kind. To make matters worse, women are on average physically weaker than men, which means they are less likely to successfully resist physical harassment.

    Note that this is not the same thing as saying that male-on-female harassment is totally commonplace (though some people do take this extremist view); just that it’s more common than other kinds. Unfortunately, in a city of millions of people, even a rare event that happens 0.1% of the time is going to affect thousands of people every day.

    To make matters worse, we have only recently (relatively speaking) began to transition toward a social model where women are seen as more than just property at worst, and unpaid house servants at best (due to the aforementioned feedback loop). This means that women who are victims of harassment still have a much more difficult time obtaining restitution than men in their position would — despite the fact that many more women are harassed on the daily basis.

    Fixing this problem is very difficult, because both society and biology are part of the feedback mechanism that keeps steering us toward the status quo. Usually, fixing the biological side of things is easier, and we’re doing what we can (for example, modern women have access to things like Tazers and Mace, not to mention guns). But a purely biological solution is still out of reach, and will likely remain so for a long time, which means we are forced to rely on the social approach. Unfortunately, this means that we need to move the Overton Window, and the only way to do that is to implement some seemingly extreme measures, in hopes of nudging it from its current equilibrium position. The policy of always treating women as victims and men as perpetrators may seem unfair — and it arguably is — but any weaker policy would be completely ineffective. Whenever you say “men can be victims too” or “some accusations are false”, what the socio-biological feedback loop hears is, “status quo is fine”.

    The recent wave of sexual harassment allegations may seem like a bad thing, but in reality it is direct evidence for the effectiveness of the policy we’ve chosen. Male-on-female sexual harassment has always been happening, but now women are finally able to report it, and to obtain restitution. Moreover, they are able to do so against rich and powerful men. This means that the Overton window is finally shifting; but this development is very recent, and still fragile. The giant boulder is starting to move, but we have to keep pushing, or else it will just slip and roll downhill once again. We have to keep applying the pressure until we’re over the hump.

    • Null42 says:

      Whaddaya mean ‘we’, Miss? 😉

      (google the first three words and ‘lone ranger’ for the original joke)

      • Bugmaster says:

        Haha yes, I understood the reference. That said, in the spirit of steel-manning, I’d say that “we” means “everyone who wants to make the world a better place”, with the understanding that the world really sucks for women. I think this is the position that most real feminists would endorse, though obviously I could be wrong.

    • shenanigans24 says:

      I don’t find the history of women as an oppressed class persuasive. Men have been slaves and generally treated as expendable throughout history. History sucked for everyone and any model that suggests that it was super duper for anyone with a dick is just flat out wrong.

      What is almost certainly true is that throughout history and today men just don’t much care about other men so when looking back we only care about the trials and tribulations of women. Just like how today Boko haram can massacre 200 kids and the paper will print how many girls died.

      • Kevin C. says:

        What is almost certainly true is that throughout history and today men just don’t much care about other men so when looking back we only care about the trials and tribulations of women. Just like how today Boko haram can massacre 200 kids and the paper will print how many girls died.

        [Warning: Ranty, addressed more at thread commenters in general]

        Yes, so what? I see lots of people complaining about this in this post’s comments (and in previous SSC discussions). My answer is that there’s no point in this complaining because railing against human nature does no good. And this disparity — women are precious, men are expendible — is absolutely human nature, fixed and immutable. Life really isn’t fair, and there is no making it fair, not on this issue. (Not so long as we’re dealing with Mark One H. sapiens) There is no fighting this, there is no changing it (not without serious biotechnological interventions, like massively skewing the sex ratio at birth, for one example), there is only to stop whining and learn to live with it.

        • Mark says:

          In stone age times, relationships with men are more valuable, because if you have a load of men, you get women.

          In stone age times, you don’t get to choose which men you can have relationships with. So, naturally, we are inclined to strong bonds with men, to strongly value men who are members of our family, or our friends.

          I think that all of this “no-one cares about men” stuff is a weird symptom of America’s weird culture, and weirdly liberal ideas, and has no universal applicability. I strongly doubt that it even applies in America to people who aren’t that interested in reading.

          • takashoru says:

            If you have a load of men, while you may collectively get women, you probably don’t have an amazing chance of being the one who’s passing their genes on.

            Evo-psych is too easy to do. I think it’s a real field, but 99% of everything everyone ever says about it, especially if they’re not trained in the field, is total garbage.

          • Mark says:

            Does that include the thing you just wrote there?

            OK, let’s throw out evo-psych. Let’s have a look around. Do men care about other men. Yes. They obviously do. Case closed?

        • The original Mr. X says:

          And this disparity — women are precious, men are expendible — is absolutely human nature, fixed and immutable

          True, but the current attitude of “Men are expendable, but we all have to ignore that and deny them any respect or special privileges to compensate for their expendability” isn’t.

          • Kevin C. says:

            Agreed, which is why my position is to restore the “respect or special privileges to compensate for their expendability” that used to be centuries ago. If, as some people are describing current events, ‘the sexual revolution is entering the Reign of Terror phase,’ then it’s about time for a Bourbon Restoration.

        • Null42 says:

          Oh, I don’t know. Fifty years ago feminists wanted to open up all sorts of careers to women. Everyone said that didn’t make sense, it was their role to bear children, etc. But they fought, and they changed the culture. Now nobody finds the idea of female doctors or lawyers odd at all.

      • The original Mr. X says:

        Just like how today Boko haram can massacre 200 kids and the paper will print how many girls died.

        Reminds me of a news article I saw some years back saying that a higher percentage of workplace accidents happened to women than in previous years, and this was terrible and Something Had To Be Done. When you read the entire article, it turned out that the reason why a higher percentage of accidents were happening to women was that the number of accidents suffered by men had gone down… because there had been an economic downturn, resulting in lots of men in dangerous jobs getting laid off. IOW, the reporter had taken a story about loads of men losing their jobs, and turned it into one about how bad women had it.

  19. manwhoisthursday says:

    I’m a man and have been subject to relatively mild sexual harassment from a couple gay men, in the arts and education.

    I have also had my ass grabbed several times by women in “meat market” type bars and clubs. I don’t really consider that harassment since I would turn around and say something like fair is fair, now I get to grab your tits, which I would then proceed to do. (The women were not obese or grossly unattractive.) But I can understand that if it’s happening to me (I look ok, but I’m hardly a hunk), then it’s probably happening to women a lot more.

  20. Baeraad says:

    Having read through the comments, I’m sorry to say that I agree with many posters saying that these statistics don’t prove as much as they pretend to. For one thing, it doesn’t take the frequence of harrassment experienced over a lifetime into account, only the binary has ever experienced / has not ever experienced; for another, there is a genuine possibility that women simply suffer more from the same experience than men do (though if so, that leaves us with some decidedly unpleasant decisions to make…). I think this is, in fact, a gendered social issue.

    What I can agree with is this – it’s not really a gendered personal experience.

    What I mean is, I feel like there’s a twofold component to #metoo and feminist rhetoric in general, and no one seems to acknowledge that. There’s the discussion of social problems and the proposing of solutions to them. And there’s the personal catharsis that comes from speaking out about your painful experience and getting sympathy for them. Both are valid, but they are all too often (in fact, they are nearly always) treated as interchangeable. Getting personal closure is treated as a political action (and worse, politics and law enforcement are seen as ways of getting personal closure). This is a long-standing problem I have with online political discussion in general.

    So here is where I stand: I fully support focusing the legal and structural attention on the cases of women suffering harrasment. From everything I have heard so far, including this post, female-on-male harrassment does not seem to be a sufficiently large problem (in terms of frequency and in terms of emotional damage suffered) to devote much of our limited resources as a society to solving it. However. Individual men who have suffered in these ways exist, too. If we can’t afford to help them, we can certainly afford to give them the dignity of hearing them out and offering them the same sympathy that we offer female sufferers. Anyone who says otherwise should be ashamed of themselves.

    • shenanigans24 says:

      The problem is you can’t focus on that issue without encouraging false accusations which are a very real issue that disproportionately effect men.

  21. BeatriceBernardo says:

    The solution is to treat harassment the same way we treat terrorism

    I like this post. Sometimes, when you talk about gender, it seems like you are fighting against another group. This one, you propose a framework that is applicable regardless of gender it issues. Can you also please develop similar framework for personal relationships?

  22. jm says:

    To state the root of potential problems with the forthcoming comment up front: My initial reaction was it’s a good thing to focus on women as victims and men as aggressors in this instance, and that may be an emotional response given the frequent and serious stories I have heard from women and girls (I’m a man) without any analogue in my experience with males. Emotionally, I really want to help create a world where my women friends’ experiences of life are better. So I’m not strictly basing my position on a dispassionate analysis of the logical data points – although I try to be logical, I may be rationalizing instead.

    With that said: Most of what is said in the blog post, I agree with. I want men who have similar stories and have faced similarly traumatic effects from harassment and assault to get equal support, and painting women as always victims and men as always aggressors does prevent that from happening. I particularly would like to have a greater role in fighting sexual harassment, assault and rape, than my male gender will allow. I would like to join in “take back the night” marches, but it is made clear that those are times for women only. I would like to volunteer at my local sexual assault crisis centre, but again, women only. So I am shut out from doing things I would otherwise do, because of my gender, and I wish I wasn’t. But on the other hand, I understand why I am. It makes sense to me.

    Initially I took the position that things should be as they are because I based my understanding of the problem on personal experience, because people don’t report these things so I question the statistics. I figured since harassment, assault, and rape were common experiences of the women I know and not (to my knowledge) common experiences of the men I know, the men who have experiences similar to the women I know are outliers, and efforts to shift the conversation to gender neutrality would have the effect of silencing the people experiencing problems (as in “all lives matter” attempting to shift a “black lives matter” conversation about police violence to racial neutrality). But OK, what if I’m wrong about that, and the real thing that is silencing a bunch of people is an over-gendered discourse about sexual harassment? That would be a problem, the statistics are high enough for me to abandon my “harassment isn’t a problem men experience” position, and I’m glad you made me think about it. But after thinking about it, I’m going to stick with my original position that focusing on women’s needs is still something we should do. Here’s why.

    For me it hinges on the answer to the question “why is harassment bad?”. I’m not denying that it is, at all, but there are actually two different reasons why (maybe more).

    One is more theoretical/conceptual: Bodily autonomy and personal choice are Good Things, and harassment and other non-consensual sexual interaction are wrong in principle because they do not respect those values. From this standpoint, every time someone gropes someone else is equally wrong, every time someone makes the same disempowering comment is equally wrong, and the amount of concern we should show is strictly proportional to the number of times this is happening. If 80% of sexual harassment is directed towards women and 20% towards men, we should allocate 80% of our effort and resources towards dealing with harassment of women and 20% towards dealing with harassment of men, not discount the 20% and focus solely on women.

    The second reason is practical. Harassment is bad because (and to the extent that) it causes harm. So some woman grabbing my crotch is not that bad because I’d shrug it off as an isolated incident, avoid that one person who did it, and move on with my life. By contrast, someone grabbing the crotch of a woman who has been raped recently and re-traumatizing her is very bad. The same behaviour, which gets the same extent of principled objection regarding bodily autonomy and personal choice, and which if we were the only two people in the world would lead to a numerically equal rate of harassment directed towards men and harassment directed towards women. Nevertheless, the appropriate response isn’t to treat the two cases equally and provide me with 50% of the trauma counselling services and the woman with the other 50%. I wasn’t traumatized and she was, so she should get 100% of the trauma counselling services.

    It seems to me that, below a certain threshold, the only objection to things like catcalls and groping that causes no physical discomfort is reason 1 above: a principled objection related to values like personal choice. Which frankly, although correct, is not why I care about stopping harassment. I care because it causes people to significantly change their way of living. Because those people are afraid of assault, and can end up treating broad swathes of humanity as a potential threat to them, they adjust their behaviour to a more defensive posture, which prevents lots of positive things that would otherwise occur from happening (as when someone with no ill intent trips the “creepy alarm” in someone else’s head, which has been set to a high level of sensitivity due to repeated negative experiences. Or when someone decides not to go someplace they want to go because they would have to go alone and it’s dark.) Another harm from frequent harassment that does not occur for infrequent harassment is when people internalize certain negative ideas about themselves that make frequent harassment make sense and seem justified or at least acceptable.

    In thinking about what you’ve written, I’ve realized that my aim isn’t a harassment rate of 0%, it’s a life-changing trauma rate of 0%, plus an acceptance of harassing behaviour as just the way the world is of 0%, and an internalizing of negative ideas related to one’s own value because of repeated harassment of 0%. And I think in terms of the effect of harassment on men, with a few rare exceptions, the rate of harassment is sufficiently low that the focus should be on women. As I said to start, maybe I’m wrong about that and rationalizing a position about which I feel strong emotion, and to any man who is reading this who has been traumatized by their harassment, or has adjusted their behaviour to be more defensive and views most or all women with suspicion now, a rate of those things happening of 0% is gender-nonspecific and includes them happening to you too.

    I don’t think “let’s make sure men stop harassing women” comes from the same place as “let’s stop brown Muslims from committing terrorist attacks against white Christians”. I for one am not trying to perpetrate a hit job on an outgroup, and although I would say “let’s stop harassment” more often than “let’s stop male harassment”, I have definitely said things like “men I know have some attitudes that are contributing to this problem”. Because like, they do, and this is male-specific in my experience. Example: Number of times I’ve heard a male say a woman was asking for various sexual things she clearly wasn’t, because of how she dressed: Nonzero, but low because I tend to distance myself from people with those attitudes. Number of times I’ve heard a woman say the same sort of thing: 0. And I have more female friends and acquaintances than male. But, it’s possible that my male friends only said what they did because it was an all-male group they were speaking to, and women in all-female groups might speak similarly sometimes. Who knows? Not me.

    • S_J says:

      Re: Christian victims of Muslim terror.

      There are many notable (if not always news-generating) incidents in which Christians who are non-white (or of a skin-color indistinguishable from their Muslim neighbors) are victims in terrorism.

      Under the pseudo-caliphate of ISIS, there were reports of strings of crucifixions of Christians who were local residents. The houses of Christians were defaced with the symbol of “Nazarene”, or the Arabic letter that is the beginning of that word. (I assume that inside Iraq, the victims were culturally Chaldean and religiously Catholic. I’m not confident that this group is also present in other Muslim-majority countries that suffered from ISIS.)

      This is the kind of thing that my religious, red-tribe friends on Facebook would post about at length.

      In another part of the world: if Boko Haram is either a terrorist group, or militants on one side of a civil war. Their victims include many dark-skinned Christians.

      In yet another part of the world, many Christians of the Coptic church suffer depredations from groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Intermittent attacks on worship services in the city of Cairo make the news.

      It is ignorant and shockingly close-minded for anyone to automatically assume that “Christian victim of Muslim terrorism” means “white victim of Muslim terrorism”.

      • fion says:

        I think his point is still valid after correcting that error.

      • jm says:

        I feel I should clarify: I was lazy in my writing, rather than deliberately attempting to equate “white” with “Christian”.

        What I should have said was something like “I don’t think ‘let’s stop men from harassing women’ comes from the same place as ‘let’s stop black people from committing crimes against white people’ or ‘let’s stop muslims from committing terrorist acts'”. But that was longer and I assumed “I don’t think ‘let’s stop men from harassing women’ is coming from the same place as ‘lets stop insert clearly bigoted and awful statement‘” would be understood.

        • Thegnskald says:

          In the context of a social movement that is otherwise extremely careful, that argument falls apart.

          Because at BEST it shows that they don’t give a shit if men feel singled out, feel targeted, feel like they are being blamed. In the context of a culture in which it is socially acceptable to say how terrible men are.

          At best, it feeds into a social narrative in which men are treated as walking womanizer-rapists, a culture in which men have spent the last two decades pushing back and saying that enough is enough, that they deserve the same dignity as anyone else.

          At best, it is treating men like shit for being men, from a movement that supposedly prides itself on not treating people like shit for factors beyond their control.

          At best.

          And we passed the point a decade ago where you could be ignorant of how men feel about being characterized this way.

          So no. The racist analogy is quite correct. This passed the point of reasonable ignorance years ago. Today, this is blatant and unrepentant sexism.

          • jm says:

            I dunno man. I am a man, I like myself, I don’t consider men to be my outgroup, and when I give lots of support to women who are being or have been harassed it’s not a matter of seeing men as worse or of less value than women.

            As a man, it sucks that I live in a society where women are afraid of me based on experiences they or people they know have had with men who aren’t me. This is a problem for everyone, it would be better if they were more easily able to see me clearly as the non-threatening person I am. But the solution isn’t for me to protest that women are being unfair to me – their behaviour towards me is a symptom of traumatic experience, and solving this problem means getting at the thing that caused the trauma. I hope to one day live in a society where women are less afraid, less traumatized, and more open to interacting with me. But going “being afraid of me is mean and sexist, stop it!” isn’t going to get us there. When women have gone through some of the experiences I’ve heard about from the many and varied women I have heard from in my life, how I feel about them jumping to conclusions about me based on my gender becomes a secondary concern. Like, of course they will, it’s not personal, it’s not about me, and it’s not some cabal of women plotting for social advantage, it’s just what’s happening because the women involved have been through some stuff they shouldn’t have had to go through.

    • gbdub says:

      Nevertheless, the appropriate response isn’t to treat the two cases equally and provide me with 50% of the trauma counselling services and the woman with the other 50%. I wasn’t traumatized and she was, so she should get 100% of the trauma counselling services.

      The problem is not focusing trauma counseling on the traumatized. It’s the presupposition that you must necessarily be in the “zero trauma” bucket, and she must be in the “super traumatized bucket” based purely on your respective genders.

      It’s not a problem that most sexual assault victim support services are used by women (well, it’s a problem that they need the services, but you know what I mean). It is a problem if male victims are excluded from those services, or if a man can’t get the support he needs because he’s not allowed to participate.

      • lvlln says:

        This reminds me of the whole “women tend to be less assertive than men, leading to women tending to negotiate less strongly for higher salaries, so let’s give only women free assertive training” line of argument. If the problem is that people who are less assertive tend to negotiate less strongly for higher salaries, why not provide that training to less assertive people, instead of using a proxy, which inevitably ends up leaving the less assertive men out in the cold?

        As far as I can tell, the whole idea that we are justified in using such proxies only makes sense if there’s also the implicit belief that the proxies are nearly perfect – “greater variation between the populations than within them,” in commonly used terms. That’s an empirical question that I’m not sure has been properly answered when it comes to trauma from sexual assault or level of assertiveness, AFAIK.

        • Matt M says:

          Because they don’t actually care about “less assertive” people. They care about women. The thought of a non-assertive man not getting a raise doesn’t bother them at all. It’s just more politically palatable to frame the conversation this way, rather than to say “women need to get more raises because they are women”

        • shenanigans24 says:

          Same applies to “under privileged” and affirmative action. If socioeconomic is the justification than why use race.

        • Ketil says:

          Identity politics in a nutshell. Divide into groups, calculate some average, and make sure your group comes out worse. Use this to enact affirmative action targeted at your group (or discriminate the other group). By associating with the disadvantaged, you gather sympathy and support for people who are not actually disadvantaged.

          • Aapje says:

            Use this to enact affirmative action targeted at your group (or discriminate the other group).

            All affirmative action is discrimination of the other group. There is no ‘or.’

      • jm says:

        @gbdub, I agree with everything you have said above.

        However, I’m wary of shifting resources away from people who need them based on the idea that men have similar experiences, without carefully considering the experiences we’re talking about. The statistics mentioned in the blog post related to being harassed at least once, and someone who has harassed at least once. To me, that doesn’t seem like what we should be focusing on. As much as people might get worked up over every single instance of harassment they see (because every single one is a symptom of a wider societal problem, a part of a pattern) people of either gender can get catcalled once or twice with little harm done.

        I think it might be like herd immunity – if you haven’t already been harassed a bunch, and nor have those around you been as far as you know, you’re less vulnerable to problems from one person harassing you one time, and more easily able to recover from something like an assault. Which accounts for guys coming forward and saying “I was harassed a few times too – but really it’s not that big a deal and I think women are blowing the harm here out of proportion”. So a certain small amount of harassment can occur without it causing much harm (think of harassers as virus vectors, surrounded by individuals with strong immune systems) but once you reach a threshold, problems become widespread. If you treat the two genders as separate populations for the purpose of analyzing susceptibility to harm from harassment, then you’ve got one population (men) that has herd immunity – a few individuals can have problems without it being a population-wide issue (not denying the existence of men who have suffered harm from harassment or assault) and another population where the disease burden is higher and has reached the threshhold where everyone is more susceptible. It would then make sense to address the susceptible population with greater urgency than the herd-immune one. Without making judgments about the “strength” of one population over the other – if men experienced harassment, assault and related activities at the rate women do, I think it would be just as much an issue for them as it is for women, and if women as a population experienced harassment at the rate men do, I think the problem would be mostly (not entirely, but mostly) solved. The analogy isn’t exact, because being harassed doesn’t turn you into a harasser of others the way being infected with a virus makes you infectious (at least I’m going to assume most people who do so aren’t harassing others because they were themselves harassed) and being exposed to viruses repeatedly doesn’t increase the susceptibility to harm if someone is immune, but I think it’s useful enough for getting the point across. Particularly, I wonder whether social norms around sexuality that vary by gender (*cough* “rape culture” *cough*) may represent an analogue to less/more susceptible immune systems.

        • Thegnskald says:

          If that were the actual logic, then we would be far more concerned about violence against men, who experience far more of it.

          But sexual harassment isn’t some unique case where we prioritize women more, and it works because they experience it more; we culturally prioritize women over men in pretty much every way. Violence, workplace fatalities and injury, suicide, homelessness, and rape are all things men suffer more of than women (although for rape it is only a slight statistically insignificant majority if you exclude prison rape), yet are largely ignored in favor of women. Likewise, cases where there are equivalencies – domestic abuse, for example. Then there are the myriad ways men are penalized for their gender which, if the situation were reversed, would cause an uproar – car insurance, for example, or child custody / child support (look at the odds of a woman being punished for failing to pay child support versus a man, for example). Or the ways men are abused that are ignored – imagine if a significant percentage of women had their genitals surgically modified without their consent for ultimately cosmetic reasons.

          The issue isn’t this one thing. The issue is all the things. The issue is that it literally doesn’t matter what percentage of men suffer from a thing.

          • jm says:

            we culturally prioritize women over men in pretty much every way.

            This statement doesn’t agree with my experience as a man. I genuinely feel lucky that I am the gender I am, because I see that I’ve come out with the long end of the stick, socioculturally. I have easier access to better paying jobs. My level of fear walking around in the world is basically 0, most of the time, in sharp contrast to the majority of women I know. If I was raped, as much as people here say I wouldn’t be believed, I have sufficient confidence that I’d report it and anyone who blamed me would be dismissed as an idiot, in contrast to some women I know who haven’t reported things and did take the idea that it might have been their fault for not resisting clearly enough to heart until they got some counselling. I pay much less heed and spend much less of my energy analyzing subtle nuances of people’s interaction with me for signs I might have offended them or they might not like me, because I am just less afraid of those things than most women I know. I am often viewed as stronger, smarter and more capable than women who are objectively as strong, smart and capable as I am. Maleness is associated with leadership and assertiveness, and just the fact that I’m taller tends to give me an edge (I’m below average height for a man, but above the average height of a woman). Isn’t it fun that deeper voices are viewed as more authoritative? It’s fun for me, anyway, I guess not so much for the women whose higher pitch sounds more childlike. More of my clothes have pockets. If I’m angry about something, nobody wonders if it’s that time of the month. At family gatherings, I actually have to fight with the women so that they’ll let me help with the dishes, and sometimes I lose and end up sitting around having a drink while they work. And so on. Of course, there are downsides too. Some people might see me as weak if I cry about things. Luckily I don’t care, but I understand it to be the case that some men have been socialized to care deeply about not being seen as weak, and this leads to all kinds of problems for them. It sucks that women are afraid of me, but really that hurts both of us because it prevents us from having fulfilling connections with each other that we would otherwise have, it’s not just something that sucks for me. Similarly for the fact that it is assumed I always have sex on my mind, and some women are going to have difficulty being friends with me because they’re worried I’m just trying to get into their pants. Again, this hurts all concerned, not just me, though. Yes, men are more likely to experience violence (often from other men, when say they’re engaged in criminal enterprises or out drinking heavily and their machismo is questioned in a way that causes them to engage in dominance displays that involve violent behaviour – this is not a problem with people not caring sufficiently about males who are hurt by violence, but a problem with how maleness is socially constructed (involving notions of “respect” and “disrespect” and the requirement in certain social groups to respond to disrespect with violence) which leads to males being harmed. I’m pretty sure the same people who care about challenging stereotypically feminine expectations that harm women, are also on board with challenging stereotypically masculine behaviours and attitudes that harm men, and not just because they also harm women, they just regard the whole “males are this way and females are that way” sexist set of gendered expectations as bad and think people should be allowed to be who they are more freely). Regarding workplace fatalities and injury, the root of that also isn’t people not caring about men, it’s people shutting women out of certain jobs “for their own protection”, on the basis of them being weaker and more in need of protection. Which is hardly putting women first. The solution isn’t “let’s care more about men’s safety”, it’s “let’s let women have the same set of choices about which jobs to enter as men do”. Gendered job roles favour men for leadership and dangerous (but higher paying) work, and women for caring professions (that also happen to pay less and offer fewer opportunities for career advancement). It’s fairly well recognized among feminist circles (I think) that that whole system of gender-based job categorization is bad for all concerned and should go.

            As for car insurance and child support, I came into this conversation with no views on those, but after giving it some brief thought, here’s what I think: I don’t see them as a part of a systematic favouring of women over men. It seems unlikely that the actuaries at insurance companies are going “well screw the actual data on who has accidents the most, let’s go with our biases, that’s definitely the way to make the most money here”. Probably they’re data-driven, and if insurance for a certain class of individuals costs more, it’s because that class of individuals costs the insurance company more. And with regard to child support, I’m pretty sure the feminists of the world think there’s still work to do to ensure that division of family related labour is more fairly allocated to all involved, and that our legal systems haven’t necessarily caught up. My understanding is in countries where gender roles are less pronounced and measures like pay equity and use of parental leave show a greater equality between the genders, the laws surrounding custody and child support are likewise more equal (think Denmark, where friends of mine have told me that rather than “the mother does most of the caring for the kids” the expectation is “custody and the work of raising children is shared equally between parents” – and court decisions in matters of child support reflect this basic assumption. And, in those countries, work and responsibility is shared equally by default – there’s no asking “who gets the kids most of the time, and which parent is it that only gets the kids on the weekend?” but rather “can you two recently divorced people work it out so your kids are with each of you 50% of the time like they should be, or is there some reason why that won’t work in your case?”)

            Sexism bad. For women and for men. I think the feminists of the world get this, and don’t make it “sexism is bad for women and good for men, we need to help the women to overcome the sexism and educate the men”, but rather “sexism hurts everyone, sexist is a bad way for society to be, let’s look critically at how it shapes life for both men and women in what is currently a sexist society”. At least, that’s how I look at it, and it’s how almost everyone I’ve talked to who identifies as feminist sees it too.

          • jm says:

            Regarding suicide, I am not sure that people care less about male suicide than female suicide. For example, I hear a lot about how veterans (still mostly men because the armed forces is still male dominated) commit suicide at a high enough rate that many more of them take their own lives than are killed in combat, and there seems to be social concern about this. I do see a skew towards focusing on the fact that women have suicidal thought patterns and depression more often than men, so it was a surprise to me that men as a group kill themselves more often. I had to google it, thought at first you must be wrong. So you may have a point. But I think both the US and Canada do a pretty poor job of dealing with mental health issues in general, there’s a lot of work to do here, I’d call it more a case of “insufficient focus on this area” rather than “too much focus on women’s suicide, not enough on men’s”. Fighting over how much of a tiny slice of the pie should go to men vs. women seems less productive than saying “more investment this way please”.

            Homelessness strikes me as the situation where your point might be strongest, but still potentially an indirect effect of negative views about women, rather than a direct effect of negative views about or lack of care for men – we do have a “protect the weak” instinct, and sexism = “women are weaker and less capable of taking care of themselves than men.” As a result of that sexist attitude, perhaps we do care less when men are homeless. But I dunno, I’m kind of like “nobody should be homeless” and if I had to choose which homeless person to help it wouldn’t be “women and children first”. Although it could be “parents with children first”, and in our sexist society where custody is usually given to mothers over fathers, that means “women with children”.

          • Aapje says:

            Sexism bad. For women and for men. I think the feminists of the world get this

            Except that I see very many feminists make sexist arguments, support sexist policies and/or engage in sexist behavior.

            In fact, the common feminist rhetoric I see consists of sexist falsehoods (like the wage gap, to give one example).

            If so many feminists are totally convinced that they are not sexist, while they actually are, that is worse in my eyes. After all, people who are in denial don’t improve.

          • Aapje says:

            @jm

            When issues happen to women more than men, it gets presented as a ‘women’s issue’ and male victims usually get ignored completely. When issues happen to men more than women, it gets presented as a ‘issue effecting everyone’ and women get equal or more support.

            This is a double standard where women always get more help relative to their need.

          • jm says:

            When issues happen to women more than men, it gets presented as a ‘women’s issue’ and male victims usually get ignored completely. When issues happen to men more than women, it gets presented as a ‘issue effecting everyone’ and women get equal or more support.

            Do you think that I am doing that about this issue, or is this a statement about issues in general and people in general?

            I can’t really take a position one way or another on how “issues” are handled by “people”, I find productive and enlightening discussion happens when I engage with specific examples. If you feel confident enough to take a position about issues and people, then OK.

          • johnmcg says:

            Do you think that I am doing that about this issue, or is this a statement about issues in general and people in general?

            Yes — you did this explicitly.

          • johnmcg says:

            It’s fairly well recognized among feminist circles (I think) that that whole system of gender-based job categorization is bad for all concerned and should go.

            Which is why the gender gap in jobs like coal mining, construction work, police officers, shipping, etc. is such a focus of feminism. And ensuring men get a fair shake in things like teaching, child care, and nursing.

            Maybe this is “recognized among feminist circles.” But it seems to me much more of the energy goes to things like policing how men sit on public transportation, and advancing the notion that all men are predators.

            This is how your movement looks. I’m sure your heart is in the right place, but I have to judge by actions. And the actions I see tell me where priorities are.

          • Toby Bartels says:

            Hear, hear, jm! Feminism is (as bell hooks put it in on page 1 of Feminism is for Everybody) the movement to end sexism, not the movement for women or against men. It takes its name from the fight for universal suffrage, where women were the oppressed class, but feminists have always claimed equality as their goal. Misandry is just straw feminism, and any feminist who says such things in real life is Doing it Wrong. Conversely, anybody fighting for a right for men is acting as a feminist (whatever they may call themself) so long as it's an area in which what they are fighting for is truly equality.

            And yet …

            It seems unlikely that the actuaries at insurance companies are going “well screw the actual data on who has accidents the most, let’s go with our biases, that’s definitely the way to make the most money here”. Probably they’re data-driven, and if insurance for a certain class of individuals costs more, it’s because that class of individuals costs the insurance company more.

            I find it hard to imagine that you would be so sanguine about if it went the other way. One of the touted features of Obamacare is that health insurance companies aren't allowed to do this, and this is touted because women were charged more that time.

            We feminists (like everybody else) should remember that not everybody has had the same experiences that we have. People who've seen discrimination against men, who've found their claims not believed, do exist and have also had valid experiences. And we have our own biases that we have to watch out for and avoid. The old technique of asking how we'd feel about it if the genders were reversed is still valuable.

            My first paragraph is not sarcastic. I will always consider myself a feminist, because that's what feminism means to me. But I realize that not everybody sees this kind of feminism and not everybody practises this kind of feminism. Like everybody, in the end, we have to support what is right.

          • jm says:

            I find it hard to imagine that you would be so sanguine about if it went the other way.

            I thought about this for a bit, and: I would. I think. Some decisions (like who to hire) have an element of intuition and gut feeling to them. As I understand it (I may be wrong about this) how to set insurance rates is not one of them. It is (I assume) a matter of math – probability and confidence intervals and modeling the liklihood of various outcomes.

            Since that is my starting assumption about how insurance works, my starting position is that sexism or other biases can’t easily enter into it. Any insurance company that made mathematically bad bets based on their feelings would lose financially to insurance companies that didn’t, is my thinking. And if I found out that insurance rates were surprising in some way for some category of people, that would tell me something is surprising (to me) about their risk profile, and I would google around and see if I could figure out what it was.

            As I said, though, this was an initial position based on a brief period of thought, not a strongly held conviction. If I’m wrong, that’s fine. But “auto insurance rates are lower for women than for men” isn’t enough evidence for me to conclude sexism, it would have to be “men have fewer accidents, but pay more for auto insurance”.

            I’m Canadian and don’t know a lot about the US health care system or Obamacare, but I do think it’s probably a distorted market where the normal rules of play for insurance companies don’t necessarily apply. Health care has morality mixed up in it, or else selling kidneys and shopping for the lowest priced doctor who could meet your loved ones’ medical needs and sharing pricing information with your friends while being proud of finding an exceptionally low-priced doctor would be a thing that people did.

            We feminists (like everybody else) should remember that not everybody has had the same experiences that we have. People who’ve seen discrimination against men, who’ve found their claims not believed, do exist and have also had valid experiences.

            Yup. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and I and the people protesting discrimination against men are on the same side when it comes to that, although they may not realize it.

          • jm says:

            @johnmcg

            Yes – you did this explicitly

            Assuming you’re right, it was unintentional, and done without awareness that that’s what I was doing. And I still don’t see it. Could you quote the passage you’re thinking of?

          • johnmcg says:

            This quote, and others like it:

            It sucks that women are afraid of me, but really that hurts both of us because it prevents us from having fulfilling connections with each other that we would otherwise have,

            When the immediate victim is male, you broaden the scope and consider it a global issue in which all parties are harmed.

            I do not see you do this on issues where the immediate victim is female. There’s no sense that “all parties are harmed” in sexual harassment, or the wage gap, etc. It’s perpatrator/victim.

          • jm says:

            @johnmcg

            Was this the passage you were referring to, when you said that I explicitly advocate ignoring men’s experiences?

            I’m wary of shifting resources away from people who need them based on the idea that men have similar experiences, without carefully considering the experiences we’re talking about.

            If so, what I’m concerned with is focusing on the wrong things. In my opinion, someone getting harassed one time (which current statistics capture) is probably no big deal for either gender. This is not a popular position among some activist groups, but it’s what I think. Someone who is subject to systematic long term harassment from multiple sources, however, is likely to have problems as a result, regardless of gender. It’s the latter thing we should focus on, asking “who is subject to the really harmful stuff?” not just go “how many men have ever been harassed? Shift resources accordingly, because we haven’t been paying appropriate attention to that so far”. But statistics talked about in Scott’s blog post don’t focus on that.

            To the extent that men have similar experiences to the women I think need some support, I want those men to have support too. Problem is, because so many women are in a situation where one harassing remark which would otherwise be no big deal is piling on top of a lifetime of negative experience and causing harm, the appropriate response there is “no harassment of women, period, any one of them could be vulnerable”. Whereas for men, honestly “most of them would probably be OK if someone harassed them this Tuesday” is probably a true statement. So asking “have you ever been harassed even one time? Because we think ‘no harassment of anyone, period’, is the right rule, and serious consequences should happen for even apparently minor things, because to some people they won’t be minor” and adjusting policy to account for men who have been harassed once or twice, as if it would have the same effect on them as it would for someone (man or woman) who has been systematically harassed by many people over a long period of time, would be a mistake. And yet, I think it’s a mistake hardcore advocates focused solely on women, who care passionately about righting the wrongs they see happening to women, and part of that care maybe comes from difficult personal experiences as a woman, are likely to make. So at the same time as I’m on the side of focusing on women because I believe they’re the ones most subject to the really harmful long term systematic harassment coupled with credible physical threats, any time a man has a similar experience, I’m on side with that man too. And I’m worried that “any harassment is a big deal” might get adopted as a rule, so I want to at one and the same time get people to take harassment of vulnerable people (regardless of gender) seriously, without freaking the heck out over minor mistakes, and recognize that it is actually more likely that women are going to be in that vulnerable situation right now, without coming across as sexist.

            Simple!! 🙂

          • jm says:

            This quote, and others like it:

            It sucks that women are afraid of me, but really that hurts both of us because it prevents us from having fulfilling connections with each other that we would otherwise have,

            When the immediate victim is male, you broaden the scope and consider it a global issue in which all parties are harmed.

            To be clear, when a woman has had a bunch of negative experiences with men and lumps me in with them inappropriately, the amount of harm the woman suffered at the hands of the men who shaped her attitudes is “a lot” (and one-sided, I didn’t suffer this harm) whereas the amount of harm we both suffer because of not being able to connect because she’s inappropriately afraid of me is, relatively speaking, “not so much” (but equally harmful to both of us).

            When someone inappropriately and unnecessarily shuts me out because of fear, we’re both harmed, the immediate “victim” is both of us. This person isn’t setting out to harm me, she’s setting out to protect herself, and harming both of us in a small way in the process. Added up over time, the damage from many such interactions is large, to all involved.

            When someone’s fear response gets triggered by something I said or did, I don’t feel victimized, I feel sad.

          • Aapje says:

            @jm

            Do you think that I am doing that about this issue, or is this a statement about issues in general and people in general?

            Both.

            I find productive and enlightening discussion happens when I engage with specific examples. If you feel confident enough to take a position about issues and people, then OK.

            Johnmcg addressed how you personally do this, so I’ll give examples about how this happens in the US and globally.

            One of the clearest US examples is the Violence Against Women Act, the name of which is clearly sexist. The contents of the act is also sexist in various ways (like setting up grants that are to be used specifically to combat violence against women, talking about safe homes for women, safe streets for women, etc).

            The entire purpose of the act seems to be to enact additional support for women beyond and above what is granted to men.

            For a global example, I will point to UN Women aka the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The full name is already quite sexist, based on the common feminist position that equality of the sexes can only be achieved by helping women. This is only a valid way to approach the issue if men were better off than women on any and all issues, which I assume you agree is not the case.

            It’s also sexist that no UN Men exists. Men and women have issues that effect them exclusively and issues that effect one gender more than the other. A non-sexist way to address this could for instance consist of having UN Men for issues specific to men, UN Women for issues specific to women; and have the rest of the UN address the issues that effect both genders. Or you could have UN Men and UN Women address all the issues with a gender component & work together when there is overlap. IMO, the current setup is sexist, giving special attention to women for issues that (are perceived as) effecting women more, but not the same special attention for men for issues that (are perceived as) effecting men more.

            Finally, I will give a non-institutional example, to give an example of what the sexism among Western people leads to. Boko Haram has kidnapped way more boys than girls, drugging them and forcing them to become child soldiers. Yet how did the media/opinion makers respond? #BringBackOurGirls

            Not both #BringBackOurGirls and #BringBackOurBoys. Not #BringBackOurChildren. 276 girls were considered more important than over 10,000 boys.

