Candidate tells voters to cast their ballot for people without a penis

It was inevitable. What with powerful men from Harvey Weinstein to Al Franken to Matt Lauer being accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault, someone was going to advocate discrimination against men in general. As a solution to the harassment problem, I jokingly told a friend yesterday, “They should just fire all men.”

Well, this trope has become serious. Here’s an ad by Dana Nessel, a Democrat running for Attorney General of Michigan. As you’ll see, she says that people should vote for her because she has the right kind of genitalia.  “Who can you trust most not to show you their penis in a professional setting?” While she alludes to her other achievements, her main argument here is that, as a woman, she’s not going to harass her staff or tolerate sexual harassment. Her final argument: “Yes, I’m a woman; that’s not a liability. That’s an asset!”. In other words, being a male is a liability. You shouldn’t vote for male candidates because they have a strike against them at the outset.

This ad irritates me, perhaps because it touts sex as the main reason one should vote for a woman. What about her accomplishments or qualifications. She’s riding on the coattails of the many sexual harassment/assault accusations pervading the media, but it seems manipulative. After all, I suspect that most male politicians aren’t guilty of that. Of course we need more women in elected office, but not simply because they are women, but because many are more highly qualified than their opponents but face discrimination that works against them. We don’t need them in office because we can be guaranteed that they won’t show us their penises.

I’d still vote for her, though, as she’s the Democratic candidate.

117 Comments

  1. Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I don’t see a problem with this ad. Harassment scandals are detrimental to a smoothly-functioning government, and are not merely personal issues. Think of the effect on allies or policy if a President had to step down.

    If a candidate can be assured of not having said scandals, then it is a solid reason (among other reasons, of course) to vote for them.

    • Travis
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      genitalia does not assure that one is or is not a sexual harasser.

      • Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        But you have to admit that, statistically speaking, it does.

    • Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Two things. You can not, even in principle, “assure” a candidate will not sexually harass anyone, unless that candidate is dead. Second, even if one could, it would only be one reason to vote for them and it’s not a particularly strong reason either.

      FTR, this candidate is a Democrat so, like our host, I’d be more inclined to vote for her at first glance. It is her positions and her history that would determine if she got my vote – NOT HER VAGINA.

      • Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        True, but statistically speaking, I am correct. Female perpetrators of unwanted sexual harassment are far less prevalent than male.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      The question is if we should discriminate against men for being men!

      • Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        In general, no. However, when it comes time to vote, we are all discriminating in one form or another.

        • Eric Grobler
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          And gender is a primary consideration?
          What about
          – race
          – tribal identity
          – religion
          – sexual orientation etc

          That is why many countries in the Middle East and Africa are only democracies in name.

  2. Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    as a white male who’s been involved in many discussions about these issues over the years … I’ve been told repeatedly that white men aren’t expected to feel ‘guilty’ about being white men, but rather to just stop doing whatever they’re doing.

    Which appears to be more and more simply existing as white men.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Guy’s really gotta commit to run for office under that standard. Like they say about a bacon & eggs breakfast — the chicken’s interested; the pig’s committed.

    • Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      “bacon & eggs breakfast — the chicken’s interested; the pig’s committed.”

      Brilliant! I will use that for coaching. “How committed are you? Be the pig.”

  4. Jake Sevins
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Suppose this ran in reverse: a male candidate says something like, “And I won’t melt into an emotional puddle when the going gets tough, because I’m a man.” The backlash would be appropriately severe.

    I never imagined as a kid that one day racism and sexism would be ok as long as it ran in the right direction. Wow.

    • Travis
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      “I promise to never ovaryact”

      It’s sexism veiled as virtue, and it takes swapping terms for most people to even realize this. Even then people will justify it as “punching up” to justify it

    • Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      I know. Me neither. We are in deep doodoo.

    • danstarfish
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      This trend is disillusioning. I am a humanist who wishes we could judge people as individuals. The new rhetoric where it is acceptable to make deprecatory remarks about people simply for being men or white makes me question whether these people share my ideals.

