March 8, 2016

"In Describing a Pattern to Harassment of Female Scientists..."

"... Professor’s Op-Ed Strikes a Chord," says The Chronicle of Higher Education:
The New York Times published an op-ed on Friday night by A. Hope Jahren, a professor of geobiology at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, entitled “She Wanted to Do Her Research. He Wanted to Talk ‘Feelings.’” The piece landed with a bang — it has been shared widely among academics and nonacademics alike — and has since reverberated well beyond the sciences....
I thought you should know about this big positive reaction, since I had presented the column in a somewhat negative light here and continued the discussion in here and that second post of mine got quoted at Instapundit, where Glenn wrote:
Well, you know, if smart scientist women can’t tell a guy that they don’t want to go out on a date, then maybe all this “affirmative consent” folderol is the natural consequence. But so is the conclusion that the Victorians were right, and that women need to be chaperoned by wise elders until they’re placed under the authority of a husband, because the silly things just aren’t up to making decisions on their own.
I'm trying to call attention to what I believe is an important distinction: Colleagues who continue to communicate their sexual interest in you after you've told them you're not interested and colleagues who haven't been told and believe they have a chance at intimacy or think there's mutual pleasure in sexual banter and flirting. 

75 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Logic has little to do with pushing a story like this. There is a narrative to be established. You are like the ADD author who keeps putting scenes into the novel that don't advance the plot. The Force = The Plot, and he who controls the force controls all.

Bob Ellison said...

It has long been a problem for my cat. He goes around minding his own business, and other animals-- some cats, but also possums and the occasional goose-- keep hound-dogging him. He says "nairt", and the cats usually understand that and back off, but the other critturs don't usually speak feline, so he doesn't try to explain it to them, and they just keep after him.

Carol said...

Problem is, their relative youth is still an asset and the women know it. Why expressly rule something out that could help your career? and who knows how many famous women went there.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

A scientist as smart as Professor Jahren should know how to mask her pheromones.

Bob Ellison said...

Seriously, "Colleagues who continue to communicate their sexual interest in you after you've told them you're not interested..."

The world men deal with requires that they be persistent. Sometimes the conquest is shy, or overly proper, or doesn't see the value yet in the guy. That's why we have all of these crazy prom-date and marriage-proposal videos. They show us that the guy who goes all-out sometimes wins in the end, and everyone celebrates that win, including the girl or guy he got to say yes.

A man must be persistent (but respectful and careful), or he's unlikely to win her/him over. It's part of the dance.

traditionalguy said...

I think we need a new Federal Agency For Regulating strength of Cologne brands. They should start by outlawing indoor use of Old Spice.

But if you are allergic to flirting with good smelling men with short fingers, then not even a good nose will help much.

tim in vermont said...

Not to mention that any good narrative requires a "suspension of disbelief" for its power, which Althouse seems unwilling to indulge.

Unknown said...

Obligatory Scott Adams.

YoungHegelian said...

And, then there's the only side of male clumsiness in the dating department. How many couples have had this conversation?:

She: "So, when you first asked me out you didn't know I was interested in you?"

He: "No, I didn't."

She: "Then, why did you ask me out?"

He: "Because you were cute & I didn't have a date for that Saturday, & I thought "what the hell"".

She: "You really didn't know that I liked you?"

He: "Nope."

She: "Are all men as obtuse in these matters as you are?"

He: "Can't speak for all guys, but I suspect so, yeah."

She: Sighs.

rhhardin said...

The important distinction is male and female.

Blaming the man is just part of the distinction.

rhhardin said...

Sexual Personae p.20

How often one spots a male pigeon making desperate, self-inflating sallies toward the female, as again and again she turns her back on him and nonchalantly marches away. But by concentration and insistence he may carry the day. Nature has blessed him with obliviousness to his own absurdity. His purposiveness is both a gift and a burden.

- She's not writing about pigeons.

Bob Ellison said...

YoungHegelian, absolutely.

Also:

He: "Hi, I'm Bob. I don't really have any other reason to come over and introduce myself except that I think you're pretty and we're in the same library."

She: "OK. I'm kind of in a relationship right now."

Sigh. Gotta go back in the dugout and get ready to bat again!

