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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Foremost Legal Mind On Sexual Harassment Didn’t Get Tenure For More Than A Decade

Quartz, The Foremost Legal Mind on Sexual Harassment Didn’t Get Tenure For More Than a Decade:

Catharine MacKinnon’s work led to the creation of the field of anti-sexual harassment law. A book she wrote in her twenties argued that sexual harassment in the workplace constitutes sexual discrimination—a claim the US Supreme Court later agreed with. And yet, the brilliant lawyer and scholar had trouble securing academic tenure.

In an interview with The New York Times columnist Philip Galanes, which she did with Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News anchor and anti-sexual harassment advocate, MacKinnon talks about her tenure process.

Galanes asks if the “wandering in the desert” as a visiting professor for more than a decade “killed her.” ...

MacKinnon answers:

It did not kill me. I am right here. I just kept doing what I did. But let’s get realistic: What people do is trim their sails in terms of content. They don’t tell the truth about what’s really happening to women, for example, so they get the job. It never occurred to me to do that. And even though I didn’t get the jobs, there continued to be major fights about appointing me for two decades.

In the Times interview, MacKinnon sums up:

Wandering in the desert, as you put it, was my tenure process. And it turns out, in many of those years, I was the most frequently cited scholar writing in English on law. But nobody knew that because the studies hadn’t been done yet.

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Comments

There were reasons for this that are not addressed adequately here.

Posted by: mike livingston | Mar 20, 2018 4:40:02 AM

Quote: A book she wrote in her twenties argued that sexual harassment in the workplace constitutes sexual discrimination—a claim the US Supreme Court later agreed with. And yet, the brilliant lawyer and scholar had trouble securing academic tenure.

That's good, but were her writings balanced and fair? Did she also argue that false accusations of sexual harassment, generally directed at men, are also sexual discrimination? I could see a lack in that area making male professors a bit dubious about her. Did she also argue that any legal action needs to be based on evidence not mere claims by one party versus the other. A lot of feminists do not. They argue that "women don't lie about such things"—except of course when the person accused is a liberal male and pro-abortion.

That matters because sexual harassment tends to be an on-going crime. A woman probably has clues before the first incident and from that point on she can build a case that goes beyond she-says, he says. If the harassment lies what he says, for instance, there are voice recorders that are tiny and many look like pens.

I have thought a lot about this. I've written two books on a closely related topic, embarrassment as a part of hospital care. Most of what I wrote is just practical—how to better handle the situations that arise in a hospital context. But in both I also describe situations that can move into the realm of sexual harassment disguised as medical care or false accusations in the pursuit of money. I try to deal with the issues in all their complexities rather than as a lawyer with an agenda.

Hospital Gowns and Other Embarrassments, written for teen girls, looks at the issue from the patient's side and Embarrass Less from that of staff. In both, I am trying to empower those involved to prevent problems from developing in the first place. And although both were written before the news of this creepy physician caring for girl Olympic gymnasts came out, I go into great detail explaining why such girls can be so easily victimized and how they can be protected.

Unfortunately, there's a lot in hospital practices that leave patients vulnerable and that could lead to some messy publicity and expensive lawsuits. Those in healthcare need to be prepare now for what may come.

--Michael W. Perry, medical writer

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Mar 21, 2018 5:28:54 AM