Is ‘Weinsteining’ getting out of hand?
by Cathy Young/LATIMES
Many people — not just men with skeletons in the closet — fear that careers may be destroyed over minor misconduct and ambiguous transgressions. Troubling rhetoric abounds, condemning all sexually tinged dynamics in the workplace, stereotyping men as abusers and women as perpetual victims in need of quasi-Victorian protections.
In another harsh example, Roy Price, the former head of Amazon Studios, lost his job over a single complaint of propositioning a female executive at a booze-soaked event in 2015. (There is no suggestion that Price tried to retaliate for rejection.
Even aside from dating and relationships, casual or committed, there is little doubt that many women enjoy some degree of sexual interaction in their work lives. Can anyone claim with a straight face that women do not initiate flirting, ribald humor and sexually themed chitchat in the workplace, just as men do? Much of this behavior is welcome or harmless; some of it can be unwanted and obnoxious.
Sexual abuse in the workplace, or anywhere else, is unacceptable. Even boorishness that doesn’t rise to the level of harassment should be discouraged, especially from people in authority. On the other hand, sexual interaction will happen unless the workplace is regulated to a dehumanizing degree and realistically, some unwanted sexual attention will happen as well.
As we grapple with these issues, we desperately need nuance.
Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason and an occasional past contributor to the New Republic.