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“Blaming the victim”

by Greg Krehbiel on 10 October 2017

If some powerful man is harassing women at work, or women who are looking for career advancement, or deals, or whatever it is, and he’s trading sex for favors, then I think most people can agree that he’s in the wrong.

To what extent do the women who gain such favors share in the blame? Calling them “victims” might be a stretch in some cases. They got what they wanted out of the deal — often, as I understand it, they got quite a bit out of the deal. At least to some extent they’re perpetuating the arrangement.

So, for example, in the Weinstein case, should the women who got what they wanted from Mr. Weistein be exposed?

I’m not saying they’re as guilty as Weinstein. But do they share some of the blame?

2017-10-10  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 39

  1. William
    10 October 2017 @ 2:27 pm

    Depends on how one defines “harassment”. From a technical/legal standpoint, for it to be “harassment”, it has to be “unwanted”. So, in those cases, the women may have indeed participated, gotten favors but never wanted the sexual relationship. They likely felt “compelled” to do it for fear of negative consequences. In those cases, I wouldn’t hold those women accountable (even if they’ve benefited). Yet, if the advances were “desired” or “accepted” by both parties (despite it being inappropriate and a bit creepy for the one with formal authority to make such advances), then it’s more like quid pro quo. In such cases, the women should be somewhat culpable for outcomes resulting from such an arrangement.

  2. smitemouth
    10 October 2017 @ 3:08 pm

    Some A-lister acresses have now come out and have said they were abused by Weinstein.I would say some blame, but not a lot. It’s like people who are the victims of very powerful people with amped up attorneys. If you get groped backstage at a beauty contest, what are your options? Probably not many.

    They really ought to be going against the NYC DA, Cyrus Vance. ISTM, everyone is for sale. Weinstein bought his way out. Trump bought his kids way out. Trump bought his way out in FL. It’s amazing what a campaign donation will allow you to get away with. It’s amazing what a high priced lawyer will allow you to get away with.

  3. Ken Crawford
    10 October 2017 @ 3:33 pm

    I dunno Greg, doesn’t this at some level go back to the concepts in your book ‘Eggs are Expensive’… Doesn’t the double standard source from the idea that women are more valuable and thus are assumed to be the victim in any transactional sexual relationship?

  4. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    11 October 2017 @ 8:59 am

    @Ken, I think we are naturally solicitous of women and therefore are inclined to take their side in a dispute with a man — if the dispute is violent, or about sex. (I’m not saying we naturally take their side in a political argument.)

    So from that perspective, we are going to blame Weinstein first. But I don’t think that means any woman involved, in any way, gets a pass.

    Did you see that video, the economics of sex? There’s a part in there that discusses why most women will criticize loose women. The loose women are bringing down the value of sex, which reduces the market value of the less loose women.

    Something like that seems to apply here. The women who are “making the deal” (Tull’s “Lick Your Fingers Clean” just jumped into my head) are changing the game for all the other women. It allows “sleeping with the boss” to become the accepted cost of getting ahead.

  5. smitemouth
    11 October 2017 @ 10:00 am

    That article by Paglia that you recently referenced mentioned that cheap/easy sex was in general not good for women, IIRC.

  6. Robin R.
    11 October 2017 @ 10:21 am

    But why should any individual woman worry about “what is good for women”? Certainly individual men don’t usually worry about what is good for men.

  7. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    11 October 2017 @ 10:26 am

    I think all men (who are not sociopaths) do worry about what is good for men, and what is good for women, and what is good for humanity in general.

  8. Robin R.
    11 October 2017 @ 10:32 am

    I didn’t ask if they do. I asked: why should they?

  9. Robin R.
    11 October 2017 @ 10:36 am

    Suppose that a promiscuous woman concedes that her promiscuity is not for good for women. But she says that she is more concerned with the good of men. Why should genders be teams?

  10. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    11 October 2017 @ 10:40 am

    In terms of should, I believe the most rational thing a person can do is to promote morality and goodness but secretly do whatever they have to do to get ahead.

    But people have consciences, and they are not rational.

    I think women should be concerned about what’s good for women because they can’t afford to have the majority of women united against them. There are consequences to going against the crowd.

