Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Nothing interferes with a man’s ability to score like a woman who doesn’t think his ego trumps her safety."


Via guerrillamamamedicine, over at Shapely Prose hits all the points that -should- be obvious, but apparently still aren't, to any number of dudes like o f'r instance this one.

We’ve recently had a number of dudes dropping in to complain that asking them to be sensitive to women’s boundaries is essentially cock-blocking them. Sure, they say, if they don’t talk to us when we clearly don’t want them to, they’ll be making us feel less threatened in a world where one in six women is the victim of sexual assault — but on the other hand, they won’t get to talk to us, and how is that fair? Nothing interferes with a man’s ability to score like a woman who doesn’t think his ego trumps her safety. Underlying this argument, along with a host of other scuzzy notions, is the same idea Saletan spikes and the Navy wives catch: that taking a “womanly body” out in public is an a priori invitation for male attention...

Then there were the guys who were clutching their pearls (if you know what I mean) in the epic thread, horrified that women might think they were a danger. After all, it’s not their fault that women feel threatened — they’re decent, humane guys. Maybe some men are dangerous, but not them, and aren’t we really creating the problem by not letting them prove how decent they are all over us?

Those guys are right, sort of. There are lots of great men out there — you can tell who they are because when they read that thread, or Saletan’s piece, they go “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?” And it really isn’t fair that sometimes their wives also think they can’t be trusted in a sub with 138 other guys and a lady. That’s not their fault. But it’s also not their wives’ fault, or the ladies’ fault. It’s the fault of a culture that tells all of us, over and over, that men just don’t have the ability to resist. A culture that assumes it’s women’s responsibility to keep themselves armored and invisible, because sexual violence is a direct result of temptation.

In other words, the same cultural bullshit that asserts men’s right to invade women’s personal space and/or fuck 13-year-olds also perpetuates the notion that men are more dick than brain. That’s why they just have to talk to women, when they can see the women don’t want to! That’s why they get addled by a womanly body when they know it comes with a pubescent mind! They don’t have the willpower or intelligence to not act like cavemen, at least not when faced with feminine wiles.

Fuck that noise! The real decent guys sure don’t deserve that. And the pearl-clutchers, the ones who were horrified by our insistence that rape doesn’t occur in the passive voice… well, who says they deserve it either?

...But what if that’s not good enough for you? What if you’re the kind of self-styled decent guy who still doesn’t feel like it’s fundamentally worthwhile to contribute to a culture where women don’t feel threatened because they aren’t threatened? What reason do you have to forego the rape-joke T-shirts, notice body language signals, object to misogyny, back off when asked to, maintain a comfortable distance, or any of the other little things you can do to bring rape culture down by degrees?

If the well-being of women isn’t enough for you, consider this: patriarchy thinks you’re fucking stupid. It thinks you’re a penis without a brain that’s worthwhile and powerful only because women are vaginas without brains and that’s somehow worse. It thinks you’re untrustworthy, that you can’t be left alone with a woman, that you can’t be left alone with a child. Feminists didn’t make that shit up — they’re just noting it and passing it on.


Anyone who wants to lump this in with "victim feminism" or whatever the current moniker is isn't paying attention. Yes, women have agency. And responsibility. Same as any other human. But what's conveniently left out of the equation a lot of the time, or at least underemphasized, is not only that men have responsibility (also! too!), but what that responsibility consists of. It's not about being "good." It's not about not overpowering delicate wimmins with your brute masculinity or however that incredibly tedious and ubiquitous cultural fetish/trope goes.

It's about have some fucking empathy. It's about, there -is- such a thing as community, no matter what Maggie Thatcher said. And while you're trumpeting about your rights, your individual autonomy, your -free speech-, all those terrific American concepts that are the very same ones we invoke with such handy catchphrases as "my body belongs to me" (nifty little one, there, applies to a lot more than reproductive rights), you might consider that other cliche wherein "your right to swing your fist ends at my nose."

And, further:

When a whole bunch of swinging dickheads are swinging like all get out and getting into womens' space, at minimum, your responsibility is to not -unsee it-, because it makes you uncomfortable. At -minimum-, you don't go: "Well, yes, he's a jerk, but hey, freedom of expression!" even as someone's standing there clutching her nose. At minimum, you don't go, "yes, okay, there's a lot of fist-swinging going on, (although not as much as you say there is, because -I- don't experience it), but it doesn't add up to anything; it doesn't signify; one and one and one and one do not add up to four, because I will it so."

A side note about the latter phenomenon:

How often do people-the "male pearl clutchers" alluded to above, for instance- not believe that things aren't as shitty as someone else says they are, not just because they wish to perpetuate said shittiness themselves or at least passively profit off it, but because they don't -want- to believe that shittiness exists? Because, that might fuck with their entire worldview as well as their self-image?

