Feminist faints at the mention of lingerie

A couple of readers have emailed me this story:

The fuss started when Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory at King’s College London, and Simona Sharoni, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College, ended up in the same crowded elevator during a conference at a Hilton in San Francisco last month.

She said she offered to press the floor buttons for people in the elevator, whom she described as mostly conference attendees and all, except one other woman, white middle-aged men. Instead of saying a floor, Lebow smiled and asked for the women’s lingerie department “and all his buddies laughed,” Sharoni wrote in a complaint, the details of which he disputed, to the association later that day.

“After they walked out, the woman standing next to me turned to me and said, ‘I wonder if we should have told them that it is no longer acceptable to make these jokes!” she said in her complaint.

What does she mean by these jokes?

Sharoni, who wrote in her complaint that she has experienced sexual harassment in academe in the past

The mere mention of ladies’ lingerie is sexual harassment, is it?

and was shaken by the incident,

Sharoni calls herself a “feminist and activist” yet here she is behaving like a pearl-clutching Victorian spinster who’s spotted an uncovered piano leg.

said it took her a while to figure out that Lebow thought it was funny “to make a reference to men shopping for lingerie while attending an academic conference.

I suspect the time was actually spent figuring out how to make an incident of this.

After glancing at Lebow’s name tag, Sharoni says she went back to her hotel room to check out the association’s code of conduct. She then wrote to Mark A. Boyer, the association’s executive director. He forwarded the complaint to the group’s Committee on Professional Rights and Responsibilities, which determined that Lebow had violated the conduct code.

A committee decided an individual violated a code of conduct without specifying how and why. How very modern. I’ve just had a look at it, and I can’t see how Lebow’s remarks were in breach without ascribing to them a malicious intent for which there is no evidence.

Lebow insists it never should have gotten to that point because he tried to resolve the problem informally, as the association’s conduct code recommends.

I venture to suggest trying to solve a problem which exists only in somebody else’s head is a mistake. But he learned fast:

Lebow was told to write an “unequivocal apology” to Sharoni and submit a written copy by May 15 to the association’s executive committee. The apology should focus on Lebow’s actions, rather than Sharoni’s perceptions of them, it said, adding that if he failed to comply, the executive committee would consider appropriate sanctions.

Lebow refused.

Good for him. The absolute standard response to any complaints from deranged social justice warriors should be silence or mockery and derision. Under absolutely no circumstances should you apologise because to the insincere that is merely an admission of guilt. Even doubling down would be better than apologising.

He also sent an email to colleagues calling his treatment “a horrifying and chilling example of political correctness” that “encourages others to censor their remarks for fear of retribution.” In an email to The Chronicle on Sunday, Lebow said he made the joke “to relieve the slight claustrophobia I felt in such a crowded lift.”

He shouldn’t even have done that. He should have said he has no idea what anyone is on about and if the slanderous allegations don’t cease he will be seeking legal advice. In fact, he should have hired a lawyer the minute he heard a complaint had been made.

He said it was a man, not a woman, who asked for the floors and that the other men in the elevator were not his “buddies” as she had described them.

Of course not, she’s using misleading language. I suspect this is normal for her.

He wasn’t smiling, he said, and she wouldn’t have known if he was because he was standing in the back and she was in front of him.

So she’s also a liar. Colour me surprised.

Sharoni told The Chronicle that the real chilling effect will be against people who experience and report sexual harassment.

Indeed it will: if people like Sharoni invent stories of sexual harrassment where there is none, others will find themselves disbelieved. Sharoni is actually making women less safe, but then that’s modern feminism for you.

As someone who has dedicated her life to confronting sexism (and other forms of discrimination and oppression) in academic spaces, I cannot and will not remain silent when misogyny is at play.”

What’s misogynistic about mentioning ladies’ lingerie? He wasn’t talking about yours, he was referring to lingerie as it exists in any normal department store. But the way these kangaroo courts work is the complainant doesn’t have to explain how and why they were offended, merely that they say they are is sufficient.

“For decades, women and other marginalized groups in the academy had to put up with white men who decided what counts as a violation and what is ‘frivolous,’” she wrote in an email. “

White men? Yes, because skin colour is absolutely relevant in this case, and white men are so much more misogynistic than any others. Since this story went viral on Twitter, Sharoni has decided to beclown herself further:

Ms Sharoni says: “The issue is not the intent of the comment nor the content or historical/cultural context of the ‘joke’.

“What we should be talking about is systemic sexism (and racism and other isms), the persistence of misogyny in the workplace, and the violent response of men when they are being held accountable! All he was asked to do was to apologise.”

So not bowing to demands to apologise over a fabricated incident is a “violent response”, is it? Beats me why people think feminists are batshit insane.

She says Mr Lebow is “portraying himself as the victim”

Oh the irony.

after he approached the media and that she has been subject to “hate speech, character assassination, and violent threats”.

That’s often what happens when you try to destroy somebody’s career and your vile character is exposed to the public at large. A sentence I quoted earlier hints at the long term solution to this sort of thing:

She said she offered to press the floor buttons for people in the elevator, whom she described as mostly conference attendees and all, except one other woman, white middle-aged men.

If white, middle-aged men are the problem then perhaps white, middle-aged women should stay well away from them. Instead, they’ve spent their entire lives demanding access to their circles and once admitted immediately set about complaining. The irony, as I’ve pointed out before, is that much of the opposition to letting women into men’s professions was based on the notion they lacked the mental fortitude to handle such an environment. If women such as Sharoni are shaking with fear over an offhand remark about a lingerie department, perhaps they had a point. At any rate, any man who interacts with this woman professionally or otherwise after this incident needs their head read. As Jordan Peterson pointed out in an interview, perhaps men and women can’t actually work together. That certainly seems to be the case if you’re a lemon-sucking harridan specialising in women’s and gender studies.

