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The Rock Test: A Hack for Men Who Don’t Want To Be Accused of Sexual Harassment

Culture

Are you a man confused on how to treat the women you work with? Do you feel like if you can’t say or do *anything* you don’t know what to say or do at all? Well stress no more! This life hack will have you treating women like people in no time.


From Harvey Weinstein to like all of Uber, it seems each day a wealthy and powerful man is being brought down by accusations of sexual harassment or assault. And just today the New York Times reported that men are becoming less likely to mentor females out of fear:

“A big chill came across Silicon Valley in the wake of all these stories, and people are hyperaware and scared of behaving wrongly, so I think they’re drawing all kinds of parameters,” said a venture capitalist who spoke anonymously for the same reason.

Photo courtesy of Men's Fitness

Some are avoiding solo meetings with female entrepreneurs, potential recruits and those who ask for an informational or networking meeting.

I know, this sounds weird, but trust me, this is a visualization exercise that will work wonders in your dealings with the women in your workplace. When a woman approaches you, just replace her in your mind with The Rock. Then, behave accordingly.

Still confused? Let’s try some dry runs.

Situation 1: Getting Coffee

Karen is a friend of a friend who recently moved to your city and wants to network in her chosen field, one in which you also work. She’s asked you if you’d be willing to get coffee with her, so she can “pick your brain.” There’s just one problem, Karen looks like this:

Photo courtesy of Maurer Law Firm

Oh shoot! She’s pretty! In the face, even. What to do?? I mean, you know it’d be inappropriate to treat the coffee meeting as a date, since her clearly stated intentions were professional. But on the other hand, she’s blonde, and so was your last girlfriend! This is so confusing! What a minefield you are in.

But navigating this sticky situation can be made easy by employing The Rock Test. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and when you open them, pretend Karen looks like this:

Photo courtesy of Rampage Movie

Wow! Karen looks pretty tough and strong and sweaty! She looks like a person who is working very hard to achieve her goals, having left behind a situation that clearly wasn’t working, headed for bigger and better things. Maybe ask her about that? But definitely don’t hit on her. It looks like she could kill you with the chair you’re sitting on.

Situation 2: The Meeting

Amanda is your business colleague who has a few questions about the big project your department just took on. She’s asked you for a one on one meeting to go over some specifics. There’s just one problem:

Oh geez, Amanda looks not only fit and attractive and young, but also like she isn’t wearing a wedding ring. What if she’s open to talking about her (presumably) adventurous sex life, and yours?! Finally, someone to share your secret latex fetish with! How on Earth can you hope to keep this meeting, that has nothing at all to do with any of that, focused for a whole 45 minutes?

Again, close your eyes, clear your mind, and think of Amanda like this:

Photo courtesy of Opptrends

Wow! It looks like Amanda has been working really hard, but just needs some help with a small snag she’s hit. Luckily she knows enough to ask for assistance when she needs it, what a professional! You’re lucky to have Amanda in your corner. Unfortunately, it definitely looks like she has no time at all to hear about your latex thing, no matter how much those gloves turn you on.

Situation 3: The Outing

Your co-worker Jennifer and her team just launched a successful new project, and they’ve all invited you out for some drinks after work to celebrate. There’s just one problem. Yep, you guessed it:

Photo Courtesy of Noobpreneur

Jennifer and her team are all card carrying Sephora shoppers. One of them is even wearing a skirt. ME-OW, right? How can you be expected to keep your hands to yourself when there are just so many young women smiling at you? Everyone knows when a woman smiles at you it means she likes you like that.At least that’s how all the movies you’ve seen and strip clubs you’ve been to have worked. How can you know if this is just drinks with co-workers or an opportunity to masturbate in front of a group like you’ve always dreamed?

Quickly replace this image in your mind with this:

Photo courtesy of Dwayne Johnson/Instagram

Wow! Jennifer and her team look really professional and ready to take on anything! It’s no wonder their project succeeded and they’re looking to celebrate. Maybe you could trade war stories with them about projects past, or hear some of their stories about what it took to make it this far. One thing’s for sure though, no matter how drunk you get: do not masturbate in front of them. Seriously, the last kid I know who touched a cop unexpectedly ended up with his face in the cement. It was a bad night!

So there you go! You’ve learned the quick and easy way to interact with women without behaving inappropriately. Simply offer them the same respect, admiration, and healthy dose of fear you’d offer anyone who could completely destroy you should you deserve it.

This article was originally published on Medium.

Career

Male Managers Afraid To Mentor Women In Wake Of #MeToo Movement

Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.


In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.

What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.

Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.

Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.

While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.

According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.

In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.


Source-Alex Brandon, AP

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.

Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.

The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.