A few years ago when then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence came under intense national media scrutiny, first in the gay hysteria surrounding that state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015 and then in 2016 when he was tapped as Donald Trump’s running mate, he was widely ridiculed for having a certain personal rule. East Coast elites and inside-the-beltway snobs laughed at Pence and mocked him for having a personal policy of never dining alone with a woman besides his wife. Major media portrayed him as a flyover country puritan laughably stuck in a bygone era.
Liberal commentators chuckled and rolled their eyes about what a hopeless simpleton he must be. Never mind the fact Pence was a popular six-term congressman and high-ranking House Republican who only left Capitol Hill to be the successor to Mitch Daniels as Indiana governor. Pence has been in politics and spent over a decade in Washington. He is no bumpkin, and he has seen the D.C. sewer up close. He is smart.
When the ‘MeToo’ movement began after allegations of sexual harassment by Hollywood bigwig Harvey Weinstein, followed by women everywhere making accusations against prominent men, Pence’s personal rule suddenly seemed sensible.
In a recent piece at Bloomberg, a pair of female writers lament the natural reaction to the avalanche of allegations by women against men at the top of every industry. In response to the never-ending allegations ending careers everywhere, men are adopting Mike Pence’s rule. And then some. The story focuses on male executives on Wall Street who are quietly adopting “controversial” strategies to avoid putting themselves at risk of being accused of sexual harassment. These include things like not conducting closed-door meetings with a woman, never sitting directly next to a female colleague on an airplane, keeping a safe distance from women on elevators, making sure hotel rooms are on separate floors when traveling on business and, of course, Pence’s rule of no dining out one-on-one with females.
The business and political world is referring to this as “the Pence Effect.”
Liberal reaction to these proactive measures is that men are now committing sex discrimination. The writers of the piece promote an alternative solution whereby men just “don’t be a jerk.” In the story they quote an employment attorney who advises, “If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint.”
Men are in a position where they’re at risk of being sued no matter what they do. In the story, one Wall Street source said hiring women at all presents an unknown risk.
A connection that nobody is making in all this is with the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. The indefensible accusations made against Justice Kavanaugh have only reinforced the Pence Effect to include teenage young men and even younger. The left has weaponized male/female relationships to destroy their political opponents. This needs to be acknowledged and taken into consideration by everyone: Men, boys and the parents of boys.
The left’s response to all this is that men should do nothing to protect themselves, because to do so is discrimination. According to the left, men should entrust their careers, reputations and finances to women whose motives and ambitions are unknown and simply trust them not to make false accusations. This is similar to liberals’ position regarding women’s safety on campus.
In 2014 when Rolling Stone magazine published a fake story about a woman being gang raped in a fraternity house, a national discussion was had about women’s safety. Having three daughters in college at that time, our family had a personal interest in the topic. We made a point to impress on the girls to be alert and take affirmative steps to assure their own safety. Walk with a friend at night on campus; never drink from a can or bottle you did not see opened; if you arrive with your friends, make sure to leave with your friends. These and other personal rules are the same ones my wife and many other women have used for years to ensure they are not in a position of relying on someone else for their safety. My liberal friends reacted to these rules with horror and disgust. Their standard angry response is “Why don’t we just teach men not to rape!”
Well … yes.
But it is irresponsible to trust your safety and/or life to everyone else and hope for the best. As always, personal responsibility is what liberals are fighting against.
Similarly, men are seeing their colleagues’ careers, lives, reputations and finances destroyed by accusations. Allegations can be years or decades old and impossible to defend against. The Kavanaugh hearings just reinforced this danger and showed even young men and boys need to be careful. You have to be responsible for yourself and make sure to not get in a position of trusting other people with your reputation and livelihood.
In discussing this article, my wife pointed out that these measures being taken by men are not just to protect themselves, but should also be considered to protect women by making certain they are never in a vulnerable position. It would be like a young man in college having a personal rule that he never brings an open can or bottle to a girl or asks a girl to leave without her friends – even if he would do these things with a male friend.
Feminists have boxed themselves in. On one hand, they take advantage of accusations to paint men as vicious animals and advance the narrative that women are victims. The left has weaponized male-female relationships against men. So now, as men take extraordinary efforts to make certain women are safe from sexual harassment, the same women who championed the women-as-victims narrative turn to accusations of discrimination.
Liberals have rigged the game to claim to be victims either way.