Ironic take on female privilege exposes male ignorance

This may be the most ironic comment I’ve read in years. It’s from a discussion about Rebecca Watson’s recent takedown of a man’s approach to her in a hotel elevator in the wee hours. This commenter is male, and wants to prove that the rejection men face in asking women out is ever so much worse than anything women deal with from men. The irony is, I was just skimming the comment thread at first, and read his facetious paragraph entirely at face value, nodding along in agreement with what I assumed was a woman trying to make the point I made in Men Are Also Picky About Dating, which is that when you have to wait around to be visually noticed and asked out, you can reasonably interpret every instance of men ignoring you – or stepping on you to get to the hottest hottie at the bar – as “rejection”, so boy-men really need to STFU and stop whining.

But they never do. Here we go:

Women.. imagine a world that you can’t even remember the last time that a guy even so much as smiled at you, for any reason.

I don’t have to. I know that feeling. Who else does? Even attractive women living in extremely isolating urban workaholic hellholes like L.A. often know this feeling.

Imagine that every time you walk into a room.. no one notices.

Yep, I would guess that every woman who’s significantly far from looking like Angelina Jolie et al knows this feeling. Am I right?

Imagine that no guy checks you out.. EVER.

Actually, it’s more that they check you out then register boredom on their faces and move on to check someone else out. Just going unnoticed would be relatively painless. Having someone check you out and obviously conclude they can do better is fucking hurtful. But it’s a part of life, so grow up.

Imagine if men don’t even know you exist (at least in any kind of sexual/romantic way). Imagine that if any guy ever actually approaches you it’s to ask something benign as “Do you happen to have the time?”, and truely that’s ALL they want from you, and once you tell them, then you go back to being invisible.

Okay, seriously, who at this point is not going, “Yep, I so know that feeling.” He honestly thinks this doesn’t happen to women. Unbelievable ignorance level, there. Unbelievable privilege.

Imagine you lived in a world where men rated 80% of women “below average” when it comes to their looks (like women do men: http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&safe=off&source=hp&q=eharmony+study+80+percent+of+men+below+average&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=bb9a4fba297be287&biw=1532&bih=658).

I don’t have to imagine. That’s my life experience. Men judge one another’s social status on how hot a chick they’re dating – like women sometimes judge each other on how expensive a handbag they carry (think of girlfriends and wives as fashion accessories for men, and the world begins to make so much more sense). So women who don’t meet a traditional beauty mold are second through 200th choice, and men who have to settle for 200th choice? Tend to be childishly resentful and hateful about it, and absolutely clueless and unconcerned that they were your 600th choice but you’re trying to be graceful about it.

Imagine a world where you can have a dry spell (forget about sex.. just going out on a date) that can last not just days, not just weeks, not just months, but YEARS.

Oh, my word. Women and girls going years without dates happens all the freakin’ time. They don’t advertise it or talk about it with douchebags like the commenter here (which, presumably, is why he assumes it never happens), but if you are non-judgmental and let people know you think sexuality is nothing anyone should ever feel ashamed about (for all the douchebags reading and thinking I just included rape among things no one should be ashamed of, sexuality and rape are as different to each other as taking a swim is to having someone cast concrete around your feet and throw you in a deep river to drown), they open up. I can’t count the number of women I know who haven’t had a date in years. Or never had a date until they were 30 or older. Or are very old and have never had a date, ever. Happens all the time, peeps, get over yourselves.

And when you think about it – think about the fact that men are allowed to charm women in various ways and get protected even when they stalk and pressure women in creepy ways, but women have to somehow get noticed (almost always visually) before they even have a chance with a particular guy – it’s kind of really obvious who’s got problems getting dates, right? I mean, sure, attractive women may have it easy (not in L.A. – more on this in my upcoming “Hot in Cleveland” review), but attractive men also have it easy. Leaving conventionally attractive people aside, women have it worse, and you don’t see us whining all over the internet like a babies denied lollipops.

Imagine a world where you see/meet a guy you are incredibly attracted to, so much so that your heart leaps to your throat.. and you can hardly speek and your only chance to try to get to know them better is to make an awkward, unfortunate pass at them and not only do you get rejected, but you find out that you made the guy incredibly uncomfortable and he saw you as a creep and then in later discussions people see your attempt as a potential sexual assult.

Okay, it’s my understanding that some women – mostly Gen Y – have had good success with asking men out. I so totally have not. Men I’ve asked out found it insulting: either they thought the gender role reversal meant I thought they were effeminate, or maybe they were insulted that someone at my attractiveness level asked someone as hot as themselves out. I don’t think I’ve ever creeped anyone out, but gee whiz, maybe that’s because I made the effort to develop a few fucking social skills. I assure you, they don’t come naturally. But having been raised as a GIRL with a naturally commanding personality, and therefore taught my every natural instinct on interacting with people was wrong and “too bossy” and “bitchy” and so on, I actually learned how to modify my behavior in ways that suit me and not the Gender Police. You boys don’t usually get that training, because every little thing you want to do is just fabulous and society should bend over backwards to accommodate your very important ass. You’ll want to take that up with society instead of whining like toddlers at women. Unless of course you’re just too cowardly to take it to the source, and that’s why you’re really whining at women for all your widdle pwobwems.

Imagine a world where the only way to catch a man’s eye is to win the genetic lottery and be in the top .1 percent of incredibly good looking women, and if you’re not.. your only second chance you have to catch a man’s eye is to be unbelievably confident. And you have to develop this confidence.. considering the world that you live in as described above (not remembering the last time a man ever smiled at you.. and so on).