It's training for work in sales.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Men asking out female coworkers is common in all fields, not just the sciences. It used to be that doctors dated nurses, and lawyers and executives dated secretaries, and plenty of women went into those fields in the hopes of finding spouses. Now doctors date doctors, and lawyers date lawyers, but the principle still holds.

So why is there a problem in science? I see several reasons:

1) Science has an abundance of nerds who are not good at reading the social signals.
2) The male/female ratio means that each woman is attracting the attention of many nerds
3) The nerds, even those respected in their fields, are considered low-status dating prospects

rhhardin said...

Women are always women, scientist or not. It almost always matters which sex you are.

Hence pronouns to distinguish. They're about something always important.

rhhardin said...

Actually if a woman is old enough, a she can get treated nonsexually.

This is said to be a problem.

Gahrie said...

I thought everybody knew that men were supposed to be able to read women's minds.

rehajm said...

What I've learned this week: Male scientists in search of love should follow around the elevator repairmen.

tim in vermont said...

It seems pretty obvious that the male involved violated one of "the rules." Probably the one about not being attractive enough to speak to her about her personal life. Had he been far more attractive, he could have written the exact emails, said the exact same things, and he would have gotten exactly what he asked for, instead he is the villain in this piece.

Maybe women should rate men on an attractiveness scale at the age of 18, and tattoo this number to the man's forehead so he knows exactly where he stands, then she could tattoo a minimum number to her forehead required for a maker of advances she is willing to entertain.

YoungHegelian said...

@tim,

Probably the one about not being attractive enough to speak to her about her personal life

You called that, as illustrated by this famous corporate training film.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Colleagues who continue to communicate their sexual interest in you after you've told them you're not interested and colleagues who haven't been told and believe they have a chance at intimacy or think there's mutual pleasure in sexual banter and flirting.

A very important distinction indeed, and one that I already talk to my girls about. The former is sexual harassment and is appropriate to elevate to human resources if a blunt and direct conversation does not work, because we have the right to work without unwanted sexual attention while at the same time having the responsibility to communicate like adults and if we don't like something someone is doing to tell him. The latter is something that is normal and fun and contributes to human happiness and perpetuation of the species :)

samanthasmom said...

My future husband (scientist) used to sit on the steps of my dorm waiting for me to get home from a date with a different guy. He'd hold the door open for me and start a conversation with the guy who was left standing at the door. At first it was annoying. Then it was funny. Then one night he wasn't there, and I realized I missed him. The next day I went looking for him. Scientists have weird courting rituals, but most of them end up married.

rhhardin said...

Althouse, when she writes on the law, writes obviously as a woman. This is what makes it interesting for a war of the sexes analysis.

rhhardin said...

A scientist romcom is called for. So far all the romcom science women I've seen have been biologists, a stereotypical career choice. Probably failed premed.

Their ex is usually a former navy seal.

rhhardin said...

WILLIAM
Would you like me to take you through
your lines?

ANNA
Would you? It's all talk, talk, talk.

WILLIAM
Hand it over. Basic plot?

ANNA
I'm a difficult but brilliant junior
officer who in about twenty minutes
will save the world from nuclear
disaster.

WILLIAM
Well done you.

- Notting Hill

MikeR said...

Professor, you don't seem to be dealing here with the power imbalance issue that has been so important to you elsewhere. If the asker is in a position of power over the askee, the askee should be off limits for exactly the reason the article makes clear: the askee has trouble saying no.

Fernandinande said...

Unknown said...
Obligatory Scott Adams.


Xkcd

Todd said...

MikeR said... [hush]​[hide comment]
Professor, you don't seem to be dealing here with the power imbalance issue that has been so important to you elsewhere. If the asker is in a position of power over the askee, the askee should be off limits for exactly the reason the article makes clear: the askee has trouble saying no.

3/8/16, 10:52 AM


Whoa, whoa, whoa! I thought all of that "power dynamic" stuff became null and void when Bill got the Monica BJ in the oval office? According to NOW it was a non-issue. No "take backs"!

Unknown said...

Xkcd?

Scott Adams right backatcha.

Susan said...

Apparently the male scientists have enough sense to avoid writing this article from the male perspective because that would be career suicide.

