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Aug 21 2012

The phenomenology of harassment

Stephanie has a post about whose is the liberty in “libertarian” on sexual issues, which follows up on a comment she made here on the temperature post.

The proof comes when women start going after what they want.

He wants the freedom to hit on me at any time and any place? Fine. Liberty in action. Maybe a little crass, but….

I want the freedom to call him a disgustingly selfish piece of shit? I want the freedom to determine whether I want to deal with him based on whom he treats well and whom he doesn’t? I want the freedom to use tools under my personal control to keep him from interfering in my projects? I want the freedom to gather with people who share my values rather than his?

That’s when I’m abusing my power. That’s when I’m “Talibanesque” or “femistazi” or “Orwellian”.

In a comment smhll suggests this is partly a matter of not sharing the experience of being harassed. 

Anyway, I think quite a few arguers who haven’t dealt with sexual objectification as a near constant part of their own lives had some serious trouble “getting it”.

Due to elisions, (which I think you posted about), and inaccurate paraphrasing, and sloppy reading comprehension working in tandem, we end up in EGate debate with anti-policy-having people thinking “Men wanting to have sex with women is not misogyny.”

I think it is difficult to put across the annoyance of sexual objectification, especially to people who desire to have more (positive) sexual attention. I think the idea is well understood by women and people who’ve done a lot of feminist reading, but I’m not sure the last year’s debates were effective at conveying this point to a more general audience.

I think that’s an important point, and my awareness of the issue is sharpened by the fact that I had partly forgotten my own experience of harassment. Sophie Peeter’s film brought it back to me in a rush, and writing about it yesterday brought it back some more. (This isn’t like “repressed memory,” which is completely untrustworthy. It was never “repressed.”) I hadn’t forgotten the fact of it, but I hadn’t spent any time remembering what it felt like, and the film reminded me of what it felt like. Watch it and you should be able to get a sense of what it feels like.

So now I have this awareness of the gap between knowing (or remembering) what it feels like, and not knowing. It’s a big gap. What it feels like is horrible – because you feel totally at the mercy of other people, total strangers, people – men – who simply will not leave you alone. I kept telling them to leave me alone and they just wouldn’t do it. That in itself is an incredibly disconcerting and bad feeling, at least if you haven’t grown up with it, which thankyoujesus I didn’t. You just can’t have what you want. You just can’t have the freedom to walk around outside without being hassled.

I’ve always harped on this, you know. Always. In that sense my Paris experience wasn’t forgotten. I knew that I knew what it felt like not to have that freedom, it’s just that I didn’t have the active memory of the phenomenology of it.

So if any of you don’t know: listen up: it is a nightmare.

This is the exact opposite of what jeerers call “victim feminism” or anything like that. It’s helpless rage at being made a victim when you don’t want to be. It’s not clinging to victim status, it’s furious thrashing demand to be released from it.

87 comments

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  1. 1
    Ace of Sevens

    Here’s an analogy more people may be able to get: Did you ever deal with a penniless friend or a kid who always wanted you to buy things for them? They are generally cheap things like snack foods and you can easily say no, but pretty soon you’ll actively avoid going into the store with them.

  2. 2
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    This is the exact opposite of what jeerers call “victim feminism” or anything like that. It’s helpless rage at being made a victim when you don’t want to be. It’s not clinging to victim status, it’s furious thrashing demand to be released from it.

    Sadly, I’ll predict the response:
    You just have to grow stronger and not let them get you, hey, they’re just idiots, what are you, a fragile flower, made out of sugar? They only have the power you give them…

  3. 3
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    My harassment story (it got a bit longer than I expected):

    Harassment that most stands in my mind happened in a dance club. I was newly 18, on a trip with the class.
    Girls got separated from the boys (we were on the disco floor, which wasn’t manly enough for them), started dancing together. Other boys and men there joined wherever there was a bunch of girls. I didn’t mind it in the beginning. I was at the point when I was figuring out that getting propositioned in a club every two minutes is to be expected. I danced with one guy who seemed nice.

    Somewhere around that time everything started going downhill. I guess that dancing with that one guy was something like giving permanent consent to anyone grabbing me. One guy literally grabbed me away and started dancing with me (I was later admonished by friends for dissing the first guy. I honestly didn’t know what to do in the moment the second one grabbed me. I automatically continued dancing until finally pushing him off).
    My classmates were there, but we were also surrounded by all these boys and men (as night went on, more and more older men gathered, I think the spot was known for classes from abroad coming there during trips). I was seriously freaking out. Ever had that moment when things around you start to blur and you feel like everyone is staring at you and crowding you?

    Suddenly, there was nothing remotely fine about all these men wanting to whisper something to me or dance or ask if I wanted to go talk somewhere quiet… It was hellish.

    I was never much for going to clubs, but that curbed any desire quite thoroughly.

    And I know that some argue that clubs are fair ground for anything. You have to expect to be propositioned there.
    There are limits.

    I wasn’t just propositioned. I was preyed upon.

    There is really no better description for that.

  4. 4
    eric

    Ace, I’d make an analogy to an information kiosk operator. The kiosk operator gets asked a hundred times a day “where’s the bathroom,” even if there’s a big “Bathrooms this way” sign five feet from the kiosk.

    This incredibly annoying. Its tiresome. You want to rage at the idiots who refuse to see anything not directly in front of their face. Unless you actively fight against cynicism, you will quickly lose all respect for tourists as a group: they are idiots. Morons. They are people who take what could be a very fun and interesting social interaction (because, as a volunteer kiosk operator, you want to interact with tourists) and reduce it to a single, repetitive, valueless question and answer.

    The tourist sees none this. Feels none of this. Internalizes none of this. Where the kiosk operator experiences the exact same question hundreds of times a day, a single tourist may only ask the question once a season. They don’t see how its a big deal because even if its a trivial question, even if the sign is right there, surely answering it once per season is no reason to get upset, right? Different perspectives lead to radically different views of the social cost of the interaction.

    Men are the tourists. Women are the kiosk operators. I apologize if this analogy makes women out to be more passive than it should, so don’t take it as a perfect metaphor. The real point is that one sex does not experience the rate and thus the impact the other sex does; the ‘social cost’ is orders of magnitude different for the two sexes because the rate at which it occurs is orders of magnitude different.

  5. 5
    'Tis Himself

    The problem comes down to selfishness. The men feel it’s their right to hit on women and the women’s reactions are unimportant. Many men refuse to admit women should have any reaction other than saying yes or no to the propositioning. It’s seeing women as things rather than humans.

