Sunday, March 3, 2013

Let me tell you about some bull shit, dear readers!

Last night, my friend Holly was in town. We don't often get to see each other, so we decided to go out and have a girl's night together. The first stop we tried to make was at a seedy little dive bar in a neighboring town. Except, now it's not a seedy little dive bar anymore, it's a family restaurant. No place to party. So, Holly said, "Let's go to the bar at the bowling alley."

Let me tell you a little about my friend Holly. She is beautiful, in the Hollywood sense of the word. She is slim, blonde, she dresses clothes that showcase her figure and she has a sort of unconscious sexuality about her that makes her seem innocent and provocative at the same time. This isn't a persona she's created for herself, it's just how she's always been, for as long as I can remember. So, we walk into this bar, and immediately, the catcalls began. The men sitting at the bar turned around to openly stare at her, to say things like, "Oh, baby," and "Look at this one! Hey! Hey! Check her out!"

Were they drunk? Yes. Does that make it okay? No.

We had one drink and decided to leave, because D-Rock was waiting for us up at the bar at the end of my road. We headed back there. This place is familiar territory, it's comfortable, it feels safe. Also, you can drink and then just walk back to my house instead of driving. Pretty awesome. We went in, had a few drinks with D-Rock and her husband, then D-Rock said she would run him home and return to hang out.

Not two full minutes after they left, a man came over to our table. He was clearly intoxicated; not a huge problem, we were in a bar, after all. He wanted help with the digital jukebox, so I showed him how it worked. I started to suspect that he was maybe high on something other than beer or weed. He would lean in close, fix me with a really intense stare, and get agitated if I tried to return to my conversation with Holly.

When D-Rock came back (only a few minutes later, because our town is about two miles deep), she made a fairly innocuous comment about wanting him to leave us alone. I believe it was something along the lines of, "Hey, man, we're just trying to catch up with our friend here, we'd like to be left alone." When he kept hanging around, she tried a stronger tactic, complaining loudly about creeps being drawn to us. But he still didn't leave. He pulled up a chair. Any time we tried to speak to each other, he would jump in and try to bring the conversation back to himself.

Then he hugged me. This was the tipping point for D-Rock, and for me. I never, at any point, insinuated that I would want to make any physical contact with this man. And he put his arms around me, despite my resistance. When I pushed away, he said, "Don't act like I'm going to molest you or something!"

Uh, guy? I didn't say anything about you molesting me. But clearly, it's at the forefront of your mind.

D-Rock got into a verbal altercation with the creep, while I went up to the bar to pretend to pay. I told the bartender, who is a really nice guy, "I'm standing here, pretending to pay, because I think those two are going to get into a fight."

Holly bought our drinks (because she's amazing like that) and let the bartender know that the only reason we were leaving was to avoid that man, and his harassment was hurting their business. Then we noticed that the guy was no where around. Where was he?

He'd gone into the parking lot. Because we had said we were going to leave, he'd gone into the parking lot to wait for us.

Because she was super pissed off, D-Rock went ahead of us, probably intending to kill the guy with her car keys. Her two pit bulls were in her car. The man tried to approach her as she got in. She warned him to stop coming at her. He kept coming. She threatened to let her dogs out. He kept coming. She took off down the road to my house. At that point, she really didn't have a choice to wait for us.

The bartender walked us out, and the guy was no where to be seen. We quickly got into Holly's car and headed down the road. I do not condone drunk driving, but our original plan was to walk home. It was clear, based on this guy's actions, that it would have been unsafe in the extreme to try and walk the tenth of a mile down the road, in the dark, with that guy still roaming around out there. We had to choose between breaking the law or... whatever this guy had planned when he'd gone out to wait for us in the parking lot.

It makes me angry that a man I didn't know thought that me helping him with the jukebox was a contract of some sort. It makes me angry that he ruined our night, when all we wanted to do was have a good time. And it makes me angry that he perceived our desire to not include him, a stranger, in our evening, as rudeness that deserved open hostility.

You know how sometimes when you have a bad feeling about a person, and you don't want to engage them because you don't want to seem like you're being rude? Fuck that. I'm sick of being treated as though being a woman and being in public means I'm an amusement for other people. We came into this bar to have a good time and drink and hang out. There were men doing the exact same thing, at the exact same bar, at the exact same time. But no one was acting like they were on display, or "open for business" so to speak.

Confession: I hate leaving my house. I hate it. I have hated it since an incident in New Orleans this past summer, when I was followed by a man who pretended to be a harmless drunk in the elevator, until he got me alone. I try to dress as androgynously as possible to avoid attention. But that seems to make it worse. It's like my lack of confidence or my desire to hide myself makes a beacon for skeevy guys. Or maybe it's because I am a bigger girl, and they're trying to separate the weakest or the least resistant from the heard? I haven't quite puzzled this part out.