But let me just say that for normal, well adjusted women treating men kindly and honestly when they express unreturned interest is not such a Herculean task that the poor dears must hike up their skirts and flee entire career-fields.

damikesc said...

The world men deal with requires that they be persistent. Sometimes the conquest is shy, or overly proper, or doesn't see the value yet in the guy. That's why we have all of these crazy prom-date and marriage-proposal videos. They show us that the guy who goes all-out sometimes wins in the end, and everyone celebrates that win, including the girl or guy he got to say yes.

No joke. Women have a tendency to play "hard to get". Most guys, not me, therefore must ask more than once.

For me, if you want to play hard to get, then I won't spend my time trying. I hate those games.

jr565 said...

She's not even that attractive. I was expecting a bombshell, not a average looking woman (at best).

http://www.hawaii.edu/news/article.php?aId=4242

In other words, she's not going to be beating too many men away from her outside of her profession. Maybe she doesn't want that, and that's perfectly fair. Not everyone needs a lover. But, if you don't want one, just tell the person you aren't into dating. most will get the hint and move on.

damikesc said...

But let me just say that for normal, well adjusted women treating men kindly and honestly when they express unreturned interest is not such a Herculean task that the poor dears must hike up their skirts and flee entire career-fields.

Heck, just be blunt. Just say "I don't want to date you". The dude may be hurt, but he'll get over it. Better that then not telling him anything and then going to HR. Give him the chance to change.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I appreciate your making that distinction, Professor, but I hope you appreciate that the rules/regulations in question likely do not make any such distinction.

EDH said...

I'm trying to call attention to what I believe is an important distinction: Colleagues who continue to communicate their sexual interest in you after you've told them you're not interested and colleagues who haven't been told and believe they have a chance at intimacy or think there's mutual pleasure in sexual banter and flirting.

I think expressing "romantic" or "personal" interest is a more difficult boundary to demarcate rather than "sexual" interest.

damikesc said...

I will admit I've suggested to men accused of sexual harassment to respond with "Please do not flatter yourself"

Ann Althouse said...

"She's not even that attractive. I was expecting a bombshell..."

She's writing about what is happening to other women. She wrote a book on the subject and now she gets email from women who tell their stories.

So your expectations aren't aligned with the column.

Aside from that, going after her for her looks is really retrograde.

tim in vermont said...

That's the first time I have noticed an xkcd conclusion that was not supported by the facts presented. Almost as if he was trying to tell a kind lie.


Aside from that, going after her for her looks is really retrograde

That Meade must be one smooth operator!

jr565 said...

Althouse wrote:
She's writing about what is happening to other women. She wrote a book on the subject and now she gets email from women who tell their stories.

So your expectations aren't aligned with the column.

Aside from that, going after her for her looks is really retrograde.

I wasn't 'going after her looks". I was merely saying she looks ordinary. She's not some hottie that men would stereotypically go after. Men get the rap that they always hit on the pretty girl and dont' value the smarter girl or the plain jane. If she is representational of those in the field that men are hitting on it actually suggests that the men hitting on her are not as shallow as stereotypes would suggest.
Also, this may in fact be the window when men woo her. If she does want a man but rebuffs all advances that might occur from her colleagues, she's hurting her chances to have love.
If there were world enough and time, this coyness lady were no crime, as Andrew Marvell might say. Carpe Diem.

Then again, she isnt' in fact rebuffing anyone. Since she's not exactly telling people yes or no.

Hagar said...

A lady once told me that any woman worth her salt knows how to turn off an unwanted male's interest without the poor schmuck even knowing it is being done. And that way, nobody gets hurt, she said.

Schorsch said...

The major issue of the article is advisors who have romantic interest in their students. I'm in science, I advise and have been advised. The power an advisor has over his student's career (especially a grad student) is enormous. That makes it hard to "just say no" and easier to ignore it and hope it goes away. It's why advisors should be prohibited from relationships with their students.

The line between advisor creepiness and colleague creepiness (to say nothing of sexual assault) is bright and clear, but people on both sides of these discussions keep blurring it.

tim in vermont said...

