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Gender Studies Professor files complaint against male prof. over tame elevator joke

Gender Studies Professor files complaint against male prof. over tame elevator joke

Surprise, she’s also a BDS supporter, so she’s well-schooled in being intolerant

You know, every day I am glad I converted politically and am no longer a leftist feminist shill, mainly because I cannot believe how intolerant and insensitive they’ve become.

The latest controversy comes from a leftist feminist professor, who also supports the BDS movement against Israel, because a man had the nerve to joke about wanting to go to the women’s lingerie department.

The Elevator Incident

From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

The fuss started when Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory at King’s College London, and Simona Sharoni, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College, ended up in the same crowded elevator during a conference at a Hilton in San Francisco last month.

She said she offered to press the floor buttons for people in the elevator, whom she described as mostly conference attendees and all, except one other woman, white middle-aged men. Instead of saying a floor, Lebow smiled and asked for the women’s lingerie department “and all his buddies laughed,” Sharoni wrote in a complaint, the details of which he disputed, to the association later that day.

“After they walked out, the woman standing next to me turned to me and said, ‘I wonder if we should have told them that it is no longer acceptable to make these jokes!” she said in her complaint.

Sharoni, who wrote in her complaint that she has experienced sexual harassment in academe in the past and was shaken by the incident, said it took her a while to figure out that Lebow thought it was funny “to make a reference to men shopping for lingerie while attending an academic conference. I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that we froze and didn’t confront him,” she wrote.

SHAKEN by the incident?! Oh come on! So Sharoni went back to her room and filed a complaint against Lebow, even though “he tried to resolve the problem informally.” He called her complaint “frivolous” and hoped the ethic committee would feel the same way since Sharoni “may be directing time and effort away from the real offenses that trouble” both of them.

NOPE! The spineless committee found Lebow’s remarks “offensive and inappropriate.” It gets better because they said his decision “to reach out to Prof. Sharoni, and termed her complaint “frivolous'” as an even “more serious violation.”

The committee demanded Lebow send Sharoni a written apology that “should focus on Lebow’s actions, rather than Sharoni’s perceptions of them.” Lebow insisted a man asked for the floors, not a woman, and the men were not his buddies. He also noted that he was not smiling and Sharoni couldn’t have known his actions because she was in front of him:

He also sent an email to colleagues calling his treatment “a horrifying and chilling example of political correctness” that “encourages others to censor their remarks for fear of retribution.” In an email to The Chronicle on Sunday, Lebow said he made the joke “to relieve the slight claustrophobia I felt in such a crowded lift.”

Ruth Marcus, the deputy editorial page editor at The Washington Post, remarked that this incident “reflects not only a generational and cultural divide but also the unfortunate intersection of two prickly personalities with the bad luck to be stuck in the same elevator.” Marcus wrote that Sharoni didn’t have to file a grievance and Lebow didn’t have to label her complaint as “frivolous.” However, Marcus takes the side of Lebow because, well, common sense:

Nonetheless, count me with Lebow. The days of women feeling compelled to stay silent in the face of sexist remarks or conduct are thankfully on the way out. Hear something, say something, by all means.

But for goodness’ sake, let’s maintain some sense of proportion and civility as we figure out how to pick our way through the minefield of modern gender relations. Not every comment that offends was intended that way, and intent matters. Maybe check in with the speaker before going nuclear? Maybe consider that there is a spectrum of offensiveness? That not every stray statement by a 76-year-old man warrants a resort to disciplinary procedures?

Because making a federal case, or even a disciplinary one, over a stray elevator remark is not only, well, frivolous — it’s also counterproductive. Take a culture of eggshell fragility. Pair it with a hypersensitive disciplinary mechanism. What you get is a result that serves only to diminish real, and continuing, instances of truly offensive behavior.

In other words, stop being such a cold-hearted female full of hatred. If everything is harassment then you’re watering down people’s complaints OF ACTUAL HARASSMENT.