  6. 6
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    beatrice
    I remember putting Mr once on a dancefloor (he doesn’T dance) in order to dance around him because I was sick and tired of having my ass or my tits groped.
    BTW, that’s the perk the nice guys get: they can properly protect us and get a cookie.
    Like when they drilled into our heads in college in Ireland that us women should never walk home alone. Weren’t we lucky to have such good guys around who’d walk us home? Those guys, good and honest guys, gosh could they feel great while I felt like I was 6 years again and had started school the week before. Because that had been the last time before when somebody had to walk me somewhere.

  7. 7
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I was discussing this with my roommate (specifically the elevatorgate incident), and he opined that it didn’t seem that big of a deal to him, as it was just an isolated incident. When I explained that for women it is not, in fact, an isolated incident, even if it might be for Elevator Guy, which is where thre negative reaction comes from. He immediately grasped it, and compared it to his experience as a tech support agent. For the caller, they want to play their new game system, and it won’t work and they want it fixed. To him, though, it’s the 50th person today with the same question, and he has to explain again what the painfully obvious solution is while the customer gets pissed off at being “treated like an idiot.”

  8. 8
    smhll

    The tourist sees none this. Feels none of this. Internalizes none of this. Where the kiosk operator experiences the exact same question hundreds of times a day, a single tourist may only ask the question once a season.

    There is a pickup truck in my neighborhood, and the owner has affixed a bumper sticker that says “No, I won’t loan you my pickup truck.”

    Having a vagina is a bit like having a pickup truck or a swimming pool or some other attractive nuisance or in-demand feature that other people want to access but have trouble accessing independently. Kind of.

  9. 9
    GordonWillis

    ‘Tis Himself #5

    The problem comes down to selfishness. The men feel it’s their right to hit on women and the women’s reactions are unimportant. Many men refuse to admit women should have any reaction other than saying yes or no to the propositioning. It’s seeing women as things rather than humans.

    Yes. Absolutely.

  10. 10
    Ophelia Benson

    Mmmmmmmmthese don’t really capture it though.

    I’ve had the repetitive question thing, big time. As a zookeeper – want to guess what I heard a lot?

    “Oh look, Sally, look at the penguin/elephant/snake/monkey in this cage/enclosure/paddock,” pointing at me with my shovel/hose/broom and laughing uproariously.

    It got very tedious.

    But the being followed and importuned was a whole different kind of thing – partly because there was an obvious threat, partly because it wasn’t at a workplace but out in the big world, partly because there was no temporal limit to it…but most of all because it was personal. It was telling me that I had no freedom to roam and no right to freedom to roam. The dopy zoo jokes were just aimed at a generic zookeeper.

  11. 11
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    “Oh look, Sally, look at the penguin/elephant/snake/monkey in this cage/enclosure/paddock,” pointing at me with my shovel/hose/broom and laughing uproariously.

    A friend of mine has been working as a waiter ever since he was 16. He tells people who open their mouth to joke about the bill that if they can come up with a joke he hasn’t heard yet he’ll pay the bill.
    But while those analogies are missing the point of severity and threat, I think they well capture the point of perspective. Every guest thinks themself to be the brilliant comedian and only tells the joke once, what’s the matter?

  12. 12
    Ophelia Benson

    Also the jokes were just that. They didn’t go on and on. So many of the harassers went on and on and on.

    I was a sheltered little twerp from the US. I just was not used to having a whole bunch of men thinking all they had to do was ask me and I would fuck them. Why the hell did they ever think I would say yes? I kept wondering that.

  13. 13
    Ophelia Benson

    Giliell, yes, that’s true, they do get the perspective part. They’re good, I just wanted to say yes it’s that but also more.

  14. 14
    GordonWillis

    Well, we men don’t usually experience anything remotely comparable, that’s for sure. Getting the message across is going to be pretty tough, especially when even some women join in the shut-up-and-put-up chorus.

  15. 15
    drivebyposter

    Posting from a phone, so sorry if something messes up.

    Would this be a good analogy for trying to explain it to male atheists?
    Imagine getting pascal’s wager multiple times every day for most of your life. No matter whether you looked interested in theological debate or you were trying to eat or get to a bathroom or were in the hospital visiting a sick parent. You’re trying to do your thing and one pest after another comes up and asks such an insipid question. Some are strangers, but many of them work with you or live near you so you have to fake being polite. Then imagine there aren’t many atheist friendly places in the Internet. You either have to pretend to be a believer or get even MORE shitty apologetics. And you still have to worry that some day you may get a real dangerous nut trying to “save” you.

    Or something along those lines?

  16. 16
    GordonWillis

    It’s the dehumanising aspect that needs to be got across, and if men see women only as sex-machines or commodities on offer how are they going to make the big Oh-I-get-it leap of imagination? The serious problem is that it is clear that many of us don’t want to do that. We want to have our demands met. Nothing else seems to be important.

  17. 17
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    This is the exact opposite of what jeerers call “victim feminism” or anything like that. It’s helpless rage at being made a victim when you don’t want to be. It’s not clinging to victim status, it’s furious thrashing demand to be released from it.

    Or like thrashing around the inside of the cage, and being told that you’re anger would be best dealt with by learning to avoid hitting the bars so often, and just sitting down and not making such a fuss.

  18. 18
    Bernard Bumner

    I remember putting Mr once on a dancefloor (he doesn’T dance) in order to dance around him because I was sick and tired of having my ass or my tits groped.
    BTW, that’s the perk the nice guys get: they can properly protect us and get a cookie.

    A few years ago, I was physically attacked for stepping between a friend (of a friend) being harassed on the dancefloor and her harasser. There was enough of a gap between them (she was trying to escape) that I wasn’t even very close to to the guy, I asked whether she was okay and was told by him that I was going to be killed.

    I’m lucky because I’m pretty large and physically able, but it also says something about the strange sense of entitlement that some men have towards women they don’t know, that they will start throwing punches at a bigger stranger who does know the woman to try to get to them.

    It is strange and bestial behaviour; more like a rutting stag.

    I wasn’t trying to be heroic, just helpful, but actually I’m not sure what would have happened had I not been there, given how quickly the guy resorted to violence.

  19. 19
    Ophelia Benson

    Yikes.

  20. 20
    H2s

    Would it be easier to enumerate the places or situations that it is actually ok to start a conversation that lead to sex?

    I can’t be sure but after Beatrice’s comment above, I think every situation is pretty much ruled out. Work, public, conferences, gyms, bars? Maybe Internet dating is ok?

