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.