blueollie

More about sexual harassment, accusations and all that.

White Nationalism That is a harsh charge, but some careful parsing of election data showed that Trump’s support really didn’t come from those with economic anxiety but rather from those who missed “the way things were”. The conclusion:

Nevertheless, a majority of white voters backed a candidate who assured them that they will never have to share this country with people of color as equals. That is the reality that all Americans will have to deal with, and one that most of the country has yet to confront.

Yet at its core, white nationalism has and always will be a hustle, a con, a fraud that cannot deliver the broad-based prosperity it promises, not even to most white people. Perhaps the most persuasive argument against Trumpist nationalism is not one its opponents can make in a way that his supporters will believe. But the failure of Trump’s promises to white America may yet show that both the fruit and the tree are poison.

Now I hasten to point out that a society does need some shared “values” to get along (e. g. loud music in a neighborhood at night…I don’t like it be it country and western, rap, rock, or even classical) But just think about the people blowing a gasket because some NFL players kneel during the National Anthem? Who are those players hurting?

Tax Plan Orin Hatch doesn’t take kindly to being questioned. But his tax plan DOES harm..well, people who started where he did and favors the wealthy. How would he have done had his law scholarship been considered taxable income? There are times when I think that being comfortable with hypocrisy is a prerequisite for being a conservative.

Sexual Harassment: Sexism is a part of that, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar wrote another nice column about a male “jock” subculture. It is very thoughtful, IMHO. It concludes:

HBO’s True Detective got to the heart of the problem when Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) is asked why she carries so many knives and she explains, “Could you do this job if everyone you encounter could physically overpower you? … The fundamental difference between the sexes is that one of them can kill the other with their bare hands.” Nature may have created a physical imbalance, but society’s job is to not allow those with advantages — physical, financial or political — to exploit others.

Craziness: there is a poll about how Republicans and Democrats react to “accusations” of sexual harassment:

Yes, I am with the Republicans here. Accusations are one thing; credible evidence is something else altogether. And there are degrees: say, a drunken butt slap vs. an adult preying on 14 year olds. So, yes, if my candidate had been accused, I would still CONSIDER voting for them (that is how the question is phrased). Of course, when I mentioned that, some SJW “dumbsplained” me. They rarely disappoint.

But, there ARE voices of reason out there, I am happy to say.

Workout notes: yesterday, standard weights (PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10, went well), bench: 10 x 135, 6 x 185, 10 x 170 (good), incline: 10 x 135, military: 10 x 50 standing (thick dumbbells), 2 sets of 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine. Today: “quicker” 10K walk outside. Went ok.

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November 22, 2017 Posted by | political/social, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Sexual Harassment allegations, training and effectiveness…

Yes, sexual harassment has been in the news (sometimes to the exclusion of the truly dreadful GOP tax bills that the Republicans are trying to push through)

Of course, I was dismayed to see the allegation against Al Franken. But then came another of a different type:

On the heels of Tweeden’s disturbing allegations, however, another woman came forward claiming that she too had been “stalked and harassed” by Franken. Melanie Morgan teased her accusation with a Tweet, and then directed curious readers to her website. On her website, she described how Franken called her more than once because he disagreed with how she was discussing a policy issue on the radio.

Even giving Morgan the extremely generous benefit of the doubt, it’s hard to pretend what she alleges Franken did is the same thing as what Tweeden’s picture shows Franken actually doing. Nor is what Tweeden’s picture shows, horrible as it is, the same as what somebody like Roger Ailes or Bill Clinton did.

Which gets to a problem. Right now, the court of public opinion is faced with the awkward task of assigning degrees of severity to sexual misconduct, because, while they all cause harm, they don’t all cause the same amount of harm and thus don’t merit the same punishment. Furthermore, punishment varies by the power the offender wields. A senator, for example, should have a much higher moral threshold than, say, a comedian. Writing in The New Yorker this week, Masha Gessen treads lightly in making this point, warning that the #MeToo moment could devolve into “sex panic” if we’re not careful. “The distinctions between rape and coercion are meaningful, in the way it is meaningful to distinguish between, say, murder and battery,” Gessen writes.

One’s political ideology or past advocacy doesn’t mean it’s impossible for a person to be victimized by somebody with opposing ideology. But if what she’s written is all she’s got, Morgan’s account reeks of naked political opportunism, of weaponizing victimhood in a way that is so morally bankrupt that it threatens to derail the entire #MeToo conversation for selfish political ends.

