Women who compete with men more likely to doubt Christine Blasey Ford?

The women I know who are most likely to characterize Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as a liar are business executives who compete with men for jobs. The men who say that they believe Dr. Ford tend to be lower income, lower status guys who wouldn’t be worth targeting under #MeToo, for family court profits, etc. This cannot be a partisan issue because nearly everyone in Massachusetts is a Democrat.

Here’s Janice Fiamengo, a literature professor at the University of Ottawa, in a YouTube lecture on Dr. Ford:

I was shocked by the woman herself. By her whole demeanor.

This is a professional career woman? With that little-girl croaky voice and poor-me face and the trembly “I’m going to cry at any moment” narration supposedly because of the trauma of reading out a prepared script about something discussed in therapy and rehearsed dozens, if not hundreds, of times with a legal team and other advisors.

A trauma that required putting two doors on a big costly house.

Yes, this is the elite professional woman that feminism has created after 50 years of nonstop grievance-mongering.

Let’s assume that Professor Fiamengo has correctly characterized the impression given by Dr. Ford. I.e., that viewers of her testimony will be more likely to see women as helpless damaged victims.

Who is hurt by that? Women who compete with men! They don’t want an employer choosing to hire a man because of a belief that a woman might be terrified to get on an airplane to see a customer and/or need an extra day on either end of a trip to dose herself with benzodiazepines and wine. If the kind of experience that Dr. Ford says she had is common, typically unreported (at least in a job interview), and leads to decades of damage, why would an employer want to take a chance on hiring such a person?

So the executive women that I know are hoping to be promoted to CEO, not seeking to be pitied for having been born with XX chromosomes, and a TV parade of female victims does not help them to get that CEO job.

What about women who work for enterprises that run quota systems for women? Or women who are in primarily female occupations that are demanding higher pay? They may benefit from the perception that women are victims in need of assistance. This will help ensure the continuation of the quota system and/or the opening of taxpayer wallets to pay out some more cash.

The analysis gets a little more complex for men. Any man can potentially get a boost in status by being a knight in shining armor rescuing a victimized female. And it is pretty much free of cost in the case of Christine Blasey Ford to mumble some words of disapproval as Rapist Kavanaugh is confirmed. The low-status, low-income guys can potentially enjoy a career boost if competing women are seen as fragile and damaged and when job openings are created by the #MeTooing of high-status men.  The high-status, high-income men, though, are vulnerable to attacks from anyone who wants to make a #MeToo allegation (and, locally, also to predation in Massachusetts family court).

So I’m wondering if there is an element of “vote your checkbook” here. People who will get a boost in income and status via Christine Blasey Ford being believed will believe her. People who will suffer a career disadvantage if Dr. Ford is believed will think she is a liar.

Readers: What have you seen? Where is the liar/not-liar line falling among the people you know and what factors correlate with their position?

13 thoughts on “Women who compete with men more likely to doubt Christine Blasey Ford?

  1. Phil G: I’m from an upper-middle-class background, so all the women I know from High School and College are virtuous #resistors who #believeSurvivors. However, most of my female friends are conservative or religious or otherwise are not man haters, they tell me that she is a malicious liar and am a fool for giving her the benefit of the doubt(I have this strange thing nostalgia for presumption of innocence!). I also got a haircut during the height of the scandal and the all female crew of stylists were having a conversation as if I wasn’t there, all of them were very skeptical. I was told this was a typical conversation they’d have on the subject with no men around. I also work as a rent-seeking civil servant where I am exposed to blue collar women who are also very skeptical.

    Conclusion: Women who believe her seem to be living off of men: dad or grandpa giving them money to balance gift/estate tax, or child support profiteers. Women who work or are 1950s style wives/mothers do not believe her.

  2. My experience is that those who only read transcripts of the testimony believed it and those who watched/listened to the video of it didn’t.

  3. It is an interesting theory but are there any facts supporting it, that e.g. low status men are more likely to support her? My own guess is that low status men would be pretty unsympathetic to a pampered princess like her. They have to get up every morning and go to some crappy job to meet the mortgage & probably don’t have a lot of sympathy for a rich woman who spends her life traveling to exotic places, remodeling her home and talking ad infinitum to some mental health person about some drunk 17 year old who allegedly jumped on top of her at a party nearly 40 years ago.

  4. Jack: You’re probably right about blue collar guys. Most of the Blasey Ford-believing guys that I talked about this have soft, but low-paying jobs. A couple of the guys married the daughters of rich men (Thomas Friedman-style!). So they have a lot of spending power, but no career status (because no real career). One guy is a working photographer. A few are retired, so they might have money but, again, no career status.

    (I could have asked the mechanics turning wrenches at the airport, but I suspect that they were too busy to watch Dr. Ford testify!)

  5. In my social circle the divide was complicated. Generically liberal married women (mothers and non-mothers alike) had tepid support for her, which mostly evaporated upon her non-fear of flying being revealed, so support was gone *before* her testimony.

    Liberal unmarried mothers continue to #believeher, and vigorously at that.

    Liberal unmarried non-mothers also #believerher, but support is mostly tepid.