(part two to follow)

61 comments:

Comrade PhysioProf said...

The pearl-clutchers are yet another species of d00ds who simply cannot wrap their minds around the fact that it is not about them, and that STEP #1 of being a decent human being is accepting in every particular exactly what women assert about their own experience of, and reaction to, male behavior.

CrackerLilo said...

Oh, this is fantastic. Thank you for sharing it--I'm going to read the whole thing, and I can't wait for part 2. It's a shame that the men who desperately need to read this won't, but we can try and try and try some more to express this concept to the idiotic, entitled men we're unfortunate enough to share our lives with.

FoolishOwl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FoolishOwl said...

It wasn't until I read some criticisms of that xkcd comic that it occurred to me that the comic itself was problematic. There's a very pervasive myth that (heterosexual) men are *supposed* to meet women by approaching random strangers and flirting with them -- despite the fact this almost never works.

When I suggested on the xkcd forums that it's not just more appropriate, but also easier, to meet new people in social events constructed and advertised for such a purpose, the Nice Guys(tm) generally howled and threw feces.

More disheartening, though, was that the other men in the discussion seemed to simply not understand what I was talking about.

Alon Levy said...

You know, I didn't follow the links the first time so my first reaction was meh. But now that I have, all I can say is, if you think every man is Schrodinger's Rapist, then you're a fucking asshole and you should go into your hole and fuck yourself and not meet anyone, because anyone could murder you. If you want to know what to do: don't have friends. Don't go out, especially to drink - drinkers are disproportionately likely to hurt you. Don't talk to anyone - anyone could be a stalker. Leaving your name on the computer - meh; being a white, middle-class female who doesn't know any gangsters, you're already in the lowest-risk demographic for murder.

Also, her own experience? She can go fuck herself. Irving Kristol has used his experience of working class behavior in the military as an excuse for why he thinks he's superior to everyone else. City cops in the 1970s used their experience of crime as an excuse for hating every black person they met. So many Jews have learned to see anti-Semitism every time someone criticizes Israel it's not even funny anymore. Europeans will swear to you that their belief that all Americans are stupid really is their experience, Americans will say the same about European arrogance. Assholes can rarely accept the idea that they should maybe base their view of the world not just on their own experience but also on this of other people.

belledame222 said...

You know what, Alon: I can't even be arsed to try to figure out what crawled up your ass and died -this- time, and/or how you manage to misread something that bloody spectacularly. I'm not even going to leap to what a lot of people would deem the obvious conclusion. Let's start and stop with: frankly, you lecturing anyone else on who or what's "asshole" or how to conduct oneself in public? A world of no.

belledame222 said...

...and frankly, the main reason I don't want to leap to the obvious conclusion is less about protecting your fee-fee's than a sense of inchoate embarrassment that after all these years, you figure this is a good place for you to launch into such a jaw-dropping example of "this is why people have feminist blogs in the first place." What the fuck. Have you been a woman in public, Alon? No? Then shut the fuck up. No one except an asshole has that hostile a response to someone who is basically trying to explain boundaries 101. QEfuckinD.

god.

signed,

not in the motherfucking mood for this bullshit.

belledame222 said...

Just to forestall: in case any of the rest of my longtime commenters had been perplexed in any way? the author of that SP post, statistics and "tone" aside, is not saying anything that I did not say here:

http://fetchmemyaxe.blogspot.com/2005/12/street-smarts.html

Nearly four years ago.

belledame222 said...

"that" post would be this post, specifically.

http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger’s-rapist-or-a-guy’s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

How anyone gets from anything she said in there to "never go outside, she can go and fuck herself" (!!) is beyond me.

Hello, the whole point of the "Schrodinger's" reference is YOU DON'T KNOW, not that you're assuming he's a violent ax murdered unless proven otherwise through unwanted groveling.

And you know? Just guessing, here:

Yes, it -is- harder for some people to learn subtle body language cues than others. That is often hard for other people to understand. And I am sure that it doesn't feel very good to feel like there's an extra layer of of castigation on top of the usual "what the hell is wrong with you;" it is unfortunate that such things intersect with such other axes such as: the cumulative effects of structural/chronic misogyny on individual encounters.

That said? The basic lesson? Is as true for Don Juan as it is for Artie Awkward. -If you're in doubt, don't. Here's why.- Yeah, that's true, not all women feel just like the author of that SP post? But guess what? A LOT MORE have felt that way at least some of the time, and it's not because we're such sensitive little fucking flowers, it's because -after x many experiences of being groped or hassled or otherwise intruded upon by male strangers, one naturally gets wary.-

It's not fucking rocket science, and if it's not about you, don't fucking make it about you.