Yes, he appears to be serious, and I’m not sure where to start on this one. First of all, women do have to be really good looking to get asked out by a nice array of men. Women who could never be mistaken for starlets really have their work cut out for them, because they are perfectly invisible to men and they’re not handed a nice menu of un-creepy ways to convince men to date them. The best option for women who don’t look like starlets is to be uber-confident – sometimes this bluffs men into thinking you’re hot, and then by the time they realize you’re not hot in any traditional sense, they’ve already found the true awesomeness within you. Sometimes.

God, I want to be a woman on Whiny McWhiner’s planet instead of Earth.

Comments

  1. Maria says

    What’s REALLY funny is that I read this, and was like, Whoa, is the end point going to be that street harassment sucks? Because I generally find unsolicitied male attention nerve-wracking… so that whole walking around being ignored? SIGN ME UP.

  2. says

    I have never been street harassed. I have spent the vast majority of my life being ignored by men. It’s actually not as lovely as it sounds, especially when you don’t know what it is (“Maybe I’m fat – no, there’s a fatter woman than I with an adoring husband – maybe I’m ugly, no, there’s a definitely uglier woman than I having a blast on a date – maybe I’m just obnoxious, no, there’s a far more annoying woman than I with a crowd of admirers”).

    But as much as it sucks, it’s important to remember that most people have really shitty experiences with dating/romance/sex, even the people who get lucky and also have good experiences with it, and to put it in perspective: there are worse problems than not getting a full menu of potential dates to choose from.

    • Maria says

      @Jennifer Kesler

      I’m really surprised about you never getting street harassed. What’s stressful about it is that EVERYBODY (both women and men) counsel you to take it as flattery, as something you’ll miss when you get older, or as something that you’re somehow encouraging. I get it a lot, depending on what city I’m in, even when it’s not a city where I typically get asked out a lot.

  3. Jaynie says

    I was thinking along the lines of Maria as well, although I too have previously been in a position where i felt terribly unattractive because other girls got it and I didn’t (until I started wearing makeup and more traditional clothes for unrelated reasons, which I think says a lot). Really, the whole idea that it should be seen as a compliment needs to die. The women who get it almost never see it as anything other than annoying (unless they lack confidence) and the women who don’t end up feeling slighted and hurt because society tells them there is no greater compliment than to be harassed by a stranger when you’re out doing chores.

  4. Cara says

    Wow…I can’t believe that commenter…what he describes sounds so much like most of my life (with a few exceptions in certain contexts) that it almost makes me laugh out loud.

    Street harassment makes me angrier than almost anything else, these days, but when I first started getting it I was so used to being invisible that I did feel a little flattered. I was much more insecure then in general, though.

    Also, for what it’s worth, many guys I know have said (at least when asked hypothetically) that they would be happy and flattered to by asked out by a woman.

  5. sbg says

    All I can ever think with this kind of claptrap whinging is “cry moar”.

    I was in the security line at the airport recently. There was a TSA “greeter” man going along the line and saying, “Hi, how’re you doing?” to apparently keep us appeased while they inefficiently invaded our privacy, etc. The women in front of me got the hello. The women behind me did too. I … was apparently wearing my invisibility cape, as I didn’t even get eye contact, let alone a pleasant greeting.

    Seriously. I’ve been invisible most of my life and yet still have been street harassed (yes, being asked if your breasts are real is harassment, fwiw). Do I get a special prize? Can I comment ad nauseum about poor widdle me and how I have it so tough?

    Haha, I just did, didn’t I?

  6. Azzy says

    I only got asked out exactly once in my entire lifetime, when I was 18, by a total creep. He picked me up because he saw me going to highschool and thought (hoped, in his own words) that I was 15 (I look very young for my age). He was 20 years old.

    It’s been over three years since then, and nobody has ever asked me on a date. This suits me fine, since I’m asexual, and I don’t know why anyone would think it’s such an oddity.

  7. says

    Maria,

    I’m surprised too. Maybe I’m failing to identify some incidents of it, but every time women describe their harassment experiences, I’m all, “…nope, got nothing.” It’s not as if I didn’t spend years walking Sunset Strip on a near daily basis when I was younger. I can’t explain it.

    Yeah, I get the flattery angle from the other side – upon learning I never get harassed, or upon watching someone harass everyone around me, women have given me PITY for not getting harassed, or tried to reassure me I’m not desperately unappealing. Seriously? Victims of sexual assault get very poor sympathetic response, but victims of “not getting street harassed” receive unsolicited pity? Fuck!

  8. says

    The whole comment I was waiting for the “so what?” moment. So people don’t want to date you…so what? So you’re entitled to go up and bother somebody you already think isn’t attracted to you? So you’re entitled to make them give up their preferences in exchange for yours?

    And as for women not having to suffer the horrors and indignities of being ignored by the opposite gender…HA. HA. HA. I’m female, my last date was an impromptu coffee date…what, three years ago? More? The only time in my life I’ve ever been checked out was when I dyed my hair pink and lavender. Even then, the guys looking me over and smiling didn’t come over and start up a conversation. When I dyed my hair back, instant shut-off valve, back to being invisible. Hell, by some definitions I’m still a virgin and I assure you, my fun parts haven’t shriveled up from lack of use.

  9. Mel says

    Um, wow. Yeah, I am not feeling exceptionally sorry for men.

    (As a data point, I don’t think I’ve ever been street-harassed, although I have been harassed in other contexts, like school and hobbies. And stalked, once, although by another girl (in high school). Nothing inappropriate in several years, though, and I couldn’t even begin to guess why.)

  10. DM says

    Seems like for that guy, the only women who exist are the inordinately hot ones out of his league. Which, really, explains a lot.