    I think at some point there has to be either
    A) a description of casual sexual encounters that are ok and male initiated
    Or
    B) a clear statement that casual sex is bad, or male initiated mutually consensual casual sex is bad, or something.

    I think that without this kind of thng a very sex negative vibe comes across. Or at least some idea that male sexual agency is something bad that should be thought of as shameful.

    Now if there really is a question about why do men ask in stupid situations, it’s because it works. It costs very little to ask, once they have trained themselves to destroy their fear and ignore the rejections. A very low success rate can be worth it. There’s a whole industry training people

  21. 21
    H2s

    Sorry… Hit submit by accident.

    The pickup artist industry. Anyway. It’s sleazy andpathetic but it “works”, if discounting the discomfort and costs of such forced interactions that fail on all sides…

  22. 22
    Ophelia Benson

    Starting a conversation that leads to sex is not the same as asking a stranger for sex or for thinly-veiled sex.

    But in any case this thread is not about “what can the poor men do?” That’s not what it’s for. This is just this one thread and I would like it not to get derailed into “advice for the poor men who don’t know what to do.”

  23. 23
    Onamission5

    “It’s not clinging to victim status, it’s furious thrashing demand to be released from it.”

    So much this. I don’t tell people my stories in order to stay perpetually locked inside of my prior victim status, I tell those stories so that other people who don’t get it can understand what it feels like, and thus stop themselves from supporting and enabling harassers.

  24. 24
    GordonWillis

    This is the exact opposite of what jeerers call “victim feminism” or anything like that. It’s helpless rage at being made a victim when you don’t want to be. It’s not clinging to victim status, it’s furious thrashing demand to be released from it.

    It may be possible that it doesn’t matter too much where the jeers come from: whether from those who use the term “victim feminism” as a mere spiteful put-down, whether it comes from women in denial, or from people who simply can’t see what the problem is… Surely the most important thing is for women to feel encouraged to speak out and for them to be supported with the best defences and arguments we can muster. Sheer persistence might be the best part of the solution. Shutting up is certainly not an option. Shouting louder and louder…

  25. 25
    Godless Heathen

    Except I volunteer to be born a woman. I just was.

    I don’t always want to interact with the tourists. Most of the time I just want people to ignore me (except to move aside as I walk past them).

    We didn’t volunteer to be women. We just are. It’s not the same scenario at all.

  26. 26
    Godless Heathen

    Gah. I meant I didn’t volunteer to be born a woman.

  27. 27
    Anne Marie

    “Ace, I’d make an analogy to an information kiosk operator. The kiosk operator gets asked a hundred times a day ‘where’s the bathroom,’ even if there’s a big ‘Bathrooms this way’ sign five feet from the kiosk.”

    “Men are the tourists. Women are the kiosk operators. I apologize if this analogy makes women out to be more passive than it should, so don’t take it as a perfect metaphor. The real point is that one sex does not experience the rate and thus the impact the other sex does; the ‘social cost’ is orders of magnitude different for the two sexes because the rate at which it occurs is orders of magnitude different.”

    This might make a little bit of sense if genitalia were like bathrooms in that men had a legal right to use whenever they wanted and women had signed up for the JOB of telling men where to find them.

  28. 28
    Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion

    I don’t know if this is strictly relevant, but I’m currently separated from my husband who was incredibly emotionally abusive, and sexually abusive as well. He denies it all, because he thinks the way he was acting towards me was completely normal, and my fault. His family back him up and told me to ignore it – he got it from his father, it’s just how he is, etc.

    He thought he was entitled to my body, and he touched it whenever he wanted, despite my objections. Once after me talling him it made me feel uncomfotable, he stopped interacting with me entirely for two weeks. He’d leave the room when I came in, wouldn’t talk to me or even sleep in the same bed. We had a three-month old child to take care of at this point, too. Communication? hah.
    After I asked him why he was avoiding me, he explained that either I let him do what he wanted or he’d have to avoid me because it’s “all or nothing” with him, and besides – I made him feel that way. I tried explaining that that was unreasonable, and I managed to get a response along the lines of “what’s in it for me if I stop?”.

    Entitlement, gotta love it. Who cares if what you’re doing is hurtful so long as you get what you want, even from people you supposedly love.

    That’s just my latest – there’s also the bottom-stroking from men in superarkets, being sexually assaulted by someone I considered a friend, the sexist abuse and blame that gets hurled whenever you try to feebly ask someone to stop doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable…
    Oh, and getting completely flattened by people when you try to speak out against this behaviour in any way. Even by people who seem to be neutral on the whole sexism issue. You’re speaking loudly and forcefully so you’re obviously just being all irrational and uppity, so kindly sit down and play nice like all the other children, please. We don’t need any rabble-rousers in here.

    Atheism+ can’t happen fast enough.

  29. 29
    SallyStrange

    I grew up in the country and so most of the harassment I experienced came from a distance: shouted comments on the sidewalk or snide remarks from boys at school. (Now that I think about it, they started early–I remember a couple of boys speculating about whether I masturbated with frozen hot dogs when we were in the sixth grade. I didn’t even have much of an idea what masturbation was at that point.)

    Anyway, I still had a sense of freedom, and never felt like there were certain places that were just off-limits to me.

    This changed dramatically when I went to India. Suddenly, I couldn’t just leave the house whenever I wanted because it was guaranteed that someone WOULD brush up against me, grab me, or shout awful things (in Hindi, which I mostly didn’t understand, but still). I couldn’t get a riksha or taxi ride by myself after dark and I certainly couldn’t walk around the streets alone. I was obliged to have at least one male friend, preferably three or four, with me to protect me from outright assault if I wanted to engage in social activities I would regard as normal in the US. So I didn’t. We went to the movies once, that was horrible because of the crowds and the groping, and that was pretty much it.

    Men don’t seem to get that, if you keep doing things to women that make them uncomfortable, they will start avoiding you! And if this happens a lot in a particular place or event, women will avoid those places and events! That’s how this all got started, right–Rebecca Watson answering the question of “why aren’t there more women at skeptic/atheist conferences?” Well, the question has been answered and apparently the men REALLY DO NOT LIKE the answer.

    Well, some of them. The ones who are going to be left behind as this whole A+ movement advances.

  30. 30
    SallyStrange

    I missed saying in my last post, that being able to use public space is a basic human right that is absolutely essential if women are going to participate equally in politics, economic activity, and everything else. How can you say there’s women’s equality if women won’t come to a protest because they don’t want to get groped? How can you say there’s equality when women avoid public transportation because they are tired of being hit on?