Chris Clarke said...

It's not fucking rocket science, and if it's not about you, don't fucking make it about you.

All due respect, esteemed bloghost, but you're wrong.

It *is* about those of us men who it's not about.

Not in Alon's butthurt "you're a bad distorted woman if you don't fellate my very important ego" sense, of course. But in the sense that we provide cover for the assholes by leaving the work of calling them out to the women of the world.

belledame222 said...

yeah, that particular "you" was actually addressed to Alon himself, in this case. As in: that is a -ridiculously- personal and yup butthurt response to that woman's post.

belledame222 said...

As for how common the experience of harassment is: read the damn comment thread.

http://kateharding.net/2008/08/20/turn-that-douchehound-upside-down/

piny said...

You know, I didn't follow the links the first time so my first reaction was meh. But now that I have, all I can say is, if you think every man is Schrodinger's Rapist, then you're a fucking asshole and you should go into your hole and fuck yourself and not meet anyone, because anyone could murder you. If you want to know what to do: don't have friends. Don't go out, especially to drink - drinkers are disproportionately likely to hurt you. Don't talk to anyone - anyone could be a stalker. Leaving your name on the computer - meh; being a white, middle-class female who doesn't know any gangsters, you're already in the lowest-risk demographic for murder.

There are rape survivors that do this. Does that also piss you off?

Before I go further: I think that the original original poster may not have meant to place so much implicit emphasis on stranger rape and serial murder. I don't have to worry too much that some guy will chop me up into tiny pieces once he gets my drunk ass away from the party. I do have to worry about date rape and intimate abuse. I'm not in a low-risk demographic for either one.

These things--sexual assault, harassment, rape--are not just part of her experience or mine. They are common to many, many women. Most women take some protective measures against them. I don't use her strategies--they strike me as unfeasible and annoying--but there are places I won't visit and people I won't see anymore.

But what men need to understand is that this advice you're giving her? It's not an option. I get that it's rhetoric, a vituperative coredump, because for some reason you respond to someone else's justified fear of rape with rage. And to tell her to go fuck herself.

But the point is that avoidance isn't possible. Women must live in the world like everyone else. They have to rent somewhere. They have to have friends. They have to have partners. They have to socialize.

And they do. They do all those things with the understanding that the risk of sexual assault comes with all of them, and that there's no real way to defend against it in a culture that does so much to quietly promote it. Some men are rapists and abusers, and they don't seem different from all the other, better men out there.

Ergo, women walking alone at night are a little edgy. And you have no reason whatsoever to take that personally.

belledame222 said...

Thank you, piny.

belledame222 said...

When I suggested on the xkcd forums that it's not just more appropriate, but also easier, to meet new people in social events constructed and advertised for such a purpose, the Nice Guys(tm) generally howled and threw feces.

More disheartening, though, was that the other men in the discussion seemed to simply not understand what I was talking about.


It's something, isn't it? It's hard in many cases to -not- conclude that yep, it's the power dynamic that they'd like to preserve, however inchoate and inarticulate that impulse.

Others? I have no fucking clue. I gather that there is apparently some Seekrit Male Socialization Klub--I mean -besides- the overt ones offered for ridiculous prices to uber-zhlubs by the likes of Ross Jeffries and Mystery and such--that insists that when it comes to Teh Wimminz, one must "always be closing;" if you pass up any opportunity to Make A Move, all the muscles go out of your cock, or something. Especially if your friends are watching. Plus, going to an event actually structured for people who want to meet other people would be, like, admitting you need help, right?

As someone who got more or less the standard female socialization + introvert + no real incentive to go after men in any case, this has always baffled me.

And I mean: fucksake, it's not like I don't fucking get how hard it is to meet people, -women-, hello. Women who "just want to be friends;" women who stand you up; women who huddle together with cliques of their friends in the bar all night, all with their backs turned outward; women who give you the runaround because they, too, have the socialization that you recognize oh so well of "never say no directly, because that would be too confrontational, and smile harder to make up for it." And yes, the mixers and such can be extremely forced feeling and dorky. I KNOW.

Yes, I sometimes talk to strangers, the ones -I- want to talk to (and who want to talk back). Yes, I don't live in a hole, thank you, and believe me, it's damn hard to drag myself out of one a lot of the time, what with the chronic depression/anxiety and shit. Yes, it's frustrating as all hell.

And somehow, I do all this -without- the expectation that the world will or -should- cater to my demands because I am a heterosexual male (i.e. the center of the universe), because, oooops, I'm neither.

Top that off with the het men in question continuing to pull the same bullshit on me as anyone else because no one is exempt, really, and it's not like the assholes listen to what you want anyway, and it's generally safer to -not- go "actually I'm a dyke" to such people because hey! whole new level of potential shit! and you know something? My sympathy, it is limited.