  11. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    11 October 2017 @ 10:43 am

    Ideally, everyone should understand and do what’s best for men and women, and genders would not have to be teams. That’s never going to happen. People clump together by common interests.

  12. Robin R.
    11 October 2017 @ 10:47 am

    I believe that people who become active to advance this or that group or even all of humanity have a tendency to do more harm than good. Too many goofy people trying to make the world a better place.

  13. Robin R.
    11 October 2017 @ 11:00 am

    I am reminded of a line from an old song by Paul McCartney (whom I generally don’t like because he usually just produces cornball, but this line is a good one):

    “Too many people preaching practices. Don’t let ’em tell you what you wanna be!”

  14. William
    11 October 2017 @ 11:33 am

    Last night, as a part of a panel discussion, a male panelist began to ask a question about appropriate discourse between men and women. Before he could get the question out, he was attacked. Basically, he wanted to know, given current social norms, what would be an “appropriate” way for men to engage women without it being mistaken for harassment. Yet, the women thought his question was ridiculous and stated things like…”you should know” and “the mere fact that you’re asking such a question is problematic”. I’m thinking…”huh”? What more reasonable question to ask? If you don’t know, isn’t it a good thing to ask?

    Not trying to generalize too broadly but I’ve seen this movie before. Women expect men to somehow just magically “know” stuff about them. If men don’t ask and get it wrong, they are criticized. Yet, if they ask, they are lambasted for merely raising the question. It’s somewhat of a Catch 22. What’s a man to do (in the feminist influenced culture)?

  15. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    11 October 2017 @ 11:39 am

    IMO, the only thing to do is to say up front that you are a sexist and that you don’t give a hoot what feminists have to say on any subject. You’ll still get shouted down and treated horribly, but you won’t be pathetic weenie boy, trying desperately to win approval from a bunch of harpies.

  16. Robin R.
    11 October 2017 @ 11:43 am

    The mere fact that they are saying that asking the question is problematic is problematic.

  17. William
    11 October 2017 @ 12:00 pm

    @Greg, well, that’s one way to handle it! 🙂 I’m not sure that being a “sexist” (in the way it’s defined in popular culture) is ever a good thing. As well, there could be unintended messages communicated and unnecessary consequences for going that route. It’s good to make a stand but it’s more productive when that stand facilitates greater understanding and communication versus each side retreating to their corners and shouting within their respective echo chambers.

    @Robin, that’s exactly what I thought! The guy was asking an honest question. The reasonable thing would have been to give a response or at least have a discussion. The problem is that some would rather play the “victim” than to find ways to build a better understanding.

  18. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    11 October 2017 @ 12:12 pm

    @William, how do you think sexist is defined in the culture? I think it has no fixed meaning and is just a cuss word. Men should adopt “sexist” in the same sort of spirit as Trump supporters adopted “deplorable” and Hillary supporters adopted “nasty.”

  19. William
    11 October 2017 @ 1:01 pm

    Sexism, in our current culture, is typically defined as unjust prejudice or discrimination based on sex…most often against women. In some cases, an attitude that women are “less than” men, merely because they are female. As well, under some circumstances, sexism is illegal and there is a fixed definition for that type of behavior. Despite being somewhat controversial, these views are fairly commonly understood within our culture.

    That said, I’m not clear on what you mean when you suggest that people should adopt sexist in a like manner as political supporters have adopted other terms.

    Whatever the case, it’s “ideal” when the terms are clear so they engender greater communication and understanding…not just reinforcement of ideas/concepts that generate division and misunderstanding.

  20. Robin R.
    11 October 2017 @ 1:06 pm

    Saying that you are a sexist would be morally equivalent to saying that you a racist.

  21. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    11 October 2017 @ 1:15 pm

    But the word isn’t used that way. It seem the only real criteria is that it’s used any time a woman’s feelings are hurt.

    For example, here are things that have been called “sexist” that don’t fit your definition.

    Trump saying that French First Lady Brigitte Trogneaux was “in such good shape… beautiful”.

    Trump’s comment about Olympic ice skater Katarina Witt: “Wonderful looking while on the ice but up close and personal, she could only be described as attractive if you like a woman with a bad complexion who is built like a linebacker”.

    The House of Representatives’ dress code has been called sexist.