      The worst coworker I ever had was a woman who was highly intelligent and a manipulative control freak. She really did make the workplace horrible for a while. However, I did not generalize her horribleness onto all other women.

      Sexual harassment is a problem and one we obviously haven’t figured out enough to effectively curb it. It is also disproportionately a male problem. Yet I don’t think the solution is making all men suspect and always assume the worst. We need to be pragmatic to figure out what will work to combat this issue and recognize that it is tough problem to fix. I think highly charged ideology helps generate motivation to fix the problem, but interferes with the actual figuring out what works because the idealogues are not as good at being practical and critically assessing the problem.

    • yazikus
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      “And I won’t melt into an emotional puddle when the going gets tough, because I’m a man.”

      You must have missed the last election. These tropes were employed generously- women are too emotional to govern, women are too weak to govern, women don’t have the stamina to govern, etc. The backlash was not really there, and it wasn’t severe when it was.

  5. Travis
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    “Of course we need more women in elected office, but not simply because they are women, but because many are more highly qualified than their opponents but face discrimination that works against them.”

    Is this actually demonstrable? It seems to be presumed by those with a progressive slant but I don’t think it has actually been demonstrated. Are the numbers of qualified candidates of men and women equal to begin with (ie before elections take place at any given level) or are there simply less qualified women (due to lack of interest, probably)?

    • Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      I don’t have hard data on this; this is just my speculation. For instance, I’d much rather have had Hillary Clinton than Trump as President, but I wonder if she could have won if she hadn’t have been a woman.

      • Joshua Thom
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        I would disagree with this assumption. Are you familiar with the recreation of the Presidential Debates where the sexes were swapped? It is called Her Opponent. You can find it on YouTube.

        https://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2017/march/trump-clinton-debates-gender-reversal.html

        If not I would recommend looking into it. I personally believe that being a woman helped Hillary a lot and if the sexes have been reversed Trump would have won in a landslide.

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        “but I wonder if she could have won if she hadn’t have been a woman.”

        I find that a strange question – she nearly won and did win the popular vote.

        Many people just did not like her as a person and many bernie supporters were disillusioned with the DNC

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        Not the best example in the world. There are gelatinous life forms on the bottom of the Marianas Trench which are more highly qualified for the American presidency than Donald Smallhands.

  6. GBJames
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    sub

  7. Joshua Thom
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    “I’d still vote for her, though, as she’s the Democratic candidate.”

    Sexism is ok as long as it is coming from a democrat? You would vote a sexist democrat over any republican candidate because they are a democrat? If the situation in Alabama was reversed and Roy Moore was a democrat you would still vote him over the Republican?

    • Historian
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      This ad hardly makes her sexist. Yes, she is appealing to women, but so what?

      To compare her to Roy Moore is a total absurdity.

      • Joshua Thom
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        “So what” I see. It is ok to be sexist as long as it is against men. I a man said vote for me because I am not a woman that would be sexist.

        I am not comparing her to Roy Moore. I am pointing out the tribalism.

        “I’d still vote for her, though, as she’s the Democratic candidate.”

        I am pointing out the tribalism of voting for a democrat because they are a democrat. And asking the question would you vote for a sexist democrat over non sexist republican?

        • Joshua Thom
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

          *** If a man said ***

        • Historian
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

          Her appealing to women is no more sexist than male candidates who try to gather votes by appealing to male hunters. It’s called politics. In the political arena, a politician can only be called sexist if he or she promises or institutes policies that, without any rational justification, discriminate against people of the opposite sex. Nessen’s ad hardly makes her sexist. The wisdom of the ad can be questioned in terms of helping her win votes, but it is not sexist.

          In the real world, it is most unlikely that any Democratic candidate could secure the party’s nomination by being overtly sexist. Rarely, if ever, do Democrats have to take into account that their candidates are sexist. Sexual harassment is not the same as sexism. Sexual harassers need not be sexists and vice versa.

          • Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

            “Her appealing to women is no more sexist than male candidates who try to gather votes by appealing to male hunters.”

            I see what you’re saying and I have to say I agree. But doesn’t it bother you the nature of her appeal – that any male candidate would be a harasser and any female would not?