  31. 31
    Dalillama

    In re: the analogies to workplace situations: They’re not the same, but they’re the closest thing that most men are likely to have experienced, and thus can still serve as a useful tool of discussion when trying to activate empathy in clueless guys.

  32. 32
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Hmm, my experiences with harassment are, like most seen to be women, pretty fucking numerous. A few highlights: Getting hit on by a priest while standing between my parents at my grandmother’s memorial service, not five feet from the casket. Getting cornered and groped in the bathroom of a “queer-friendly” bar by a dude, only to be disbelieved because “Oh, he’s gay.”. Having a large man taking pictures of me at Pride, and when I told him to stop, he only pretended to delete them, and I had to stare him down and make him do so (“Well, what do you expect, dressed like that?” From a straight guy, at Pride, in 45C heat.), all the while certain that he’d take a swing at me. Etc. etc. and then there’s the little, regular reminders that I’m not human: the catcalls, the “accidental” brushing past my ass, being hit on when I have my damn headphones on.

  33. 33
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    To Sally, regarding public spaces. I saw this last year when I was in Yokohama: women-only rail carriages on the Sotetsu Line for rush-hour travellers.

    http://www.sotetsu.co.jp/en/train/women/

    I feel torn on this. I suppose it’s positive that a problem has been identified and action has been taken (rather like harassment policies for cons), though I’m pissed that this is even necessary in a public space like a rail line.

  34. 34
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Hm, the pick-up truck/kiosk operator and other analogies are useful. But they only capture the part where we get annoyed be repeat harassment, getting propositioned or cat-called wherever we go. They miss the worst part: the harassment.

    I’m not just annoyed because, returning home at 11pm, I had one guy passing me by on the street throwing some whispered commentary on my appearance and then 5 minutes later some other guy waiting in his car at the red light yelling for me to come and have some fun. When I ignored him and kept walking, he got out of the car and for a moment I was convinced he would go after me. He didn’t, he just yelled once more.

    When you compare that to getting annoying phone calls as a phone operator, that doesn’t cover the part where I’m scared. Where these encounters sometimes make us fear that this time we will be harmed.

    Cat-calls on the street are more annoying than threatening, but when you get them often enough and sometimes the guy doesn’t just pass you by when you ignore him, but keeps going at you… That’s scary. And the next time someone propositions you on the street, in the back of your mind you now know that maybe he won’t give up.
    Like it escalated that one time, it can escalate again. And next time it could escalate to a much higher degree.

    Phone operators get annoyed, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t in much danger of getting physically harmed.

    I’m not sure what analogy would help here. I think people who don’t understand just have to listen to us and engage their empathy.

    I mean, I don’t need to go hungry to have empathy for people starving. I don’t need to have a disability of my own to realize that people with disabilities have a damn hard time getting around in the world made for physically fully capable.

    So just, please, listen.

  35. 35
    Amy Clare

    Those who protest about their ‘right’ to ask women for sex are being disingenuous if they think it’s just a matter of women responding yes or no to a simple question. They ought to know full well, as many women have told them time and again, that an answer of ‘no thanks’ (stated or implied via ignoring) often elicits hostile, even violent reactions – from verbal to physical abuse and beyond.

    So of course the very question itself, aside from being annoying, is going to induce fear. That’s just basic human psychology. Anyone who refuses to see this is putting their own desires first before the needs of women to feel safe.

    A man might protest ‘oh but I would take no for an answer’ – the woman doesn’t know that though does she? If the last person she said ‘no’ to called her a stuck up bitch and followed her for three blocks, how does she know the next man would be any different?

    So yeah, it’s not just a simple question. If it were a case that women were being bothered by all these polite men who backed away courteously after we said ‘no thanks’ then that would be one thing. But it’s not that, it’s very far from that.

    As an aside, someone commented that why do these men think they will ever get sex this way – well, sometimes they do. I used to share a flat with a woman who got catcalled in the street, and instead of ignoring or saying no she often got chatting to these men and would sometimes bring them back to the flat for sex. Sometimes she had ‘relationships’ with them that would last a few weeks before they got tired of her. They were invariably married with kids. Go figure.

  36. 36
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Those who protest about their ‘right’ to ask women for sex are being disingenuous if they think it’s just a matter of women responding yes or no to a simple question. They ought to know full well, as many women have told them time and again, that an answer of ‘no thanks’ (stated or implied via ignoring) often elicits hostile, even violent reactions – from verbal to physical abuse and beyond.

    Apart from that, the answer is going to be “no” anyway. Really, what do they think? Asking somebody a question you know they’re going to decline while simultaneously knowing that’s you’re making them extremely uncomfortable at least means that the actual only purpose of the question is to make the other one uncomfortable.

  37. 37
    GordonWillis

    Asking somebody a question you know they’re going to decline while simultaneously knowing that’s you’re making them extremely uncomfortable at least means that the actual only purpose of the question is to make the other one uncomfortable.

    That’s a good point. It suggests further: ask, you might strike lucky, but assert your power either way, even if you don’t resort to physical violence.

  38. 38
    Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare

    I was in Israel on my honeymoon (I was 23), 28 or so years ago, and made the mistake of wearing shorts and a t-shirt to walk an elderly aunt from our hotel to her home. My husband was also with us.

    It was horrible. I literally stopped traffic. Men in cars. Men of the sidewalk. Auntie was literally pushing men aside with her cane.

    I borrowed a pair of sweatpants from her to get back to the hotel. Fortunately it was only a few blocks.

    Same trip, someone offered my husband 300 (jordanian) dinars for me.

  39. 39
    eric

    Ophelia:

    Also the jokes were just that. They didn’t go on and on. So many of the harassers went on and on and on.

    Yes, that is a good point of disanalogy. Based on @34 and @35 responses, it seems many women would be okay (or at least better) with the initial question if men actually took the standard “go away” response seriously. The tiresomness and annoyance is still there, but the threat level ratchets down considerably if you have reason to believe the questioner is actually listening to the message you’re trying to communicate.

    H2s @20:

    Would it be easier to enumerate the places or situations that it is actually ok to start a conversation that lead to sex?

    Location is probably not the main issue: getting to know the person first is.

    This is not rocket science. Outside of a few rare clubs, there is basically no good reason, ever, to try and start a relationishp with a sex proposition. Start with an offer of conversation, be willing to take no for an answer.

    Here’s a suggestion; treat women as you would men and flirting like football talk. Would you stop a strange man on the street to talk about football? No? Then don’t stop a strange woman on the street to chat them up. Would you sit down at a strange guy’s table in Starbucks to discuss last night’s scores? No? Then don’t invite yourself to a woman’s table to try and get a date. Would you give a “how ’bout them Bears?” to the guy on the next barstool? Yes? Then its probably okay to say hi to the woman at the next barstool. What if next-barstool guy is in conversation with his friends? Then you don’t interrupt, right? Well, same goes if its a woman. For that matter, limit physical touching to what you’d do with strange guys too.

