FEMALE PRIVILEGE – Donglegate and the colonization of men’s spaces

Donglegate is about one more attempt to impose female norms in the workplace on the assumption that they are simply civilized norms. Supposedly one of the marks of privilege is that the norms of the privileged groups are just considered “the norm” for everyone. Donglegate is about feamea privilege and the sexism of a woman expecting her female norms of behavior to be adhered to because they are just the “normal” norms, and more than that, of an entire power structure enforcing them for her – sexual harassment policies that discriminate as to who is and is not a possible victim, laws protect abuse of these policies, firings as punishment.

This is what I mean by gynonormativity, where female norms become the general norms of the culture. It is a significant source of female privilege. In the context of the workplace, gynonormativity in the culture allowed women entering the workforce to weaponize sexual harassment and other policies, aided and abetted by apexual men.

The difference is this time there’s pushback. And this pushback is coming from a lot of people who never knew and don’t know anyone involved, because it’s personal for them for other reasons.

Richards was trying to police those two men’s speech – actually she was trying to make a bloody example of them to police all men’s speech in the industry. That’s what has brought so many bystanders into the fight – they know they are not just bystanders. And she was trying to police these men to her own female standards, in a male space. That is colonization.

(And by the way, this was a norm she clearly does not think she has to adhere to.)

And this gynonormativity in society is where these accusations of misogyny in the tech industry come from. Female privilege makes female norms “the norm’, and when someone used to that privilege goes somewhere they are not the norm, it is indeed going to feel like misogyny, when all it really is is equality.

I wonder if it would just be simpler if they hung signs over the doors of tech firms that said:

YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A MALE SPACE. FEMALE NORMS ARE NOT VALID HERE.  ENTRY CONSTITUTES CONSENT TO THE NORMS OF THIS SPACE.

Or maybe it would be accurate if the sign said:

YOU ARE ENTERING A TECH SPACE. NON-TECH NORMS ARE INVALID HERE.

Because as odd as it may sound to an outsider, the tech industry is a creative enterprise, and creativity withers under strictures and counterproductive constraints.

And by the way, it might not be a bad idea to do the same at elementary schools:

YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A FEMALE SPACE. MALE NORMS ARE NOT VALID HERE.

Or would that be too much clarity, would that be ripping the scab off of some fundamental problems in public education?

And now for a comment from the same and moderate middle ground, here is Marci Sischo.

39 thoughts on “FEMALE PRIVILEGE – Donglegate and the colonization of men’s spaces

  1. Speaking off harassment laws, I have read that Mckinnon was very influential in forming US harassment laws. Do you know if this is the case?

  2. Thing is though – as you point out with your link – it’s not actually a female norm. Listen in to a conversation between women and it’ll be every bit as filthy as a conversation between men. The books and magazines women read are as full of sexual references as anything men consume. It is not a female norm to recoil from mild sexual innuendo. This isn’t a norm of behaviour that’s assumed to apply when it doesn’t – nothing that innocent. It’s power. Richards will make dick jokes with guys she knows and likes, because fundamentally, she doesn’t actually object to dick jokes. But she reserves the right to make men she doesn’t know or like suffer for innocuous innuendo, because she can.

  3. On a more serious note: I wonder if it’s fair to call these standards “women’s standards”. After all a heck of a lot of women have come forward and publically distanced themselves from them.

    I think the standards are the desired norms of a certain subset of women – the type who would waste three years studying Women’s Studies then rant about how “the patriarchy” means that she gets paid less than men (and women who did useful degrees).

  4. This is a “female gender role is aristocracy” remnant from conservative Victorian-era roles.

    The slaves, the working-class people and even the middle-class people cannot complain much about what is asked of them. They do it or they get sacked, out of work, starving, no insurance, and they die. Even truly hostile environment.

    But the aristocrat? Their livelihood is usually nothing that they ‘do’, unless they’re the public face of a super rich company. Regardless, they can refuse, impose their standards, and “pay someone to do it” when they don’t like the work.

    In Spartacus series, slaves are paid to wash, masturbate, dress and also prostitution-on-demand, and have *nothing* to say about it. Talking back will only get you punished. You can only object to something if you have high perceived value (even as a slave), even so Spartacus gets shat on for his sensitivities (and he’s highly valued to Batiatius, his owner).