GallingGalla said...

Ah, I do believe our good friend Alon commented specifically to demonstrate male pearl-clutching, because Alon? You're doing it in spades, friend.

How the damned hard is it to keep your goddamned mouth shut and your hands and eyes to yourself when you are around women you don't know? And to respect the limits of those you do know?

ArrogantWorm said...

Alon,

Quit being a jackass. She's right. No no, shut up for a minute. I've the same reactions for the same reasons towards men and women, along with a few extra added complications. - exact same fucking reactions -, only obviously, not gender based. Well, sort of is, as each side has a higher likelyhood of specific actions unless they're in a group, but anyway - If you've been harassed on a regular basis, you'd understand what the whole point of weighing interactions -is-. It's not about considering all of ----- group dangerous, no holds barred, run!!!. It's about how x group has been damaging, to put it very mildly, and you want to negate as much of that as humanely possible. So Schrodinger's whatever-the-fuck is pretty damn accurate, considering. It never ceases to amaze me that someone would feel uptight about someone else being - wary - of them, up to and including active avoidance. You protest too damn much. The only thing that irritated me about that post was that I wish they'd spent more time on friends/family sexual harrassment/rape, I don't see nearly enough of that on the internets, let alone discussed in life. It's usually all about strangers, and myself, found the family aspect more damaging.

But hey, if you - want - it to be about you specifically, keep talking! You're pinging my radar something -horrible-, let me tell you. Only assholes go around proclaiming that they in-no-way-whatsoever could -possibly- be a danger to others, and we're supposed to know this by what? Osmosis? It's just ...no. Statistically, someone in your groups are going to fuck me over. Watching out for that is a duty.

ArrogantWorm said...

...in fact, if you - really - want people to, say, 'not look at men funny', you should get in the habit of being a responsible human being. Goes for everything, really. You - can -, in fact, be a responsible human being without getting kudos for it! Amazing, I know, but believe me people notice decent behavior as much as the "Why are they following/talking/gesturing at/to me" people. Granted, most people can usually guess why, but when there's several intersections there's a mental list and ...It isn't fun, and it certainly isn't some harmless pastime when you can't figure out what they're goal is and why. You'd help any number of people by staying on your side of the social-etiquette line. So shut up and get over there, you're scuffing up my carefully laid chalk marks.

ArrogantWorm said...

...Because see, if you're a responsible human being, you help not only others but yourself. Everybody wins! And you want to help yourself, yes? Sure You Do. Nothing negates the "My brain is actually my penis" collective-thought-process quite as well as keeping your thoughts, whatever those may be, (and hands, lets not forget hands) to yourself. I'm sure you know how insulting that collective conciousness tends to be, so - let's not perpetuate it - by pretending it doesn't exist.

GallingGalla said...

I've the same reactions for the same reasons towards men and women, along with a few extra added complications. - exact same fucking reactions -, only obviously, not gender based.

AW, thank you for saying this. I had similar thoughts but could not find the words to express them.

Look folks, I do not pass and most people gender me as male. So, yes, I do keep my eyes and my hands and my thoughts to myself. It burns, yes it does, that I am driven partly by society's trans-misogyny, and ableism, too, as I have asperger's and I do have trouble reading social signals.

But that is not an excuse for me to counterattack straight cis able-bodied women with -sexist- actions. And you know? I've gotten plenty of street harassment from cis women. So maybe -everybody- can just be fucking decent human beings, and we can -all- keep our hands and eyes and thoughts to ourselves around strangers, and respect the boundaries of those we know.

It is basic human decency, Alon. Something most parents teach their children by the time they are four.

ArrogantWorm said...

"But that is not an excuse for me to counterattack straight cis able-bodied women with -sexist- actions. And you know? I've gotten plenty of street harassment from cis women. "

God yes, that's one of the big reasons I like to stress decent - human being -, as opposed to a decent man in this convo (which, frankly, decency based on gender doesn't exist, I don't think. Too many stereotypes go with it). The sheer number of cis women that've caused me problems in daily interaction is horrendous, I used to have to sneak out the back door just to avoid a congregation. For years. Still not a reason to go be an ass. "Do unto others" seems to have been left by the wayside. Boundery seems to be a lost concept with a lot of people.

ArrogantWorm said...

