Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > On the Conflation of Flirting with Sexual Harassment: Nov 16, 2017

On the Conflation of Flirting with Sexual Harassment: Nov 16, 2017

The last few weeks have seen a flurry of (mostly) women publicizing their past experiences of being sexual harassed and assaulted by powerful men from a wide cross-section of society. While the current spate of accusations started with revelations about Harvey Weinstein- men in sectors as diverse as entertainment, venture capital and politics have now been accused of being serial sexual predators.

To be clear, most notable accusations made to date are clearly undefendable. I mean.. jerking off in front of unwilling women trapped in rooms is pretty beyond normal flirting behavior. Forcing your erect penis into the mouth, or any other orifice, of an unwilling woman is also not defendable. There is of course the question of how many other woman went along with such behavior and saw it as the cost of career advancement.

But that is not what this post is about. Instead, we will talk about the odd response of both MSM and the internet to this turn of events. After a couple of days of the initial Weinstein allegations, the conversation shifted from how this was about an abuse of power to how almost men are sexual harassers and potential rapists. So what is behind this rather perplexing shift in focus? Why go after made-up problems than tackle real ones?

At the risk of sounding cynical (lol), it appears that “feminists” and their “male allies” are using these events to push their old agenda- namely, the criminalization of normal male sexuality. So how did I come to this pessimistic conclusion? For starters, I looked at a number of recent articles, posts and tweets about the causes of such behavior. The majority (over 80%) of them blamed all men for the abuses perpetrated by a rather small percentage.

A significant percentage of those articles also appeared to be rehashed versions of previous material by the same authors. In that respect it was very similar to how anti-gun media types keep on publishing the same old crap after every new mass shooting. In other words, the response of media types to such events is similar to how 9/11 was used to introduce security theater and legitimize mass surveillance in USA

So, what does any of this have to do with attempts at conflate sad attempts at flirting with sexual harassment or even assault? Are people stupid enough to believe that a drunken attempt to grope a woman’s tits or ass in a crowded bar is the same as making her suck your dick at gunpoint (real of financial)? Surely people are not stupid enough to equate a woman having regrets about having sex with some guy to him sodomizing her by force? Right??..

Except that they are and always have been that stupid. Between justifying mass murders because of their belief in an invisible sky friend or the defense of some equally ludicrous ideology, human beings (as a species) do not exhibit much rational behavior- even in 2017. A large percentage of people will go along with anything that seems popular regardless of its inherent stupidity or impracticality as long as it does not hurt them immediately.

Consider for example, how each new publicized incident of obvious sexual assault is used to push further for concepts like “affirmative consent”. Some of you might have seen many posters and signs on large university campuses about how consensual sex between two somewhat inebriated people is equivalent to violent rape. Other posters approved by university administrations suggest that male students could be prosecuted as rapists unless their female partner provides continuous “affirmative consent”.

What is a bit less obvious is that every publicized incident of overt and obvious sexual assault is used to push for more funding for such “programs” and regulations. It is basically the equivalent of using the publicity generated by bank robbers to pass laws for prosecuting panhandlers. However such ‘mission creep’ is to be expected when impersonal institutions of any type pretend to act in the “best interests” of the public. It is really about accumulating more power and jobs, rather than doing the right thing.

The careers of an increasing number of people under late capitalism depend on enforcing often totally arbitrary rules and regulations. They will continue doing so regardless of the consequences of their actions. Treating a drunk guy who feels up some woman as a sexual deviant rather than a sad human being should therefore be seen as an attempt to increase the power and job security of some people, rather than making society a “better and safer place” for women.

Curiously, all of these rules and regulations seem to be for ordinary men without much power or status. I should remind you that people like Weinstein, Spacey and a host of other powerful men got away with far worse behavior for decades in spite of older versions of those rules and laws because none of their victims were willing to follow-up on their accusations for reasons ranging from effect on career prospects to lack of money.

In that respect, the situation is a lot like how the police are willing to kill innocent black men holding cellphones while giving a pass to a bunch of racist white men walking around with AR-15s in some cities. Or how financial crimes worth billions of dollars are either never prosecuted or legalized in contrast to the system going after small time offenders over sums of money often less than a hundred dollars.