I love words like "retrograde." What does it mean, really? Pre-great leap forward? Reactionary? Reacting to what? Has human nature been re-defined? Is a helpless man who is stuck with an old style nature required to find a bell tower to skulk around in in the dark, looking out on the new man and new woman only through chinks in the cold damp stone? Or is he required to deny his nature and leap forward himself into the untried new paradigm on the faith that it will work as well for him as the old one, and on pain of being judged "retrograde"? Or is he required to leap forward and accept that the in the new paradigm, he will be rejected nonetheless, but it has to be that way because that's what women want now? Evolution is a cruel business, and women are its primary agents here on Earth.

jr565 said...

a sexual advance amongst collegues is not sexual harrasment in and of itself. How else does she think people date? The man almost always has to make the advance. Because the woman almost never does it. It has happened to me on a few occasions, but is not the norm. And certainly not for STEM majors. Who are generally very smart, but socially awkward. And who strike out with attractive women socially. If this were a self help scenario, the fact that they got the balls to even approach the woman and ask her out or say something suggestive woudl be lauded as a breakthrough. He did it! He asked out the girl! He flirted with the girl!
Only this is now SEXUAL HARRASSMENT.

"My own experiences as a student, scientist and mentor lead me to believe that such harassment is widespread. Few studies exist, but in a survey of 191 female fellowship recipients published in 1995, 12 percent indicated that they had been sexually harassed as a student or early professional. My experiences have also convinced me that sexual harassment is very rarely publicly punished after it is reported, and then only after a pattern of relatively egregious offenses."

First of all, 12 out of 191 is not that large a number. Second, what is the harrassment she is talking about?

"Sexual harassment in science generally starts like this: A woman (she is a student, a technician, a professor) gets an email and notices that the subject line is a bit off: “I need to tell you,” or “my feelings.” The opening lines refer to the altered physical and mental state of the author: “It’s late and I can’t sleep” is a favorite, though “Maybe it’s the three glasses of cognac” is popular as well.

That's also how wooing starts. WOmen don't do it, so they have no concept that men have to make the first move. Wooing is not sexual harrassment in and of itself. Because a woman has a choice to say NO THANKS.

"So much for the contents of the first email; now let’s picture its recipient. She’s shocked: Is this for real? She’s confused: Did she do something to make him think she wanted this? She’s worried: She has to see him tomorrow. Her thesis isn’t done, and she still needs his signature. What if he says no? She’s scared: If she rebuffs him, will he get angry?"
Women rebuff men ALL THE TIME. If its a subbordinate and the person doing the wooing then turns around and does in fact do something like give her a failing grade, she may have grounds to sue him. If he sent her an email that says "You're hot" and after she rebufs him he says "I'm not giving you a recommendation" she has the email where he made the initial advance. And so might be able to make the case that the lack of a recommendation was due to being rebuffed.

iowan2 said...

All of this identity politics has failed, for me anyhow.

Blacks are not equal they require special consideration and assistance

Gays arent just trying to live their lives, they use the power of the govt to force me to participate.

Colleges are not bastions of ideas and exploration. They are brainwashing camps that use mental torture to convert the unbelievers

And women are not just like men, they are frail, emotional wrecks, that need constant
protection, Clinton's wife is too weak to be susshed by a mail, and lady scientist are incapable of traversing mammalian breeding habits.

Wolfe has been cried too often, I no longer believe, and consider all alleged infractions to be totally fabricated lies, attempting to gain a political upper hand.

jr565 said...

schorsh wrote:
The line between advisor creepiness and colleague creepiness (to say nothing of sexual assault) is bright and clear, but people on both sides of these discussions keep blurring it.

Like that woman who made an argument that an unsolicited advance on Linked In was harrassment. The two weren't even colleagues working for the same company. IT may have been an unwarranted advance but was it harrassment.
If its strictly about the advisor and his/her student there can in fact be issues of quid pro quo. I have seen instances though where the woman throws herself at the advisor who is more than happy to have the affections of a hot young woman. In academia there are always rock star teachers (in college0 who are always surrounded by students who end up dating the teacher. When those students graduate the next students step up.

And Monica Lewinsky herself did not exactly rebuff Clinton when he hit on her. She and FEMINISTS who defended Clinton said it wasnt harrassment because it was consensual.

jr565 said...

