Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Me too two

with 4 comments

Recently, I wrote about the negative phenomenon of people not standing up when it matters and when there is some personal risk involved, only to jump on the band-wagon when everyone else is already on-board—when one more protester does not matter and when a combination of safety “through being the main stream” and safety in numbers makes the danger negligible.

My discussion naturally touched on the “#MeeToo” campaign, but mostly through its relation to the Harvey Weinstein situation and the ensuing set of more specific accusations (i.e. those that did not involve e.g. a “I too have been molested”, but a “[name of VIP] is a sexual molester”).

Since then, I have grudgingly* come to ponder the “#MeeToo” campaign and its off-shots, themselves, as a problem: We already have a massive problem with anti-male prejudice, and the risk that these will feed this prejudice and open additional opportunities for feminist propagandists is considerable, especially in the form of unfortunate legislation, costly and unnecessary programs, more indoctrination in schools, whatnot, directed at “protecting women”, “stopping male aggression”, “creating safe environments”, … I note e.g. that SVT teletext has been obsessed with reporting on and lauding these campaigns, continuing its unjournalistic agenda pushing.

*In principle, there is nothing wrong with people sharing their experiences; problems should certainly not be swept under the carpet; and there can be positive side-effects of a cathartic or “I am not alone” character.

But are not all of these tweets and whatnots proof that there is a severe problem that needs to be addressed? Almost certainly not; although there can be specific areas or individuals that need investigations or counter-measures. Consider e.g.:

  1. The impression caused by even thousands of legitimate complaints can be misleading. Just in Sweden alone there might be some four million women old enough that they now or in the past were potential victims (even discounting pedophiles): If we assume that even just one single woman in one thousand actually had something happen, well, that is potentially four thousand legitimate complaints right there—even assuming a scope of the problem that is negligible.

    Raw numbers are rarely important—what really counts is the proportion. Unfortunately, a Twitter campaign tell us very little about the proportions.

  2. The range of the complaints is enormous, from rape to a casual unwanted touch to behavior* considered in some sense “misogynist” or “discriminatory”. (I stress that I have not investigated the proportions among the complaints; however, it is very important to understand that not all complaints are equal in their magnitude. This especially in the light of how feminists often distort the world through gathering statistics using a loose definition and then use that statistic in a way that makes the inexperienced believe that a strict definition applied.)

    *Which is often bullshit to begin with, e.g. through incorrectly attributing something to misogynism because it happened to a woman, where a man in the same situation would have been treated the same, or where the cause was the woman’s own behavior.

  3. Not all complaints will be legitimate, with problems including both fakes* and misunderstandings**. For instance, I once sat next to a female colleague during a Christmas party, on rotating bar stools without a back, and with a very large radius. I had my hand resting on the end of her stool, well away from touching her—but she squirmed back and forth until she had rotated the stool almost half-way around. At this point, without any actions on my behalf, suddenly there was contact—and she promptly complained. (Notably, the same woman took every occasion to press her legs against mine under the lunch table… Female hypocrisy at its best.)

    *Apart from false accusations for some gain, there are those who want to say “me too” to fit in, or even, in truly perfidious case, to “help the cause”. I note e.g. that there are some groups of feminist extremists that see having been raped as a virtual union card—either you have been raped and will be taken seriously; or you have not and should just your mouth and listen while the adults talk.

    **The risk of a misunderstanding is of course the larger the more trivial the incident. Cf. the examples given.

    To boot, there is a genuine chance that a man touches a woman (or vice versa) in a friendly and non-sexual manner, and likely would have touched a man the same way. If someone starts with the assumption that any contact is of a sexual nature, there can be quite a few misunderstandings—and, indeed, it is not uncommon for men to not touch women for that reason*. Similarly, there are constellations (e.g. male trainer–female athlete) where some degree of “professional” touching is to be expected, possibly even necessary.