  11. Ida says

    I suspect street harassment might have something to do with what region you live in, how often you tend to walk, and where you’re walking. When I’m walking on the sidewalk, I get harassed by guys in cars who are too far away to see if they find me attractive or not. I have long hair, so they identify me as female and that’s all they need to start yelling. I would probably get the same harassment if I was a bloke with long hair, since they are far away, and often coming up from behind. The same guys yell insults at elderly women and fat women. If you haven’t seen this happening, it’s got to be that you’re not walking in the “right” places.

  12. Casey says

    Okay, I’m a little confused…is this is an ironic comment that doesn’t realize it’s own irony?

  13. says

    Sylvia Sybil, and you are so very not alone. Unwanted celibacy is VERY common because loads of people do not have the conventional attractiveness or conventional personality types/worldviews we’re all encouraged by this culture to seek out in mates.

    Mel, the harassment issue could be as simple as they have a particular personality target and we don’t fall into it. Like, I’m pretty serious generally, and I think I look even more serious than I actually am. Maybe harassers target personalities they perceive as more easygoing?

    DM, exactly.

    Casey, yes, he seemed to think he’d given an irrefutable example of something that only men experience, that women couldn’t even imagine, and that we should all immediately recognize how unfair the world was to men.

    Ida, oh, I’ve seen it happening to other women. It’s happened to women I was walking with. Like I said, I spent a lot of years walking on Sunset Strip in the evenings when the clubbers were out, and they yelled at other women. Just not me.

  14. says

    Count me as another one who’s busy reading through this guy’s thing and saying “yeah, I call this my life”. I’m female, I’m fat, I’m forty, and I have next to no experience of having a guy check me out (I really notice when my partner does it, because novelty value!). I had serious plans in my twenties: if I was still a virgin at age thirty, I was going to take a holiday in Sydney or Melbourne, and hire me a male prostitute, so at least I’d get some idea of what this whole “sex” thing was about (because it sure as hell looked like I wasn’t going to get some any other damn way, and Perth, Western Australia, is a parochial little town at heart).

  15. Casey says

    Jennifer Kesler: yes, he seemed to think he’d given an irrefutable example of something that only men experience, that women couldn’t even imagine, and that we should all immediately recognize how unfair the world was to men.

    Heh, as a 20-year-old involuntarily celibate virgin who’s only been on one date all I can muster is just rolling my eyes ’til they practically fall out of my head. ALSO! Even as a 20-year-old involuntarily celibate virgin who’s only been on one date, I HAVE been street harassed multiple times since I was at least 12 years old (mostly it was people yelling at me for being fat and ugly), and I’d take utter invisibility over that shit any day o’ the week.

  16. MaggieCat says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Ages ago, I was informed by a friend of mine that when I’m not doing my invisible wallpaper impression* my default is apparently to broadcast a strong Don’t Fuck With Me Field. I have no idea what it is or how to control it, but over the years I’ve come to suspect it’s true. It’s very unusual for me to get harassed in regular life — and 90% of the time it’s when I’ve leaned over and someone took it as an invitation to stare at my chest — but almost always happens in airports despite the fact that I travel rarely: I think the exhaustion and disorientation dampens the Field. It’s either that or the lighting at Dallas/Fort Worth makes me look stunning, which seems highly unlikely. ;-)

    * (In a really, really uncomfortable locations on several occasions my own mother has walked right by me without seeing me. Once while actively looking for me.)

  17. Dani says

    Girl in her late 20s who’s never had a date here. So, yeah, a big ol’ “don’t have to imagine it” to every one of his points. Sometimes being perpetually single kinda hurts. Sometimes (most of the time, at this point in my life), it’s completely awesome. But not in a million years would it make me wish some strange man would start invading my space. Not. Ever.

    I haven’t been street harassed (that I know of), but I have been stared at and told things like “you should smile more”, and I would trade those moments for the solitude he seems to think would traumatize women so much that they would beg men to treat them like sex objects.

    My main thought when reading this guy’s tirade was “what’s your point?”. This is my life…and I’m okay with that. No guys are checking me out? No one notices when I walk into a room? No guy approaches me wanting anything other than the time?” GOOD. Because the alternative is being made to feel like a non-human whose boundaries don’t deserve to be respected.

  18. Red says

    Gal in her early thirties who’s never dated here!

    Honestly, I’ve never been interested in the dating scene. It never really appealed to me.

    The first time I was ever approached by a guy was while I was in Boston back in college. A guy called from his van and at first, thought i was someone he knew. When he realized I wasn’t, he asked me out!

    Now being the first time, I was, on some level flattered because let’s just say I don’t ‘fit the mold’. But I was far from stupid. I was very polite and turned him down. he wasn’t creepy, but I don’t go on dates with random strangers. I didn’t get it why they started laughing when I wondered aloud why he stopped me. Something similar happened again, this time in my hometown and the guy said I ‘looked so sweet walking down the road’. Again, I turned him down.

    I guess I’m cuter than I realize. To me, it was both flattering and disturbing. I’m glad that there are men who find me attractive, but DON’T approach me thinking you’ll score a date, especially if I don’t even KNOW you.

  19. Meredith says

    Wow, my reaction to all this is extreme eye roll. I agree with most people that we all have had trouble with dating. I really can’t understand why this commenter thinks that the only option when you think a girl is attractive is to yell at her on the street. It is called being civil and talking. Treat someone like a human being and they might actually see you as a human being as well. Isn’t that pretty much talk in kindergarten?
    Also, I have never been street harassed in the states, but I was extremely harassed when I studied abroad in college and I never found it flattering. It was awful.
    And, I asked my husband out on our first date. He really liked that about me. There are definitely men out there that find that attractive and IMO those are the ones I’d rather spend my time with.

