I’ve decided to provide a critical analysis of an article titled “Conservatives will not stop pushing the ‘Pence rule’ as a solution to sexual harassment”. If you want to, you can read the article for yourself. This article mainly picks at the parts that I most feel like arguing against. The article may be a few months old, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still critique it.
For one thing, the title of the article is missing the last word, which, if inserted, would make it closer to correct. If the word “claims” were added to the end, it would come far closer to the heart of the matter.
The author Casey Quinlan opens her article with the following frilly statement:
As stories of powerful men masturbating in front of women, forcibly kissing and groping women, and forcing teenage girls’ heads into their crotch have gained national attention, it’s sparked widespread conversation about how to prevent sexual harassment and assault.
This opening paragraph is almost graphic enough to be a porno. It’s obvious that she’s trying to invoke some pretty strong feelings here. And what better way to spark productive conversation than to drive your audience into an emotional frenzy?
The solution seems obvious: The best way to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault of women and girls is for men not to sexually harass and assault women and girls.
Because we’re not naive, we all know that telling someone not to do something is no guarantee that they won’t do it. After all, telling someone not to murder isn’t stopping murders from occurring. Therefore, the best we can do is criminalize the undesirable behavior and enforce the law when someone steps out of line.
And I do have some good news for you from the current year! Sexual harassment is already illegal! That means that all we need to do is enforce the law when we determine it may have been broken, and mete out punishments when (and only when) a court of law has determined guilt. Yay, progress!
But wait, there’s more. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Laws against sexual harassment were written, passed, and enforced primarily by men. If there really were some patriarchy that was out to get women (as many feminists claim), this would not have occurred. Looks like men aren’t your enemies, after all.
But conservatives appear to be less interested in finding ways to teach men how to co-exist with women, who comprise 47 percent of the U.S. labor force, than discussing how best to avoid women altogether.
In particular, conservative writers are increasingly focused on the “Mike Pence rule,” pointing out that Vice President Mike Pence does not eat dinner alone with women who are not his wife and does not go to events where alcohol is being served when his wife is not present. Pence first revealed this detail in a Washington Post article published in March.
Now, this is the heart of the matter right here: That men are starting to avoid women like Casey Quinlan, and they feel as though they are being punished. Not only that, more men are adopting the Mike Pence rule, which was obviously designed so that there’d be a witness in the event that yet another obvious false accusation arises, the likes of which we’ve been seeing on the news on a near-daily basis.
In a sense, the Mike Pence rule is a lot like the “stranger danger” that many of us were taught about as children. It’s a terrible thing to teach a child in any case, as it conditions children to distrust people they don’t know, they’ll lose the desire to meet new people, and their interpersonal skills suffer in the long run. And the type of people it was intended to protect them from are actually very rare. Yet, like “stranger danger”, the Mike Pence rule came to be because there are some messed up people out there.
A slander culture has developed that was intended to snipe the careers of men who were successful, so it stands to reason that men, particularly the more successful ones, take measures for their own protection. It’s an unfortunate side effect of the Pence rule that women sometimes feel that they’re being regarded with suspicion, but it’s amusing to see a left-wing writer complain that this is the case, considering that she’s done her fair share to manufacture the conditions of her own plight.
Casey, on the topic of a piece by writer David French, writes:
French argues that people are sometimes attracted to each other in professional settings, regardless of their marital status. He doesn’t explain why those people, regardless of their gender or marital status, can’t be expected to exercise judgement.
It’s not really surprising that Casey would (mis)use David’s article to prop up the idea that men can’t be bothered to exercise self control, but she brings up the main point in the next paragraph, even if with only a dismissive attitude. It’s as though she doesn’t want to admit what the problem really is.
French goes on to write that abiding by such a rule “protects both sides from” reputational harm, suggesting that high-profile men must always worry about women lying about them.
Do you suppose that perhaps these men’s concerns may be justified? After all, there have been copious allegations of sexual harassment against high-profile men in the last year. Just within the last month, Stormy Daniels and Michael Wolff were both found to have lied about claims of infidelity against president Donald Trump.