    The owner can even decide your entire being is offensive to them, have you change to suit them, because they like it better that way.

    Note that I consider forced shearing of male prisoners and male soldiers to be part and parcel of an act of emasculation, meant to depersonalize them.

    Telling that women are not forced.

  5. I’d very much oppose those signs, myself. Any individual company is entitled to develop whatever weird subculture it wants, whether it’s everyone singing a company anthem each morning, all new starters being quizzed on their position on prison rape (non-fictional), whatever. But when you have inter-company events, I think it’s fair enough to have a general “you’re in public, behave” type atmosphere. Tech companies aren’t all alike, and as noted elsewhere this whole “tech companies are male spaces” thing seems to be just a West Europe/US thing anyway.

  6. But when you have inter-company events, I think it’s fair enough to have a general “you’re in public, behave” type atmosphere. Tech companies aren’t all alike, and as noted elsewhere this whole “tech companies are male spaces” thing seems to be just a West Europe/US thing anyway.

    Except overhearing someone saying something is not like being directly insulted. It wasn’t even a belittling joke. It wasn’t sexist either. It was at worst silly and not witty.

    This was a “Oh, I’m going to faint, my terrible terrible sense of being offended cannot take this” that everyone who didn’t grow without ever being challenged has thick enough skin to let slide.

    This isn’t about it being a “male space”, this is about it being a “have a backbone” space, which should be the universal standard for all spaces that are not support groups.

    I’ve had millions of times worse told and done to me in elementary and high school, directly at me, offensive enough to cause social anxiety. I’ve been offended up to 6.5/10 on my offense-o-meter in person, and 8.0 on internet (about trans stuff).

    This silly joke wouldn’t read above 0.5 on my offense-o-meter, even considering it as a log scale (like decibels).

    I’ve heard arguments that I shouldn’t exist, that I should be mandated out of existence, that I shouldn’t pee in public at all, that I provoked (and merited) beatings “because what were you expecting, replying to people insulting you”. WAY more offensive, and earning some policing (although none was had, since I was blamed for it all – for the personal stuff).

    The argument I heard by silly people that a woman making a vagina joke wouldn’t be as offensive, because women don’t have power, is BULLSHIT. It’s just as (non-) offensive, but discrimination doesn’t work from weird made up hypothesis about how the world is ruled by all men, it works from a standpoint of objectivity where all discrimination is bad.

  7. @Patrick, yeah I agree with you. The goal seems to be to make men as uncomfortable as possible while allowing women to express their own sexuality to their hearts’ content. It’s definitely all about power and it is reflected by the lopsided costs of sexual access in our culture.

    Donglegate, the way I see it, is really no different from Elevatorgate and both are no different than this: http://now.msn.com/heather-hayes-arrested-for-attacking-boyfriend-eric-zuber-because-he-would-not-have-sex-with-her At the end of the day, each one involves an attention-starved woman who lashed out because she was not satisfied with the exact nature of the sexual dynamic between herself and a male, even though none of the men had done a single thing wrong.

  8. Patrick,
    “Thing is though – as you point out with your link – it’s not actually a female norm. Listen in to a conversation between women and it’ll be every bit as filthy as a conversation between men.”

    It is a female norm for men’s behavior, not women’s.

    Adiabat,

    I like whatever is slapping around at the bottom of your coat.

    “On a more serious note: I wonder if it’s fair to call these standards “women’s standards”. After all a heck of a lot of women have come forward and publically distanced themselves from them.”

    “Women’s standards” is a unit =/= standards that woemn have. It meanas standards set by women.

    These are traditional standards, set and enforced by women. Lots of women oppose them. That doesn’t change who set them and who enforces them.

    Schala, your comment is refering to a form of female privlege, which is what is on display in this case.

  9. Here’s a copy of the comment I tried to leave on Adria’s blog. Her commenting system either imploded (possible as they’re rather messed up) or it was moderated out.