  20. says

    Wow. Is this guy serious? I’m wondering if he even talked to a girl/woman after having surpassed the age of four. Clearly he’s so big of a douche, he hasn’t even had girls-as-friend, or he’d know that we go through just as much agony. Sheesh. Unrequited love? Check. All friends with boyfriends except me? Check. Asked out a guy and been rejected? Check. Spent many a slow dance in junior high and high school hiding out in the bathroom so as to avoid being the only one of my friends NOT dancing with even just a guy friend? Check.

    It’s called growing up. For some people. Some of us are late bloomers. We get over it. We find the value in ourselves, and we realize that we are not what others see us, but we are as we see ourselves – that’s the important part. I am who I am whether I am attached to another person or not. That guy sees himself as a loser. And, he expects women to see him as anything else?

    I did have a guy friend in uni say that men were intimidated by me, because I am a straight-talker (I had to evolve into one, because I never really got the SuperFlirt gene”). Lol! Seriously, if that’s all it took to scare men away – being honest with them and me…

    Also, I apparently have a good “Don’t Fuck With Me” face, too. It doesn’t work in airports, though, when I apparently have an “I’m just too tired to deal and am sitting here wanly grimacing into space” and am a magnet for every single Jesus freak in the vicinity. I think they’re immune, though.

  21. Anemone says

    What DM said.

    I actually feel sorry for men who work up the nerve to come up and talk to me because they’re attracted. I admire their courage in coming up to a complete stranger, especially a cold fish like me. And I feel sorry for them because I have a disability that makes casual conversation hard, so it’s hard for me to let them down nicely. But of course, if they have to work up the nerve in the first place, they (we) have no chance at all, because I’m obviously out of their league, as I sadly know from experience. (I’ve tried the dragon-playing-with-kittens thing before and it really just doesn’t work. At all.) I’m really only looking for someone who is easy to be with, and when someone is easy to be with conversation just seems to happen. Effortlessly. Even for a crip like me.

    That doesn’t mean I feel sorry for this particular person, though. I suspect he’s not the type I attract. He doesn’t seem nice enough.

  22. Charles RB says

    All that “imagine a world” made me think that the twist was going to be that the woman’s stumbled across an alien brainwashing plot. I wish that had been where he was going.

  23. Jhamin says

    Reading this, it sounds like his biggest problem is empathy. Getting rejected by women hurts, and the commenter is focusing on that. His pain *is* real, it just doesn’t have anything to do with any of the stuff he goes on about for the rest of his post. The rest of his post is an effort to make the hypothetical woman that rejected him empathize with his pain of rejection and fails to in any way understand that his behavior and his defense of his behavior is painful to to others. He is so bound up in his own discomfort he fails to understand the discomfort of others, which is a pretty good definition of privilege I suppose.

    To crib a line from a movie that tends to get embraced by all the people it is actually making fun of, he is not a unique snowflake and he needs to get over it.

  24. Sylvie says

    When I was around 20 I was pretty hot and that led to attempted rape and a lot of scumbag attention. Now I’m 37 and about 100 pounds overweight and no one even looks at me.

    Both states suck. They are both bad for self-esteem.

  25. Heather says

    DM has it exactly. I think it’s highly likely that he doesn’t even notice the women who are plain or UNattractive (to him), so it really seems to him that ALL women get that kind of attention/non-rejection. He literally doesn’t see the other women. (Think of the Gorilla basketball players experiment, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_gorilla .)

    I’ve experienced this being invisible phenomenon and am really aware of it because I USED to be one of those “hot” girls. (I really hate saying that — I know it sounds like I’m bragging; I don’t know how to phrase it so that it doesn’t sound like that.) Fast forward 5 years and 50 lbs. People don’t see me. I never used to have to point out that I was next in line. I never used to get actually walked into walking down the street and no, I’m not SO large now that people can’t help it. I’m invisible.

    My point, anyway, is that, yeah, he’s unobservant, but from his viewpoint there is no gorilla on the basketball court.

  26. Quib says

    I think my favorite part is where he seems to think attractive men just exist! and get dates. Not seeing appearance as any kind of work or skill kinda says a lot about how he sees the world.
    Appearance is only part of avoiding attention from potential romantic partners, and it has less to do with being born ugly than just looking like you don’t care, but I think the real key is avoiding engaging socially. Going out and looking like you are friendly and available for talking and getting to know new people, keep that to a minimum. Being terse, and reserved, that’s been my main strategy for not getting asked out in my entire life.

  27. says

    Totally out of the blue, a bud just emailed me this link, which is hilariously pertinent:

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/local-man-ruins-date-by-just-being-himself,255/

    “I’m glad he felt comfortable being himself,” said brother Chris Scanlon, 39. “But when you’re in full-blown mid-30s-crisis mode with misogynist tendencies and a desperate, neurotic need for approval, maybe ‘the real you’ is not the best thing to put forward.”

    Those close to Scanlon report that he remains unaware that the date was a disaster, leaving repeated messages on Loftus’ voicemail asking when they can “hook up” again.

  28. Korva says

    So I’ve been reading various blog posts about this and — to the detriment of my blood pressure — the attached comments as well. Has anyone else noticed or commented on how certain men (and I’d be willing to bet they’re white) play the old divide et impera card by bringing racism into this whole mess and comparing women who speak out about harassment/rape and situations which could easily have turned into rape to white supremacists? It really upsets me. It’s smart too, trying to stir up two groups of “lesser beings” against each other. I’m horrible at putting my thoughts into words, but it would be great if someone who can actually write picked the issue up and ran with it.

    Or maybe it’s just such a toxic, deliberate, transparent asshattery that the only useful reply is to call the person out for being a toxic, deliberate asshat and refuse to play his game.

  29. Robin says

    Count me as another one who was reading this guy’s “imaginary scenarios” and seeing my own actual life.

    I’m often invisible. Hell, one of my stated goals in life is to be unobtrusive.

