Korski has it Wrong
I have enjoyed so many of Korski’s submissions in the past, so I hate to have to disagree with him. I have the highest regard for him as a writer to this site. I usually agree with his point of view, and when disagreeing, it is usually on a minor point. In his last submission, “Are Western Women a Problem?” he so grossly understated the case that it is a disservice to the readership, and especially to any that might try to navigate gender politics in the US using his cautionary tales. He may have spent so much time out of the US that he has lost touch with just how toxic the environment has become for men.
The first and most important part he got wrong is where he asserts that when a woman charges a man with sexual harassment or sexual discrimination, and I quote:
“the law gets turned upside down. Instead of being innocent until proven guilty—the alleged and universal norm in American jurisprudence—in a great many cases where charges of a sexual nature are brought against a man you are guilty until proven innocent.”
This is not true. In such cases the man is guilty, full stop; there is no innocent finding possible. I state this not as an opinion, but as a fact of law; as was explained to me by a male boss when an anonymous woman complained that I had said something that offended her. A female colleague and I had discussed a rash of pregnancies that had popped up in our work group at a large bank. I told her it reminded me of a case at another company a few years prior where a similar occurrence had arisen. The manager had called a meeting to discuss the reordering of job assignments to cope with the maternity leave situation. Somewhere along the discussion the manger had said, “I don’t understand why they are all pregnant at one time. It must be something in the air.” A voice in the back of the room had said, “Yes; their feet.” The woman I was talking to found this mildly amusing, and I thought that was the end of a casual hallway conversation. However, some woman in a nearby cubical overheard this exchange, and chose to take offense. I was reported anonymously.
When my manger called me in to his office, I tried to explain the totally innocuous nature of my comments. He stopped me and informed me of two things: 1) the company did not want to hear what I had said as it was immaterial; all that mattered was that a woman had been offended, and 2) any subsequent complaint by any woman against me would be taken very seriously, and would probably result in my termination. He informed me that implying, however obliquely, that a pregnant woman might have had sex, was totally inappropriate and offensive. I then had to attend a Diversity Awareness Course, led by a woman that overtly supported telling absolute lies if it was the PC thing to do.
Up until the time of this event I had wondered why male visitors to my cubical had looked around, ducked their heads below the level of the wall, leaned their heads into mine, and then whispered when talking to me. After this I adopted the same survival tactic. I made damn sure I never said a word anywhere any woman could hear. Of course that is no guarantee of security. Any woman could make an anonymous charge against any man at any time, and say what ever she wanted to. The man would not even get a hearing, as it was all an administrative process. This is an extremely hostile environment, if you are a man, but it is everywhere in corporate America; there is no escaping it.
In an earlier career at a university, a female business law professor informed me of much the same opinion of my status under these laws as had my boss. This woman had a Ph.D. in Business Administration, a law degree, and a couple of master’s degrees. As well as a college professor, she was also a lawyer, an Administrative Law judge, and a CPA. The word overachiever was created just for her. She explained to me that the current sexual harassment and hostile environment laws were different than all other US laws, and, in her opinion, they were bad laws. The difference was that the laws made someone guilty not for any action or inaction on their part, but rather based on how the alleged victim “felt” about it. She explained how all rules of evidence went out the window when the basis for charges is how a woman feels about something. There is no way you can prove she did not feel offended, so you have no possible defense. As to Stick’s reference to common sense; I was informed that there is no defense based on what an average woman would find offensive. You can not bring testimony as to community standards that would show it was unreasonable for the woman to be offended. If the woman says she was offended, then you are guilty under the law.
In case 1 of Korski’s submission I cringed when I read that he asked the female teaching assistant to a bullfight. His actions were so incredibly naïve I could hardly believe the case came from anytime after 1970. While teaching at university I feared even to be alone in the same room with any woman, even with the door open completely. Every second you are alone with a woman you should be afraid of being accused of god knows what. The worst case for the professor who asked his TA out would have been if she had said yes. Then his ass would have been hers for the rest of his life. She could come back at anytime and claim sexual harassment of the highest order, rape, or what ever she wanted. No questions would be asked as he was discharged; tenure or no tenure. The dean of Harvard was run out of office for merely responding to a question, “Why aren’t there more female Ph.D.s in certain fields?” with, “Maybe fewer women are interested in those fields.” He did not claim women were less capable. He did not say they couldn’t do as well as any man if they wanted to. He didn’t even assert that fewer women were interested in those fields; merely that it might be so; a potential for further study. For arguing anything other than the party line that it was due to gender bias on the part of a male dominant power structure, he was driven from his position as the head of the number one institution of higher education in the US; so much for academic freedom on US campuses.