    I think there’s a misapplication of a lot of concepts at play here. We can talk all day about Patriarchy Theory, but in discussing an acute, particular incident such as this we’re probably better off approaching it (from a point of theoretical concept) as a function of the Repressive Hypothesis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_Sexuality#Part_II:_The_Repressive_Hypothesis

    If you read through the entry, the parallels to this particular incident are stunning. The whole concept of “name and shame” and “call-out culture” acts to censor discourse on sexuality (in particular a benign case such as this). However, we now have people like you, Adria, who seem to be working your hardest to create a discourse concerning male sexuality that exists by (and I quote) “using an ‘authorized vocabulary’ that codified where you could talk about it, when you could talk about it, and with whom.” It is the core of sexuality-based “othering” and acts to restrict the discourse to “acceptable” and “proper” discursive language and context.

    Now the big caveat is to also note that this can be a thin line, sometimes, as there are moral/ethical limits on sexual discourse which are not directly linked to a notion of individual or collective sexuality, but based on social contract in regards to one’s duty to minimize the harm to others. The practical application, in my view, would be if these guys had been making objectifying rape jokes which cause harm. However, expressing humor in a non-objectifying (or, perhaps in unknown context self-objectifying) such as making a “big dongle” joke doesn’t pass the moral/ethical test of harm without prioritizing an individual’s subjective sensibilities as more important than the larger social-contractual society. I have an inherent issue with this idea.

    Because, under Repressive Hypothesis and postmodern world-view, we’re really talking about cultural “anxieties”. One can easily understand that the context of male-anatomical jokes about size and prowess represent a social anxiety over the ideas of pleasure and sexuality which our culture remains engaged with as a problematic aspect of discourse. This is one of those places where the statement that “Patriarchy hurts men too” is immensely apt.

    In the end the problem is (as nearly always) ego. The context of this whole incident is a baseline assumption that there exists an esoteric solution that is only in the hands of those who have the secret knowledge. Of course, these ideas aren’t exactly esoteric, themselves, but they exist with the sort of clout of absolute moral conviction which betrays a simplistic, “easy” approach in which actions are evaluated not on their larger basis with a mind toward unpacking both (or, the many, many) “sides” of the incident.

    The hyperbole (which is always necessary) is that an individual who, for example, suffered abuse at the hands of a clown doesn’t necessarily have the right to demand that, again for example, a clown isn’t a small part of a carnival. It’s far, far more complex than that, but the point is that maturity demands interaction not passive-aggressive appeals to authority.

    I’m also somewhat amazed (and I have no idea what it said) that the Code of Conduct that keeps being trotted out as an authoritative appeal to justify the actions doesn’t prohibit non-consensual photography. Every conference, convention and larger event I’ve ever attended has had one sort of corner or another of their attendance agreement that covers consent for recording. Regardless, it isn’t a “Code of Conduct” issue at play, it’s a concern for maturity and treating people like human beings instead of pawns in some personal game.

  10. Schala:

    The argument I heard by silly people that a woman making a vagina joke wouldn’t be as offensive, because women don’t have power, is BULLSHIT.

    It’s also bullshit because talking about vaginas is way more unacceptable than talking about penises. There isn’t a socially acceptable colloquial word for the vagina. All words for girls’ bits are offensive. Why? Because women take offence.

  11. “the type who would waste three years studying Women’s Studies then rant about how “the patriarchy” means that she gets paid less than men (and women who did useful degrees).”

    Lately I have been thinking that the uselessness of womens studies degrees and the uselessness of the research of many doing research within feminist theoretical perspectives within all sorts of fields like literature etc. is a key reason radical feminism perpetuates itself and keeps getting ever more idiotic. Since they can`t really do anything else useful, and that pays, they have to invent “oppression” in order to have work. That is why you get articles on how panties is a mysogynistic and oppressive word. And to make a name for yourself, with all the benefit that brings, you need to do like Naomi Wolf and claim 150 000 women die each year in the US of eating disorders in stead of report the real number, 525. This makes it very hard to combat this stuff. You are not fighting beliefs per se you are fighting livelyhoods and the ambitions to become a feminist star.

  12. “Note that I consider forced shearing of male prisoners and male soldiers to be part and parcel of an act of emasculation, meant to depersonalize them.”

    What is forced shearing?