    Oh, my word. Women and girls going years without dates happens all the freakin’ time.

    Uh… ::raises hand:: I guess it’s been about three years since I last went on a maybe-date. (I’m honestly not sure whether it was or not, and I mostly stopped counting a long time ago.) I kind of loathe the whole dating scene based on past unfortunate experiences. Does it hurt sometimes that most of my friends are paired off and exclude me from some outings because I’m not? Of course. You know what I do then? I do other things with my other friends or on my own. It’s not the end of the world.

    As for street harassment, I have experienced it and it’s awful. I have what is generally considered an attractively curvy body, so some men seem to think it’s okay to shout at me from their cars when I’m walking down the sidewalk. (Particularly when I’m wearing a skirt and boots, as if that’s a sign for “Please talk to me” rather than “I ran out of clean pants” or “I need to dress up a bit for work today”.) What exactly do they think I’m going to do in that situation? And to make matters worse, I’m a rather insecure introvert, so having people I don’t know comment on my appearance makes me wonder if they’re being sarcastic or just plain mean for reasons I’m not aware of. Because of this, I’ve developed a Don’t Fuck With Me face and a Purposeful Stride, but they’re both less effective if the “admirer” is approaching from behind me.

  30. Keely says

    As I read this guy’s comment, I kept on going “…And? …Yes? …Yes, that’s me. What’s your point?” I didn’t realize it was possible to be quite so obtuse.

    Anyway, everyone’s swapping street harassment stories, so I thought I’d share a more positive anecdote: there’s a corner on my way home from the metro stop–the corner at which Maple intersects with the main thoroughfare in my neighborhood–where there’s almost always a gaggle of young men loitering, and if anyone of the type is hanging around the corner when you’re walking home you can expect to be catcalled. It’s more or less inevitable.

    The other day I was crossing Maple on the way home (I had the light, I had right of way, my eyes were open, and I was walking briskly across the street) when a car swings around the corner doing at least fifty. I holler after him, “WHAT’S YOUR F*CKING PROBLEM!” and continue walking… until one of the guys hanging out–more or less the same crowd as usual–calls after me. No heckling, though; he asks, “Are you okay, miss?” I tell him, “I’m fine, thanks.” I should note that it’s raining steadily and I don’t have an umbrella (which I don’t mind), because then he asks me if I need an umbrella. “No, I’m okay.” I still expect there to be more, and there is: “Okay, ma’am. Have a nice night!” He waves; I wave back and continue home.

    It’s a bit fucked up that NOT getting harassed could feel “refreshing”–but I was really charmed by the encounter.

  31. says

    Korva,

    You know, I’ve noticed race getting brought up a lot too. Mostly as a variation of, “Well, statistically most crimes are perpetuated by African-Americans, so it’s okay to avoid them now? I bet you’d be calling me racist if I said that so you’re the real sexist.”. Which is just so, so…I don’t even know where to start with that.

    1) Being afraid of men is not the same as being afraid of Blacks. It’s the same as being afraid of Whites. Seriously, do you not understand which direction privilege flows? (Don’t answer that, I know they think women are privileged over men.)

    2) Racial statistics are seriously skewed. Impoverished people commit more crime and minorities are unproportionately impoverished. Blue collar crime like mugging is viewed as a more serious crime than white collar crime like embezzling, even though white collar crime does more damage. Police officers are human too, with human biases, and Whites are more likely to be let off with a warning while POC are more likely to be charged. (Did anyone read the LOGI article about the skinheads jumping the Native family? The cops arrested the Native guy and let the skinheads go.)

    3) There are other, usually subconscious indicators of potential aggression. In Watson’s case, it was a) 4 AM b) in an elevator c) after he’d been at the bar with her for a while and d) after he clearly heard her saying she wanted to do something else. Watson’s whole point was that men should reduce the other indicators of aggression.

  32. Android says

    I’m just amazed by HOW MUCH this guy doesn’t get it. It’s astounding. And also ironic, that he completely ignores the 99.999% of women for which the situation he is describing is normal life. I consider myself conventionally attractive, and it is still possible for me to have a dry spell lasting several years, be ignored in various situations, have people ask me for the time without wanting anything more from me, and have to develop confidence in myself on my own in an environment that is not conducive. I’d say I did pretty well in the genetic lottery, but I still grew up feeling insecure about my appearance, and somehow smart, wonderful, sexy men are not landing in my lap every day. When I do get attention, 9 times out of 10 I wish I hadn’t.

    Imagine a world where 9 times out of 10, when a male smiles at you, it means you are about to get sexually harassed. A world where guys check you out sometimes, but it’s like getting eye-raped. A world where many males don’t even bother looking at your face or saying hello before grabbing a handful of whatever piece of you they like best, and thinking that it is their right to do so. Oh wait, that world already exists, and so does the one he is talking about.

    We all have things we have to deal with in life and love. I empathize with him to an extent, because hey, that’s my life too sometimes. But that’s the key point here; that is my life too sometimes, and being female (even an attractive one) hasn’t given me superpowers that no man could ever have.

  33. Casey says

    Android: A world where guys check you out sometimes, but it’s like getting eye-raped.

    I FEEL THAT YOU ARE USING HYPERBOLE AND THE PHRASE ‘EYE-RAPE’ INSULTS REAL RAPE VICTIMS AND LESSENS THE IMPORTANCE OF ACTUAL RAPE.[/MRA Asshole]

    Sorry, it’s just that (and I’ve talked about this on here before) but a few months ago on Hugo Schwyzer’s site when he posted a blog about how men shouldn’t harass women because they’re walking down the street scantily clad; which led a bunch of MRAs to complain that either
    A.) Women who are scantily clad that exist within said MRAs vicinity are “SEXUALLY HARASSING” the men by being so “tantalizing”.
    B.) I CAN LEER AT WOMEN IF I WANT, IF SHE FEELS THREATENED OR SCARED THAT’S HER PROBLEM

    I told the MRA who made the latter comment that eye-raping someone like that is seriously assholish and he basically said (very condescendingly) what I typed up there.