It’s as though we were in the middle of a false accusation epidemic.
Of course, it also doesn’t help to train people to be oversensitive to dating requests or mere pick-up lines. I suspect that Casey Quinlan would think it sexual harassment to be called “gorgeous”, though she doesn’t have to worry about very many men directing that at her.
As part of a 2016 survey, women told Harvard Business Review they were worried about retaliation from their harasser or the organization they work for if they reported. Women have a lot of reasons to ignore or downplay harassment, whether it happens to them or someone else because it seen as the price women have to pay for excelling in a male-dominated workplace, according to HBR.
I’m including this in my criticism because this is the worst citation I’ve seen in my life. The page she links to isn’t a study, it’s an article from Harvard Business Review, and it will be one of three article views you’re permitted on that site before having to sign up to read more. The article she referenced didn’t call harassment “the price women have to pay for excelling in a male-dominated workplace”, they called it “a cost to being attractive”. Apparently, Casey Quinlan doesn’t respect her own sources enough to avoid distorting what they’re saying.
The paragraph she referenced contained two links. One of which lead to a Huffington Post article. Did Huffington Post perform the study? No, they were merely discussing a study performed by Cosmopolitan. Yes, the same Cosmopolitan that sometimes takes a break from talking about sex to discuss celebrity gossip. So I followed the link that Huffington Post provided, and finally found the “study”. Except it wasn’t a study, it was an infographic. No information about methodology such as sample selection, variable consideration, or error control. Just a bunch of numbers on a chart which, for all we know, someone could have just made up.
The second link led to a study (yes, an actual study), but to view the study, you have to make an account or at least purchase short-term access. How unreasonable is it to assume that a college student has tons of money to throw around for citations for their research papers? If they’d have the $25 just to view this study, they’d probably put that money towards a month’s supply of ramen.
How is it that Casey Quinlan became a professional writer? When I did research papers in college, if I didn’t properly cite my sources, the professors would have given me a failing grade. They certainly wouldn’t have accepted me making them follow a maze that would maybe lead them to something of value.
If you’re going to cite a study, LINK TO THE STUDY ITSELF.
In any case, if a victim were concerned with the consequences of coming forward with a sexual harassment complaint, why does it seem easier for them to come to the spotlight of information media, rather than the anonymity of law enforcement? It’s law enforcement that would launch an investigation to determine guilt for the crime that had allegedly taken place. What would be the problem with that?
But French is not alone in his focus on the “Pence rule” in the midst of sexual harassment allegations. In October, former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, Sebastian Gorka, tweeted the alleged instances of sexual assault and harassment that dozens of women say Harvey Weinstein committed could have been avoided if Weinstein simply didn’t meet with women one-on-one at all — referring to Pence’s rule.
From this point, Casey provides several examples of the Pence rule being taken too far. As she was cherry-picking, her ability to detect sarcasm was turned off.
The subtle suggestion that Sebastian made was that those women were making things up, and if there were witnesses, they’d have had a much harder time getting away with it.
Stating the obvious in an ironic fashion. Of course, you’d have to tell an SJW that John was using his sense of humor. After all, SJWs selectively take things at face value.
It’s over-the-top and obvious why it’s not a practical solution. That’s an ample hint that Timothy was being sarcastic. Most of you could see that. Casey Quinlan did not.
Not only is it absurd, but it is also deeply harmful to the careers of women in the workplace. When men avoid women for fear of looking “improper” or for fear that they can’t control themselves, they deprive women of opportunities to gain sponsors in their careers and to build better working relationships with colleagues and supervisors.
Casey made it to the end of her article and still didn’t figure out that the Pence rule was crafted in response to something. Until she figures out what, she’s not likely to understand that the whole slander culture that she’s working so hard to enable is backfiring in a big way.
When you start making things up about people, don’t be surprised when they act in their own defense. Also, consider the possibility that things might end up with you not getting what you want. In any game of strategy, your opponent gets to make moves, too.
Anyhow, let’s not be too hard on writer Casey Quinlan. After all, if you offer most writers enough money, they’ll write just about anything.