MeToo discovers there is always a counterrevolution

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by Fabius Maximus
Summary: The #meToo movement has swept like a wildfire through America. Now comes the response, inevitable but surprising to those who set the fires. Here are the first sightings. We can only guess at what comes next.

“Every revolution has its counterrevolution — that is a sign the revolution is for real. And every revolution must defend itself against this counterrevolution, or the revolution will fail.”
— Sociologist C. Wright Mills in Listen Yankee (1960).

Man touching shoulder of uncomfortable woman co-worker

The counter-revolution begins, quietly

Articles about #meToo have a revolutionary aspect: they question a wide and growing range of interactions. How men look at women and talk to them. How people fall into dating, hugging, kissing, and so forth. But this movement is unlike previous civil rights movements. They sought equality. The goals and principles of #meToo are unclear — but go far beyond equality.
Now Americans are responding to #meToo, both as individuals and institutions. Steve Hendrix et al. at the WaPo describe hopes for a new era of some kind — with rules and behaviors yet to be defined. They also describe the defensive behaviors being taken now (until the golden age arrives).

“What’s happening is good, but it is having a chilling effect on camaraderie. I think this is going to be the new normal.”
— Joyce Thomas-Villaronga, president of the United Auto Workers chapter in Sacramento, CA.

There are many stories like that, and more every week.

"Sex and the Office" by Helen Gurley Brown (1962)

By Helen Gurley Brown (1962) about ancient times. Available at Amazon.

“A lobbyist flies solo from Texas to Washington to press his case on the Hill, leaving behind the female associate who did much of the work on the issue. He recognizes that his decision to fly alone is a lost opportunity for his talented young co-worker, but right now, with everything that’s going on, he is not willing to risk a business trip alone with a woman — even if what he sees as caution strikes many women as discrimination.
“As a wave of sexual misconduct allegations against prominent men crested in recent months, relationships between men and women in workplaces across the country have shifted — sometimes toward more honest discussions of what’s not okay at work, but also toward silence and exclusion, a quiet backlash against the righteous pride of the #MeToo movement. …
“In Silicon Valley, the chief executive of a midsize company asked his human resources manager what he should do about the undercurrent of tension around issues of sexual misconduct. Stop having dinners with female employees, he was advised. In fact, stop having dinners with any employees. Lunches are okay, dinners no way, HR told him.
“Another investor said his colleagues have canceled their one-on-one meetings with female entrepreneurs. And some men have taken to comparing their own new approach to that of Vice President Pence, who has said that he does not dine alone with any woman but his wife. …
“But the #MeToo movement will fail if it focuses on ‘legalistic solutions rather than practical ones,’ said Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president of the Society for Human Resource Management, which has 285,000 members in the HR field. In recent weeks, Taylor said, chief executives of ‘several major companies have told us they are now limiting travel between the genders,’ telling men, for example, that they may no longer take female colleagues on business trips or share rental cars with women. …

"Sex and the Office" by Kim Elsesser (2015).

By Kim Elsesser (2015). Available at Amazon.

“In discussions across the country, Taylor, the HR executive, said he found that ‘every man I’ve spoken to is afraid. They really don’t know what to do. I read a list of things millennial women don’t want to see anymore, like opening doors for them or pulling out chairs. So if a group of us go out, how do I know if this woman likes the chivalry of opening a door and this other woman doesn’t?’
“Tracy Wilson sees the caution and confusion every day as ­general manager of the Red Velvet and Bakers & Baristas bakeries in the District. ‘A lot of males are definitely feeling more self-conscious, acting more guarded,’ she said. ‘It’s a shift. The critical mass has been reached.’ …
“‘My research over the past couple of years showed that men were hesitant to have one-on-one meetings, go out to lunch or go on business trips alone with a woman,’ said Kim Elsesser, a psychologist at the University of California at Los Angeles and author of Sex and the Office. ‘Now it’s gotten worse. We need to educate everyone in the workplace not only about what not to do, but that going out to lunch is important — if you segregate by gender, that’s discrimination.’
But fraternization rules and mandatory training don’t seem to improve the culture of workplaces, Elsesser said. ‘There’s really no evidence that we’re doing anything that’s helping at all,’ the psychologist said. She is seeing a backlash against #MeToo in the form of a ‘sex partition,’ an invisible divider as men back away from interacting with women, inhibiting mentor relationships and clogging paths to advancement. Elsesser remains hopeful that the current debate can morph into a national discussion about consent: ‘We have to come up with a way to teach people how to know when it’s okay to move in for the kiss.’ …”