          • jm says:

            Maybe this is “recognized among feminist circles.” But it seems to me much more of the energy goes to things like policing how men sit on public transportation, and advancing the notion that all men are predators.

            Ok. Your experience is different from mine. What I see is there was a brief “hey, taking up more space is a thing that shows dominance in primates, and dominant human primates do it too!” moment, and Amy Cuddy’s videos got passed around for discussion, but I have not ever heard someone say something like “we should have a demonstration against men taking up space on public transportation, it’s super wrong and should take priority over the other things we’re devoting our energy to, like domestic violence and stuff”. It’s more “one example among many of how men hold socially dominant positions in a way they may not be consciously aware of” than “that is horrifying and must be stopped by any means necessary”.

            Re “advancing the notion that all men are predators”, what I’ve seen is more “advancing the notion that women are not crazy for being as afraid of men as they sometimes are, once you’ve been through some stuff treating all people superficially similar to those who did it as a potential threat until you learn otherwise, rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt and crossing your fingers that nothing bad happens until you learn that something bad has just happened oops, makes sense. I mean, no offense guys, and I get that that isn’t fair, but seriously, it makes sense. PS: Being blamed for being hypervigilant and then blamed for not being vigilant enough when something bad happens sucks, please stop and just let women decide how vigilant to be and be supportive when something bad happens. Kthanksbai.”

          • Aapje says:

            Manspreading is taken seriously enough that government resources are being dedicated to fighting it:

            New York

            Seattle

            Madrid

        • johnmcg says:

          When issues happen to women more than men, it gets presented as a ‘women’s issue’ and male victims usually get ignored completely. When issues happen to men more than women, it gets presented as a ‘issue effecting everyone’ and women get equal or more support.

          Indeed, almost all the disadvantages for women could be spun the same way. Wage gap? That means society is missing out on the wisdom of female engineers etc. So that’s an “issue effecting everyone”. Don’t we all suffer if women reporting rape aren’t believed and violent criminals are allowed to commit more crimes?

          This is, in short, a privilege. When women experience pain, that’s the story. With men, you have to look at the bigger picture. If women pay more for dry cleaning, it’s a problem that receives presidential attention. If men pay more for car insurance, well that’s just good business based on actuarial tables.

          I’m not saying men necessarily get a better deal. But your “defenses” have the opposite effect – you are demonstrating how, in our society, women’s complaints are privileged, and men’s are dismissed.

          • jm says:

            When women experience pain, that’s the story. With men, you have to look at the bigger picture.

            Counter-examples:
            – Heart disease
            – Low skilled job loss.

            Also, looking at the smaller picture and the bigger picture are complimentary approaches, not mutually exclusive alternatives. Treating an issue properly requires both.

          • johnmcg says:

            Also, looking at the smaller picture and the bigger picture are complimentary approaches, not mutually exclusive alternatives. Treating an issue properly requires both.

            My point wasn’t that it is never helpful to look at the bigger picture.

            My point was that you seem to only look at the bigger picture when the immediate complaintants are men, but focus on the immediate victims when they are women. You adjust the scope until the ratio of pain suits your preferred narrative.

            To your counter-claims, I think our culture is pretty awash is what would be called “victim blaming” if the targets were women.

            Don’t tell me to quit smoking, exercise more and have a healthier diet. Just teach my heart not fail!

            Don’t tell me to go to training for a more skilled job or move to a place with a better economy! Just let me keep my job!

            We don’t accept this type of thinking. But for issues effecting women, they are passive victims, and men need to change to fix it for them.

          • jm says:

            My point was that you seem to only look at the bigger picture when the immediate complaintants are men, but focus on the immediate victims when they are women.

            Interesting. Because I would look at both the bigger picture and the effect on the people who are suffering. To your original examples: it is simultaneously true that women are being kept out of jobs they could do (as are men, sometimes, as in things like nursing and teaching and child care) and that this has wider social implications beyond the effects on the individuals (ignoring talented people who could be doing a job and want to do the job, because of their gender, means people who are not the best available end up doing those jobs, which is a loss for everyone). It may seem to you based on the posts I have made up to this point that I only see a one-sided story here, but that isn’t the case. I think sexism in the workforce hurts both men and women, on an individual and a group scale, as well as hurting the competitiveness of companies. It’s just bad all around.

            And regarding sexual violence and harassment, it hurts women who are victims of it, men who are victims of it, women who aren’t victims of it (because they can see it happening all around them and adjust their behaviour to be more defensive) women who aren’t victims of it in other ways (because a few of the men with which they interact will be traumatized by their experiences with women who have done stuff to them) men who aren’t victims of it (because women are going to be more defensive and likely to jump to conclusions about harmless men being predators). In my mind, it’s not a “women are being hurt” situation, but an “everyone is being hurt” situation. Personally what I see most often is women being hurt because they’ve been directly harmed, and men being harmed indirectly because women are more defensive around them, but I’m not denying that men can be and sometimes are directly harmed. And that’s excluding from consideration the LGBTQ community, which I probably shouldn’t.

            We don’t accept this type of thinking. But for issues effecting women, they are passive victims, and men need to change to fix it for them.

            In the case of heart disease, no other person is causing you to have heart disease. In the case of job loss, forces such as globalization are not a person who can be held accountable for their behaviour. In the case of sexual harassment and/or assault, there is a harasser or person who has committed an assault. In the first two cases, there is nobody you can point to and say “that person’s behaviour caused me harm and they should change”. In the case of harassment or assault, you can say “that person’s behaviour caused me harm, I don’t need to change, they do”. So in the first two cases, it’s reasonable to say “you just need to adjust to this thing that happened”, whereas in the last case “the person who did this needs to make some changes, it’s not your fault” is the appropriate response.

            When job loss or heart disease affects a woman, we don’t say someone else needs to change to fix their situation. When harassment affects a man, we should.

          • Aapje says:

            @jm

            it is simultaneously true that women are being kept out of jobs they could do (as are men, sometimes, as in things like nursing and teaching and child care)

            That you put the male equivalents in parenthesis shows your bias, although I appreciate that you at least mention it.

            However, the data shows that men and women are generally not being kept out jobs, but rather that they choose different professions, in a way that mostly seems consistent with one major gender difference that can be found from an early age: men being far more thing-oriented and women being far more person-oriented, on average.

            This may be fully or in part, a biological difference. It is certainly remarkable that studies find that both babies and monkeys seem to have such gender preferences & that women with CAH seem far more thing-oriented.

            Personally, I think that the conclusion that is most consistent with the data is that there is both a biological component and a gender norm component, which boosts the gender gap beyond the biological difference.

            I disagree that the different choices of profession and different choices in the workplace shows that women are more oppressed, because the choices that women make seem closer to their preferences than the choices that men make. Women seem to consider pay less important than having pleasant work, a pleasant work environment, a good work/life balance, etc. For example, when comparing actual hours worked to preferred hours worked, we see that women prefer to work more hours than they do, while men prefer to work fewer hours than they do. The gap for men is larger than for women, which suggests that they deviate more from their natural desires.

            Also, I find the extreme focus on pay as the workplace difference between men and women rather absurd and especially the insistence that the earnings gap makes men hugely better off. We know that there are huge wealth transfers within relationships. This is just the ‘provider role,’ which feminists usually acknowledge exists, but the logical consequence, that men don’t benefit from their income as much as the earnings gap suggests, is not drawn.

            That kind of irrational reasoning is one way in which there is a bias to see women as victims and men as perpetrators.

          • jm says:

            That you put the male equivalents in parenthesis shows your bias, although I appreciate that you at least mention it.

            I put them in parentheses because of context. We were discussing the wage gap between men and women, and the example you gave was women being blocked from being engineers. Since we started off talking about women, mentioning that the same is true of men is a side-point (like this: We’re on the same page regarding disputes about whether the wage gap is a sign of oppression, although I hadn’t heard about the bit where men’s choices may be further from their preferences than women’s).

            Parentheses are my weakness, when I edit properly their number is reduced. Don’t judge me! 😉

            Re: the idea that making more money doesn’t make men as much better off as the pure numbers suggest because of income transfers within relationships, I kinda think women being more often financially dependent on men than the other way around counts as a benefit for men, giving them more power and control in their relationships. Also, while the absolute amount of money people in the first world have has little effect on their wellbeing (so a 25% raise isn’t going to make that much difference, provided you’re already well above subsistence level) relative standing among peers does make a difference (so making 25% less than the people you’re comparing yourself to, will make you unhappy).

            Regarding your global examples… Ok. We’ve got work to do to make everything gender equal and non-sexist. If the pendulum swings from being really anti-woman sexist to a bit anti-man sexist and then there’s a pushback and we get to true equality, then good. I’m on board with that, I see no reason not to have an agency for men within the UN, amending that act within the US to also put in place supports for men in similar circumstances seems worthwhile, and the Boko Haram thing is an example of grossly unjust media coverage that you’d have my backing to raise awareness about and oppose.

            Regarding the US law thing, though: How many men actually feel unsafe walking the streets the way most women I know do? Am I the only one who had a lightbulb moment in my 20’s and realized there was a difference between the fear level I was feeling (0) and that experienced by (it turned out) every single woman I asked (N=9, in that instance)? Maybe in fact men who aren’t me are also often walking around with their keys clutched in their fists ready to defend themselves at all times, often traveling in groups for safety and planning their routes before leaving the house so as not to go near bushes people might hide in, hyper-aware of their surroundings in a way I’m often not, even when it’s a sunny Saturday afternoon and they’re just going to the store. Or is that more of a woman thing? Because if it’s more of a woman thing, then maybe safe streets for women isn’t a sexist idea, but instead a response to a problem that is pretty woman-specific. I don’t know the text of the law, I guess it depends what it says. And besides which, designating some streets as “safe streets” would only be a band-aid over a gaping festering chest wound, really what we need is a situation where all streets are safe streets. But shelters for men who have suffered domestic abuse and want to get out of that situation? Yeah, I’m on board with that. It would be extra hard to be a man abused by a woman, because it doesn’t fit masculine stereotypes, which would make it difficult to come forward and less likely to be taken seriously. Every man or woman who wants to escape a violent situation should be given the support they need, end of discussion.

          • Aapje says:

            I kinda think women being more often financially dependent on men than the other way around counts as a benefit for men, giving them more power and control in their relationships.

            It seems that in many relationships, men take the provider role, while women take the social role. As such, women tend to become dependent on the man for money, but men become dependent on the woman for social contacts. Furthermore, women tend to do most of the childcare.

            The welfare state and divorce system usually protects women from becoming so poor that it causes major psychological issues, but doesn’t do anything for men who become isolated. Furthermore, the divorce system tends to substantially reduce the contact that men have with their kids, further isolating the man.

            My strong impression is that men are more desperate to be in and stay in relationships, on average. There are facts with support this, for instance that women are more likely to file for divorce. One would expect the least dependent party to file for divorce more often.

            Also, while the absolute amount of money people in the first world have has little effect on their wellbeing (so a 25% raise isn’t going to make that much difference, provided you’re already well above subsistence level) relative standing among peers does make a difference (so making 25% less than the people you’re comparing yourself to, will make you unhappy).

            This is less true for women than for men, because the female gender role results in women being far less judged for their earnings. Studies show that men take it much harder when they lose their job, for example.

            Regarding the US law thing, though: How many men actually feel unsafe walking the streets the way most women I know do?

            You are ignoring the point that this is a logical consequence of society being less tolerant of harm happening to women and thus teaching men and women to be more protective of women, which includes cultivating a perception that women are more at risk and should face less risk. You would expect a society that cares more about female than male well-being to teach the former to avoid danger and the latter to confront danger, wouldn’t you?

            Your claim is like arguing that British men were physically safer than British women in WW I, because quite a few British men would volunteer for the meat grinder (front-line duty). One explanation for this is that these men were actually better off. The other explanation is that sacrificing oneself instead of women is part of the male gender role. Something that was exploited by the white feather campaign where women (including one of the most famous feminists of the time) would shame men to sign up. I believe that the latter explanation is a lot more correct.

            It is a fact that men are far, far more at risk of experiencing the most serious violence. If women’s fear did accurately reflect a higher risk, your point would be correct.

            Now, it may be that women experience more low level abuse. However, it is hard to tell because it is quite clear that men tend to shrug off potentially psychologically harmful experiences far more easily (this may have a biological component to it, although I think that a substantial part of it is socialization). I think that at least in part, this does cause psychologically scarring in men which they are pushed into ignoring.

            In any case, I don’t believe that the common feminist solution of demanding that we double down on part of traditionalism/patriarchy, by having men + society be more protective of women than of men, actually solves the issue. It just drives the genders further apart, so they get even less empathy for each other (especially empathy by women for men, as men hide their pain and needs from women, but also less empathy by a subset of men for women). This in turn probably increases the amount of well-intended abusive behavior and makes a substantial subset of people feel unable to get their needs met by honesty & openness (and go to the dark triad side).

            Both men and women choose dark triad solutions, although we tend to see the dark triad behavior by men as being far more harmful, which probably goes back to the greater concern for female well-being.

            Every man or woman who wants to escape a violent situation should be given the support they need, end of discussion.

            Exactly, that is my point of view and what we don’t have, IMO.

            Note that this support goes beyond mere shelters. It’s also about teaching people that they aren’t to blame for being victimized, teach the police + courts to take all victims seriously, have a norm in society where victimized people are not punished socially, that it’s legitimate to see some issues as being beyond what the individual can be expected to ‘fix’ on their own (this is especially an issue for men, who get taught self-reliance to a harmful level), etc. I believe that men are worse off for all of these.

            Men won’t take equal advantage of shelters* or other support systems if those other issues are not addressed.

            * Men also seem to be less likely to take advantage of shelters because they generally aren’t allowed to take the children with them, which stay with the mother. I’ve seen abused men argue that they stayed in the relationship to divert abuse away from the children.

          • jm says:

            You are ignoring the point that this is a logical consequence of society being less tolerant of harm happening to women

            OK, let me state clearly that I agree with you on that point. “Women and children first” is a common rule, when the non-sexist version would be “parents and children first”. For example.

            and thus teaching men and women to be more protective of women, which includes cultivating a perception that women are more at risk and should face less risk.

            This is not a point I had really considered. To me it was just a matter of “Oh. My women friends are too scared to go to the grocery store sometimes, and investing this huge amount of energy into managing their perceived risk. That’s a problem I don’t have. But for them, it’s a BIG problem, that has a large negative impact on their lives.”

            The issue there isn’t how much risk women are actually facing (this is not what is affecting their behaviour) but how much risk they believe they face and how much energy is devoted to mitigating that perceived risk.

            You would expect a society that cares more about female than male well-being to teach the former to avoid danger and the latter to confront danger, wouldn’t you?

            Sure. And everyone would benefit if that was challenged, so that perceived risk and actual risk were more closely aligned, and harm to all people in society was weighted equally, and provisions made for those with dependants rather than just for women with dependants.

            The rest of your post is basically a bunch of examples where sexism is harming men. So, agreed, that should stop. And those examples will serve me well the next time someone says I’m all about objecting to sexism when it harms women but don’t care when it harms men. So thanks for that.

            Question for you, regarding the point you raised about there being no agency for men at the UN level: What issues would you like to see that agency address, specifically, to start?

            I can easily think of things that need addressing at the international level for women (equal access to educational opportunities, property rights, access to birth control, sex trafficking, prenatal and antenatal care, and various other things we take for granted in the first world) but the only things that come up for men are things brought up by others earlier in this conversation (child soldiering, male genital mutilation AKA circumcision).

            Part of me goes “but part of the reason there’s a UN women’s group and none for men is that historically (and still today, although hopefully this will change over time) the majority of world leaders are men so the chance of ignoring an issue that affects men seems likely to be much less than the chance of ignoring an issue that only affects women. ”

            I’m not in favour of more UN bureaucracy so that a checkbox can be ticked and we can say “look, no sexism!” with no other useful purpose for the agency. “My sister has a candy bar so I want one too” is not a good approach. But it seems like you’ve given a good deal of thought to issues differentially affecting men, which I haven’t, because mostly I’ve felt like I’ve come out on top in the biological lottery and ought to focus on supporting people who haven’t. So, what does that thought lead you to conclude that a UN Men agency should focus on?

          • jm says:

            It seems that in many relationships, men take the provider role, while women take the social role. As such, women tend to become dependent on the man for money, but men become dependent on the woman for social contacts. Furthermore, women tend to do most of the childcare.

            I think this is mostly a case of socialization, and am in favour of it changing. For now, this seems true in some relationships, but less true of younger people than of older generations. But for now, point taken.

            The welfare state and divorce system usually protects women from becoming so poor that it causes major psychological issues, but doesn’t do anything for men who become isolated.

            I might agree that the welfare state and divorce system is nicer to women than to men, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it protects anyone from being so poor that it causes psychological issues. But it’s difficult to disentangle poverty that causes psychological issues from psychological issues that cause poverty.

            My strong impression is that men are more desperate to be in and stay in relationships, on average. There are facts with support this, for instance that women are more likely to file for divorce. One would expect the least dependent party to file for divorce more often.

            Wouldn’t one expect the person getting the least benefit out of the relationship and bearing the greatest cost to be the least keen to stay in the relationship, and file for divorce more often?

            Which would suggest to me that if one gender is filing for divorce more often, marriage is a worse deal for them. If women are filing for divorce more often even though they’re getting wealth transfers from men, then that suggests to me the possibility (there are plenty of possible confounding factors that could make this not true) that the men are getting more benefit in exchange for the wealth transfer than the women are, and the fair thing to do is make such wealth transfers unnecessary. I would also, however, be in favour of making whatever it is that causes some men to be desperate to be and stay in relationships unnecessary. A man having a woman in a difficult position of power imbalance because she needs the financial support and can’t leave what is otherwise a bad situation, is no better or worse than a woman having a man in a difficult position where he can’t (for whatever reason) leave the relationship he’s in. Making it easily possible for both people to leave, incentivizes good behaviour from both people and removes opportunities for abuse of power.

          • frandavid100 says:

            If women are filing for divorce more often even though they’re getting wealth transfers from men, then that suggests to me the possibility (…) that the men are getting more benefit in exchange for the wealth transfer than the women are

            Either that, or the men are more willing to put up with a bad marriage because the consequences of a divorce would be much worse for them than it would for the women.

            I don’t know how it is in the USA, but here in Spain, when you get a divorce, the woman almost always gets the children. And since she gets the children, she also gets to use the house until the children grow up, finish their studies and get a job. And that happens even if the woman has another place to live, and the man doesn’t, and he’s the one paying the house. Also, he then has to pay a considerable portion of his salary to the woman to feed and clothe the children, and another considerable portion if she doesn’t have a job.

            So here it’s entirely possible for a man to end up homeless and penniless after a divorce, even if he has a paying job. Which you can read about (for example) in this Spanish newspaper, if you can read Spanish.

            I know men personally, who are not happy in their marriages and they certainly don’t feel like they’re getting the long end of the stick, but they don’t get a divorce for fear that they will end up like that. So, I don’t really agree that men don’t file for divorce because they’re getting more benefit than women.

          • johnmcg says:

            kinda think women being more often financially dependent on men than the other way around counts as a benefit for men, giving them more power and control in their relationships

            It gives power to unscrupulous men, or men who don’t care about social sanctions.

            Both morality and various social constraints are in force to prevent men from leveraging greater earning power into greater relationship power. And for the vast majority of men, these are very effective.

            But, yes, there are some men who ignore this, just as there are some men who harass and abuse.

            There are not similar sanctions against women leveraging their advantages to get their way. A woman can implicitly or explicitly threaten a man to severely limit his time with his children to get her way. And get high-fives for doing so.

            From my perpspective, the remedy seems to be to consider men as a class to be perpetrators, and to hector us about how we sit on public transportation, etc., so we can prove we’re not. Not only is this unfair; it’s ineffective.

            You are right that harassment has a perpetrator and heart disease doesn’t. But the perpetrator of harassment isn’t me.

          • jm says:

            From my perpspective, the remedy seems to be to consider men as a class to be perpetrators, and to hector us about how we sit on public transportation, etc., so we can prove we’re not. Not only is this unfair; it’s ineffective.

            It sucks to feel or believe that that’s how people see you. What I would offer aside from this sympathy, though, is that that’s probably not actually how people see you. Even in the worst case, when someone responds to you with fear, it’s not a personal slight against you, it’s a product of really negative circumstances that that person is in. Think the difference between “I don’t know this person, but I know he’s male, I’m going to be careful based on recent experience with males” or even “I wish I could relax around guys, but I just can’t, this sucks”, vs. “PERVERT!!! Creep!!! *makes sign of cross*”. If you think people are silently thinking the last one, they almost certainly aren’t, but the first two, they might be.

            Re: the links to “manspreading”, you draw a link between fear of men as potential perpetrators of harassment or assault (which are consciously chosen actions), and unconscious behaviour by men that inconveniences others, whereas I don’t draw that link. I think it’s perfectly fine for someone to point out if I’m doing something unconsciously that they’d like me to stop doing because it impacts them negatively, and I wouldn’t jump from “this person pointed out I’m taking up two seats” to “this person thinks I’m a sexual predator”. Non sequitur. Men tend to express dominance through unconscious body language, and women tend to express non-dominance, through unconscious body language. This is a true thing in our society, but in matriarchal societies, I bet it’s the other way around. This isn’t something anyone should be castigated for or something they should feel ashamed of (unless they’ve had the fact they’re taking up two seats and someone else wants to sit down pointed out and gone ‘I don’t care, I can sit how I want and the feminists can’t stop me’, at which point they’re consciously choosing rudeness), but it doesn’t hurt (and does help) for them to be aware of it consciously so that those who are inconvenienced (i. e. made to stand when there’s a seat available) won’t be inconvenienced any more. On the assumption that men don’t want to inconvenience others, they just do sometimes, and when it’s pointed out, they’ll go “oh. Ok.”. Problem solved. Similar to pointing out to someone who doesn’t take a lot of public transit the proper way to deal with a backpack. And “carry your backpack in front of you rather than on your back” is no more connected to threatening behaviour than “please take up only the space you need so other people can sit down”.

            Meanwhile, if someone really lost it at me for taking up too much space, I’d probably go “Ok, sorry. Having a bad day?” Because clearly, they are. And I wouldn’t take someone else’s problems personally.

          • Aapje says:

            Part of me goes “but part of the reason there’s a UN women’s group and none for men is that historically (and still today, although hopefully this will change over time) the majority of world leaders are men so the chance of ignoring an issue that affects men seems likely to be much less than the chance of ignoring an issue that only affects women.

            I see this as one of the main misconceptions that nearly all feminists seem to share. Traditionalists typically don’t have a selfish morality. They believe that men and women are different in ways that require each gender to make sacrifices to compensate for the weaknesses of the other gender. As such, when they (falsely) conclude that women are not suited to certain tasks/roles, they don’t respond by seeking to maximize male happiness. They respond by trying to force women out of the places that they think women are not suited for and force men into those places. When they (falsely) conclude that men are not suited to certain tasks/roles, they respond by trying to force men out of the places that they think men are not suited for and force women into those places.

            So a realization that men or women are harmed is not sufficient to make traditionalists reject policies that harm men or women, because they believe that harm is unavoidable and that their policies minimize the harm. As such, one cannot assume that direct experience of male suffering means that male leaders will treat other men better. In fact, we see that due to stoicism, men even tend to treat themselves very badly (for example, they are less likely to seek medical aid than women). So then it cannot be remarkable that they would also treat other men worse than women. There is plenty of evidence that male politicians are more willing to accept male than female suffering (see the many men sent to the front in WW I & II, while women were kept more safe; or how government support for women is almost always greater or equal to what is offered to men, almost never less).

            I think that feminism as a movement actually subverted traditionalism to work in their favor, by changing and weakening the perception of female weaknesses, resulting in women getting pushed about a lot less and in different ways, while men mainly get pushed about differently, less in some ways and more in other ways.

            Now, because of this misconception that lack of empathy drives traditionalism, a lot of people seem to believe that people won’t mistreat those who are equal to them on all ‘axes of oppression’ and that putting people with the right gender, race, etc in power will create better politics. I see this as extremely dangerous, because it can make people blindly support people with the ‘right’ traits and thus putting horrible people in power.

            Anyway, I hope that this long rant explains why I fundamentally disagree that male leaders are necessarily concerned about issues that affect men more than issues that affect women. The actual evidence strongly points in the opposite direction.

            I’m not in favour of more UN bureaucracy so that a checkbox can be ticked and we can say “look, no sexism!” with no other useful purpose for the agency. […] Question for you, regarding the point you raised about there being no agency for men at the UN level: What issues would you like to see that agency address, specifically, to start?

            I cannot judge the efficacy of the UN, as I’m not aware of any solid evidence one way or the other. That also means that I have no idea what specific programs they should implement, as I don’t know whether their efforts typically make things better or worse and whether they do a better job than other organizations do with the same amount of money. I also cannot accurately judge to what extent their focus on women causes male needs not to be met, as I cannot judge to what extent their rhetoric is mere signaling and to what extent it is implemented.

            For example, the UN does address child soldiers, but does what I said earlier: call it a crime against children, even though it clearly almost exclusively happens to boys. It’s very typical how on that page that I linked, all actual pictures of child soldiers are boys, but the illustration on that page is a girl and the front page of the report shows a girl (probably not an ex-child soldier). For issues like a lack of education, the UN tends to claim that it only affects girls, even though it is a lot more common for boys to get no or poor education than for girls to be made into child soldiers (although girls get abused by some warlords in different ways).

            A major role of the UN is to collect statistics, identify problems and to call out nations for violating human rights. By spreading the same kind of sexist messages that within countries causes such laws to be passed like VAWA and which causes countries to do such things as automatically assume that ‘fighting age men’ are legitimate targets (even the US does/did this for their drone strikes, counting civilian male targets as insurgents), they legimitize such behavior and they contribute to the selective presentation of facts that hides issues that happen to men.

            I think that they should stop doing that at the very least. Ultimately, I am calling for a cultural change, so people don’t just say that they want to treat men and women equally, but then apply huge double standards.

          • jm says:

            @aajpe

            By the way…

            Now, it may be that women experience more low level abuse. However, it is hard to tell because it is quite clear that men tend to shrug off potentially psychologically harmful experiences far more easily (this may have a biological component to it, although I think that a substantial part of it is socialization). I think that at least in part, this does cause psychologically scarring in men which they are pushed into ignoring.

            I 100% agree with this. I don’t think men are less susceptible to bad things happening, or less impacted by them, I think they are more pressured not to express emotional pain, sadness, or other emotions with connotative links to vulnerability or weakness. Actually, from what I’ve seen, men can often be less able to deal with difficult emotions, because they’re expected not to have them and left on their own to figure out what to do once that expectation doesn’t match reality.

            How anyone ever thought it was a good idea to teach girls that they are weak and boys that they must not show weakness, is beyond my understanding.

            I’ve always found the psychology of women to be easy to understand and very like my own. And the same is true for men, once I get them to actually talk to me. Except the men are often less skilled at expressing themselves or thinking about how they’re feeling, because they’ve apparently not been taught how to. But my basic position is that psychologically, men and women are much more similar than almost any source I’ve read would have us believe, and the variation within gender is much more substantial than the variation between genders, with a huge amount of overlap. Probably written sources don’t reflect this because almost every analysis of gender focuses on analyzing gender differences, rather than similarities.

          • Aapje says:

            @jm

            Which would suggest to me that if one gender is filing for divorce more often, marriage is a worse deal for them.

            Imagine two people: a dalit who is only allowed to do very dangerous and dirty jobs that pay very little and Bill Gates.

            I offer both people the same deal: trade your life for a basic middle class job and middle class life. This is a far worse deal for Bill Gates than for the dalit, but merely because Bill Gates has a far better alternative. It’s not a worse deal for Bill Gates because he gets a worse offer, because I offered both people the same.

            Similarly, the eagerness for people to enter into or to exit long term relationships is not merely defined by the abolute quality of life that the relationship brings to a person, but also how that person perceives the alternative(s).

            I believe that singlehood is on average a bit worse for men, because they:
            – get taught not to seek emotional intimacy with men or women they don’t have a relationship with, so outside of relationships, they are more often emotionally neglected
            – tend to have stronger sex drives than women and on average have a harder time getting their sexual needs met. It’s typically very easy for a woman to have sex outside of relationships if she lowers her standards enough, but very hard for a high percentage of men no matter how much they lower their standards.

            My perception is also that our partially traditionalist & partially egalitarian culture teaches women to demand the impossible: a man who is stoic, a provider, a defender, etc; and also a man who opens up emotionally, helps equally in the household/with child rearing, etc. It’s pretty much impossible to not fail at this and thus disappoint the woman within the relationship. I think that men have on average lower demands in a relationship and many seem to accept conditions that I consider extremely imbalanced, to an abusive level.

            Others have already noted that divorce also seem to result in worse outcomes for men, not in the least because the laws/courts make it this way.

            I believe that you can model reality a bit like this, where the number is the average quality of life that one expects/demands and what one has, respectively:

            expectation/demand……….actual
            1………………………………………1……….single men
            2………………………………………2……….coupled men
            1………………………………………0……….divorced men
            2………………………………………2……….single women
            4………………………………………3……….coupled women
            2………………………………………3……….divorced women

            This model explains why male incels are more common/angry than female incels, why men are more aggressive in courting, why men are more reluctant to divorce/split up, why women are more eager to divorce/split up, why divorced men are so unhappy/suicidal, why married women are relatively suicidal compared to single and divorced women, etc.

            In other words, it explains observed behavior quite well.

            PS. It’s interesting how sad the memes are that are common among men about marriage. Variants of ‘happy wife, happy life’ are very common, which speak to an inferior position where the man should accept what the woman voluntarily offers, because the man has no negotiation position or real alternatives. Another common meme is to avoid crazy women, which also speaks to men having a fairly low expectation. In contrast, the idea that a woman should change a man to be more pleasant to her seems quite common.

            PS2. This is a decent article about faux equality vs real gender equality.

          • jm says:

            @Aapje

            Based on your thoughts when I asked you about what issues UN Men should address… what it sounds like is needed is a group specifically focused on analyzing proposed policies for sexism that negatively impacts men, or for being based on incorrect stereotypes about men.

            And I think you’re right. That would be valuable. There are lots of areas where sexism negatively impacts men. I see this particularly when men are told to be stoic or encouraged to treat themselves as less valuable than women, and variations on those themes, which are the mirror image of women being told they are the emotional sex and less able than men in various ways. Yet although feminists do want “Sexism bad” to be the rallying cry, in practice the view is that women are suffering more at this time and need to be the focus for now. It would be good for everyone to go “but also, here are ways gender stereotypes make it suck to be a man, let’s address those too, because stereotypes for women and stereotypes for men are part of a mutually reinforcing structure of social norms that is clearly the cause of bad things, and taking down any part of that structure helps the whole thing fall apart more quickly.”

            This, I think, is what thoughtful people often conclude whether they identify themselves as feminists or not, because it’s where the evidence leads. But the entry point into feminism at this time is seeing the suffering of women and wanting to do something about it. Going “also, the thing that you’re critiquing because it hurts women, is also hurting men. So, let’s take the whole thing down, for the good of all humans” is where feminists get after they’ve thought for a bit. And it’s hard to put a thoughtful message into a viral soundbite. So entry-level “the women are suffering!” feminists get more external visibility than “hey so guess what? Sexism isn’t just bad for women.” feminists. Even though the thoughtful ones are the ones that get more play in in-group discussions.

          • Toby Bartels says:

            @Aapje

            PS2. This is a decent article about faux equality vs real gender equality.

            As the other feminist in this long discussion, I want to say that I like the reply to this article by Sarah VV in the comments and the thread begun thereby. (Within that, the subconversation with Lichdar Drider is the most interesting.) I pretty much agree with her about feminism (although not about everything).

          • jm says:

            I believe that singlehood is on average a bit worse for men, because they:
            – get taught not to seek emotional intimacy with men or women they don’t have a relationship with, so outside of relationships, they are more often emotionally neglected

            As you say, this can sometimes be taught to boys. How bout let’s stop doing that because it’s a bad idea? This already happens with lots of boys being raised by parents who are aware of the feminist critique of social constructions around masculinity. Which is an increasing number of parents, many of whom wouldn’t consider themselves feminists, just people trying to do the best job at raising their kids they can. It’s pretty mainstream to try to avoid raising an emotionally stunted male, now.

            – tend to have stronger sex drives than women and on average have a harder time getting their sexual needs met. It’s typically very easy for a woman to have sex outside of relationships if she lowers her standards enough, but very hard for a high percentage of men no matter how much they lower their standards.

            I don’t get it. Why are you speaking as if the only way to get your sexual desires met as a man is to insert your penis into a woman, and likewise women can only get their sexual needs met by penises? Masturbation is a thing. I know, it’s not as fun as sex, but it will definitely prevent you from having erections at inconvenient times if you do it enough. Trust me, I was single for a decade or two, I know these things. PS: it wasn’t that bad. PPS: The SO wants sex less than I do. Masturbation is still useful. PPPS: Feminists were onto the “masturbation isn’t icky, lots of things related to sex are burdened with unneeded shame which should stop” train decades ago.

            Speaking of “decades ago”… Back a few posts ago, you supported how little we care about men by talking about stuff that happened in WW1. I’d like to point out, a lot has changed since 1915. What was the done thing back in the roaring 20’s is just a tad old fashioned now. For example, according to a “History minute” thing I was shown on TV as a child, there’s this Canadian woman named Emily Murphy who had to go all the way to Britain to get the law changed so that women were recognized as people in the British commonwealth. In 1929. And if we go to WW2… Leave it to Beaver is still pretty old fashioned, the changes that occurred in the 60’s and 70’s have had a large impact on our society, and are kind of old news to the feminists of today.

            I’m not saying that we don’t care more about harm to women – I already conceded that point. But: citing examples from what is socially the distant past to make a case about how people think today isn’t building the strongest possible case for your position. Today, women are allowed in the millitary, in front line positons. Which would weaken the case you were trying to make, of course.

            What I think is, we still have vestigial leftovers in our culture from the romance novels of the 1800’s. And the blatantly and indisputably mysogynist laws of the 1900’s. And the religions of the 0’s. But social attitudes are changing, and feminists are often at the forefront of that change, pushing the boundaries of what other people are comfortable with. So today, the idea that women can do the same work as men is the default position and the burden of proof is on the person who wants to make an exception to that rule. Once, when “women are only kinda people” was a thing that was written into law, that position would have seemed radical to the point of near insanity, the same way some people today think it’s nuts to require consent before kissing. One day, that will be as normal as women in the workforce, and on that day the feminists will move on to something else.

            What I’d say is, yes, many people in our society say that we should care less about men than about women. But feminists are against that, not for it, and the degree to which it is true has gone down over time, because feminists have spoken out against it. Caring less about harm to men is the mirror image of coddling women and treating them as weak and defenseless. As you pointed out, traditionalists believe all kinds of sexist things are the least harm approach. Such as “since women can’t handle certain things, it is men’s role to put themselves in harm’s way on women’s behalf.” Feminists aren’t traditionalists. We (for the most part, there are always outliers in any group of course) believe the two ideas are linked, and both need to go.

          • Aapje says:

            @jm

            The problem with having people specifically address men’s issues is that it logically has the same failure modes as feminism, where bias and a lack of empathy makes people demand inequality under the the banner of equality.

            Ultimately, most gender issues that effect men are related to issues that effect women and vice versa. As such, these issues can usually not be solved by exclusively creating solutions for men (just like the current focus on creating solutions exclusively for women is not working out well). I don’t believe in trickle-down feminism or the equivalent for men.

            In the current, fucked up situation, I do believe that specific advocacy for men’s issues is needed and even more basically, to fight against the oppression & unfair treatment of those who advocate for men’s issues in a non-feminist way. However, ideally this should not lead to a parallel system for men’s issues, but a system that seeks to improve life for all, based on scientific fact and respect for individual choice.

            But the entry point into feminism at this time is seeing the suffering of women and wanting to do something about it. Going “also, the thing that you’re critiquing because it hurts women, is also hurting men. So, let’s take the whole thing down, for the good of all humans” is where feminists get after they’ve thought for a bit.

            My experience is that most feminists seem to believe that the suffering of women comes from men being privileged over women and thus that ‘the patriarchy’ is a system that prioritizes men’s well-being over that of women.

            My belief/observation is that Social Justice people in general believe that grave injustice only derives from systems of oppression and thus that it is crucial to believe that such a system exists, because otherwise people will not recognize that grave injustice exists and thus not be motivated to change it.

            However, the facts strongly point away from there having been or currently being a system of oppression that consistently seeks to privilege men.

            The result of the ‘oppression of women’ dogma being held sacred is that feminists tend to build up a more extensive model that is consistent with this falsehood. That is only possible by ignoring inconvenient facts, cherry picking the gender differences that get recognized, claiming that men cause outcomes where the evidence is very clear that female choice plays a huge role, doing ‘science’ that produces the desired outcome, etc.

            Ideologies that seek to put blame on a group far beyond what is reasonable, must employ discriminatory reasoning and/or methods to legitimize their false model. So ironically, a lot of the same kind of reasoning and/or methods that were used to justify slavery or the oppression of Jews, are visible in feminist writing.

            When the model is wrong and identifies the wrong causes, interventions will often be done by pulling the wrong levers. It’s actually even worse, as the common feminist model makes it impossible to pull the right levers. Because it tends to assume that women have no significant privilege, whenever women start losing an advantage, this tends to get seen as a regression to traditionalism. So only solutions that preserve female privilege tend to be accepted, which are usually non-egalitarian solutions.

            So while I believe that feminists intend to ‘destroy the patriarchy’ conceptually, I don’t think that most of them accept losing some of the benefits of actual traditionalism.

            Even though the thoughtful ones are the ones that get more play in in-group discussions.

            I’ve looked at academic feminism and the popular feminists for the ingroup and while they are a bit more thoughtful than the more popular feminists, the dogma, the ignoring of inconvenient facts, cherry picking, falsified science, lack of empathy with men, etc is really very, very bad there as well. The most visible feminism is worse, but it is mainly worse in the same ways that the less visible feminism is, but more so.

            I’ve found that some feminist concepts are useful, but only by steelmanning them to an extreme extent, using the concept in ways that feminists typically do not (like applying ‘objectification’ to the provider role).

          • jm says:

            Ok, confession time: I don’t read a lot of feminist academic literature. Or, any, in fact. There are a bunch of books on my list of books to read, but I haven’t gotten to them yet. When I said more thoughtful feminists act as a corrective force, I was thinking of this woman Tracy who leads a lot of the discussions where we all sit in a circle and some of the fresh-faced university students say silly things that don’t really get at the root of this “patriarchy” thing they’re so excited about, and she goes “yes, but…” and they go “OH… yeah. Yeah that makes sense…”. I assume she’s basing her position on thoughtful things she’s read, but she’s actually also just a thoughtful person, so she may have thought some of the things she thinks up herself. Similarly for the local liberal arts university professors who also participate in these discussion – I assume they’re familiar with the relevant literature, rather than drawing my conclusions about what wise feminists think from that literature. I’ve tried reading some of the stuff from the 60’s and gone a) that’s really dry, and b) I need a glossary, and to immerse myself in this literature for 6 months or so to get what they’re getting at, I’m just going to go talk to some people who can translate those ideas into english.

