The Big Chill

Found on HN: Why avoiding women is the wrong response to sexual harassment scandals in tech. Submitted by a member with a handle that implies said member is female. The title was changed. The actual article title is: Dear tech dudes, stop being so dumb about women

I flagged it and left the following comment:

Well, on the upside, it is at least written by a man, not a woman, which makes it less cringe-worthy. On the downside, god, what a fucktard, horrible way to handle this issue.
So, on the one hand, I really, truly, honestly have zero problem with women who have already been harassed coming out of the woodwork and talking about it as they see fit. On the other hand, this is why I have written a great deal on this subject over the years and did a recent series in reaction to all this stuff being in the news wherein I suggested we need to find some means to more clearly distinguish between dating behavior and business relationships.

The hang-them-high atmosphere that has developed is only naturally going to cause a chill in the air. Ordinary men who aren't guilty of anything at all, but who aren't sure where to draw the line and don't know how to clearly, effectively and consistently signal that their intentions are completely above board are naturally going to err on the side of protecting themselves from trouble. In the aggregate, this only hurts women.

It does not open doors for them. It closes doors for them.

This is why it is imperative that in the face of this, we need to give push back against, for example, Cheryl Yeoh's very one-sided recommendations that grow out of an assumption of guilt. If we start with a baseline assumption that men are all icky predators, guilty until proven innocent, good luck getting better inclusion for women. What fool would want to work with a woman knowing she can ruin his career and everyone will side with her unquestioningly for fear that any other choice will get them accused of victim blaming?

If women want to get equal footing with men, we need to stop playing the victim card. We need to look as closely at our own behavior as we do at the behavior of men when trying to figure out how to put a stop to this problem generally.

Until that is done, there will be no good solutions. All solutions will exclude women.

Whether women get treated like nothing but a piece of ass and sexually harassed, or treated like potential trouble and assiduously avoided, the result is the same. Neither of these things creates business opportunities for women. Both of them close doors. They do not open them.

The currently hostile atmosphere is just a different reason for closing doors on women. It doesn't get the stated desire of opening doors and increasing opportunities for women.

If we want to be successful in business, women need to pursue diplomatic solutions, not revenge fantasies.


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