It is being reported that, in response to James Damore’s memo challenging Google to examine its “unconscious bias” and its “politically correct monoculture” on the grounds that women in general are different from men in general, some female employees chose to stay at home on Monday. Reportedly, they stayed home because the memo made them feel “uncomfortable going back to work.”
If female Google employees really did stay home in response to Damore’s memo, then they went a long way toward proving his point. As Tyler O’Neil at PJ Media says:
In the document, Damore suggested that “women on average are more cooperative” and “more prone to anxiety,” and that this often involves a search “for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average.”
What could demonstrate these arguments more clearly than women staying home (focusing on life over work and accepting a cut in status) in solidarity with other women (more cooperative) and feeling “uncomfortable” going back to work (more prone to anxiety)?
I think the part about anxiety is the most salient one. Frankly, one needs to be an emotional wreck to feel too uncomfortable to work just because one employee in a large organization raised the kind of issues Damone articulated.
Of course, it’s possible, and maybe probable, that the female employees who reportedly stayed home didn’t really feel uncomfortable. They simply wanted to protest and grabbed the language of protest they frequently heard in college — language that seems to have near magical power in that bizarre milieu.
This too would confirm gender differences. I can’t imagine men (1) skipping work because someone wrote a memo they didn’t like and (2) couching a protest in the language, not of traditional grievance, but rather that of “feeling uncomfortable.”
Men aren’t completely stupid, though. Eventually, many of us will learn to employ the lingo that, in our increasingly feminized society, most effectively helps one get one’s way.
So the deconstruction of masculinity project isn’t entirely hopeless. And Google is doing its part to help it along.