BDS Supporter

Sharoni enjoys double standards, though. Back in September 2016, she became expressed outrage because the vice president for admission at State University of New York at Plattsburgh (where she worked at the time) told her “that someone had made a series of open-records requests about her hiring, continued employment and conferences attended while at Plattsburgh.” Inside Higher Ed continued:

The professor said she is so far the subject of five open-records requests from someone affiliated with group she believes to be pro-Israel (that could not immediately be confirmed). It’s “clear that the main goal behind this request is to intimidate me and damage my scholarly reputation by painting me as a subversive ‘troublemaker’ on my campus and more broadly,” she said. “All the information requested should be protected. The fact that a senior scholar like myself — a tenured full professor with international reputation — is being subjected to such requests has a chilling effect on junior scholars.”

She added, “The first question I asked during my faculty orientation at Plattsburgh in 2007 was about academic freedom. I don’t think it is too much to expect that an institution that I have contributed to, as a faculty member and department chair, would issue a statement denouncing the vile threats directed at me last spring, which included rape and death threats, and affirm their support for free speech and academic freedom.”

In an interview, she “compared victim blaming in rape cases to public attitudes about Palestinians.” Insider Higher Ed continued:

“This is the assumption that Palestinians basically bring the violence on themselves. It’s similar to telling the survivor that it’s what she was wearing, that she gave mixed messages,” Sharoni is quoted as saying. “For example, ‘They didn’t agree to the partition, they’ve rejected attempts to make peace, they elected for Hamas …’ There’s no responsibility and no accountability for the perpetrator of violence, even though that perpetrator is breaking international law.”

Sharoni added, “In addition to blaming the victim, Palestinians are not believed, which is the same with survivors. ‘They’re exaggerating, it’s not that bad, because Israel is a democracy.’ It’s actually very similar to saying, ‘No, he’s actually a nice guy,’ about a man accused of rape.”

Sharoni also made the news over BDS in December of 2015 when she tried to make it seem that the majority of those in The National Women’s Studies Association voted to cut ties with Israel. From The Daily Beast:

Professor Simona Sharoni of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, who serves as a co-founder of the Feminists for Justice in/for Palestine group, told Inside Higher Ed that the “the vote of almost 90 percent of the members of the National Women’s Studies Association in support of this resolution underscores the fact that boycott, divestment and sanctions can be or is seen by members of our association as an example of expressing feminist solidarity.”

The Daily Beast pointed out that while 88.4% of the members supported the resolution, only 35% actually voted, which “means around 31 percent of NWSA members actually voted in support.”

The publication talked to member Janet Freedman, who spoke out against the resolution because of the way the organization passed it:

She attended the NWSA’s annual conference this past November in Milwaukee, where she felt organizers “were emphasizing a single point of view, which deeply troubled me.”

She and three other women held a smaller event to debate the BDS resolution, which only about 20 or 25 people attended, according to Freedman. The NWSA declined to comment on any specific questions from The Daily Beast regarding the BDS vote.

“Having been at the conference, I asked so many people, ‘Have you read the resolution, I would like to discuss this?’ I spoke to few who had even read it,” she said.

That didn’t bother Sharoni, who continued to champion “the NWSA’s vote to boycott Israeli institutions as part of ‘redefining feminism and putting solidarity with Palestine into that definition of what it means to be a feminist.'”

Intolerance apparently is “intersectional” in the parlance of the trendy leftist terminology.

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We need to get rid of Gender Studies and all the full-time positions that the left has for grievance mongering.

This should all be covered under Sociology and even though sociology would be a mess it would limit the kind of money that can made in things like Professor of Gender Studies. You aren’t going to get anything from these people but flaming the fire especially when you add in 6 figure incomes.

    fscarn in reply to Conan. | May 7, 2018 at 11:36 am

    All these “Studies” courses, or worse, majors, are identity-based efforts to divide us and then keep us divided. Of course every one of them should be deep-sixed, but won’t be. To even suggest that is to be homophobic, sexist, racist, and all the rest. Not too many listings on from those in the dreaded private sector for those “educated” in these courses.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to fscarn. | May 7, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Yes! “Studies” are the slave cabins of the new Democrat Party of Slave Owners.

    Semper Why in reply to Conan. | May 7, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Eh, I don’t think moving gender studies into the sociology department is going to make much of a difference. It just makes the sociology department larger.

    It’s sort of rearranging the dick chairs on the Titanic, you know?