  34. Casey says

    I should also preface that in regards to the “scantily clad” argument, what is deemed scantily clad basically = wearing shorts and a low-cut t-shirt ‘cuz it’s hot outside. That’s it. :|

  35. says

    Casey: A.) Women who are scantily clad that exist within said MRAs vicinity are “SEXUALLY HARASSING” the men by being so “tantalizing”.

    [satire] Well, you have to admit they have a point. It’s like all those rich people who get mugged. What were they expecting? Walking around in their Armani suits and imported leather shoes, they were begging for it. How could any impoverished person resist? It’s practically class warfare to walk around like that, rubbing your wealth in everybody’s faces. Who cares if you have a meeting you have to look nice for? You can’t harass everybody else with the sight of your expensive clothing!

    If rich people don’t want to get mugged, then they should dress more conservatively, not stay out late, and not go walking outside alone (if they really insist on having a job and a social life, they should hire a bodyguard). That way those innocent poor people won’t be tempted to mug them.[/satire]

  36. SunlessNick says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    Being afraid of men is not the same as being afraid of Blacks. It’s the same as being afraid of Whites. Seriously, do you not understand which direction privilege flows?

    If a black person commits a crime against a white one, the latter won’t be saddled with an obligation to prove they didn’t act in such a way as to entitle the former to commit a crime against them.

  37. says

    Re: race. Another issue is that white/male suspects are more likely to have access to good legal resources than women and minorities. So a guilty middle class white guy may have a better chance of getting off a charge than an innocent PoC (to back up this assertion, I offer the many many rape convictions against MoC and poor white men which have been proven unsound by new DNA evidence).

  38. Ariella says

    LOL! He’s clearly just whining/playing the victim.

    I dated 2-3 times in the 90s, was married twice for a total of 10 years, and after divorces have been single for about 4 years. I wouldn’t mind dating but right now I feel zero need for it. I’m just quietly happy. :) While in this frame of mind, I don’t attract many people, but I meet TONS of incredibly nice, rich (of spirit) and deep-wisdom folks that are creating a circle of friends beyond imagining.

    We experience what we project. His situation will change when his attitude towards life and gender stereotypes/discrimination changes. He is his own problem I’m afraid.

  39. Leticia says

    The original post gets even more clueless as it goes on:

    “Now I’m not trying to say that living in that world would be worse than being sexually assulted/raped, but what I am saying is that I believe that if rolls were reversed like that.. that inside of a month, most women would beg to go back the other way where they get hit on 10 times a day.”

    I appreciate the use of the “I’m not saying living in a world like that is worse than being raped – except I am” construction. Thank you for showing me how awful my life could be, McWhiners. I certainly wasn’t capable of forming an opinion on my own.

  40. Chai Latte says

    SO TRUE. Guys are shocked–SHOCKED I TELL YOU when I inform them that they are not the only ones who experience shyness or social awkwardness.

    Instead of taking the opportunity to bond over this human experience that we share, the guys who are surprised to learn this….totally ignore me. It is like I have never spoken. And yet, if they just LISTENED, they could form better relationshps. Yet this particular group of menz is bound and determined to see us as ‘OTHER’.

    UGH.

  41. Casey says

    Chai Latte,

    Considering how more often than not, these types of men are usually “Nice Guys(tm)”, they probably just think you’re not hot enough to be payed attention. >_<

  42. says

    Chai Latte,

    I wonder if this stereotype feeds into the “Girls can’t be geeks” stereotype. Part of it is the perception that gurls aren’t smart enough/scientifically minded enough to do math and understand quantum mechanics ‘n’ stuff. But a large part of geek social bonding is that “we all understand what it’s like to be the outcast”, so I wonder if the perception that women AREN’T ever ignored is a subconscious barrier to accepting us as true geeks? Might be some intersectionality here, insofar as Geek is a marginalized group.

  43. says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    I think there IS intersectionality, but I keep asking myself: WHY do they prefer othering geeky women (often for the stated reason that they’re not hot) to forging fun and rewarding relationships with women who might become friends or lovers? We have a culture that perpetuates the idea you can’t HAVE meaningful relationships with women, and geeks may be more susceptible that idea than people who have the social skills to test that theory. (Basing that on my own experience as a geek, and someone who used to take social messages very, very literally.)

  44. Sabrina says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    This is also something that is really irritating me. From personal experience I’d say chances of having a stable loving relationship are bigger if you actually have something in common besides your interest in having sexytimes with each other. Cause -surprise!- most of the time a couple spends together is not the sex part. So geeks dating geeks should be a natural consideration. You could have so much fun sharing your hobby and all. But alienating fellow geeks just because they are female and then whining about how all girls are so mean for not dating you? Uhm yeah, you kinda brought that onto yourself. Congratulations!

  45. Sylvie says

    I was thinking about this yesterday and I think what I would say to the guy who wrote the comment is this: “Do you even *see* the women who don’t look like supermodels? Do you notice how many of them don’t go out on dates? Do you then say ‘well, that’s because they’re ugly/fat/geeky/unappealing and it’s their fault’? How is that not hypocrisy?”

    I suspect Mr. Commenter would have more dates if he stopped thinking only the hottest chicks were worthwhile.

