By: Dr. Devon Smith
Given the heart wrenching and frankly draining news-cycle of the last few weeks, Armstrong decided to focus on other social issues that our country is facing on last night’s radio show. Namely the #metoo movement and the resultant “neutering” of the male sex. Armstrong was joined by me (Devon Smith) and Shelby Emmett, a constitutional lawyer.
Armstrong opened the show and talked about how, from his perspective and through his conversations with other men, the #metoo movement may be having unforeseen consequences on men and the workplace. Where workplaces used to be jovial and involved comradery between colleagues, they are now places where men come to work, engage with female colleagues in a limited fashion and keep their heads down. This is in part due to a fear of baseless, career-ending lawsuits. It seems that some women are using the #metoo movement to make false accusations to earn a meal ticket (via settlement) or career advancement. Lives and livelihoods are being RUINED as men are now presumed GUILTY based on accusations. Furthermore, accusers can, in some instances, remain anonymous. Is our society not based on the premise of innocent until proven guilty? In this day and age, specifically regarding the #metoo movement, this concept has all but vanished.
Many callers and I joined the conversation and agreed wholeheartedly with Armstrong. Unfortunately, as Condoleezza Rice mentioned in a CNN interview, society is turning all women into snowflakes! I expanded further on the Condoleezza Rice interview and brought up another concern that she mentioned- that men will no longer be willing to mentor, hire or work with women. I understand her point and have similar concerns- as frivolous lawsuits continue to ruin the careers of men, why would they want to work with us?
Certainly, there are men (and women in some cases) who have abused their powers and sexually harassed or assaulted their employees. These people need to be held accountable for their actions, through appropriate channels. However, as we discussed with our callers, it would be helpful if women learned to speak up when conversations or actions begin to take inappropriate turns- cutting off the behaviors before they begin and become “normal.” This can be hard to do, no doubt, but when done tactfully, they can strengthen work relationships while also setting appropriate and respectful boundaries.
The conversation stayed on this topic for most of the show but pivoted to discuss society’s role in sexual harassment. We spent a good deal of time discussing the idea of chivalry and whether or not it is dead. Shelby and I agreed with each other that having a man hold a door for you can ONLY be viewed as a sign of respect. Any other interpretation is foolish and frankly a waste of time. Armstrong expanded on this topic and reflected happily about how is father and siblings WORSHIPPED their mother. Her chair was pulled out, doors were held for her, etc. This did NOT make her less of a woman. Instead, these small gestures served as small reminders of how much love and respect her family had for her. People need to spend less time over interpreting small gestures, like door holding and begin to seem them for what they are: small acts of kindness and respect. Nothing more and nothing less.