            Besides participating in discussions, I can tell you how I learned what feminists think years ago (which doesn’t strictly correspond to where things have gone in the past 5 years, but it’s what I mean when I say “feminism” – the core ideas, not the superficial froth that becomes a social media fashion for a month and then dies away. I think “manspreading” falls into the latter category, by the way. But we’ll see.)

            Step 1: I’m 16, decades ago. I’m bullied regularly and always have been, so I have no illusions about how idyllic and justice-based homo sapiens dominance hierarchies are. I know a number of girls that I can count on my fingers well enough that they might tell me stories about problems in their lives. 3 of them tell me they have been raped this year, and one sexually assaulted. I do the adolescent version of a trauma therapy session with the one who was sexually assaulted because she happens across me immediately afterwards, so I’m the first one she tells. It occurs to me that I’m a dude, so even though that’s a lot, I’m probably still not seeing how bad it really is. I notice that all of the girls around me are kind of afraid. Like, all of them. And, of course they are. The world’s fucked up.

            Step 2: As a part of figuring out why bad things were happening to me (a long term quest) I added on “why are bad things happening to the girls I know?”

            Step 3: Over time, I talked to people. Lots of women, because teenage rape (and as I found out, childhood sexual abuse when younger is also not that uncommon) is worse than bullying, at least the mostly verbal with a few shoves bullying I was dealing with. As I moved into university, the bullying stopped. The sexual violence against the women I knew, did not.

            What I came to understand from this process, from talking to people who saw and cared about what was happening to these women, is that the root of the problem is sexism. Not “oppression of women”. Because what guy wants to be a rapist? None of them. And yet, here we are, a lot of guys must be raping people when they would rather not be rapists, because a lot of women (and probably a not insignificant number of men, because rape is much more about power and dominance than sex) are being raped. Above, you called it moving into the dark triad because of not getting your needs met. That’s about right. The same thing can happen to women, because we’re all basically the same. But the pressures on men because of sexism, the forms of oppression they suffer, are different. For men, sexist oppression means never showing weakness. It means being dominant, strong, emotionless except for Manly Anger, aggressive, pursuing and persisting when women play “hard to get”, and powerful. Is this not the picture of a harasser, assaulter, and rapist? There’s certainly a lot of overlap. But this is how sexism teaches men to be. Those are patriarchal values. The Patriarchy, properly understood, isn’t about making men privileged, it’s about making them be the ones in the dominant social position, at the top of the hierarchy. If you think of that as a privilege, you’re missing the point. Do some feminists miss this point? Yes. At first, many do. Because “dominant is inherently better and the opposite of oppressed” is an easy thing to think, and at first glance it seems right. But over time, feminists who’ve thought some more about things go “yes, but” and the ones who have thought less go “OH. Yeah…”.

            For women, sexist oppression is the mirror image of the case for men. Sexism teaches them to be weak, that they’re vulnerable, that it’s unladylike to not be nice and satisfy the needs of those around them, that they shouldn’t ask for what they want or object to what they don’t want, that they are overly emotional (so their emotions don’t really fully count) and crying is acceptable but anger is not. And is this not the picture of a victim? Yet this is what patriarchal values (centred around putting men in the dominant position) teach women.

            What thoughtful feminists mean when they say that women are systematically more likely to be victims and men systematically more likely to be harassers, is that the sexist system of values, norms and stereotypes that oppresses both genders makes this so. And that’s true. Harassment, and the sexualized violence that often follows from it, is gendered. It’s sexist, and patriarchal, and men and women play systematically different roles, but neither of them really wants to play any role in this mess. None of these people are at fault for the nature of society and the ideas they grew up with, it’s just how things are right now.

            Ultimately, most gender issues that effect men are related to issues that effect women and vice versa.

            ^^ This. It’s a mutually reinforcing system. Thus, systematic oppression. Of both genders.

            As such, these issues can usually not be solved by exclusively creating solutions for men (just like the current focus on creating solutions exclusively for women is not working out well). I don’t believe in trickle-down feminism or the equivalent for men.

            I have a different view. There are not two sexisms, one for men and the other for women. Sexism is one thing that affects both genders. Systematic sexist oppression is one thing that affects both genders. And any blow that helps either gender to get out from under it, weakens the whole system of ideas we’ve inherited as a culture. When women fight to be seen as capable and strong, it makes it harder to say men should put themselves in harms way to protect the weak women. When men fight to be allowed to be emotional, it validates the idea that emotional is a thing all people are, which makes it harder to draw the contrast where emotional = weak for women and not emotional = strong for men.

            In the current, fucked up situation, I do believe that specific advocacy for men’s issues is needed and even more basically, to fight against the oppression & unfair treatment of those who advocate for men’s issues in a non-feminist way. However, ideally this should not lead to a parallel system for men’s issues, but a system that seeks to improve life for all, based on scientific fact and respect for individual choice.

            We agree.

            My experience is that most feminists seem to believe that the suffering of women comes from men being privileged over women and thus that ‘the patriarchy’ is a system that prioritizes men’s well-being over that of women.

            My belief/observation is that Social Justice people in general believe that grave injustice only derives from systems of oppression and thus that it is crucial to believe that such a system exists, because otherwise people will not recognize that grave injustice exists and thus not be motivated to change it.

            However, the facts strongly point away from there having been or currently being a system of oppression that consistently seeks to privilege men.

            See my comments about systematic oppression above. The system of oppression doesn’t privilege men, it elevates them to a higher position in the dominance hierarchy. This is a subtle distinction that even many feminists don’t get, starting out.

            My experience with social justice groups, from sitting around a circle talking to people (not a lot of people, I don’t live in a large urban centre) is that you’re not entirely wrong (starting out, feminists do often equate dominance with privilege), but you’re not entirely right either (this is something they un-learn when other feminists challenge them on it). The people I’ve talked to aren’t a statistically valid random sample of the population of people concerned with social justice, but there’s a phenomenon where from outside, groups look more homogeneous and simple than they are when you see them from the inside. I think that, rather than my having an unrepresentative sample, may be what is shaping our different perceptions.

          • jm says:

            And, aapje:

            Thank you for this discussion. The distinction between privilege and elevation in the dominance hierarchy is something I knew intuitively and have sometimes struggled to express, and this is the first time I’ve gone “This. This is exactly what I mean, in words.”

          • jm says:

            Shorter version:

            Patriarchy as a set of ideas has nothing to say about about men’s wellbeing. It is actively bad for men. That’s not what it’s about. Patriarchy (rule by men, linguistically) is an interconnected set of ideas about power and dominance, and who in society should and by nature will have power and be dominant.

            Privilege is a separate thing. Power and privilege often go together, but they’re different. Gay men and straight men are equally pushed to be powerful by patriarchal ideas, but gay men get less privilege than straight men because of heteronormativity. See?

          • Aapje says:

            And yet, here we are, a lot of guys must be raping people when they would rather not be rapists, because a lot of women (and probably a not insignificant number of men, because rape is much more about power and dominance than sex) are being raped. Above, you called it moving into the dark triad because of not getting your needs met.

            I think that the dark triad explanation is correct for many of the intentional harassers and rapists. This can possibly be reduced if we free people from their strict gender roles or even apply some pressure to encourage people adopt elements of the other gender role, so people can more often achieve their goals while staying near their own comfort zone, rather than feeling forced to go way outside of it, which can then easily result in going waaaaay too far.

            However, I think that it is deceptive to argue that all rape or sexual assault is about power and dominance, because I think that it makes people think that the rape or assault itself is always a conscious choice that people do to make themselves feel powerful/dominant, while I think that a fairly large percentage of rapes and assaults happen due to Moloch. Let me sketch two scenarios to explain what I mean.

            Scenario 1:

            Bob is a young man who is relatively shy. He discovers that shy men rarely or never get approached by women, so he forces himself to approach women, ignoring his own comfort zone. He flirts with a woman who seems very interested. He asks whether he may kiss her. She acts insulted, but then continues flirting. Bob is confused. Why does she keep flirting if she doesn’t want to make out? Bob asks his friends, they tell him not to ask, but ‘just to go for it.’ This makes him uncomfortable, but he decides to give it a try. The next time a woman flirts with him, Bob goes in for the kiss without asking. The woman is enthusiastic. Bob decides that women tend to dislike it when a men asks for permission. They even tell him that they want ‘things to just happens.’ He concludes that women want a fantasy, rather than the truth, with the man as an actor playing a role.

            Bob goes to a party where everyone gets drunk. Bob notices a pretty woman and goes to talk to her. The woman wants to talk, but is not interested in making out. However, because she is drunk, she laughs so much and sends other signals that look like flirting. Bob is also drunk and has poor perception due to this, so he thinks that the woman flirts more heavily than the actual signals she sends out. The alcohol also makes Bob more eager than normal, so Bob goes in for the kiss and also grabs her by her behind. She woman feels assaulted. She gets angry. Bob is confused. Bob didn’t want to assault, but the way he is conditioned and the circumstances caused this miscommunication. It is Moloch.

            Scenario 2:

            The first time that he had sex, John asked many times during sex whether the woman was OK with what he did and what she wanted. The woman reacted badly to this. John realized that he had to ask less. The next time he had sex, he asked less than he was comfortable with and did things without asking. The woman clearly was more happy than the first woman John had sex with, but still acted brusquely the times when he did ask whether she was content or what she wanted. Many of the women he had sex with since where extremely passive, so they often gave him little indication that they enjoyed themselves, but told him so when he asked, although it was clear that they didn’t like him asking. So he decided to stop asking unless the woman spoke out or was clearly unhappy.

            At one party, John met Alice, a college student who only had sex once before, with a shy, unexperienced guy. John and Alice made out and went back to his place. John started undressing her, but Alice just wanted to make out, not to have sex. John never asked, unlike the shy, unexperienced guy and he was more aggressive than the guy from her first sexual experience, so she got scared. In her mind, she started imagining how he might murder her and she froze up with fear. John continued to have sex with her, noticing that Alice was even less active than the other women he had sex with, but not that much less than the least enthusiastic woman he had sex with. So he assumed that her behavior was within the normal range. After sex, he rolled over and went to sleep. Alice quickly got dressed, went home and cried, considering herself to be raped. John never wanted to rape her, but the way he is conditioned and the circumstances caused this to happen. It is Moloch.

            Now, these scenarios are mostly from the male perspective and show how men get conditioned in large part by female behavior. You could make up other scenarios that explain how women get conditioned in large part by male behavior. Anyway, I think that ultimately, it is important to realize that these behaviors are not pure evil, but that there are also advantages. Having people do things without asking creates a romantic atmosphere (when the behavior is actually desired) and can feel magical, like a person reading your mind. Lying back and having someone pleasure you, without any concern over having to give feedback or ask for anything can be wonderful (when what the other person does is actually what you want).

            However, these desires are also very dangerous and IMO, people are not told this. They get a false narrative about how you have evil men who rape/assault and good men who pleasure, but not a truthful narrative about how well-intentioned men can do things that women perceive as horrible.

            IMO, this can only be improved if men and women better cooperate. If women keep desiring that don’t ask for permission or demand strong signals that the woman is happy with what happen; then women must both accept that they have to forgive men who make a bad guess (within reason, of course) and also have to respond strongly when their boundaries are crossed, so there is no confusion. They cannot depend on men reading their minds, because this is an impossible demand. In turn, men have to then not push beyond a ‘no,’ even though some women like that, because it is just too dangerous (IMO). We should also teach women not to demand that men push beyond a ‘no,’ because that conditions men to do that.

            The alternative is to move to a completely different model, like affirmative consent, but this eliminates the romantic atmosphere and the the pleasure of just lying back and giving oneself over. I am quite skeptical whether most people actually want give these things up. Perhaps they do, but this is not even brought up in the ‘affirmative consent’ discussions that happen. As such, I think that people are deluding themselves when it comes to ‘affirmative consent,’ seeing it as a solution that magically fixes assault & rape if men continuously ask for consent. It’s generally a big ask to get people to do things that provide substantial benefits that are nevertheless not very clear to the person doing them and where the direct consequences to the person are considered unpleasant. A classic example of this is surgeons washing their hands, which has been known to drastically cut down on deaths for a long time, but which quite a few surgeons still do not do properly. The surgeon doesn’t clearly see the lives that he saves by washing his hands, so he just experiences the burden, while the benefits are invisible. The lives that diligent surgeons save show up in the statistics, but are not directly visible to the surgeon.

            Similarly, perhaps ‘affirmative consent’ does greatly reduce the risks of rape/assault and people would be happy to accept the downsides if the actual benefits would be clear to them. However, a rape or assault that is avoided is not something that people actually see. So I fear that if ‘affirmative consent’ becomes the law, men and women will rarely actually do it. So then the law won’t prevent a significant number of assaults or rapes, but it will mainly result in more well-intentioned men to go to jail, when Moloch strikes. In general, I already see it as an issue that when Moloch strikes, men are blamed, which IMO is unfair, because both men and women tend to be responsible.

            Ultimately, women getting more agency is not something that will merely make women better off in all ways. It doesn’t just mean getting to take responsibility when that is pleasant, but it also requires taking responsibility when it is not. That can never be achieved by merely demanding that women’s lives improve in all ways, it also requires accepting that in some ways, women can no longer avoid responsibility and/or get better treatment. I think that overall, women’s lives will probably improve if we achieve more gender equality, but it will be two steps forward, one step back. Substantially more gender equality will IMO not happen until people accept that.

          • Aapje says:

            Thank you for this discussion. The distinction between privilege and elevation in the dominance hierarchy is something I knew intuitively and have sometimes struggled to express, and this is the first time I’ve gone “This. This is exactly what I mean, in words.”

            I would like to say the same to you. You interpreted/completed my arguments in a way I wouldn’t have, but that I think is a very interesting way to put it.

            Privilege is a separate thing. Power and privilege often go together, but they’re different. Gay men and straight men are equally pushed to be powerful by patriarchal ideas, but gay men get less privilege than straight men because of heteronormativity. See?

            I generally try to avoid terms like ‘privilege,’ because people so often turn them into absolutes or even rhetorical weapons, declaring that one group has privileges, while another hasn’t. I think that the concept is only valid if it is linked to a context and when there is a recognition that a privilege can bring a disprivilege with it & vice versa. Furthermore, differences in individual circumstances mean that privilege and disprivilege are not the same for all people of the same gender, sexual orientation, race, etc; but can vary greatly.

            In theory, intersectionality covers this mostly. However, the common understanding of ‘intersectionality’ actually seems to be the opposite of what the originator of the term actually meant by it.

            Because so many terms are used in different ways, using them often requires first clarifying what one means by them, which generally makes it easier to just avoid the term and use descriptions.

  23. frogcrunch says:

    The “structural oppression” model is false, by the way. Homosexual male harassment is more prevalent than the percent gay men in the population would imply, suggesting that gay men harass men more often than straight men harass women.

    Holy cow. This is truly an amazing misrepresentation of the cited study. First off, even if it were in any way substantiated that gay male-to-male harassment is more prevalent than male-to-female harassment, how would that disprove the existence of structural oppression against women, exactly? What on earth was the thought process there? At best it would show what we aready know – that masculinity is in crisis and we as a society need to change and move away from traditional gender norms that say men must act unnecessarily tough and dominant.
    But more importantly, neither is the study about harassment perpetrated by gay men (and thus it is utterly duplicitous to use it as a basis for comparing the rates of gay male-to-male vs. male-to-female harassment), nor does it in any way point to the idea of structural oppression being false. It does the opposite, highlighting that workplace harassment is severely gendered. To wit:

    The findings also provide support for the idea that men perceive not only unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion as SH, but also the enforcement of the traditional heterosexual male gender role (Berdahl et al., 1996). Indeed, many of the experiences described by complainants in the male-to-male group were characterized by taunts about apparently unmasculine conduct and appearance and insinuations that the complainants were gay. One explanation for this conduct is a power–sex association, whereby (male) harassers, who would usually prey upon vulnerable women because it arouses their power concept, may resort, in some circumstances, to the harassment of vulnerable males in order to activate the power concept (Bargh and Raymond, 1995; Lee, 2000). Indeed, the scenarios described in the complaints suggest that men who do not conform to dominant standards of masculinity may be singled out for demeaning, hostile and even violent sexual conduct, usually by other men, but sometimes by women.

    The propensity for women to perform as honorary men can also be explained in some of the female-to-male complaints where women denigrated men with homophobic slurs. This aligns with Epstein’s (1997) notion of heterosexism, where men are punished for deviating from prescribed heterosexual norms and gender roles. Such conduct was, however, most frequent in the male-to-male complaints where male targets were subjected to antigay biases and gender hostility (Epstein, 1997; Knights and Tulberg, 2012; Pryor and Whalen, 1997).

    I mean, just wow. Certainly not all harassment stems from gender (hefty strawman there), a lot of it stems simply from the wish to abuse one’s power, but allegiance to traditional gender roles certainly increases someone’s propensity to condone or commit harassment in order to punish gender nonconformity or to reaffirm male-female and masculine-feminine hierarchies, and downpalying this is unwise at best. It should be possible to acknowledge the existence of gendered factors without at the same time ignoring the complexities of the story.

    Any silencing of stories about male victims and female perps is much more likely to stem from ingrained traditionalism than from the “social justice” perspective the author seems to want to blame. Traditional norms teach us that women are too good and angelic to be perps whereas “men just can’t help themselves.”
    And, while this is anecdotal, I want to point out that the only place where I ever saw reports of Mariah Carey’s abuse, and more recently of the rape committed by Melanie Martinez, was feminist tumblr. (A report of the latter is nearing 50k notes after a single day.)

    • shenanigans24 says:

      The thought process is that if men are the group with power and women without power than harassment is derived from the power differential. If men are the group with power than homosexual men would not have a power differential since both are men. Since harassment doesn’t dissapear in that case either power differential is not the cause or the make-female power differential theory (as a structural reality) does not exist. Either way the theory is wrong and Scott is right.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I was quoting it for its claim that 11% of sexual harassment is male-male. Since only about 4% of men are gay, this suggests gay men are harassing at at least the same rates as straight men. So the reason men harass has nothing to do with any cultural belief that women are especially worthy of harassment, which is how I interpret “structural”

  24. birdboy2000 says:

    All these places which have come out with major scandals – the Catholic Church, Hollywood, Congress – are extremely hierarchical institutions where some people wield major power over others, and even the stereotypical sexual harassment story involves a boss. There’s a commonality there and it’s not gender; insofar as women are less likely to perpetrate, it seems to me largely because there are fewer women with positions that would let them do so – but Joe Average can’t be Harvey Weinstein either, even if he wanted to!

    If we’re not going to seriously address issues of power and hierarchy in our society, if we’re going to see this solely as an issue of men vs. women or a few people being morally abhorrent, we’re not going to solve the problem. The press’s treatment of this issue has been worse than useless, but solving it would infringe on their own elite position.

    • takashoru says:

      Oh, wow!

      I never thought to attempt to control for gender-in-power when looking at sexual harassment. That… could really change how we view sexual harassment, assuming we are pushing for more women (up to equal) in power.

  25. Nate the Albatross says:

    Good perspective. I feel like two groups in particular are worth mentioning: I suspect trans people of either gender are sexually harassed at rates that make being a straight woman a piece of cake. And even watching television it is gross to watch how black men are often discussed as sexual animals.

    I also like the example of the tweet about not knowing any harassers and want to throw out there that not everyone is a great judge of human interactions. Yes, I have told coworkers “don’t be that guy” but most of them time even if you ask a woman point blank, “Hey, is he making you uncomfortable?” she evades the question or denies it. Part of believing women means accepting when they tell you everything is fine. Especially for the socially awkward, we depend on people accepting the invitation to speak up. Predators are often very skilled at covering their tracks.

    In France there is a macho culture. It isn’t uncommon for the urinal to be in plain view of women entering a restroom even in large chains like McDonalds and Carrefour. France also has a terrible problem with harassment of women, and I can’t help but think the two are related. A culture that views men as objects is going to have a very hard time telling men that women aren’t objects. I realize most of western culture consists of the exact reverse, but “do what I say, not what I do” just isn’t a good recipe for equality.

    • manwhoisthursday says:

      In France, men pee onto the walls in subway stations in full view of everyone.

    • Creutzer says:

      I’d say if you think France has a macho culture, you don’t know what a real macho culture looks like. Oddities surrounding urination are a fairly unique feature of French culture that one probably shouldn’t try to derive from gender roles.

  26. safikarim says:

    The article’s spot on. It’s a self-perpetrating problem because gendering sexual harassment silences male victims of female perpetrators, which leads people to think women don’t sexually harass men, which leads people to think the problem should be treated in a gendered way

    To fix this, society needs to be more willing to listen to men who make reports and actually consider the possibility that it could be true

  27. johnmcg says:

    Two notes:

    1. I have more sympathy for the “structural oppression” model than Scott does. Perhaps another way to think about it is how vulnerable the population is to the application of the stereotypes. Particularly from the perspective of those making these arguments, the consequences of being tagged with stereotypes could be very dire, and there are recent historical examples of them.

    From their perspective, men, as a class, are not vulnerable. They hold all, or most of, the power. If they are unfairly tagged with a stigma as harassers, what will the consequence be? That they will hold 70% of the power rather than 80%? Meh. That should happen anyway. Maybe being unfairly tagged with harassment isn’t the best means for achieving that goal, but it’s better than the Civil War.

    Now, I think this operates from a limited vision of “vulnerable.” People look at the CEOs and senators, etc., and conclude that men are doing great, and women need a boost. Which may be the case, in general. But that doesn’t mean the individual men might not be hurt by an environment in which all accusations of harassment against women by men are disbelieved, or that individual women might be allowed to harass in an environment in which all accusations of harassment against men by women are dismissed.

    2. I always thought people should think deeper about that tweet than the conclusion that men put their head in the sand about harassment, which is the apparent intended conclusion.

    Couldn’t it be that most men are decent, find harassment to be disgusting, and don’t associate with those who do? Or, per one of Scott’s recent posts, they create communities where people don’t harass or talk about harassment?

    Given that, it seems that regarding all men as suspect is the exactly wrong response. That, indeed, surrounding oneself with these decent men would be the best protection against harassment.

    • johnmcg says:

      One more part of the “structural oppression” that the perception is that women are underrepresented in certain industries, and that an environment with lots of male->female harassment is one of the reasons why, so it is worth prioritizing it over other patterns of harassment.

      Whether this is entirely correct is another question. But this reasoning doesn’t strike me as absurd on its face.

      • Aapje says:

        It’s very plausible that a large disparity means that the minority gets relatively more harassment because of the disparity itself, even if no higher percentage of men in that environment harass.

        For example:
        – Assume that 1 in 100 men harass 1 single woman and 1 in 100 women harasses 1 single man
        – Assume that the workplace has 1000 men and 1 woman

        Then that woman will get harassed by 10 men, because those men don’t have any other target. On the other hand, every man will get harassed by 0.00001 women, because there is only 1% chance that the one woman is a harasser and even if she is, most men are safe because she will likely not pick them as the target.

        Of course, this example is just to illustrate the mechanism.

    • shenanigans24 says:

      I don’t buy that men hold 80% of the power. Women influence men. Headlines are about women and children. The shittiest jobs in the world are done by men. Men are drafted and killed. Mlst women have the option to never work and enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor. Welfare programs take from men and give to women.

      Frankly it takes a lot of mental gymnastics to see women as an oppressed class or men as a favored one.

      • Aapje says:

        Indeed, especially since women are the majority of voters, so women have the most ability to ‘hire’ a politician. If I use my own money to hire a woman as a personal secretary, she is merely the executor of my desires. It’s not a ‘woman in charge.’

      • johnmcg says:

        Again, I’m speaking from the perspective of the activists, who would probably consider a picture of the CEOs of the Fortune 100 companies, or of the Senators, or the Cabinet, as sufficient proof that men are mainly the ones in control.

        As you note, reality on the ground for almost all of us is quite different. That white males make up the board rooms of most companies doesn’t do much for me personally. But it’s enough to sustain the narrative.

        • Thegnskald says:

          The narrative is constructed by and for upper and upper-middle class women.

          It is a long-standing complaint that feminism ignores poor women, and that most of the changes it has wrought have been to outsource wealthier women’s previous domestic duties to poorer women, rather than actually freeing women in general of anything. (Childcare being a prominent example). Poor women always worked; it was middle-class women, bored of increasingly automated domestic chores, who needed the social sanction.

          So it should surprise nobody that all the emphasis remains on the opportunities of the top few percent of society, as if, once women are CEOs, suddenly the nanny who takes care of the children will be liberated.

      • gbdub says:

        There was a (very old) Scott Adams quote that was roughly:

        “The world isn’t ruled by men. The world is ruled by other men

        In other words, yes, most of the biggest power-holders are men. But most men do not hold very much power. And, in many cases, what power they do have comes with significantly increased obligations that might not be a great trade.

        • Randy M says:

          And I’d wager in the majority of cases of men in power, there’s a particular woman who benefits much more than the median man.

  28. xXxanonxXx says:

    In my early 20’s I worked with a woman in her late 40’s who repeatedly sexually assaulted me, at least it met the definition of sexual assault that’s in common use now. I wouldn’t have described it as such at the time and still wouldn’t except to note the incongruity.

    When I first started the job coworkers told me she’d try something as she liked younger guys. Sure enough she was making very explicit suggestions about what we should do together from day one. I tried laughing it off at first and politely declining, but she continued. Eventually she started grabbing my ass any time we were together or touching me casually and then trying to slide her hand down to my crotch. I had to tell her, firmly tell her, I didn’t think it was funny any more and I’d go to HR if she didn’t stop.

    The experience was only mildly annoying and would have been fantastic if I’d found her at all attractive. On the other hand, knowing you can physically overpower someone if it comes down to it is a luxury most women don’t have with men. Also, contrast with Eqdw’s story above where a completely different reaction is warranted not from a large change in the physical situation but rather the social dynamics.

    It’s tempting to say there’s no problem because by and large when a woman harasses a man it _will_ be no big deal, and when a man harasses a woman it _will_ be psychologically damaging. Except when individuals who don’t meet those norms come along with their stories they’re driven away by an enraged mob. If only there was a word for people who treat individuals from one sex as walking stereotypes and ignore all evidence to the contrary…

  29. SUT says:

    Instead of focusing on gender in this whole imbroglio, I’m more interested in location and culture.

    You mean to tell me Hollywood has a predator culture? Shocked!
    Grad school. Shocked!
    A 20-something raising capital in SV? Shocked!
    The cut-throat business of who gets to read the nightly news on camera? Shocked!
    Billionaires and Russian models? Shocked!
    Mariah Carey’s tour bus? Yeah…

    The whole #metoo campaign i see as more a waking up to the fact that the inmates have been running the asylum. There’s been this huge social engineering push to make Mariah Carey or Arianna Grande the official guide to growing up as a teen, and to ignore old Dad’s advice as irrelevant at best. A push to make avant-guarde sexual choice the main factor we view our social policies through. But it seems like nobody ever acknowledged the trade-offs this brings towards comfort and security.

  30. Yakimi says:

    In defense of “overgendering” harassment: we regard harassment directed at women much more heinous than harassment directed at men for the same reason why we regard sex crimes committed against children much more heinous than sex crimes committed against adults: it reflects our association of strength with agency and weakness with passivity, roles which are intuitively imposed on the sexes owing to their obvious physical differences. Higher standards are expected of those thought to be capable of exercising agency, while greater protections are provided to those who are merely passive. Predation of the weak by the strong carries a far greater potential for harm (e.g., involuntary pregnancy) and thus requires excessive deterrence. We care far less about the reverse because, as anecdotes in this thread attest, sexual harassment committed by women is fairly harmless and men are usually strong enough to put a stop to it if they find it truly undesirable.

    This inequality, like so many others, is inescapable: even the attempts to level it are a product of it and perpetuate it. Feminist ideas are all pervasive precisely because they reflect our paternalistic concern for women. This is why MRAs are so embarrassingly, pathetically, gross even when their concerns might have some merit: they are spiritual transvestites who attempt to gain what they want by appropriating the passive role because they fail at being agents.

    • gbdub says:

      You’ve made a coherent argument for paternalism and patriarchy. Of course, the people most vocally gendering sexual misbehavior would, in other contexts, emphatically reject the idea that women must necessarily have less agency, as if they were children. That view is fundamentally incompatible with gender equality in the sense most feminists would claim to support.

      So, like Scott says, it starts to look like a less laudable agenda.

      • vV_Vv says:

        I can’t speak for Yakimi, but I lean towards the position that the “patriarchy”, defined as the recognition and acceptance of intrinsic differences between men and women and the different gender roles and expectations that society imposes on them, is fundamentally inevitable in a functioning society.

        Gender roles may be declinated differently depending on culture, but there is a human universal core that is not eliminable, and any attempt to eliminate gender roles will only lead to a dystopia with a warped, dyfunctional, version of them, causing widespread suffering and decay. It is instead desirable to harness these human universals in a way that is socially productive.

        My view is partially based on a parallel with communism and its attempt to eliminate another human universal: competition. While modern capitalist societies harness competition in a way that usually results in economic prosperity and personal fulfillment, communism attempted to create an utopic society free of competition, but the result was inevitable a dystopic society where competition is just moved from the market to the arena of political backstabbing, assassination and genocide, causing inenarrable horrors.

        Third-wave feminism/social justice, which by no accident is a descendent ideology of communism, ostensibly seeks to create a gender-free utopia, but as we are observing, it can only change society in the direction of a dystopia with terrible gender roles, bad for both men and women.

        • Third-wave feminism/social justice, which by no accident is a descendent ideology of communism, ostensibly seeks to create a gender-free utopia, but as we are observing, it can only change society in the direction of a dystopia with terrible gender roles, bad for both men and women.

          Are we observing that? What is it you’re seeing? Right now I’m seeing an attempt to replace a toxic masculinity and rape culture with something less horrific. How is that dystopian? People worry about a dystopian future, but I look at a past when women were thought to not have souls and couldn’t own property and human beings were legally enslaved, and feel we’re moving away from a dystopian past.

          Also, the number of people who want to create a gender-free society is super tiny. They’re noisy, but no one takes them seriously except themselves and people who want something extreme to rail against.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Is that what this is?

            Because it looks to me like the reinforcement of male gender roles. “PROTECT WOMEN, DISREGARD YOURSELVES” writ large and repeatedly.

            But hey, maybe the reverse will be true – maybe if we focus on men, women will be better off, because any attention to the problem helps solve it.

            Oh, wait, most of the crowd supposedly opposed to restrictive gender roles hates MRAs and constantly accuse them of wanting to make things worse for women.

          • vV_Vv says:

            Right now I’m seeing an attempt to replace a toxic masculinity and rape culture

            Which basically don’t exist in the Western world outside a few dens of depravity such as Hollywood and the like.

            with something less horrific

            A witch hunt culture where men are considered a subservient gender, always suspect of sexual impropriety and readily accused of sexual discrimination without evidence, while women are pressured into the “strong independent grrl who needs a man like a fish needs a bike” gender role where they spend most of their fertile years advancing their career, until one day they wake up and they are 40, single, childless and generally miserable, asking themselves “Where have all the good men gone?”

            but I look at a past when women were thought to not have souls and couldn’t own property and human beings were legally enslaved

            While their husbands and sons where drafted to die in wars.

            The past sucked for almost everybody. Don’t fall victim of SJW historical revisionism.

            Also, the number of people who want to create a gender-free society is super tiny. They’re noisy, but no one takes them seriously except themselves and people who want something extreme to rail against.

            It’s not their number that matters, it’s their power. SJWs have vast political power in various important institutions.

          • but I look at a past when women were thought to not have souls

            ?

            What past society held that belief?

          • Matt M says:

            They’re noisy, but no one takes them seriously except themselves and people who want something extreme to rail against.

            The powers that be at Google took them seriously enough to fire an otherwise competent engineer for the sole crime of suggesting that men and women are biologically different.

          • Incurian says:

            “PROTECT WOMEN, DISREGARD YOURSELVES”

            For the record, I’m ok with this sentiment in general.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Incurian –

            You’re free to be, on a personal level. Good luck, however, because pretty much every guy I know who follows that code ends up in a series of emotionally abusive relationships, on account that women who find that a particularly desirable attitude tend to be extraordinarily selfish, and, well, give his well-being about as much regard as he does.

            I would rather have a partner who fights by my side (or even better, stabs my enemy in the back while they are distracted confronting me) than one who hides in the closet. Which is why I ended up with the wife I did.

            ETA:. Which is to say, I would rather have a partner than a treasure on a pedestal.

          • Incurian says:

            I was mostly thinking about life or death situations, which is probably not relevant at all to the topic. I agree that my needs should not be disregarded in a marriage etc.

            I would rather have a partner who fights by my side (or even better, stabs my enemy in the back while they are distracted confronting me) than one who hides in the closet. Which is why I ended up with the wife I did.

            I like this sentiment a lot also, but if push came to shove I would prefer to have myself in danger.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Eh. So would I. But then, my wife would prefer to be the one in danger.

            The key element there, for both of us, is not protecting the other because of gender, but because, well, love.

            And once you disentangle “I want to protect my partner” from “I am a heterosexual male”, the difference becomes both clear and important.

          • Incurian says:

            The key element there, for both of us, is not protecting the other because of gender, but because, well, love.

            I would feel the need to defend a strange random woman more than a strange random man though, it’s not just about caring for my significant other who happens to be female.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Imagine you were gay, for a moment.

            Do you think the situation would be reversed? Are you protecting women because they are women, or because you regard them as desirable because they are women?

          • Incurian says:

            Attraction has nothing to do with it. Women are physically weaker and more valuable than men to society (because babies). It makes sense to defend the weak and the valuable. I’m channeling Heinlein here, he’s had a big influence on me.

            My point in bringing this up was a little virtual signalling, but also to start a bravery debate in the other direction. I think gender equality is mostly the right answer, and I think it’s possible a lot of people are over-correcting past favoritism of men by advocating favoritism for women and that’s bad, but as the pendulum swings back and forth I think it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that there are good reasons to favor women in extreme situations.

          • Aapje says:

            @Incurian

            We already have a norm that applies to male-on-male violence, where bystanders are supposed to prevent serious harm from happening and/or intervene if the fight is too uneven. Over time this norm has already become stronger, discouraging violence in favor of letting arbiters settle serious disputes. IMO, we need more of this, not have a society where vigilantism against men is more accepted than vigilantism against women.

            The norm to defend/help women doesn’t just apply to physical violence, where the above norm should be sufficient, but also in general to the amount of support we give people to deal with their problems. I believe that there is little justification in assuming that women are always worse off than men, in all ways where people can have problems. So IMO we should have a norm to help people in proportion to how well they can solve their own problems, regardless of gender.

            This is much more accurate in modern society, where physical prowess has become far less important in the past. A man had the advantage when farming or hunting with primitive tools, but in modern society a woman can do most jobs just as well as men. A woman can abuse a position of power just like a man. A woman can take advantage of a severely drunk man just like a man can take advantage of a drunk woman. Etc, etc.

            So we should help people based on their need, not based on sexist stereotypes that assume that woman always have a much greater need.

    • shenanigans24 says:

      So you think women are weak and society would be justified in treating them that way? Might want to consider the consequences of that.

  31. While Scott offers up three surveys and one study, I don’t see that the surveys are especially useful. They seem to offer no definition of sexual harassment to those questioned, nor do they ask about frequency or severity. So a woman who was groped repeatedly by her boss is categorized equally with a guy who was once told he had a nice ass by a co-worker.

    The Australian study is far more detailed. It does indeed show that 20% of women are harassers and that women versus men harassment is 3 to 1.

    But it also indicates that being harassed is far more intimidating for women than men. In terms of people who are bothered only a little are not at all, men are at about 70% and women around 50%. Women were also slightly more likely to experience long-term harassment. So overall women experience more harassment and longer-term harassment than men, and it is a bigger deal for them. And the vast majority of harassers are men.

    This makes that nifty terrorism vs. Muslim terrorism argument a bit shakier, because what we’ve got is closer to “watch out for terrorists” versus “watch out for Muslim bank robbers.” It’s still sketchy, but it’s not a nice apples-to-apples comparison.

    Another issue with Scott’s examples of “Muslim terrorism” or “black crime” is these would be cases where the weaker point was being emphasized. Most terrorists in America are white, as are most criminals, so emphasizing Muslim terrorism or black crime would not be a matter of overemphasizing two equivalent things but rather of acting as though the less significant issue was the more significant one.

    It’s not that Scott is wrong so much as he is exaggerating for effect. It is reasonable to have some discussion of male victims and female perpetrators, in the way that asking the police to do more to stop murder doesn’t mean we can’t also ask them to do more to stop shoplifting. But if there’s a murder epidemic in your city, wouldn’t it be best to let shoplifting slide for a while to focus on lowering the body count?

    • Besserwisser says:

      Are the differences between long-term harassment bigger than the differences between intimidation? If no, then I would assume some of the discrepancy comes from the perception of the act, not the act itself. Including your post, there are numerous statements trying to minimize the effect of harassment on men, so you might make the difference up yourself in some way.

    • Murphy says:

      But it also indicates that being harassed is far more intimidating for women than men

      Only on average.

      John goes into work, Sally punches him in the back of the head, everyone declares “it’s no big deal! it barely matters! he just should just get over it!”

      The next day Sally goes into work and John punches her in the back of the head, he’s immediately fired and everyone agrees he’s the worst person ever.

      Sure, Sally is an ex MMA fighter and John is a pale, shivering scrawny kid but since on average men are stronger John is definitely the only monster.

      And this gets encoded officially as the “right way to do things” and stamped with the official “equality” stamp. After all… caring about John rather than Sally would be like prioritizing shoplifting over murder.

      Above I mention an old workplace in a post further up. I didn’t find it traumatic in the least but I do wonder what the experience was like for the ridiculously innocent, sheltered, religious, pale, weak, shivering guy (who was surprisingly similar to wendell from the simpsons) that I worked with.

      Either you need to treat all individuals as individuals and don’t screw them or ignore their cases purely because of their sex or just give up on the whole pretending you care about equality thing.

      • Either you need to treat all individuals as individuals and don’t screw them or ignore their cases purely because of their sex or just give up on the whole pretending you care about equality thing.

        Is caring about each individual the same thing as caring about equality? If I want the most good for the greatest number, do I look at each individual and take care of their needs, or do I look for systemic changes that will help the most people?

        For me this is a question not of, how do I make sure John Smith is saved from his plight, but rather how to save the larger group of people, even if ultimately helping the larger group leaves John out. Because there is nothing that can be done that will help every single individual.

        If you can prove that helping the individual John is the most effective way to make systemic changes, then sure, let’s help John. But if helping Mary will do more good, I’ll help Mary instead. I would like to help both, of course, but to do that I would need unlimited resources.