In a future post I will explore the likely consequences (intentional and unintentional) of ongoing attempts to conflate, what is at most, occasional unpleasant behavior with much more serious accusations such as sexual assault.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. P Ray
    November 16, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Conflating “flirting” with “sexual harassment” is a good way to get SJWs employed.

    Also notice that the only kind of “flirting” conflated with “sexual harassment” is male-towards-female, not the reverse. Interesting how “women are equal to men” but don’t sexually harass (see the girls meeting Justin Bieber or Korean popstars and notice the disconnect) … in reality, towards a guy they’re really attracted to, women can and are desperate to interact with those guys.

    Courtship Signaling and Adolescents:
    “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”?
    Monica M. Moore, Ph.D.
    Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Webster University
    “Cary (1976) discovered that the woman, through eye contact, controlled the course of interaction with a male stranger, both in the laboratory and in singles’ bars. Perper (1985) gave a detailed description of courtship, stressing an escalation-response process in which women play a key role in escalation or deescalation. The steps in this process are approach, turn, first touch, and steady development of body synchronization.
    Although these reports are clearly valuable, most researchers addressed courtship very generally, and some failed to recognize the importance of the female role in the courtship process .What was needed was a more complete ethogram of women’s nonverbal courtship signals. To compile such a catalog of flirting behavior exhibited by women involved in initial heterosexual interaction, more than 200 adults were observed (Moore, 1985) in field settings such as singles’ bars, restaurants, and parties.
    Research has shown, therefore, that the cultural myth that the man is always the sexual aggressor, pressing himself on a reluctant woman, is incorrect.”

  2. Ed
    November 16, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    This is exactly what Sam Francis labeled “anarcho-tyranny”. The idea basically that you have rules that are strictly applied against some groups and waived for other groups.

    My objection to the term is that this is really straightforward tyranny, but maybe the anarcho part is that the favored groups are not given explicit and defined privileges, its just understood that their breaches of the rules will be ignored, so the superficial appearance is of anarchy.

  3. Yusef
    November 17, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Why go after made-up problems than tackle real ones?

    I don’t think you’ve properly addressed the way all this crap is purposely designed to distract people from real problems. This deluge of crap has entirely controlled a news cycle, or more, and appears to be getting set to take on a life of its own. As you’ve correctly noted, most people will believe what they read and they’ll believe what MSM tells them is important is indeed important. Meanwhile, the plethora of serious problems we face not only go unaddressed, they go unmentioned. As a share of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, health spending accounted for 17.8 percent….Remember only very recently the Republican’s plan to do something, anything, about this, splintered. It was as if they were standing in front of us and “the king wears no clothes.” But hey! We didn’t look long enough to notice because Harvey Weinstein was jerking off in front of us! So we were made to think and so we entirely lost sight of our priorities.

    • webej
      November 18, 2017 at 6:17 am

      Yes. The chief tactic of the MSM is not divide and rule, but distract and divert.
      Every election cycle they succeed anew in making it all about gays, guns, god, ethical issues, gay marriage, conservatives vs progressives, etc., and therefore not about who wields (undemocratic) economic power.

  4. Libertarians are subhumans
    November 18, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Mate how about you make a post about net neutraility?

  5. webej
    November 18, 2017 at 6:24 am

    This villification of all males is a lot like racism. Human beings have a general weakness in being able to use generalization as a tool to abstract and think about the world, and substituting that when it comes to judging individual concrete situations when they actually arise, preferring lazy generalizations to their actual experience.
    In every war, the other side is always painted as monstrous for klling babies, cannibalism, human sacrifice — it cannot be too gross. One of the strongest taboes in any war is the prohibition against fraternization — everyone is deathly afraid that if you mingle with the soldiers or women from the other side, you will come to the recognition that you have absolutely no reason to go about killing them, and that you could better make common cause against the people sending you into battle.