      Tom Servo in reply to Semper Why. | May 7, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      It’s sort of rearranging the dick chairs on the Titanic, you know?”


      MajorWood in reply to Semper Why. | May 7, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      The idea is to create more chairmen. Instead of just an English department, you add in Creative Writing as its own entity. Comp Sci used to be part of Math, Neuroscience used to be part of Psychology, etc. The schools haven’t grown, but the administrative elements sure have. Each chair position then needs an admin asst, etc. I bet my alma mater has twice as many depts as when I attended 40 years ago. The key to academia is understanding that it is all about credentials and very little about credibility.

    Shane in reply to Conan. | May 7, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    No, we need to make schools fully free market. That will solve many, many of these issues.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Shane. | May 7, 2018 at 8:07 pm

      Hear! Hear! Get all governments (local, city, county, state, Feds) out of all education K through PhD.

    david7134 in reply to Conan. | May 7, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    This is a good example of academics. First, they are not that bright. Second, they act like grade school children. Finally, they don’t know when to keep their mouths shut. For my part, I would have taken one look at this witch and used the stairs.

    Virginia42 in reply to Conan. | May 8, 2018 at 7:10 am

    These people started to proliferate in the academy in the early 90s, when I was working on my degrees. Thank the post-modernist/multi-culti gang for this–degrees in “studies” that lack any real criteria or academic rigor. Lots of ideology, masquerading as “history.”

mochajava76 | May 7, 2018 at 11:21 am

Who wants to bet that Ruth Markus from WaPo walks back her comment supporting Lebow within two days, due to pressure from the feminist Borg.

You know, it’s absolutely typical that this harpy is Israeli, with such a thoroughly Israeli name. Israeli leftist academics are the worst leftists of all, the most unreasoning and unreasonable fanatics. I think it’s precisely because their adoption of this doctrine in college involves the complete rejection of every value they were raised on, and every value their society stands for, to the point of championing those who are actively trying to massacre them and their families, and this requires the fanaticism of the convert, who must demonstrate his true loyalty to his new religion, like those Jews who became Catholic priests back in medieval times and turned into the worst persecutors of their former people.

    Shane in reply to Milhouse. | May 7, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Jokes on them, converts will always be just that converted. They will never be trusted by either side and will only be used for their conversion when it is convenient. They will never be equal and always expendable.

      Tom Servo in reply to Shane. | May 7, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      They can do a lot of damage – Torquemada himself came from a family of Converso’s, and spent his life hunting down and torturing all of the supposed crypto-jews he could grab. Another passionate devotee of Ideological Purity.

On the other hand, the fact that she’s Israeli does go some distance to explain how she misunderstood the joke and took it to be sexist. The joke was very culturally specific; getting it requires having grown up not only in an English-speaking country, but also at a certain era, before approximately the 1980s or ’90s. Not only would someone growing up in Israel not get it, nor would an American millennial.

    elle in reply to Milhouse. | May 7, 2018 at 11:36 am

    a moment of clarity quickly evaporates

    MajorWood in reply to Milhouse. | May 7, 2018 at 11:42 am

    So in a perfect world, we could direct her to attack the local PBS affiliate for having the audacity to air episodes of “Are You Being Served.” If her life experiences were more diverse, she would have gotten the joke instead of being offended.

    puhiawa in reply to Milhouse. | May 7, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Thought occurred to myself also. I believe the line was used in an old movie wherein Macy’s was a setting and in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Neither of which would resonate with even the current generation of Americans.

      It actually pre-dates that with reality, in which major department stores had elevator operators who would call out the floors and their contents as they stopped.

      “Second floor, housewares, linens, and vases. Step carefully, ma’am. Going up.”

        Milhouse in reply to georgfelis. | May 7, 2018 at 3:47 pm

        Yes, exactly. Surely I’m not the only one here who grew up with this.

          If you look at Prof. Sharoni’s pic, she appears to be old enough to “get” the joke….
          Maybe she’s never watched any sitcoms, old movies, or Buggs Bunny cartoons…?(weird)

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | May 7, 2018 at 6:12 pm

          Israeli department stores probably did not have this. I just asked an Argentinian colleague and he had no idea about this; they never did it in his country. I think it was only English-speaking countries that did it, so to get it you had to grow up in one, before they got rid of it somewhere in the ’80s or thereabouts.

    daniel_ream in reply to Milhouse. | May 7, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    I feel it instructive to point out that there are more recent, more famous, and less innocuous cultural references to this joke.