  13. @Sherlock – “Lately I have been thinking that the uselessness of womens studies degrees and the uselessness of the research of many doing research within feminist theoretical perspectives within all sorts of fields like literature etc. is a key reason radical feminism perpetuates itself and keeps getting ever more idiotic.”

    The basic issue with this is that “gender studies” has become the best representative of postmodernism in the American academy. Postmodernism, at least the descriptive Foucaultian sort, is very, very important to the advancement of our culture as a whole. It’s just been completely co-opted by a political movement.

    One of the best classes I took in undergrad was a “gender studies” course that was both dripping with political bias and packed full of really awesome, necessary study of Foucault.

    It’s kind of a “shit covered chocolate” situation.

  14. What is forced shearing?

    The removal by force of all head hair, wether it’s on top or facial. You could have a long head of hair and a Gandalf beard, or the Bruce Willis looks, they won’t care, only the latter is acceptable.

    http://www.choisser.com/longhair/rajsing3.html

    from it:

    RULE #1: A man’s reasons for refraining from hair-cutting practices all relate to his assertion, intended consciously or subconsciously, that he is not the servant of other men. RULE #2: When people in authority demand that a man cut his hair or shave his face, their purpose in doing so is to require the clipped man to openly demonstrate his obedience and subservience to them through emasculation.

    These two rules are absolute; there are no exceptions. If a person is to be in a position to intelligently sort through the issues presented in a male-prisoner hair regulation case, then that person must necessarily acquire and develop an appreciation of the two rules listed above.

    It might also be related to notions of short hair on men as more acceptable, while long-haired men are considered rebels and counter-culture. The subtext is that the non-rebels are considered sheeple, castrated docile herd-able beasts to do the bidding of the 1%. As in husbandry.

  15. The reason women are not asked to emasculate themselves is misogynist in itself – it’s assumed that, like female animals, women won’t make waves or assert themselves (which would be more like reproductive male animals, who are very territorial, vs castrated ones who are docile)

  16. But when you have inter-company events, I think it’s fair enough to have a general “you’re in public, behave” type atmosphere

    Exactly. Women like Adria Richards need to learn that just because some of the companies they work for create a coddling atmosphere that allows them to get away with all sorts of bullying and abuse, going out into public and representing their employer means that she should have behaved.

  17. Note that I consider forced shearing of male prisoners and male soldiers to be part and parcel of an act of emasculation, meant to depersonalize them.

    Well, don’t consider it. For women, it’s considered eccentric and they are actually discouraged from doing that, even when they want to. I’d hate to have had to go into combat, sleeping in the dirt for 2 months without running water. Being able to clean my head with nothing more than a wet paper towel was a blessing. The women stunk far worse than the men. It’s also a big deal in a fight. Being able to grab and pull hair is a huge disadvantage. I honestly don’t think anyone with any sense would want long hair in combat or in prison. I was always plucking my last girlfriend’s hair out of her food at just about every meal, plus helping her untangle it and free it as it got caught in just about everything. And then there was the one time she got fleas from some kids she was babysitting. How could she have won a fight if she couldn’t even win against herself?

  18. In the army they have women wear it in buns or braids, not down. And as such it doesn’t get in the way.

    In prison there is no fucking reason to have men lose the hair (while women keep theirs) except to consider that you emasculate the men (show them who’s boss), while the women are already considered relatively harmless.

    The army has, at its base, the EXACT same motivations. They might bring other arguments in it, but that’s like circumcision, it’s only trying to justify by grasping at straws. Long hair has never prevented combat before.

    Romans are the EXCEPTION where they had short hair without being slaves. Other places, including warring cultures, valued long hair, in men.

  19. @Patrick

    As a young man I worked as an orderly in a rehab hospital. I quickly learned that any locker room I had ever been in had nothing on a room full of nurses. Dick jokes, they are angelic in comparison to some of the stuff these women would say. ;)

  20. “In the army they have women wear it in buns or braids, not down. And as such it doesn’t get in the way.”

    Only because the chance of women engaging in hand to hand combat has historically been 0.

