Dear Ask A Manager Commenter Tom Collins,

Earlier today, Alison Green's Ask A Manager published a fantastic article about why using LinkedIn for dating purposes is wrong and a terrible idea. Initially, you posted that you disagreed because:

Many people have LinkedIn connections from a job that was years ago- are all of those people off limits? As long as you're not overly persistent about it (i.e. can take no for an answer gracefully) then what's the harm? The sort of people who can't generally have poor reputations anyway.

What started out as a normal debate escalated quickly. You said that male privilege had nothing to do with the reason why most women in the comments were overtly uncomfortable with the idea of complete strangers surreptitiously misusing LinkedIn data as a dating site.

You said:

"Male Privilege" has absolutely nothing to do with this. I'm not going to argue about the perception of a given situation because that's up to the individual.

Unless you find a way to turn off that part of our biology, this sort of stuff will happen. It's how we choose to act that makes all the difference.


And then you proceeded to argue with every single individual (male and female) about why you were right and everyone else was all wrong, including recipients of unwanted advances.

I didn't read all the comments until I got home, and I've never commented on there so I'll take this moment to school you on what male privilege means in this scenario based on your numerous comments.

Male privilege means:

You get to decide how the recipients of unwanted attention feel.

You get to decide if a comment is romantic, complimentary, and sweet as opposed to creepy, unwanted, and intrusive.


You get to believe that a man asking a woman out in a professional context is a one time thing and then it's completely over with no consequences or repercussions.

You get to believe that this is a rare occurrence for women even when you have several women telling you otherwise.

When someone contacts you via LinkedIn you never have to worry if s/he cared about your PhD research for a legitimate professional reason or just wants to use that knowledge to get into your pants faster.


You never have to worry that the reason you're a valued employee is because of the way you look in a business suit.

You get to put the burden of dealing with unwanted romantic attention on the woman instead of the offender(s) by believing "don't date that guy then" is an effective response.

You get to blame it on biology despite the fact that thousands of men everyday do not engage in this behavior and those same men do understand what constitutes professional behavior and what does not.


You can continue to deny how people feel despite whatever empirical data and anecdotes are in front of you.

That's all I could think of for now. Hope this helps!