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comment by o11c
o11c  ·  2161 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why Women Smile At The Men Who Sexually Harass Them

I know there's a real problem somewhere, but I can't help but be irritated by this author.

As a man ... aggression is the language we speak; escalation forces the other party to either back down or extend themselves to an untenable position.

Half of the author's examples are cases where either punching or pepper spray would be an appropriate reaction; the other half would merit a retort of "I can do better than you" if anything.

I know I'm hardwired to pay attention to nearby women (you won't get mad at me for just looking, will you?), so I'm fairly certain I haven't witnessed most of these things happening (maybe I don't spend enough time around drunk people?). But I probably wouldn't even notice there was any problem if she was smiling.

And I'm not nearly pessimistic enough to believe that we live in a society where if a woman screamed and started struggling, no one would help her, or where we believe that men have a "right" to women's bodies. So don't call it "male entitlement" (as if it is the belief of all men) please. Call it "the negative actions of a few, which affect many".





oyster  ·  2161 days ago  ·  link  ·  

When we had to take self defense back in school the people who've got the experience with this stuff teach us to yell "fire" if we need help because people won't step in if you yell you're being assaulted. They teach women this pessimism from a young age.

Relevant_Anxiety  ·  1098 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My father taught me the same thing as a kid. No idea if it's actually true but it's sad that it's even something that we could consider believable.

Relevant_Anxiety  ·  1098 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My father taught me the same thing as a kid. No idea if it's actually true but it's sad that it's even something that we could consider believable.

o11c  ·  2160 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I've heard that, but I assume that's mainly from hearing-only distance, not once there is visual contact with the assault.

oyster  ·  2160 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You would be surprised, people often look out for themselves and try to avoid conflict. It might seem weird to rationalize not stepping in but people will do it if it means protecting themselves. Even if they think they wouldn't.

goo  ·  2161 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    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.

o11c  ·  2160 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    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 remember that there is some component that is genetic (or rather hormonal, which is merely initiated by genes and may be altered) - testosterone is definitely related to both aggression and muscle growth, and is likely related to the way the brain track objects. In lower animals, estrogen will actually force the females to submit to copulation.

That said, I agree that the societal effects predominate in humans. But while it hasn't disappeared (and likely won't ever completely), it is significantly decreasing, and in Western society isn't enforced by law.

I posit that women are more likely to condemn themselves (and perhaps each other) than men are to condemn them. In my personal experience, men tend to respond very favorably to women who act definitively.

goo  ·  2159 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    some component that is genetic

Is there? What would that be? This is a can of worms that is ridiculously controversial. It is virtually impossible to remove all the social constructs jammed down children's throats. At this stage, we have no idea how much is genetic. But you are correct - testosterone is likely related to aggression. But does testosterone cause aggression... or does aggression cause testosterone? The nature vs. nurture debate is ongoing and it is unclear which is more pervasive in our social behaviours.

    In lower animals

I refuse to accept this argument as human beings are capable of rational thought. There is no equivalency here. Sexual cannibalism has been observed in mantises; is that a justification for me to decapitate the next man I sleep with?

    societal effects predominate in humans. But while it hasn't disappeared (and likely won't ever completely), it is significantly decreasing, and in Western society isn't enforced by law

I'm not sure if we had a misunderstanding but I don't see your argument here. Our societal interactions are literally what makes us human. Can you give me some examples to clarify?

    In my personal experience, men tend to respond very favorably to women who act definitively.

And my entire point is that this is your experience. Which is understandable - what else do we base our worldviews on? But take a step back and listen to others' experiences. When a large group is telling you that they experience harassment from men, they aren't making it up just to fuck with you.

I'm going to respond to your other comment here so we don't clutter up _refugee_'s thread.

    a physical reaction is perfectly justified.

When de-escalation is a viable option, it should be used before a physical response. Legally and in terms of safety. If you can run from the situation or talk your way out by just smiling and nodding, that should be your first choice. Especially when the person you're up against is typically stronger than you.

    Harassment is usually defined as something like "continuing after being told not to". If you smile and nod, then no harassment is actually taking place.

No. No. Holy fucking shit, no. Victim blaming at its finest here. It is not the victim's responsibility to tell someone to stop harassing them; they shouldn't be harassed in the first place! What about people who are sexually harassed by their bosses and can't say no because they need that job? There are so many extenuating circumstances where a person is afraid of saying no.

