“All she had to do was say, ‘No.’”
Ah, Elevatorgate, Rebeccapocalypse, Insert-Your-Favorite-Name-Here. It’s only fitting that USA Today writes a story about you well after you are news to any of us. You are timeless, eternal. You are, in fact, iconic. You contain all the elements of every interaction of this type. This is why, almost three months later, so many people are still trying to say you never happened or didn’t happen the way Rebecca claimed or…uh…squirrels! Over there! (Word to the wise, guys: calling “squirrel” months later, when everybody else has gotten back to work is not a distraction.)
Another of these iconic interactions just happened. This time, however, instead of a video, we have screen captures of the whole thing.
It’s an interesting thing, being a lady on the internet. It is a really great, supportive place to find folks to cheer you on, to have great conversations, and to form communities. On the other hand, people sometimes feel really goddamn entitled to your time/attention/sexuality, just ’cause. This is the (hopefully understandable) reason I sometimes ask that conversations stay in the public realm on Twitter, hesitate to give out my email/personal details, and generally give guys (even ones who have not given me any provocation) the side-eye when they ask about taking an internet conversation private. In my experience conversations like the one reproduced below are much rarer when the entire internet can see.
I want to be clear about something: this post isn’t directed at the sort of person you’re going to meet in a minute. If you find yourself in conversations like these, where your conversational partner is reacting like I did, I really hope you take something from this, but you aren’t who I’m talking to here. This post is for everyone who has told me that if I were just clearer about my boundaries that guys would back off or that women just aren’t clear enough about expressing their discomfort.
It’s all there. The blatant, ignored “No.” Taking the conversation out of public eyes. The “interest” in her work that is entirely trumped by the come-on. The idea that a hint of sexuality, once public, trumps a woman’s preference to not be sexual in a particular context, unironically paired with the accusations of prudery. The idea that the unwelcome come-on from a stranger would be welcome from an attractive stranger. The persistence long after any conversation is over. The desperate need to be validated as a non-awful human being. The instant hostility for a woman he claimed to admire. The accusations of unearned pride and manufactured outrage. Identifying a woman with her genitalia as an insult. The claim that it’s all the woman’s fault.
Every. Last. Bit. The entire shit-storm that swirled up because Rebecca dared to make a video encapsulated in one blog post. Right there, captured 140 characters at a time. So how do they claim it never happened that way this time?