      Funny thing is, your more recent example is from…1989.

      This is one of those jokes that’s been around so long no one knows where it came from!

      I wonder if Prof Sharoni has ever rocked out to Aerosmith?

who empowers this?

Note to any millennials reading this, Lebow did not “think it was funny to make a reference to men shopping for lingerie while attending an academic conference”. It has nothing to do with that. If you really need it explained, ask someone older.

mochajava76 | May 7, 2018 at 11:34 am

After further thought, if I were Lebow I would now file a complaint of sexism against Sharoni and demand that she be forced to attend sensitivity harassment training.

All he has to do is state that the lingerie is for himself, but because of cultural bias he didn’t feel comfortable expressing this in front of colleagues in the elevator. Through therapy sessions he now is aware of his leanings and feels abused by Sharoni for escalating this event which outed his activities.

he doesn’t even have to explain his previous protests as innocent jocularity. he can now state that he was forced to succumb to cultural expectations by joking about it.

Sharoni cannot rebut this, as it is not an action but his identity. To do so would be against everything she claims to stands for.

People are looking at this wrong. The complaint was not made because “she was shaken by the incident.” She wasn’t. That’s too silly even for a professor of women’s studies.

The complaint was made because she hasn’t made one lately and that hurts her credibility in women’s studies circles. A man said something innocuous and gave her the opportunity to express he hatred. She’ll be giving talks about misogyny – based on this “incident” – for years. She might even get a book deal out of it!

Remember, with leftists, it’s never about the facts. It’s about perception, virtue signalling and, most important of all, MONEY.

What the heck do yo do with a gender studies degree other than teach morons who get gender studies degrees? Imagine paying thousands of dollars to get useless degrees like that. They don’t even give you a well balanced education to fall back on, as by design they bias your views negatively on everything.

    I hate to bring this up but things are changing. A women’s studies degree is not the social justice novelty it used to be. I work with someone who has a women’s studies degree (bachelor’s). She’s a perfectly nice person and quite competent at her mostly administrative job. Before there were such degrees, she probably would have majored in liberal arts and turned out exactly the same (She is politically very liberal)

    Recently, I met another woman who is majoring in women’s studies at a higher level. She’s doing her thesis on women on the home front during the Civil War. Her work is actually quite interesting. She went this route because of her love of history and experience in Civil War re-enacting.

    What I’m trying to get at is that women’s studies degrees have been around long enough that they are not seen so much anymore as a way of protesting the patriarchy but as a legitimate educational option. Women are working within the field to get what they want out of it, beyond the propaganda.

    I can’t swear that their perception (of legitimacy) is correct but I’m beginning to think that my own perception (of total illegitimacy for any “studies” field) might need to be modified. Weird but true.

In Portland, we have a group known as the serial protesters. What ever the topic, they will be there. Their age, all late 60’s, indicates that they were all likely Vietnam War protesters whose existence, meaning, whatever, peaked during that period, and like all drug addicts, they are perennially chasing the magic of that “first high.”

So I can where someone like Sharoni measures the value of her existence in units of “complaint.”

Like all addicts, tolerance (pharmacologically speaking here) develops leading to desperation and they are forced to seek out even more miniscule things to complain about. We have a person similar to Sharoni who is running for city council in Portland at the moment. Her qualification seems to be that “she is angry.” While having her elected will be a disaster, putting her in office might also be the final straw that wakes up the sleeping electorate that their city is being ruined.
But the weird thing about Sharoni is that they see the derision as a sign that something is wrong with others, rather than reaching an easier and more natural conclusion (based on a lifetime pattern of these events) that perhaps the problem is her.

    elle in reply to MajorWood. | May 7, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    well said. And like drug addicts, they stop caring that they wreak havoc and destroy the lives of those around them.

    You expect that in Portland.

    In Red-State Kansas we have (well, other than Fred Phelps’s family) the MAPJ organization in my home town, which can bring about 20-30 sign-wavers to just about any excuse for meeting. They’re much better behaved than Fred’s bunch (Yeah, it’s a low bar, but they clear it well) and actually able to use logic.

