We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, March 1. 2018
With far more women in the workplace than a generation or two ago, what are the rules for men and for women? And what about dress and make-up? And why do most discussions ignore women's sexual and romantic interests? How is it different from college, or high school for that matter?
Peterson is an expert at saying "I don't know." We can all learn from that.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
I like this interviewer's style, even though he's frustrating me a bit with his inability to absorb some unfamiliar ideas. Towards the end, Peterson hits exactly the right point: obviously makeup and heels and so on sexualize the workplace to some extent--what the heck else are they for, after all?--but it's possible to imagine a world in which women (and men) were free to allow some sexual provocation into the workplace while still behaving in a principled fashion. Peterson is also correct in observing that's it's both dishonest and futile to pretend that considerable effort won't be necessary to behave in a principled fashion under those circumstances, and that we have barely begun to work out the societal codes that will make this possible.
PS, You know, I wouldn't call that heated. I thought it was very civil, on both sides.
I think the interviewer's problem is that he believes there are known boundaries to these interactions when, as Peterson points out, there are not many which are really known yet.
The hashtag MeToo movement is, primarily, made up of women who believe something happened to them when, in most cases, nothing probably did. I have had many conversations with women explaining their reasons for supporting it, and upon hearing their stories, it was tepid at best. One young woman claimed to be "harassed at least 3 times a week" at work. She works from her home. So unless she is reading a lot into phone calls she's having, I'm hard pressed to understand when or where this harassment is happening. She claims it is related to the 'tone' of conversations she has.
Another woman, upon telling me her story, got upset when I laughed. She had willingly gone along with a few men on a prank and when it was over, the person pranked made a funny comment about her which she took the wrong way as 'harassment'. She claimed she was scared and never said or did anything about it.
Still, I know my wife, as well as other friends of mine, have refused to sign on to MeToo because they point out that we all have worked with creepy and clueless people. Their creepiness or cluelessness weren't examples of harassment, but just sheer idiocy. The creepy factor can be managed, literally, by complaining to management. The cluelessness is another issue altogether (think Michael Scott from "The Office", means well but simply doesn't understand the finer points of working together).
The interviewer has never dealt with these things, and assumes too much. Peterson, he claims, "punts" by saying "I don't know" even when "I don't know" is the right answer.
I thought the conversation was heated. It was clear the interviewer was trying to push Peterson into a corner and each time Peterson emerged, and was civil and gracious, even giving the interviewer some outs which he quickly took. He knew he was no match for Peterson, but he was frustrated by his own inability to paint Peterson with a broad brush.
I'm not certain whether the interviewer was obtuse or being deliberately obtuse in hopes of being provocative. But I think Peterson's point that it is rich for Hollywood which has made its way and simultaneously had a reputation for sexual exploitation to be suddenly seizing the high moral ground is akin to hiring the fox to guard the chickens. Sexual harassment exists now, has always existed and predict will always exist in the workplace. One of the problems is that akin to one man's trash being another's treasure is that flirtation can be regarded as cute or malicious depending on the principals. You simply can't create a perfect set of rules for all situations. The interviewer's inability to grasp the salience of Peterson's points about make up, alluring clothes and high heels is I think simply an indication of how immersed we are in the feminist side of the argument.
It has been said that women dress to impress other women, but while that may be true they want the objects of their sexual interest to be looking at them. In the vast majority of cases that is men not other women.
I underwent training for this at about the time of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill confrontation. The vagueness of the training at the time made me think that this nothing more than the company trying to create a legal shield for itself. When we were asked for comments, I said I thought the nature of the training was empowering the vengeful, the opportunistic, and the unstable. My remarks were not welcome.
I have stated elsewhere and will continue to seed the internet with the contention that the goal of the SJW mentality is to find the singlemost dysfunctional human being in the world and to make that person the sole arbiter of all social mores.
I find most of Peterson's arguments to be simple common sense and for them to be regarded as fresh, original and controversial is just proof of how far we have strayed from accepting reality. It was Orwell who was credited with saying there are things so ludicrous only intellectuals believe them. I'm sorry to say that I think that is the one thing people of ordinary intellect have managed to borrow from the intellectuals-the ability to believe the ludicrous.