    Women complain it’s sexist if the waiter assumes they want wine and not beer.

    These things might not be polite or accurate or nice, but they are not “unjust prejudice or discrimination based on sex.”

  22. William
    11 October 2017 @ 1:18 pm

    @Robin, there are some that think it’s fine being racist or sexist.

  23. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    11 October 2017 @ 2:05 pm

    Both terms are used so loosely today that they don’t have much meaning.

  24. Robin R.
    11 October 2017 @ 2:27 pm

    Just because a term is misused doesn’t mean that it is meaningless. I would not recommend saying, “I am racist”, unless you really are one, regardless of the occasional or even frequent loose applications of that term. Of course William is right in saying that there are really racists who really don’t mind being regarded as racists. However, in spite of all the weird social theories that Crowhill puts forward (telling us that we should act in accordance with them no less), I don’t think that he wants to be identified as a racist or a sexist in the strict and proper sense.

  25. William
    11 October 2017 @ 2:32 pm

    Uhm, Greg, I think you are being a bit pedantic in defining sexism. First, I didn’t say my definition was all encompassing. Second, it’s been commonly accepted for some time that sexism, under certain conditions, can be inclusive of behaviors like those you cite in your examples…where men are demeaning or degrading to women (based on their sex)…especially when there is a power dynamic at play.

    That said, I don’t believe every charge is genuinely sexism. Some levy undue accusations with the expressed intent to silence and shut down, given it’s a social hot button.

    But, back to my initial point, one can take a stand and refer to himself as a “sexist”. I just don’t think it’s an effective approach, given how sexism is typically understood within our culture. If anything, it’s likely to lead to greater misunderstanding. Yet, if that’s the goal…have at it!

  26. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    11 October 2017 @ 2:41 pm

    Just pay attention to the way the words are used for the next few weeks and you’ll see what I mean.

    And the few times I have said, “of course I’m a sexist,” or something to that effect, it’s been very effective.

    The first thing it does is take the other person off the judge’s seat.

    For example, let’s say I make some comment, and somebody says “that’s sexist,” and I say, “no it’s not because sexism means ______, and what I said doesn’t fit that definition.” That leads to nothing but endless nonsense about what is and what is not sexism. (And it makes no difference if I define the term or if the other person does.) And it leaves the other person in the position of being able to say, “sorry, but you’re still a sexist.” IOW, it leaves them as the judge.

    If I say, “of course I’m a sexist,” the conversation has changed entirely. If they call me a sexist I just say “thank you.” The other person is no longer the judge.

    The second thing is does is provide an opportunity to discuss what is right and wrong, independent of a stupid label.

  27. Robin R.
    11 October 2017 @ 2:51 pm

    So why don’t you go around saying that you are a racist?

  28. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    11 October 2017 @ 2:53 pm

    You’re the one who has equated the terms — on a moral basis anyway. I think they are very different, and the way they are used / abused is very different.

  29. William
    11 October 2017 @ 3:13 pm

    @ Greg, let’s put this back in the context in which I initiated. The guy “tries” to ask a legitimate about discourse with women. He gets blowback for merely asking the question. So, he interjects into the conversation…”I’m a sexist”.

    I suspect this guy was genuinely trying to get insight from women and establish a dialogue and common understanding between them. When he interjects…”I am a sexist”…that’s likely going to reinforce the women’s stereotype of him, possibly lead to name calling/arguing and end the discussion. Yet, the guy would have been successful in one thing…he stood his ground and declared to this group of bickering biddies that he’s a sexist. He can now beat his chest and declare he’s won!

    So, if that’s his goal, then he’s indeed won. Yet, if his goal was to truly get an understanding of how to have an appropriate discourse with women, then failed miserably. He didn’t get the insight he initially sought, probably made a few enemies, and likely put his job at risk for defining himself as a sexist on international TV (when it’s likely he didn’t mean he was a sexist in the colloquial use of that word in our culture).

    In my way of thinking, taking the “I’m a sexist” route, is a FAR cry from being “effective”, given these circumstances. But, I guess it all comes down to what you’re trying to accomplish. Just sayin’.