  40. 40
    Dave

    Is analogy ever really going to help? One might instead try describing the situation as it is – you are in a situation where other people, implicitly and sometimes explicitly encouraged by those around them, don’t just bother you, they come repeatedly right up to the edge of openly threatening you, AND NOBODY CARES. You are being mocked, belittled, made to feel like a piece of meat, an object of use rather than a person of value, AND NOBODY CARES. It’s not ‘like’ anything, it is what it is.

  41. 41
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Dave,

    Exactly.

  42. 42
    Ophelia Benson

    eric @ 39 – no. We would not be okay with the initial question if men took no for an answer. Yes persistence just makes it that much worse, but the initial question is not okay. There are exceptions, like Amy’s former flatmate (@ 35), but they are just that.

    And what Dave said. Analogies really don’t work. I think Peeters’s movie gives a sense of what it’s like – assuming you take Peeters as the point of view; if you emphathize with the men instead, then that won’t work either.

  43. 43
    xmaseveeve

    Okay. Quite simple. It is outrageous that women are not going to atheist conferences. Someone should make a cool teeshirt, in every size and several colours: ‘Please do not ask for sex as refusal often offends’. Word should be spread, with teeshirts available at the door, and feminists – male and female – at an atheist conference should wear it, to get the point across to every wandering sexist gnaff that women are not all obsessed by his well-polished prized chipolata.

    Many predatory men use the scattergun approach, powered by a sense of entitlement to claim their right to women’s bodies. Most atheist (and mildly politically aware) men are less likely to hit on a woman in such an overt way. They are usually intelligent enough to figure out that it probably won’t work, and that if they increase their chances, they may go to jail for spiking the drink of tonight’s lucky winner.

    This makes some atheist men much worse. Their sense of entitlement can increase if they convince themselves that they are treating women with respect by being honest with them. As seen in ‘Tootsie’, when Dustin Hoffman has a glass of wine thrown in his face, intelligent women see through this condescension. The sexist among the atheist conference men are following the rules of evolution. (No, I have never believed in a god.)

    No god is whispering in the atheist ear that he’s being a dirty boy by associating with this fallen woman in the short skirt/low cut dress – or old jeans and baggy teeshirt – or stark naked. They don’t care. They see it in your eyes that you want it and find them irresistible, even if you draw them daggers.

    You’re playing hard to get. You’re beautiful when you’re angry. They love the thrill of the chase; in other words, flaunting their power over women.

    A few years ago, in a busy street in Glasgow, a guy hassled a young woman, and then shouted after her, ‘Aye okay, okay – don’t bile (boil) yer watter’. This, translated roughly, means, of course, ‘My sexual advances were a compliment, and, instead of giving me the gratitude I deserve, you are being unreasonable in making a big deal about it and abruptly dismissing my interest, which I now see was misplaced and I wouldn’t touch an ugly bitch like you anyway’.

    The young woman stopped. She shouted back, ‘Don’t bile ma watter? Aye well you’ll no be scaldin yer fuckin fingers on it!’ It’s one of those moments I’d dine out on, if I weren’t agoraphobic. (I was strangled and stalked, but that’s another story.)

    ‘Father Ted’ had an episode where Richard Wilson was sick of everyone saying, ‘I don’t believe it!’ (his character’s catchphrase). Like women, he was a person constantly being mistaken for the kiosk assistant.

    The best illustration of the feeling women have – of being the quarry – is in ‘Thelma and Louise’, when one of them says, ‘It’s like ‘Planet of the Apes’. It is.

    Some atheist men have a long way to go if they haven’t realised that equality for women is the key to secularism.

  44. 44
    Deepak Shetty

    this is partly a matter of not sharing the experience of being harassed.
    Im tending to lean this way too. It looks like people who are arguing for the right to interact with women however they wish see themselves as a suave James Bond type of person charming the women ,and who ofcourse will take ‘no’ for an answer and move on to the next mark.

    Whereas I remember the eve teasing that women in Bombay used to face, that I have witnessed, and the helpful advice they would receive
    a. Women have to face much worse in life, this is our burden, we have to be strong
    b. Well if you wear clothes like that , what do you expect? You shouldn’t be provoking men
    c. See this is why you should get married early so that you have a strong husband to protect you.
    ad nauseum.

    it was always surprising to me how much of this helpful advice came from women.

  45. 45
    Deepak Shetty

    Why the hell did they ever think I would say yes? I kept wondering that.
    In popular Bollywood culture , harassing a woman repeatedly makes her fall in love with you. Usually she will get her comeuppance when said man saves her from being harassed by someone else.
    I doubt that’s the cause – but the masses don’t seem to object to such portrayals.

  46. 46
    Ace of Sevens

    @45: But that’s just teasing, pleading and maybe some light stalking. It isn’t real harassment.

  47. 47
    Deepak Shetty

    @Ace
    Given the times, your statement should probably be “it isn’t legitimate harassment”

  48. 48
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    In popular Bollywood culture , harassing a woman repeatedly makes her fall in love with you.

    Popular Hollywood culture too.

    it was always surprising to me how much of this helpful advice came from women.

    Not surprising so much as indicative of just how pervasive and ubiquitous rape culture is. These women are correctly* identifying the ways in which rape culture tells women how to avoid harrassment. That it doesn’t work at all is irrelevant.

    * “correct” according to patriarchy, that is.

  49. 49
    GordonWillis

    * “correct” according to patriarchy, that is.

    Yeah, well, I have this thing about slave mentality. Accept the master’s values, learn to live within those limitations. It’s just tough if you can’t do this or you feel that. Just accept it and get on with it. And so on and on…

  50. 50
    eric

    Ophelia @42 – thanks for the correction. We’re in agreement about sex propositions; in @39 I also said there is basically no reason, ever, to start with one. The first part of that post was muddled and is not consistent the second part.

  51. 51
    Pteryxx

    you are in a situation where other people, implicitly and sometimes explicitly encouraged by those around them, don’t just bother you, they come repeatedly right up to the edge of openly threatening you, AND NOBODY CARES.

    …actually there is an analogy for exactly this: bullying.

  52. 52
    GordonWillis

    Yes, Pteryxx. Or, for that matter, harassment. The problem is getting people to see that.

