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May 01, 2007

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Or are smarter women more likely to interpret harassment from the same fact pattern? I suspect the latter.

I suspect that smart women are more likely to have the type of careers that require close contact with men who have power over them.

The dynamic of a female associate working with an older male partner is different than a female paralegal working for a male partner. The paralegal does her own thing; the female associate needs guidance and cooperation from the partner for everything she does.

Women who work in traditional female jobs are more likely to have female supervisors and lots of other women around for support.

A lot of people have the silly idea that sexual harassment has to do with women choosing to get offended by behavior that isn't intended to offend them. Like, some woman overhearing a joke at the water cooler. I've never known anyone in real life who earnestly complained about that stuff. Although there are always people who get fired or demoted, then try to trump up a colorable claim.

Women in the lower intelligence groups may be more likely to work in predominately female environments with mostly female supervisors. That provides a sort of natural insulation against harassment.

Also, a smarter woman is more likely to be ambitious. Therefore, she's more likely to notice gender-based hostility blocking her progress.

Dang it, Spungen, you beat me to it, and by less than a minute!

I'm not sure if it would qualify as sexual harassment per se, but I've heard women complain that female bosses like to hire hott young chix over older, less attractive women, even in the absence of any, uh, Sapphic inclinations on the part of the female bosses.

Might be discrimination, but not harassment.

In any job dealing with the public or clients, attractive people are preferred. All other things being equal, people prefer to have younger people working as subordinates. That's one reason there's a prohibition on age discrimination.

I think it's important to point out that most sexual harassment claims aren't about someone being horribly upset by something someone said, or even by someone making a proposition. They're about someone getting fired, denied a promotion, or suffering some other adverse employment action. The conversations, jokes, and touching come up as evidence that the person was either being retaliated against for not providing sexual favors, or that there was a hostile environment such that they couldn't be professionally effective. Someone asking you on a date doesn't create a hostile environment.

The way they wrote the question was weird, too, because "sexual advances" from "coworkers" isn't per se a problem. It doesn't even ask if the advances are unwelcome.

You know, this question is really about who gets hit on at work by bosses or coworkers, either welcome or unwelcome. Some of the stuff would qualify as harassment, and some wouldn't. But there's sort of an implication that it's all unwelcome.

I think being sexualized at work, either welcome or unwelcome, creates more problems for women with smart-people careers. It's much more acceptable for a secretary or paralegal to be viewed that way than for a young attorney, for example.

You know, this question is really about who gets hit on at work by bosses or coworkers, either welcome or unwelcome.

Note that this question also includes "unwanted sexual discussions". If smarter people have lower sex drives and activity, it's likely that they would view sexual conversations as unwelcome.

The questioning is a little vague, but it's quite possible that Maitre Sigma's theory has some validity. It's very true that women with higher intelligence are more likely to see sexual harassment seminars, especially since they're very common in colleges. Even my community college has sexual harassment seminars, but my high school never had such seminars, and I'd imagine that in poor rural and inner city high schools, those seminars aren't commonplace either. Plus as others have stated, lower IQ women tend to work in conditions where the supervisory personnel are other females.

As for lower expectations male behaviour, it does seem very telling that at 1800Flowers which was a mostly Black workplace seemed to have male behaviour that was very flirtatious and sexual when compared everywhere else that I've worked. I think I was the only male under the age of thirty who never asked anybody out there, nor "harassed" any of the women. Interestingly, I had one of the highest sales and customer service scores at the company, and I was in a de facto supervisory position. In fact, this reminds of elementary school where the only the black kids would "sexually harass" each other while the white and Filipino kids would never touch each other in such a fashion. OTOH, that may be more telling of what kinds of children were placed in Catholic school based on race and ethnicity.

Like David Alexander, this reminded me of the phenomenon of lower expectations for male behavior in my workplace. While working at Starbucks during the summer, I was harassed by at least three men in a span of just three months (not including customers). This included stalking, flirting etc. It did not help that I could not be straightforward and say no. I was not the only one - one colleague my age was so harassed by her coworker that she finally complained to the manager. But for the other women who worked this was not considered to be harassment and actually resulted in jealousy since we were recieving male attention.