            When politicians try to appeal to men (both men and women pelicans do this) it has not been my experience that do it in this way. What they are saying when they make this kind of appeal is; “I am one of you”. They are NOT saying “Don’t vote for the woman because guns or hunting or whatever”.

            • Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

              I asm NOT changing that typo! Nope. It’s WAY to funny.

        • Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          By the way, I looked up her views on her website before I said that, so you have no right to accuse me of tribalism. Before you start throwing such accusations around, you might bloody well ask.

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

            “I’d still vote for her, though, as she’s the Democratic candidate.”

            This sentence in isolation/out of context is perhaps troublesome.

      • BJ
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        If a man releases an ad saying that he’ll be strong and tough because he’s a man and has more testosterone than his female opponent, is that merely appealing to men?

        • Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          Good point.

        • Historian
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          I’m not sure what your point is here, but such an ad would not be necessarily indicative of sexism in the political arena. Sexism in that arena is manifested by actions, not words or thoughts. As long as a politician does not promise or institute policies that discriminate, without rational reason, against the opposite sex, what goes on in the person’s mind is of no concern to me. The old cliché applies: actions speak louder than words.

          • Michiel
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

            The person would still be sexist, wether you feel it concerns you or not.
            It sounds to me like you are trying to define sexism differently for politicians than for others. Not sure what the point of that is. Sexism is sexism. And yes, trying to appeal to women by specifically stating that men are less qualified simply because they are men is sexism.

            • Historian
              Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

              If you were a mind reader, you would probably find that many people harbor sexist attitudes that are not publicly displayed. Some people express verbally sexist ideas. In either situation, such people may or may not put sexist attitudes into action through discriminating against individuals of the opposite sex. Unless I have a personal relationship with people who verbally express sexist attitudes, this person does not affect my life. I do not have personal relationships with politicians. My concern is what they do in office. So even if those people are defined as a sexists for their attitudes, in the political arena they are not sexists if their policies are not sexist.

              As an analogy, a politician may be religious and even say so. However, if that person promotes policies that I approve of and does not discriminate against the non-religious, I would support that person without a moment’s hesitation. Jimmy Carter comes to mind.

              I will concede that for the political arena I am using a specific definition of sexism. Sexism can be manifested with words and actions. In politics, only actions matter. Nessel has given no indication that she would discriminate against men. Her appeal to women and some men as well is that they don’t have to worry that she is a potential harasser. I’m not sure that the ad is a wise political tactic. But, it is not sexism.

              • Travis
                Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

                her implication that women are less dangerous and that this is worth even mentioning as a positive for her candidacy suggests to me that she will be willing to discriminate against men if the opportunity arises. Especially for sexual assault/harassment decision-making. Maybe she will be in favor of Title IX-type nonsense, or maybe she will be in favor of throwing away means of the accused defending themselves like we are looking forward to in Canada

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        “This ad hardly makes her sexist”

        If they ad was phrased “vote for me as a man because women are x y” surely you would call that sexist.

        • Posted December 1, 2017 at 4:01 am | Permalink

          No, women are XX. :p

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

            Caitlyn Jenner will object to such a retro biological deterministic notion.

  8. Alpha Neil
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Sometimes they need air

  9. Historian
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Dana Nessen is not yet the Democratic candidate for Attorney General in Michigan. She is a candidate in the Democratic Primary running against Pat Miles (a man).

    I don’t live in Michigan, but if I did, I wouldn’t let this ad rule out my voting for her. I would need to find out how she stands on all issues versus her opponent’s positions.

  10. Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    ergo all candidates must appear naked!

  11. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Considering the condition of Michigan, they should vote all the women in and probably will if all are Democrats. The revulsion to the republican party is real. The sudden discovery of many that the work place is full of sexual harassment is sad but not new.

  12. Thanny
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Women sexually harass people, too. In some scenarios, women are far worse than men, such as with strippers of the opposite sex in a strip club.