        Now then, if we focus entirely on eradicating male sexual harassment of women, does that actually leave John out in the cold? Not necessarily. If you fix a systemic problem you are likely to fix even the parts you aren’t looking at.

        For example. Let’s say you’re concerned about cops shooting innocent black people, and someone else says, but what about the innocent white people cops also shoot? Fair question. But if, in our quest to lessen the killings of black people by giving cops more training in deescalating situations and proper use of force, then guess what? They start shooting fewer white people too! And fewer Asians and Latinos and Indians! Even though all the focus was on saving black people.

        If we want less women to be sexually harassed by men, we will have to address fundamental issues of abuse of power and transparency and and accountability that will help everybody.

        You might reply, well, why *not* just focus on all shooting victims instead of black shooting victims and all harassed instead of just women?

        Think of it this way. Cops have been shooting innocent people for decades, and not much has been done about it. Then BLM started pushing it as an issue and moving the conversation. They are fueling change. If you say, let’s spend more time worrying about white people, then the people fueling the movement feel less motivated (because now it’s all about white people) and white folk will have to take up the slack. And white people as a whole have never shown much concern over the issue, in part because they don’t share the general distrust of the police a lot of black people have.

        In the same way, if we try and include the tiny number of men who are severely affected by harassment, women will say, Jesus Christ, even with this it’s all going back to how to make men comfortable! And they will feel hopeless and lose momentum. And will that tiny number of harassed men grab that banner and carry it forward? Doubtful.

        Blunt the momentum, kill the movement. John Smith’s best hope for a better tomorrow is not in us helping John Smith, but in keeping going a sweeping approach that helps everyone, even those not specifically being looked at.

        • Thegnskald says:

          Ah, so, because feminism fought parental deference in the courts going to men, we ended up with a better system for men?

          Wait. No. We didn’t.

          Well, with all those domestic abuse shelters set up for women, surely some advantage bled over to men, and they have support networks now, and their claims of abuse are taken seriously and domestic abuse hotlines wouldn’t ask a man complaining about abuse how he abused his partner?

          Wait, no, that isn’t the case either.

          You make an excellent rhetorical point that lacks a basis in reality.

          • Well, with all those domestic abuse shelters set up for women, surely some advantage bled over to men, and they have support networks now, and their claims of abuse are taken seriously and domestic abuse hotlines wouldn’t ask a man complaining about abuse how he abused his partner?

            Actually, there are some shelters for abused men. You might say they’re a drop in the bucket, but the bucket wouldn’t exist if not for domestic abuse support for women. Do you really believe that there would be *any* support for abused men if women hadn’t created the concept of shelter for the abused?

            link text

          • Thegnskald says:

            Yes, I do.

            Because the counterfactual isn’t a universe in which domestic abuse shelters never developed as social technology, but one in which they weren’t specifically excluding men from consideration.

          • Jack says:

            @Thegnskald That’s not a reason (following “because”). You are begging the question quite precisely. (Of course you don’t need to give a reason for your belief, but you seemed to be trying to.)

          • Besserwisser says:

            Erin Pizzey planned the first domestic violence shelter for men right after the opened the first for women in Europe. She didn’t go through with it in part because of active opposition by feminists who subsequently took over the domestic violence industry. Domestic violence shelter for men aren’t a positive side effect of years of feminist advocacy, they’ve developed in spite of it. Unless the argument is spite being productive, this just isn’t working as proposed.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Jack –

            No, I am reiterating the terms I originally stated.

            My argument is that “Movement to help victims” is superior to “Movement to help victim of class X”. Thus, the counterfactual relevant to my argument isn’t comparing a universe with a movement for domestic abuse shelters to women to a universe with no movement – it is to the universe which had a movement for domestic abuse shelters for everybody.

            It is misleading to compare, instead, with a universe with no movement at all. Because what needs to be justified here isn’t the movement itself, but the exclusion of men.

            If somebody wants to argue the domestic abuse shelter idea wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if men had been included, that would be a counterargument. Arguing that men, after decades of protests by MRAs, have a couple of domestic abuse shelters in the world isn’t a counterargument, it is a restatement of how shitty things actually are for men, with an implicit and un-argued-for comparison to a universe with no domestic abuse shelters at all.

          • Jack says:

            @Thegnskald
            So to respond to Charles Herold’s question, it could be that there would be no “support for abused men if women hadn’t created the concept of shelter for the abused”? It seems plausible that women’s groups are largely responsible for popularizing the idea that domestic abuse is a bad thing and that we should help abusees eg through shelters. The ready-made explanation is that women conceived as a class are an interest group with a stake in this issue (whether because of structural something something or not). Now that we have the ideological technology to say, actually you >can< rape your spouse (et c), it's being generalized, and we are practicing compassion in a way we didn't before. Indeed, the major reforms to the criminal and family law effected by the late-20th c women's movements are generally gender blind. Divorce laws (eg) were liberalized in part to help women, but now everybody can use them.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Jack –

            I grant that the social technology was advanced in the end of women’s interests, I don’t contest that.

            What I contest is that it was necessary for it to be gendered in the first place, that it never would have achieved success if men had been included in the first place.

            Or, to put it more firmly, I object to the idea that men are better off because their problems are ignored.

          • Jack says:

            Perhaps… I certainly would not say “necessary”. But maybe it’s like patents?

            A theory of why we have patent law is that it incentivizes research by granting a temporary monopoly to the inventors of valuable technologies. Social technology, like other technology, has elements of a public good (ie non-excludable and non-rivalrous). There are collective action problems in the way of producing public goods at appropriate rates, because of the potential for free-riding (because non-excludable) and undervaluation of the good (because price of non-rivalrous goods doesn’t track demand in the normal way).

            The formation of interest groups might help solve collective action problems by focussing on and aggregating a particularly affected group. At the same time, interest groups can be antagonistic toward each other if they are fighting over membership (do I have time to join my tenants’ association, my union, and a consumer advocacy group?) and for attention (eg the article SSC linked above, “I’m a man who has been sexually harassed – but I don’t think it’s right for men to join in with #MeToo”, is about not wanting to take attention). If you try to include everybody in your group, the interest can diffuse to the point that nothing gets done (many people think consumer protection sucks for precisely this reason–everybody is a consumer). If you focus too narrowly, you lose the benefits of aggregate power.

            So it makes sense to form interest groups along whatever lines are practical, eg group-identity-based Schelling points, and tailor issues to that group’s specific interests, in order to best foster the production of new social technology. And then we hope that after a while the benefits of the technology, like an expired patent, become more widely available. Like men experiencing domestic abuse now have a whole vocabulary in which to frame intelligible justice claims relating their experience.

            There are a number of trade-offs and whether it is best in any given situation to form an alliance or remain antagonistic with another interest group is a complicated judgement call. (Eg see feel-good 2014 movie Pride about the occasional benefits of unlikely alliances.)

          • Jack says:

            Now that I’ve written that out it sounds like it might be a novel argument for identity politics. They are basically patent protection for the production of social technology.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Jack –

            So it was just for wealthy white men to have suffrage, and nobody else, because they developed the social technology?

          • Jack says:

            The analogy to suffrage is a good one. The part about justice seems to me a non sequitur. I’m pretty sure we’ve been talking about whether excluding men’s interests from feminism might have aided the development of social technology for a while, not whether it is just (though–are patents just?). Anyway, if you asked me, would universal suffrage have developed without some powerful aristocrats doing Magna Carta first, my answer would be–maybe not. Universal suffrage may be in part due to previous generations of wealthy white men banding together to screw everyone else, not realizing how that system might later be adopted by others and generalized. The justice claims men aristocrats made to participation in government made the claims of people like the Levellers intelligible.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Fair point about justice.

            I do rather disagree, though; I think there is an implicit statement here about path-dependence, in that, because something happened in X order, X order is the only way it could have happened.

            Which is the idea I reject in the first place. It justifies quite a lot of terrible things on the basis of that things ended up better.

          • Jack says:

            I think there is an implicit statement here about path-dependence, in that, because something happened in X order, X order is the only way it could have happened.

            My statement is explicit: if you tried to get to universal suffrage without going through wealthy white men, it might have taken longer or not happened at all. I’m not saying the way it happened is the only way it could happen, though the fact that it happened the way it did probably inappropriately influences my evaluation of the probabilities. That said, I posited a series of plausible mechanisms that suggest interest group politics might be an effective method to incentivize the production of social technology. So I think there is a little more meat on my argument than “the way it happened is the only way it could”.

          • Thegnskald says:

            I guess the issue I take with that particular idea is that it seems to describe a process as deliberate, which I have trouble seeing as deliberate.

            Particularly since most of the social technology developed under feminism required explicit support and buy-in from men, who didn’t directly benefit from it. Expanding suffrage required those with suffrage to support it, in direct contradiction with their selfish interests. Domestic abuse shelters required support from businesses and government, largely run by men.

          • Jack says:

            I think it looks deliberate only when you take this kind of bird’s-eye view. It’s like lots of microeconomics. Feminism came out of a weakly regulated interest group market. For the most part people were allowed to associate and activate as they saw fit. The contemporary identity politics system is the result of piles of poorly co-ordinated individual decisions but by some invisible hand efficiently produces new social technology. Is that so surprising? Incidentally, this is also a kind of argument against some kinds of restriction on speech and association.

            As to needing buy-in from others who are not the direct beneficiaries of a policy change, there are at least two ways to get it. One is to emphasise the potential indirect benefits to others; another is to make the others internalize the cost of your suffering until they help you change the system, eg through blocking their traffic with parades or causing them to feel empathy with you by getting beat up and writing poetry about it. Whether these mechanisms can outweigh the disbenefit of excluding them in any given case depends. Sometimes there is no choice. Whatever was the last group to get suffrage could not include those already with suffrage in the direct benefits of their action.

            Incidentally if contemporary (say) gender politics were really harmful to men out of proportion to its benefits to women, the men could just pay the women to stop. The fact they are not willing to pay women enough to get them to stop demonstrates that the benefits of this politics to women outweighs its harms to men. (Or perhaps, men are paying women to stop, effectively, eg by defunding universities…) Or you can conceive of successul social movements this way. Gays convinced straights to “pay” them to stop in the currency of being allowed to marry, or whatever. Joke’s on them we’re keeping our parades though now straight people are allowed to enjoy them a little.

            Of course there are serious limits to this kind of model. For instance, my last paragraph is a deconstructive joke about Coase. But I think it might have some explanatory power.

          • On the suffrage case, expanding the suffrage might be in the interest of many, perhaps a majority, of those who already have the suffrage–if they believe the new voters will be their allies.

          • Jack says:

            Good point. I’m sure there is a better example. Though what counts as a “direct” benefit is not well-defined.

          • Thegnskald says:

            …damn it.

            It is plausible.

            It is one of the most horrible ideas I have ever considered, it is all the evil of capitalism but worse, I hate the idea with a passion that makes it impossible to look at objectively, but is plausible.

          • Aapje says:

            @DavidFriedman

            In The Netherlands, the secular parties who were strong proponents of universal suffrage lost many seats to the religious parties who opposed it, during the first election with universal suffrage for men. The (classically) liberal parties went from 39 seats to 15.

            It’s funny, because universal suffrage was traded against state-funded religious schools, so the religious parties made a trade where they won both ways.

            So I guess that the lesson here is that principles can outweigh personal gain (at least, for classic liberals).

          • Toby Bartels says:

            @Aapje :

            The same thing happened in Spain during the Second Republic, at least according to the explanation given me by a Spanish friend of mine. When the liberals won a majority in 1931, they extended the franchise for the first time to women, even though they knew that the women were going to vote conservative. And indeed, in 1933, a conservative government was elected.

            This government proved so unpopular with the left that there was a general strike, during which the Socialists, Communists, and anarchosyndicalists learnt to work together, so that a Popular Front government won in 1936. And that was so unpopular with the right that there was a military coup, a civil war, and 36 years of quasi-fascist dictatorship. All because the liberals were too principled! (Not that my friend, who is a democratic socialist himself, disagrees with their actions. He’s principled too.)

          • Besserwisser says:

            Incidentally if contemporary (say) gender politics were really harmful to men out of proportion to its benefits to women, the men could just pay the women to stop. The fact they are not willing to pay women enough to get them to stop demonstrates that the benefits of this politics to women outweighs its harms to men.

            This would require the harm to men being proportional to the direct reaction to it. Which I don’t think it does or we wouldn’t see this disparity in the first place. In a society where men are valued based on how well they can endure hardships (among other things) you would expect the bar to be very high above which men considered harm to them as important. Also, if only a minority of men experience a problem, say domestic violence, the ones who aren’t experiencing it would have to help ones that do. Which requires them to know about it when the orthodox view is still domestic violence is something that happens to women.

        • Murphy says:

          For me this is a question not of, how do I make sure John Smith is saved from his plight, but rather how to save the larger group of people, even if ultimately helping the larger group leaves John out.

          Don’t forget the minor, negligible, practically irrelevant side note that your solution may involve actually making John worse off.

          Because unfortunately the “solutions” sometimes involve stripping John Smith minor things like the right to be presumed innocent. Remember that the groups you’re fighting against can nominally overlap with the groups you’re claiming to protect. You Finish your social movement and he’s left exactly where he was before re: his original problem and worse off on every other axis as well.

          For a real world example should indian men who’ve been raped side with feminist campaigners campaigning to keep famale on male rape legal? (on the basis that if males could accuse women of rape then they might accuse female rape vicitims of rape)

          In such a case the most sensible action john smith can take it to join your opposition and to do everything he can to burn your little movement to the ground. Because once you’ve formally declared him as irrelevant and expendable he has as much reason to fight you as he does to fight any other structures around him that are explicitly choosing to screw him over for their own gain.

          • Kevin C. says:

            In such a case the most sensible action john smith can take it to join your opposition and to do everything he can to burn your little movement to the ground.

            Not if Mr. Smith is a proper utilitarian, like the character in that “stolen bike” comic going around the web. Because if the increase in utility among the “larger group of people” due to the movement more than offsets his loss of utility from being made worse off, then shouldn’t he, as a good little utilitarian seeking “the greatest good for the greatest number” make that sacrifice as the moral thing to do?

            (Note: another reason I’m not a utilitarian.)

    • Ohforfs says:

      >But it also indicates that being harassed is far more intimidating for women than men. In terms of people who are bothered only a little are not at all, men are at about 70% and women around 50%.

      I know, right? Well, let’s think about it a bit more. In the famous CDC study (NISVS) about sexual violence the same thing happened. Men reported lower impact of sexual violence. Well, but, should we believe self-report? There is also a category of psychosomatic stuff that people suffer, broken by category. And surprise, the effect is almost exactly the same for both genders.

      It seems it’s just self-reporting issue (not really surprising and fits into the narrative). I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing applies to sexual harrasment consequences reporting.

  32. multiheaded says:

    Thank you for this post, Scott.

  33. Scott says:

    > And once we get good evidence that someone is guilty, we have drones bomb their house.

    I don’t think this is helpful. I’ve seen a lot of conflation and blurring between the lines of “sexual harassment”, “rejected advance”, and “likely genuine misunderstanding” in discussions over the last several months. It’s important to have norms on what sexual harassment are, but it’s clear to me that our society doesn’t have good notions on what actions are and aren’t forgivable. Telling people in a harasser’s social circle (and ideally the harasser themself first! “Knock it off” is underrated when it can be hard to get outside views) of their actions is probably a good way to sus out whether their behavior was norm breaking. Telling the operators of 50 kiloton twitter cannons is not.

  34. Cecil Harvey says:

    I was actually told by a small group of female friends in college a bunch of the following bullshit:

    – men didn’t have the right to turn down their girlfriends/wives for sex, because men always want sex
    – it’s totally fine for attractive women to grope random men, because even if they protest, they want it anyway

    Though I wasn’t the target of this, it was a not-so-uncommon occurrence for gay men to harass other straight men, and accuse them of homophobia if they objected.

    In high school, it was an open secret that I was investigating entering a Catholic seminary, and one woman in some of my classes took it upon herself to grab my butt, flash me with her underwear, etc. All in front of teachers. Everyone thought it was funny, except me.

    In the long run, this is fairly harmless stuff, and I don’t equate it with the rape monsters we’re seeing in the media of late, but there’s certainly quite a double standard.

    • Mary says:

      There was a college that listed “withholding sex and affection” as one form of relationship violence for a long time. (Down now — it was removed some time ago, but after at least a year up, because I referenced it more than once while it was up)

  35. Deiseach says:

    But then is it odd that so few of the recent high-profile victims of sexual harassment have been men, and so few of the high-profile perpetrators women?

    Okay, years back, I had my purse stolen by a pickpocket in a shopping centre.

    Now, imagine when you tell this story, you get a certain set of persons chiming in with comments along the lines of “Oooh, I wish someone would stick their hand in my basket!”, “I’d love to be robbed!”, “Lucky so-and-so, it never happens to me!”

    You even get the odd “Ah, that wasn’t real robbery at all!” or “What’s wrong with you, this is how going shopping works? Do you want everyone to stay at home and shop online?”

    And that’s the kind of experience I’ve seen when women have discussed sexual harassment. You do (or did, maybe it’s changing in the very, very recent past) get guys asserting “I’d love it if women sexually harassed me!” when women are trying to explain that no, being catcalled in the street or having a guy persistently hit on you is not a compliment. You do get the “but this is normal behaviour for guys, this is how you make romantic advances, do you want to stop all interaction between men and women, are you some kind of man-hater?” reactions as well.

    Keep getting that reaction, and is it any surprise women are inclined to say “to hell with these clowns”, ignore and not look for anything about men being harassed, concentrate on women as victims and men as perpetrators?

    I also imagine it’s tough for men to talk about being harassed, if the attitude they are supposed to exhibit is “Oh, getting groped was great! I love it when a strange woman (or a man) grabs me by the balls without invitation!”

    • Mark says:

      It seems like a tactical mistake to equate men saying “I had this crime happen to me as well, it was bad”, with men saying “that crime doesn’t exist”.

      So, yeah, I am kind of surprised that women would react in that way. It’s kind of dumb.

      • Deiseach says:

        If the guy says “yeah that happened to me, too, it was bad” then nobody is objecting. It’s the guys saying “that’s not a crime”, “that happened to me and it was great” or “that never happens” that make things difficult for women and men who feel “no it wasn’t great and yes it was a crime and yes it happens”.

        • Bugmaster says:

          If the guy says “yeah that happened to me, too, it was bad” then nobody is objecting.

          I think “nobody” might be a bit too strong. For example, men’s domestic violence shelters virtually do not exist, in part due to the efforts of feminist groups who keep cutting their funding. Admittedly, one might argue that this is a matter of expediency: if you have a budget of X dollars, and you allocate Y dollars to helping men, then women would only get X-Y. If women are facing a nearly existential crisis, and if X is too small to begin with, then it’s prudent to just cut your losses and focus on the women. On the other hand, the attitude that men cannot experience harassment (or even rape) is still quite prevalent in society, so perhaps the situation is not so clear…

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            If feminists think women are facing a nearly existential crisis from domestic violence/the patriarchy, they’re idiots.
            An iron-fisted patriarchal society doesn’t kill women off. It keeps them captive in their husband’s household so they can’t cuckold him. Women get treated as an indispensable resource, as a means and not an end in themselves in Kantian terms.
            As awful as really patriarchal societies are (cough sharia cough), there’s no patriarchal equivalent of the feminist “kill all men.”

          • Bugmaster says:

            To be fair, being treated as a resource — even an indispensable one — would pretty much constitute a “near-existential crisis” for me. Being treated as a dispensable resource would push this into the fully existential crisis territory.

            I personally don’t believe either scenario describes our current society very well at all; but then I am a man. According to privilege theory (or certain interpretations thereof), I am physically incapable of perceiving what conditions are really like for women.

          • The Nybbler says:

            If feminists think women are facing a nearly existential crisis from domestic violence/the patriarchy, they’re idiots.

            As another poster is wont to point out, at some point you have to end the charity. The claims of existential crisis and ubiquitous violence are not made by idiots; they’re made by activists for the express purpose of justifying by emergency courses of action which would otherwise be rejected.

          • Bugmaster says:

            @The Nybbler:
            I don’t think this is true. No doubt, some people who stridently make such claims are charlatans; it’s possible that most of the really prominent activists are. However, I am fairly convinced that most people who believe or endorse such claims are sincere.

            In addition, there’s one part of privilege theory that may be true: just as I can never know what it is truly like to believe in a God, I doubt I can ever know what it’s like to believe that our current society is critically dangerous to women. This is a base-level belief that affects the way a person interprets any further evidence; therefore, it is not generally subject to being altered by evidence. I can’t imagine what it would take for the theist to convince me that his god exists; nor can I imagine what I could possibly say to him to convince him otherwise. I feel the same way about some of the more extreme forms of social justice. This doesn’t mean that believers are necessarily stupid or disingenuous or whatever; our minds just work in different ways.

          • Aapje says:

            @Bugmaster

            To be fair, being treated as a resource — even an indispensable one — would pretty much constitute a “near-existential crisis” for me. Being treated as a dispensable resource would push this into the fully existential crisis territory.

            I really don’t understand this belief.

            When you work for a boss, you are treated as a resource. If you stop providing value, you lose your job. If you have a good boss and/or leverage, you are not maximally exploited.

            Very few workers are indispensable, most can simply be replaced.

            Many relationships are also founded on quid-pro-quo and end when one of the partners believes that they don’t get enough value out of the resource that is their partner.

            Actual horror is not being a resource or being dispensable, but not getting something decent in return for being exploited by others or being dispensed from society or relationships or life. One of the most extreme examples was WW I where men were mentally and physically destroyed in torturous conditions because their lives were deemed to be worth less than a bit of land.

            This doesn’t mean that believers are necessarily stupid or disingenuous or whatever; our minds just work in different ways.

            I think or at least hope that many people who are believe in conspiracy theories about how certain genders or races run the world and oppress other genders or races are able to change their views.

            Even if they are wired for hatred of a group, they might be able to hate a group that deserves it (like ISIS). That seems much preferable than them hating men, Jews or another group who doesn’t deserve the hatred.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Bugmaster –

            I highly recommend against reading The Myth of Male Power, then.

          • Bugmaster says:

            @Aapje:
            I was thinking of something like slavery (the real, non-metaphorical kind), not employment. Employees are called “human resources”, but they do nonetheless enjoy almost the same level of human rights as employers do.

            I think or at least hope that many people who are believe in conspiracy theories about how certain genders or races run the world…

            Remember, from their point of view, this describes people like yourself. Of course, some people can and do change their minds, but I think they are outliers.

    • shenanigans24 says:

      Yes I think only physical behavior should be regulated by law. It seems to me that a definition of subjugate hear a lot about cat calling but I never see it.

  36. Thegnskald says:

    Assuming men are as likely to forget being sexually harassed as they are to forget being raped (compared one-year to lifetime rates of made-to-penetrate on the national victimization survey), I’d guess that the rates are much closer to parity than 3 to 1. I’ll add my name to those who have been sexually harassed by women, both as a child and as an adult. It matters about as much as anything negative in my life to me, which is to say, not much at all, which I think is the more significant difference: Men are taught to brush off and ignore undesired interactions.

    I encountered a study a few years ago investigating the drop-off in self-reporting, and I think men tend to stop self-reporting incidents after six-eight years. My memory is hazy, however, and I don’t feel like hunting down the study.

    ETA: I have also personally observed several cases of sexual harassment of other men by women. One at a programming contest I attended in college, of all places.

  37. Localhost says:

    Hold on a minute here.

    And once we get good evidence that someone is guilty, we have drones bomb their house. Seriously, the terrorism model has a lot going for it.

    I assume this means “kill them”, because you didn’t mention warning them in advance. If this is just about property damage, consider all my arguments rescinded, and may the Predators (robot flying kind) patrol the skies forever.

    So, I mean… Are you sure you want to do that?

    I’ve read two specific anecdotes of female-on-male harassment in this post’s comments. One was groping, the other was a drunken kiss. Laying aside the questions of whether a drunk person who has kissed you against your will is capable of consent, and whether it’s possible for them to harass someone while being themselves incapable of consenting to anything, is it reasonable to suggest, y’know, giving them the death penalty for either of those things? If it were, you’d think that the Organization in Charge of Meting Out (mostly) Reasonable Punishments, i.e. the judicial system, would do that more often.

    And maybe you were ‘joking’, but “never minimize harassment” is a ratchet, where you have to agree that the incident is bad to the highest degree anyone else is willing to say it is, or else you are defending the harasser, which makes you as bad as they are (which is the maximal degree of badness). This would be dangerous enough, except people start to believe what they’re saying, even if they’re only saying it to avoid ostracism, and they start to believe what other people are saying if enough of them are saying it, even if it contradicts their own preexisting experience, and this last sentence was just a very long-winded way of saying “social proof is real, for REAL”, but it is. I’ve seen it. People whom I thought were of average-to-high attractiveness have been accused, and now I can’t bear to look at their faces, because every wrinkle carries swinish lust and malice. It’s possible that I’m simply noticing something I wasn’t (insert trendy face algorithm stuff here), but to me, it feels for all the world like some kind of repulsion geas has been put on my eyes. Now, extend that geas to acts

    …And you should be able to find people saying “I didn’t realize it at the time, but now that I’ve been exposed to the emotional consensus on the issue, I know that what happened was bad.”
    There’s another ratchet here: “X is harassment”. There is no way to argue that something, once defined as harassment, isn’t, because if you do, you’re defending harassment.

    But maybe that’s okay. Maybe some things are bad enough that you can’t even afford to hear arguments for them, and you should mindkill your ability to see them as anything but totally evil. Unfortunately, what’s “bad enough that you have to seal it in the mental equivalent of a lead-lined coffin and shoot anyone who gets near it” tends to change. The equilibrium is unstable. The incentives (moral certitude, bringing low the mighty, status) are to twist the ratchets forward. And maybe that’s okay; maybe anything that could be called harassment deserves to be called harassment.

    But the universal nature of this means that there’s no way to only disagree with one tooth on the wheel. You can say “Yeah, rubbing someone’s shoulders is assault, but wolf-whistling? Hell, that’s fine”, but you’ll still be a creep. There’s also no way to absolve yourself. Apologies are obligatory, and therefore irrelevant. Sensitivity training is the same. Time is useless unless you were under 20 when you were accused. Monetary restitution/settlements are “paying them off”, and therefore insufficient, if not evil in themselves. Prison, if they ever let you out, wouldn’t work, because you’d still be the same person. Execution..?

    Well, maybe unforgivable sins are okay to have. But if the list of unforgivable sins is large enough, let alone if it keeps growing, I worry that it’ll result in a network of permanently damned people, bound together by non-defection against the worst of themselves, desperately grasping for power to hold off their adversaries, and occasionally being revealed in spectacular blowouts wherein everybody disavows them as hard as possible to protect themselves.

    …Oh.

    Then, to deal with the very real problem of this mafia, people will establish informal intelligence groups, who will have free reign to dig everywhere and present what they find, no matter how they obtained it, because the only ways to break a mafia are either mass execution or informants. But, since that kind of power is incredibly attractive to people with a combination of high social intelligence and high sadism, as well as people who want to make sure they’re not on the receiving end of the retribution, these groups will quickly become corrupt and full of the kind of sinners they profess to oppose.

    …Uh oh.

    Well, maybe even that’s not a problem. The intelligence groups might keep each other honest, and root out any bad actors in the ranks of their competitors… But those two ratchets still exist. And, in fact, it’s worse now, because there’s group incentives to twist them harder than any of your competitors. No one wants to be the shady clique in the back of the room who’s soft on sin.

    But even if you allow that every step until this point is plausible, maybe that’s good? Isn’t an ever-expanding intolerance to evil just moral progress? What if morality is like a science, wherein we can discover new forms of evil?

    Maybe. But if this means that civil life must become a situation where every attempt at spontaneous affection is a potential life-ruining disaster, is it sustainable?

    Sorry if this post is bad. For my part, I never made advances toward anyone in the first 24 years of my life, and I was introduced to my s/o via a mutual, after which I’ve seen them exclusively. However, I don’t think I should be the prototype for upstanding citizenship. I hope I haven’t opened any old wounds or anything.

  38. S_J says:

    Apropos of your main point…

    If you follow Glenn Reynolds at all, you’ll see him post “teach women not to rape” about once a month. Maybe more often.

    Almost every time he does that, it is a news story about a female teacher involved in sexual relationship with an underage student. These are the kind of cases that make the news for a day in a region, and then fade away.

    I suspect that Reynolds simply likes poking at the Usual Narrative. He’s also pushing back at the argument that “women” (or, in the usual narrative, “men”) are a generic class who somehow missed the message that sexual abuse of children is wrong.

    My own opinion is that the MeToo movement can become a sort of moral panic. There are real crimes, with real victims. But it is the sort of movement that can result in false allegations which end careers. Are we, as a culture, willing to take the time to distinguish false allegations from true allegations?

    ( Of note: several prominent accusations of sexual abuse in the entertainment world involve influential men taking sexual advantage of teenage boys and younger men. One of the accused is a recognized actor in movie/TV business, and another is a prominent name in the largest orchestra in a large, cosmopolitan city. I can’t tell if these are swept up in the MeToo movement, but it does appear that career-ending accusations against homosexual men are happening in the current environment. )

    • Steve Sailer says:

      The homosexual cases like Spacey and Levine that have made the news involve underage or nearly underage kids, which seems worse than, say, what a lot of the heterosexual men have been accused of.

      It’s likely that there are a number of other entertainment/arts industry scandals involving big shot men and underage boys coming up.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Spacey, for example, drunkenly hit on a lot of straight adult guys in bars:

        http://takimag.com/article/hollywood_blacklist_david_cole/print#axzz50O88CZZy

        That’s obnoxious, but not really a big deal compared to his hitting on underage kids, even if they turned out to be gay.

        • Deiseach says:

          I’m going on online rumours here, but Spacey also allegedly abused his position as artistic director at the Old Vic/there were a lot of “you’ll be sharing a dressing room with Kevin, hey, this will be a great chance for your career” type of situations, where young actors were given the strong impression that it didn’t hurt [particular actor’s] career to be ‘friendly’ to Kevin and he could do the same for them.

          Long before he decided to come out as gay in the aftermath of this scandal, there were rumours about him being gay on this side of the Atlantic, anyway.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            There haven’t been too many surprises in the names revealed so far: pretty much everybody who is interested in Hollywood gossip across the country had heard that Spacey was kind of an out of control gay back in the last century. There was a 1997 article about Spacey in Esquire or GQ that started with the reporter’s mom telling him that all the ladies at her retirement home in Florida knew Spacey was gay.

            Weinstein? Ratner? Toback? Toback was notoriously documented to be a public nuisance to women back in the 1980s.

            Part of what’s going on is that journalists are recycling old stories and following the connections. For example, Toback and Ratner are part of a string of lecherous buddies that includes Warren Beatty, Bob Evans, Russell Simmons, and Roman Polanski. So it’s pretty easy for journalists to follow the connections once they get the okay to do so. (So far, Beatty and Evans haven’t been called out.)

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Another aspect of the gay man hitting on underage boy versus lady schoolteacher hitting on underage boy student comparison is that the kind of boys that appeal to, say, James Levine are likely to be more sensitive and emotional than the kind of boys that appeal to a Mary Kay Letourneau. Maybe I’m completely wrong about assuming that that the 13 year old guys who sleep with their teachers tend to be 13 year old Adam Sandlers like in the movie comedy “That’s My Boy,” but I bet the teenage classical musician wannabes that Levine groomed for his gay classical music cult tend to be depressive and self-doubting and more likely to me messed up by child molestation than the precociously masculine guys who sleep with their lady teachers.

  39. Anon. says:

    Given the large number of responses from men who are saying “yes, I’ve been harassed but I didn’t mind/I kinda liked it”, should we conclude that most sexual harassment is a crime only in the eye of the beholder? It seems like it’s less like a murder and more like offensive speech, no? Should the government even be in the business of regulating any of this?

    • Mark says:

      I’ve been harassed, and I didn’t like it.

      Um… I don’t think it’s mad to have publicly acceptable standards of behaviour, and while you don’t really want to get the law involved in enforcing that, day-to-day, at the extremes it’s probably useful to have some official sanction.

      And, now that I think about it, my supervisor at work always used to press her breasts into my back when she walked past. Was that harassment, or are we getting into Beavis and Butthead territory here? I wish I could have had the societal backing to say “don’t touch me, nobody touch me” without sounding like a nut case.

      • Ketil says:

        I remember being cornered in ninth grade by two girls, pushed against the wall and touched. This was an intensively unpleasant experience, and – given the age, they were each as tall as strong as I was. But the problem wasn’t really their objective superiority, but my own freezing up in response, instead of actually taking action.

        Later, I’ve sometimes received unwanted attention, but being older, better at fending it off or otherwise dealing with it. I used to find homosexual attention especially disturbing (and I apologize if I sound homophobic), but now, I think I’ll be able to joke that too away or otherwise respond reasonably – both externally and internally.

        It has never occurred to me to report any of this to anybody, or otherwise ask for help. As a man, you’re just supposed to deal with it, I guess.

        So much for our little confession circle.

        And yes – I think it is very much in the eye of the beholder, and that there can be no clear and objective boundary. The same action can range from traumatizing to welcome, depending on the people involved and the situational context.

  40. Doesntliketocomment says:

    Scott, you are overlooking a large constituency, namely people like myself who think that the definition of “sexual harassment” has become far too broad. Obviously the statistics are not possible to parse in this fashion, but I would hazard that a large percentage of the 30% are things I and many others would not constitute as sexual harassment, like the hair tousling/butt bumping incident listed in your examples.

    On a related note, I would assume that the numbers of male on male harassment are bumped up by two factors, the first being straight males who find any interest from other men uncomfortable, no matter how casual or nonthreatening, and the second being sexual harassment of straight males by straight males for dominance reasons (See any fraternity, ever)

    • Besserwisser says:

      In the post just above, I’ve argued that there are two kinds of people arguing for talking about harassment of men. Those concerned about men and those trying to claim harassment isn’t as prevalent as thought. Both groups are often put together and there’s certainly some overlap.

  41. Besserwisser says:

    It always perplexed me when mainstream media outlets consider something “structural oppression” but think themselves as opposed to this. You are the structure! If there’s anything society deems unacceptable, mainstream media would undoubtedly be on that side by definition. This isn’t always a bad thing but it needs to be acknowledged.

    I also wonder if the numbers for male victims are too low. This reminds of a comment I’ve seem from a man who opposed a change to rape laws, not because he thought of it from an outside perspective and couldn’t see himself as a victim but because under the new legislation he would be considered a rape victim. If men aren’t willing to come to terms with being a victim of rape, how would it look different with sexual harassment? Maybe there is something similar going on with women not considering something harassment because it happened to a man.

    This brings me to the argument that people only bring up men because we want to diminish the impact of the bad thing*. Which got me enraged the first time I heard it because it clearly wasn’t my experience. But I’ve come to think it might be true, that we get much more angry if something happens exclusively to women. And it makes me sick to think about.

    * This isn’t always about harassment, so I’m going to be very vague about what it could be.

  42. Inside a semicircle of displays says:

    To pick up on that metaphor, it rather seems that harassment already is being treated the same way as terrorism. You operate on broad definitions and vague rumors, lots and lots of innocents get droned, and it somehow doesn’t seem to help that much.

  43. Ketil says:

    Perhaps an interesting data point (although I apologize for the obscure language): https://www.bt.no/btmeninger/kommentar/i/zLGrpr/Gubbeveldets-tilstand.

    Based on a survey (unclear selection criteria) of 2000 comments on Facebook on two major national TV channels’ pages, they find 10% of comments are “hateful”, and that of these, 73% are perpetrated by men. If we assume the remaining 27% are from women, those numbers aren’t too far off the numbers cited here.

    Interestingly, the article goes on to cite that nine out of ten banned persons are men over the age of fifty. Not, this is possibly more opinion, but it strongly hints that either harassment is factually worse when perpetuated by a man (or an old person), or – probably more likely – that it is perceived as such.

    • Aapje says:

      That is a rather meaningless statistic unless we know what the gender ratio is for all comments. For example, if 73% of all comments are by men, then having 73% of the hateful comments be by men means we have gender equality in hatefulness, but inequality in participation.

      • Ketil says:

        Yes, I agree – as I said, the selection criteria were unclear. It could also be that the comments were in response to specific news items that triggered men more than women (or vice versa). I’ve asked for the report it is based on, so we’ll see.

      • Ketil says:

        I contacted the responsible people by email, and received a rather elaborate answer to this. Specific to your question, 55% of the comments are by men, 45% by women. This means that a man…well, to be precise, this means that a random comment by a man is twice as likely to be interpreted as hateful as a random comment by a woman (0.73/0.55 = 1.32, 0.27/0.45 = 0.60).

        The main conclusion is about people choosing not to participate in debates and citing harassment or an unpleasant/negative tone in the comments. This proportion is 53% of the total, of which 61% are women. So, from a population of 50 male and 50 female users:
        – 32 women choose not to particpate
        – 21 men choose not to participate
        – 18 women participate
        – 29 men participate
        Men account for 59% of the participants (matches well with having the reported 55% of the comments), and although one would expect some kind of Pareto distribution of comments per commenter, all of the discrepancy can be explained by the fractions who don’t participate due to negative tone.

        I didn’t get the complete methods description, but in general, it looks to me as if the method is sound and the people professional – random sampling and sufficient numbers, and so on. I don’t have the quantitative results either, but comments were classified by target (sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, age, politics, social status, other), and type (stigmatizing, degrading, slanderous, threatening – probably not accurately translated), and degree (light, medium, or grave harassment).

        They also refer to a survey asking for most likely targets of hateful speech, and listing the top three:
        1. person with “foreign” ethnicity (41%)
        2. politically active persons (31%)
        3. women (28%)
        This result matches “fairly well” with their own findings.

        I think the results are sound, but not sure how it generalizes to other countries – or even over time. At the time, one could hardly look anywhere without somebody ridiculing Trump, but with the current metoo-storm raging, I would expect gendered harassment to be higher.

        In regard to Scott’s post here, I would say it confirms that men are in the majority as offenders, but that the female minority is significant and substantial. Also, women are in the majority (compared to men) as targets, but again – not by any huge margin. It is still hard to tell if women are target for harsher stuff than men, and/or if they react more strongly, i.e. how well the number who pulls out corresponds to the number who are being targeted. Presumably when the full report is available, it will be possible to look into that.

        • Aapje says:

          Also, women are in the majority (compared to men) as targets, but again – not by any huge margin.

          I don’t understand why you conclude this. You say that women are 28% of targets, which seems like a clear minority.

          • Thegnskald says:

            And it nearly exactly coincides with the reciprocal of the percentage of unpleasant comments made by men.

            Given observations in other social contexts, this is what I expect: Men being unpleasant at other men, women being unpleasant at other women.

          • Ketil says:

            No, I think that number means that 28% of people surveyed think women are among the (or the single) most targeted group(s). What I think I meant to refer to, was that of people walking away, a majority (61%) are women.