(cont) if she is SPECIFICALLY talking about advisors only, and not collegues in general, I may agree with her some cases. However, there are a lot of cases where the boss ends up marrying the secretary. it ends in a marriage, but could have started with what this woman considers harrassment.

Alice Aforethought said...


I am an academic in a STEM field at a major left coast university and my experience is that my university takes this kind of stuff very seriously. You really can get fired for repeated harassment. It rarely gets to that point. My dad warned me that familiarity breeds attempt, so you don't want to be too familiar with people who are checking you out. You can also usually deal with it politely be telling them "No thanks. I have one ass hole in my pants already and that is enough."

buwaya said...

She: "OK. I'm kind of in a relationship right now."

Sigh. Gotta go back in the dugout and get ready to bat again!
=====================================================================
It took me three years to make the sale to my wife (she had a boyfriend), after I asked her out on the day we met.
Persistence works.
Workplace rules and quibbles like the original subject will just lead to more barren and unhappy women.

Fernandinande said...

There's a foul owl on the prowl tonight.

Hey, little lark, get outta the dark,
Foul owl on the prowl.
Hey little jay, stay out of his way,
Foul owl on the prowl.
You just might be the quail he'll tail,
Foul owl on the prowl.
You just might be the swallow he'll follow,
Foul owl on the prowl.

If you hear him hoot, scoot,
If you pass his tree, flee,
If you catch his eye, fly,
Don't wait to say goodbye.

Dan Hossley said...

The problem is criminalizing behavior that makes someone feel uncomfortable. The female in question wasn't assaulted in any way, shape or form. She was uncomfortable. That's her problem, not his. That's not harassment, that's life.

n.n said...

Boy-Girl relationships 101. Nothing has changed, other than a liberal (i.e. variable) dysfunction engendered by progressive morality.

buwaya said...

This is fashion, and fashion is deadly. Fashion kills.
The word should go out.
Fashion (fashionable neuroticism) leads to failure to reproduce, and the end of families and clans.

James Pawlak said...

A collector of "Micro-Agressions????

Sharkcutie said...

There is quite a difference between "Would you like to go out on a date?" and "I can't stop thinking about you and your [fill in the blank]!" Moreover, if the one doing the asking is in a power position vis-a-vis the askee, that is even worse.

Most women can easily say "no" to a date. What do should they say to the hopelessly infatuated?

tim in vermont said...

What do should they say to the hopelessly infatuated

Stop leading him on, as cruel as that sounds, he'll get over it, but not until you start the process. Beautiful women talking to men are like a man trying to communicate with his dog while eating a steak. You might think you are getting through, but all the dog is thinking is "I might get some steak! What do I have to do to get some steak? Boy that steak looks good,etc, etc..."

Brian said...

Carol has it. The women (allegedly) writing to Prof. Jahren aren't asking her "how do I stop these advances?" or even "how do I stop these advances as gently as possible?" Those questions are easy, and most women how the answers. What these women are asking is "how do I deflect these advances in such a way that the people making them continue to do favors for me?" The desired outcome is for the male colleague to continue pining away, but to express it only in ways that are helpful to the woman. That really is a tricky thing to pull off, and it shouldn't surprise anyone to learn that many smart women would seek advice from their elders on how to do it.

buwaya said...

"What do should they say to the hopelessly infatuated"

Send him off to the Siege of Arras with the Cadets of Gascony.

Bob Ellison said...

"What do should they say to the hopelessly infatuated?"

That's a big question. I've been serially hopelessly infatuated since I was four years old. There was always some girl or woman that occupied my romantic thoughts.

I think this is common among men, but not much talked about, because men are supposed to be tough guys who can love 'em and leave 'em.

It's true that the best response to an unwanted advance is kindness and directness. "No, I'm not interested in you that way." Nobody wants to hurt another person like that, but there's no way to tell that truth without a little hurt.

Bob Ellison said...

There was a cartoon decades ago, probably from The New Yorker, where two guys are walking in a foreign legion across the desert. One guy says, "I'm here because I'm trying to forget about a girl, but it's difficult, because her name is Sandy."

