Women Are An Attractive Nuisance

We may well be entering upon the crest of the next wave of feminism, as happened when women gained the right to an abortion, or we may, instead, be in the midst of a dustup without consequences. The premise for change is that women will no longer put up with sexual harassment in the workplace, which means that they will not allow anyone to make them feel small or uncomfortable when it comes to sexual matters. They will come forward and speak up about gropes and rapes and untoward advances by male superiors, and males who have been subject to similar violations will also be able to come forward. But there are problems in the formulation of the changes in behavior that are to be undertaken as well as rhetorical and logical problems that did not befuddle the suffragettes, who were very straightforward in wanting something simple, which was the right to vote. That may be because what women have wanted over the past fifty years are changes in customary behavior even though that would result in major changes in the job market and workplace conditions, which do have to do with formal organizations. The definition of what is acceptable customary behavior is so much harder to formulate than are the rules about hiring practices or about the vote, which are matters of stipulated laws and regulations.

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