  46. Maria says

    Sylvie,

    Or if he thought of women as people too. And it’s really hard to disrupt that mean since even the King of Sensitive Geeks, Neil Gaiman, seems intent on repeating this meme.

    http://thehathorlegacy.com/how-to-talk-to-girls-at-parties-by-neil-gaiman/

    This is one thing I’ll say about Robert Jordan (who otherwise has my undying scorn) — in WoT women are generally people too, with emotions that are explainable/understandable, who aren’t mysteriously other, and who you can love and respect.

  47. says

    Sabrina,

    Yeah, you know what it’s exactly like?

    You have a high school degree and no experience. You apply for 500 jobs. 400 of them are accounting jobs that require a degree and CPA certification, neither of which you come anywhere near having. The other 100 jobs are looking for a high school degree and someone who can be a self-starter, and they pay enough for you to live on, though nowhere near what the CPA jobs pay. You get offered every single one of those 100 jobs for which you’re qualified, but you turn them down, and then complain about all the CPA jobs turning you down.

    Most people could figure out how that’s ridiculous of you. But somehow, these guys cannot see that they’re doing precisely the same thing. They are turning down (or not even noticing) all the girls who DON’T judge them on their looks or their social skills or their crap car or their living in mama’s basement or whatever “hot girls” go “ewwww!” at, who might even appreciate them for what they are, and complaining about getting turned down by all the girls who have been trained all their lives to turn down Guys Like Them.

    And it happens to women too. If you don’t look like the homecoming queen, you don’t get asked out by the homecoming king. It sucks egregiously, of course, and everybody should immediately stop being so freakin’ shallow and grow up already. But it happens to both genders.

    And if you look at the number of hetero couples in entertainment where the woman is considerably conventionally hotter than the man, and the absolute lack of couples (in the US anyway) in which the man is a hottie and the woman is fat or not so conventionally pretty or whatever, it becomes very clear that an uggo guy has WAY more chance of scoring a “hot babe” than an uggo woman has with a hot guy. And that’s not even taking into account that the definition of female beauty is WAY narrower than the definition of male beauty.

  48. says

    Sabrina,

    Amen, sister! I’ve had guy friends tell me to my face that they “can’t talk to women”. (We’re all geeks, mostly.)
    I’m all, DUDE! I’M a woman, and your talking to ME! And Mutual Friends are also women! And they always say, “Yeah, but that’s DIIIIFFERENT.”
    How is it different? Oh, right, your friends-who-are-women aren’t Real Women, i.e., the ones you’d like to bone. Gotcha.

    I have also experienced, after revealing to men that women do TOO get rejected and ignored, outright denial and disbelief. They were kind of condescending, too, like they were thinking, “Oh, sure honey, like you got only 10 fabulously rich and handsome suitors today rather than your usual 20. YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY KNOW MAN-PAIN.”

    So they didn’t believe me, and I’m not even pretty! Their determination to see women as Other is staggering.

  49. says

    JT: “Oh, sure honey, like you got only 10 fabulously rich and handsome suitors today rather than your usual 20. YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY KNOW MAN-PAIN.”

    Best quote about this behavior ever! Yes, that’s exactly it! And it gets worse if you challenge them further, because I always ask, “So, how come you haven’t asked me out? If you’re not interested, who do you think are all these better catches than you who are stalking me daily? Hmm? Can you point one out now?”

    And then they make up some story about how back in 1983 when you were at TGI Friday’s together, some waiter looked at you like he thought you were cute. I swear, they just start making up stories and/or telling really tenuous stories that, by showing how far they had to REACH to come up with anything, kind of really really demonstrate the point.

    And if that doesn’t work (because you know me, never let an argument go), they get all, “Well, I bet if you dressed hotter and did your makeup hotter…” Okay, first, you’re acknowledging that you’re full of shit, but now you’re blaming it on me. Second – where are all these men who are turned on by absolutely anybody who dolls herself up like a sex kitten? Because what I see a lot of in bars is men going on about some woman they find unattractive who looks ridiculous because she’s dressing like the cute hot chicks.

  50. Nereverine says

    I made my way from a general search of Duke Nukem Forever’s rape controversy to an article about sexual harassment on the Starcraft 2 forums.
    Fun note! I am a male.
    Funner note! Best damn gamer I know is a woman from Israel and although this article had nothing to do with gaming (which were the original search parameters) I would just like to take the time to comment and say that I appreciate the author for her candor. It truly and deeply fucking angers me every time some bastard attacks a player due to her gender and it is nice to see more and more people attacking that behavior. It often seems like my hobby of choice (gaming) is the last refuge for misogynistic sacks of shit.
    But then I read the news.

    ~From Russia with Love

  51. Alara Rogers says

    True fact: when I was in high school, I was 98 lbs (at 5’0″), and my mom made me dress in nice clothes and wear makeup, and my skin was about as good as a teenager’s gets, and I had a basically attractive face. I had a retainer, but I’d managed to get the actual braces taken off before going to high school. However, I was emotionally about 11 years old, I was a geek, and I was in love with my own weirdness, to the point where I did things like start hysterically giggling in Earth Science over the concept of hitting people over the head with pumice, or pretending I had an imaginary friend.

    So, basically attractive teenage girl, but excessively and outrageously weird in a non-sexualized fashion. (Think Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club.) I had a massive crush on a fellow geek. He was a kind of chubby, shy boy with moderately worse acne than most of them, a cute kid with freckles but pretty much dead silent in class so even though he was very, very smart, hardly anyone except his clique of close geek friends knew he had a personality.

    I used to hang out with his geek clique as much as I could. They didn’t actively include me, but one of them was in my writing club, so I had an excuse for hanging with them besides “I have a massive crush on Mike”, which I would have died rather than admit to. That being said, absolutely everyone knew I had a massive crush on Mike, regardless of how much I denied it.