I’ve seen a case of this when I was at the University of Texas. The two people involved did not dispute the facts: a tenured faculty member called a non-tenured faculty member to complain about a professional matter. Sex was never brought up; the sole charge of “sexual harassment” was that the tenured person was male and the non-tenured one was female…and the call was at night.

Now, unless the tenured person made a habit of hassling female members, this was not sexual harassment; if anything, it was simple douchebaggery. Not all bad behavior between men with more power/status against females with lesser power/status is sexual harassment.

So what about things like genuine groping? (I say “genuine” because the Franken photo, while disgusting, didn’t involve actual groping. She was wearing a heavy flak vest.)

I’ve seen it a few times; one time in the Navy (woman claimed that a senior enlisted goosed her while he walked past) and one time I saw an academic tickle the butt of a female in his rock and roll band as she walked by…he was married to someone else but I didn’t know their respective status (were they friends? were they “that type” of friends?).

But I know it happens and it is wrong (if not consensual). And yes, it seems sad that we need to, as a society, condemn it to reduce it. But how?

I know that standard anti-sexual harassment training is ineffective; in fact, it might well make things WORSE. I have some guesses as to why.

But as far as why men have some urge that needs to be resisted: some of the popular ideas are, in my opinion, dumb. It isn’t anything to do with “sin” or, even worse, women being “sinful” by nature. And no, I doubt it is the result of women being “sexualized” by culture. Instead, I think the urge comes from simple evolutionary pressures to mate. Men aren’t evil for “wanting to”; it just acting on the urge that is the evil. Seriously, I think some of the pressure is taken off when we just admit this “hey, you might want to, and I don’t blame you, but you don’t get to.”. I honestly think some scientific thinking about the matter helps.

Workout notes: 10K walk yesterday. Today: weights; highlights is that pull ups were easier, 10 x 135, 5 x 185 (empty gym), 10 x 170, military: couldn’t get thick dumbbells, but still 10 x 50, 2 sets of 10 x 45, also goblet squats (2 sets of 10 x 45, 10 x 50, 10 x 60 to the sill), rows (machine), etc.

November 18, 2017 Posted by | social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Coming apart at the seams: allegations of sexual misconduct

I admit that between Facebook and Twitter..well, by the time I get the idea and time to write, something else has popped up!

Sexual harassment has been in the news. But interestingly enough, it appears that current sexual harassment training has made things…worse?

Sexual harassment courses aimed at preventing workplace discrimination can have the opposite effect, making men less capable of perceiving inappropriate behavior and more likely to blame victims, according to academic studies that cast doubt on traditional training programs.

One researcher who has questioned the effectiveness of harassment prevention classes is Lauren Edelman, a professor of law and sociology at the University of California Berkeley, the prestigious school that has been at the center of a series of high-profile faculty misconduct scandals in recent months.

“Sexual harassment training may, in fact, make it less likely that males will recognize situations that are harassing,” said Edelman, a faculty member in the renowned UC Berkeley law school, where Sujit Choudhry resigned as dean after he was found to have sexually harassed his executive assistant. “Sexual harassment training may provoke backlash in males.”

Studies testing the effects of harassment training are very limited, but some research has suggested counterintuitive and troubling consequences – that after men complete trainings, they may be more inclined to brush aside allegations and discount victims.

Some researchers believe trainings have no positive effects, tend to be more about legal cover than meaningful prevention or may even have unintended negative consequences – raising serious concerns about the way colleges and companies heavily focus on training as a solution to harassment.

This actually makes sense to me; many of these programs appear to be “check the box to reduce our liability” and, I wonder…how much of it comes from an outside speaker who just wags the finger and tells men that they are bad?

Tinkler has also studied how sexual harassment trainings can provoke backlash and how people who say they support harassment laws are resistant to the enforcement of those policies. Trainings can also reinforce men’s feelings that women are “emotional and duplicitous in the way that they both want sexual attention, but don’t want sexual harassment”, she explained.

Edelman, the UC Berkeley professor, said she suspects the backlash could stem from the “cartoonish, somewhat unrealistic” harassment examples that trainings often include – lessons that can make participants skeptical and resentful.

