A Guest Post by Bunchanumbers
I recently had a friend tell a strange story about a guy at his office job at a Fortune 500. A few single women in the office complained to this guy’s boss that he doesn’t interact with them socially. He’s polite and professional in the office, and will go out for drinks with some of the guys, but won’t do the same with the women, even in mixed company. They said they are feeling discriminated against because they are women.
Apparently this guy was brought in for a talking to and he tried to understand what policy he was violating, but there is no policy requiring men at the firm to go out drinking with women. So his boss instead put some subtle pressure on him to ‘do the right thing’, the implication being the right thing was going out drinking with the single women.
Now this guy is in a position where no matter what he does he’s either risking annoying his boss or putting himself in a situation he doesn’t want to be in with work colleagues. Yet, still he refused to join the women for drinks.
These women didn’t give up. They went and complained again! Again this guy was brought in for a talking to. His boss knows full well why he’s not going out with the women but he has to pretend he has no idea and again tells him to do the right thing.
The poor guy resigned that afternoon.
So this whole story basically made no sense to me. Why were these women targeting this particular guy? Did he do something to them? Did they not like him? Trust me, when I tell you it’s all going to make sense.
The guy in question was previously a cover model for Men’s Fitness magazine. Drop dead handsome, super fit and smart as a whip, everything a single woman wants. These women wanted to get with this guy.
Our stupid society deserve an asteroid.
As for the paper it’s plausible but I’d like to see it replicated in other fields (which should be possible).
Personally as a straight man in my early 40s in a 50/50 field and I’m pretty conscious about this stuff. My job doesn’t involve much socialising or travel but I avoid if at all possible being alone with women >5 years younger than me.
There is a big asymmetry in the stakes of course. A 22YO intern can make a false complaint without too much professional consequences but for men of my age it is incredibly disruptive.
There are bigger consequences of this change in regime. In my 20s (pre #metoo, pre-dating apps, pre-social media) I got drunk with colleagues of all ages all the time and made some lifelong friendships, one of which is my wife! I think those kind of relationships would be much harder to make these days and that’s a shame.
I'm very confused as to the objective of this post.
If it is trying to decry the effects of the Mike Pence rule in wider society, it falls flat since describing #MeToo as a 'society-wide experiment forcing Pence's rule on people' seems somewhere between tenuous and wrong. You need to back this up with more than one study with incredibly limited scope.
If it is trying to describe a negative effect of #MeToo, that of damaging working relationships between men and women, it absolutely fails to convince me that:
1. The major cause of the reduced collaboration in Econ academia is #MeToo, as opposed to any other of the myriad possible cultural changes in this time
2. This one paper is ridiculously insufficient evidence for anything beyond weak claims specifically about collaboration in Econ academia
3 (the big one). That this is a problem with #MeToo, rather than a problem with Academia. If academia cannot accommodate a culture where it is *ok and accepted to avoid predatory men* without damaging women's ability to operate productively, *that feels distinctly like academia needs to change, not #MeToo culture*
(Also the religious overtones make little sense if this is the goal).
Also, the final quote: '#MeToo has made us all evangelicals, and women are the victims of that change' left a bad taste in my mouth. It seems to imply that a culture where women feel able to call out *predatory behaviour by men* is not beneficial to them, or to society. That's a very strong point, and requires justification. This post makes little attempt to grapple with this, hence the final quote feels shoehorned.
I don't feel the Biblical quote is particularly relevant, it's far too broad. Surely the pursuit of righteousness is rather more involved than simply avoiding unmarried women. If it's the case this is what Evangelicals are using to justify such rules, I'd rather advise them to pluck out their right eye, which is what the Bible actually recommends for an adulterous heart.
"Female economists did not become less likely to work with untenured colleagues, but they were less likely to collaborate with tenured professors. This effect seemed to be attributable to tenured professors working at higher-ranking universities that saw larger reductions in cross-sex collaboration."
Females being less likely to collaborate with the men with the most job security, t least accountability , and who have had the longest to develop "reputations" sounds a lot more like women avoiding sketchy characters. If it were men doing the selection, I'd expect early-career guys to avoid women at least as much as tenured guys (since they are more expendable and thus more vulnerable).
Almost no me too’ cases involved a single complaint by a particular woman. They always involved multiple women, often going back years. And it wasn’t like all the prominent men had me too complaints. Just some. And it wasn’t even like they all had any consequences afterwards. So they basically assume this is all a conspiracy by groups of women even though being a person who brings a me too complain generally feels humiliating and dogs you forever in professional life? This is why most people never say anything. What’s more plausible--that these specific people being accused by multiple people had all done nothing or that some men (ultimately very few were ever accused) did actually harass or assault women?