  53. 53
    anon commenter

    What struck me in the discussion about sexual harassment is the implicit idea that conforming to the relevant social norms carries intrinsic moral value. Which it at least not in all cases does because at least some social norms are purely arbitrary.

    Thus it would be nice that next time you discuss for example how women should be able to dress as scantly as they want (and I know that this objection is going to come, so scantly could mean only wearing a very short skirt without panties and a bra that exposes your nipples) you cross-reference that with how comfortable women on average would be with men running around naked.

  54. 54
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    eric
    I like your “football talk” analogy.
    And it perfectly illustrates how guys totally respect other guys’ personal spaces and independence and would never dream of violating that just because they want to talk about football. They understand that this is just plain rude and inacceptable, even though the chances that a random guy might be interested in talking about football are much bigger than the chances that a random woman might be interested in sex with a stranger.

  55. 55
    GordonWillis

    Rights are contingent on what we, as a society, agree that we owe to one another. We can claim a right to the extent that we can claim that society ought as a moral imperative to agree that individuals owe each other this or that degree of respect or consideration or something. We can’t just go around claiming a right to ask someone for sex. We have no right to sex, but we do have the possibility of building relationships in which sex might happen. What else ought we to desire? Free and equal psrtnerships, friendships which make us whole, in which we contribute and become whole in the process? It’s not really difficult. If we are forced to live on some animal level of lust and might-makes-right we will never realise what it could be to be human.

    Maybe we could shout and shout about this till people are shamed into behaving better.

  56. 56
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    anon commenter,

    I’m not sure that I understand what you’re saying.

    woman in a short skirt and transparent shirt ≠ naked woman

    So, the relevance of men running around naked?

  57. 57
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Thus it would be nice that next time you discuss for example how women should be able to dress as scantly as they want (and I know that this objection is going to come, so scantly could mean only wearing a very short skirt without panties and a bra that exposes your nipples) you cross-reference that with how comfortable women on average would be with men running around naked.

    A) Bullshit. Being dressed “scantily” is not being naked. Unless I get to have every dude arrested who runs around topless or lets his trousers hang so low I can tell he’s wearing Homer Simpson undies. If you get to show your nipples I see no reason why I don’t get to show mine

    B) Nobody is discussing social norms being good just because <they are. We’re discussing the kind of social norms we’d like to have because they promote freedom and equality for all.

    C) Funny enough, not all people in this world are shocked by the idea of people being naked. Not all people are so fucked up in their head that they equate nakedness with sex.

  58. 58
    oolon

    Interesting reading all these harassment stories, I have my own bizarre personal harassment experience. I’ve been out clubbing etc as a teenager then for a quite a few years as a student and PhD/researcher in Leeds,UK. I have never witnessed sexual harassment towards a woman… Ever! At least I cannot remember it so actually it could well have happened and I did not notice as I tend to walk around looking at my shoes a lot. In fact my only harassment story is against me – probably why I remember it – in Leeds I had waist length blond hair and used to wear a black leather jacket. In a takeaway some drunk bloke saw me from behind and said ‘come ere darlin’, swung me around and clamped his hand behind my head to snog me. For one horrible second I was moving towards him and smelt his disgusting breath. Fortunately I’m pretty strong so managed to push him back, which surprised him a bit but not as much as when I kicked him out the door. I think he was so drunk he never realised I was a bloke. It really shook me up a bit and seriously embarrassed me as everyone in the takeaway thought it was hilarious – still elicits a disgust response now. That asshole probably did this all the while when drunk so I have a little bit of empathy.

    Even without my one tiny bit of experience and I’d never seen or experienced harassment why would I not believe the stories above? I’ve even had an argument or two with some of the commenters here but I seriously doubt any stories are lies. But that does seem to be a common thread of thought that its just women looking for attention with made up horrors. Or are some of the opinion that it should be no big deal?

  59. 59
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Thus it would be nice that next time you discuss for example how women should be able to dress as scantly as they want (and I know that this objection is going to come, so scantly could mean only wearing a very short skirt without panties and a bra that exposes your nipples) you cross-reference that with how comfortable women on average would be with men running around naked.

    Gosh, it’s almost as if there are no cultural and historical differences between how male bodies and female bodies have been treated. You know, women being labeled the “sex class,” meaning that our bodies are inherently “sex,” and that we’re commodities, meaning that dressing skimpily means we’re “showing off the goods.” Whereas men are full people whose bodies belong to them.

    Or that men aren’t on average larger and stronger than women and more likely to sexually prey upon us than vice versa, and that one method of predation is indecent exposure.

  60. 60
    GordonWillis

    But that does seem to be a common thread of thought that its just women looking for attention with made up horrors.

    I can’t imagine why even “just women” would lie about such a thing, unless they believed that sympathy could be gained by relating a plausible story. So why would it be thought a plausible story? Especially as it’s a very common one. I can imagine an awful lot of people having a vested interest in claiming that accusations of abuse and harassment/bullying are no more that attempts to grab attention or the house or the car or whatever.
    .

    Or are some of the opinion that it should be no big deal?

    What should be no big deal?

  61. 61
    oolon

    @GordonWillis – that sexual harassment should be no big deal, or in other words it is not harassment at all just boys being boys.

    Perhaps the doubters need to ask their female friends, Wives etc. I just asked my Wife in more detail about it as she has also said she had never experienced sexual harassment… So I say not even men grabbing your bum or anything and to my shock she replies that ‘oh yeah, they often even grab your crotch in nightclubs as you walk past’… Cue my jaw hitting floor at her not defining that as sexual harassment and that it was so common she didn’t even think it worth mentioning. Boy do I feel stupid :-)

  62. 62
    GordonWillis

    OK. So if girls being girls means that they say “Guys, don’t do that” what then? Do boys being boys take precedence over girls being girls? Do we have to swallow boys’ myths like “girls want it, really — they like to play hard-to-get” and ignore actual statements from girls being girls who say that boys being boys are making their lives hell?

  63. 63
    GordonWillis

    Consider the request “Guys, don’t do that”. It’s respectful, it’s friendly, it’s kind. What could possibly be wrong with it? I have seen examples of women making their refusals in a polite and considerate manner, and I have seen that this civilised behaviour is interpreted opportunistically as: she’s smiling, so it’s OK; if I just persist… I have known very young girls who have berated themselves with guilt that somehow they are doing something wrong, that the boys’ disappointment and anger is somehow their fault.