  30. William
    11 October 2017 @ 3:22 pm

    CORRECTED:

    @Greg, let’s put this back in the context in which I initiated. The guy “tries” to ask a legitimate question about discourse with women. He gets blowback for merely asking the question. So, he interjects into the conversation…”I’m a sexist”.

    I suspect this guy was genuinely trying to get insight from women and establish a dialogue and common understanding between them. When he interjects…”I am a sexist”…that’s likely going to reinforce the women’s stereotype of him, possibly lead to name calling/arguing and end the discussion. Yet, the guy would have been successful in one thing…he stood his ground and declared to this group of bickering biddies that he’s a sexist. He can now beat his chest and declare he’s won!

    So, if that’s his goal, then he’s indeed won and been effective. Yet, if his goal was to truly get an understanding of how to have appropriate discourse with women, then he failed miserably. He didn’t get the insight he initially sought, probably made a few enemies, and likely put his job at risk for defining himself as a sexist on international TV (when it’s likely he didn’t mean he was a sexist in the colloquial use of that term in our culture).

    In my way of thinking, taking the “I’m a sexist” route, is a FAR cry from being “effective”, given these circumstances. But, I guess it all comes down to what you’re trying to accomplish. Just sayin’.

  31. William
    11 October 2017 @ 4:28 pm

    Speaking of confusing interactions between the sexes, the Boy Scouts will now admit girls into their organization. I wonder how girls will like being called a boy scout? Maybe they will become the “Scouts of America”?

    Feminists have long been striving for this type of breaking down of barriers and “equality”. Yet, the Girl Scouts oppose this action and have petitioned the Boy Scouts to not admit girls. Hmmm…I wonder which side feminists will support?

    http://www.scoutingnewsroom.org/press-releases/bsa-expands-programs-welcome-girls-cub-scouts-highest-rank-eagle-scout/

  32. Scott Wicker
    11 October 2017 @ 7:10 pm

    The Boy Scouts are still way too discriminatory. They need to let everyone join. And change their name also – to the “LGBT Scouts”.

  33. RR
    11 October 2017 @ 10:23 pm

    I don’t think these women share much blame at all. Weinstein was someone who could destroy your career and reputation. I’m not saying that it was right for the women who slept with him to have done so just to keep or advance their careers, but the power dynamic was heavily slated to Weinstein. Since some of these women appear to have been in their early twenties at the time, their youth and inexperience is a factor to consider as well.

    Of course, Weinstein has no excuses. If half of the accusations against him are true, he should go to jail, although I doubt that will happen.

  34. smitemouth
    12 October 2017 @ 1:21 am

    I heard he already fled the country for “counseling”. Probably same place as Polanski.

  35. Robin R.
    12 October 2017 @ 7:23 am

    Let’s say a boss slaps his secretary on the butt and says, “Make me some coffee, toots!” Then he yells at one of his African-American employees, “Get off your lazy ass and bring me my mail, boy!”

    Scenarios such as this are what I had in mind when I said that sexism and racism are morally equivalent.

  36. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    12 October 2017 @ 9:09 am

    @Robin, “racism” and “sexism” are both abused, almost to the point that they have no more meaning than “I hate you.” Both are used whenever someone alleges there are differences between races or between the sexes. But that is a big distinction.

    It is indisputable that there are substantial differences between the sexes. I don’t believe there’s any good evidence that there are substantial differences between races.

    That’s why I can’t call sexism and racism morally equivalent. There are substantial differences between the sexes, and people can reasonably disagree about what that means. There are not (so far as I know) substantial differences between races, so there is no reasonable disagreement about that.

    What you’re talking about is just boorish behavior, and yes, I would agree those two cases are morally equivalent.

  37. William
    12 October 2017 @ 12:43 pm

    QUOTE: I heard he already fled the country for “counseling”. Probably same place as Polanski.

    It’s fascinating that when political leaders and celebrities, such as Weinstein, get caught with their pants down, they suddenly find value in counseling and rehab. Simply stunning!

  38. smitemouth
    12 October 2017 @ 2:53 pm

    I have heard it said he was going to go to a “facility”. If so, I hope it has 24 hour armed guards, locked doors, and a name like San Quentin Correctional Facility.

  39. William
    12 October 2017 @ 3:17 pm

    @smitemouth, TOUCHE!!! 🙂

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