  6. Ted
    November 19, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    What this looks like is the saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Take a serious news story – the Harvey Weinstein scandal – and then try to find something similar. Go to such ludicrous lengths as showing a picture of comedian (not Senator) Al Franken mock grabbing the breasts of a model on a USO tour – and treat them the same.

    No one will say it explicitly, but this is an attempt to make sure the overwhelming percentage of men (average and below) will think three times before trying to flirt with a woman. Remember, a couple of years ago – a white Jewish woman claimed that black and Hispanic men saying “Hey beautiful” was threatening.

    It’s the Tom Brady rules:


    • Yusef
      November 20, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      I think you can take a deep breath and relax, friend. From time immemorial a certain strata of the adult population has dedicated much of its efforts to suppressing the healthy sexuality of youth…This is nothing new. The healthiest strata of the young, and to my way of thinking that’s the only strata that matters, shrugs this off like water off a duck’s back. I suggest you do the same. Sure there are neurotic women who say things like “hey beautiful” felt threatening, and to that we can say SO WHAT. Most women are not neurotic and most women like sex just as much as we do. Don’t get worried, get laid. (Keep an eye out for the ones who are neurotic– you can spot them before you even talk to them. You just plain do not need their shit.)

  7. Takao
    November 20, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    To me this is just a propaganda of “women privilege”, and although undefendable, it’s kinda normal life for Hollywood ppl… btw I’d love to see an update of your “how to use escorts” series…

  8. P Ray
    February 1, 2019 at 10:25 am

    From https://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/life-and-relationships/crime-is-on-the-decrease-but-there-s-one-exception-20190201-p50v1q.html Crime is on the decrease. But there’s one exception

    On the eve of the release of the state’s annual crime figures, Don Weatherburn, director of the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, says nearly every other crime category has decreased in prevalence – some have fallen spectacularly since 2000 – but sexual assault refuses to move.

    Seems like pussy is the commodity that’s always in demand. And when the price is not fair, some people will just take it.

    Since 2000, the rate of murder has just about halved. Crimes against property have halved. Yet the rate of sexual assault has increased by nearly 40 per cent since that time. It goes through patches where it is stable but then grows again.

    In a tough economy where people are going to show skin to get the dollars, you can bet it’s going to rise. Because now fewer people can afford to pay to get a lesson in playing the skin flute.

    She says that shaming boys won’t work but education will.

    “There is work we need to be doing with boys who are eight, nine, ten and give them an idea that adult masculinity is not sweary, not shouty,” she says.

    The men rewarded with sex are sweaty and shouty, and the other men are not stupid or blind to see how the process works.

    “As the train of puberty comes towards them, we need to provide them with options. We have to give them wriggle room.”

    The wriggle room is not allowing prostitutes to turn down paying clients after they have taken their money.

    Either a lot of ministers are stupid, or the people putting them in power are stupid. Or they seem intelligent until they get power in their hands.

    • P Ray
      May 24, 2020 at 8:41 pm

      The definition has to be very nuanced because a lot of women want to seem “hard to get” when they’re really “not going to be interested in the guy unless he provides compensation” … but they don’t want to be seen as sex workers.
      So here it is in one line:

      Interactions from a man with the purpose of a romantic or sexual goal, if the woman is not attracted to that person, it is “sexual harassment”

      *Of course, she never mentions not being attracted or outright says no, just keeps the interaction going via goading (“ya, I’d like to see you try to get with me”), obtuseness (“why are you talking in this way to me?” or challenges (“this is reserved only for men with six-figure savings”)

      And of course, if you can identify or classify this behaviour you “are a creep” (despite women getting strategy guides on how to hook men in Cosmopolitan, Cleo or Seventeen (sadly, not Club Seventeen) … plus having so few cases of women pursuing men who aren’t celebrities so they have an excuse to say “well, those guys are popular which is why other women want them, but not all women are like that”.

      On the flip side, if there’s so much analysis going on, is a clear idea that:
      – women consider you unattractive, so:
      – never let them have a hold on you or your life
      – ignore their advice about relationships, which is self-serving
      – with the pandemic, more women are realising their relationships with men are just trades

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