    Why is a woman’s civility greeted with anger, with rage? I believe that the cause is a sense of entitlement that many men have, and this sense of entitlement cannot be offended by the desired object showing any sign of independence of mind. If I want something, how is it OK for that thing to just do as it pleases, regardless of me? how is it permissible that I can be so ignored? To say “Guys, don’t do that” is worse than saying “piss off you fucking creep” because it shows a complete independence of judgement, a mind that can assess and judge “guys”, a mind that can see that offence might be caused and is willing to make allowances, a mind that belongs to a person, whereas what the “guy” wants is a body — a living body, to be sure, but a body, and only a body.

  64. 64
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Do we have to swallow boys’ myths like “girls want it, really — they like to play hard-to-get” and ignore actual statements from girls being girls who say that boys being boys are making their lives hell?

    It’s because bitches lie.
    But to elaborate on the friendly point:
    A) we’re conditioned not to be rude and direct. If we’re polite we’re blamed because “why didn’t we just say it”
    B) if we’Re rude we’re to blame because we we’re meaaaaan (we made him angry, or we treated a poor group #1 guy like he were a bad #2 guy)
    We just can’t win

  65. 65
    GordonWillis

    We just can’t win

    I like to believe that you can win, Giliell. I certainly think that if we Inclusive Atheist-plussers and Secular Humanists etc encourage women to speak out about their experiences and are willing and able to provide the necessary support, then you can win. The more voices that are raised, and the more persistent — despite whatever viciousness is be thrown at you — the more likely you are to win minds. But I think that you may need to prepare for a long battle. I don’t think that in the context of thousands of years of oppression what has been achieved so far is anything more than a beginning, and the opposition (not to mention all sorts of confusions) is waxing very loud at present. On the other hand, I don’t think that it will take thousands of years to put it right. Maybe a century or two.

  66. 66
    GordonWillis

    No, less than a century, if we work hard.

  67. 67
    Ophelia Benson

    Yes but I don’t like working hard!

  68. 68
    GordonWillis

    Yes, Ophelia, but even you don’t have to do everything all by yourself. What was the point of starting a blog against fashionable nonsense if you never expected to gain supporters?

  69. 69
    Leni

    It’s true about the polite thing. It never works with assholes. I once tried to be polite to man who propositioned me (who was drunk and appeared to be about twice my age and possibly homeless). I tried to be polite, but ended up having to get on a bus just to get away from the fucker even though my apartment was right around the corner.

    This was also the one and only time I tried the “I’m a lesbian, not interested” line. Big mistake. All that did was make him glom onto me for several blocks and badger me to let him come to my house so he could watch. Hence the bus. Yeah, if someone isn’t being polite to me, I don’t bother being polite back anymore.

    ***

    A lot of this reminded me about a friend who told me a story about when she was traveling in Ethiopia. She’s American, and was traveling alone. Once a crowded bus she saw a woman get masturbated on by a man who was standing behind her and groping her. No one said anything, but that could also be because not many others noticed. I’m not sure. I can’t imagine public masturbation being acceptable anywhere, but who knows. She said the woman was standing there, head down, tears streaming down her face.

    Later she found out that there is a magic line on Ethiopian buses, behind which it is apparently a free-for-all on women. Good women stay to the front of the bus. If it gets crowded and you get pushed back? Well that’s your fault. You should have tried harder to get to the front of the bus or something.

    Sometimes I think about that magic line. We all seem to have them. Either it’s forcible rape vs. “non-forcible” rape, or the victims clothes or state of inebriation. There’s just always a fucking magic line.

  70. 70
    Leni

    PS Also- eric, I thought your analogy was an ok 101. I got the impression that you meant starting up a conversation, and not straight propositioning for sex, so I think it works.

  71. 71
    spamnow

    I have read the comments and I think we have a terminology problem because we have people calling men trying to dance with them on the dance floor harassment which makes no sense. Men trying to dance with women in a club on the dance floor is completely appropriate behavior. If those who feel harassed don’t have the social awareness required to understand what’s going on in their environment they will find the full spectrum of male female mating behavior to be offensive and inexplicable.

    I see comments calling men selfish for daring to ask women out as if our culture were arranged in a way that gave men a choice. Men are expected to initiate relationships with women and to do so they often put themselves in the position of making a unwanted advance. Harassment takes place when the men refuse to take no for a answer and not before. I suggest those who felt harassed for simply being approached or danced with get it together.

    Personally I expect grown men and women to have more of a backbone. Perhaps you were shy when you were young or are uncomfortable with free flowing social interaction. Well now you are a grown up, get over it or find a place to hide. We can’t accommodate every nervous ninny on the planet.

    Men approaching, or dancing with women is not rape culture. Men asking out many women on a given day is not rape culture. Men are not suffering from a sense of entitlement because they make a proactive effort to find a mate. Us normal people living in the real world KNOW THIS!

    Men are not privileged for not being approached by women because they are thus burdened by the need to do so. Yes it is easier for them to be left alone but the price of inaction is BEING ALONE! Most people would rather not be left in isolation thus this ought not be viewed as a privilege.

    If we want to have a serious discussion about harassment we need to limit it to legitimate incidences of harassment or lose all credablity with the thinking world which is not concerned with your child like inability to deal with normal social interaction.

  72. 72
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Us normal people solipsistic men living in the real world our bubble of privilege KNOW THIS! assert this really hard because our libidos our our priority.

    Fixed.

  73. 73
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Sigh. Are our priority.

  74. 74
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Spamnow, perhaps you as a dude should leave it to women to determine what is misogynist and let the victims of sexual harassment decide what constitutes such, hmm? Because your great fear as a dude (Did you know not all dudes do all the asking out? It’s true!) is being rejected. Where, as has been stated numerous times, women frequently report being threatened, harassed, and yeah, subjected to violence for turning down some guy. And women are also expected to do so nicely, regardless of their own discomfort, or if they are interrupted while going about their lives. No, being prey is not a fucking privilege.

    It is not being a “nervous ninny” for the huge numbers of women who’ve suffered abuse, harassment, rape, or other violence to not respond with open arms legs when any poor dood tries to “find a mate”.

    And for that fucking matter, much of this harassment is more about intimidation than some socially clueless man trying to “mate”. Much of this is not simply some poor fellow asking a woman if she would like to get a bite to eat sometime. Read the fucking examples.

  75. 75
    SallyStrange

    Men trying to dance with women in a club on the dance floor is completely appropriate behavior. If those who feel harassed don’t have the social awareness required to understand what’s going on in their environment they will find the full spectrum of male female mating behavior to be offensive and inexplicable.

    Ah, one of my biggest gripes.

    I love dancing. I do it often. I do it well.

    I don’t care to dance with any yahoo who comes along. I like to dance with GOOD dancers.