And you know, Alon, it isn't even complicated (and I use the word loosely) social etiquette that people are complaining about. If it was I would've failed it by now. Actually, pretty sure I have failed it, but considering I don't hit on anyone it's outside this particular realm. But for social, it's just the basic shit. Like "Don't go hanging off strangers". You've no problems with that, surely? Although I have failed the eyes bit, but not due to attraction. Takes me a bit sometimes to figure out what something is, what something says or - who - someone is and people (men and women) often thought I was staring at them for god only knows why. Now they just ask what I'm looking at, since they can't guess where my eyes are. So yes, mistaken assumptions will be made. Simply move along with an apology (thought you were someone else, sorry), because it isn't about you. That is, if you're honestly chagrined at social faux passes. I mean, I do notice social skills are a big one. Boy do I notice, kind of hard to miss. But so fucking many people use it as an excuse to keep their thumbs wedged firmly up their ass that I've lost most of my empathy.

Natailya Petrova said...

Why pick on Thatcher here? Is she an anti-feminist or something?

Natailya Petrova said...

On the whole; I do certainly agree with the spirit of this post!

belledame222 said...

The "no such thing as society" is an actual Thatcher quote, and one of the reasons so many people, feminists included, heartily detested her; more specifically, how she enacted that principle through her policies and the damage that did to any number of "individual men and women, and families" as well as the infrastructure of the nonexistent "society."

Caryl Churchill's take on Thatcherite "feminism,"the 1982 play Top Girls, (as well as much of Churchill's other work, "Fen" and "Serious Money," say) is worth a read.

belledame222 said...

Point being less that I think Thatcher condoned street harassment-I know of no reason to think so, not that I've made an extensive study-as that is a rather well-known expression of individualism gone wrong, wherein basically sound ideas like responsibility and agency end up in service of the people who already have too much power, because there is no acknowledgment of any sort of larger context.

belledame222 said...

The only thing that irritated me about that post was that I wish they'd spent more time on friends/family sexual harrassment/rape, I don't see nearly enough of that on the internets, let alone discussed in life. It's usually all about strangers, and myself, found the family aspect more damaging.

Agreed; or, as piny put it. Still, the gist was apparently aimed at "nice guys" who're wondering why their (putatively) well-meaning and not-at-all-self-absorbed attempts at hitting up the hot chick in the street end up with them getting the cold shoulder; in this instance, the reiteration that yes, it's much more likely to be someone she knows would probably only bolster their "see? statistics show you shouldn't be scared of me!" or some shit like that. I am guessing.

but yeah, that said, that screed (the idea, anyway) applies at least as well to friends and acquaintances, and they're often the "nice guys" who -really- need to hear that shit. i.e. guys who might know better than to HEY BABY some total stranger, but can't understand why a conversation with their co-worker or neighbor or whomever suddenly turned ice cold. Personal bubble! Personal bubble!...

belledame222 said...

That is, if you're honestly chagrined at social faux passes. I mean, I do notice social skills are a big one. Boy do I notice, kind of hard to miss. But so fucking many people use it as an excuse to keep their thumbs wedged firmly up their ass that I've lost most of my empathy.

This.

I mean, mostly, people can tell if you're seething with hostility toward them, or in general. Lonely is one thing, but if you're like, "go fuck yourself" just because someone doesn't return your smile or whatever the fuck, that? Is -your- problem, and something you may want to work on before attempting to diagnose the people who didn't return your smile; hey, whatever their story is, the whole point is, you're cordially invited to -not- get involved, there, aren't you?

belledame222 said...

and the point about "yep, women can be not only assholes but even a threat, especially once you factor such axes as cis-trans, ableism, and others into the mix" is well taken. SP does tend to focus rather heavily, if not exclusively, on not just cis/white/able-bodied but heteronormative, I have noticed.

That said, the particular narrative of "it is my imperative to make a sexual conquest out of you" seems to be one that's wrapped up specifically in male socialization (as opposed to, say, bathroom policing, or physical threatening/harassment). At least, that's always been my experience; if anyone has a different one I totally want to hear it.

belledame222 said...

That -also- said, I did get "put on a bra!" from a fellow dyke once (why I assumed this: she was standing outside the local gay club, exuding Bravura Butch Performance 101); not sure if this counts as sexual as such or along the lines of your usual body/wardrobe policing which yes, I have gotten from other women/girls before, mostly in high school and/or Mom.

That also also said, I walked up to her to confront her; would I have done that if it had been a guy? Maybe? Have I? Anyway, she kind of giggled and blushed and hid behind her snap queen boy pal. She must've been, what, in her thirties? Not impressive. Anyway.

belledame222 said...

By the way: Alon? Don't bother coming back this time. It's been at least a good five jaw-dropping hateful assholeries of varying sorts too many over the years, and you never seem to get what the problem is, and you never really change. I've had enough.

ArrogantWorm said...