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25 thoughts on “Feminist faints at the mention of lingerie

  1. A classic case of “never apologise, never explain”. A pathetic power play on our female protagonist’s part to show who’s boss and that all non-protected persons should tread on eggshells at all times.

  2. As I recall, Professor Lebow’s wife is an academic specialising in gender and law – which makes Sharoni’s accusation look even more misplaced.

  3. She said it took her a while to figure out that Lebow thought it was funny “to make a reference to men shopping for lingerie while attending an academic conference.

    And some people say feminists are humourless drones!

  4. A female scholar who was attending the same annual meeting

    OK…she is a scholar of…

    women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College

    Oh. Fake news. I say ‘news’, but there was no news in that article. Pure propaganda. Written by a female, of course. Absolutely zero objectivity there.

  5. Still, a professor of “political theory” and another of gender studies. Couldn’t they both lose?

  6. As I recall, Professor Lebow’s wife is an academic specialising in gender and law – which makes Sharoni’s accusation look even more misplaced.

    I’d not be surprised to learn Sharoni and Lebow’s wife had a spat over some trivial matter 17 years ago, and she’s still bitter about it.

  7. >I’d not be surprised to learn Sharoni and Lebow’s wife had a spat over some trivial matter 17 years ago, and she’s still bitter about it.

    No such reason needed, Tim. Gender and Women’s Studies people closet themselves off from the world at large in their own bubble, and they really do get a shock when they interact with the wider world.

    Hell, not even the wider world. Academics from other departments freak them out.

  8. For Crissake don’t mention Mrs Slocombe’s pussy!

    It slipped out once but I think I got away with it.

  9. We have a new initiative at work called Keeping it Tight. Much fun to be had with that!

  10. One of the odd things about this story is that it implies “Women’s Lingerie” was the only such floor announcement, which I find hard to believe. I’m prepared to bet that immediately prior to (or possibly after) the Lingerie announcement someone mentioned some other popular parts of a department store such as “shoes” or “kitchenware”.

    I say that because I’ve been in crowded elevators that appear to stopping on every floor and it’s practically a given that someone will start doing this. Usually, if British, ending up quoting “Are you being served” to the general amusement of all involved – male and female alike because none of whom are Grievance Studies professors

  11. One of the odd things about this story is that it implies “Women’s Lingerie” was the only such floor announcement, which I find hard to believe.

    As Rob points out, we’re only getting one side of the story here.

  12. When I read this sort of thing it makes me think that maybe Mao had the right idea when he chucked the academics out of office and made them work in the fields.

    And I understand that British farmers could use the extra labour at the moment.

  13. I agree that he should have kept quiet, or hired a lawyer and instructed them to issue a legal “fuck you”, as I believe it is called.

    He could also have played it for laughs. Misunderstanding and ridiculing the needs of male cross-dressers is a serious offence in the Oppression Olympics, and can sometimes trump mild sexist humour.

  14. @ Sam V

    If ever there was a time to cite Arkell vs Pressdram, this is it….

  15. Intro to Aerosmith’s “Love in an Elevator” from 1989 – “Second floor! Hardware, children’s wear, ladies’ lingerie… Oh! Mr Tyler! Going… down?”

  16. At a works party, recently, I stood aside to allow a lady through a doorway before me. She asked if I was always such a gentleman? I replied that I tried to be, as I believe that women should always come first. An allegation of crude sexual innuendo was made against me by the woman in charge of HR, who wasn’t even at the party. An interview without coffee, and my refusal to publicly apologise to all the female staff, led to an amusing impasse. Several ladies in my department often ask if I am going for a coffee, followed by, “Can I come too?” The HR lady rarely comes (pun intended) into our department.

  17. An allegation of crude sexual innuendo was made against me by the woman in charge of HR, who wasn’t even at the party.

    My response would have been to adopt a blank face, say I have no idea what I said, then when the words were repeated look bewildered and say “What’s sexual about that?” If they’re daft enough to explain, say “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” If it’s not dropped there and then: lawyer.

  18. Thank you, FrancisT! I didn’t get the elevator joke, I figured it was British. (Here, if someone offers to push buttons, you call out your floor number.)

  19. The “Reasonable Man” test needs to be restored and the CM cockrot “its-offensive-if-the-psycho-snowflake-is-offended” shite needs to be got rid of.

    The scum of the Senior Civil Service pioneered the change from the Reasonable Man in the mid 90’s.

  20. The issue here is that he sexualised the conversation, which is increasingly taboo in professional work settings. That may or not be a good idea, but you need to be fairly autistic to miss it.
    But…but..I’d bet good money she started it. Make up? Almost certainly. Lipstick? probably. Dress and heels? likely.
    If we want a sexless workplace (not that I do personally), then it has to work both ways; men drop the lingerie references, and women show up in ponytails, flat shoes, sports bra, trousers and no makeup.

  21. The issue here is that he sexualised the conversation, which is increasingly taboo in professional work settings. That may or not be a good idea, but you need to be fairly autistic to miss it.

    Yes, of course he did. But he should have made the star-chamber make that point and explain how they reached that conclusion.

    If we want a sexless workplace (not that I do personally), then it has to work both ways; men drop the lingerie references, and women show up in ponytails, flat shoes, sports bra, trousers and no makeup.

    Jordan Peterson has made that point.

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