  21. Pingback: FEMALE PRIVLEGE – Donglegate – This is what sexual entitlement looks like | GendErratic

  22. “Only because the chance of women engaging in hand to hand combat has historically been 0.”

    In the Canadian army, same standards, and frontline fighters since who knows when. No restriction like the US, and no SSS or conscription since 1945.

  23. “In the Canadian army, …”

    Schala, that kind of confirms dungone’s point, don’t you think?

    (That was bullshit, but I couldn’t resist. Thanks for humoring me.)

  24. The fact that it’s also done in prison (tell me it’s about hand-to-hand combat too, try it) just shows the army reasons are flimsy and strawman.

    The engineer and the radar guy, who would never see a frontline, still get their head shaved, because they’re men, so braids and buns are bad for them, you see. No no no, it’s not-at-all about emasculating them, even if that’s what conquerors did to the conquered before turning them to slavery.

  25. Schala, it really is about hygiene and convenience. I keep my hair at a buzz cut because it’s just so much easier.

    I do agree that very close haircuts – shaving is against Army regs – in academy or basic training situations is about breaking down individuality. well, in those settings that’s a appropriate. Those are induction processes. It’s a mild form of “jumping in” a new member of the group.

  26. Schala, it really is about hygiene and convenience. I keep my hair at a buzz cut because it’s just so much easier.

    I brush my hair, for all of ~5 minutes in the morning. No product besides shampoo and conditioner, once per 2 weeks, sometimes 3 weeks. My hair is very long, thick, healthy, shiny, and I cut my hair every once per…never.

    I do agree that very close haircuts – shaving is against Army regs – in academy or basic training situations is about breaking down individuality. well, in those settings that’s a appropriate. Those are induction processes. It’s a mild form of “jumping in” a new member of the group.

    Then why is “breaking down individuality” only good for men? Shouldn’t be double standards. Women can be “broken” too.

    I think they should have unisex regulations that should be clearly labeled, without forcing one sex to have very short hair and the other allowed to tie it up. Both can tie it up, or none can have long hair.

  27. The upside of short hair:

    Cooler in hot temperature, won’t get caught in stuff or get in your face, no need to tie it. No handle for hand-to-hand combat.

    The upside of long hair:

    Tons more possibilities of looks, and more aesthetically pleasing when down vs short hair that has equally little maintenance. Protects somewhat from wind and cold weather, harder to have your head get wet or cold (if you have thick enough hair anyways) from exposure to weather.

    Both types can have little or high maintenance, depending on how advertisers managed to sell the idea of washing daily and using 72 products in your hair every single day just to have it look decent.

    Only long hair can avoid cuts entirely (leave it grow forever, it eventually reaches terminal length – your genetically programmed max length), though buzz cuts with adapters (leaving some short length) is also fast to do.

  28. @Schala, your very upside for long hair is irrelevant to combat or hygiene. It’s worth going back to that Roman army and what they did and why, because after all, they are a major influence in why modern forces invariably keep short hair.

    The Romans weren’t just another warlike culture. They were the the first ever to have the organizational capacity to conduct continuous warfare on multiple fronts. Their could field highly regimented, professional armies that other cultures couldn’t even compare against. Consistent, highly refined training, good equipment, uniforms, and supplies brought long distances over vast road networks. They were also unmatched in their ability to provide sanitary conditions for large groups of people confined into a small place, whether dense urban areas or military camps. The short hair can be seen as representing a little bit of everything that made their culture so incredibly strong. Their empire lasted longer than any other in history. So saying that they’re the exception is like yeah, they were pretty much the pinnacle.

  29. Schala,
    “I brush my hair, for all of ~5 minutes in the morning. ”

    Completely different environments. You are mostly indoors, for one thing. you are not in a dusty environment. this makes a big difference.

    Your angle on looks is true, but irrelevant in a military setting. in uniform how good or crummy you look is not a matter of how well you construct a personal, individual look. It’s about how well you achieve the standard look

  30. Your angle on looks is true, but irrelevant in a military setting. in uniform how good or crummy you look is not a matter of how well you construct a personal, individual look. It’s about how well you achieve the standard look

    You and dungone are still ignoring that, wether this is army in combat, frontline, support, medic what-have-you, or prisons. There is a double standard at play. And its NOT justifiable.