    There is no bad behavior unique to either men or women, and anyone claiming otherwise is objectively sexist.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Possibly you do not get out much. Sexual harassment is not always male on female but that is like saying females murder people too.

      • Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        According to the DOJ, in the US women make up about 2% of all convicted sex offenders and about 14% of all convicted murderers.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          So maybe I was correct – comment indicated they do not get out much. The more important issue is missing in this post and comments. Remember, we are looking at Michigan. Ranked worst in the nation in many surveys and investigations on corruption and scandal. Lack of Transparency. The place should be the apple of Trumps eye. If any place needed an overhaul, it is Michigan. Has anyone heard of Flint?

          • Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

            You are correct. I posted that in support.

          • Craw
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

            You mean the Flint with an all Democrat city council that cancelled the contract with the Detroit water supply, resulting in deaths? Yes, not far from here.

            I drink Detroit water btw. Quite decent if not up to my home town’s or Toronto’s.

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

              That is a simplistic statement that means nothing sir. If you bothered to follow the long saga in any form you should know better. Many people have been indicted for manslaughter and all kinds of crimes – mostly city and state officials and who knows what the hell party they all are. The Republican governor of the state has as much or more to do with this mess as the city council anyway. The cancelling of a contract is not what killed people or got lead in everyone’s system. Just a cheap shot that says nothing.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

              You’re blaming the Flint water crisis on local Democrats? Really? Because the shank of the responsibility for that tar-baby lies on the doorstep of the administration of Republican governor Rick Snyder. It was Snyder who appointed the emergency managers who controlled Flint’s finances leading up to the crisis. And it was Snyder’s Departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services that covered up and mismanaged the crisis. They’re the ones who have been charged with crimes stemming from this debacle.

        • Travis
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          “convicted” is a misleading number if you stop the search at that point. We all know women are less likely to be convicted in general, but I suspect it’s even more lopsided for sexual assault because both males and females erased male victimhood. See: Any teacher “sex romp” (ie statutory rape of children).

          The numbers for murder may also be underepresented due to murder charges being dropped in favor of “infanticide”. Of course men murder more overall, though but there’s some food for thought.

          • Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

            In the US there in no jurisdiction with a distinction between infanticide and murder.

            • Travis
              Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

              Are you sure? Isn’t infanticide a separate crime? Maybe it is still included in these statistics but I don’t know how those statistics are built up so I can’t say for sure.

              • Posted November 30, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

                Note in proof – there is no jurisdiction in the US with a distinction between infanticide and homicide. Murder is one of the possible charges that can be brought about because of a homicide. But in the US it doesn’t matter if your victim is an infant or not – you would be charged with the same crime if the victim was an adult.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

            “We all know women are less likely to be convicted in general …”

            We all know that? What’s the basis for this universal knowledge?

            • Travis
              Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

              By “we all” I mean anyone who is familiar with how female perpetration of crimes is painted by media and interpreted by the average person. That should be anyone who has given half an honest effort into looking at gendered issues.

              Here is the stat I referring to, though.

              https://www.law.umich.edu/newsandinfo/features/Pages/starr_gender_disparities.aspx

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

                The study you cite addresses only the sentencing disparities between men and women convicted of federal offenses. Your assertion was that there was a disparity in the rates of conviction of men and women charged with the same crime. The study lends no support to that assertion.

              • Travis
                Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

                Ken,

                “”[w]omen are…twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted.””

                This is what I was thinking of but you’re right, that’s not conviction.

                That said, I believe it is a reasonable inference that women are convicted of less serious crimes in place of more serious crimes, and convicted less often, due to these other data points as well as our assigning hypoagency to women (and hyperagency to men)

            • Thanny
              Posted December 16, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

              It’s a uncontroversial fact that at every step of the criminal process – arrest, charge, indict, try, convict – women are less likely than men to be carried to that step for the same crime. And if it does go all the way to conviction, women get ~60% less jail time than men (compare to the ~%10 difference between blacks and whites).

              There aren’t hard numbers for all those steps, but if you make some reasonable estimates, you can come very close to completely explaining the difference in the male and female prison populations.