True. I was hoping she'd do a Part II though. I'd be ecstatic at another bit that discussed relationship dynamics, really need something to cram it into heads that no, your family/friends might - not - be safe, and for the love of god keep an eye and an ear out at the very least, nip these things in the bud. I can see why she focused on only one bit, especially considering it's aimed at the aforementioned 'nice' guys, but my mind still pokes me with "What about...?" when it comes to harassment and assault. It's just, usually when strangers are focused on the rest of the harm equation is mentioned in passing. I mean, growing up all I heard was the 'watch for strangers!' and the subsequent warnings and the people they told us to watch for were, without a doubt, weren't strangers better than eight times out of ten. I at least knew their names, or where they worked, who their friends were, et cetera. Not a perfect score, but pretty close. That's been holding true for adulthood as well, at least so far.

What those whiny They-can't-mean-me! people forget is that even when people are saying hey, it'd be a bit more productive to watch your own backyard, they're still talking about, oh, actually - watching the people in your own backyard -. Which, funnily enough, - also - includes them! They're family and friends and acquaintances of - somebody -. There shouldn't be a 'pass' because you know someone for a few years, or grew up with 'em or whatever.

Which, why people think they wouldn't be above suspicion in a family/friends setting is really fucking worrying, honestly, especially considering the whole power dynamic there.

ArrogantWorm said...

"That said, the particular narrative of "it is my imperative to make a sexual conquest out of you" seems to be one that's wrapped up specifically in male socialization (as opposed to, say, bathroom policing, or physical threatening/harassment)."

No, that sounds about right, actually. The women I've met generally gave up after a couple of 'no's', the guys, not so much.

belledame222 said...

I guess after the epic fail of that comment thread she may not have been in the mood for an encore? eh.

belledame222 said...

I know there are other excellent posts hither and yon about relationship dynamics, though.

belledame222 said...

it tells you something, though: if you get -that- much whining just from the "stranger" piece, how much louder and whinier it gets when it becomes more...intimate.

on the other hand I suppose you might be getting slightly different demographics there: the whiniest ones on that thread may well have been the embittered ones who (can't imagine why) -have- no real relationships to speak of in the first place.

or, not, and they'd be butthurt anyway. can't be arsed to analyze really.

belledame222 said...

am trying to remember off the top which specific posts about that very phenomenon (to wit: yo, it's not "stranger danger" you most have to worry about) I liked. well, will link if any leap to mind. Shakesville? Curvature? even some of the big blogs I normally dislike? I'm sure. well, anyway, later...

ArrogantWorm said...

"That -also- said, I did get "put on a bra!" from a fellow dyke once (why I assumed this: she was standing outside the local gay club, exuding Bravura Butch Performance 101); not sure if this counts as sexual as such or along the lines of your usual body/wardrobe policing which yes, I have gotten from other women/girls before, mostly in high school and/or Mom."

Eh, I tend to think that's a mix. I've heard more than 'put on a bra', the adults aren't any nicer than the teenagers, unfortunately.

belledame222 said...

I think it was sheer incredulity that got me walking up to her as much as anything else. I was like: you are a dyke. clearly not the fun kind. you are dressed in the depth of "hack it off with clamshells" anti-fashion. it's motherfucking -Queens.- People walk down the street wearing ferfucksake Tweety sweatshirts. You did NOT just bra police me. oh bitch NO.

ArrogantWorm said...

Ah, incredulity does that. When I'm that astonished though, I tend to just stand there and try to nag my brain back into processing. Something similar happened at the mall not that long ago, well, it involved clothing et al at any rate, next time I'll just let 'em flounder and continue making asses of themselves.

ArrogantWorm said...

"This.

I mean, mostly, people can tell if you're seething with hostility toward them, or in general. "

...actually, you know, I'm not entirely sure about that one. Most people can't recognize when I'm hostile or not (that includes my parents, they've complained about my 'blunted emotions' before, bastards), and I've had some problems with figuring out others moods before. I can't count the number of times people thought I was in a bad mood or pissed off when I was really just fine. They seem to always read me as being in a bad mood, or at least, not in a - good - one.

Which doesn't really matter, cuz I don't owe them jack shit. But it does grate on things like, oh, job interviews and that two week performance evaluation. But if you get that behavior yourself, you really don't expect others to smile at you upon demand, let alone get mean when they don't display the behavior you want 'em too.

Although I will admit to getting pissy after the third "Are you okay?" / "Cheer up!/Smile!". It's like, buddy, thanks for killing the last of my good mood. Feel free to get the fuck away from me and take your cheery disposition with you.