Perhaps, smarter women have greater expectations of male behavior because of the prevalence of feminism in higher education so if they see what they regard as unacceptable, they take it to mean harassment.

it does seem very telling that at 1800Flowers which was a mostly Black workplace seemed to have male behaviour that was very flirtatious and sexual when compared everywhere else that I've worked

Ugh, don't get me started on 1800FLOWERS, I ordered something from them at Christmas and ever since I've been absolutely inundated with e-mail spam from them. You might call it nonsexual harassment.


While working at Starbucks during the summer, I was harassed by at least three men in a span of just three months (not including customers).

Funny, I've always thought of Starbucks baristas of being sort of asexual.

Funny, I've always thought of Starbucks baristas of being sort of asexual.

If by asexual, you mean FLAMING GAY, then I concur.

But for the other women who worked this was not considered to be harassment and actually resulted in jealousy since we were recieving male attention.

Yep, sadly typical.

Avi, were they supervisors or just other baristas? Seems like with a job like that, you could ignore inappropriate flirtation from coworkers or even tell them to buzz off. If they're real jerks, of course, they can make work difficult, and often supervisors just don't want to bother, a policy that favors the more obnoxious party.

1) Smarter people lead more busy lives, hence less opportunity to "meet people" outside of work. So, more likely to turn to the pool of workmates compared to those who are cashiers. This means smart men will be more likely to ask out co-workers, some of which will be unwanted.

2) Higher-powered women might be more uptight, so that their threshold for considering something unwelcome is lower, while lower-status women might be willing to say "Oh will you stop joking around so much!" and laugh it off, regardless of the guy's true intent.

3) When someone fails, they never apportion any blame to themselves: it's always someone else's fault. So, if you don't get promoted, get tenure, or whatever, then there are forces trying to harass you. Blacks and Hispanics would do the same thing if they didn't make it -- cry racism.

Say, good idea for another look at the GSS: are higher-IQ Blacks & Hispanics more likely to claim to have experienced racism? Hmmm, lemme take a wild guess...

There are obviously legitimate claims, but just looking at the numbers says there's a lot of bogosity too: 53.6% of those in the highest three groups claim to have been sexually harassed.

What is the proper term for when a woman makes an unwelcome proposition to a man that he lend / give her some money? Financial harassment? If it's harassment for men to use their stong suit (status/wealth) to get what they want out of women (romance/sex), then so it is when women use their strong suit (emotional intelligence/good looks) to get what they want out of men (money/etc.).

It's tolerated that hot girls can get out of speeding tickets, borrow / receive money & gifts from non-boyfriends, and in general manipulate male suckers -- those are just considered perks of being a hot girl. But getting to hit on (although not feeling up) your hot secretary isn't considered a perk of being rich and powerful. There's an inconsistency.

The social construction of sexual harassment:

"The GSS asked women if they had ever been sexually harassed. Ninety percent of extremely liberal women with graduate degrees said they had been. And extremely conservative women who dropped out of high school? EIGHT percent."

According to my GSS, all 4 women who had graduate degrees and said they were "extremely liberal" said they were sexually harrassed. But that sample size is way too small to draw a solid conclusion.

However, when we look at the full sample size of 1501 female respondents, the more liberal the respondent, the more likely she answers yes to the question.

The way they quesion is worded, "unwanted sexual discussion," even I fall into the category of the sexually harrassed if I was inclined to interpret the question loosely.

It's tolerated that hot girls can get out of speeding tickets, borrow / receive money & gifts from non-boyfriends, and in general manipulate male suckers -- those are just considered perks of being a hot girl. But getting to hit on (although not feeling up) your hot secretary isn't considered a perk of being rich and powerful. There's an inconsistency.

There is? In the industry I work in, I've known quite a few girls like that - who are able to wheedle gifts/cash from non-boyfriends due to their good looks and I have to say those girls are subject to much snickering & ugly comments from both men & women who don't think well of them - they're slutty, greedy, materialistic, manipulative, gold-digging, etc.

Not so different from rich guys who are looked upon as sleazy for hitting on their secretary. I don't think that people perceived as manipulative users are looked upon well regardless of their sex.

HS has, I think, hit the nail on the head...

I know a while back you showed smarter people trend libertarian on both economic and social issues. Do you have a big enough sample size to break that down by gender?

Ugh, don't get me started on 1800FLOWERS, I ordered something from them at Christmas and ever since I've been absolutely inundated with e-mail spam from them. You might call it nonsexual harassment.