This right here is why the consent movement has shifted gears from "no means no" to "yes means yes" - because if someone isn't continuously, enthusiastically, and verbally saying yes, then stop right there. Smiling and nodding does not equate to "why, yes, I do enjoy being told how hot my tits are" when it's being used as a tactic to defuse a situation.

I think you are missing the fundamental point where this is about how women actively figure out the best way to keep safe. From men harming them. Margaret Atwood famously said, "Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them." You don't roll out of bed and think, hmm, I'm going to harass someone today. But you also don't have to let your friends know when you're going out at night, just in case someone harms you. You don't have to watch your drink, or be mindful of how you dress, or travel in pairs at parties and clubs. That, my friend, is male entitlement.

o11c  ·  2160 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Do note that the author isn't talking about ... physical attacks here

Many of her examples are physical, or are threats of physical attacks. In these cases, a physical reaction is perfectly justified.

    She focuses on men who talk to her for ...

That doesn't seem to be the focus of the article to me. Talking may be mere rudeness or actual harassment.

Harassment is usually defined as something like "continuing after being told not to". If you smile and nod, then no harassment is actually taking place. If you make a clear disinterest, then the offender is forced to either quit forever or cross the line into harassment, at which point you have more options.

    The concept of "male entitlement" does not include "all men."

You might not denote it as such, but it definitely connotes it, and is quite harmful if you want to work for a solution. (Names and symbols do matter, no matter what we try to tell ourselves about roses).

It's like that article that was posted on Reddit (and likely elsewhere) with the title something like "Lesbian tourists arrested in Dubai". It's technically true, but gives a completely wrong impression - they were arrested for drugs, and trying to use their sexuality to cloud the issue.

I don't have any disagreement with your statistics FWIW.

_refugee_  ·  2161 days ago  ·  link  ·  

lol

_refugee_  ·  2161 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm sorry, I had to leave to go collect myself for a minute.

As a woman, physiologically, speaking in generalities that are observable and measurable across the population of all women, I inherently am weaker, especially in terms of upper body strength, than any given man.

Not to mention that legally, assaulting someone because they yelled at you or looked at you or encroached upon your personal space or even grabbed your tit does not qualify as "self defense."

Go back to your cave, o11c. I live in something known as civilized society.

o11c  ·  2160 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    assaulting someone because they ... grabbed your tit does not qualify as "self defense."

You're giving many disparate examples. The one I quoted certainly counts.

    I live in something known as civilized society.

You do realize, there is no such thing as rights. The things we call rights only exist as long as individuals take actions to defend them.

I do agree that women should have the "right" to their own body. So, which individuals do you think should be responsible for defending that right?

_refugee_  ·  2159 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Suggesting that a subset of people who are inherently less able to fight should fight those assaulting them as a response to their assault is simply stupid.

oyster  ·  2159 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No kidding ! My go to moves are gouging eyes and tearing ball sack if it ever comes to that. That's not an easy decision to make ! I can't just punch or kick somebody, get away, and carry on with my life knowing I didn't really hurt somebody. People don't realize the mental burden it places on somebody to actually cause serious harm even though justified. Not to mention you can't go easy on the gouging or the tearing because without strength all you have is speed and surprise. It's not exactly hard for a strong person to immobilize your arms.

I'll stick to my miss polite routine thank you very much because otherwise if something did happen I would spend every night wondering what would have happened if I was just quiet/polite.

_refugee_  ·  2159 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Not to mention the legal ramifications you're probably going to experience. I'm sorry, I'm not going to get a record and punishment for assault just so one man out there presumably "learns" not to eyeball me again. Again, answering aggression with more aggression is a stupid solution.

o11c  ·  2159 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Again, you're reading something I haven't written.

If a man is only looking at you, you don't have grounds for assault.

If a man is actually assaulting you, you have every right to defend yourself.

Don't conflate different cases.

oyster  ·  2158 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm going to assume you've never been the much weaker person in a fight but as said weaker person in a fight you have to act fast and early. If a man so much as begins grabs me if I want to get away by force I need to cause a lot of harm, because If I don't he will very easily overpower me quickly. It's easy for that person to then make up some BS about how I overreacted and he was just talking to me. Was just putting his arm on my shoulder blah blah blah.

So fighting doesn't make any sense when you realize when an average woman would have to begin using force in order for it to be effective. If I do it after I'm wasting my energy, and essentially have to let myself be assaulted until a good opportunity comes up, sounds fun ! Not to mention if there is multiple attackers you're just screwed.