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Lauren Book

Lauren Book.

Reports from Tallahassee, Florida

Mary Ellen Klass writes with a feminist spin in the Miami Herald about reactions in Florida’s capital. Women were the victims in the past, and change will make women the victims in the future.

Women in politics fear #MeToo moment will backfire —
and they’ll be the ones punished.

“I’ve walked around the building and you can look in women’s eyes and you just know they’re in pain. They’re terrified.”
— Lauren Book, Florida State Senator and Senate Democratic leader pro tempore (see Wikipedia).

“{A freshmen male legislator said he wanted} “to sleep with as many women as possible. Who is investigating that?”
— Florida State Senator Debbie Mayfield (see Wikipedia). Klass describes her as “tall, blond and attractive.” She thinks promiscuity is a crime.

As Florida’s politically powerful men fear becoming targets of sexual harassment allegations, the new-found awareness of a male-dominated Legislature has come with a cost: Women are collateral damage.
Female staffers and lobbyists who returned to the Capitol last week for pre-session meetings discovered many male legislators will no longer meet with them privately. Accustomed to Tallahassee’s Southern culture, where men and women casually and routinely greet each other with hugs, legislators are doing an awkward dance to replace a hug with a handshake. And the fear of retaliation — against women who brought forward allegations or those who may in the future — is as raw as the fear that legislators’ political enemies could turn sexual harassment claims into new political weapons.
“I had a senator say, ‘I need my aide here in the room because I need a chaperone,’ ” said Jennifer Green, a veteran lobbyist, after meeting with a senator in his Capitol office to discuss a client’s issue. “I said, ‘Senator, why do you need a chaperone? I don’t feel uncomfortable around you, do you feel uncomfortable around me? ‘Well,’ he said, ‘anyone can say anything with the door shut.’ ” …
{Jennifer Green, a veteran lobbyist} agreed that the culture has to change in order for women to be treated equally. “If you want to fix all this, ban legislators from raising money from lobbyists,” she said. …“It’s about the environment. Make an environment that does not allow drinking in the Capitol, don’t have committees meet after a certain time, and don’t allow fundraising in Tallahassee.” …

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The Big Winner from #meToo

Vice President Mike Pence is the natural heir to Trump. He has experience: six-term congressman and one term governor of Indiana. He young (58) compared to the elderly tag-team of Clinton-Sanders-Trump. He is a competent, and hard-working far-right politician (see his Wikipedia entry).
But history might see his creation of the Pence Rule as his break-out event. “In 2002 Mike Pence told The Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side.” {Source: WaPo.} Karl Popper said that successful predictions are the gold standard of science. Pence might prove that true of politics as well, if millions of men take his advice in response to the #MeToo hysteria
The Democrats can barely cope with Clown Trump. A President Pence will crush them. If Pence has a strong economy in 2020, he probably will lead the GOP to a decisive win.
The Democrats are having fun with their successful social revolutions and their Trump resistance, but the long-term price might be even further loss of political influence.

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7 thoughts on “MeToo discovers there is always a counterrevolution

  1. Pence is no “natural heir” to Trump. He’s just another RINO who would do anything the deep states asks of him. Many many people who refused to vote for Clinton this time will never vote for Pence. You can count on it.

  2. Popper actually said that if your predictions come true, you might be right, though you can’t be sure. But if one of your predictions fails, then you can be certain you’re wrong.

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