Yep. Now I know that situations differ from place to place..and sometimes signals can get crossed (friendliness be mistaken for being open to a sexual/romantic advance)

This is 40 minutes long, but Carol Tavris talks about campus sexual assault (a different thing, to be sure) and the ambiguity of communication:

Now here a type of thing that appears as if it would be effective (again, applied to college students):

You see: no finger wagging, no yelling at someone for what they didn’t do..but an affirmation of a positive attitude. Who could resent this? Well done.

And now we have the special Senate election in Alabama. Moore was accused of initiating sexual contact with a 14 year old…when he was a 3x year old lawyer.

And ..yes, the Republicans are, predictably, split:

And so I am hearing..from educated feminists, that women are going to take him down. Really? I’ve heard this before. And educated feminists don’t appear to speak to the non-educated women.

The race was listed as tied in a poll right after the allegations came out (with 86 percent of those polled having heard of them). Prior to that, the poll consensus was that Moore had a 8-9 point lead. Will this be enough….will this go the way of Clayton Williams vs. Ann Richards in Texas in 1990 where Williams JOKING about rape lead to his downfall in a very Republican state?

Workout notes; quick 5 mile walk yesterday (1:01:20..treadmill), 3 miles today after weights; usual PT, pull ups(5 sets of 10; switch grip on set 5) bench was 10 x 135, 6 x 185, incline: 7 x 150, military (dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.

pull ups: I find that doing them with my hands turned inward is now harder than a wide grip???

November 10, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Male sexual harassment: counter intuitive for me

I asked a question on Facebook about a hypothetical case: if someone had, say, a syndicated show and told a potential guest “if you reject my advances, you won’t be a guest on my show”, is this against the law? I asked because while I think that this is vulgar and immoral, I don’t know enough about the law to judge if it is illegal. After all, no one has an inherent right to be booked on a show. This question was based on a public accusation made against Sean Hannity.

The discussion got a bit sidetracked and one of my friends mentioned male sexual harassment. And the article had this photo:

Now, I am not a female so I don’t know how females might react to a photo of a male doing this to a female; my guess is that the reaction would be very negative (anger, etc.)

Ok, MY reaction to the above photo? My initial gut reaction was….”damn..wish that was me..I’d be returning the favor…nice skirt butt!” But that is an initial reaction to a hypothetical situation and it is part fantasy..not a part of my day to day life. And I am a senior faculty member.

So while I “get” that sexually harassing a male is not acceptable either, my “gut” response to something like the photo isn’t what I’d imagine a female’s response to the reverse situation. The emotions are different.

As far as my professional life (as an adult), I now realize that I had witnessed sexual harassment but did not realize what it was at the time.

Example: I was friends with some of the enlisted clerks at a Navy recruiting station. One of them told me that when a more senior male walked past her, he “goosed” her. I was taken by surprise. Note: her boss (a warrant officer) had told her to leave ME alone as she sometimes hovered over me when i was at the computer. Sometimes she would go past me and make it a point to walk between me and the computer screen. I really didn’t mind; though I was a young officer, I still thought of her as a friend and it didn’t bother me at all. Then again, I outranked her.

Another time, I saw a young officer grab a young enlisted man by the butt..the way that frat boys sometimes do with each other. The enlisted man told him to stop; he said “you know that you love it”. He was clearly annoyed. But this officer continued to get great fitness reports (and he WAS very professionally competent).

I didn’t know what to do; I was never reacted quickly to anything that I am not trained for.

Workout notes: easy 5 mile run; glorious day for it.

April 25, 2017 Posted by | running, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Double Standards…

3 girls

YES, I KNOW: “rubbing” and “passed out”. 🙂

But I wonder: how would a college handle this if, say, one photo was three guys over a woman versus this?

But yes, I can understand why there is a double standard as, at least for heterosexuals, males and females are a lot different. We are not blank slates.

I know if I were the guy in this photo, I’d be very annoyed that I was too comatose to enjoy what was happening. 🙂

Yes, sometimes, even guys get heterosexually raped (not talking about statutory; e. g. think of Garp), but that is rare, though perhaps not as rare as once thought.

December 4, 2014 Posted by | human sexuality, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Women getting Cat-calls

I saw this on a Facebook wall:

Now, of course, I had some questions. After all, this woman is more attractive than average and this WAS New York City.

As far as the New York City remark: a long time ago (1984) I took a date to New York City. She, while attractive, wasn’t “actress attractive” (visually). But I got several complements on how nice she looked; they were friendly remarks that she could hear..and was intended to hear.

