No, men are not biologically programmed to terrorize women any more than women are programmed to invent accusations. Learned traits, in fact, can be unlearned.
Revelations about Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein and others before him have sparked a curious backlash against the demand to treat women respectably in the workplace. It’s curious because the new norms haven’t even kicked in yet, as Weinstein proves. One of the prominent backlash arguments is that men now fear all professional interactions with women, lest they be arbitrarily accused of sexual misdemeanors.
I’m writing to spread the good news: men are not biologically programmed to terrorize women any more than women are programmed to invent accusations. I know this from personal experience.
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He wasn’t just my first mentor – he was a lifeline. I put on a brave face when he hired me, but he probably had no idea how much the job meant to me. I was in my mid-20s and until then had suffered from a professional identity crisis that was actually a general existential crisis. Where I came from, what you do is who you are, and I had no idea. I knew my skills and passions, and I was willing to work very hard – but couldn’t for the life of me fit the jagged pieces together.
He was (and is) nearly 30 years older. He had catapulted to the top of his game – an international star, at the the top of a niche field. I landed the dream job – being mentored by the best to do work I knew I would love, for high stakes, with important clients. I even got international travel.
One night barely half a year in, we finished work late, around 11pm – in Greece. He wanted to go for dinner; we found a good restaurant, he ordered the best bottle of wine. He asked me what I thought of the work that night, how I liked my job in general. We talked politics, which is what we both love and do. With a loose tongue and the excitement of being away, I spoke freely, tested out my emerging analytic personality. I probably sounded completely immature but he encouraged me to talk, think, and think critically. It got late. We went back to our hotels — and went to sleep.
This was my mentor: he cited my work diligently in one...Read More