          • Aapje says:

            Okay, but that has nothing to do with being a target, but more with the tolerance for rudeness. These women may leave because they dislike the comments that are made at others, it doesn’t have to be because they (or other women) are targeted.

        • The Nybbler says:

          The main conclusion is about people choosing not to participate in debates and citing harassment or an unpleasant/negative tone in the comments.

          I’ve often seen the claim that women won’t participate in debates because the men there insist on saying things they find offensive, even if those things are merely disagreement. So that, plus Norway, gives me a strong prior against thinking there’s some issue with men being hateful revealed here.

  44. fion says:

    Dammit, Scott! Stop changing my opinions to make them less acceptable in my social circles!

  45. fwiffo says:

    I’m not sure what to make of those statistics.

    Your proposal that 30% of harassment is female-to-male does not accord with my lived experience. I have been in the presence of many “grab them by the *#$$y” types of conversations with men — where they very casually describe behavior that is obviously harassment, and their attitude is “this is fine, though I know I can’t talk like this in public.” Perhaps women also engage in such “locker room talk” but I’m skeptical that it is the norm — and women assure me that stuff like this is rare if heard at all.

    This is not to say there aren’t women harassers, but rather that we live in a culture where male harassment is normal, and permissible enough that men feel comfortable admitting to being perpetrators in the company of other men, whether they know them well or not.

    This is not to say we should ignore female -> male harassment. But I don’t think it’s quite right to say “we’re ignoring 30% of the problem.”

    • takashoru says:

      Given that you are male, or at least viewed as male by other men, and you are aware that they only talk about this with other men, I am curious as to why you’d expect to hear anything from the female side, if the situation were parallel.

    • Mark says:

      I’ve never heard the sexual harassment chat.

      I’ve heard men bragging about consensual sex, but I’ve never heard anyone proudly admit to sexually harassing someone. Maybe my liberal looking face puts them off.

      Actually, I remember, years ago, there was one American guy I worked with who bragged about, really dodgy stuff, and everyone hated him. If anything, I’d say the men hated him more than the women. So, maybe it’s an American culture thing.

      • liskantope says:

        I’m a man who has been privy to lots of “locker room” conversations between men about women, and my experience backs up what Mark is saying. Some of the conversations I’ve heard have conveyed some level of creepiness, or general sleaziness in regard to picking up women, or what some would call “objectification” of women, and in one case an enthusiastic discussion of how “hot” the rapey scene in the first Game of Thrones episode was. But none of it involved bragging about something nonconsensual. In fact, the perception of consenualness is a crucial factor in the boastful stories: IME guys want other guys to believe that women want sex with them.

        I don’t know if the infamous Trump quote shows something fundamentally contrary to what is said in the all-male environments I’ve heard, or if Trump was meaning to imply that it still was consensual (if the latter, I suspect Trump was/is deluded a lot of the time about how universally attractive he is to women and is therefore guilty of sexual assault anyway).

        • shenanigans24 says:

          Yes, men brag about their ability to attract women. They don’t brag about their ability to rape them or harass them as that would not be a brag.

          Trump was being hyperbolic in the same sense that saying “I could kill someone and I wouldn’t get in trouble in this town” is being hyperbolic. They are conveying how much people like them. The point simply isn’t made by saying I could go 10 over the speed limit and likely get away with only a warning. Or I could ask a woman on a date and she would likely agree and possibly have sex with me later. Normal humans understand this type of conversation except when they choose not to.

          As far as finding some sex scenes hot- look at women’s sexual fantasies, or 50 shades of grey. Sexuality is complex and I don’t think deriving a man finds a certain scene hot equals rapist is any more true than a woman finds a certain book hot equals she wants to be raped.

      • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

        Same here, and my friends aren’t even particularly progressive.

      • quanta413 says:

        Agreed with Mark. Outside of the media, have heard men endorse behavior like this zero times. Saw occasional questionable behavior but roughly in line with Scott’s numbers or maybe even less male skewed. Grew up in a conservative area in the U.S. On the other hand, I did know one man who found harassing other men very funny. Consider the possibility that men behaving this way in front of you is true in your social circles but not in a lot of men’s. It’s amazing how much variation in behavior there is for reasons I can’t explain at all. I never had anyone catcall or scream epithets at me in college or before, but after I moved it happened about once a year (usually while I was walking around alone late at night).

      • shenanigans24 says:

        Even men bragging about paying for sex would get them teased. I don’t know the circles this person runs in but at no time in my life have I heard a man brag about harassing a woman and if they did they would be ostracized.

        That is not how men talk.

      • The Nybbler says:

        I don’t know the circles this person runs in but at no time in my life have I heard a man brag about harassing a woman and if they did they would be ostracized.

        They don’t use those terms, but they do talk about what they’ll do to a woman and how she’ll like it (much like Donald Trump in that tape). And the damnedest part is that often they’re correct; the d-bags who do this sort of bragging are often successful with women.

    • Thegnskald says:

      I hear women talk that way pretty frequently. I suspect this is because I am openly bisexual, so they regard me as somebody who won’t be discomfited by such conversation.

  46. Steve Sailer says:

    I know this will be dismissed as cognitively crude, but could somebody help me out by giving some famous examples of female-on-male sexual harassment? What men are famous victims of female sexual harassment? I know it would be Anecdotal Data, but I’m scratching my head trying to come up with a list …

    Joseph and Pharaoh’s Wife from the Old Testament?
    Did Lot’s daughters sexually harass their dad?
    Did Norma Desmond sexually harass Joe Gillis in “Sunset Boulevard?”

    Help me out here, please, better understand what we are talking about by providing some examples.

    • Aapje says:

      I don’t understand your question. The events that become famous and how they get interpreted are determined by the biases of society/the media, which give way more attention to certain kind of events and which shape a narrative around the events. As Scott argued, the bias against female-on-male sexual harassment even existing at all is so strong, that just about every case gets filtered away and those that don’t get a narrative where less blame is placed on the female perpetrator and less harm is assumed to be done to the male victim.

      If you are wondering about the facts about how female-on-male sexual harassment happens in reality (rather than in meme land), you are better off looking at (the scant) research or listening to the anecdotes of normal people.

    • S_J says:

      As I hinted at in a different comment…I strongly suspect that female-on-male sexual harassment is most common in places like schools. Where female adults have significant authority over teenaged males.

      However, that kind of thing doesn’t generate news stories that get nationwide attention. If it happens, it get regional/local attention.

    • uncle stinky says:

      Do a search for Joyce McKinnney and Mormon sex in chains case for an old example.

    • The original Mr. X says:

      Constantine’s second wife tried to seduce her step-son. When he refused her advances, she accused him of rape, and had her husband execute him.

      • Tarpitz says:

        Very far from clear this actually happened, but it’s an old story.

        Still, if we’re interested in cultural tropes rather than historical events, we can certainly go older – at least to Phaedra.

  47. Ola says:

    20% of sexual harassment coming from women – to be honest, that exceeds my expectations. Maybe it’s not 20% if you think about how many incidents per person you might have? For example very attractive women / women whose professions are particularly correlated with harassment, might be a victim of multiple incidents. However this should as well apply to men. I would like there to be more research on the numbers, but then we all know how important a bias of the researchers can be. So this post is definitely an important one in the discussion.

    So I wrote the number exceeds my expectations, BUT:

    A little bit of a personal story: I am a woman, I work in a tech company, that have never experienced sexual harassment in a workplace/university. I’ve just had an big discussion with my male coworkers about the #metoo hashtag and the google affair. Everyone I met is appalled by the scale of female harassment and very reluctant to talk about male victims.

    However I can imagine myself easily as being a boss and being a dick and harassing someone intentionally (because I would not have enough empathy in me and would consider it funny). Just because I would not know better? (I actually have been a manager for a short period of time and maybe I was not sexually harassing anyone, I definitely was a dick to some people, male and female). I try to be more considerate now, which is easy as I am not anyone’s boss anymore!

    However I think that talking about male victims will actually be beneficial to women, as it is against a stereotype of a fragile female. Talking about women’s harassment is also talking about women being in a position of power, which is a rare occurence. Putting them in the spotlight on equal grounds as men to me sounds so… like gender equality!

    • takashoru says:

      20% of harassment coming from women doesn’t imply 20% of women are guilty of harassment, yes. Repeat offenders are prevalent in both men and women, from what I’ve seen of the data.

      Your perspective on talking about male victims helping women is interesting, and I hope that it would, and will, play out like that.

      If you don’t mind, would you try to come up with some of the things that have been closest to harassment that you’ve dealt with in education and the workplace? I’m trying to gather general impressions from women who have and have not been harassed on what the boundaries of those terms are. For a similar reason, would you mind describing your personality in a few words? A female friend of mine, who paints a similar picture to you, is wondering how much personality plays into ignoring/not noticing and deterring harassment. (If you’d prefer not to talk about this, please don’t feel obliged.)

      • Ola says:

        > 20% of harassment coming from women doesn’t imply 20% of women are guilty of harassment, yes.
        > Repeat offenders are prevalent in both men and women, from what I’ve seen of the data.

        yes so I was wondering how gender ratio of harassment victims change when you aggregate by 1) person 2) incident

        So I have this 2 situations pop into my mind:

        My current company – a work colleague at a work party TALKED to me a lot, when I was drunk. We took a cab home together, as we lived in the same area. I was really drunk, my colleague was drunk too, we said goodbye to each other and everyone went their way. Next day I was asked by CEO if everything was ok, if I was not treated unkindly in any way yesterday.

        Academia – I have been on a conference, got drunk and one of the professors, who was apparently known as a womanizer TALKED to me a lot. Another professor made one of my closest colleagues sit down with us to make sure I will be ok, and he told him to get me back later safe to my room.

        And so just to be clear, I find this considerate reactions a very positive thing and I do not feel like it makes me being treated less professionally in other circumstances!

        I am a bit nerdy and awkward, prefer to stay at home than go out, also married with children. I had one-time incidents of actual harassment as a young teenager, always from some random much older man (a salesperson, a bus passenger, hotel staff).

        • takashoru says:

          Ah, I see – sorry, I see that I misunderstood your initial comment. I also would be interested in that data.

          Hmm, thank you – that’s helpful data. Would it be a fair summary to say that even accounting for potentially different models of what harassment entails, you do not seem to have been harassed at all within your educational /workplace environment, and that your personality and presentation are unlikely to have substantially deterred potential aggressors for intimidation reasons?

    • Thegnskald says:

      20% seems low, to me.

      It might be that I get harassed disproportionately more than most men because I am unusual and/or attractive – but I have observed other men getting sexually harassed, as well. That might again be another filter, perhaps a social bubble – but in truth, I suspect it happens quite frequently, and that generally men just don’t react to it or pay it much attention.

      Which produces an interesting question, to me – should women toughen up and react less (is part of the issue that women see it as a problem), or should men soften up and react more (is part of the issue that men don’t).

      A lot of the discussion revolves around the idea that we should take harassment against men more seriously. Some here are pushing back and suggesting harassment against women should be taken less seriously. (And some arguing the disparity in seriousness is natural and/or correct.)

      It shouldn’t be obvious which answer is correct; the answer only appears obvious from a gendered perspective.

      • takashoru says:

        A very interesting question. Either solution would be acceptable – if everybody sees harassment as a problem, then it will be easier to stop; if everyone sees harassment below a certain threshhold as not a problem, then it does not need to be stopped.

        I feel like from a utilitarian standpoint, B is more advantageous, but A is more likely to have better effects in the longterm.

      • Aapje says:

        @Thegnskald

        should women toughen up and react less (is part of the issue that women see it as a problem), or should men soften up and react more (is part of the issue that men don’t)

        Both seems to make most sense.

        • Thegnskald says:

          The issue is, I am not certain our society doesn’t depend to a great extent on men being stoic; many of the jobs that are male-dominated are both unpleasant and necessary; in some cases, extremely unpleasant, and extremely necessary.

          Maybe the naturally stoic will be able to fulfill these roles, with technology filling in any gaps, in which case, great. But if not, such a pursuit might be self-crippling to our society.

          At any rate, I would hesitate before knocking that particular wall down.

          I think women being more stoic has less potential downside, but, being a natural stoic, there may be some greater cost to generalized social stoicism I am not noticing.

          • Iain says:

            I question your premises.

            Nursing is a heavily female-dominated occupation. It also requires an unusually high level of stoicism.

          • Thegnskald says:

            And nursing is full of people who went into it because they find the idea of helping people inherently rewarding. How well that survives the experience, I don’t know, but I have encountered many stories from nurses about the sort of experience that “makes it worth it” – the gratitude of a patient or the patient’s family being a substantial element. Which is to say, there is frequent affirmation, and the phrasing surrounding the occupation suggests that the occupation wouldn’t be worth being in without it.

            How rewarding do you think cleaning sewage back-ups is?

          • Aapje says:

            That depends on what is blocking the pipes.

            I do agree with Iain that nursing requires stoicism, however, it seems that the stoicism generally develops on the job/during training and that the ability to help people is the draw.

            Similarly, many dangerous jobs may not draw male workers because it requires stoicism, but rather because it involves ‘things,’ so things-oriented people are drawn to it. If we were to teach men less stoicism, they might still go for these jobs and just like nurses, develop more stoicism along the way if necessary for the job. This then would benefit men who don’t need stoicism for their job.

            Also, many dangerous jobs seem to be performed with more risk-taking than is necessary, so this might also happen less, saving lives.

    • samuelthefifth says:

      There’s a little-known thesis that I always think back to, “Manufacturing concern: Worthy and unworthy victims.” Its author, Jim Boyce, tallied up coverage of male vs female victims in the newspaper headlines, in the early 90s. He also compared the nature of that coverage. Ready?

      “We found that women are emphasized as victims 35 to 51 times more often than men in headlines. In addition, we saw that although high levels of male suffering are revealed in headlines, most focus on the suffering of women, placing it into a societal context and personalizing it for the reader. This focus is seen in sources which, when focusing on gender, focus almost solely on women’s victimization.”

      The huge ratio and its variance is in part because coverage of male victims was so sparse it was almost non-existent. Possible offered explanations include the Montreal Massacre as a symbolic tone setter, the almost exclusive use of feminist sources, and the fact that sexual and family violence against women forms an attractive news story that took on a life of its own.

      Nobody seems particularly interested in addressing this disparity.

      Full text here.

      • Kevin C. says:

        Because women are precious and men are the disposable gender. People care more about women’s tears than men’s lives.

        Because sperm is cheap and eggs are expensive (and pregnancy even more expensive). People aren’t “interested in addressing this disparity” because this disparity, being fundamentally hard-wired into mammals like us by evolution, can’t be addressed by any reasonable means. It’s simply a part of life — accept it, learn to live with it.

        • Null42 says:

          I imagine many people told feminists the same thing 50 years ago about women’s roles.

          If they can change people’s minds about women, why can’t we change them about men? Especially now that the feminists have uncoupled society from biology for us? Hold them to their own rules–stereotyping, sexism, etc.

      • Ola says:

        Thank you for this data! The scale of this disproportion is stunningly extreme!

        • Thegnskald says:

          The scale of that isn’t particularly significant, when you consider the overall societal trends. Male infants receive less attention for their distress, and their emotions are often interpreted as aggression (even when presenting the same as a female infant’s).

          The short of it is, men are taught from birth not to show distress. For many of us, this turns into an inability to feel distress – observe the various men saying how little their own experiences affect them. Hell, I was raped and barely care about it, and that only in the form of the emotions I do experience, such as anger.

          I don’t feel distress, which means I can’t really feel distressed about not being allowed to feel distress. It is a double-bind, even for those who can, because complaining about your lack of social ability to complain about your gendered misfortunes is prohibited by the same social forces which prohibit first-order complaints.

          I can’t feel distress on my own behalf, but it looks fucking nightmarish when I look at other men suffering, and being unable to even get a social validation that they are allowed to feel bad about it, instead being hammered repeatedly that the way forward is to ignore their suffering, which doesn’t matter and is just distracting people from the actually important suffering of women.

          And the horrible thing is, I think that in our society it would be horribly irresponsible to raise men who do care about their own suffering, who do show distress, because they’re just going to suffer the more for it, because society doesn’t merely not care, it actively punishes men who speak out. Women were able to escape their suffering, because they are allowed to suffer, and their suffering is regarded as socially important, such that all that has really been necessary for change was to convince society that they were suffering under the arrangement; men do not have that path open to them.

          It is a hellish trap I don’t see a way out of.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            Well, in the old days men were compensated for societally-enforced stoicism by being given respect as breadwinners, heads of families, soldiers, etc., although thanks to feminism this is pretty much verboten nowadays. Since society won’t function properly without men giving their quo, maybe we could return to giving them a bit of quid as well.

  48. liskantope says:

    On a fundamental level, I interpret this post as coming down on one side of the Treating Situations Individually vs. Treating Broad Societal Patterns debate which is becoming more and more common in discussions about the social justice movement. To quote myself from another post:

    A lot of arguments about some systemic social problem boil down to one side complaining that instances of that problem that don’t fit the broader pattern get ignored while the other side retorts “But… look at the broader pattern!” For instance, some Bad Thing might happen to people in group X as part of a systemic problem whose underlying mechanics can be analyzed on a large scale, while that same Bad Thing still happens a fair amount of the time to people not in group X, which often gets ignored in discourse.

    The thing is, both sides are right.

    The issue here is one of making a distinction between problems for individuals and problems on a society-wide scale. When a Bad Thing happens to an individual person, they should receive equal sympathy and their struggle should be addressed with equal effort, regardless of whether or not they’re a member of group X and their pain fits into a particular model.

    But those who are dedicated to formulating these large-scale models and focused on solving the problems they underscore, of course it makes sense for them to only focus on the instances of members of group X suffering the Bad Thing, and constantly pointing out “But people in group not-X also suffer this too!” will only muddy their investigation. And if indeed there is some underlying sociological mechanic that is causing the Bad Thing to predominantly happen to members of X, then analyzing this society-wide phenomenon is a very worthwhile pursuit: it helps in the effort to save a large group of people rather than some individual.

    Those on one side fear that an individual suffering the Bad Thing will be taken less seriously or treated with less concern because that event doesn’t fit the large-scale model, while those on the other side fear that the large-scale model can never be analyzed without the investigators being forced to address all the instances that aren’t a part of it. But these concerns from each side aren’t contradictory, because supporting an individual acquaintance and engaging in activism for a society-level social cause are two entirely different pursuits.

    Of course for my framing to be applicable in this context, we have to agree that the “men harassing women” narrative is reflective of a real social phenomenon in the first place, a view that this post (and other SSC posts) does not seem to endorse (apart from citing the fact that arsonists, thieves, etc. are predominantly men). I usually view the gender disparity in harassment as a product of entrenched gender roles in the pursuit of dating/sex which nobody seems to be directly trying to remedy (my post on that is too long to quote here). But that’s my own hobbyhorse, which I acknowledge is only supported by intuition coming from my personal experience rather than any kind of hard statistics and might be influenced by my own bias as someone who hates the “man = initiator” role.

    • I’ve read your tumblr post.

      I think you are correct to look for explanation of sexual harassment by considering asymmetry of courting.

      Where I think you are wrong is in assuming that this asymmetry and resulting “creepy” male behaviour arises from the culture teaching us to behave this way. The simpler explanation is that a median man wants sex a lot more than a median woman. This is well established and there is a good evolutionary explanation.

      It’s a problem of supply. Men want infinity of sex cause that’s advantageous for their genes. Women only want a limited amount of sex cause having children is costly. I’m not saying that this is the conscious reasoning, I’m drafting what pressures have formed the desires both sexes have.

      Therefore, men generally try to turn interactions with suitable females into sex. Whether it’s a professional chat, friends party or bumping into someone at library. Women are usually totally puzzled by this and find this constant viewing them as sexual targets as offensive and what not.

      Also, for men there is asymmetric cost of being a harasser. In case of your Italian friend. Perhaps he angers 1000 girls until 1 ultimately sleeps with him. So what? He is optimising his personal utility function. Not some average of entire population. If you have to err on one side, better err on the side of being too pushy — in such case the women pay the price. If you are not pushy enough you pay the price by having less procreation opportunities.

      I’m not making moral claims here or as guidance, merely hoping to explain why people act this way. Personally, I’m very non-pushy, and I find it annoying when other guys succeed because women ultimately succumb to their pushiness…

      These thoughts are based on my experiences and conversations with my girlfriend, we are in a poly relationship, so we get to observe and compare the dynamics for both sides.

      • Thegnskald says:

        Evolutionarily, any women who is sufficiently fed and secure, and doesn’t currently have a child or is pregnant, should be desiring sex exactly as much as an equivalent man – if not more, since women have fewer fertile years.

        So evopsych says modern women should be hornier.

        It is very easy to construct evopsych just-so stories to support a position. It is harder to demonstrate that this is actually the case.

        • I agree, one has to be careful with evo psych. I don’t claim I’ve build a large case or even a complete argument in the comment. But understanding pressures coming from evolution is key. You can learn much about humans by considering other animals.0

          Higher promiscuity of males is not very controversial and general across many species.

          Propensity for sexual harassment from males also appears in other animals.

          • Protagoras says:

            In most of the species evo psych is constantly comparing humans to, one sex (usually male) does all the showing off, and the other sex (usually female) does all the choosing. It is transparent to anyone who observes humans that in humans both sexes show off and both sexes are choosy. In different ways, and perhaps not to the same degree (that part is less obvious), but still this is a massive difference from the animal models and it would be surprising if it didn’t have substantial consequences.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Define “promiscuity”.

            Because if you think it means the males have more reproductive sex than females, I am afraid your math cannot work out.

            If you mean they have more partners, that says nothing about reproductive drive itself, only how choosy they are about their partner.

            Neither suggests a lower sex drive.

            (Also, I don’t think you have ever seen an animal in estrus.)

          • @Thegnskald
            By “promiscuity” I meant kinda willingness to engage in casual sex, how choosy people are when selecting partners. Perhaps not the best word.

            Men are limited in how much sex they get by how many women are willing to give out sex. So we can’t measure desire by counting sexual encounters. But you can observe, for example, that men are far more willing to pay for sex.

            Or you can consider how things look like for homosexuals. Gay man have a lot more sex than gay women. That’s presumably because the supply of partners is much less restricted.

            Or how easy it is for a willing girl to bring a guy home from a dance night.

            Or try to infer something from women complaining that the only thing guys want is sex.

            @Protagoras

            Definitely, there are important differences between non-human animals and us. Still, there is a lot to learn from evo psych. Especially given that alternative psychologies are no less likely to generate “just-so”. Ultimately various sources of our understanding must be merged.

          • Thegnskald says:

            “Choosiness” is not a proxy for “sexual desire”, it is a proxy for “availability of potential mates”.

            We can derive a system in which men and women have, on average, equal desire for sex, and yet we still observe the same phenomena we observe now: Just assume the sex is more evenly distributed among women than men.

            Which looks like it matches up with both evolution and human behavior quite well.

            The idea that women have less sexual desire, less so.

            Now, there is a factor I expected someone else to bring up, but nobody did, and it is important: Hormonal birth control fucks all this up. While we would expect a non-pregnant woman with no nursing children to have equal or higher sexual desire than a man, when we have tricked a substantial percentage of women’s bodies into thinking they are, in fact, pregnant, this will have some substantive effects on the overall sexual market.

            And again, you should observe some animals in heat. I think your perceptions of animal behavior isn’t very accurate.

          • Aapje says:

            @Thegnskald

            All indicators point the same way: that men have more sexual desire. This higher sex drive is also very consistent across cultures, suggesting that it has a biological cause.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Aapje –

            And historically, the indicators pointed the other way.

            But I think we have already had this discussion, I doubt we’ll convince each other this time around.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            And historically, the indicators pointed the other way.

            Not all of them; for example, men have, as far as I’m aware, always been vastly more likely to visit prostitutes than have women.

          • INH5 says:

            Thegnskald’s theory that hormonal birth control is distorting this kind of thing in the modern world (even for women who don’t use hormonal birth control, through indirect market effects) seems very plausible, and like it potentially has a lot of explanatory value. Frankly, I’m astonished that this isn’t talked about more often.

            Not all of them; for example, men have, as far as I’m aware, always been vastly more likely to visit prostitutes than have women.

            That may have something to do with the fact that in nearly all pre-modern societies women faced severe restrictions on owning property or working outside the home. There’s no point in visiting prostitutes if you don’t have anything to pay them with.

        • Evolutionarily, any women who is sufficiently fed and secure

          And in the environment our species spent most of its history in–hunter gatherer bands–how common was it for a woman to be sufficiently fed and secure to reasonably believe that having a child without a mate helping to support her and it would not substantially reduce her chances of survival?

          • Protagoras says:

            If you want a serious answer, surely it is that we have no idea. Speculation relevant to this is all over the place, and evidence is thin on the ground.

          • Thegnskald says:

            No idea.

            Doesn’t matter, though. “Well-fed, with a secure food supply” would be a reliable metric for both having a stable and supporting mate, or for not needing a stable and supporting mate in order to successfully have a child – and is information that is relatively easily accessible to an evolutionary process.

        • shenanigans24 says:

          No a women could have sex with ten menn in one night but can only get pregnant by one. Men can have sex with ten women and impregnate them all. Women always have a selection pressure and men don’t.

      • liskantope says:

        I didn’t mean to imply in the Tumblr post that the initial cause of norms being what they are is culture, which would imply that a very long time ago our culture arbitrarily veered in one direction. The orientation of these traditional gender roles may well have their roots in biology and the way we evolved (although I agree with commenters further down that we can’t say anything too confidently about that right now). But culture tends to enforce and magnify norms that already exist, and my strong impression is that the behavior of individual straight men today, when pursuing women, is very strongly influenced by the culture we all grew up in.

        • Ok, I’m not confident about biological/purely evolutionary explanations at all. I merely felt I was correcting on strain of hypotheses “men are pursuing sex a lot because they learnt that from TV”. Sorry for that.

          • liskantope says:

            No problem, it’s possible I misunderstood the thrust of your response as well. It’s certainly plausible to me that having higher sex drives on average directly plays a role in male behavior which is distinct from the influence of culture.

      • liskantope says:

        Also, I’m not sure that you got my point in the example about my neighbors. Yes, they probably are trying to maximize on their personal utility functions, but their options are constrained in a certain way because of the expected gender roles in our society (in this case, more specifically, Italian society). Suppose that dating culture were totally egalitarian with respect to gender, so that men and women initiated equally. Then even if my neighbors still had higher sex drives than most of the women in the area, I think they’d feel much more inhibited from yelling vulgarities at attractive women in our building than they are now, because they would have much less room to fall back on the excuse of “What else can we do?” In fact, they would expect some women to approach them — if women did, great; if not, then they would probably suspect they aren’t very attractive and feel less confident that it’s worthwhile to aggressively hit on women. Thus, even if the norms are what they are ultimately entirely because of men having higher sex drives, that doesn’t mean that my neighbors’ behavior is accounted for entirely by their own individual high sex drives.

    • lvlln says:

      I just want to say that I really like the following sentence from the Tumblr post:

      But in order to effect large- scale societal changes, it’s obviously crucial to get inside the head of those who are causing problems and understand the forces that help drive them to do what they do.

      It’s something that I feel like should be obvious – so obvious that stating it should be considered as much a faux pas as breathlessly pointing out the blueness of the sky – but it seems to be something that is actively and sometimes violently disagreed to by a lot of people.

      Reading your post, I was particularly reminded of a This American Life segment I heard some time ago where the producer interviewed men she saw catcalling and talked in length to one of them about it and his motivations. I was struck by just how little she tried to understand his point of view and was obviously attempting to force her own set of values onto him, and how she considered it a failure on her part that she couldn’t get him to see things in her obviously correct point of view. It put me off, even though I 100% agreed with her opinion on catcalling and found the person she was interviewing to be reprehensible.

      Your post seemed to have avoided doing something like that, even while condemning catcalling as much as it deserves to be condemned. And I think that basic compassion or at least genuine desire to understand the point of view of people who do this thing which you consider problematic was a big reason why.

      • liskantope says:

        but it seems to be something that is actively and sometimes violently disagreed to by a lot of people

        Definitely. I think this is because explaining someone’s behavior in terms of external causes is often mistaken for morally excusing their behavior. In my view, this comes down to a very fundamental fallacy I call “conflating agency with moral responsibility”, which is another thing I’ve ranted about a good bit under this pseudonym.

        Do you remember which episode of This American Life you were listening to, or if there happens to be a link of it that I might be able to access? I’m curious to hear such an interview.

        • lvlln says:

          Definitely. I think this is because explaining someone’s behavior in terms of external causes is often mistaken for morally excusing their behavior. In my view, this comes down to a very fundamental fallacy I call “conflating agency with moral responsibility”, which is another thing I’ve ranted about a good bit under this pseudonym.

          Yeah, I’ve noticed this too. I always just categorized it as a variation of the naturalistic fallacy. At least, the examples I saw had to do with people explaining some sort of bad behavior based on human nature, and others being horribly offended that they were excusing that bad behavior. Which required a huge leap from the idea of something being human nature (which may or may not be true in any case) to that being something that’s good or at least something that’s not bad.

          One example that stuck to my mind was when Scott Adams – pre-Trump-running-for-POTUS, IIRC – claimed that a major reason for young men joining ISIS was that there were very few available women around them, and ISIS offered an opportunity for them to acquire women in the literal sense, and all the right-thinking people pilloried him for excusing young men joining a murderous regime for sex slaves. I didn’t know whether or not Adams was right on what he said, but at the least, I knew that he wasn’t providing a shred of justification for what they were doing or excusing them in any way.

          I found the This American Life episode. It’s the first 2 segments with Eleanor Gordon-Smith.

          • liskantope says:

            Thanks for linking me to the This American Life episode! I just listened to the first 19 minutes of it. Here are my thoughts.

            I found Gordon-Smith’s approach and the overall exchange less frustrating than you seem to have. She was certainly coming in with the primary purpose of persuading the men prioritized over understanding their point of view, and I didn’t much like her summaries near the end (both to Zach, and to the audience). But otherwise I thought she did try to some degree to get inside the minds of the men, argued persuasively and somewhat responsively, and overall handled the interactions well.

            Zach’s answers pointed to another factor behind catcalling behavior which had certainly occurred to me but I neglected to suggest it in my post: a lot of catcalling is influenced by the typical mind fallacy. A lot of men would love it if they were “complimented” by women while walking down the street — or they think they would, because it’s hard for them to imagine how it would feel to have that happen on a daily basis for years and years. But again I would trace back some of this difference in attitudes to our cultural traditions, which lead men on average to be so starved for sexual attention that it’s hard for them to understand what it’s like to be drowning in it, just like women on average are so used to drowning in it so it’s hard for them to imagine being starved. (Granted, there are other reasons for the difference in attitude, including of course the issue of men being more physically powerful as was discussed on the show.)

    • MugaSofer says:

      As Scott argues above, sexual harassment is somewhat gendered, but not overwhelmingly so. It seems most likely to me that sexual harassment (and related problems, such as non-belief of victims) has multiple causes, some of which are gendered and some of which are not.

      I’m certainly not opposed to fixing our society’s models of courtship – quite the opposite – but framing that as the only possible solution seems like a mistake.

      Scott brings up the example of murder, which is more heavily gendered than sexual harassment. One could take this to mean that any non-gendered attempt to reduce violent crime is a waste of time. But to my knowledge, the most successful methods of reducing crime have been non-gendered reforms to the criminal and economic systems.

      • shenanigans24 says:

        I don’t think you can fix courting as a norm since that would be saying we can change everyone which is IMO just utopian. All ideas that go to “change human behaviors that have existed in all cultures for all time” are doomed to fail.

        Since the difference between sexual harassment and sexual advances can be how attractive someone finds the person courting them it means sexual harassment will always exist.

        • liskantope says:

          I don’t claim we can change human behaviors on the level of innate desires. But given what we know of human history, it would seem absurd to deny that on a large scale we can change human beliefs and societal expectations — to give an obvious example, worldwide strongly-held beliefs about slavery have drastically shifted in the last couple of centuries from what they were throughout most of human history. Heck, in some places such as the more liberal parts of the US, many of the traditional gendered expectations (e.g. men being the sole breadwinners, women being in the kitchen) have by and large been toppled. If we can change norms in some subcultures so that women and men are equally expected to learn how to cook well, then we can make a similar change to men and women being equally expected to initiate in dating contexts.

          @MugaSofer: I wasn’t arguing that fixing our model of courtship is the only possible way to combat the prevalence of harassment, just that it would be the single most effective one. I believe this because in general the most effective strategy to weaken something would seem to be finding what lies at the root of that thing and attacking directly at the root, and my point is that our courtship model lies at the root of a large chunk of this behavior. In the case of something like murder, if one can demonstrate that economic conditions and our current justice system model lie at the root of the problem, and the fact that most murderers are men is sort of a secondary factor coming from men being more prone to physical aggression than women, then indeed it follows that we should go for a non-gendered solution.

          (Note: one can argue that only so much of the harassment problem can be solved by toppling courtship norms because a good amount of the harassment taking place is by women towards men. But consider that it seems quite plausible from what we’re hearing that a lot less female-on-male harassment would pass (1) men weren’t assumed to always want it in the first place, and (2) men felt their complaints about it would be taken seriously. Both of these are issues that would be lessened considerably if gender norms were weakened to the point that rates of harassment were evened out between genders.)

  49. we’re telling people to stop using the phrase “pregnant mothers”

    The linked article only discusses the phrase “pregnant women”.

    And once we get good evidence that someone is guilty, we have drones bomb their house. Seriously, the terrorism model has a lot going for it.

    I think the sarcasm here is less clear than you want it to be.

  50. Eiður Á. Möller says:

    I am not sure treating this on a single type of crime basis is giving us a clear picture. I have no doubt the ratio you mention is about correct: Men show overt aggression more than women from childhood and up — but women show relational aggression more than men from childhood and up as well, often in the form of reputation ruining.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicki_R._Crick

    We are dealing with two black boxes here. Overt sexual aggression and its majority prevalence among men, and covert relational aggression and its majority prevalence among women, and that is the real touchy subject (not the: “what group fits more into the former black box?”) — because it means we have no choice but to treat every case on an individual basis, and that is no fun for the press that likes to appeal to the mob with grand claims about societies ills, and then come up with inane platitudes of how to fix it.

  51. skef says:

    (The “structural oppression” model is false, by the way. Homosexual male harassment is more prevalent than the percent gay men in the population would imply, suggesting that gay men harass men more often than straight men harass women. The obvious explanation for gender differences in harassment has always been that men constitute 80% of sexual harassers for the same reason they constitute 83% of arsonists, 81% of car thieves, and 85% of burglars. Since most men are straight, most victims are women; when the men happen to be gay, they victimize men. Men probably get victimized disproportionately often compared to the straight/gay ratio because society views harassing females as horrible but harassing men as funny. If this theory is right then it’s men who are the structural victims, which means it’s your harassment that doesn’t count and you’re the ones who shouldn’t be allowed to talk about it. The “it only matters if it’s structural” game isn’t so much fun now, is it?)

    I’m trying to recall something else Scott has been this sloppy about, and I can’t.

    “Since most men are straight, most victims are women; when the men happen to be gay, they victimize men.” Did you read either the article you linked to or the source article? Here is an example from the latter:

    An example of sexually suggestive comments/jokes in the male-to-male group was a casino worker who alleged he had been bullied by his co-workers about his sexual orientation. They had asked him how often he masturbated and if he was a virgin and whether he was trying to hide the fact that he was really gay.

    And another:

    Another example in the male-to-male group involved a transport worker who alleged his male co-worker put his finger down the back of his pants and touched his bottom with a stick, in addition to offensive homophobic remarks including ‘what is wrong with you bitch?’

    Sure, some proportion of these harassments are by closeted, overcompensating gay people. But most of them? How do these descriptions not fit the argument that much sexual harassment is about policing gender roles? And how does that explanation not fit the structural oppression argument? From the source article of the article you linked to:

    The findings also provide support for the idea that men perceive not only unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion as SH, but also the enforcement of the traditional heterosexual male gender role (Berdahl et al., 1996). Indeed, many of the experiences described by complainants in the male-to-male group were characterized by taunts about apparently unmasculine conduct and appearance and insinuations that the complainants were gay. One explanation for this conduct is a power–sex association, whereby (male) harassers, who would usually prey upon vulnerable women because it arouses their power concept, may resort, in some circumstances, to the harassment of vulnerable males in order to activate the power concept (Bargh and Raymond, 1995; Lee, 2000). Indeed, the scenarios described in the complaints suggest that men who do not conform to dominant standards of masculinity may be singled out for demeaning, hostile and even violent sexual conduct, usually by other men, but sometimes by women.

    This is the sort of sloppy citation, where the article linked to completely fails to support the point, that in other circumstances you criticize at length.

  52. Does “SCC”, used multiple times above, refer to Slate Star Codex (normally abbreviated SSC), or to something else?

  53. Steve Sailer says:

    My guess is that if Hillary had won, then we wouldn’t be seeing all these revelations against key men in the most pro-Democratic industries. Weinstein, the key figure in all this, was a huge Clinton supporter and if his candidate had become president, that probably would have intimidated his victims for another 4 or 8 years. But with the Clintons washed up and people fearing them and their friends less these days, the dam has burst.

    Keep in mind that the Clintons and Hollywood have been interconnected at covering up “bimbo eruptions” at least since early 1992 when the Clintons hired Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano to get dirt on Gennifer Flowers.

    Pellicano’s specialty was bribing phone company employees to wiretap the victims of powerful men in the entertainment industry so they could be blackmailed into silence. He’s currently getting close to getting out of prison. The feds have his wiretapped files, but he has refused to give up the password. It would be interesting to know who is going to pay him off for his omerta when he walks out the door of prison.

    • Deiseach says:

      My guess is that if Hillary had won, then we wouldn’t be seeing all these revelations against key men in the most pro-Democratic industries. Weinstein, the key figure in all this, was a huge Clinton supporter and if his candidate had become president, that probably would have intimidated his victims for another 4 or 8 years.

      Actually, I’m more cynical than that. Weinstein seems to have lost a lot of the power he once wielded due to diminished success in recent years; he wasn’t involved with as many successful pictures and wasn’t making as much money. So Hollywood no longer had a prime interest in protecting him. I do think it’s less about which president is in power (after all, if we are to believe it, Trump is a serial harasser and rapist, and if he’s in power why wouldn’t that extend to protecting other men who are harassers and rapists?) and more about “is your star on the wane, so it’s now safe to speak up because you aren’t worth protecting any more and don’t have the same make-or-break power you used to?”