Bob Ellison said...

I like to think that young woman from the library sighs every time her hairdresser asks, "would you like a short cut this time?"

buwaya said...

This can all be prevented by proper study of "Cyrano de Bergerac".
It makes a fine chick flick.

mikee said...

As a postdoc, I once stopped a 3 week experiment in growing my upper lip facial hair when a female colleague asked me if I was growing a mustache. Scientist that I am, I honestly replied, "I'm not sure." And the next day I came to the lab clean shaven.

If only all male-female dialogue in the laboratory workplace could be so clear.

n.n said...

There are three classifications for behaviors: normal when they have a redeeming value to society or humanity, tolerable when they have an ambiguous character or are constrained to personal dysfunction, and rejected when they pose a threat to other people. The establishment of a pro-choice religion with elements of class exploitation has left everyone confused, paralyzed, and at risk.

Smilin' Jack said...

Aside from that, going after her for her looks is really retrograde.

But look on the bright side: now we know that that man will never sexually harass that woman. It may not seem like much, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Char Char Binks said...

I can always tell when a woman is interested in me, but I'm not a scientist.

fizzymagic said...

I love words like "retrograde." What does it mean, really?

Not what Althouse thinks it does, since she used it improperly.

A better term for this situation, and one I like a lot, is "antediluvian."

Big Mike said...

I have several thoughts, based on a career in technology.

First, STEM is the natural refuge for the socially awkward but very bright male of the species. I think that any woman who enters a STEM career should have figured that out by the time she graduates from college. She should also have figured out that nerds can make good husbands.

Second, too many women like to turn down a guy using ambiguous verbiage to suggest that they might actually be interested at some future time. Ladies, when you have no intention of going out with a particular guy just tell him that you wouldn't date him if the survival of the human race depended on it. He will work it out, and you will be kinder in the long run.

Third, a lot of women have strange attitudes towards the male of the homo sapiens species. I would include here the woman who French kissed me good night on our date, but later turned me down for another saying that I should not have read anything into the French kiss, and that all her girlfriends agree with her.

Fourth, I cannot picture any individual who loves technology leaving her chosen field because she can't figure out how to handle a pesky nerd who isn't getting the message. Truth to tell, I can't imagine that the women in question were enjoying STEM research or were really any good at it.

This is from the perspective of man who married a female nuclear scientist (published in Physical Review C) over forty years ago and who has enjoyed a forty-five year career in high tech.

Douglas said...

Brian wrote, "The desired outcome is for the male colleague to continue pining away, but to express it only in ways that are helpful to the woman. That really is a tricky thing to pull off." Bingo.

JCC said...

I know real sexual harassment happens, maybe quite a bit, but the serial sexual harassment complainers in my workplace just happened to be the women who slept their way through and to every choice assignment, every contested qualification, every promotion or educational opportunity, etc. Of course, they wouldn't have been able to do any of that without a cooperating male(s) who would toss the rule book for sex. But the typical complaint took place only after some preliminaries or invitation, perhaps later withdrawn, or after some completed quid pro quo but the quo never materialized, something along those lines. Generally, the male subject of the complaint was unable to give an honest accounting of the facts without jeopardizing his marriage or career, and was forced into denying everything when it was obvious to any outside observer that something was happening. In fact, the genuine storyline was that everyone involved was lying to high heaven, often under oath, fabricating some evidence and destroying other, the entire process tainted by dishonesty and hypocrisy on both sides.

Anyway, this kind of fraudulent and cynical use of sexual harassment claims tend to, at least to me, debase the entire issue. My wife worked for years in a mostly male environment and was certainly subject to all kinds of pressure, but telling people "Over my dead body" or something in that spirit tended - maybe "Over your dead body' occasionally - to end the unseemly direction a conversation might be headed. As another post noted, most of the non-complaints-but-anxiety came from females who wanted some special treatment without the obligation and didn't know how to finesse this. And frankly, although the ideal, women in the workplace will never be treated as just one of the guys by everyone. There's a Lothario in every crew.

Michael K said...

"I cannot picture any individual who loves technology leaving her chosen field because she can't figure out how to handle a pesky nerd who isn't getting the message."