On the other side of the equation, there is no downside for women in the work place using sexual politics to get ahead. At one university where I had worked a female Ph.D. student that I knew showed up one day in a very thin very short little girl dress, no makeup, and with her hair braided in pigtails. She was about 6 feet tall and thin. On the few social occasions where I had observed her she came across as somewhat “wild”. The dress in question had short puff sleeves and buttons down the front, from the neck to the hem (which ended about two inches below her crotch). It looked like it had been a dress she had worn when she was twelve. All buttons were buttoned, but the dress was so tight that there were gaps where it was buttoned which clearly showed that she had nothing on under the dress. I asked where she was headed, and she told me she on her way to a conference with her Ph.D. advisor. Getting the support of a faculty member for your dissertation is critical to completing and getting your doctorate. I am sure she had her (male) advisor’s full attention and support. He was a much braver man than me; and I was single at the time.
Korski states as advice about dating a western woman:
Be bloody fucking careful that your senses about what the woman is all about are right, because if you’re wrong and she decides to file this or that charge against you for “inappropriate” sexual behavior, or for sexual harassment, or for rape (the willing fuck the night before who changed her mind on waking in the morning), your ass is, to put it mildly, cooked…..And we’re back to why so many men from the West go to Southeast Asia and don’t worry about doing things that in the West would get them deeper in shit that they can imagine.
He gives the impression with these statements that if you watch what you do in the west you will be safe from charges of sexual harassment. An example from a US university where I worked disproves this contention. The campus newspaper reported on the front page that over 80% of the female students had been the victim of sexual harassment, and that 65% of the male students had as well. I found this hard to believe. I checked into the methodology they used to come up with these statistics. They had used a survey with questions that did not clearly indicate that a yes response meant you felt you had been sexually harassed. An example was the following question: “Have you ever been looked at while on the campus shuttle bus?” If the respondent indicated yes, then they counted as having been sexually harassed. Note that the question did not ask, “Were you looked at in a way that made you uncomfortable?” So, merely looking at a woman is interpreted as sexual harassment. How can you avoid that? What woman (normal 18 to 25 year old college student) has not been looked at? (Apparently about 20% were just too ugly.)
These laws were created in a different age; when the work place was male dominated and not welcoming to women. They were put there to stop the overt and truly bad treatment some women had to put up with. Those days are long gone; over a generation ago. Now they are a whip in the hands of the dominant gender; women. (Over 50% of the workforce in the US is women. 51% of all managers in the US are women. Two thirds of all businesses started in the US in the past ten years were headed by women. However, in the current downturn (recession/depression) 75% of the people which lost their jobs in the US were men.) These laws have been so twisted from their original intent that the implementation bares no relation to the intent of those that passed the laws. Since the law and politics are dominated by women, there is no chance that these laws will be changed or reinterpreted. (Women are more than 55% of the registered voters, and even higher percentage of those that actually vote.)
The only two nominees Obama has made to the US Supreme Court have been women. President Obama stated the prime qualification of any nominee of his for the Supreme Court would be their intent to protect women’s rights. I am a citizen of the US, but since I am a male, protecting my rights is not of interest to the President, or a concern of the Supreme Court. This will just make the courts even more biased in women’s favor. Male judges live in fear of making any decision that might be interpreted as offensive to women, and female judges are steeped in feminist doctrine that men are scum from which society, i.e. women and children, need to be protected.
I am glad that I am nearing retirement, so I have only a short time more to survive before I can escape to a culture that does not assume I am a child molester, rapist, violent abuser, sexual harasser, or other criminal, just because I am a man.
I am going to stick my neck out here and risk deeply offending 28% of the readership. This sort of thing does NOT happen *regularly*, nor is the norm Down Under. I can really only talk about Australia and New Zealand, the two Western countries I am most familiar with, where I have worked, and where most of my closest friends are. Sure, you get the odd strange story from those countries, but nothing as extreme as this sort of thing being considered the norm. I hate to say it, but I think this is a more of a societal thing (i.e. in the States) than it is a Western women thing. Of course, I could be wrong, but why don't we hear of this sort of thing so much outside America (and to a lesser extent, the UK). It's a shame really, because when I visited the USA, twice in one year, many years ago, I had a great time and really liked it. I liked so much about it and felt it was a country I would *really* like to spend much more time touring around and seeing properly, scratching below the surface. While the sort of thing talked about in this submission has almost nothing to do with travel, when things get so screwed up this badly it makes you wonder about how badly other things are screwed up and really does put you off visiting that place.