    I really don’t like it when a guy comes along and pushes his duck into my ass (sometimes hard, WTF) and expects me to just start windin’ and grindin’ like we’re old pals or lovers or something.

    That’s not dancing WITH me. That’s barely dancing at all, and whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it AT me, not WITH me. I’m a target, not a partner.

    Me being on the dance floors busting a move is not an invitation for any dude to dance with me. You can sidle up and try to match my moves, show that you’re good, show that you can keep up. Then maybe we can dance together.

    And even then, if we do dance together, that’s not an invitation for you to put your hands on my body. And if I do let you put your hands on, say, my shoulders or waist, that doesn’t mean you get to put them on my ass.

    So fuck you, spamwhatsit. Just fuck you right in the ear. People like you ruin my good time when I’m out dancing. And it’s not because I don’t understand “male female mating behavior,” you fucking douchebiscuit. It’s because that sort of behavior is just wrong.

  76. 76
    SallyStrange

    Uh… dick, not duck.

    May Tpyos be pleased with my offering! All the sweeter because of its hilarity.

  77. 77
    Ace of Sevens

    I really don’t like it when a guy comes along and pushes his duck into my ass

    Some typos are too hilarious to ignore.

  78. 78
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    That is the most hilarious typo ever.

    Agreed, though.

  79. 79
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    Some typos are too hilarious to ignore.

    However, it leads to some delightful variations:

    “Stop that, you duckwad!”

    “Don’t be such a duck!”

    “What a duckhead!”

  80. 80
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I have read the comments and I think we have a terminology problem because we have people calling men trying to dance with them on the dance floor harassment which makes no sense. Men trying to dance with women in a club on the dance floor is completely appropriate behavior.

    No. Men asking (verbally and non-verbally, and only once, mind you) if women would like to dance with them is completely appropriate behaviour.
    I know, that’s hard for many men to grasp but, it’s not about you. Women don’t all go dancing just so they can hook up with some guys. Some just go dancing to, indeed, dance, with no other intents than having a good time by moving their bodies to music. Men trying to dance with women regardless of whether said women are interested in dancing with men in general and them in particular is just entitled misogynist assholes treating women as comodities to have.

    Personally I expect grown men and women to have more of a backbone.

    Do I get a cookie for having predicted this in comment #2?

    Men asking out many women on a given day is not rape culture.

    Men asking out many women on a given day is treating women as interchangable objects to have with no regard for their individuality

    Men are not suffering from a sense of entitlement because they make a proactive effort to find a mate. Us normal people living in the real world KNOW THIS!

    You ain’t entitled to find a mate, especially not if your “prospective mate” has zero interest in that.

    Men are not privileged for not being approached by women because they are thus burdened by the need to do so. Yes it is easier for them to be left alone but the price of inaction is BEING ALONE! Most people would rather not be left in isolation thus this ought not be viewed as a privilege.

    Yes, until men continue to force their bodies on women on the dancefloor and their conversation on women everywhere else, the human race is going to *scary music* die ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut.
    I’m wondering how lesbians manage to hook up. I mean, since neither of them is the poor guy burdened unfairly with the task of finding a mate or *scary music* die aloooooooooone, how does that work? Do they hire proxy guys who do the approaching for them?
    You know, many people manage to find partners without one harassing the other or multiple interchangable women on a given day. People meet in perfectly normal situations, at work or, yes, in clubs and bars, they talk to each other (even women initiate conversations), find out that they have topics of mutual interest, spend some more time with each other and then notice that this isn’t having chemistry to it or that it does indeed

  81. 81
    David Marjanović

    Yes, until men continue to force their bodies on women on the dancefloor and their conversation on women everywhere else, the human race is going to *scary music* die ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut.
    I’m wondering how lesbians manage to hook up. I mean, since neither of them is the poor guy burdened unfairly with the task of finding a mate or *scary music* die aloooooooooone, how does that work? Do they hire proxy guys who do the approaching for them?

    Thread won.

  82. 82
    Dave

    I do like the way that someone who obviously has NO CLUE how to treat the objects of his sexual desire as human beings can transmute that inadequacy into a model of behaviour For All Mankind… It shows true intellectual legerdemain.

  83. 83
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    spamnow,

    I see you were addressing me.

    Men trying to dance with women in a club on the dance floor is completely appropriate behavior.

    Being grabbed by a strange person I have never given any indication of interest to and held closely (’cause, you know, dancing) is completely appropriate? I had to physically push him away, with some force because he held onto me. That’s ok?
    Fuck you.

    Harassment takes place when the men refuse to take no for a answer and not before.

    Since you read my comments; remember that one what the “asking” was done by a guy on an empty street getting out of the car and yelling after me after I ignored the first “asking”. That is perfectly fine?
    Fuck you.

    Women are not public property. I’m not a vending machine where you can insert a coin to get something sweet 24/7.

    We can’t accommodate every nervous ninny on the planet.

    Fuck you.

    What we can’t accommodate is assholes like you. Because the rest of the world would like some peace and quiet occasionally instead of forever being available to accommodate you and your penis.

    Us normal people living in the real world KNOW THIS!

    You unfortunately may be the norm at the time, but I’m confident that’s going to change.

    Being the norm has nothing to do with being normal or not.

    Men are not privileged for not being approached by women because they are thus burdened by the need to do so.

    Oh, poor little you. You’ll never get some unless you beg strange women on the street for sex. I see how demoralizing that can be.

    You are privileged because your disadvantage is “usually, I’m the one who has to approach a woman”, woman’s disadvantage is “assholes think they’ll get some pussy if only they ask every women in 10km radius of their current position”. Considering how many assholes like you exist, that means quite a lot of just asking an average woman hears in her life.

    If we want to have a serious discussion about harassment we need to limit it to legitimate incidences of harassment or lose all credablity with the thinking world which is not concerned with your child like inability to deal with normal social interaction.

    Fuck you.

    ALso, fuck you.

  84. 84
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I almost choked when I got to Sally’s duck. Hilarious typo.

  85. 85
    opposablethumbs

    Beatrice, I just want to say YES to everything you wrote. I’d QFT the lot, but I’ll just stick with this for now –

    What we can’t accommodate is assholes like you.

    This, so much this.

  86. 86
    Sally Strange

    “Stop that, you duckwad!”

    “Don’t be such a duck!”

    “What a duckhead!”

    I’m putting this to use immediately.

  87. 87
    Sili

    I really don’t like it when a guy comes along and pushes his duck into my ass

    What can you expect? Gerbils are soooooo 1996.

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