I’ve seen some tweets from men expressing confusion about what they’re now “allowed” to say or do to women. Here is an example:
Granted, even the courts that have examined what constitutes sexual harassment have come to different conclusions, though I think the Ninth Circuit’s analysis in Ellison v. Brady hits the right note (and also discusses the cases with which it disagrees).
The majority opinion, by Judge Beezer (with Judge Kozinski concurring, interestingly) states in part:
We therefore prefer to analyze harassment from the victim’s perspective. A complete understanding of the victim’s view requires, among other things, an analysis of the different perspectives of men and women. Conduct that many men consider unobjectionable may offend many women. See, e.g., Lipsett v. University of Puerto Rico, 864 F.2d 881, 898 (1st Cir. 1988) (“A male supervisor might believe, for example, that it is legitimate for him to tell a female subordinate that she has a ‘great figure’ or ‘nice legs.’ The female subordinate, however, may find such comments offensive”); Yates, 819 F.2d at 637, n. 2 (“men and women are vulnerable in different ways and offended by different behavior”). See also Ehrenreich, Pluralist Myths and Powerless Men: The Ideology of Reasonableness in Sexual Harassment Law, 99 Yale L.J. 1177, 1207-1208 (1990) (men tend to view some forms of sexual harassment as “harmless social interactions to which only overly-sensitive women would object”); Abrams, Gender Discrimination and the Transformation of Workplace Norms, 42 Vand. L. Rev. 1183, 1203 (1989) (the characteristically male view depicts sexual harassment as comparatively harmless amusement).
It’s not rocket science, guys. Just think like a reasonable woman. Or find a reasonable woman and ask her.
But if you’re finding it difficult I will be setting up a hashtag on Twitter where you can get free crowdsourced advice. It’s called #PleaseAdvise.
Here are some sample tweets to get you started.
I’m thinking about grabbing a woman’s butt.
PS. She is not my wife.
I’m thinking about taking a girl to my house, removing her outer clothing and feeling her up.
PS. She’s underage.
I’m thinking about offering a woman $5 million to let me impregnate her.
PS. She’s not my wife.
If you get ideas like this, tweet them with the hashtag #PleaseAdvise.
We’ll get back to you.