              • Posted January 24, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

                I don’t think so. Gangs staffed by women are rare.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      One might conclude that that’s an occupational risk for strippers. And not, shall we say, a typical workplace situation.

      I think you need to find a better example.

      cr

      • Thanny
        Posted December 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        The fact that female patrons harass male strippers at absurdly higher levels than male patrons harass female strippers is just an occupational risk? You’re not making any sense.

        It’s a counterfactual to the popular claim that sexual harassment is something men do to women.

        In more conventional workplaces, you’re not going to find as much women on men harassment for two main reasons:

        1) Men are far less likely to report harassment by a woman than the reverse.

        2) Men are far less likely to consider certain behaviors harassment.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 16, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          One could argue that stripping – since it deliberately has strong sexual connotations (otherwise, what’s the point of it?) – is NOT a typical workplace situation.

          It also begs all kinds of questions of what constitutes ‘harassment’ of a stripper – wolf whistles? Sexual comments? Applause?

          I tend to agree with your last two points re men are less likely to report harassment than women BUT I think stripping is such an atypical situation it’s not a valid example to use. As I said.

          cr

  13. Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Oh, she is making partly a joke. Women do, after all,have senses of humour. Another capacity which is seriously questioned in some circles.

    • Taz
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      I agree. “Who can you trust most not to show you their penis? The candidate that doesn’t have one”.

      It’s almost a “Dad Joke” 😉

    • yazikus
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      I thought so as well. And she clearly knows it, tucking in her actual qualifications. I didn’t see it in the OP, but she mentions that people had been saying an all-female ticket was just too much (and that is why I imagine she did this ad).

  14. Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    “After all, I suspect that most male politicians aren’t guilty of that.”

    Is there any evidence to back this up? I’m thinking the opposite might be true. Anecdote: I’m a man and have *never* been sexually harassed. Most of my coworkers are women, and *all* of them have at some point been sexually harassed — if not worse. (It came up at a company discussion on this very issue.) ALL of them. And every time, the perp was a man, spread out over dozens of years at dozens of companies.

    My thought is: If you’re a man like me, and like me you’ve never sexually harassed or molested anyone, then they’re not talking about you. They’re talking about the HUGE numbers of men who actually do it. (And the fact that a woman can’t tell from looking at us which kind we are.)

    • BJ
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      It’s not the responsibility of others to prove a negative, it’s your responsibility to prove your positive claim. Keep in mind that people who commit sexual crime tend to do so repeatedly. There are far more robberies than there are robbers.

      • Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        BJ, I’m referring specifically to the writer’s suspicion that “most male politicians aren’t guilt of that”. A few weeks ago, I would have suspected the same. But it turns out to not only be more widespread than I’d previously thought, but also that large segments of the voting population are fine with it.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      To trot out a Regressive cynicism, just because you believe you have not been sexually harassed doesn’t mean to say you are not really a victim. Perhaps you have walked down a street behind a woman who is trailing a vast plume of perfume, irritating your nose? Or been expected to ‘lift heavy things’. Or join the army and lay down your life to protect those at home? Or perhaps you missed out on a job or promotion because of some affirmative action? Or lost out on alimony or child custody hearings?

      Sexual harassment abounds, and currently women have the focus (possibly because they suffered more in earlier times) but men suffer a share too, mostly silently.

      • Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        DiscoveredJoys, those sound suspiciously like MRA talking points. Is that what I’ve stumbled onto here? All of the things you describe are a not a result of feminism, but a result of the patriarchy. The ideas that men are the lifters and fighters while women are the perfumed nurturers — those come from the existing system. Women aren’t our enemies, and I can certainly understand why some would be suspicious of being our friends.

        • Travis
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          Why use the term “patriarchy” over “traditional gender roles”?

          I think the reason is that it paints males as ultimately responsible, whereas in reality men and women are both responsible for gender roles.

          Who said women are enemies???

          • Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            “Who said women are enemies?”

            No one said that, to my knowledge. I specifically said they’re NOT. The comment from “DiscoveredJoys” (if that is its real name) entirely painted the situation as an us-versus-them scenario. I’m pointing out that it’s not. Or shouldn’t be.