Like I said, as a former employee, we basically take your e-mails to send you more stuff. Those who order from us over the phone get treated to the catalogues and various mailings during the year with discounts. I'd prefer the catalogues since they're less annoying and come less often. BTW, don't bother calling to ask to have your data removed. Most employees have no idea how to do that and will lie when asked if it was done.

But for the other women who worked this was not considered to be harassment and actually resulted in jealousy since we were recieving male attention.

Yep, sadly typical.

The irony of that situation at Flowers (or in school) was that if you weren't involved in the harassment as a male, it was presumed that you were either pathetic, religious, or gay, and in my case, I was deemed as all three at one point or another. Oddly, the girls seemed to like that attention and the more popular a girl was, the more harassment she recieved. Interestingly, the most popular girls would pick on me or just ignore my presence and disrespect me, and I wonder if it was because I didn't harass them and prefered to keep to myself.

It's tolerated that hot girls can get out of speeding tickets, borrow / receive money & gifts from non-boyfriends, and in general manipulate male suckers

Actually, it's not tolerated. But if the guys are not keeping it real, it ain't hot girls who are to blame.

Oddly, the girls seemed to like that attention and the more popular a girl was, the more harassment she recieved. Interestingly, the most popular girls would pick on me or just ignore my presence and disrespect me, and I wonder if it was because I didn't harass them and prefered to keep to myself.

David, you seem to be confusing harassment with welcome flirtation and jokes between peers. It sounds like the flower place had an informal atmosphere and was staffed with young people who fooled around a lot, sort of like a bar or hotel or trendy mid-priced restaurant.

I know a while back you showed smarter people trend libertarian on both economic and social issues. Do you have a big enough sample size to break that down by gender?

SFG, why would libertarian beliefs be important here? The question didn't ask whether the respondents thought government intervention was appropriate. A woman could be an anarchist and still feel she was being harassed at work.

It was actually a separate question: he teased out the effects of IQ very nicely and I was wondering how it interacted with gender.

The political questions aren't fine-grained enough in the GSS to distinguish between anarchists and regular liberals anyway.

David, you seem to be confusing harassment with welcome flirtation and jokes between peers.

Yes, David, learn more with this important office training film. Sexual harassment is simple to identify.

Avi, were they supervisors or just other baristas?

My supervisor was female (thank god) so it was mostly other male baristas that were harassers. My supervisor was usually busy in the back, so as long as there is a certified barista (which I happen to be) there is no need for her to be present. Most of the harrassment stopped after I made it clear in plain english I was not interested, but there was this one guy who was persistent and made my life hell for a short while. Luckily, he got demoted from the position due to his behavior (NOT due to harassment, due to being late etc.)


Funny, I've always thought of Starbucks baristas of being sort of asexual.

That's what I thought before working. I stopped wearing makeup after the first week when I was inundated with phone numbers. I suspect you are a white collar worker and white collar workers usually are the men who harass my co-workers and I the least. But I think it depends on who is serving the latte - if you are a young girl over 18, you have to be careful and know that there is a difference between friendly and creepy and to always keep your distance. Youth and being moderately attractive is key. The location is also key: we were in a location that was generally not too busy while Starbucks in other locations were rolling with the mocha so we get to have more intimate conversations with the customers. Our Starbucks also catered to a substantial blue collar population so that could skew my experience.

David, you seem to be confusing harassment with welcome flirtation and jokes between peers.

To me the younger call centre employees were all engaged in some type of sexual harassment. It just seemed that wasn't the type of thing you did at work in front of other people. Of course, I could be wrong, especially since I tend not to hang out in bars and clubs, and I'm immune to attempts to flirt by females.

The association between claims of harassment and cognitive ability among women may actually be picking up on class differences. Does the association disappear when we control for socio-economic status?

If you map claims of sexual harassment as a function of cognitive ability and filter by gender while controlling for the respondents family income at the age of 16, the relationship between sexual harassment and cognitive ability does weaken.

If you map claims of sexual harassment among women as a function of family income at the age of 16, there is a positive relationship that moves from ~37% among women who grew up in the below average income range to ~57% among women in the above average income range.

The association between claims of harassment and cognitive ability among women may actually be picking up on class differences.

I have long been of the opinion that the Wordsum score is more highly correlated with class than any other variable in the GSS.

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