    Short hair is universally bad or its universally obligatory, but it’s not “mandatory only for men”, that makes zero sense.

    You can go on about how Romans rocked and all that, but their women had long hair too. Imagine that. And male senators had short hair. Because it was the fashion. Elsewhere, *everyone* had long hair. Being empire-like is NOT a sign of how hot/great/awesome you are, it can be a sign of how an asshole you are.

    Just see the UK empire in the 1700-1900s, and the Austria-Hungary empire until WW1 and Japan’s empire until the end of WW2 – not paragons of virtue, by far.

    And the US are just the new boss, same as the old boss – ruled by a 1% rich elite who doesn’t care one bit about the common people. How does it make it better? It doesn’t. It just makes it more oppressive and more “Don’t wrong me or I’ll kill you.” bully attitude (to other countries). The US are the new Adria, if you prefer. The one with the power and a short fuse.

    Now, back to the argument, how can you rule that it’s “efficient”, better for X, for Y, for Z…but not for women? It’s better or its NOT. It can’t be both. And if you allow a cultural exception to rule the day (women culturally have long hair, so it would be bad to make them cut it), allow them all, because your tactical argument then doesn’t hold at all. Tactical or not, no exception.

  31. If women are combatants then they should cut their hair, if not then let them leave it long if that is their choice. The same standard should hold true for men too.

  32. Titfortat: This standard is also applied to prisons, and none of them are going to fight (at least not intentionally), obviously.

    And often to schools and workplaces, again for no reason (they do allow it slightly longer for boys, but barely).

    The “above ears” “above collar” regulation cut is also clearly meant to depersonalize (read: make conformist robots) out of boys, but not of girls (since it’s not equally expected). There isn’t much room in length between Bruce Willis-short and the regulation cut, barely 2-3 inches maybe.

    So about no variation, apparently similar to acceptable formal clothing – all suits, all looks the same, and the big difference is likely to be how rich you are and if you can custom-tailor it rather than the basic looks (all looks the same).

    Consider my hair is 30-36 inch in length, and that it stops growing longer after (I’ve had it grow almost non-stop since I was 18, I’m 30, it grows roughly 6 inches a year). It takes 5-6 years for one short hair to reach full length. I don’t do fancy ‘dos’ with it, but I always found it nice to have even when just down (I prefer it untied, ponytails give me headaches).

    Even at 9 inch (chin length) hair, I was considered rebellious pre-transition, but for a girl, “long” starts at shoulder (12-13 inch maybe), yet “pixie cuts” and “bobs” (which are shortish) are acceptable for girls, but long is seen as being a slob and rebellious for boys (regardless of how clean or good looking it is).

    I do wonder if employers are reluctant to hire boys or men with long hair because they think he’s a slob or because they think he’s rebellious? Because in my experience, the “creative trades” (including videogame creation) won’t care about uniforms and hair length, the warehouses won’t care much either for another reason (it’s all informal), but offices and such will care, and refuse to hire them. They want conformists or they think he’s unhygienic? I vote for conformist, with the other reason merely an excuse.

  33. Kenny: Speaking off harassment laws, I have read that Mckinnon was very influential in forming US harassment laws. Do you know if this is the case?

    Yes, she practically invented the term.

    From the Wikipedia entry on Catherine MacKinnon:

    According to an article published by Deborah Dinner in the March/April 2006 issue of Legal Affairs, MacKinnon first became interested in issues concerning sexual harassment when she heard that an administrative assistant at Cornell University resigned after being refused a transfer when she complained of her supervisor’s harassing behavior, and then was denied unemployment benefits because she quit for ‘personal’ reasons. It was at a consciousness-raising session about this and other women’s workplace experiences, organized by Lin Farley as part of a Cornell class on women and work,[11] that the term sexual harassment was first coined.[12]

    In 1977, MacKinnon graduated from Yale Law School after having written a paper on the topic of sexual harassment for Professor Thomas I. Emerson. Two years later, MacKinnon published “Sexual Harassment of Working Women,” arguing that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and any other sex discrimination prohibition. While working on “Sexual Harassment”, MacKinnon shared draft copies with attorneys litigating early sexual harassment cases, including Nadine Traub, who represented Yale undergraduates in Alexander v. Yale, the first test case of MacKinnon’s legal theory.[13][14]

