As I write this, millions around the world eagerly await the finale of AMC’s Mad Men. Through the course of seven seasons, approximately ten trillion editorials have been written about the show’s depiction of retrograde attitudes toward women, particularly women in the workplace. Like most people who will read this, I am saddened that there was a time when women were considered secretaries, even if they had achieved loftier positions. There were countless women like Joan and Peggy and we honor them and correct the sins of the past by treating everyone equally today.
The summarizers at Jezebel are, as you might imagine, quite vigilant when it comes to spotlighting workplace inequity. Unfortunately, they get it completely wrong in a recent story, one that is indicative of many of the views about gender held by the authoritarian left. In “Men in Congress Are Trying to Avoid Being Alone with Female Staffers,” Anna Merlan summarizes a story from the National Journal that describes the frustration many women in Washington, D.C. have: their male bosses are reluctant to be alone with them. Ms. Merlan demonstrates her complete lack of understanding of the issue in her analysis:
Surely it would be easier to just not have an affair with your female staffers, right, members of Congress? Rather than surround yourselves with a protective phalanx of dicks and shrink away from interacting with the women you hired?
Perhaps Ms. Merlan has not read some of the other articles she has written for Jezebel in which men are characterized as sexist predators who cannot be trusted to spend time alone in the same room with a female employee or co-worker. Like this one. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one.
We live in a time in which you can be fired if you tell a friend a dongle joke behind the wrong gender demagogue. Only one in five teachers are men, in part because of the authoritarian left belief that men cannot, to paraphrase Ms. Merlan, refrain from having sex with women in their workplace. When men refuse to meet with women in private, they are acting out of self-preservation and often in an effort to comply with workplace policies urged by the authoritarian left. When the mere appearance of impropriety is all it takes to ruin your life, you are not going to take any chances. Ms. Merlan has it all wrong; it’s not a “protective phalanx of dicks,” as she so artfully put it. It’s a protective layer of feminist-dictated HR policies.
We cannot have it both ways. I believe that men and women should be treated equally. Most men are fully capable of refraining from “having affairs” with coworkers. And what of those who do have affairs? Ms. Merlan strips these women of all agency. I am under the impression that women have the right to decide with whom they will have sex and under what circumstances. I always thought that women are equally responsible for the consensual sex they have with men. Ms. Merlan doesn’t seem to think women are capable of cheating willfully.
Of course, if you have been familiar with Jezebel for any amount of time, you are not surprised that the site’s ethos is an ironically sexist one: women are agencyless victims, men are the font of Patriarchy, from which all evil springs. Further, men are in an intractable Catch-22: if they take steps to prevent false accusations, they are sexist, but if they spend too much time alone with a co-worker, they are “creepy.”
Note the additional victim blaming that takes place in the comments:
Have men spent the past thirty years begging others to view them as predators who can’t keep it in their pants? Did I miss something and a group of men marched on the National Mall proclaiming their inability to refrain from Clarence Thomasing about with a pubic hair on a Coke can? No. The authoritarian left (like Jezebel) devotes vast resources to spreading these sexist lies.
You’ll notice that “dalila” claims that male paranoia is born of Patriarchy. Of course it is. Every problem we have is part of Patriarchy. Men are taking extreme measures to prove they’re not having sex with their employees or sexually harassing their staffers because men control everything.
Perhaps the authoritarian left’s biggest problem (aside from its yawn-inducing reliance on the Patriarchy boogeyman) is that their philosophies are not internally consistent. If all men are deviant sexual predators, why would they shut themselves away from women and ensure they can’t prey upon the women with whom they spend so many hours?
The authoritarian left needs to make up their mind. Do they want the genders to be treated equally or do they want men to exist in a perpetual state of frightened fealty, like a rescue dog who clearly remembers the feel of the rolled-up newspaper on his nose?