            “Why use the term ‘patriarchy’…?”

            For the reason you suggested, I suppose. While certainly “men and women are both responsible” for traditional gender roles, I hope you’re not suggesting that they’re *equally* responsible. Even today, we can all locate examples of women who advocate against their own equality, I’m sure you would agree those are the exceptions rather than the norm.

      • Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        Oh good grief. None of those things are sexual harassment.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        You seem to not understand what sexual harassment is. Lift heavy things? joint the army? missed a promotion? Smelled perfume?

        The term involves unwanted advances of one person to another – usually involving a power advantage and usually a man to a woman. Check the word usually. A supervisor or boss to an employee. Someone in the firm higher up over someone who is lower. It has nothing to do with walking down the street smelling perfume or joining the army.

        • DiscoveredJoys
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          Perhaps I did not make my ‘regressive cynicism’ satire clear. If I (as a pale stale male) think those things are sexual harassment then they are sexual harassment(to me as a recipient, by definition, no matter what was intended). Just as some men see only office banter, but some women see sexual harassment.

          Otherwise discussion vanishes even further down the plughole – not only can only whites be racist, only men can be harassers. Now you can argue the relative proportions but to dismiss completely other peoples’ feelings of harassment (whether justified or not) is to ignore part of the problem.

          • Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

            Despite the other nonsense there is a kernel of truth here;

            “Just as some men see only office banter, but some women see sexual harassment.”

            I wonder how much of the charges of harassment we’re seeing now is of the type; “Your new hair style is sexy” or “That dress looks great on you” or even a simple touch of the elbow to get someone’s attention*. A kind of sexual harassment that fits DiscoveredJoys comment and not really the variety that what many of us envision.

            *This actually happened to a colleague. He touched a woman’s elbow to get her attention at a conference and was called into HR for a conference.

          • Travis
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

            ” Just as some men see only office banter, but some women see sexual harassment.”

            Precisely. This isn’t even cynical. Add to that that most men do the sexual pursuing and you get an imbalance due to the number of approaches/comments by men and the minimization of male victimhood (by themselves and others).

            IIRC there was a recent MSc thesis at uWaterloo that showed that women interpret benevolent sexism as equality and equality as hostile sexism. (I have not thoroughly read this myself)

            I think this is the thesis
            https://uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/bitstream/handle/10012/6958/Yeung_Amy.pdf

            • Posted January 24, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

              “Women interpret benevolent sexism as equality and equality as hostile sexism.”

              I do this, because women are not biologically equal to men. If I am expected to lift the same weights as a typical man, I wouldn’t take this as equality.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

            I would guess then, by your standard, if I said I was drunk, although I had no alcohol, I would be drunk. Here is the deal concerning your definition of sexual harassment. You get to have whatever opinion you want, but there is only one set of facts. Your opinions are not sexual harassment. Your attitude on this sounds very close to watching another run at the news on FOX.

            • DiscoveredJoys
              Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

              I am playing Devils Advocate here to try and break out of this polarised debate and into a less emotional discussion. Undoubtedly some sexual harassment is evidenced by facts, but a lot of it is interpretation. There are some people who have interpreted a comment or action as sexual harassment when there was no intent. To insist that all women are victims or all men are predators is not relying on facts but emotions.

              I’m more than happy for a sexual predator to be found guilty by the presentation of facts – but in many cases there are no incontrovertible facts. I don’t care for justice to be biased either way by mere prejudice.

            • Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

              Thank you, Randall.

      • Craw
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        As others have noted, those might be examples of sex stereotyping, or sex roles in action, but they are not in any way sexual harassment. Let’s keep the peas and the carrots separate, shall we?

    • Michiel
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      “spread out over dozens of years over dozens of companies”. Exactly. And spread out over tens of thousands of interactions with men. Even if all the women were sexually harassed at some point in their careers (which is, of course, awful), this still doesn’t get you necessarily to “huge numbers of men” who are sexual harassers. Surely out of all the men these women have ever worked with, these men form only a tiny fraction.

      • Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Michiel, to my knowledge, there’s no way to know what percentage of men have *actually* committed some form of sexual harassment.

        Today, I’m more convinced than I was a few weeks ago that it’s a larger percentage than I had previously believed. Women have told me, and I didn’t believe them. Or I believed them, but assumed it was an isolated incident. It’s looking more and more like the incidents aren’t as isolated as I once believed.

    • Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      I don’t know about non-violent sexual harassment but I recently read (I’ll try to find it) that a large majority of violent sex crimes are committed by a relatively small number of men. That is it to say, is rare that violent sex offenders offends only once.

      I agree with your assessment overall. Most (not all) women I know have been subject to some kind of harassment over the years while most men (not all) have not. Perhaps a similar situation pertains here – maybe relatively small number of offenders are to blame for a large amount of the harassment.

      • Travis
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        I have to wonder just how many men don’t consider sexual harassment to be sexual harassment, and so don’t identify as victims. Male victimhood is largely erased in general (empathy gap) but especially when it comes to violence or sexual harassment. So there is a subjective component on both sides of this.

        Men do most of the risk taking when it comes to attracting a mate. This applies to interacting in general (trying to talk up an attractive female) and so men are performing the majority of actions that might be considered harassment by default. Often times “harassment” is considered to be any unwanted advance, like asking someone out. If you’re not high enough status, the woman might consider the advance itself to be harassment. If you are high status, even if they still decline, it may not be considered harassment.

        • Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          You have a point. I live on Capitol Hill in Seattle, a part of town with a large, thriving and fun gay community and though I am about as hard-hetro as they come, it has always bugged me that I have never been cruised. Am I really that unappealing to gay men? Or have I been “harassed” but didn’t notice it?

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

          “Often times “harassment” is considered to be any unwanted advance, like asking someone out. If you’re not high enough status, the woman might consider the advance itself to be harassment. If you are high status, even if they still decline, it may not be considered harassment.”

          Or, if you are higher status than them, that – according to some posters here – makes the harassment even worse because of the ‘power imbalance’.

          Sheesh, when I was young, the worst thing one risked when asking a girl out was the disappointment (and possibly minor embarrassment) of a refusal. The risk of being accused of heinous crimes for even having the nerve to ask just didn’t exist.

          cr

  15. Liz
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    She could have started by outlining her plans and mentioning her website for more information. Maybe it was important to address concerns that there would be a female governor, female secretary of state, and a female attorney general. I don’t know if those are real concerns. She could have mentioned how her qualifications would address problems in different areas for men and women. If she wanted to address sexual harassment, she could have said something like her office will take sexual harassment complaints seriously and will focus on the issue to help improve it. If there were concerns about having female leadership for all three positions, I don’t think she helped her case. It was edgy and what politicians do but she basically undermined her qualifications. I think that was a fake fireplace in the background.

    • BJ
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      That would have been a good ad!

      If I lived in Michigan and she became the Dem nominee, I’d still probably have to vote for her, unless the Republican was one of those very moderate ones you find at the state level and not at all affiliated with those who have perpetrated the various crimes against Michigan over the last few years.

  16. Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I think the ad is funny. NOT something to take seriously, but clever taking advantage of recent news.

    By the way, I know that some women are unqualified for office (Palin?). I know many men don’t harass women. (Maybe most men in the US now don’t, but I think that varied by culture.)

  17. ploubere
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    There are women who I would really rather not see in office. Marsha Blackburn, for instance, is running for senate in Tennessee, and will probably win. She defends Roy Moore and Donald Trump.

    I understand the campaign strategy of running that ad, though. If she just talked about issues the way Hillary did, nobody would pay attention.

  18. Jenny Haniver
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m female, and have been sexually harassed by both men and women. Granted, the preponderance of sexual harassment, assault, rape is committed by men, but women are capable of such things and do perpetrate them, so I think it’s fallacious and dangerous to operate on the assumption that these behaviors are exclusive to men and perpetrated against the opposite sex.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      If you have been reading all the comments above I don’t know how you would come to the conclusion that all sexual harassment is by males on females. Do not put sexual harassment in the same basket with rape or sexual assault. Those last two are criminal and should involve calling the police. Sexual harassment is different, yet pretty specific, yet extremely hard to understand by a group of people on this site who are suppose to be higher educated and understand how to read and reason.