For the foreseeable future, there is absolutely no safe or acceptable way for men and women to interact in any social manner as co-workers. No modus vivendi is possible because there is no way for a male to interact that cannot be subject to accusation and conviction without proof by any female. NEVER be alone with a female co-worker. Never travel with one on a business trip, and do not stay in the same hotel even if it involves paying for things yourself. Always have witnesses and/or recordings of any interactions.
And under no circumstances at all "mentor" a female co-worker if you are male. Mentorship involves a level of truth-telling that may not be welcome or politically correct. Passing the corporate culture on frequently involves telling "war stories" involving either praiseworthy or embarrassing that have happened in the past. The less politically correct those stories are, the stronger impression they make. And the more at risk you are for telling the truth. You have to trust each other, and right now no male can trust that telling the truth to a female co-worker will not be twisted against you. Be polite. Be professional. And be distant.
It is now the received wisdom that women are better than any man at anything. Take this wisdom at face value. If they are so much better, then they do not need men to take the risks.
What I see and hear is that the interviewer is trying to understand and define what Petersen is saying, but he just can't keep up. His error is that he's trying to fit Peterson's points into his decided positions, and just can't make sense of it in that way. Peterson says the point of makeup and high heels is to sexualize the appearance, and that it is done for that purpose. The interviewer asserts that this is an argument justifying sexual assault and harassment. Nope, says Peterson, it means only that we haven't established the rules for what is allowed and what is acceptable in response.
The interviewer wants to but seems incapable of learning - i would argue this is because his mind is closed to new and different perspectives.
IF Women dress to be Attractive. The Question becomes: attract who or what?
Wm. Kerrigan: We are men and women. It almost always matters which we are. Men and women are aggressive. Their regard for each other is clouded by grudges, suspicions, fears, needs, desires, and narcississtic postures. There's no scrubbing them out. The best you can hope for is domestication, as in football, rock, humor, happy marriage, and a good prose style. Jokes trade on offensiveness; PC is not a funny dialect. The unconscious is a joker, a sexist and aggressive creature. Our sexuality has always been scandalous.
Raritan XI:3 p103
I think the interviewer was aggressive but courteous and thoughtful. When he was exasperated, he found a way to express it without blustering or insulting. He articulated his exasperation and often, amazingly, was actually listening to the answers, even if he didn't yet understand them.
I like watching Peterson talk on these subjects, because although he is extremely honest and clear-sighted, he is neither fearful nor resentful of free women. He expects women to take responsibility for their own behavior just as he expects men to do so. There's no whine in him, which is awfully refreshing. He can be supportive, or he can resist with good arguments, but he never retreats into "Fine, I just won't have anything to do with you, then."
The interviewer doesn't seem very flexible in his thinking.
Good interview for Peterson, though.
Peterson is good at engaging but misses an insight, which leads him to just a counter-dogmatism.
Get to the truth of sexual harassment by also thinking of the truth as a woman, and you harassing it.
You have to court the truth.
Work is different from college or high school because young people in school are mostly single and looking for a mate to some degree. That isn't happening as often at work.
Peterson should have pointed out to the young man that when the work environment is all men there are rules that have been established and they are generally known by everyone.
Why aren't they wearing shoes?
I haven't come across anyone in work, church, family, or friends that would consider themselves part of metoo. Nobody even talking about it, really. I assume it's mostly a celebrity thing.
All I hear about in pop culture on the subject is from women who accepted harassment their whole careers without doing anything about. Women are supposed to look to them as examples? Many women know how to deal with men like this, and how to spot them quickly.
It amazes me everyday that the same people who can tell you there is no real difference between men and women and that women are strong and can do anything men can do will also insist that once women enter the workplace all rules must be changed and all men must conform to the new rules because women are so easily offended by feral males or for that matter any males.
Camille Paglia makes the same, or similar point: "It remains to be seen whether those deep patterns of mutually bruising male teamwork, which may date from the Stone Age, can be altered to accommodate female sensitivities without reducing productivity and progress."