    *Sometimes to the disadvantage of the women: I once read a news-paper article about a paradoxical situation from some type of survey: The (male) professors occasionally touched their male doctoral candidates in a fatherly manner, e.g. through an arm over the shoulder. They deliberately refrained from doing so with the female candidates, for fear of harassment complaints—making some female candidates feel left out and wishing that they would receive the same fatherly attentions…

    And then there are pure accidents… For instance, I have on several occasions had women* unwittingly* grace my crotch in the subway (in non-crowded situations); and once managed to do the same to a male colleague. For instance, I was once crouching down in a train to gather my luggage, was sent flying by a sudden jerk of the train—and ended up hugging the upper legs of a teenage girl who stood directly in my path. (I do not embarrass easily, but that really left me red-faced.)

    *I recall no instance of a man, possibly because of better awareness of environment or differences in height. (Or imperfect memory on my behalf…) However, from context I still consider the “unwittingly” part overwhelmingly likely.

  4. There has been a strong focus on male-on-female situations. However, in my personal* experiences as an adult**, female-on-male situations are not only common, but actually more common, especially in the form of leg touching. This includes quite a few situations in trains that were at best annoying, at least one which was physically uncomfortable due to the lack of leg space, and one somewhat funny***; as well as several female colleagues (including the one mentioned above) and co-eds. Not all of these have been unwelcome, obviously; but most left me neutral to negative, and some of them I could really have done without, as when I went for a few beers with my then team and a female colleague with a disgustingly flabby leg spent half the evening rubbing it against mine.

    *I make no claim of having or being a representative sample, but factoring in (cf. the examples given) that I hardly ever visit bars and the like, have few female colleagues, and had a low proportion of co-eds in college, I would be surprised if my experiences were out of the ordinary.

    **The school years were a different story altogether.

    ***I was sitting in a group with some (unknown) women, who obviously had had a few drinks. One was leaning over and patting one of her friends on the knee while talking—and at some point she shifted her hand half-a-foot to the right and to my knee… Not necessarily a great story, but I had a hard time not laughing at the time: She was nowhere near drunk enough to have that severe coordination problems and the sequence makes a mere “I grab what I like” unlikely, leaving me with the impression that she (very incorrectly!) thought that she was doing something clever and discreet.

With the above, beware of simplistic counter-arguments like “even one X is one X too much”: It is unfortunate that bad things happen, and the world would be better if the did not all other things equal. However, we have to consider other factors, notably side-effects of any counter-measures and the opportunity costs incurred. Measures taken in this area will almost unavoidably dig into the rights of the innocent, make work-place* interactions more tense (and reduce the opportunities for work-place romance** considerably), open roads for abuse (notably false accusations), cost employers money, … Look no further than today’s U.S. colleges to see where such interventions have actually lead. To boot: Shit happens all the time, to many people and for many reasons; and it is not realistic, nor even a good idea, to try to prevent all of it through government intervention (or measures of a similar scope)—and why would X be worse than Y or Z?

*For the sake of simplicity, I limit myself to the work-place here; with minor modifications the same will hold true in many other contexts.

**I personally advice against work-place romance, irrespective of such problems: There are simply too many other complications that can ensue, both while the relationship is on-going and once it has ended. Nevertheless, it is quite common, and chances are that there would be fewer families around without it.

As an aside, this shows that tools like Twitter can be potentially dangerous when combined with the broad masses, “herd mentality”, etc. (I am playing with the thought of a dedicated post, but if it happens it will likely be fairly far into the future, due to the over-average amount of preparation needed.)


Written by michaeleriksson

December 2, 2017 at 2:46 am

4 Responses

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  1. […] have repeatedly written about both the “me too” phenomenon (cf. [1], [2]) and the low-quality and/or feminist dominated reporting by SVT teletext (cf. e.g. […]

  2. […] filler, especially since no SVT reader could reasonably be unaware of the campaign. Cf. also Me too two; and also note problems like ignoring that the direction is often the opposite (female-on-male […]

  3. […] Consider, recently, Greta-Thunberg-style climate populism,* the “me too” movement (cf. [3], [4], [5], [6], [7] ), the current German “Rechtsruck” panic (cf. e.g. [8]), or, further back, the […]

  4. […] **Pushing the mostly harmful “me too” movement. Cf. a number of earlier texts, e.g. [2]. […]

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