I haven’t had that happen in other places, so I wondered how much of it was the culture. I also wondered how much of it was due to the woman, population density, etc.

So I posed the question on Facebook and invited Peoria women to chime in.

Of course, there was the expected “feminist soap box” stuff but even that was interesting; the women who commented didn’t agree with each other! It seems to me that some women were quick to “fit it into a feminist theory of patriarchy” framework; other women acknowledged that they have a sexual side and didn’t have a problem with that. Others were more “no biggie”.

But that was a digression; what I found surprising is that women DID report getting catcalls while running or walking in Peoria.

One reported that she got them when she ran instead of when she walked; she seemed surprised because she “was nasty” when she ran. I wasn’t; I’ve seen her in spandex. 🙂 Another talked about getting the cat calls “about half the time” when she ran alone; this one also has quite a pleasing shape in her spandex. NO, THIS DOESN’T EXCUSE IT and nor do I approve of it. But these are the sort of women I expect to receive attention.

But other women also reported it too.

There was also discussion about “what is a cat-call” and a side discussion about greeting strangers (I usually don’t as I run/walk, in part, to be alone).

I wonder if more comments are coming.

And no, I don’t issue cat calls…ok, only to those know now me and who have either “brought it on themselves or who have made cat calls to me. But that is a different story altogether.

October 28, 2014 Posted by | social/political | , , | 1 Comment

Poverty, statistics, sexual harassment and weight loss surgery

Weight loss surgery
That is one of the things that strikes me as “icky”; it sure looks like mutilation to me. But it can help and, surprisingly bring changes to gut bacteria and improves diabetic conditions. Yes, there are several kinds (e. g. bypass, lap band, etc.) and these are discussed in this article.

Poverty
This is an interesting video story about a 52 year old guy who delivers pizzas for a living…via a bicycle. He has done this for 30 years; it is not an easy life.

I remember being more clueless in the mid 1980’s. One of my lifting buddies at the Austin YMCA used to throw shot for Texas State (then Southwest Texas); I played football with his brothers.

He then had a job with the Austin Park District; he worked outdoors keeping the parks in shape. I said “how cool is that; you get to be outside all day!”. He reminded me: “you know, that job doesn’t pay very much.” That helped me keep some perspective.

The effects of poverty are felt in education as well. This is a long story in the New Yorker about a middle school mathematics teacher who helped his students cheat on a standardized exam; the idea is that schools would be closed and teachers fired if students didn’t meet a certain score on a standardized exam.

Yeah, I know; we all love the movies where some firebrand comes in and “believes in” the poor students and gets them to meet some standard that everyone else said “couldn’t be met”.

But student performance is a product of many factors including the environment in which they are raised, the health care and nutrition that they got while growing up and individual genetic factors.

Administrators who bellow about “meet these standards; no excuses” don’t do any good, especially if the standards to be met aren’t set in a realistic manner.

Sexual harassment in science
This is a survey about sexual harassment and sexual assault “in the field” among scientists.

The questions were:

1) ‘‘Have you ever personally experienced inappropriate or sexual remarks, comments about physical beauty, cognitive sex differences, or other jokes, at a field site? (If you have had more than one experience, the most notable to you).’’

2) ‘‘Have you ever experienced physical sexual harassment, unwanted sexual contact, or sexual contact in which you could not or did not give consent or felt it would be unsafe to fight back or not give your consent at a field site? (If you have had more than one experience, the most notable to you).’’

Note: sexual assault could include something as benign as getting your butt slapped.

The results:

Of the women who responded to the survey, 71 percent reported having experienced inappropriate sexual comments while doing scientific fieldwork and 26 percent said they had experienced sexual assault.

Of the men who responded, 41 percent reported inappropriate sexual comments and 6 percent reported sexual assault.

The wording is interesting. I suppose that if I were to answer the question honestly, I could say that *I* was sexually assaulted at a running race; one time I was trying to kick it in at a small town 10K as the clock was almost at 50 minutes. I sprinted (or what passed for a sprint), stumbled across the finish line and got a hearty butt slap from one of the women at the finish line.

No, she wasn’t a friend; this was at a small race in rural Wisconsin.
No, I didn’t care; in fact I was almost comatose at the time…when I walked away I turned around, looked at her and thought “oh, she is cute; pity I wasn’t more aware at the time” and chuckled.

But I had not given consent….but I tend to answer questions very literally.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | economy, education, poverty, social/political | , , | Leave a comment