Right On: #MeToo is good, but what follows is not

Photo by jayfish/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

OPINION — Get sexual predators out of the workplace. Send the criminals to jail, punish the harassers.

And while we’re at it, men should realize that off-color jokes and frat-boy comments to one another about women have no place on the job, no matter who’s listening. If you must, save them for the sports bar after work.

Let’s hope that outing the Weinsteins and the subsequent avalanche of women coming forward will encourage all women to speak up. And that every organization will provide a place where complaints will be heard and investigated, even if the CEO is the predator.

If all America’s workplaces met these standards, #MeToo would compare favorably to the civil rights movement in its positive impact on American society.

But marching in lockstep behind #MeToo comes the siren call of affirmative action, gender quotas and demands for equal results instead of equal opportunity.

For decades, businesses and institutions have been deemed discriminatory if their ranks lacked a sufficient number of African Americans. The #MeToo movement adds a lack of gender balance as evidence of bias.

Identity activists are at their peak when both race and gender can be used to damn an organization. The result: White males will be silently but severely disadvantaged when competing for high profile jobs.

Story after story in the media has echoed the drumbeat. If women don’t fill about half of an organization’s or industry’s key positions, it’s taken as prima facie evidence of gender discrimination.

Hollywood, outed by the #MeToo movement as a bastion of sexual predators, is scrambling to regain its imagined place as a leading light of liberal thought. The gender bean counting has begun.

John Bailey, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, announced that henceforth the organization would “balance gender, race, ethnicity and religion” in all its activities and would double its female and minority members by 2020.

The predictably-liberal media is not to be outdone. CBS is interviewing only females for its Face the Nation program. Recording Academy, the Grammy sponsor, has promised to overcome the “unconscious biases that impede female advancement” in the music industry.

You’ve probably noticed an explosion of the word “diversity” in the media. While race will still be a key word, gender has taken center stage.

Looking for a job in a growth industry? Cash in as a diversity trainer – only females, preferably minority females, need apply.

Hollywood and the media are leading the #MeToo charge where job performance is largely subjective and where women are few in high profile jobs. But #MeToo takes on a darker cast when it turns into a push for gender equity across the board.

Study after study shows females gravitate to different kinds of jobs than males. Women tend to choose fields that “make the world a better place” and that offer a better work-life balance.

College-bound women demonstrate these tendencies when they choose majors. As hotbeds of gender equity, colleges go to extremes to encourage women to choose majors in the sciences where they are underrepresented and that offer high-paying jobs.

Yet despite the billions of dollars that governments, companies and foundations have poured into the effort, the percentage of women in science, technology, engineering and math hasn’t changed much over the years.

Women who do choose scientific fields are heavily concentrated in the health sciences where they make up 75 percent of workers in health-related jobs. In 2016, nearly 82 percent of obstetrics and gynecology residents were female.

In contrast, only 25 percent of workers in U.S. computer jobs and 14 percent of engineering workers are female according to a Pew Research Center poll. Feminists argue this is due to gender bias.

Not so says an article published in the liberal Atlantic magazine. The author convincingly demonstrates that “in countries that empower women, they are less likely to choose math and science professions.”

Facts like this are stubborn things. Insisting on gender equality in every corner of the workplace will be a travesty for both women and men. Women will find themselves pushed into unsatisfying careers while qualified men will be shut out.

As a result, women with talent and capacity in every field will find an undercurrent of doubt as to whether they got their position on merit or because of #MeToo affirmative action.

The doubters need only point to a Google recruiter who challenged Silicon Valley’s quota mentality. He refused to obey an edict to purge white males from consideration for entry-level engineering interviews and alleges in a lawsuit that he was promptly fired.

Pouring fuel on the quota fire, Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta announced plans to pay managers based on their record of hiring and promoting females and minorities. His message mirrors Google’s: affirmative action first, qualifications second.

Stories like these – and there are plenty more – highlight the downside of the #MeToo movement: reverse discrimination. If our society sacrifices merit, both in females and males, on the altar of blind numerical gender equality in all aspects of life, we will be poorer in spirit and racked by continual claims of bias.

Paraphrasing Chief Justice John Roberts’ comment on racial discrimination, the way to stop discrimination on the basis of gender is to stop discriminating on the basis of gender.

Count me as a #MeToo supporter. Count me out on gender quotas.

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: hsierer@stgeorgeutah.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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12 Comments

  • Utahguns June 7, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Buckle your self in Howard….
    The venemous “psuedo intellectual regurgitation” from the infamous “STG News Left” is about to start.

    Otherwise, good article.

  • NotSoFast June 7, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Surly you jest Howard.
    I’d like to see 350lb female sweat hog offensive linemen (person) sitting on Brady’s face after a sack. And a lipstick wearing, look a like Dennis Rodman dude wining the Miss American contest.