    In her book, MacKinnon argued that sexual harassment is sex discrimination because the act reinforces the social inequality of women to men (see, for example, pp. 116–18, 174). She distinguishes between two types of sexual harassment (see pp. 32–42): 1) “quid pro quo,” meaning sexual harassment “in which sexual compliance is exchanged, or proposed to be exchanged, for an employment opportunity (p. 32)” and 2) the type of harassment that “arises when sexual harassment is a persistent condition of work (p. 32).” In 1980, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission followed MacKinnon’s framework in adopting guidelines prohibiting sexual harassment by prohibiting both quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment (see 29 C.F.R. § 1604.11(a)).

    In 1986, the Supreme Court held in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson that sexual harassment may violate laws against sex discrimination. In Meritor, the Court also recognized the distinction between quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work place harassment. Wrote MacKinnon in a 2002 article: “‘Without question,’ then-Justice Rehnquist wrote for a unanimous Court, ‘when a supervisor sexually harasses a subordinate because of the subordinate’s sex, that supervisor “discriminate[s]” on the basis of sex.’ The D.C. Circuit, and women, had won. A new common law rule was established.”[15]

    MacKinnon’s book Sexual Harassment of Working Women: A Case of Sex Discrimination is the eighth most-cited American legal book published since 1978, according to a study published by Fred Shapiro in January 2000.

    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catharine_MacKinnon#Sexual_harassment

  34. “‘Without question,’ then-Justice Rehnquist wrote for a unanimous Court, ‘when a supervisor sexually harasses a subordinate because of the subordinate’s sex, that supervisor “discriminate[s]” on the basis of sex.’”
    So does that mean that I harassment is legal if it do it to equal numbers of men and women? :3

    Also, the rationale that MacKinnon uses (that is, that sexual harassment is a crime of discrimination from to only women) seems like a good explanation of why men typically have a much harder time getting justice in sexual harassment cases.

  35. I love the bit about the elementary schools being female space. I once worked in a group home for mentally handicapped men. The staff was predominantly female. “Normalization” was actually a word. I remember one evening when there was only male staff and the dinner table was “set” decidedly differently. We also instituted Star Trek training.

    In this case, Adria Richards jumped out into traffic to defend her right-of-way, and got hit by a truck.

    http://fascinatingtales.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/adria-richards-dongles-and-burqas/

  36. Sherlock: “This makes it very hard to combat this stuff. You are not fighting beliefs per se you are fighting livelyhoods and the ambitions to become a feminist star.”

    I think that’s one reason. Though what I think makes combating this stuff so difficult is that there are various motivations behind different feminists. You have the more successful ones who have to keep up the charade, sometimes to the point of deluding themselves, to keep their ‘status’. You also have the vast majority of Women’s Studies graduates who are now working in call centres and as waitresses who cling onto the dogma so they don’t have to face up to the fact that they wasted 3+ years and possibly set their lives back, possibly irretrievably so. For others their Women’s Studies degree is what enables them to believe that they are of higher status than their peers (eg the waitresses who went into that work straight out of school instead of going to uni first): for them to admit that what they studied was mostly bullshit would be a major blow to their self image.

    Not that there is anything wrong with waitressing or call centre work, I did similar to get myself through uni; just that I don’t think it’s a Women’s Studies graduate’s ideal job, if they had the choice.

    Crow: “Postmodernism, at least the descriptive Foucaultian sort, is very, very important to the advancement of our culture as a whole.”

    I’d be interested in the reasoning behind that statement.

    As for postmodernism being co-opted, I would argue that postmodernism was always intended as a political movement rather than a philosophical one. Foucault’s ‘power’ stuff is more about a ‘call to arms’ than about providing any kind of insight into anything. It’s well known that he pretty much made up historical facts when he couldn’t find any suitable ones to make a point. It seems to me that he was more interested in providing an ‘ideology of unrest’ rather than providing genuine insight into a subject. Why else would he be so popular with hot-blooded undergraduates and “activist” professors?

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