The Backlash! - What Everyone Should Know about Feminist Issues - Sexual Harassment and the Big Bang Theory
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Sexual Harassment and the Big Bang Theory
By Rod Van Mechelen
The courts assume that the workplace is asexual. People don't talk about, look at or think about sex when they come to work. This may not be an accurate assumption, but it underlies this requirement. Since the workplace is not supposed to be sexual, all sexual behavior is presumed unwelcomed. -- Rita Risser, Managing Within The Law

Not separate, not equal

Presently, the law focuses almost exclusively on sexual harassment in the workplace and schools. But like some solicitorial astrophysicists trying to prove an oddball version of the Big Bang theory, pop feminists are expanding the legal universe of what defines sexual harassment and where it can occur. In effect, they are making it almost possible for women to charge men with sexual harassment for living and breathing.

During the Thomas-Hill hearings, for example, Catherine MacKinnon, author of Feminism Unmodified, asserted that Anita Hill presented a case of sexual harassment extending beyond the work-place, beyond the term of her employment as Thomas's subordinate. (NBC news with Tom Brokaw, October 11, 1991) In this way, those who would see men bound in all contexts by the hyper-sensitivities of some women are attempting to make specious charges of sexual harassment a risk in all places and times where and when women and men mingle.

Could this extend even to a singles' bar or a party? Could a man be charged with sexual harassment for asking a woman to dance with him? Yes. According to the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center in Washington state, Sexual Harassment can happen anywhere:

  • Over the phone
  • On the street
  • At school
  • At home
  • At work
  • At a party or a meeting
  • Anywhere

Ex post facto

If men are going to be vulnerable to charges of sexual harassment where ever they go and for whatever they do, then we must define precisely what it is because it is both unconscionable and unconstitutional to define a crime ex post facto. Either a specific act is criminal, or it is not. To penalize a person for behavior that is declared criminal after the fact is contrary to the American legal tradition. Hence, the standards should be objective.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment, in which "employers condition employment benefits on sexual favors," is both rare and can be determined objectively. Determining hostile environment sexual harassment by the reasonable woman standard, however, subjects men to pliable public opinion. To this end, the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center defines Sexual Harassment as just about anything:

  • Any unwanted sexual advance
  • A request for sexual favors
  • Verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which:
    • alarms, annoys or harasses you
    • interferes with your privacy
    • creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive living or working environment
This is biased against men as asking for a date is, by definition, a sexual advance, and most women expect men to do all the initiating. By pop feminist definition, therefore, asking a woman out for a date can be sexual harassment, but you won't know until after the fact. Additionally, men who ask women at parties or bars to dance with them are also vulnerable to charges of sexual harassment because, again according to the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature can include almost any behavior:
  • Tone of voice
  • Facial gestures
  • Body language
  • Hand/Arm gestures
This means merely talking to, looking at, or even breathing in the presence of a woman can leave men vulnerable to charges of sexual harassment.

But doesn't the law recognize sexual harassment only in schools or in the workplace? There's no way a court or jury could find a man guilty for walking up to a woman at his favorite bar and asking her to dance, could they? Would they?

Today, maybe not. Legally, however, sexual harassment is almost literally whatever lawyers can "prove" the "reasonable woman" believes it to be. If, therefore, pop feminists persuade the mainstream media to accept the above definitions, then those definitions will become law because women will learn them from books, television programs, TV commentators, newspapers and magazines, and attorneys will then use these same sources to prove it in court.

In fact, the courts already agree "sexual harassment" can occur outside the workplace which may then be actionable within the workplace:

Sexual harassment laws may extend beyond the office situation if the offending behavior on the part of a supervisor or coworker (even though occurring away from the office) contributes to a hostile working environment for the affected employee. (The Microsoft employee newsletter, Micronews, Vol. XI, issue 26, June 26, 1992, p 8)
If after work a man asks a female co-worker out for a date and she turns him down, she might then feel uncomfortable working with him. That means she can accuse him of hostile work environment sexual harassment even if it all took place at a bar, a company party, or even at an orgy (if they are both into that kind of thing). If it's sexual harassment for a man to approach a female co-worker after hours and off work premises, then how much of a stretch would it be to persuade a jury it's sexual harassment to approach the friend of a co-worker? Or any woman? In the amorphous universe of law, where will the Big Bang jurists draw the line? Where would you draw the line?


Ellen Goodman, a columnist for the Boston Globe, knows where she wants the line drawn: "I find something refreshing and familiar in (men's) uncertainty. ... We are insisting that (men) learn the clues, the body language, the verbal signs that differ with every human interaction." In other words, it should be determined by every woman's momentary whim.

It should be obvious this puts men in a catch-22 situation: those who play it legally safe risk remaining permanently celibate and single, while those who ask for love and intimacy with women risk charges of sexual harassment. Pop feminists claim this is only fair because it helps make up for the thousands of years most men have allegedly dominated and victimized most women. But their argument ignores the obvious: men today are not responsible for the social dynamics of thousands of years ago. (If they are, however, then by this same logic Blacks would be justified in lynching Whites, Native American Indians in massacring non-Indians and forcing the survivors onto reservations, and Mexico could legitimately demand the return of Southern California.)

We might also point out that most of the women and men who have ever lived, live today. Historically and statistically, therefore, there may be more male victims of pop feminism than female victims of male chauvinism. By their own logic, to make up for this we should legally oppress women. Fortunately for women, most modern men are too reasonable to buy into such nonsense. The next question is, are most women too reasonable to buy into the pop feminist's misandry? Or will the "reasonable man" standard have to be equally irrational to make up for it?


Rod Van Mechelen

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Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Rod Van Mechelen; all rights reserved.

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