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Sexual Harassment Denialism

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There are two forms of tribalism at work in the immediate Republican defenses of Herman Cain. The first is a desire to protect their vanity candidate, with some shots at the “liberal media” (especially long-defunct listservs that have always yearned to destroy the sun) icing on the cake. The second is an opportunity to argue that sexual harassment, like climate change and racism directed against anybody but wealthy white Republican men, doesn’t exist:

Sexual harassment is now nothing. Welcome to the era of gender harassment denialism. The harassment skeptics claim that harassment, like racism, used to exist but is now over. Twenty years ago, when charges were leveled at Clarence Thomas, supporters of the accused refused to take the accuser seriously. Now supporters of the accused refuse to take the accusation itself seriously. We have gone from not knowing what sexual harassment is to not believing it still happens. All in less than 20 years.

Remember, we don’t know what happened, beyond the fact that several employees came forward with complaints and received cash settlements. That’s not a lot of information. Cain defenders could have stopped there. Instead, great swaths of them have opted to assert that there could never be a valid sex discrimination claim because the whole thing is just a racket. And they went even further: The same folks criticizing the National Restaurant Association employees who came forward with claims that they were uncomfortable in their workplace are willing to deploy the most archaic and gender-freighted stereotypes to get there. Sexual harassment can’t be “real” because the women who claim it are money-grubbing, hysterical, attention-seeking tramps.

[…]

It’s no longer just a Republican war on women. It’s a war on the idea that any woman might ever tell the truth.

Read the whole thing; alas, it’s not just the Derb.

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