    Low status liberal men (married or unmarried, fathers or non-fathers) have moved on to other topics, but will agree with the liberal unmarried women if they bring it up.

    Conservatives and moderates of both sexes believe a good man was dragged through the mud (conservatives) and anyway, who can really say what happened nearly 40 years ago, it’s surely not something to fixate on (moderate addition).

  6. In my experience, women who compete with men, at least on a corporate level, have the typical republican win-at-all-cost, greed is good, stab-you-in-the-back mentality. Too busy hoarding and protecting their money to have any empathy or concern for social issues.

  7. Additional data from brunch today….

    Woman who (competently, energetically, and with long hours) manages a group of about 20 software engineers: Blasey Ford is a liar. Did not want to be associated in any way with Blasey Ford.

    Woman who is currently unemployed (her employer shut down): Blasey Ford is probably speaking a kind of truth about something that happened to her, but it might not have involved Brett Kavanaugh.

  8. I was wondering how does Dr Fiamengo know Dr Blasey Ford is a feminist, or that her employer is not simply cynically pandering to whatever gets its student body paying without questions (and apparently this specific university is overwhelmingly female in paying customers)?

    As an academic I have found that my employers do say whatever it must be said to get more students in, at a higher fee. These policy changes have happened over the years and I, and most of my colleagues, felt these changes were (1) just a cynical ploy, and (2) did not reflect what we — the actual academic staff — though (but we had not been consulted on these changes anyway).

    Broadly speaking, I am amused by how the issue has moved from ‘should Kavanaugh be appointed’ to ‘should Dr Blasey Ford be believed’. It is like watching two sport supporter groups discussing in detail a game that just finished.

  9. https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/27/17911336/star-wars-voice-actress-rachel-butera-christine-blasey-ford-brett-kavanaugh-hearings-sexism is upsetting…

    In the midst of this swirling tempest of misogyny, both internalized and regular flavor, another voice emerged to minimize Ford’s heartbreaking testimony: Rachel Butera, the voice actress for General Leia in the upcoming animated television series Star Wars: Resistance. In a now-deleted tweet, Butera posted a video where she repeatedly mocks Ford’s voice during the professor’s testimony.

    “This is how I sound,” Butera imitates in a high pitch. “I know it’s a surprise to even me that I talk this way and I’m a doctor and a grown woman. I sound like I’m still back at that high school party. I can’t help it. I just have this kind of a voice, like a baby, even though I’m a doctor and I’m on this media circus political stage and I have kids myself. I don’t know why I speak with vocal fry. But you can listen to my testimony and hear that a grown woman sounds this way.”

    It’s stunningly insensitive: attacking a woman testifying about an alleged sexual assault as her voice breaks with emotion while describing traumatic events that she says “drastically altered my life” and “have been seared into my memory.” If she were still alive, it would almost surely have infuriated original Leia actress Carrie Fisher, an ardent feminist who spoke loudly and often about the importance of valuing the ideas of women over more superficial qualities.

  10. Federico: I don’t think that Professor Fiamengo’s lecture depends on Dr. Ford self-identifying as a “feminist”. See https://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/a23613506/dont-let-what-dr-christine-blasey-ford-did-be-in-vain/ for “No doubt both Hill and Ford are feminist heroines, regardless of any self-identification. They spoke their truths, thus freeing other women to tell theirs. That’s as feminism 101 as it gets.”

    In any case, Dr. Ford was born in 1966, just after The Feminine Mystique was published. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism#Mid-twentieth_century says “The book is widely credited with sparking the beginning of second-wave feminism in the United States.”

    So it does not seem unfair for Professor Fiamengo to say that Dr. Ford is a product of 20th century feminism. I would say the same thing about myself! In fact, this is why I am out of step with 21st century feminism. The philosophy with which I grew up is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equality_feminism , now discredited and disavowed.

  11. Phil, Dr Fiamengo’s web log assumes that Palo Alto is not a cynical money grabbing institution who panders to the fantasies of its customers to squeeze them for money, despite being an academic herself. My bayesian posterior is that Universities would say anything to squeeze money out of students. Hence my doubts of her correct characterisation of the whole affair.

  12. More data points…

    Female litigator, partner in a big firm: Blasey Ford is a liar. Nobody should be given either a courtroom hearing or a national stage without corrobation from contemporaneous documents or witnesses who were present on the scene.

    Line guy at FBO: Current media outlets are so biased that it would be impossible for an ordinary citizen to gain access to anything resembling truth.

    Other line guy: Had not followed the news, did not know what either Blasey Ford or Kavanaugh ahd said, had no opinion.

    (Note that both line guys were better-educated than the U.S. average, e.g., one went to an expensive public high school in a wealthy Boston suburb and then completed University of Massachusetts.)

  13. A female human-rights lawyer based in NYC: “I do trust Dr.Ford!”
    And a few drinks later (she is a long-time family friend, btw), “This must be a scam. A big, juicy New York-style scam. You cannot possibly prove it either way, so one might consider taking a risk of perjury (sorry: exaggeration), as in, do what is right: fight Trump and get richer in the process.”

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