Has a sexual harassment backlash begun?
This has led to a lot of questions that I have heard raised by my fellow men in recent days, such as:
"Are we going to have to stop hiring women?" Please. The answer is not to avoid hiring or promoting women. It is to not sexually harass them.
"So, what's the harm in a little flirting? Is that so wrong?" Sometimes, yes. The problem comes when one man's flirting becomes a woman's abuse.
"Is this the end of dating in the office?" See my previous answer.
The answers begin with more conversation and debate, not by avoiding any opportunity to talk about the topic at all.
We live in a time in which claims of victimization are a popular political weapon of choice. The worst case scenario would be for men in power to see in this period of reckoning not the threat men pose to women but about the possible victimization of men.
As a man in these times, I feel thoroughly warned. The next step for all of us should be to gain a better understanding of how the world looks to members of the opposite sex. As long as one gender constantly sees threats that the other fails to notice, we have a lot more talking to do -- and, even more important, listening.
(E-mail Clarence Page at firstname.lastname@example.org.)