  • No Filter June 7, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Good article Howard. I completely agree with you on this one. I am for equal opportunity, but not at the expense of quality. If a person is better qualified, then that person deserves the job, no matter the gender. Anyone who hires a minority or a woman just to fill a quota is doing no one any favors, including the person they hired. Sadly the reality is that we live in a man’s world. Men have most of the power and we must keep fighting for women to be in positions of power, but because they deserve to be there, not because of a gender quota. – The “venomous pseudo intellectual regurgitated STG News Left”

  • John June 7, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    Good article, Howard. Too bad common sense makes snowflakes melt!

    • Badshitzoo June 8, 2018 at 6:33 am

      That’s “Snowflakes.” too you “Bub.” We may not have a monopoly on “common sense”; but we do have one on all the “hot women.”. Being a Trumpian, Conservative, Republican, “Teabagger”, only serves to make one uglier “Inside & Out” to the opposite sex. Sarah Palin? Is she really the best you can do? That’s just sad.

  • statusquo June 7, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    I recall someone had a dream about not being judged by the color of our skin – too bad his followers missed the message

  • mesaman June 7, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Good idea but call me when Bill Clinton serves time for his alleged fortuitous adventures in sexual predation.

  • bikeandfish June 7, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Poor white menz have it so tough with #metoo. Nothing like the classic gibberish of “reverse discrimination”.

    It takes some gall and disconnection to twist #metoo into a fear mongering piece about an “altar of blind numerical gender equality in all aspects of life”. Howard fails again at nuance and reasonable dialogue.

  • Wolverine June 8, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Imagine that, an Opinion piece about how much of a victim this and many other privileged white man seem to be, because some women (A lot of women actually) found the courage to stand up and say something and band together for a cause. Telling their own very personal stories about the atrocities that have taken place to them personally, physically and in their workplace and shining the light on a serious issue that happens every day all day in this country. Shame on those women, they should know their place! Sorry, you have no sympathy from me. Until we all teach our kids (Boys and Girls) that there should not be a difference between what a persons appearance, color, gender, race, religion, economic status, or view on weather they like Dogs or Cats, to act differently and live in that upgraded reality… not much will change quite frankly.
    You’re implying that white men are being picked on and it’s because of women. (welcome to the real world, welcome to what women and people that aren’t white feel daily in the good old USA. – cue the Star Spangled Banner, but make sure you stand for it!) That is evidenced by this Opinion piece that implies that because of the recent focus on gender bias for jobs and pay, any woman that seeks a job and gets it, is really only getting it, not based on her qualifications, but because of her vagina. You sir, are part of the problem. SMH Back to square one, you’ll NEVER GET IT I’m afraid. I’ve seen people of every gender, race, creed and color come and go in my working career, some were great, many were not, but I doubt it was due to those physical or cultural reasons, they were just not well trained, or good at their jobs. Those things mean nothing, the best qualified candidates keep their job if they can perform their job, in most cases in my career. I’ve seen many very well qualified Women overlooked for promotions and advancement, that would have been a far better fit than the Men that were chosen IMO. It’s their loss really, for not choosing them, as those Women are now kicking ass at the companies that were smart enough to hire them and they’re running circles around the good old boys club, doing great things for their respective companies. There is a much heavier content of White Morman Males in Administrative jobs in my company, to the point they’re as interchangeable and predictable as they are lackluster (It’s So UT. what do you expect?). Hopefully that changes in the future, we could sure use some diversity, if only to gain marketing perspective to reach a more complete audience, I’m tired of rice cake blandness 100% of the time! If someone is engaging, qualified, treats others with respect, is professional, motivated and produces results and is accountable for their duties, they get my vote no matter what color or gender they are.

    • bikeandfish June 8, 2018 at 9:28 am

      When privileged white men like Howard vulnerably discuss how they benefited from unearned whiteness and their born sex then I’ll know we have made meaningful progress. But they never deal with that reality. They just assume everything they have earned it a sign of an effective meritocracy while any discussion of gender and racial bias in the work place is social justice reverse discrimination. Fear anything that isn’t the “white menz”!

      I’ve worked in Southern Utah for over a decade and seen more than my share of untalented white men hired and promoted for no good reason and only one case of an underqualified minority hired to superficially project diversity. All the while I’ve seen countless qualified women and minorities overlooked because of bias and nepotism even when we openly talked about such problems. We are far from creating equal opportunity for anyone that wants it without regards to race, sex, etc. (Ironically men experience a glass elevator in women dominated fielss. Shocking, huh? Not).

  • pinetree June 8, 2018 at 11:35 am

    “Save them for the sports bar after work.”
    Are you kidding me? The sports bar is ALSO a place where derogatory comments about women are unwelcome.

    • bikeandfish June 8, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      But remember, in Howard’s antiquated world (at least his rhetorical one he volunteers up each week) “boys will be boys” and women don’t like bars or sports, those are rightfully a man’s world. He volunteers up a glimpse of narrow world view each week with small details like that.

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