With most people though, I'd imagine they can sense hostility in others just fine, and yeah, the sudden slamming of objects and terse, one word answers is generally a giveaway.

belledame222 said...

yeah, I should've been more specific than that; what I really meant was, and addressed to the same Whiney McDouchebags on that failtastic comment thread and suchlike:

"People who don't buy your 'nice guy' act can actually sense the seething hostility; this is why they're still frosty or indifferent to you, not because you're -too nice- or they're unduly paranoid or whatever comforting wound-licking story you've told yourself and are trying to sell to everyone else as gospel."

but yes, that said assholes will still ignore signals of "I do not like you, goe away" is along the lines of what -you're- talking about. I tend to suspect that that is less a question of "can't really tell" than "aren't sufficiently interested in anything other than their own agenda to pay attention."

belledame222 said...

for whatever it's worth, I used to get "god, what's -wrong-? Smile, it won't kill you!" in aggressive tones a lot when I merely wasn't smiling. as you say, sooner or later it becomes a self (other?) fulfilling prophecy: yes, NOW I really -do- feel shitty, fuck you very much.

belledame222 said...

...actually, mostly in those instances what the "smile!" person really means is:

"Perform emotions you don't really feel for me; this is what I expect."

ArrogantWorm said...

There was a really nice (if somewhat false) colloquialism of "it only takes ten muscles to smile, but four to give you the finger". Not true in either case, as when you use muscles in your hand you also use the ones in your wrist and arm, especially, (and we won't even get into the overlaping muscles of the face) but I liked the sentiment none the less.

ArrogantWorm said...

Though I suppose that'd be more of an old wives tale than a colloquialism. Still, though. Yeah, the 'perform for me' is really rampant.

piny said...

That is, if you're honestly chagrined at social faux passes. I mean, I do notice social skills are a big one. Boy do I notice, kind of hard to miss. But so fucking many people use it as an excuse to keep their thumbs wedged firmly up their ass that I've lost most of my empathy.

Yeah, same here. And I know, too, that rejection sucks and that finding people to date is an awkward business. But still.

I think that this is irritating because of the gist of "rape culture" as a concept: men who act this way may be ignoring signals from individual women, but most of them have read social signals correctly. This isn't antisocial behavior, properly speaking, but the way men are supposed to act under patriarchy. They are supposed to send out signals that women are in theory meant to interpret as "red flags" but in practice can only interpret as dudebroliness or even charm. And when women talk about invasions of personal space or sexual harassment or demeaning treatment, they don't usually mean some maladjusted creep on the subway so much as many normal guys all over the place.

FoolishOwl said...

Part of the trouble is, the meetings of the Seekrit Male Socialization Klub are convened by Nice Guys, who get a rise out of manipulating insecure men into feeling worse about themselves.

Which, come to think of it, is why I've always been ill at ease with the idea of men-only groups to discuss gender issues -- because Nice Guys would leap at the chance to dominate such things. That, and that masculinity seems to me to be defined by a discipline of ignoring what women have to say, so discussing gender issues without women's voices seems problematic.

Natailya Petrova said...

Without endorsing any of Thatcher's specific policies; I understand the general gist of this. It's true that governments are made up of distinct individuals. It's a great way to demystify the state and organicist theories of it. It's sociologically permissible to talk about a society, but it can't be forgotten what the abstract concept references in concrete reality. The error that people make is to reify it and thus lose contact with the concrete distinct trees making it up. This is when deadly mystical supra-individual superorganism theories come out to play ~ leading to the respective Communist and National Socialist genocides of the 20th century. My fabulously educated Objectivist friend, Adam Reed, has a good summary of this collectivist view:

Natailya Petrova said...

http://borntoidentify.blogspot.com/2009/07/three-democides-by-false-morality-part.html

Within a certain context; I believe people who say such things are making the point Adam does. It would be crazy to declare that individual human beings do not relate to each other socially or can derive no benefits from social cooperation.

To relate all this to the point of this post; I'd say men behaving as such are sacrificing women to themselves ~ to put it in Randian terminology. They predictably get rejected by bright individualistic women who don't want to help them indulge their gross behavior.

ArrogantWorm said...

Dunno, I can think of a few things about gender stuff (mine, that is) that could stand to be worked through in a multiple person setting, and it doesn't have anything to do with women as a group. It does have to do with trans shit, but most women aren't going to be able to get where I'm coming from cuz people come at gender with previous expectations, to put it mildly. As will the bulk of the men, for that matter. It also has to do with class and disability for me, and even if someone - is - in all of those groups, that's no garauntee that they'll not be an asshole when discussing gender. The 'some people will take the meeting over' happens to every group that has intersections, and is no reason (that I can see) to not have a discussion at all. Sticking my thoughts of gender socialization, assumptions and expectation where cis (and wealthy, and neurotypical, and able-bodied, because they all inform gender) people can pick at it to their leisure isn't my idea of helping keep the field free of gendered bias. Besides, what's commonly considered masculine isn't only for guys, quite a few women and gq people have their own relationship with masculinity and gender. I think conceiving of masculinity as ignoring what women have to say misses a lot of, well, crap. That's a bit like saying femininity is all about pandering to the menz. It misses the nuances of intersections and gender when done by anyone that isn't a straight, white, able bodied, middle class, you name it. Then again, I also think the words for masculinity and femininity are bogus since it seems like a lot of others base it on perceived sex + how well you achieve the ideal.