She must be fun at a party. Eeewwwwwww!

The big picture of this about this harpy: she’s a happy part of the left’s anti-Semitic fascist movement.

Leftist Jew-hatig movements always attract the likes of this miserable woman.

Blow her off.

C. Lashown | May 7, 2018 at 1:12 pm

She’s just looking for a little attention. For some reason she thinks she is in control of her situation, strange how petty tyrants rise up from the slime of self deception.

It’s bloody lucky he didn’t ask for haberdashery! He would have been completely fucked if he had! Just lucky this time I guess!!!

    malclave in reply to mailman. | May 7, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Or sporting goods… police would have been called about a gun threat.

    MajorWood in reply to mailman. | May 7, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    You know, this almost calls for the “Emily Litella Award” for the person who runs the farthest with something either misheard or taken out of context.

    A friend who went to the Colorado School of Mines told me a story of a guy who was wearing a T-shirt that said “Subduction Leads to Orogeny.” An older lady accosted him about wearing such a disgusting piece of clothing in public. The story, and the T-shirts and then bumper stickers spread like wildfire.

MikeyParks | May 7, 2018 at 3:06 pm

While men are studying math and chemistry; women are taking women’s studies and learning all about women. Then they cry about a disparity in earnings.

Kevin Smith | May 7, 2018 at 3:52 pm

The guy’s b*tch radar must be broken for Lebow not know the type of extremist, in the worse way, gender studies “professor” such as Sharoni tend to exist in the vacuum of their own mind far from reality.

    MajorWood in reply to Kevin Smith. | May 9, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Technically, it is BITCHDAR since no radio is involved. Just the detection and ranging component. I still remember laughing out loud over 30 years ago when one of my friends first used the term GAYDAR, which of course employs stereotyping in its algorithm, thus making it homophobic by default.

    OTOH, those earrings could pass as antennas.

    Did anyone else here grow up with a spinster aunt who had similarly pursed lips? At least it shows that she is attempting to not share her views on everything. I judge, therefore, I am.

Are the earrings licensed as deadly weapons?

Bully for Lebow for not kowtowing to her frivolous demands. We need more fighters. (Still stinging over my local theater group caving into the SJW’S – Oh Susanna is “racist” didn’t you know?)

katasuburi | May 7, 2018 at 7:05 pm

What a difference a single vowel makes:

“Ooh my little pretty one, pretty one.
When you gonna give me some time, Sharona?
Ooh you make my motor run, my motor run.
Gun it comin’ off the line Sharona
Never gonna stop, give it up.
Such a dirty mind. Always get it up for the touch
of the younger kind. My my my i yi woo. M M M My Sharona…

Come a little closer huh, ah will ya huh.
Close enough to look in my eyes, Sharona.
Keeping it a mystery gets to me
Running down the length of my thighs, Sharona
Never gonna stop, give it up. Such a dirty mind.
Always get it up for the touch
of the younger kind. My my my i yi woo. M M M My Sharona…

When you gonna give it to me, give it to me.
It is just a matter of time Sharona
Is it just destiny, destiny?
Or is it just a game in my mind, Sharona?
Never gonna stop, give it up.
Such a dirty mind. Always get it up for the touch
of the younger kind. My my my i yi woo. M M M My Sharona…”


Couldn’t find the course catalog(didn’t look). Is the first class Bitch 101?

Gremlin1974 | May 7, 2018 at 8:29 pm

The guy should have just told them he was looking for something nice for himself, would have been immediately forgiven.

More proof that we should shut down every gender/ethnic studies program in schools.

“…to make a reference to men shopping for lingerie while attending an academic conference.”

Maybe he was born that way. His fetish may not be hers, but tolerance demands she affirm it.

The offended professor has revealed herself to be an intolerant hater of crossdressers.

kenoshamarge | May 8, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Even if she thought the “joke” was inappropriate the fact she felt compelled to file a complaint and that she was “shaken” shows her someone determined to find something to complain about.

Is she one of the “strong” women the feminists were going to give us? So far all I’ve seen are fragile little flowers. Many/most with foul mouths.