      Just to give an example from a real report today. Matt Lauer is reported by one woman to have taken her clothes off and had sex with her right in his office. She did not want him to do it so this is likely rape. They took her to the nurse or something but she did not report it at the time. He also simply undressed in front of a female, exposing himself. That would be sexual harassment if that was all that took place.

      • GBJames
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        “undressed in front of a female, exposing himself”

        That could also be Indecent Exposure which is a crime (although the definition varies from place to place).

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Though I may group them together, that is not to imply that the distinctions are lost. I think you’re making the same all-or-nothing attribution mistake that you say I’m making. I consider it clear but implicit that this candidate’s appeal is rooted in the notion (positive stereotype) that women don’t commit such acts simply because they’re women and women are nurturing and so forth. This is similar to those who state that X (some particular group) can’t be homosexual (and perhaps this type of reasoning is operative in some of the Alabama fundamentalists’ denial of Roy Moore’s behavior — a good Christian man like that, who promotes the bible and the 10 commandments couldn’t possibly have that kind of lust in his heart). And I damned well know the differences between sexual harassment, rape, and sexual assault, having experienced them — and begging your pardon, but I don’t need you, whoever you are, to “help” me understand the differences intellectually. My body knows; so does my mind.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          Whatever our disagreements over this matter, I shouldn’t have become so exercised that I expressed myself to you so dismissively by saying “whoever you are.” I value reading all your comments on this site and learn a lot from them. I apologize for that.

  19. Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I think we need more computers in office.

    Specialized methods for solving problems in medicine and engineering controls are increasingly more successfully computed by computers than people.

    The future of social and economic and political policies are best directed by organized data and adaptive algorithms. (And yes I know studies have shown weak AI has or can be biased, but these problems are known and being worked on.)

  20. darrelle
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Reading through these comments was depressing.

  21. Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Men routinely run for office holding guns all the time, mostly for satirical effect, but let a woman mention not having a penis in a add, and everyone’s clutching their pearls. I heard the ad. I’ve now seen the ad. I say it’s *satire.*

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      I thought it was satire as well. I guess it would have been better executed if she said “even if I had a penis, I wouldn’t show it to you”

      • yazikus
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        Thirding on the satire. I was amused, and the thing seemed prompted not only by the recent news, but by complaints that an all female ticket was a liability to the party.

  22. Posted November 30, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes to be heard with all the noise in American politics you need a point of difference and if female, double that.. but that’s all it is and is probably true as per the sexual harassment statements and not a guarantee shit won’t happen.
    In an interview I listened to today, the head of Facebook Asia Pacific region a women, said at meetings some men were told to shut the f**k up and stop interrupting the women speakers. It took other men in the room to point this out, not quite like how I say it though.
    A study also showed that for women to be heard in a closed room with males it has to be a 4 to 1 ratio in favour of females.

    • Posted November 30, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      “A study also showed that for women to be heard in a closed room with males it has to be a 4 to 1 ratio in favour of females.”

      Yeah, I’m not buying that. Cite the study, please.

      • Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Can’t, it was a Radio report at 4.30am in the morning, Radio National NZ and I was driving. Could be bollocks but you’ve decided anyhow, my court is out for now but it did sound very much a genuine study and for now i have no reason to doubt it.

  23. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Jeez, a 90-second ad does not a political platform make. The purpose is to get your name out there and make an impression. This, Ms. Nessel accomplishes by playing off the recent spate of sexual harassment news, while allaying potential voters’ concerns over an all-female statewide ticket (something that wouldn’t even be worth mentioning in the case of an all-male ticket). And she managed to pull it off with an ironic sense of humor. If I lived in the Mitten state, I’d vote for her gladly.

  24. merilee
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    +1 for the satire. -1 for all the whining males.


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