    Toward the end of our sophomore year, I found out that Mike had a crush on a cheerleader. This didn’t affect my friendship with him and his friends, because by this point I’d managed to hang around them and deliberately insinuate myself into their group enough to be declared sort of a member of their group, but I was still denying that I had a crush on him. The thing that bugged me, though, is that… here’s Mike bemoaning (to his geek friends) the fact that he hasn’t got a chance with this cheerleader, and his geek friends mocking him because he can’t get a date (self-mockery, none of them could either)… and here’s a reasonably attractive girl who he *knows* has a crush on him, RIGHT HERE IN HIS GROUP.

    Maybe Mike just didn’t find me attractive. Maybe he was scared of me. Who knows? I’m not going to be a hypocrite and try to declare that he should have settled for me; he had the right to not find me attractive, he had the right to find a cheerleader attractive. But he was never, ever going to get a cheerleader to date him, and he knew it. He was a chubby, shy ubergeek with acne who failed gym. He knew that no girl who was traditionally feminine and who bought into the social/power structure of high school would give him the time of day. And he actually had an *attractive* girl interested in him. But she was as geeky as he was, and weird, and immature, and did things like pay him $15 to go up to a stranger and say “Gee, your hair smells terrific”, so she was obviously not a viable option. I mean, maybe that wasn’t it, maybe it was just the chemistry wasn’t there, maybe for all I know he was really gay and he was telling his friends about the cheerleader because he was certain he *wouldn’t* get her interest, because this was a Catholic high school in the 1980’s. His name is so generic I haven’t been able to track him down in adulthood, although his writer friend is now a published author and possibly if I worked up the nerve I could ask him if he has any idea where Mike is now. So I don’t really know, and I can’t really find out… but it just seems like it fits the same pattern so many other geek women talk about, except, in my case, I *was* traditionally attractive, and my mom made me perform femininity, so I had makeup and feathered hair and pretty clothes… I just acted weird.

    The whole “Girls don’t like geeky guys!” thing is such utter bullshit. *Geeky* girls prefer geeky guys, because they get our in-jokes and understand our culture and they’re smart and we usually value intelligence highly. But we prefer geeky guys who don’t spend so much time whining about how girls don’t like them that they fail to notice that yes, in fact, we are girls. A geek girl might even ask you out, if you would shut up with your constant bitching about how girls don’t like you, since doing that sends the message to her that you don’t think she’s a girl.

  52. says

    Just wanted to say I have found reading the comments here extremely informative! I also did not have a varied and exciting dating life and don’t get hollered at or propositioned / asked out (often – I can think of maybe one time each has happened where I noticed) and never had, and I would say I’m cute, but I am terrible at eye contact. I do not make eye contact with anyone I don’t know if I can help it, and I think I project seriousness too. I am so bad at eye contact that for a while (in University as a art student, before I had an office day job) I wore crazy bright makeup because then I could attribute people looking at me to them noticing the makeup, which I was OK with, instead of wondering why people who could easily have just been looking at me to gather information about their surroundings were looking at me. It helped a lot. Didn’t improve my eye contact much, but did improve how I felt.

    Would love social scientists to study this … anyone know of any research?

    Anyway so excited to hear others’ internal perspectives on this! Thanks!

  53. Laura Wolfe says

    Girl who’s finally hit 21. I don’t get what the big deal is, either. I haven’t ever been honestly asked out on a date, though some people thought it was fun to be like, “Hey, (insert name here) wants to ask you out, but he’s too shy to ask you *SNERK SNERK SNERK*” and the other person freaking out like that’s the worst thing in the world. I would think that’s worse than harassing someone on the streets in hopes of getting a date because there’s nothing you can do to avoid it; I wasn’t trying to ask these people out, or really cared for them at all. Their friends just decided it would be nice to knock me down a notch, I guess.

    I have been street harassed, though. It was my last year in high school, and I was walking home from school, as I always do, when two strange guys in this huge car showed up. I forget what it looked like, but I remember it was big, and almost a navy blue color. They called out to me, and asked me for a ride. Now, if could be possible that they honestly meant well, as that little tiny voice in the back of my head was telling me, and is still telling me right now. But, I also knew that it was possible that, if I got into that car, I wouldn’t be getting out in one piece. They weren’t SUPER huge men, but it looked like they took better care of their health than I did, and there was two of them. I could have been wrong, and if that’s true, and those guys are reading this, I’m really sorry, but I didn’t want to take such a huge risk on my safety. I told them, trying to be polite, no thanks, I was fine, and continued walking on. Thankfully, they asked this on a super busy road, so they didn’t really have much of a chance to follow and continue harassing me if they really didn’t mean well.

    Someone else has probably mentioned this, but Mr. “WAH MY LIFE IS SO HARD” seems to also forget that women are put as the one responsible for anything terrible that happened to them. Yes, if I was wrong, and all they really wanted to to was give me a ride home, I do feel bad about hurting their feelings. But, if I decided to go along with them, and something terrible happened to me, the first thing they would ask is “What in the world compelled you to go into the car with two men you don’t know?” But, apparently, I’m also a terrible person for “rejecting” them, so, damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

  54. says

    Laura Wolfe, hey, no need to apologize if those guys were nice. If they really WERE nice, they understand why you were wary and respect that.

    I’ve been thinking more about my earlier remarks that I’ve never been street harassed. I did once have a guy in a convertible yell “Marry me!” as he drove past me on a corner, but that’s the only thing I can come up with.

    I have, however, experienced harassment in other contexts. I’ve had guys converse with my breasts instead of my eyes; I’ve had them say suggestive things. It’s just always been acquaintances or work colleagues, not complete strangers. So, if anyone thought I was saying no man has ever attempted to treat me like a piece of meat, that’s not what I meant. I just don’t get it on the street or from complete strangers.

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