      • fightscenegrades says:

        This doesn’t entirely disprove your thesis, but keep in mind that the Weinstein expose wasn’t some collective Hollywood thing– Ronan Farrow had to go a little rogue to get it out. NBC spiked the story when he was working on it for them.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          Right. Various journalists have worked on Weinstein exposes over the decades, but nothing much was allowed to make it to the press until recently. Tina Brown explained how Weinstein expensively corrupted journalists to keep his misdeeds covered up:

          http://takimag.com/article/the_overlord_of_oscar_bait_steve_sailer/print#axzz50O88CZZy

        • albatross11 says:

          Once the allegations were out in public, though, it became safe for lots of his victims to come forward, because he looked to no longer be in a position to reward friends and punish enemies, and they would not be the single target. (I sort of think of this like one guy with a 6-shooter surrounded by 20 angry guys with clubs. Nobody wants to go first, and it may be that nobody ever lays a club on the gunman. But if anyone does, he’s going to be pounded into paste.)

  54. Hyman Rosen says:

    Unfortunately, this column reads like “all lives matter.” Regardless of whether men get harassed by women in significant numbers, we are having a moment where, finally, the evils that women are subjected to by men are being addressed and those men are rightfully being shamed and punished. Piping up about female-on-male harassment at this moment is going to look like a whataboutist attempt to halt that progress by trying to distract attention to something else.

    It also looks like “to people with privilege equality looks like oppression.” Time and again, when society begins correcting horrendously unfair and biased practices, out come the defenders of liberty to insist that the resulting processes must be scrupulously fair and never tilt in the direction of the oppressed, even though they were nowhere to be found in the fight against oppression. If men have to walk on tenterhooks for a while, too bad. Sometimes the pendulum has to take a good hard swing in the other direction.

    tl;dr Too soon.

    • reasoned argumentation says:

      If men have to walk on tenterhooks for a while, too bad. Sometimes the pendulum has to take a good hard swing in the other direction.

      Thank you for making my above point.

      If Jews have to walk on tenderhooks for a while, too bad. Sometimes the pendulum has to take a good hard swing in the other direction.

      After all, men are only 80% of the harassers when they’re 50% of the population. Jews at 2% of the population are (from the lists I’ve seen) upwards of 80% of the prominent credibly accused harassers to at least 50%+ from the linked list compiled by the NY Times so are far far more overrepresented – anything you can say about “men” you can say about “Jews” far more strongly.

      I’m sure you’re on board with this sentiment, right?

      • Hyman Rosen says:

        As someone else here has already pointed out, the percentages to consider should be based on the number of Jews in positions of power or prominence, not on the general population. Controlling the banks, media, Washington, and Hollywood comes with some associated costs 🙂

        Jewish media isn’t trying to hide from this topic. If you look at the Forward, the Jewish week, Haaretz, and most other non-right-wing papers (unlike the Jewish Press, for example), magazines, and websites, you will see an outpouring of discussion about the various Jewish perpetrators (newly listed – Israel Horowitz, James Levine), and about how to prevent sexual harassment and why it occurs.

        If there really is a particularly out-of-proportion Jewish aspect to sexual harassment, I am completely on board with exposing it, punishing it, and curing it. That would be good for the Jews.

        • Hyzenthlay says:

          If there really is a particularly out-of-proportion Jewish aspect to sexual harassment, I am completely on board with exposing it, punishing it, and curing it. That would be good for the Jews.

          I commend you for your consistency, but this strikes me as really naive. Imagine for a moment that this turned out to be the case, and “Jews more likely to sexually harass women” became the sentiment splashed across headlines. Do you really think that the alt-right and neo-Nazis wouldn’t pounce on this and push it as aggressively as possible? Do you imagine there wouldn’t be any negative repercussions to that?

          And addressing your point more broadly, real life is rarely as simple as a struggle between “oppressors and oppressed.” Because identity is multi-faceted, a single person may belong to several “oppressor” groups as well as several “oppressed” groups.

          If a white woman accuses a black man of sexual misconduct and the man denies it, for instance, opinions will probably be split as to whether he’s oppressing her with his male privilege or whether she’s asserting her white privilege and revealing implicit racial bias.

          Or you could just look at the individual situation and the actual evidence. I tend to favor that approach, as opposed to approaching every situation from a “whoever is most oppressed is right” perspective.

          And this…

          “To people with privilege, equality looks like oppression.” Well, I’d say that does apply to a lot of the people who are talking about being oppressed these days. Many social justice activists who focus a lot on their status as minorities are, in the grand scheme of things, highly privileged people. Though I’m guessing that’s not what you meant.

    • Le Maistre Chat says:

      Regardless of whether Muslims get harassed by infidels in significant numbers, we are having a moment where, finally, the evils that women are subjected to by Muslims are being addressed and those Muslims are rightfully being shamed and punished. Piping up about infidel-on-Muslim harassment at this moment is going to look like a whataboutist attempt to halt that progress by trying to distract attention to something else.
      When society begins correcting horrendously unfair and biased practices, out come the defenders of liberty to insist that the resulting processes must be scrupulously fair and never tilt in the direction of the victims, even though you were nowhere to be found during all the years that European governments covered up Muslim rape and demonized the few crusaders who desperately needed your help against the jihad. If Muslims have to walk on tenterhooks for a while, too bad. Sometimes the pendulum has to take a good hard swing in the other direction.

      • Hyman Rosen says:

        we are having a moment where, finally, the evils that women are subjected to by Muslims are being addressed

        Are we really? I haven’t noticed.

      • nimim.k.m. says:

        I can take Rosen’s argument at its face value and agree with it.

        In the public discussion, rhetoric triumphs the content. It is quite common practice to wrap rhetorical attacks with certain set of plausible points and arguments that nobody really pays any attention to. What is said is only adjacent to what is meant to be said or only barely attached to the purpose of saying them at some particular moment instead of another. Consequently, making those points becomes coded as an underhanded rhetorical attack. This is why certain sort of rhetorics is bad for society: it pollutes the atmosphere.

        Consider also this very tiresome move in politics. “As everybody knows, we areof course very angry with a group of people X today because it was revealed yesterday that X have committed atrocity Alpha against some other group of people Y, but at this point I’d like to point out that also Z do Alpha against W and occasionally Y do similar bad things Beta and we don’t currently care very much about Z doing Alpha or Y committing Beta, and we should keep that in mind in our daily war against the combined evil forces of Alpha-Betaism”?

        On surface level, yes, such gestures are perfectly logical and make perfect sense. But the emotional punch is either missing or somehow directed more against talking about Alphaism, and as a consequence nobody believes that “we need to fight Alpha-Betaism” is a rallying cry meant to inspire the populace with the message “take the War Against Alpha-Betaism seriously”: everyone knows it’s a platitude with a message “Alphaism isn’t actually that bad or important”.

        If you want to actually participate in a discussion about Betaism when the discussion about Betaism has become a proxy for another discussion about Alphaism, the only recourse left is to do it very carefully (that is, if you want to sound sincere). Otherwise everybody will think you obviously you are talking about evils of Betaism only because you are trying to brush Alphaism under the rug.

    • Zorgon says:

      Unfortunately, this column reads like “all lives matter.”

      … in that it’s a salient and rational response that gets pre-emptively bingo carded away?

    • takashoru says:

      As a general rule, I am only in favor of policy as a position, not as a direction.

      The problem with directions is that nobody is the slightest bit concerned with going too far, because there literally is no “too far” when you are going in a direction. You just keep going. Is anybody looking out for icebergs? Is anyone making sure we don’t miss our stop? If I’m trying to get to LA from San Diego, going North is all well and fine for a bit, but by the time I reach San Francisco, you start to wonder if I really was interested in LA at all, or if I just wanted to go North. If I say “I want to go North, because LA is North”, and then after I pass LA I’m still saying “I want to go North to LA”, either I haven’t been paying attention to the map, or I didn’t really want to go to LA.

      Charitably, feminism isn’t paying attention to the map, and may not even have fixed firmly in their heads what their destination looks like. Less charitably, when going North just gets better and better, why would one ever want to stop in LA? More reasonably, plenty of women don’t consistently comprehend when men are treating them as poorly as they treat other men, so it’s more like they’ll think they’re in LA once they hit San Francisco, and may be convinced to stop once they hit Sacramento.

      If some random shitty movement ruins a bunch of people on their uncaring way to greatness, I can’t really work up *righteous* indignation.

      However, when you’ve been preaching *equality* for over a century, saying something like “I don’t really care if there’s some inequality on the way” starts alarm bells ringing. You don’t actually care about equality? Equality only for the in-group? Do you believe in some sort of sins-of-the-father thing where boys born today are complicit in the historical oppression of women by men?

      Why on earth should I trust someone who explicitly doesn’t have my interests at heart, and explicitly excepts me from the philosophical protections of the movement? Why are you not my enemy? Why should I not just redpill right now, and take everyone I can with me?

      Your arguments are unhelpful, unwise, and naive.

    • Mark says:

      It’s been manufactured in that way, though. That’s the problem. It’s not like some spontaneous good thing happened that bitter minded people are now trying to spoil – a narrative was carefully constructed, and continuing to oppose that narrative is somehow viewed as bad natured.

      Your next door neighbour won the lottery last week. That’s a good thing, let’s not spoil things by going on about how poor you are.

      Your next door neighbour won the lottery last week. You had a winning ticket too, but it was disqualified because your kind isn’t allowed to win lotteries. You come from a naturally lucky group and if you have to grub around in poverty, that is actually a good thing. In fact, let’s take your house away entirely and give it to your neighbour. Don’t spoil things by complaining about how poor you are.

    • gbdub says:

      “to people with privilege equality looks like oppression.”

      1) Scott is also talking about male victims, who are not getting treated with “equality” by any stretch
      2) As I (maybe) coined in the open thread “when you feel oppressed, becoming the oppressor feels like justice”. That’s not behavior we should encourage. It’s not even “an eye for an eye”, because the retaliatory ocular removal is not well targeted at the original perpetrators, whose crimes occurred in the past.

    • Standing in the Shadows says:

      @Hyman Rosen ‘s post is a great example of Poe’s Law in action.

    • shenanigans24 says:

      It should be noted that most of the #metoo is unprovable accusations and therefore could just as easily be proof of women’s bad behavior as men’s.

  55. dtsund says:

    I agree with the general thrust of this essay, but:

    “I mean, statistically, some of them have to be. According to the German study, 6% of women admit to being harassers. Know more than ten women? One of them’s probably a harasser. Don’t know which one it is? Then maybe you can feel a little sympathy for the men who don’t know which of their same-gender friends is a harasser either.”

    This paragraph might be a little bit weak, using a 6% result from a survey. That’s dangerously close to Lizardman’s Constant. The surrounding point is a good one, though, which I’d hate to see gone.

    • liskantope says:

      I’m a little worried about this point too. There are all kinds of bubble effects, where most certain features are concentrated highly in certain subcultures but almost completely absent in others. Our host has talked repeatedly about how none of the people he knows are creationists even though they make up half the country.

    • Ketil says:

      Yes – those 6% could be all the women working in health care, or being of French descent, or have failed high school – in short, belong to an isolated group, not relevant to a random SJW woman.

      Another obvious thing is that the number of harasser does not necessarily (not likely, even) correspond to the number of harassed. If one in thousand men harass ten women each, then a circle of hundred friends is likely to contain a victim but not a perpetrator. And, of course, one would guess people would talk more loudly of being a victim than of being a perpetrator…

  56. Zorgon says:

    This post is well-thought-out, structured fairly well, and contains numerous references to hard cold facts, as well as attempting to present a case for its thesis even to people who disagree with its core premises.

    In the light of that, the only possible way forward is for someone to leak it to Gizmodo and then get Scott fired for his “misogynist screed” while he’s summarily monstered in the entire Anglosphere press.

  57. insilications says:

    Sociosexuality predicts sexual harassment better than sexism. The biosocial model — and not the standard sociological model (SSSM) — indicates that sexual coercion is primarily about sex, not sociopolitical power differentials like the “systemic oppression model” predicts (http://www.ehbonline.org/article/S1090-5138(17)30001-6/fulltext). This explains the sexual coercion statistics between gays and lesbians as well (gays and lesbians score higher on SOI compared to straight women and even straight men), something that the systemic oppression SSSM model utterly and fatally fails to explain. Clearly we have a pattern and a more complete modem here. When it comes to sexual harassment power is often the means but sex (i.e. sociosexuality) remains the end goal (http://faculty.law.wayne.edu/browne/documents/articles/sex%20power%20%26%20dominance_browne.pdf).

  58. jw says:

    One point about making every problem “systemic”.

    If control of the structures and power within institutions is what you crave to acquire, what better way to grab that power but to claim that all societies ills are systemic and this institutions need to be repaired. Of course those repairs are beholden to a political strategy and belief system.

    And in so many of these cases the belief system the SJWs claim will fix things is the worst most violent political system in the history of the world…

    • Le Maistre Chat says:

      Well yes, the “systemic oppression” ideology is evil. Under no circumstances should my disagreements with Scott be taken for agreement with THEM.

    • Jack says:

      How does this line of thought differentiate actually systemic problems in the sense of problems needing broad institutional responses?

      • Aapje says:

        Actually systemic problems involves improving policies or people with bad behavior. Racist or sexist power grabs involve the assumption that everyone of a certain race or gender is a problem and that everyone or another race or gender is automatically better; and thus seeking to replace one race and/or gender by another.

        • Jack says:

          So the problem is the assumption that some people are “automatically better” rather than identifying a problem as systematic? It seems to me that assumption will lead to all sorts of pernicious results and that when institutions are infected with that assumption those results can become institutional. But the “belief system” (quoting jw’s comment) being criticized now isn’t the identification of problems as systematic but the assumption you mention. I draw out this distinction because while SJWs certainly care about systematic problems, they do not explicitly make the assumption you are talking about.

          • Aapje says:

            SJ people tend to fight very hard to get ‘oppressed people’ into positions or power, where oppression is defined by nothing other than their race or gender.

          • Jack says:

            I don’t think that is an accurate representation of a relevant position (the “where oppression is defined by nothing other than their race or gender” bit–the first clause I agree with entirely); but even if it were it would be only an implicit endorsement of the assumption.

  59. mikemosz says:

    I don’t buy this argument. Like you, I’d say I’ve been sexually harassed by three or four women in my life, though it wasn’t til the recent scandals that I look on it that way. Each has been an isolated incident (in one woman’s case, two or three times at parties). This is nothing compared to what my female colleagues face day-in and day-out in multiple contexts in both professional and social settings – they have to keep track of who to be alone with and who not to be.

    I think the relevant statistic would be that of incidents of sexual harassment, how many happen to women and are perpetrated by men. I could be wrong, but my guess is that it would be much higher than 3:1. Surveys asking for people to whom it has happened ‘at least once’ aren’t very useful, because if sexual harassment happened a few times in a lifetime to each person, it wouldn’t be much of a societal problem.

    As many other commenters have pointed out, statistically men don’t have to fear that sexual harassment will lead to them being physically overpowered – I wouldn’t be afraid to be alone in a room with any of the women I mentioned the way an actress would with Weinstein. Moreover, I’ve never been in a situation (or seen my male friends be in a situation) where their career prospects depended on sleeping with someone, whereas I’ve had female friends give up on advancement within an organisation because they knew it was a barrier. I just don’t see the equivalence.

    One interesting question is whether because men are still disproportionately in positions of power, they have disproportionate opportunity to harass and get away with it (I presume this would be the position taken by the gender-is-a-social-construct crowd?). Nevertheless, in the world we live in, I think focusing on sexual harassment by men (of both men and women) fits the facts better.

    • GeneralDisarray says:

      I’m confident that ratios of repeat offenders do not match across gender groups either, which also supports the strategy of focusing primarily on male perpetrators.

    • Squirrel of Doom says:

      I’ve never been in a situation (or seen my male friends be in a situation) where their career prospects depended on sleeping with someone

      There are two possible cases here

      A: A woman who is the best person for promotion X will only get it if she sleeps with the boss.

      B: A woman who is not the best person for promotion X will get it anyway if she sleeps with the boss.

      Cases of A are discrimination against women, while cases of B are arguably discrimination against men, since they represent a career path only open for women.

      I’m genuinely curious how relatively common cases of A vs B are, but I don’t expect there is a lot of academic research on this topic?

      • mikemosz says:

        Insitinct tells me *B* is not that common. In large institutions, a manager has a lot of power to stall a career or generally make someone miserable, but doesn’t have that much power to promote a favourite unilaterally without corporate oversight. Basically I think even if the average boss _wanted_ to reward sex with advancement, it’d be hard, whereas punishing denial of sex is much easier. Note that the women who denied Weinstein sex had their reputations ruined in Hollywood, whereas few of the ones who slept with him became superstars.

        *A* is likely more common in industries where individuals have extremely broad decision making power (e.g. Weinstein) or low-level industries like restaurants where you can promote someone to assistant manager or something. In the corporate world I’ve more often seen the hiring of a girlfriend or mistress to some bullshit position than promoting an existing employee you’re having an affair with, but you’re absolutely right that actual data would be better.

      • wildtypehuman says:

        Your model of B for women is way off.

        I have never, ever, not a single time, heard a woman express gratitude or hope that she can find a workplace where she will be treated extra well if she sleeps with her boss. I suspect this is fairly representative of 99.9% of women for at least 3 reasons. First, giving people special treatment for sexual favors is also bad for ALL THE OTHER EMPLOYEES, not just men. Second, it’s gross and creepy for someone to OFFER to give you special treatment in exchange for sex (which most people do not want!), and ruins the tone of any future professional relationship. Third, anecdotally, you rarely find B without A–there’s ALWAYS an implication that if you turn down someone powerful enough to help you, they’ll hurt your career. (Bonus fourth: everyone often thinks they’re the best person for the job, so even a hypothetical boss trying to do B will come across as coercive to the target employee most of the time.)

        With 90% confidence: B is not more pleasant for women in the workplace than A is.

        • Squirrel of Doom says:

          Sure, even if this a career path only available to women, that doesn’t mean women appreciate it or would want to use it.

          Then again, the few who did would hardly go around telling their coworkers about it. I’ve never heard a man talk about his sexual harassment, but I don’t think that means it never happens.

          there’s ALWAYS an implication that if you turn down someone powerful enough to help you, they’ll hurt your career

          Here is perhaps the key insight: The woman in these cases may not be the most qualified for the promotion, and would not get the offer were it not for the possibility of sex. That is, as the woman, you may not know if you’re in scenario A or B.

        • xXxanonxXx says:

          Christina Pazsitzky did specifically say on Joe Rogan’s podcast when discussing the Weinstein scandal that she would appreciate an explicit option B.

    • Besserwisser says:

      I don’t think the specific numbers matter that much. The general argument seems not to be “it happens so much more to women that we should focus on them to maximize effectiveness” but “even if it does happen to men it doesn’t matter as much because structural oppression”. For the latter, it’s irrelevant how many men are victims of harassment how many times, other than really high numbers casting doubt on the “structural oppression” argument. It’s much more important to deal with the underlying assumptions directly. And, as many already pointed out, it’s men who have it harder to get claims of harassment against them recognized. Also, I think we should work with the number we have, not with our assumptions.

    • Mary says:

      This is nothing compared to what my female colleagues face day-in and day-out in multiple contexts in both professional and social settings – they have to keep track of who to be alone with and who not to be.

      What industry are you in?

    • shenanigans24 says:

      I am very afraid to be in a room with a woman. I will not work with women unless forced. Women at work make crass jokes that would be totally unacceptable from men. They joke about penis size, breasts, homosexuals etc. At the same time the only sexual accusations I’ve seen were false and ruined the careers of men even when they were found unsubstantiated.

      Women have tremendous power over men, and I think it’s rather obvious. Consider the evidence or lack thereof for the current hysteria. A mans accusation requires evidence, a woman’s does not. Men will believe her. That power dynamic is not trivial.

      My experience in life with women at work is just vastly different than what you describe.

  60. Jack says:

    I’ve previously talked about two visions of social justice. The first vision tries to erase group differences to create a world free from stereotypes and hostility. The second vision tries to attack majority groups and spread as many stereotypes as possible about them in the hopes that the ensuing hostility raises the position of minorities.

    Does anyone know the reference? As SCC’s previous argument has been summarized here, it sounds like an uninformed take on the well-trodden sameness/difference debate in feminist theory.

  61. Squirrel of Doom says:

    I agree with a lot of this, but I still must make this point:

    Sexual harassment of men against women is inherently far more threatening than the other way around because of the inherent threat of physical overpowering and rape.

    When women make unwelcome sexual advances at me, it’s at worst really annoying. I know I can easily take pretty much anybody in a fight, so there is a clear upper limit to how bad it can get. For women in the same situation, the sky – or more literally a grave – is the limit.

    Just something to keep in mind when comparing the numbers.

    • quanta413 says:

      The difference in physical strength matters, although I think in the recent cases in the media mostly because it affects our lizard brain behavior. But the grave is such a rare limit and so severely punished (because murder) that I’m not sure it makes sense to ignore the fact that women can kill men they are harassing in other ways if they really want to.

      When women make unwelcome sexual advances at me, it’s at worst really annoying.

      This might be true for you (and it’s usually but not always true for me; I have once been significantly more scared of something much worse than mere annoyance and not without reason), but it’s not true for all males. And I don’t mean because of the strength thing.

      • Alphonse says:

        I agree. I think it’s reasonable to point out that women have more to fear from stranger-sexual-harassment, given the physical power differentials, but it’s plausible to me that men have more to fear from non-stranger-sexual-harassment, given the social power differentials.

        For an example in this discussion thread, I point to the comment by eqdw above.

        It’s certainly possible to imagine a man acting toward a woman in the manner which eqdw describes, but I suspect that if a complaint were lodged, a female victim would be more successful than a male victim.

        Similarly, although it was male-on-male and therefore not entirely on-point to this discussion, Terry Crews’ story of when he was sexually assaulted illustrates the irrelevance of physical dominance when social power is the controlling factor. The fact that Terry Crews could undoubtedly win a fight to the “grave” doesn’t change the fact the social dynamics that make it hard for male victims of such harassment / assault.

    • Le Maistre Chat says:

      This. I get uncomfortable if y’all reverse the evil stupidity of feminism and act like rape is a non-problem, it’s only a boo word for this annoying sexual harassment… occasionally a woman gets raped and killed by a mentally disturbed male misfit who literally hates women and has overpowered her just by being a man.

      • 天可汗 says:

        You know, I really don’t think Weinstein being able to physically overpower aspiring actresses was the operative factor there.

      • takashoru says:

        And this is, as sexual harassment training (at least in California) points out, grossly overestimated in the minds of the general populace. Almost all college rapes are by a perpetrator known to the victim, and often the result of one or more intoxicated parties.

        I am unclear exactly how well this generalizes to the general population, but I expect reasonably well. We should be afraid of men (raping && killing) women similarly to how we fear men being mass-shooters, not in the way we fear men being sexual harassers.

        (This is one of the many reasons I hate the conflation of intoxicated non-consent with violent non-consent with a-consent. If you mix the statistics, people have no idea what they need to be afraid of.)

        • Mary says:

          The stats were not collated with the idea of giving people reasonable notions of what they need to be afraid of.

    • nfeltman says:

      I see most of the recent conversation being about what happens after the harassment, when physical power differences are irrelevant but social power reigns.

    • themountaingoat says:

      Being afraid of someone physically assaulting you or murdering you is likely irrational in most situations given the rates of such things occurring, especially if we talk about otherwise safe situations. If we are dealing with a irrational fear then why don’t we ask people to condition themselves out of it the same way we demand people condition themselves to not have negative reactions to people that look different?

      If we do accept that male sexual harassment is worse because men are stronger then the narrative needs to change from “men are bad” to “mens greater physical strength means we need to hold them to higher standards of behaviour than women”. You can’t really justify the current narrative that way.

      • Squirrel of Doom says:

        Whenever the two people are alone, there is always the possibility of rape, and you can be sure the woman is very aware of that. It’s a perfect crime in that it leaves no evidence. Murder is far more unlikely and messy, and I regret choosing the word “grave” for a catchy turn of phrase.

        • takashoru says:

          I challenge this statement. Even assuming a condom is used, which isn’t a 100% assumption, finding some amount of genetic material is by no means impossible. Getting anybody to run the tests on the sample and the accused is another matter, but that’s not really what we’re talking about here.

          I will also, in an admittedly nitpicky way, say that I don’t really agree with the absoluteness of your primary point either. I know a woman who carries roughly two knives on her person at any given time, and knows how to use them, as well as some martial arts. While I am not saying that this is a necessary, expected, or reasonable precaution for all women to take, I would be more than slightly surprised to find out that she has any serious fears of being raped in a one-on-one situation with any of the weak, never-been-in-a-fight nerds that she hangs out with.

          • Besserwisser says:

            Evidence for sex is easy to come by, evidence for rape less so. Admittedly, there’s a strong push by people who say to always believe women to always assume rape but in a legal system which functions based on the presumption of innocence it’s really hard to get conclusive evidence for rape.

          • takashoru says:

            Fair enough.

        • Mary says:

          you can be sure the woman is very aware of that.

          No, you can’t.

    • cmurdock says:

      “I know I can easily take pretty much anybody in a fight”

      Off-topic: If you don’t mind, I’m curious what your background is that justifies this (rather strong) statement.

      • reasoned argumentation says:

        Yeah seriously – that’s one of the most Dunning-Krueger things I’ve ever read.

        Every guy who is actually fantastically great at fighting got that way by training constantly and getting beaten up tons and tons of times. Going through that makes you respect the capabilities of random strangers. Not having gone through that means that you’re speaking from ignorance.

        • Nornagest says:

          I’ve studied martial arts for twenty years, but I wouldn’t want to fight a woman half my weight if she was carrying a $10 knife and I wasn’t. I’d still think twice if I was.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            I suspect the media (and maybe D&D monks, if you’re a nerd) have warped people’s analysis of violence. They can understand that you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, but not what a bad idea bringing kung fu to a knife fight is.

          • jimmy says:

            It wouldn’t be safe for her to fight you either though, which really puts a damper on her ability to bully you with a cheap knife if she is at all sane and has anything to lose. Knives also don’t escalate threats smoothly and can be taken in a momentary lapse of attention.

            I know the time I was sexually harassed I wasn’t at all concerned that she might have a knife, but if the large strength disparity had been in the other direction I’d have been pretty terrified.

          • Null42 says:

            There was that great bit from MAD:

            Jack be nimble
            Jack be quick
            Jack meet mugger
            Jack give kick
            Jack show quickness
            Jack show skill
            Jack learn bullet
            Quicker still.

          • Thegnskald says:

            I’d rather face someone who has a gun than someone who has a knife.

            I know what to do with a gun – if far enough away, run away in an unpredictable fashion, since few people can hit a moving target, much less an unpredictable one. And if not far enough away, close the distance and see if I can crush their trachea. I’d guess in the run away case, I have minimal chance of death or injury, and if I can’t run away, the odds are about break even.

            With a knife – if I can run away, great. If not, there is no way I am not getting cut.

          • moonfirestorm says:

            @Thegnskald

            Wouldn’t there be a pretty decent distance where the person with the gun has an easy shot, but is still too far away to be quickly closed with? Maybe running away is still pretty good odds, but I think the distance at which it’s “minimal death or injury” is going to be a lot further than the equivalent distance for running away from a guy with a knife.

            Plus the guy with the knife is going to have to run while carrying a knife, which school has taught me is a really bad idea.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Moonfire –

            Short answer: Not without training.

            You would be amazed at how bad people actually are at hitting what they are aiming at without extensive training

          • Aapje says:

            Even cops miss with amazing frequency at really short distances. It’s really hard to shoot well with limited training, especially when high on adrenaline.

      • Squirrel of Doom says:

        I’m a man and am talking about female opponents.

        I’m also taller than average and not entirely out of shape.

        • Thegnskald says:

          You are delusional.

          How do you think that self-defense court case will go, exactly?

        • xXxanonxXx says:

          What’s delusional about it exactly? I think society in generally is deeply deluded about an average woman’s chances in a fight against an average man. Having been in a few fights with both men and women I was surprised at just how easy it was to control the latter, but not the former. You’re mainly thinking about how to subdue the woman without hurting her. Weapons change the situation obviously.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            None of these starlets who played butt-kicking babes in Weinstein’s Tarantino movies seemed to be able to kick Harvey’s butt.

            Funny how that works.

          • gbdub says:

            Weinstein wasn’t able to overpower his victims because of his MMA skills. He could have been a 90lb weakling and done the same thing. It was his influence in the Hollywood power structure that did it.

            I suspect if he’d gone around beating up the women who turned him down, rather than just getting them blackballed, his crimes would have caught up with him a lot more quickly.

          • John Schilling says:

            Nit: Weinstein did physcially overpower at least some of his victims, including in one case the boyfriend of a woman he was trying to harass. But only a minority of the Weinstein harassment cases, and maybe Roy Moore forty or so years ago, and I think none of the other harassment allegations that have made for such juicy headlines of late. We are primarily talking about a sort of harassment that occurs without the victims needing to be physically overpowered and in contexts where it is highly unlikely that great violence would be used to overcome resistance.

            But our society absolutely sucks at teaching people to rationally assess the threat of violence. To a first approximation, all women are taught to fear male violence always as they are utterly helpless against it, and all men are taught not to fear violence at all because a Real Man ™ can take care of himself in a fight. I expect that this does have some effect on the perception and reporting of sexual harassment.

        • Barely matters says:

          Sounds pretty badass.

          How do you rate your odds against a couple of cops armed with pistols, batons, and as much backup as they like? Because that’s what any of those women will be bringing to the fight if they decide they’d like to hurt you.

    • len says:

      I don’t know how much of what you said actually comes into play. Most harassment isn’t done in dark alleyways. It’s done over the net or in public places, where the “inherent threat of physical overpowering and rape” isn’t a thing. I’ll concede that there might be a psychological effect, that if the harasser is stronger/bigger than you are this makes the harassment feel more severe, etc.

      But on the flip side, while a woman can easily complain about male harassment and get taken seriously, men don’t get such a recourse. So it also makes sense that women would probably complain about it more, since there’s no point for men to complain about it if no action would be taken anyway. To compare to domestic abuse situations, women-on-men domestic abuse usually becomes extremely severe before the police gets involved.

      Also there’s various other social effects for men to under-report harassment (admitting weakness, etc.), though I admittedly haven’t read the studies that Scott’s citing, so maybe they controlled for that somehow.

    • BlindKungFuMaster says:

      “When women make unwelcome sexual advances at me, it’s at worst really annoying. I know I can easily take pretty much anybody in a fight, so there is a clear upper limit to how bad it can get.”

      There is no upper limit to how bad it can get. “Hell hath no fury …” and all that. Realistically, you’d have to at least worry about her turning the story on its head, in which case you’d be pretty much done.

    • gbdub says:

      In modern society, physical power is much less important than social power. Most sexual harassment is abuse of social, not physical, power. Weinstein is a perpetrator, Terry Crews is a victim.

      A woman slapping a guy for pinching her ass is totally socially acceptable. A man hitting a woman for turning down his sexual advance is not. Social power is much less gendered.

    • shenanigans24 says:

      Okay but women can accuse you of harassment and then a group of men that you cannot “take” will overpower you.

      While physical strength is a power dynamics I don’t think it’s clear that the person holding the bigger muscles has an advantage over the person holding the ability to manipulate those with muscles. For instance if Hillary Clinton harassed me I would be quite aware that while I could physically overpower her, her entourage would overpower me and her power in general would make it likely I would be hauled off as the criminal.

      While strength is probably a power factor in some cases I think in many cases it is not as much as factors like career and social power.

      • While strength is probably a power factor in some cases I think in many cases it is not as much as factors like career and social power.

        I suspect that depends a lot on what part of the social spectrum you are looking at. High up you are surely right, at the bottom maybe not.

        On the other hand, Chimpanzee Politics, a very interesting book, described dominance among Chimpanzees as based more on the ability to build a coalition in your support than on raw strength.

  62. Jack says:

    The obvious explanation for gender differences in harassment has always been that men constitute 80% of sexual harassers for the same reason they constitute 83% of arsonists, 81% of car thieves, and 85% of burglars.

    What is that reason, and how is it inconsistent with the structural oppression hypothesis?

    • quanta413 says:

      It’s not inconsistent with a weak version of the structural oppression hypothesis (that the amount of harassment is influenced by social structures we can change) but it’s inconsistent with a strong structural oppression hypothesis (that the amount of harassment is due solely to social factors and has nothing to do with biological factors). I really wish I could say I haven’t seen endorsements of the strong hypothesis, but I occasionally have.

      To explain, men aren’t arsonists because society punishes them less harshly for it than women. They are more likely to be arsonists because of different hormones leading to different brain development that leaves them not only more impulsive, rash, and violent on average but much more likely to have a lot of those sorts of traits. The vast majority of men won’t be arsonists, burglars, muggers, or murderers but the tail end of impulsive, rash, and violent behavior will be dominated by men.

      • Jack says:

        I am intrigued. You are suggesting that the fact that 80% of many crimes are committed by men and not just 80% of harassment (or whatever) is inconsistent with social factors being the main determinant of that rate. But why not? Surely this comparison just means that the social factors identified must be general to criminal offences rather than specific to harassment. For instance it could be that “social factors” lead men to be more likely to engage in reckless behaviours. I don’t actually want to defend what you have called the strong hypothesis because I don’t think it is plausible or popular among feminists. Perhaps this is how SCC sees the idea of structural oppression (which is something I want to know). But I would say nearly all feminists think that “biological factors” (in particular the difference in prevalence of functional wombs in women versus men) are deeply entwined with oppression.

        • quanta413 says:

          You are suggesting that the fact that 80% of many crimes are committed by men and not just 80% of harassment (or whatever) is inconsistent with social factors being the main determinant of that rate.

          No, you misunderstand me. With only the rate information at hand (which is what I was talking about), I would not suggest what you are saying. There was a reason I separated the weak and strong versions. I suggest that this + biological evidence is inconsistent with it being the sole determinant of the difference in rates. Honestly, I also think the framing of biological vs. social or even assigning fractions of causality to one and the other is also not a very good framing, but I don’t want to go too deep in the woods quite yet.

          However if you’d like to continue down this route I will but I think there is more relevant evidence than just the rates. Once we bring additional evidence to bear (like what happens when you pump someone with testosterone or how behavior varies with differing amounts of hormones), I think it’s pretty clear that focusing on social determinants as the primary cause of men committing violent crimes is a mistake.

          At best, you can “fix” the problem socially by intentionally treating men and women very differently but given that humans suck at intentional social engineering even if you accomplish this miracle, this is unlikely to not make men and women different in other not desired ways as well. This isn’t a well understood engineered physical system where despite possible differences in a few parameters there is some hope of applying a control scheme that brings parity. At best we get to pick how to apply social forces to compensate for some biological differences while likely sharpening or reinforcing other differences.

          I don’t actually want to defend what you have called the strong hypothesis because I don’t think it is plausible or popular among feminists.

          And I don’t want to go dig up people actually claiming it because it’s torturous to read that sort of person, and like most people they usually don’t even think clearly anyways. So let’s ignore the strong, strong one. Let’s talk weak or medium hypothesis.

          But I would say nearly all feminists think that “biological factors” (in particular the difference in prevalence of functional wombs in women versus men) are deeply entwined with oppression.

          This is a bizarre physical difference to focus on if we’re talking about differences in crime rates. It’s obvious but almost certainly doesn’t matter for this. Work and family patterns, yeah 100% very relevant. But here? No.

          EDIT: Forgot an imporant adjective.

          • Jack says:

            I think I understand you better now and the things you say make sense to me. You write convincingly about the difficulty of social engineering and perhaps the implausibility of a goal of gender parity in assailant/victimization rates. That said, I’m not sure this is an explanation of what SCC was saying… It still seems like what SCC wrote is not an argument against the systemic oppression model, even the strong one that you might be able to dig up someone actually claiming.

          • quanta413 says:

            @Jack

            Thanks. That’s fair. I think I’m maybe closer to the median on this than Scott not because of a difference in logical reasons but for more emotional reasons. I think because I’m sexually closer to the typical male mind (uncertain about Scott’s mind sexually but from what little I know seems probably true).

            Or maybe the more important part is I think Scott is focused more on the performative aspect of people writing about harassment (which is endless pain if you ask me), whereas I’m focusing more on the object level.

      • insilications says:

        Sociosexuality predicts sexual harassment better than sexism. The biosocial model — and not the standard sociological model (SSSM) — indicates that sexual coercion is primarily about sex, not sociopolitical power differentials like the “systemic oppression model” predicts (http://www.ehbonline.org/article/S1090-5138(17)30001-6/fulltext). This explains the sexual coercion statistics between gays and lesbians as well (gays and lesbians score higher on SOI compared to straight women and even straight men), something that the systemic oppression SSSM model utterly and fatally fails to explain. Clearly we have a pattern and a more complete modem here. When it comes to sexual harassment power is often the means but sex (i.e. sociosexuality) remains the end goal (http://faculty.law.wayne.edu/browne/documents/articles/sex%20power%20%26%20dominance_browne.pdf).

        • Jack says:

          You are writing densely using a bunch of words I tried to look up. But if I understand you correctly, you are identifying what SCC called the “structural oppression model” with the idea that sexual coercion is “driven by male power, paternalism and the motive to dominate women” (quoting from the article you cited (the real one not the law journal one)). And this is contrasted with a model that suggests that the reason more men do sexual coercion is simply that men are more likely to want casual sex? Then the article you cite finds that sexual harassment is better correlated with high sociosexuality (ie wanting casual sex) than with “porn exposure, rape stereotypes and hostile sexism”.

          If I have you right, a few questions:
          a) Whatever the merits of this view, it’s clearly not what SCC was getting at right? “[M]en constitute 80% of sexual harassers for the same reason they constitute 83% of arsonists”–ie not high sociosexuality?
          b) To what extent are “porn exposure, rape stereotypes and hostile sexism” good proxies for “male power, paternalism and the motive to dominate women”?
          c) Am I right in thinking this study has nothing to say about what effect “porn exposure, rape stereotypes and hostile sexism” might have on the severity or quality of harassment rather than its rate?

      • Besserwisser says:

        To explain, men aren’t arsonists because society punishes them less harshly for it than women.

        It’s the opposite even. Men are regularly given harsher sentences, as well as just more likely to receive punishments at all. Which makes it kind of dubious if men really are 80% or so of criminals.

    • nfeltman says:

      Scott is alluding to the hypothesis that men are generally more deviant/criminal/anti-social, due to intrinsic biological factors, and that the difference in victims is purely a product of sexuality.

      Alternatively, the structural oppression hypothesis (as Scott presents it) posits that social structures cause the disparity, and that these structures are broad and pervasive, extending beyond harassment and even beyond anti-social behaviors.

      Broad social structures are not specific biological structures, thus the contradiction.

      • Jack says:

        So if I think that “biological factors” are a part of “social structures” then there is no contradiction? I mean, your and the above comment makes me think SCC is responding to a poorly-specified strawperson. The least they could’ve done is tell us what “structural oppression model” they’re responding to. The actual article linked just before the aside I quoted says:

        #MeToo was meant to highlight the structural oppression women face and the sexual violence that goes hand-in-hand with it. That is something that men, as a class, cannot possibly understand – even if we are sometimes the victims of sexual assault too (typically by other men). Women used the hashtag to talk about shared womanhood and girlhood, experiences I can never know as a man. Butting into that conversation felt counterproductive, at best, and flat out intrusive at worst.

