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goo  ·  2156 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why Women Smile At The Men Who Sexually Harass Them

    As a man ... aggression is the language we speak

I think this is where the disconnect lies. It is generally unspoken that men have "active" behaviours, while women are supposed to have "passive" natures.

Forgive my generalizations, but women are taught from a very young age to be compliant. Neat. Quiet. Courteous. Don't make a scene. Don't draw any attention to yourself. It's just easier to be passive because that's what we're told to do from a very young age. It's a pervasive historical stereotype, and you'll be hard pressed to convince me that it has disappeared in our society. As an example, just look at how many women are terrified of asking a man out because it's not "proper."

Do note that the author isn't talking about rape and physical attacks here. She focuses on men who talk to her for attention, a conversation, a reaction, some form of validation. Quite often ignoring someone who demands your attention will cause a reaction of anger, because ignoring = "you're beneath me." The easiest way out is usually just to smile and nod and keep going. You mention some of these cases are appropriate for a violent response - but how are we to know when that's okay, when there's no clear baseline for being justified? The few times I have said to someone, "Your behaviour is not okay," their response is to call me a cunt, it's just a joke, they were just being nice, [insert excuse here]. I'm not a mind reader - all I know right now is that I'm uncomfortable. And in terms of physically fighting back? Yeah... not always an option when someone is much stronger than you.

The concept of "male entitlement" does not include "all men." It means that sexual harassment is RIDICULOUSLY gendered, with men typically the instigators and women as the victims. This table pins roughly 87% of sexual assault victims as female. It means you probably very rarely think, "It is dark and isolated here, and a drunk man is sitting up ahead. I should cross the street." It means that often, the mindset behind casual sexual harassment occurring is "you should smile and be flattered when I touch you and talk to you, because we men only flirt with women who are worthy of us." When you're acutely aware of your own experiences and those of other women, you consider it much better to be on the safe side than to hurt someone's feelings for acting cautious around them.

I think a lot of people get hung up on these kinds of articles being personal and arguing, "Well, I'm not like that!" That's fine and all, but really the point is to encourage more people to stop and consider how others are shaped by different experiences.