I can't either. Granted, I am a member of the dinosaur age but I know women in medicine and they have done pretty well, to the point they are 60% of medical students.

jr565 said...

"But look on the bright side: now we know that that man will never sexually harass that woman. It may not seem like much, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

I made the mistake of not reading the whole article before making that comment. So thought she was speaking specifically of her experiences alone and not experiences of women in general that she wrote about. But the point still stands. and if it makes Althouse feel better most men in STEM are not particularly good looking either. They are smart but socially awkward.Maybe chubby, maybe nerdy. They are the last people who will be smooth around the ladies. And their interests are very specific and technical. Most women are not going to appreciate them or find them exciting.
And so, dating inside their profession may be the best chance they have at finding love. if they are rebuffed and what they do is considered harassment simply because they awkwardly profess interest, they are going to have their egos shattered.

True, the advisor and his studentis a very specific case. But it wasn't just about advisor and student. It was also about colleagues in general. and the same sexual harassment rules apply

R. Chatt said...

I think the definition of "sexual harrassment" is repeated unwanted sexual or romantic advances. So if a guy is totally in love with someone who has refused him and still insists on pursuing her (I don't believe this is all that common), then he needs to find another job. I don't believe most women play hard to get; they will go out if they are even slightly interested. And they definitely will let you know if they are interested. That doesn't mean they will give away their hearts just because they've dated a guy a few times though. They want a guy to prove he's really interested and serious and that takes time. But they won't go out with a guy even if they are slightly interested if they see the guy is insecure, inexperienced, and therefore a possible stalker/creep if things don't work. Don't guys know all this??? From the comments here I doubt it.

I, too, have a hard time believing that intelligent women can't figure out how to be friendly but "just say no." Young women might be intimidated about "rejecting" an advisor, but should be counseled that the advisor is an adult and a healthy adult appreciates honesty. An adult knows it is better to get over an infatuation as quickly as possible than have it drag on or have ambiguity.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Carol nailed it. We can construe advances from men in a position to advance a woman's career as sleazy, but we can also construe ambiguous or go-along responses (as opposed to a firm rejection) as attempting to profit from sexual currency by leaving ambiguous the sexual payoff for the sleazy advance. It's true that some more passive women may feel unwilling to become a risk-taker or boat-rocker in laying down the law, and that's fine, but they should be heartened knowing that the 'frigid bitch' response has the Ellen Pao extortion and/or lawsuit option available - it's sufficient leverage if you're game.

tim in vermont said...

She used "retrograde" properly:

ret·ro·grade
ˈretrəˌɡrād/
adjective
1.
directed or moving backward.


Antediluvian might have been a little strong, I think, but I would more describe the guy as irredentist.

ir·re·den·tist
ˌirəˈden(t)əst/
noun
a person advocating the restoration to their country of any territory formerly belonging to it.
historical
(in 19th-century Italian politics) an advocate of the return to Italy of all Italian-speaking districts subject to other countries.


Since that more directly brings in the point that Althouse's movement is a political force that seeks to gain psychic territory.

JAORE said...

Women assume men pick up on clues totally outside of the visual/auditory spectrum we are capable of recognizing. (I raised my left eyebrow 2.5mm and pursed my lips JUST SO, can't that idiot take a hint?)

On the other hand, women believe they can read the minds of all men. (I know what THAT look means.)

It's a wonder we ever reached 7 billion population.

Simon Kenton said...

It was from MCL I learned a useful dating dictum. She would put a hand on my shoulder and say, "God, really? Oh, I'd just love to go. But I can't this weekend. Next time you're going, I want to hear about it." With the brainless literality of the young male, I thought this meant she'd love to go, and next time I was to re-invite.

More sophisticated daters who comment on this site can of course manage the translation: "Fuck off, asshole."

She helped me a lot. But it was Virgil who helped the most:

quam multa in silvis autumni frigore primo
lapsa cadunt folia

(there are) as many as when, loosened by autumn's first frost in the woods,
the gliding leaves spill down

I gave up being driven by scarcity; my dating rule became, You only have to say "no" once, but you only get to say "no" once. Short-circuited many a relationship that was headed toward contention and misery, and led eventually to a lovely and plain-spoken wife.