        This seems to have nothing to do with a) the aside, or; b) SCC’s summary: “Their excuse was the usual – it’s not ‘structural oppression’, so it doesn’t count”. The author of the article does not say anything like, their assault doesn’t count, sexual assault is about purely social factors (whatever that would mean), biological factors have nothing to do with it, other crimes don’t have similar gender imbalances–nada.

        • vV_Vv says:

          The “structural oppression” hypothesis is that the more “privileged” groups: men, expecially straight men and straight white men, are more likely to engage in sexual assault or abusive behaviors, especially towards the more “oppressed” groups, out of a sense of entitlement and impunity, and that indeed society grants them special protections against punishment, compared to those granted to the more “oppressed” groups.

          It’s easy to observe that this theory is factually false. Straight men or straight white men don’t sexually assault proportionally more than other groups of men, men in general have a larger tendency towards anti-social behaviors for reasons which are consistent with biological differences but they don’t enjoy any special protection from punishment, if anything they are punished more harshly than women for the same violations.

  63. MugaSofer says:

    Likewise, do you think this woman knows any men who are victims of sexual harassment? If you were a man who’d been sexually harassed, would you admit it to this woman and expect a sympathetic ear? Once she contemplates why she doesn’t know so many men who have been sexually harassed, maybe she’ll understand why some men don’t know so many women.

    … because they, like this woman, are sexist jerks? I’m not sure if that’s what you meant to say.

    Is this really that bad? Might the 3:1 ratio justify focusing on women? Our society already has an answer to this, and in every other case, the answer is no.

    I mean, for one thing, we’re telling people to stop using the phrase “pregnant mothers” since sometimes transgender men get pregnant.

    Suppose I write about how we need to do more to support the victims of terrorism. Sounds good. But what if I write about how we need to do more to support the Christian victims of Muslim terrorism?Sounds…like maybe I have an agenda. If I write story after story about how Christians need to be on the watch out for Muslim terrorists, but Muslims need to be on the watch out for other Muslims being terrorists, and if I tell Muslim victims of Christian terrorism to stay silent because that’s not “structural oppression” – then that “maybe” turns to “obviously”.

    The solution is to treat harassment the same way we treat terrorism. It’s something that’s bad. It’s something that some groups might do more often than other groups, but this is not the Only Relevant Factor About It, and we are suspicious of people who seem more interested in stereotyping the groups involved than in making sure everyone of every group gets justice.

    Wow, you really are in a liberal bubble.

    • martinw says:

      Either that, or he’s using arguments and examples that will appeal to the Left, because that’s where most of the people whose minds he’s trying to change are. See item #7 over here.

      Or both, of course.

    • wintermute92 says:

      If you’re referring to the “the same way we treat terrorism” bit, presumably he means “the same way people gendering harassment treat terrorism”?

      Certainly it’s not true that your average American politician treats terrorism as a religion-neutral event, but the sort of person writing gender essays in The Guardian tends to. I read it as a call for consistency on the left, not a claim that society as a whole gets this correct.

  64. Mary says:

    Then you get people like Emily Lindin saying “Here’s an unpopular opinion: I’m actually not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false sexual assault/harassment allegations,” and “Sorry. If some innocent men’s reputations have to take a hit in the process of undoing the patriarchy, that is a price I am absolutely willing to pay.” — and complaints that by (actually) saying it, she was making the movement look like a witch hunt.

    (I have seen, predominately, complaints about the actual evil of what she said. But not from the people cheering “believe all women” and the like.)

    • nfeltman says:

      Has anyone ever seen Emily Lindin and Amanda Marcotte in the same room together?

    • moscanarius says:

      I love how she is absolutely willing to pay a price that she will never personally pay.

      Reminds me of a funny cartoon.

    • Deiseach says:

      That’s the attitude I was protesting with the “getting fired for being Nazi” tweet, and very little success I’ve had getting people to understand “no, this is not a good precedent, this is witch hunting”.

      Sometimes I feel like the world has just gone crazy, but I presume former generations have felt the same way. The only thing that will (temporarily) change minds is some big huge explosion that takes out and damages an awful lot of those currently having paroxysms of joy over “that Nazi interviewed in the NYT got fired, his wife got fired, his brother in law got fired, and they had to flee their house over threats” and “I don’t care if innocent men are accused”.

      • Witness says:

        The world’s always been crazy – consider the origin of the term “witch hunt”.

        It does seem subjectively worse now than it was ten years ago, but on the other hand some people who were getting away with some pretty despicable stuff are now being punished for it. Maybe we’ll settle on a better (if still imperfect) equilibrium.

      • Null42 says:

        You know, I’m now at the point in my life (and fortunate enough) where I could throw a few hundred dollars at a cause.

        So I kind of wanted to throw a few hundred dollars to Hovater over at GoyFundMe and say ‘hi, I’m half Jewish, and you don’t like me and I don’t like your beliefs, but I don’t like it when people get fired over their political beliefs, because, hey, then when does it stop?’.

        But the 4chan guys would probably just dox me and I’d get threats from Nazis.

    • Randy M says:

      Wasn’t this the opinion of one of the vox/salon writers back when some new college affirmative consent policies were being discussed? That it would only work if men were afraid, and a few false accusations were a good way of getting that fear going?

    • The original Mr. X says:

      I can’t help but hope that she gets falsely convicted of some heinous crime. Not that I expect her to have enough self-awareness to appreciate the irony.

  65. moscanarius says:

    About 30% of the victims of sexual harassment are men. About 20% of the perpetrators of sexual harassment are women.

    Don’t believe me? In a Quinnipiac poll, 60% of women and 20% of men said they’d been sexually harassed. […] The overall rates vary widely depending on how the pollsters frame the question, but the 3:1 ratio is pretty consistent.

    Sorry if I am being dense, but if the polls show that there is one harassed man for every three harassed women, shouldn’t you have written that men are around 25% of the total harassment victims, instead of 30%?

    • quanta413 says:

      Look at second paragraph you quoted. Numbers vary with survey; it’s noisy. He’s just rounding to a ratio of small whole numbers.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Thanks, I fail at ratios, changed.

      • moscanarius says:

        Since you are still editing, may I abuse your patience once more?

        According to the German study, 6% of women admit to being harassers. Know more than ten women? One of them’s probably a harasser.

        If you are using the only this data and you mean that 6% of women are harassers, then knowing 11 women gives a chance of ~49% of knowing at least one harasser (1-0.94^11). Not sure this warrants a “probably”. Among 50 women, though, the chance is more than 95% of finding at least one harasser.

        (I know I am nitpicking now, but then someone on The Other Side would do it sooner or later)

        • takashoru says:

          +1 for nitpicking.

        • batmanaod says:

          Another +1 here. I jumped immediately to the comments to see if anyone had already pointed this out when I got to that sentence.

          I’d recommend “more than 17”, 6% is approximately 1/17. The actual probability that at least one out of 18 randomly-selected members of a population has some trait assuming a 6% occurrence of that trait is over 2/3, which I think fits most people’s definition of “probably”.

      • David Barry says:

        You changed the wrong sentence. Saying it’s a 3:1 ratio is OK, but a 3:1 ratio means that the opening sentence should say 25% instead of 30% (because 75:25 is 3:1).

  66. Whitedeath says:

    From what I’ve read I often hear women say one big thing about sexual harassment is the strength disparity between men and women. Women seem to be very aware of the fact that most men could easily overpower them if they wanted to, while the opposite doesn’t usually apply. Not saying this disproves your point but it’s something to take into consideration.

    • Le Maistre Chat says:

      I’m tall, thin and didn’t work out while growing up in a rough neighborhood. The fear of being assaulted while walking was real. One time two men even blocked the bike trail I was cycling on, spoiling my previous feeling of safety while on a bike.

    • Murphy says:

      An utterly average man is physically stronger than ~97-98% of the worlds women.

      Of course above average women and bellow average men mean that sampling pairs of men and women any particular pair has much better odds of the woman being the physically stronger of the 2 and is only a little less common than male female pairs where the taller is female.

      But then there’s also confidence, I once read an interesting argument from a guy that even though he’s small and comparatively weak his gut feeling still tells him he’ll be fine if someone attacks him. That gut feeling probably isn’t correct but it means he doesn’t spend life afraid which is a boon in it’s own right.

      • Tarpitz says:

        This definitely fits with my personal experience. I’m in my thirties, of average height and heavier than average build, and stronger than average for my build. Perhaps I’m on the 85th percentile of adult males for strength. My conscious, reasoning brain knows that there are many, many people against whom I would have no chance in a fight. My inner lizard, on the other hand, thinks I’m some kind of Bruce Lee-terminator hybrid and the idea of being viscerally physically afraid of another human is alien to me. This delusion persists despite many years of playing contact sports with far bigger and stronger people.

    • liskantope says:

      I can understand how this is a serious factor in many harassment situations but not in many others — it seems to me that it’s highly relevant how secluded the surrounding environment is.

      • Tarpitz says:

        Depends on the mechanism – I doubt the fear is mediated by a conscious enough part of the brain for that to matter much.

    • wintermute92 says:

      This certainly seems true in settings like “cornered in a club”, especially since size/strength enables not only safety but a low-key response. (That is, self-defense training might let someone win a fight against a larger aggressor, but sheer size lets one just push past a harasser without violence.)

      But when we’re talking about the recent media examples, it doesn’t really seem relevant. Pretty much no one has raised “fear of physical violence” as a concern here, because the harassment is coming from people with non-physical power over their victims. (Roy Moore is perhaps the exception, it sounds like he mixed force with social threats.) Some of the offenses happened in totally pubic settings (Al Franken), while others were perpetrated by men who were on a physical level not terribly menacing (Garrison Keillor).

      • gbdub says:

        “In a club” is a place where I might expect a low level of sexual harassment to be tolerated, mostly because we’re conditioned to treat it as an aggressively sexual / flirtatious place, and the line between “aggressive flirting” and “harassment” is not a bright one.

        But the club is also a place where, if a woman loudly objects to a man’s behavior, that man is likely to be physically assualted by his fellow club goers, and even more likely to be physically ejected from the premises by the staff.

        • Randy M says:

          But the club is also a place where, if a woman loudly objects to a man’s behavior, that man is likely to be physically assualted by his fellow club goers, and even more likely to be physically ejected from the premises by the staff.

          For game theoretic reasons if nothing else. What good is a club that women are afraid to go to?

      • liskantope says:

        in totally pubic settings

        This is an ironic typo…

      • Nancy Lebovitz says:

        Harvey Weinstein may also be an example where his greater size and strength made a difference. People keep mentioning how big he is, and he was actually physically violent– in public– and no one did anything about it.

        Status and strength blur into each other in these stories.

    • Besserwisser says:

      I find that kind of argument really dubious because if a man would defend himself against a woman to the point of hurting her, he’s going to be seen as the bad guy. This is besides all the incidents of a grope from a man earning him at least a slap. Physical strength might be the least important factor here, though I can understand if this is purely a mental thing.

      • Aapje says:

        Indeed, I’ve read an account by a rape victim who let the female rapist finish* because he was afraid that hurting her would make her accuse him and that the police would believe her.

        * She began raping him while he was asleep and he woke up.

  67. Steve Sailer says:

    It looks like the dam might finally be bursting on years of gay pederasty harassment rumors this week with top opera conductor James Levine. And today, director Bryan Singer got fired from the Freddie Mercury biopic.

    These cases will probably get redefined from “pederasty” to “pedophilia” in The Narrative, however, as with the Catholic priest scandals.

    • nfeltman says:

      These cases will probably get redefined from “pederasty” to “pedophilia” in The Narrative

      I’m sorry, what’s the difference?

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Pedophilia is sexual attraction to prepubescent children of either sex. Pederasty is homosexual activity with post-pubescent male youths.

        See Plato’s “Symposium” for a long salute to pederasty.

        The currently-breaking James Levine scandal involving America’s top opera conductor running a sort of pederastic cult among aspiring teenage male musicians would seem pretty familiar to ancient Athenians.

        Not many of the Catholic priest scandals involved actual pedophilia, but The Narrative explains it that way to distract from most of the perpetrators being lonely and often alcoholic gay men with fairly normal homosexual desires.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          Pederasty seems to be more common in the West at high levels of civilizational accomplishment, such as in ancient Athens or in British upper class educational institutions or in elite levels of Imperial Germany before 1914. Something similar might be true for samurai Japan.

          On the other hand, pederasty is common among Afghan warlords.

        • gattsuru says:

          At least to the folk I’ve talked with, the framing as pedophilia rather than ephebophilia seems neither focused solely on homosexuals (cfe Moore), nor intended as a distraction from modes of sexual desire so much as an overt condemnation of matters that might otherwise be less condemned (again, cfe Moore).

          I’d be interested to know where and how you’re getting that number on the Catholic priest scandals. The Jay Report had more than 20% of abuse targeting children under 11 and 60% under 14. That’s pretty iffy even by the Plato standard.

          I’m also not sure ‘fairly normal’ is the right term, even outside of the normal issues of heat vs light. Gay men tend to allow broader age differences than the general population, so in the sense of intergenerational relationships perhaps, but even in areas with actively enforced sodomy laws there’s been a difference between going after a college student as a professor and going after a high school student as a teacher. Not out of higher principles or even the tedium of dealing with brats; there’s just a lot of physical characteristics androphiles look for that aren’t there yet.

  68. Sniffnoy says:

    Ugh, there is probably a long comment I could write about this, but I’m not sure I have time at the moment. But, to be brief:

    The important thing here isn’t numbers but rather causal pathways.

    This is one of my big objections to a lot of this sort of stuff.

    • Alphonse says:

      Without you providing more details it’s hard to say much, but shouldn’t the numbers be pretty suggestive of what the actual causal pathways are (as opposed to the causal pathways that we might imagine exist for whatever internal reasons seem relevant to us)?

      Perhaps I’m misunderstanding your point, but if the argument is that the figures for the number of men who are sexually harassed aren’t as informative because the “causal pathways” permit harassment of women to a degree disproportionate with those numbers (e.g. higher than 3:1), then I would feel skeptical about whether the “causal pathways” being discussed are being selectively chosen.

      • wintermute92 says:

        I’m not sure I’m understanding your take either, but I think I read “causal pathways” as the opposite of what you do?

        To toss out something concrete: I expect harassment by Fortune 500 CEOs to be perpetrated >= 94% by men. That’s a massively gendered gap, except that this is what Scott has called ‘framing for heat instead of light’. I just restated the gender ratio for that sample; it’s only evidence of unequal offending of the number is noticeably higher than 94%.

        So as I read Sniffnoy, there’s a strong causal pathway for male Fortune 500 CEOs to harass, and almost no pathway for female Fortune 500 CEOs to do so. I’d expect similar results for governors and Congressmen. Given that the people near the peak of status/power in American society are usually men, the raw numbers are going to be determined not just by the rate at which men and women harass but the rate at which they have easy chances to do so.

        It’s probably impossible to test this by measuring harassment ratios among powerful people, because the evidence is so hard to get. But it might be informative to investigate less-gendered power dynamics like employee/customer and see if those have less-gender-skewed harassment.

  69. eqdw says:

    This sure sounds like as good a place as any to tell the story of how I got sexually assaulted in the workplace.

    I am a software engineer in San Francisco. I am a white man. I am basically at ground zero for constantly hearing about how misogyny is everywhere and we live in a rape culture and this that and the other.

    So there’s this woman. Call her Alice. She is the lead technical recruiter. This means, among other things:

    1) She has a direct, private line of communication with every engineering manager, including my boss, and she uses it regularly.

    2) She reports to HR, which means that in any office conflict she will by default be sympathetic

    3) As a technical recruiter, she knows the details of every engineer that was hired. Which means she did the background check on me and knows things that I don’t even know about me. Which means she knows my salary. Which means she knows where I live and all my contact info.

    In short, it means she occupies an implicit position of soft power over me.

    Additionally, she is the leader of the company’s internal LGBT club. She is the lead of the company’s “Allies” club, which is the club for social justice activism. And, finally, she got a manager fired (for good reason) over a sexual assault incident, and openly brags about how she struck one against the patriarchy for doing this.

    In other words, she should have known better.

    —-

    It’s one of my teammate’s birthdays, and so about 15 of us are out for happy hour drinks. The crowd is mostly engineers, but there’s a few managers there as well as her. It’s happy hour, only like 5:30, and most people have had a respectable _one_ drink. The group is split about half inside, drinking and eating and being merry, and half outside, smoking.

    I get up to go outside and smoke/hang out with the others. I walk up to a circle of 1 manager, 3 engineers, and her. As soon as I walk up to the group, she grabs my head and gives me a big ol drunk kiss.

    I have a mini-heart attack, worried that somehow, due to who I am and who she is, and the manager that just saw this, _somehow_ this is going to be turned into “eqdw sexually harassed the recruiter” and I am going to get fired and deported.

    Everyone there, they all saw it. They said nothing, everyone played it off like it didn’t happen.

    I freak out and go back inside. She follows me, sits down right beside me, and starts trying to snuggle up on me. Again, at a fucking work happy hour event where this would, if the roles were reversed, be grounds for immediate termination.

    I try to keep my distance from her but I don’t want my night to be ruined. Eventually, most people go home, and there’s only four people left: me, her, and two engineers (call them Bob and Dave). Bob & Dave want to go to some other bar so we all start walking over there.

    Once we start walking, Bob & Dave get ahead of us and harasser moves in on me. Grabs my hand, starts walking as if we’re hand holding, and repeatedly tries to kiss me while we’re walking down the sidewalk. By this point in the night, she is visibly drunk while the rest of us are sobering up.

    In between attempts to kiss me, she drunkenly mumbles about OH MY GOD LOOK AT DAVE HE’S SO FUCKING HOT I’M SO GLAD I HIRED HIM (Dave had been hired one week previously) I JUST WANT TO GET WITH HIM DON’T YOU THINK HE’S HOT?!?!?!?

    In other words, she used her privileged position as the gatekeeper of our engineering team, to specifically hire someone based purely on the fact that she wanted to fuck him. Then, she pulls this shit on me, in front of half a dozen coworkers, including a manager, specifically to make him jealous.

    We all head to the train to get home, and she gets off first. Once she was gone, I turn to Dave and give him an abridged version of what happened: she did this to me, I have no fucking idea why, but I’m pretty sure she was trying to make you jealous. So, like, FYI. He says thanks but I’m not single. And then we go home.

    I would have gone to HR with this, but for the fact that (for unrelated reasons) I was planning to quit a few weeks after that incident. It didn’t seem worth it, risking my employer fucking with my work visa when I’m going to leave anyway.

    —-

    I tell this story and everyone (everyone who knows her, anyway) always react the same way: holy shit dude, she’s making out with you and you’re _upset_ at this? You see, Alice is very attractive, and most dudes probably want to get with her. But it’s really hard to communicate just how horrifying this was to me. Because this woman is a woman who goes around bragging about getting men fired for sexual harassment. It’s like she saw a SJW stereotype online and actively aspired to be that. She wears a pin on her bag that says “kill all men”, ffs. She is in the HR org. One tiny little fib from her, and what she did to me would have been a career-ending move, for me.

    And then, just twisting the knife, is that the only reason she did this was so that she could manipulate _someone else_ on the engineering team.

    This woman is a predator. She exerts significant influence over the engineering organization via veto rights on new hires, and she exerts significant influence over upper management as the one who formally represents both LGBT and Social Justice concerns directly to the CEO.

    She will continue to enjoy complete immunity from any consequences of her actions. She will continue to be able to get people fired, if she feels like it. She will continue to bias hiring in the direction of engineers she thinks are fuckable. She will continue to pull these shenanigans, influencing people, fucking with them for the lulz. And there’s NOTHING. I. CAN. EVER. DO. ABOUT. IT.

    Because sexual assault is a gendered issue, and nobody gives a fuck when it happens to men.

    • Nicholas Ramsey says:

      Should you ever need to speak with someone, 1in6.org offers 24/7 online support for men and boys coping with sexual abuse: https://1in6.org/chat-with-someone/.

    • Le Maistre Chat says:

      This is certainly twisted behavior.
      I really can’t assess a total stranger’s soul, so I don’t know if this is malicious power tripping or normal straight female flirting warped into something evil by LGBT and the rest of the SJ social package.
      Either way, I sympathize with the anxiety she inflicted on you.

      • Zorgon says:

        I’ve encountered this too, and the only explanation I’ve been able to find has been Cluster B Personality Disorders combined with near-total impunity.

        But I have a horrible, sinking feeling that the “total impunity” part is the only necessary element and every personality will act disordered in that circumstance.

        • Le Maistre Chat says:

          Absolute power corrupts absolutely?
          Yes, I too have a horrible sinking feeling that you don’t need a specific neural disorder to react thus to having total impunity.

        • deciusbrutus says:

          Not everyone will become evil when given power.

          The people who don’t are the abnormal ones, though.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            Hmm, I think I share this position.

          • deciusbrutus says:

            That there are people who wouldn’t use limitless power to optimize the world, or that they are the exception?

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            There are extremely few Cincinnatuses or George Washingtons.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            That they’re the exception; it’s abnormal people who won’t go evil with power.

          • deciusbrutus says:

            How do we make more?

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Catholicism.

          • The Nybbler says:

            ?

            Neither Washington nor Cincinnatus was Catholic.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            The question was how to make more people like them. I think the answer is teaching religious virtue, and stuck in my favorite one. That this wasn’t their specific religion is immaterial. If someone says “how do we make more Alan Turings” part of that answer will be “educate people in mathematics” but they don’t specifically have to go to King’s College.

        • Protagoras says:

          The ring of Gyges. For which most powerful people have had a servicable substitute throughout history. But yes, this is one case where we should want to do away with the thing, not hand it out to the people who haven’t had it before.

      • eqdw says:

        I don’t think she’s evil because she is a lefty activist.

        My judgement call is that she is cluster B in some way, and one of the following cases applies:

        1) She does all the activism stuff to create a smokescreen that lets her get away with all the other shit

        or

        2) She does all the other shit, feels vaguely guilty over it, and does the activism as a sort of atonement.

        But this is all speculation of peoples’ motives and at the end of the day I have no idea why anyone does what they do

        • Thegnskald says:

          Eh. That assumes she is aware of the discrepancy.

          People seem to fall into one of two buckets:

          Those who spend all of their social interactions thinking about what other people think of them (most people). This is the self-conscious internal narrative.

          And those who spend all of their social interactions thinking about other people, without regard to themselves. This is the un-self-aware internal narrative.

          People who routinely do both seem very, very rare.

          It is bizarre, but she may not have even considered how you were taking the interaction, since that would be thinking about what you were thinking about her, or more particularly, how she might be coming across.

          Also, this is the great secret to self-confidence: Realizing most people are so absorbed in their own worries about how they are being perceived that they don’t notice everybody else is doing the same thing. It is quite liberating.

        • Viliam says:

          I suspect this description applies to many famous activists. And by what I am sure is mere coincidence, there is already a defense ready: what you just wrote is ableist.

    • Zorgon says:

      My sympathies, friend. You were entirely correct that there was nothing you could do; because despite the fevered attempts by certain parties to pretend otherwise, power is inherently situational, and no amount of post-hoc rationalisation will make it otherwise. You did the correct thing in leaving her sphere of influence as quickly as possible in order to protect yourself.

      I will note that from my own experience it is actually quite likely that her declarations of being attracted to the other guy on the team were as much intended to provoke jealousy in you as anything else.

    • fahertym says:

      Scary story.

      My most cynical interpretation is that she was so far down the SJW path that men were basically subhumans in her mind. So maybe engaging in sexual mind/power games for her own amusement was morally permissible. It’s all “punching up” after all.

    • Deiseach says:

      That’s a bad story and you have my sympathies. And the real trouble that needs to be rooted out here is the attitude you describe: “holy shit dude, she’s making out with you and you’re _upset_ at this?”

      We’ve had discussion on here of the Weinstein scandal and some asking “but how is this unethical to trade sex for roles/how have these young actresses been harmed if they get a job out of it?”

      Well, I hope your story shows why it’s unethical and how people can be harmed by someone in a position of power abusing that power for their own sexual benefit.

      • eqdw says:

        I agree.

        The interesting thing about this is that, in some sense, I don’t think most people saying that actually mean it. I mean, keep in mind, these are computer nerds for the most part. Most of them are bookish boring introverts who are not terribly interested in hookup culture or casual sex.

        I think there’s a sort of preference falsification going on, where nobody actually believes that. But they think that everyone else believes it. Or it’s the safe social convention. So they say that because it’s what they think they’re supposed to say, and it functions as a sort of gallows humour, almost.

        In any case, I agree. As long as men aren’t taking sexual harassment against men seriously, it’s not reasonable to scream at women about it

    • sandoratthezoo says:

      I mean, I don’t know your company or your office, and certainly we see with Uber, for example, that some places have really bad practices about dealing with sexual harassment. But.

      It seems likely to me that if you complained about her to the head of HR, regardless of their personal feelings on the subject, they’d probably reprimand her and tell her to stay the hell away from you, just to head off possible liability. To the extent that they didn’t, you’d probably have a course of action against the company.

      I am not a lawyer, just someone who’s had to sit through manager sexual harassment training.

      • eqdw says:

        It’s a hard call. I was friends with most of the HR staff, but they had very recently hired a new head of HR. Not only was I unfamiliar with the new head, but (being polite) it was abundantly clear that the new head of HR was hired primarily for Diversity & Inclusion reasons.

        In general, I NEVER go to HR over anything. Because HR is not your friend. HR is there to make sure the company runs smoothly, by Getting Rid Of Problems as fast and cheaply as possible. And, in my case, there’s a very easy way to get rid of a problem: terminate me. Because I am not a US citizen, and my legal residence is dependent on work authorization. If they terminate me, the problem goes away, and I am highly unlikely to litigate against them for wrongful termination because that is rather difficult to do when you do not have permission to enter the country. Maybe this is paranoid, but the US does not fuck around when it comes to immigration law.

        Even in the best case scenario, had they intervened on my behalf, it’s not great. The company itself was only about 200 people, with almost all of them in one gigantic open plan office. There was no logistically feasible way to keep us separated.

        And, assume somehow this is overcome. The recruiter still knows what happened. She still knows it was me. She still knows that I narc’d her out to HR. Maybe she will take it in good faith and actually smarten up. But given her very openly stated politics, and my identity groups, I do not want her being mad at me for any reason. It would be very easy for her to rationalize away just about anything to “that guy deserved it”. It’s much easier to just keep your head down and not rock the boat

    • The Nybbler says:

      And there’s NOTHING. I. CAN. EVER. DO. ABOUT. IT.

      That is not so. The main thing you can do about it is unsavory — you could tell your story, names included, to any number of rightish culture warriors. But you have the option.

      • Standing in the Shadows says:

        Post your story to Glassdoor, after you leave. Name names.

        • eqdw says:

          Naming names in public, there’s no point, because nobody involved in this is high profile enough for that to matter.

          Additionally, and I’ll be blunt: I hold stock in the company, I believe they will be successful, I believe the recruiter’s actions were very much atypical for the company, and I do not want to cause the company major problems because of _one_ person.

          But I have been pretty open with many of the other people I worked with, to the point that they all know what happened and can take their own precautions. This is the constructive way forward

    • joop says:

      Others have said supporting things, but let me try to add something. Part of the #Metoo movement, flawed as it was, is protecting the next generation – if you can, and feel up to it, please see if you can get in touch with them and mention it to them. It might help protect someone who’s not able to deal with it, or let things not escalate, like you were.

    • grendelkhan says:

      I don’t have much to add here, but I want to at least say “Gaaaaaaaaaaah!”. That’s horrible, it is wrong that someone in a position of authority over you treated you like that, and it is awful that the people you’ve disclosed this too have missed the point so terribly. (“So, you’re saying that assault is cool if you’re sufficiently sexy? Really?“)

      You don’t have to go public with this. There’s not a social responsibility that outweighs your own safety. But if it helps, we’re in the middle of a great big preference cascade, a reckoning, and for my own sanity, I have to believe that not everyone thinks of this in terms of ‘how can I elevate women and degrade men’. If you do go public, I hope that you get a sympathetic ear, that people are better about it than you expect, and that she isn’t again placed in a position where she can hurt people like that.

      If it helps, people do care. That was wrong, and she shouldn’t have done that to you.

  70. reasoned argumentation says:

    The “amusing” thing is that of the prominent accused harassers 80+% of them belonged to the author of this piece’s ethnic group (yes, you can check into this).

    It really really sounds like someone trying to distract from his ingroup by making it about a much wider group.

    • BBA says:

      Your antisemitism is duly noted.

      • Mark says:

        I don’t know who comments like this are aimed at.

        I think most of us grew up with the idea that anti-semitism was mad racism. Racism against people who were good. Jealousy.

        But if someone is giving an example of bad Jewish behaviour, I don’t think you can just dismiss it with “no, no nothing to see here (and if you do see it, you’re bad)”

    • quanta413 says:

      Second sentence neither kind nor true nor necessary. And probably the opposite in every case. Go away.

      EDIT: Should have mentioned. Maybe first sentence is true, but I don’t care enough to think a non-random sample like that means anything. Still not kind or necessary.

      • reasoned argumentation says:

        Maybe first sentence is true, but I don’t care enough to think a non-random sample like that means anything.

        Then you don’t understand probability.

        The probability that an ethnic group that’s 2% of the population would be 80% of the credibly accused prominent sexual harassers is staggeringly small unless the mean “harass-ish” behavior mean is radically skewed in that ethnic group.

        • quanta413 says:

          Not if the revelations are focused in particular industries with somewhat unique power and sexual dynamics that also happen to have that group very overrepresented at a high status level.

          Nice try though.

          • pipsterate says:

            I think this is it. Right now the focus is mainly on Hollywood, but eventually the focus may shift to other places and other institutions, with different ethnic/religious makeups. Hollywood is probably first because it’s, naturally, in the public spotlight and attracts the most attention.

            For example, did you know that among sexual abusers in the Catholic church, the abusers were found to be Catholic at a vastly higher rate than the general population?

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Hollywood brought some semi-instant karma on itself by giving its Best Picture Oscar 20 months ago to “Spotlight,” a decent but minor movie about the Catholic priest boy-bothering scandals at a time when Hollywood was sitting on tons of scandals and using its power to manipulate the press to keep most of them hidden.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            For example, did you know that among sexual abusers in the Catholic church, the abusers were found to be Catholic at a vastly higher rate than the general population?

            Two things.

            First – so you’re saying that the entertainment industry and the press are Jewish the way the Catholic Church is Catholic? Sure, go with that – put that up on your social media and see what happens.

            Second – about the Catholic Church scandal – the Church was quite strongly against allowing gay men as priests but in the 1960s that prohibition broke down – which (of course) snowballed in a way that would be familiar to a Byzantine emperor – men with sexual ties to each other mutually protected each other and used alliances against men outside the gang. The nature of the abuse cases highlights this – priests fondling teenagers which got languaged to “pedophile priests” which went culturally viral as “child raping priests”. So yeah, by all means help to root out the gay men in the Catholic Church hierarchy and maybe notice the same pattern has the potential to play out in lots of other areas like the Boy Scouts, for example.

          • pipsterate says:

            I think it’s clear exactly what I meant, and I don’t think there’s any doubt who the anti-Semite here is.

            Catholic priest sexual abuse, by the way, was directed at children of both genders. It doesn’t matter in the slightest whether the priests were gay or not, what matters is abuse of power and pedophilia.

            This is from wikipedia:

            The abused include boys and girls, some as young as 3 years old, with the majority between the ages of 11 and 14

            And if you’re actually going to try to equate the sexual abuse of minors with consensual gay relationships, then I’m not even sure how to respond to that. Perhaps by leaving websites where people say such things.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            “Catholic priest sexual abuse, by the way, was directed at children of both genders. It doesn’t matter in the slightest whether the priests were gay or not, what matters is abuse of power and pedophilia.”

            That’s The Narrative all right. I remember a little sermon in “Spotlight” just like that.

            Unfortunately, it’s more misleading than informative. In reality, most of the priest scandals involved gay men.

            Mandatory celibacy is tough on a man. It’s a lonely life. That’s why most other religions don’t demand it of their religious leaders. And that’s why the Catholic church had so many more sex scandals than Protestant and Jewish sects. Being a Catholic priest was less and less an appealing career for straight men, so they let in a lot of gays, some of whom got lonely and slipped up, often while drunk.

            By the way, as far as I can tell, there wasn’t much of the brutal Jerry Sandusky-style rape that people imagine in the priest scandals. Most of the perps were gentle gay men, not linebacker coaches, so the sex acts were more on the groping end of the spectrum. (The James Levine scandals so far also seem not quite as bad as you might think.)

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            I think it’s clear exactly what I meant

            I agree but you seem to think your statement has some other meaning than “the media and entertainment are Jewish controlled in the same way that the Catholic Church is Catholic controlled”. What is that meaning?

          • Aapje says:

            I would expect asexual heterosexual men and relatively high libido homosexual men to strongly prefer Catholic priesthood over others, in a society/(sub)culture where heterosexual relationships are the norm and homosexual relationships get disapproved of. After all, Catholic priesthood gives both groups legitimacy for refusing to enter into heterosexual relationships that they don’t want.

            So I don’t think that a possible high rate of abuse by gay priests tells us anything about gays in general.

          • pipsterate says:

            I wrote a long reply earlier, but it seems to have disappeared. I don’t know whether it got automatically filtered out, or if Scott removed it (it broke at least one rule) or if I accidentally clicked the delete button while trying to fix a typo.

            So let me just state, briefly, that I think everyone here, including you, knows exactly what I meant. And I have nothing more to say to you.

            I think I’m done with this website.

          • skef says:

            Unfortunately, it’s more misleading than informative. In reality, most of the priest scandals involved gay men.

            Mandatory celibacy is tough on a man. It’s a lonely life. That’s why most other religions don’t demand it of their religious leaders. And that’s why the Catholic church had so many more sex scandals than Protestant and Jewish sects. Being a Catholic priest was less and less an appealing career for straight men, so they let in a lot of gays, some of whom got lonely and slipped up, often while drunk.

            It’s not quite this simple, or binary.

            Many of the priests in question were (“true”) pedophiles. Obviously, our culture also obviously requires mandatory celibacy of pedophiles (at least when it comes to their preference). Pedophiles often have sex preferences, but they tend to be less strong because children are much less sexually differentiated.

            Many of the pedophile priests are put into the “gay” column because they only abused boys. But of course they abused boys. Under what common circumstances have Catholics left girls alone with priests?

            (And what the Catholic Church requires of priests in practice is to forgo any public evidence of relationships. They can fuck as much as their conscience allows, which, one presumes, is quite a bit.)

          • Steve Sailer says:

            “Under what common circumstances have Catholics left girls alone with priests?”

            I don’t think there’s that much paranoia about priests being alone with girls on occasion. That Catholic priests were supposedly raping females in the confessional was a big Protestant Reformation tale, but it wasn’t a big deal to Catholics.

          • skef says:

            I don’t think there’s that much paranoia about priests being alone with girls on occasion.

            Different question.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            Mandatory celibacy is tough on a man. It’s a lonely life. That’s why most other religions don’t demand it of their religious leaders. And that’s why the Catholic church had so many more sex scandals than Protestant and Jewish sects

            The stats I’ve seen suggest that the % of abusers in the Catholic priesthood is, at worst, no higher than that among either Protestant pastors or the public in general (not sure how Rabbis compare, though).

          • rlms says:

            @The original Mr. X
            Which stats? I don’t think that’s true for Ireland specifically.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            @Rlms:

            Which stats? I don’t think that’s true for Ireland specifically.

            The ones reported here, for example:

            Yet experts say there’s simply no data to support the claim [that Catholic priests frequently abuse children] at all. No formal comparative study has ever broken down child sexual abuse by denomination, and only the Catholic Church has released detailed data about its own. But based on the surveys and studies conducted by different denominations over the past 30 years, experts who study child abuse say they see little reason to conclude that sexual abuse is mostly a Catholic issue. “We don’t see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else,” said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “I can tell you without hesitation that we have seen cases in many religious settings, from traveling evangelists to mainstream ministers to rabbis and others.”

            Since the mid-1980s, insurance companies have offered sexual misconduct coverage as a rider on liability insurance, and their own studies indicate that Catholic churches are not higher risk than other congregations. Insurance companies that cover all denominations, such as Guide One Center for Risk Management, which has more than 40,000 church clients, does not charge Catholic churches higher premiums. “We don’t see vast difference in the incidence rate between one denomination and another,” says Sarah Buckley, assistant vice president of corporate communications. “It’s pretty even across the denominations.” It’s been that way for decades. While the company saw an uptick in these claims by all types of churches around the time of the 2002 U.S. Catholic sex-abuse scandal, Eric Spacick, Guide One’s senior church-risk manager, says “it’s been pretty steady since.” On average, the company says 80 percent of the sexual misconduct claims they get from all denominations involve sexual abuse of children. As a result, the more children’s programs a church has, the more expensive its insurance, officials at Guide One said.

            The only hard data that has been made public by any denomination comes from John Jay College’s study of Catholic priests, which was authorized and is being paid for by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops following the public outcry over the 2002 scandals. Limiting their study to plausible accusations made between 1950 and 1992, John Jay researchers reported that about 4 percent of the 110,000 priests active during those years had been accused of sexual misconduct involving children. Specifically, 4,392 complaints (ranging from “sexual talk” to rape) were made against priests by 10,667 victims. (Reports made after 2002, including those of incidents that occurred years earlier, are released as part of the church’s annual audits.)

            Experts disagree on the rate of sexual abuse among the general American male population, but Allen says a conservative estimate is one in 10. Margaret Leland Smith, a researcher at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says her review of the numbers indicates it’s closer to one in 5. But in either case, the rate of abuse by Catholic priests is not higher than these national estimates. The public also doesn’t realize how “profoundly prevalent” child sexual abuse is, adds Smith. Even those numbers may be low; research suggests that only a third of abuse cases are ever reported (making it the most underreported crime). “However you slice it, it’s a very common experience,” Smith says.

            So, not only is the Catholic Church not a hotbed of abuse, but the number of priests credibly accused of abuse is less than half what we’d expect based on the general population. Of course, not all abusers will have been accused, and not all genuine accusations will have seemed credible to the researchers, but there appears to be no basis for thinking that Catholic priests are more likely to abuse children than the average man, and some basis for thinking that they’re (perhaps significantly) less likely.

        • zoltan berrigomo says:

          80% sounds way too high. The list of men accused all the time changes but using this list as a proxy:

          https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/10/us/men-accused-sexual-misconduct-weinstein.html

          …I see some Jewish names but not nearly as much. In particular, out of this list of 34 I counted 12 people who are either widely known to be Jewish or have names that are typically Jewish (I did not google the ethnicity of every participant).

          The question of whether various ethnic groups are indeed over-represented deserves to be considered, but would benefit from a careful analysis (as opposed to throwing out questionable claims without support).