ArrogantWorm said...

Now, discussing sexism without women's voices is problematic. But that isn't the same as gender issues, I don't think.

ArrogantWorm said...

...granted, there can be a - hell - of a lot of overlap, but there seems to be overlap in everything. Not sure what to do about that. The safe community is a community of one, or something like that.

belledame222 said...

Now, discussing sexism without women's voices is problematic. But that isn't the same as gender issues, I don't think.

This.

The main problem I've noticed with a number of "patriarchy hurts men too" folks, I do mean the ones who aren't full blown MRA's (they're hopeless), is that they still seem stuck in this idea that they can't talk about this shit without making it be all about the women, or even feminists.

And yeah, I do actually see that as a negative, same as I do women who only ever seem to talk about men (from whatever angle). Yeah, agreed, if you want to talk about -sexism-, have women there; but there's more to talk about than that, isn't there? that would be the whole point of PHMT. Body issues? Sexuality? Dad stuff? Bonding? Abuse? Socialization? What actually goes on -between- men? Intersectional shit included? Gay-straight tensions? Cis-trans? Race? and how all relate to maleness and masculinity? etc. etc.

and so instead it often seems (from my vantage to ping pong back and forth between this sort of dirty-forking (the pro-feminist side) about privilege privilege privilege, and then its flip side, the MRA-leaning reaction to that (fuck you feminists/meen withholding wimmins/Mom, we'll be as reactionary as we wanna be, and it's ALL YOUR FAULT).

personally, when I've been a spectator to this process, I find both tedious, particularly since one seems to flip over into the other so easily. Also: heteronormative as all hell, generally speaking, and usually wrapped up in the not-feminist-at-all as-yet-to-be-unpacked cultural messages about how Only The Love/Approval In This Case Of A Good Woman (Feminist Movement) Can Save The Beastly Mans From His Own Impulses.

which a depressing number of women also seem to buy into, feminist and otherwise. it plays out in a lot of -odd- ways sometimes...

Natailya Petrova said...

Belle,

Interesting to read that you deal with chronic depression/anxiety...I have the same persistent issues. Have you ever been accosted by a lot of overly aggressive dudes per post discussion? I was always told I'd see patriarchy much more clearly post-transgendered realization. In my male form; I was actually quite poly style flirtatious with numerous intriguing women, but I don't give off the macho man vibe. I've had my heterosexuality questioned for some of my more queeny behaviors. I guess I am the walking stereotype for the sensitive literary pseuedo-intellectual "guy". I am usually aiming to charm or woo with words and interesting knowledge. A female friend of mine I've been kind of half jokingly courting told me I was "infinitely interesting".

: )

Natailya Petrova said...

By half-jokingly; I don't mean anything manipulative.

Just obstacles to a deep romance flowering right now, but I like the playing the part of a goofish charmer...

She appreciates it!

That's another trans woman issue. As a guy; I am generally rated on the hot end of the spectrum. That has had its advantage in certain highly sexualized social situations ~ my one time foray into the sex-positive/pro-sex feminist or whatever/swinger culture.

All of these dynamics change with transwomaness...the world starts treating you differently. I am young enough to be able to develop into a pretty believable woman ~ if I decide to go down that route. I've wrestled with it for two years now. Nevertheless, the pool of people who will flock to you sexually has a definite dip.

FoolishOwl said...

I had a feeling there was something wrong with what I'd said. I may be projecting some of my own issues. I'll have to think about it.

belledame222 said...

I mean, I don't know that it's "wrong" per se, and I can certainly understand any individual man's discomfort in being in all-male groups, I wasn't trying to prescribe anything as a panacea. Just, as a general concept, I disagree that there's no good point in all-male groups. I get when people make parallels to "but do you really need all-white groups?" but the thing is...it's kind of apples and oranges in this case, I think. Being white (as opposed to being of any particular heritage) is pretty much -entirely- defined by privilege. I don't think that's the case when it comes to being a man. I defer to any man who doesn't feel that's the case for himself. It just seems to be that sex and/or gender are more complicated. At the very least we all live in a sexed body; there's always -something- to talk about.

champagneandbenzedrine said...

Thanks for the link, by the way!

Regarding that Schrodinger's Rapist article - it was a brilliant concept that got turned into offensive, sexist trash.

http://champagneandbenzedrine.blogspot.com/2009/11/giving-off-that-creepy-vibe.html

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