I simply felt like we weren’t going anywhere any longer in our conversation, and that was frustrating. There is definitely room for all of us to improve, and I know plenty of unpleasant women. The difference is, their unpleasantness for the most part, isn’t on the level of criminal behavior. It’s not (for the most part) keeping men from being full participants in their work environment or in their society (as is the case for so many women).

You cannot look at societal issues through the lens of personal identity — which is what, I believe, you are trying to do. You are saying, “I don’t do these things and I treat people as individuals.” Great! We need more people like you, but the take-away from that shouldn’t be that we can’t have discussions about serious societal dynamics. What your responses conveyed is that you thought all of this was mostly whining and over-reaction — which it most certainly is not if you take an even superficial look at the details and actually listen to women’s stories. I don’t think any decent human being can truly hear and read all of that and honestly come to the conclusion that it’s none of it that big of a problem. And you are, I believe, a decent human being, so there must be other things in play if you aren’t fully appreciating that.

What stories like the above one indicate is that the bad behavior of a few individuals was tolerated and covered up — and therefore essentially facilitated by the organization —( and the initial investigation was done by Sports Illustrated, not by some feminist organization). This was also the case at Google, at CBS, and so many other places. This is a huge part of the problem — not that most men are harassers, but that so many institutional bodies turn a blind eye, have no consequences for harassers, treat those who complain as the actual problem, etc. This dynamic was what sparked the world-wide walk out at Google, which a huge number of male employees also participated in.

The report then goes on to detail the Mavericks’ institutional failure to respond to allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. The report pins much of the blame for this failure on head of Human Resources Buddy Pittman, who helped foster a “sense of futility with respect to making complaints.”

I’m open to having a substantive discussion about what should be done in the face of all this. There is certainly room for a variety of opinions about that. However, there isn’t room for dismissive rhetoric or victim blaming and we can’t really (as a society) turn our attention fully to what to do about all of this when there is still such a large percentage of the population who thinks that the people who want to identify these issues are the ones who are the actual problem. It’s not a matter of believing in something on faith, such as belief in God. It’s a matter of interfacing with the ugly picture that is right there in plain sight.

Edit: You have self-identified that you didn’t really see or understand the depth of the issue before. “I am beginning the see better now the crap women really do have to put up with on an almost daily basis.” And yet, you’ve been making very confident and definite recommendations and giving very strong opinions anyway. That is also something that I’ve found extremely frustrating. A curious mind is much more important to me than a confident one. I see plasticity and the ability to seek out and engage with new data and information as the ultimate sign of intelligence.

You are plenty smart and have a caring heart, but you (in my experience) often treat new perspectives as some kind of assault on you personally, as if it were an attempt to dismantle who you are and what you stand for — rather than simply an addition. I personally choose to reconfigure myself on a weekly, if not daily, basis in favor of building a better, wiser, kinder, me. I continually look at my biases, my actions, my ego, my shadow — and ask “What’s going on here?” I pay somebody to help me to do that because it’s hard to see oneself clearly. I don’t do that because I’m fucked up (except for the places where I am because I’m human); I do it because I’m smart enough to know that it’s how I get best results. I wouldn’t want to be the me I was last year or even last month. I’m always growing and learning and changing and a lot of that has to do with assimilating new information and new perspectives. I am very well educated and very well read and there is still an awful lot that I don’t know the first thing about.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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