          Jews are generally over-represented in certain areas of life – Richard Posner in his book Public Intellectuals noted that 50% of the people he profiled were Jewish. For related reasons, Jews are over-represented in Hollywood as well. All of which is to say, the relevant baseline to compare to is emphatically not 2%.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Seinfeld co-creator Larry David did something during his Saturday Night Live monologue last month that is almost unknown in 21st-century America: He engaged in Jewish self-criticism in front of gentiles:

            “A lot of sexual harassment stuff in the news, and I couldn’t help but notice a very disturbing pattern emerging, which is that many of the predators, not all, but many of them are Jews….

            “I don’t like when Jews are in the headlines for notorious reasons. I want “Einstein Discovers the Theory of Relativity,” “Salk Cures Polio.” What I don’t want? “Weinstein Took It Out.””

            Not surprisingly, David’s violation of the contemporary rule—Don’t joke about the Jews—was not well received.

            http://takimag.com/article/curb_your_self_awareness_steve_sailer/print#ixzz50MoEGPXZ

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            Man, sometimes your taboo opinions don’t seem like either bravery or edgelording, but simply describing a parallel universe. This stuff about a pattern of Jewish men preying on shiksas is just incomprehensible to me.
            Obviously Jews are overrepresented by a factor of 20 in Hollywood and journalism. That seems sufficient to explain the data.

          • quanta413 says:

            @Le Maistre Chat

            It’s also often culturally more acceptable within one group to harass or harm women outside that group. I would be surprised if that didn’t end up having a sort of effect that cross-cultural harassment or rape ends up being more common than you’d expect given how different groups tend to be somewhat segregated. It could easily still be less common though than we’d expect if the population was a well mixed ideal gas of individuals (and I’d guess that it probably is although I haven’t checked numbers).

            EDIT: Just to be clear I don’t mean racial groups by groups although that’s one category I expect it to may apply to. I think class differences will be huge here and more significant although largely asymmetrical (with upper class people harassing lower class people with relative impunity).

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            quanta413

            It’s also often culturally more acceptable within one group to harass or harm women outside that group.

            Rachel Weisz noted this:

            http://www.indexmagazine.com/interviews/rachel_weisz.shtml

            RACHEL: Hollywood’s run by Jews. I was advised by an American agent when I was about 19 to change my surname. And I said “Why? Jews run Hollywood.” He said “Exactly.” He had a theory that all the executives think acting’s a job for shiksas.

            In some way acting is prostitution, and Hollywood Jews don’t want their own women to participate. Also, there’s an element of Portnoy’s Complaint — they all fancy Aryan blondes.

        • deciusbrutus says:

          With a sample size this small, what’s the p-value?

          And the ethnic group is already overrepresented in “high-profile people, but it’s hard to say by exactly how much.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            “And the ethnic group is already overrepresented in high-profile people, but it’s hard to say by exactly how much.”

            It’s funny how the news media have published tons of statistics about how whites are over-represented in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and Wall Street, but the statistical question of Jewish representation in those three industries remains a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

            It’s almost as if the reason nobody knows much is because everybody knows you aren’t supposed to know much.

          • Watchman says:

            @ Steve Sailer,

            Or that it’s somewhat more difficult to define someone as Jewish if their name is not obvious than it is to define someone as black. Having a large nose is not actually diagnostic you know.

            Of course, the news media could do research. But how likely is that?

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Wikipedia generally lists the ethnic ancestries of celebrities in the first few paragraphs. Most celebrities have generally explained their ancestries in interviews, so it’s public knowledge.

            There are also numerous Jewish websites devoted to evaluating how Jewish celebrities are. And Jewish publications like the Forward and the Tablet tend to be pretty forward about the subject.

            There’s a lot of data out there if anybody is interested. For example, humorist Joel Stein didn’t have much trouble coming up with the data for his 2008 column in the L.A. Times: “Who Runs Hollywood? C’mon”

            http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/19/opinion/oe-stein19

            But most gentiles have gotten the sense that this is the single most radioactive topic in contemporary America so don’t dare be interested in it.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Steve Sailer

            The news media can’t even figure out that whites _aren’t_ over-represented in Silicon Valley (or Hollywood; I don’t know about Wall Street), why would you expect them to get anything right regarding other ethnic groups?

          • Nornagest says:

            But most gentiles have gotten the sense that this is the single most radioactive topic in contemporary America so don’t dare be interested in it.

            I’m sure there are statistics out there somewhere, but why would anyone care? You know as well as I do that ethnic representation arguments (outside specialized contexts) always boil down to advocating for a couple of specific ethnicities, and Jews aren’t on the list.

            The entertainment industry’s full of Jews, and by and large Gentiles that know anything about the industry (most don’t), know that and are fine with it. That isn’t radioactive, it’s just not a going concern.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            “I’m sure there are statistics out there somewhere, but why would anyone care?”

            Because we are constantly told by the respectable media that White Privilege explains the over-representation of whites in good jobs, but nobody ever is allowed to make the analogous argument that Jewish Privilege would therefore explain the extreme over-representation of Jews in those same jobs. (See the #OscarsSoWhite campaign of recent years for a comic example.)

            If Jewish intellectuals and journalists were regularly confronted in respectable forums with questions about the evident, Jewish Privilege, then they might not be as aggressive in pushing the White Privilege storyline. But they’ve managed to rule out such questions so that most gentiles feel Crimestop descending like a fog on their brains whenever anyone is so rude as to mention it.

          • Nornagest says:

            If you’re trying to say that privilege theory is incoherent, I don’t disagree. But beyond that… eh, you see ethnic niches in any multiethnic society. There happening to be lot of Jews in entertainment doesn’t seem any more sinister to me than, say, the Patel Motel Cartel.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            I’m interested in the Patel Motel Cartel. I first read about it perhaps 30 years ago, and welcome updates. But … people don’t get hot under the collar and/or demand to know why in the world you’d be interested in Patels and motels when you mention it, the way well-trained Americans get “Crimestop” flashing in their heads when you mention Jewish disproportionate representation in the really influential jobs.

            The full scope of Jewish achievement in American life was summarized in 1995 by Seymour Martin Lipset, a Senior Scholar of the Wilstein Institute for Jewish Policy Studies, and Earl Raab, Director of the Perlmutter Institute for Jewish Advocacy at Brandeis University:

            “During the last three decades, Jews have made up 50% of the top two hundred intellectuals, 40 percent of American Nobel Prize Winners in science and economics, 20 percent of professors at the leading universities, 21 percent of high level civil servants, 40 percent of partners in the leading law firms in New York and Washington, 26 percent of the reporters, editors, and executives of the major print and broadcast media, 59 percent of the directors, writers, and producers of the fifty top-grossing motion pictures from 1965 to 1982, and 58 percent of directors, writers, and producers in two or more primetime television series.”

          • Whitedeath says:

            But … people don’t get hot under the collar and/or demand to know why in the world you’d be interested in Patels and motels when you mention it, the way well-trained Americans get “Crimestop” flashing in their heads when you mention Jewish disproportionate representation in the really influential jobs

            I wonder why that could be? Certainly not because Jews were genocided by people who constantly brought up how Jews were too influential in society. I’m sure that has nothing to do with it.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            I’m sure you could say much the same about the genocide of whites in Haiti in the early 1800s, but that’s not considered a decent reason to avoid all objective study, much less criticism, of whites as a race and an ethnicity.

        • shenanigans24 says:

          I think a sample of accusers who’ve made the news is too small to draw any conclusions from. Let’s say it were true that Jews were more likely to be harassers, the evidence needed would have to come from some better data.

          Any sample that involves the news popularity of an event is skewed. Watching the news I would think 90% of all the people who’ve ever died were actors and politicians.

    • jasonbayz says:

      ” prominent accused harassers 80+% of them belonged to the author of this piece’s ethnic group”

      Not really. The Great Purge has expanded quite a bit beyond Hollywood pervs, to people like this guy:

      http://www.unz.com/isteve/and-then-they-came-for-some-paraplegic-public-radio-sjw/

      As for the ethnic insinuation, if there is a pattern of a group promoting a certain viewpoint for ethnic reasons, it certainly isn’t men’s rights. But maybe that’s just my own parentheses talking.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Are we talking whites or Jews here?

      • reasoned argumentation says:

        The latter – in fact the prominent names that are white and aren’t Jewish are about equal in number to the prominent black names.

        • Scott Alexander says:

          Since your comment was neither kind nor necessary, I’m interested it you can prove it true. Find me an unbiased list (ie not ad hoc made for this purpose) of people accused in these kinds of scandals recently where greater than 80% are Jewish. Otherwise this seems pretty bannable.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            80% is too high. One commenter here suggested 34% based on an NYT list of accused. And some of the accused, such as Matthew Weiner of Mad Men fame and, perhaps, Al Franken, seem relatively innocent to me (there is still only one accusation against Weiner after several weeks and the Franken stuff seems pretty minor to me), Yet, at least the NYT list is a start.

            But clearly Jews are disproportionately represented in the current scandals by an order of magnitude or more

            For example, the central figure, Harvey Weinstein, called a former prime minister of Israel to put him in touch with an Israeli deep state firm called Black Cube to help him intimidate into silence the 91 people on Harvey’s Enemies List. That’s pretty funny.

            As Larry David implied, if nobody publicly criticizes Jews for stereotypical (i.e., statistically accurate) tendencies toward certain types of bad behavior, why would they feel much need to do better? Harvey Weinstein, for example, behaved like a completely stereotypical Jewish movie mogul for 30 years, and was almost totally shielded from public criticism for 29.8 of those years.

            Human beings don’t like criticism and naturally try to silence it, but on the whole criticism is good for us.

          • Null42 says:

            Ah, finally some real numbers to engage with…

            I’d say this is an artifact of this sort of thing happening in the media industries, where due to economic factors (mass production of newspapers means there are relatively few jobs in media, giving the few gatekeepers enormous power and therefore free rein to misbehave until now) power imbalances are extreme and due to historical factors there are lots of Jews in charge.

            If they trained their sights on Wall Street you’d probably see a smaller but still disproportionate number of Jews. The oil industry or golf course architects, not so much.

            But it’s the media, so everything that happens is news.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            EDIT – was posted as a reply to the wrong comment.

            Find me an unbiased list (ie not ad hoc made for this purpose) of people accused in these kinds of scandals recently where greater than 80% are Jewish.

            Such a list, of course, doesn’t and can’t exist.

            The NY Times list includes people like Moore – who’s credibly been noted to have dated teenaged girls when he was in his 30s and non-credibly accused of other stuff in a hilariously transparent attempt to throw a senate seat to the other party. It also doesn’t include Ron Jeremy and James Deen who were accused of sexual assault and rape (and are Jewish).

            That being said here’s the analysis of the NY Times list. Methodology was to check wikipedia for early life. In a few cases following through to links to parents’ wikipedia pages gave the answer when it wasn’t specified in the named man’s page. The NY Times decided that accusations against a few men who were not prominent enough for their own wikipedia pages were noteworthy – I excluded those from the list.

            The original list contained 10 Jewish men and 2 men who are half Jewish, 11 men who are not Jewish, 5 men not in wikipedia, 1 man that I couldn’t determine, and 2 men that I couldn’t determine definitively but seem unlikely to be Jewish.

            Summary – 12 out of 26 in the NY Times list for 46%.

            Other lists that I’ve seen contain higher percentages but of course there are going to be issues with motivation when someone sets out to make up a list of how many prominent accused sexual harassers are Jewish – on both sides (as people have helpfully pointed out the media is strongly disproportionately Jewish and if that applies as a reason for massive over-representation on a list like this, it also applies as a reason they wouldn’t want to point out the misbehavior of their co-ethnics).

            Additionally (as Steve Sailer has helpfully pointed out) everyone knows that it’s toxic to your career to notice this sort of thing so no one looks particularly hard into it unless they’re immune to media hate.

            If you want to ban me for pointing out bad behavior of your tribe / co-ethnics / in-group I suppose I’d understand that motivation.

          • Atlas says:

            @reasonedargumentation

            Let me first note that I don’t believe your comments should result in a ban, and I agree with you and Steve Sailer that attempts by Jews to silence/censor criticism are bad (for both Jews and Gentiles.)

            You wrote:

            Summary – 12 out of 26 in the NY Times list for 46%.

            So by your own admission, there is a 34 percentage point/40% gap between the unsourced floor figure you originally confidently provided and the sourced figure you actually produced? Do you think that this has any relevance to how people should interpret the truth value of your original comment?

            Other lists that I’ve seen contain higher percentages but of course there are going to be issues with motivation when someone sets out to make up a list of how many prominent accused sexual harassers are Jewish – on both sides (as people have helpfully pointed out the media is strongly disproportionately Jewish and if that applies as a reason for massive over-representation on a list like this, it also applies as a reason they wouldn’t want to point out the misbehavior of their co-ethnics).

            This proves too much—if mainstream media outlets disproportionately owned and staffed by Jews are in a conspiracy (or exercising a “group evolutionary strategy”) to quietly cover up accusations against Jews…why did they run investigations and print articles about any Jewish men being accused of sexual harassment in the first place? (A particularly important example being the NYT article about Weinstein that started the wave.)

            Surely, if these accusations were such a threat to Jews, and Jews are pushing an ethnic agenda in both Hollywood and the news media, Jewish influence over the mainstream media could have been exercised via ethnic networking to pre-empt any such media coverage in the first place?

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            So by your own admission, there is a 34 percentage point/40% gap between the unsourced floor figure you originally confidently provided and the sourced figure you actually produced?

            I take the NY Times as a biased source (again, if you’re excusing the Jewish overrepresentation on these lists as a consequence of their overrepresentation in the media you can’t then forget that same thing immediately afterward) but even by their sourcing which inappropriately includes some (Roy Moore) and inappropriately excludes others (Ron Jeremy, James Deen) the numbers come out as wildly disproportional for a population that’s 2% of the country. I assume the NY Times list didn’t include Matt Lauer because it was published before the accusations against him were made known to the wider public. Matt Lauer is half Jewish according to his wikipedia page. EDIT – (James Levine and Israel Horowitz as well)

            why did they run investigations and print articles about any Jewish men being accused of sexual harassment in the first place?

            They didn’t and such stories were squelched for a very long time (about Weinstein specifically – his reputation was widely enough known by insiders that Lena Dunham claims she warned the Hilary campaign not to have so many fundraisers organized by Weinstein – also Seth Macfarlane joked at the Oscars about Harvey in 2013). One particular man (Ronan Farrow) investigated and his story was (again) squelched by his bosses. That story got out anyway and the newly decentralized media paid attention. This caused a piling on to the original target and others for obvious game theory reasons.

          • Atlas says:

            I take the NY Times as a biased source (again, if you’re excusing the Jewish overrepresentation on these lists as a consequence of their overrepresentation in the media you can’t then forget that same thing immediately afterward) but even by their sourcing which inappropriately includes some (Roy Moore) and inappropriately excludes others (Ron Jeremy, James Deen) the numbers come out as wildly disproportional for a population that’s 2% of the country.

            I agree that Jews are disproportionately represented in media; I disagree that this automatically proves that media outlets are obviously biased in favor of Jews to the point where one can take that as a given in their composition of this list.

            Consider that your argument is the mirror of left-wing social justice ones, like: black people are underrepresented in the US government (e.g. I think there are only ~5 black senators at the moment, relative to ~12% of general population.) Therefore, when African-Americans are accused and convicted of crimes, of course they’ll be treated more harshly by a “structurally racist” justice system, because of course since white people hold more political power they would build a justice system that discriminates against blacks.

            Or: Silicon Valley programmers are disproportionately male. There must be discrimination against women playing a role in this, because of course men would create a patriarchal system favoring themselves in perpetuity.

            Thus, I don’t think that because journalists are disproportionately Jewish of course they’d always and everywhere coordinate to bias these lists in favor of Jews/against Gentiles. Obviously given sufficient evidence for its own merits I’d accept the claim, but I don’t agree that disproportionate representation of a group in a field is enough to assume that said group is coordinating in its own favor.

            The evidence you provide to support this contention is that the NYT didn’t include the accusations against Ron Jeremy or James Deen. The accusations against Deen seem to have been from 2015, which would seem to explain why—- one might as easily ask why e.g. Bill Cosby wasn’t included.

            The accusations against Jeremy seem to have been made this year, so it’s fairer to ask why he wasn’t included. But the most comprehensive detailing of the accusations I could find was in Rolling Stone, a magazine founded by a Jew and I assume disproportionately staffed by Jews.

            Thus, I don’t think that Jeremy was left off the list because he was Jewish—if so, it would be weird that Jewish influence would be exercised in this relatively trivial case but not in the much more significant one where RS researched and released a long article detailing and highlighting accusations made against him. I thus strongly suspect that some non-ethnic factor explains his omission and that if Jeremy was a Gentile he would not have been included on the list either.

            Incidentally, if you take a more expansive definition of “Jewish” (e.g. 1/2 parents) when identifying harassers, you also need to take one when defining the Jewish share of the US population, which, according to Pew’s 2013 report, would go from ~2 to ~4% if you do.

            They didn’t and such stories were squelched for a very long time

            So media outlets didn’t run stories about Hollywood harassment… until they did…so they didn’t? Your hypothesis didn’t have strong evidence against it, until it did, so it still doesn’t have strong evidence against it?

            One particular man (Ronan Farrow) investigated and his story was (again) squelched by his bosses. That story got out anyway and the newly decentralized media paid attention. This caused a piling on to the original target and others for obvious game theory reasons.

            But the story didn’t get out by becoming viral on Twitter, or written about on TDS or /pol/, it got out by…being published in that famously alternative, right-wing media outlet, the New Yorker. (And I’m not sure about the reporting chronology, but in terms of publishing the NYT article was published a few days earlier, and I recall that in her Radio Atlantic interview the journalist who co-wrote it said that she’d been working on it for months beforehand.)

            I agree that decentralized social media, such as Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, played an important role in the spread of the allegations. But the bulk of the substantive reporting on the allegations has come from mainstream, left-leaning, disproportionately Jewish media outlets.

            As far as I can tell, openly or even implicitly anti-Jewish media has not played a significant role in reporting on the allegations of sexual harassment against prominent media figures. Thus, it is hard to see why media outlets that are allegedly tools of Jewish ethnic interests would ever, let alone at this moment, choose to report on and provide very important credence to these allegations, if as you claim they are so overwhelmingly damning of Jews.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            America had a giant to-do over sexual harassment in 1991 when the Democrats tried to use it to stop Clarence Thomas from getting on the Supreme Court. It then took a mere 26 additional years for the ace reporters of the mainstream media to get the goods on Harvey Weinstein, who only happened to have his hands on 341 Oscar nominations and be pretty much the main man connecting the Clintons to Hollywood.

            Harvey Weinstein was, in New York and Los Angeles media circles, extremely famous since about the release of “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” in 1989, 28 years ago. He has been the single most prominent figure in Academy Awards Season for the last 25+ years. His close ties to the Clintons made him a personality in DC media circles since 1992. The most famous movie stars in the world all know Harvey and have opinions on him. He shows up as a lightly fictionalized character in “Entourage” and other movies and shows.

            And yet, every serious press investigation into him got stifled until 2017.

          • Scott Alexander says:

            I guess the reason why I find the 46%/80% distinction relevant is because I could easily believe Jews are 30-40% of Hollywood celebrities anyway (in which case no overrepresentation), but 80% would imply extreme overrepresentation.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Scott, Here’s a pretty good book:

            “An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood”
            Paperback – August 8, 1989
            by Neal Gabler

            https://www.amazon.com/Empire-Their-Own-Invented-Hollywood/dp/0385265573

            The title alone suggests that Jews ought to engage not just in self-congratulation over Hollywood successes (such as fighting off challenges from the rest of the world’s film and TV industries, leaving America economically supreme in entertainment), but also in some soul-searching over less admirable aspects of Hollywood culture, such as how attractive young people are treated by powerful people in Hollywood.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            I guess the reason why I find the 46%/80% distinction relevant is because I could easily believe Jews are 30-40% of Hollywood celebrities anyway

            46% is a bare minimum.

            That was with 12 names. I can name at least 7 that aren’t on that list that belong there who are Jewish but haven’t encountered any who belong there who aren’t (and I think a few on there who aren’t don’t belong on the list).

            Israel Horowitz (playwright and father of one of the Beastie Boys)
            James Levine (Met Opera)
            Bryan Singer (movie director)
            Matt Lauer (press whatever he does)
            Ron Jeremy (porn industry general sleaze ball)
            James Deen (feminist branded porn star / producer)
            Jeremy Piven (actor / producer)

            80% might be high but 46% is far too low.

            Just including those added names the number is 58%. When I saw the 80% list it was something I chanced upon and didn’t save – looked credible to me (as in checking a few names and stories at random were matches) but I didn’t save the list.

          • reasoned argumentation says:

            Here’s another fun one – Chelsea Handler.

            This tweet contains screenshots from a biography of her by one of the (male) writers on her TV show:

            https://twitter.com/RaughnVicky/status/938608438489182208

            Opening quote:

            Chelsea Handler is a menace. Working for her is very much like working for a highly functioning, oversexed, drunken chimpanzee.

            https://books.google.com/books/about/Lies_That_Chelsea_Handler_Told_Me.html?id=Cl-qyLII3tMC&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=snippet&q=oversexed&f=false

            She introduces him as “little girl” to everyone in professional contexts (which he finds belittling for obvious reasons)

            https://books.google.com/books/about/Lies_That_Chelsea_Handler_Told_Me.html?id=Cl-qyLII3tMC&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=snippet&q=introduces%20me%20as%20a&f=false

            She gave him wedgies frequently (apparently bad enough to cause bleeding) and if he flinched when she approached she berated him for that. She also stripped him of his clothes on multiple occasions (at least once per week, he claims).

            https://books.google.com/books/about/Lies_That_Chelsea_Handler_Told_Me.html?id=Cl-qyLII3tMC&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&q=fruit%20of%20the%20loom&f=false

            Chelsea Handler is half Jewish.

    • Null42 says:

      Come on, )))reasoned argumentation(((. Go back to )))Daily Stormer(((, or (((Unz))), or heck, even )))Breitbart(((, which is actually (((Breitbart))), which you probably already know.

      Personally )))I))) think you’re trying to distract by making everything about a certain (((group))) )))you((( have it in for… people aren’t obligated to complain about (((them))) all the time.

      Seriously, Scott’s been having arguments with groups of feminists for a while…Google’s autocomplete function for ‘slate star codex’ has ‘slate star codex feminism’ as one of the options. So this is perfectly within the realm of his usual behavior. You don’t need to be (((Einstein))) to see that.

      • The Nybbler says:

        John McCarthy just turned over in his grave.

        • Null42 says:

          Ironically, that was one of my first thoughts when the whole parenthesis thing came out. I thought, “Damn, I can’t make lame jokes about Lisp anymore.” My other was, “I’ve always advocated for being able to nest parentheses in everyday writing, and now that’s pretty much sunk.”

      • Nornagest says:

        So this is what a syntax error feels like.

      • Aapje says:

        @Null42

        )))I)))

        Does that mean half-Jewish or did you make an error?

    • Atlas says:

      The “amusing” thing is that of the prominent accused harassers 80+% of them belonged to the author of this piece’s ethnic group (yes, you can check into this).

      (An actually amusing thing is that it is unclear from your comment whether you are referring to Euro-Americans and making a left-wing anti-white social justice critique or referring to Ashkenazi Jews and making a diametrically opposed right-wing anti-Jewish critique. Your other comments make it clear that it’s the latter, so I’ll respond to that, but I would find the former equally noxious.)

      Okay, I’ll check into this.

      Firstly, I like how you shift the burden of finding evidence for your claims to the people who disagree with you, rather than doing something crazy like citing it yourself so it can be evaluated impartially by readers. Interesting tactic there, but I’ll indulge you for the sake of argument:

      I found three lists of prominent men accused of sexual harassment from mainstream outlets, namely the New York Times, CNN and USA Today. (Including lots of links tends to trip the spam filter, but hopefully these are easy enough to find with a cursory Google search.) These names seem to match the coverage I’ve seen on right-wing sites like TDS and Unz, so I don’t think they can be credibly described as biased.

      In none of these lists do Jews seem to compose 80%+ of accused harassers. An earlier commentator found 12/34 (~35%) of men on the NYT list were Jewish, and that seems to match the other lists—maybe somewhere between 30-60% of the accused are Jewish, depending on how you define Jewish and accused.

      Additionally, pre-dating the current wave some powerful media men had been individually accused of sexual harassment, notably Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby and Roger Ailes, none of whom are Jewish.

      Furthermore, whatever the Jewish share of accusers is, Jews definitely do not obviously compose 80+% of men accused. This is relevant because you are conjecturing that Scott Alexander wrote this essay as a ploy to distract people from this fact, but whether or not it’s true (and it doesn’t seem to be true) it’s definitely not obviously true, so it would be counterproductive (“the lady doth protest too much”) to draw more attention to the issue. (Assuming that was in fact Scott’s goal, which I find highly implausible.)

      While Jews are still highly overrepresented relative to raw population share (though perhaps not among prominent entertainment industry figures) among accusers, the quantitative difference between the figure you claimed (80-95(?) %) and the actual figure (maybe 30-60%) is large enough that, Ship of Theseus style, it makes a qualitative difference in the veracity of your claim.

      Additionally, you have provided no reason to think that the motivating force behind the essay was to distract people from noticing the representation of Jews among the accused. The specific articles cited as objects of criticism in the OP are from mainstream media outlets like The Guardian and The Washington Post that approach the issue from a feminist/anti-feminist, male/female approach, not a Jew/Gentile one. The broader ideology that is being criticized is feminism/social justice leftism, which, whatever one thinks of it, is not generally regarded as notably anti-Semitic (except insofar as some people consider certain criticisms of the state of Israel as anti-Semitic.)

      Additionally, many of SSC’s most popular and controversial posts in the past have been critical of internet feminism (including internet feminists who are also Jewish), so this post hardly requires a new predictive “nefarious ethnic agenda” model to be explained.

      Your comment really really sounds like someone making an empirically false argument on the basis of particularly noxious motivated reasoning.

      • Mark says:

        Motivated reasoning is the best kind of reasoning. Who can be bothered to think about things that they don’t find to be interesting, beautiful, or terrible?

        I agree with you though, that the second half of the top level comment seemed to be beyond uncharitable, and the claim in the first half appears exaggerated.

        More generally, I’m kind of in two minds about Nazi chat.
        There are views out there that I find so repellent that I have no interest in engaging with them. The kind of thing that even if they were factually right, they would still be ethically wrong. I just refuse to live in that world.

        But, I think if I was going to view Nazi chat as falling into that category, I’d have to feel the same way about BLM, etc. etc. and all of the other privilege/race stuff.

        So, I kind of feel like “Jewish privilege” talk is necessary in the current climate (if not necessarily correct), and that Nazis are going to be the ones best at it. So… they should do that?

  71. Toby Bartels says:

    I wondered when SSC was going to get to this topic!

    I’ve definitely heard of male victims in the post-Weinstein media narrative (Kevin Spacey’s for example). But not female perpetrators.

    I’d like to see statistics about whether female victims receive (or male perpetrators commit) more *pervasive* harassment, but I imagine that this will be hard to get; the problem of inconsistent definitions will be exacerbated.

    • SUT says:

      I’ll add that male (on male) harassment is the news do jour in the Massachusetts State Assembly. There are multiple stories on front page of the Boston Globe today on the subject of male victims.

  72. Yaleocon says:

    Also:

    Men probably get victimized disproportionately often compared to the straight/gay ratio because society views harassing females as horrible but harassing men as funny.

    You don’t need the societal/structural element to explain this. I haven’t looked at the actual numbers, but if men are a lot more likely than women to harass/assault people they’re sexually attracted to, then the disparity in assault rates between straights and gays could just come from the fact that there are two men in a gay relationship and only one man in a straight one: hence, a higher likelihood that a gay relationship contains an abuser.

    • Milan says:

      As far as I know, male homosexual relationships have less domestic violence than heterosexual ones, and female ones have more. This suggests that something is wrong with this model.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        The high rate of domestic violence among lesbians is often attested to but I’ve never heard a wholly convincing explanation for it.

        • Aapje says:

          Survey studies consistently show that most domestic abuse is mutual, the second most common type of domestic abuse is unreciprocated violence by the woman against the man and the least common is unreciprocated violence by the man against the woman*.

          So the lesbian domestic violence pattern is exactly what you’d expect when ‘replacing’ the least likely gender to commit domestic violence by the gender more likely to do so.

          I think that the most likely explanation of this pattern is that men get taught not to abuse more than women.

          * The hospital records are very different, probably in large part because the strength difference between men and women means that an equal intent to do damage results in much more damage on average if the perpetrator is the man than if the perpetrator is a woman.

          • sandoratthezoo says:

            I had a girlfriend who attested to the having been violent in previous relationships (she never was with me): specifically, she said she threw things.

            I think that women, probably particularly small women who aren’t notably athletic, can recourse to some violence with the understanding that they aren’t going to do a lot of damage. And incentives matter. There are probably a lot of people who would be interested in striking someone sometimes as long as they believed that it wouldn’t do any lasting harm or cause major legal troubles.

            And… those things should matter. I’m not saying it’s okay to throw things at someone or hit them knowing that the worst you’ll do is bruise them — it’s not. At all. But it’s also not as bad as hitting someone and breaking bones or putting their life in jeopardy.

          • Thegnskald says:

            sandora –

            No.

            If I am not allowed to hit you, you are not allowed to hit me.

            It isn’t about potential harm done, it is about stripping people of the right to defend themselves against attack. Incentives matter, and creating a situation in which somebody can hit me and then claim the legal high ground if I hit back is fucked up.

          • sandoratthezoo says:

            You aren’t allowed to hit me, and I’m not allowed to hit you (I mean, I think we’re both guys, but the same would be true if one of us were a woman).

            But we’re also both not allowed to speed. And we’re both not allowed to murder. It turns out that once you get past “not allowed,” we do in fact still have to quantify how bad was the thing that was not allowed. And sure, it kind of sucks that this is a potentially exploitable difference. But it would also suck if we treated “I got hit and I have a noticeable bruise” the same as “I got hit and went to the ER to deal with the hemorrhaging that put me in danger of organ failure.”

            Finally: My username is a spaces-removed version of “Sandor at the Zoo,” a reference to Vernor Vinge’s novel A Fire Upon the Deep. You’re welcome to keep calling me sandora, but if you’re looking for a shorter version, probably sandor is more correct.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Sandor –

            I just listened to the audiobook and I don’t recall the reference. Ah well.

            Exploitability isn’t a minor matter of small injustice – it is a major flaw. Historically we have treated this flaw seriously, such that hitting somebody after they insult you is treated less seriously than hitting somebody without cause.

            This isn’t even a question, if a small man walks up to the biggest guy in the bar, punches him, and gets his jaw broken. Generally the response will be “Well he was asking for it”. Likewise, we tend to laugh when some burglar breaks into a boxer’s house and gets his face mangled.

            The difference in strength as a mitigating factors is only brought up in the context of men and women, and specifically in the situation of women physically assaulting men.

            Maybe you play by different rules – maybe the beefy dude is wrong to beat up the little guy picking a fight with him. But no, I do not accept that relative strength matters. Assault is assault.

            And if you hit me, you have ten minutes of solid beating to look forward to before I regain my senses. I am not an angry person, either, but a blow to my face short-circuits my brain. I doubt I am alone, either.

            So, given that I have zero control of myself in the event that somebody is stupid enough to punch me in the face, and given that I am a pretty big dude, no. I do not accept that logic. You have taken the choice away from me, and chosen the mode by which we will interact.

          • sandoratthezoo says:

            So, just as a fence around this discussion, you’re wrong as a legal matter, assault is not assault. There’s aggravated assault and aggravated battery, and the degree of self defense that one is allowed is not unlimited.

            As a moral matter, it is absolutely one’s responsibility to retain a sense of proportionality in a fight. I imagine you think the same thing: is it permissible to whip out a knife in a fist-fight? If not, sorry, the same logic applies to beating the crap out of an assailant 100 lbs lighter than you and half your strength.

            Domestic violence situations are, I think, much more common than other highly disproportionate combats where the aggressor is the weaker combatant, and thus where we focus our attention, but I have seen it happen in, like, bar room situations, and the calculus is the same.

            Your rage issues are your own, and I doubt that in other criminal situations, you accept, “Well, but I was really angry” as a defense.

            (Sandor at the Zoo is a minor character. It is a commenter on the net during the crisis that makes fairly calm, sensible, let’s-not-get-carried-away posts. It is a High Beyond military consortium, and its full name is Sandor Arbitration Intelligence at the Zoo.)

          • The Nybbler says:

            As a moral matter, it is absolutely one’s responsibility to retain a sense of proportionality in a fight.

            What? That might be true in sport, or in ritualized mutual combat. It’s not true in general. If someone attacks me, it’s certainly not my moral responsibility to avoid hurting them. Legally the typical rule is I can use whatever force, short of deadly force, is reasonable to stop the attack.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Lost the first version of the response to a network issue.

            Shorter version: Proportionality both isn’t expected of women (a woman stabbing or shooting a man hitting her is considered acceptable), and isn’t expected in other situations, and rightfully so. Proportionality advantages the aggressor, who thus gets to pick the level of violence involved, and isn’t worthwhile as a principle.

            Additionally, I see no issue with berserking when I get attacked. If somebody chooses violence, they have already taken that choice away from me; overwhelming violence is the appropriate response.

          • sandoratthezoo says:

            Nybbler:

            “Amount of force necessary to stop the fight” (and no more) is proportionality. I didn’t say “don’t ever hurt anyone.”

            Thegnskald:

            For a typical woman, seriously attacked by a typical man, a knife or a gun is the only plausible way she has to attaining reasonable defense. Now, these things are complicated and each particular instance is difficult to dissect in retrospect.

            But here’s a hypothetical case involving A, a woman who’s like 110 lbs, and B, a man who’s like 200 lbs and has your attested reaction to being struck: going wildly insane for ten minutes.

            A strikes B, knowing that she is very, very unlikely to be able to seriously injure B even if she tries, and also not trying to seriously injure B.

            B goes insane and repeatedly strikes at A with full force and no restraint.

            At this point, it is not at all implausible that A will be seriously injured or killed. A’s only recourse is a weapon or just trusting B to regain his senses.

            In that example, neither person is a good person, but only B was attempting murder. He is significantly worse than A. And despite your protestations, this is a well-established legal precedent. A probably committed misdemeanor assault and battery, and B would have had a tort against her if he hadn’t retaliated. B committed aggravated assault and battery and is looking at prison time.

          • Thegnskald says:

            Sandor –

            So it is difficult to dissect a woman’s motivations, but it is easy to dissect a man’s?

            There is an assumption baked into your example: A isn’t trying to harm B, and B knows that.

            Invalid assumptions.

            Additionally, you gloss over an important moral consideration: A chose the mode of interaction. B did not. B didn’t attack A, B is responding to an attack by A.

            I do not divorce cause and effect in this way. If doing X causes Y to happen, and it is foreseeable, doing X makes you responsible for Y. And yes, I think getting a beat-down is a foreseeable result of hitting somebody.

            ETA:

            And the legal precedent isn’t quite that clean. Under some jurisdictions it would be plain self-defense, in others imperfect self-defense.

          • gbdub says:

            “It’s wrong to bring a knife to a fist fight”. Sure, but it’s also wrong to bring fists to a word fight. Why is the second escalation more objectionable than the first?

          • The Nybbler says:

            “Amount of force necessary to stop the fight” (and no more) is proportionality. I didn’t say “don’t ever hurt anyone.”

            It’s not “(and no more)”. It’s “no more” than could be reasonable to stop the fight, but I’m not required to apply the exact amount of force necessary to stop it. And this isn’t proportionality. Even if whoever is hitting me could never do serious harm, I can hit them back so as to do serious harm, as long as I stop when the fight is clearly over. If I’ve broken one of their arms, split their lip and broken their nose, blackened both of their eyes, and suffered nothing but a few bruises and scratches myself, and yet like the Black Knight they still insist on coming at me, I can hit them AGAIN. At least if it’s an adult man.

          • sandoratthezoo says:

            I didn’t say it was easy to dissect A’s motivations, and I didn’t say that B understood A’s intentions.

            I said, if we grant ourselves a perfect, fully-understood hypothetical situation, that both people were bad, but A was trying to cause minor pain to B, and B was at best being uncaring about whether he killed A, and those two things are not equal.

            So, I’d like a complete answer from you about that particular hypothetical, granting that it’s an unrealistically clean hypothetical: do you grant that B is doing something much worse than A in that particular, unrealistically clean hypothetical?

            If you’re sufficiently more physically powerful than your opponent, you don’t need to be able to read their mind, you just need to understand that there’s no need for you to escalate violence, and that “X punches Y, Y punches X” can be an escalation, if Y is sufficiently physically more powerful than X.

            @gdub:

            Escalation from emotional pain to emotional pain + some physical pain/small injuries.

            Escalation from physical pain/small injuries to risk of breaking bones, crippling, or death.

            Do I really need to explain why one of those is a bigger deal than the other? Are you sure?

          • sandoratthezoo says:

            @The Nybbler:

            Nobody said anything about exactness, you’re bringing that up to try to make your position seem more reasonable.

            I also don’t think that allusions to Monty Python’s The Black Knight are actually very helpful in clarifying real combat situations. Call me crazy!

            Let’s be clear that “an adult, healthy man who is legitimately being violent towards you but has no real capacity to do you any real harm, and persists in the face of your effective opposition” is a very unlikely scenario. Because it’s deeply unlikely, the law may struggle with how precisely to deal with it if you are exuberantly violent towards that person. (Though I think you’d be wrong if you expected a clean, simple exoneration). This is how the law works: it is often willing to deal with poor outcomes in very unlikely cases in order to give itself the tools necessary for good outcomes in much more common cases.

            However, your moral duty in that unlikely case is to do something reasonably close to the minimum harm necessary to stop the violence (not “exact,” because it’s impossible to be exact in this kind of situation), and you see that moral duty reflected in the law in plenty of cases where “unable to do you harm” is a more likely situation (such as “people who aren’t adult men.”)

          • johnmcg says:

            Escalation from emotional pain to emotional pain + some physical pain/small injuries.

            Escalation from physical pain/small injuries to risk of breaking bones, crippling, or death.

            Imagine A and B are in hand to hand combat. A has access to a club; B has access to a knife.

            A decides to start using the club. B responds by using the knife, to gruesome effect on A. How should responsibility for this be allocated?

            I think the assumptions in arguing in assigning the preponderance of responsibility on “A” are:

            * A’s escalation is chosen, while B’s is somewhat involuntary.
            * B does not have the option of simply matching this new level. B can either continue at a disadvantage, or escalate past the level A has established.

            Allocating responsibility to A also has the advantage of establishing a general norm against introducing physical violence to a situation.

            This may note be an airtight case, and doesn’t mean the responsibility is 100/0, but I think it is a stronger case than you are representing it to be.

          • Randroid says:

            Domestic relationship is an iterated game.

            Multiples of pain/damage as B’s response dissuades future aggression from A.

            10 minute rage is a game ending condition in most scenarios.