All I know is, women are constantly having their personal space and sense of safety violated in public places, and it's supposed to be flattering. Street harassment, guys who won't take a hint and leave our table, all of this shit is supposed to be desired by us? Fuck that. I was considering not typing up this post, because I thought for sure someone would be like, "Well, it is a bar, that stuff happens there, no big deal," but then I remembered that the people who read my blog on the reg have proven over and over that they're insanely cool and smart, so you all probably understand what I'm driving at.

I'm just tired of feeling like if we go out in public, for any reason, we're opening ourselves up to this behavior, and that if we want to avoid it, we should just stay inside. Because I've been staying inside. I've been staying inside for a while, unless I go out with my husband, because being with a man is literally the only thing that keeps this from happening. If you're owned, if you're clearly another man's property, they keep their distance. But if you're out on your own, or in a group? Open season, and you should be thankful for the attention.

As I was saying, I've tried the whole staying inside thing. And it sucks and it's isolating and I hate being afraid to leave because I'm frightened that a man is going to make me feel ashamed of myself. That's what I hate the most about it. The shame. The doubt I have deep down, that tells me, "Maybe all those other people are right. Maybe I shouldn't be at a bar. Maybe I shouldn't be in this elevator unsupervised. Maybe I am 'asking for it.' Maybe I'm a slut, or a tease. Maybe I should be ashamed of myself." Even though I know, intelligently, that it's wrong for women to have to deal with this, I still can't apply that intelligent thought to myself. I would have no problem standing up for someone else, but when it's me, there's that doubt. Even as I type this, I'm terrified someone will think I'm bragging, and think I'm slutty, although I would never have those thoughts about another woman saying the same things. It's not a lack of trust in you, the reader, but a lack of trust in myself, because I live in a culture that assigns shady motives to any woman who rejects male sexual attention.

At this point, I just don't know what to do. I want to be able to have a drink with my friends without having this happen. That's all I want.

EDIT TO CLARIFY TWO POINTS: A few of you have expressed concern over the fact that we drove after drinking, and that we should have called a cab. I do not condone or excuse drunk driving, but I want to explain why we did not call a cab: there aren't any. We live in an extremely isolated rural community, out of the service area for the nearest cab companies. Our choices were to either chance the drive or walk home in the dark, and start that walk in full view of the creeper. If it had been any other situation, even if there had just been a skeevy guy hitting on us, driving would not have been an option. We chose to drive because it was, at the time, the safest option. The guy had gone into the parking lot as soon as we'd said we were going to leave. We didn't view that as a coincidence, but that he was planning something. We weighed the odds of us getting into a drunk driving accident against the odds that this man would assault us. But a taxi was never an option, because they just don't exist out here (I have, however, seen horses hitched up outside this bar, and I'm beginning to think that might be a good investment).

The second point I'd like to clear up is that the bartender is in no way culpable for what happened. He could not kick the guy out, because by the time we complained about him, the dude had already left the building. There was nothing to kick him out of at that point. The bartender walked us out and kept and eye out for the guy once he was aware of the situation, so I think he did just about as much as he could reasonably do for us. I don't blame the bartender in any way.

222 comments:

  1. Or maybe it's because I am a bigger girl, and they're trying to separate the weakest or the least resistant from the heard?

    Bingo.

    Sorry this happened to you. You didn't do anything wrong, which I know you know. Have some more reassurance anyway. Not your fault in the least.

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    1. I also popped on to agree with this. It was a running joke at my old workplace (retail, yay) that I was *always* the one the super creeps gravitated toward. At some point every week, a guy would get much too forward with me, either asking me a ton of questions trying to get my personal information, asking me out, trying to put an arm around me. It would start as polite chit-chat, so as a customer service employee I couldn't interrupt and say, "Shut it. Do you have a question about the merchandise or not?" And then the longer you are polite, the more difficult it becomes to cut somebody off.

      I was dressed conservatively, in a uniform. I gave the minimum politeness required by the job, I didn't flirt. But I was the bigger girl in the department (like, size 14 as opposed to size 8), and I don't like to make eye contact with people. I started to notice a trend in the compliments, like "I don't know what it is about you. You have an unusual beauty." Unusual? Yeah, I get it. You assume that I have lower self-esteem than the other girls, and therefore I'm more likely to respond to your compliments and have sex with you. Inevitably when I said no they would become angry and leave the store entirely, so that bullshit attitude confirms for me that they weren't genuinely lovestruck by my big ass.

      Jokes on you! My self-esteem is great!

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    2. This happened to me when I worked retail too. I was an asst. manager for awhile of a gift shop in a mall, and my boss had an admirer that would stop by a few times a week and chit chat. It was harmless for awhile, and then he turned his attentions toward me. She and I looked a lot alike and she was married and I was not. He starting bringing me little gifts, chocolates or a soda or something like that. I was always appreciative but cool towards him. I ran into him when I was out with a girlfriend at a club one night and he glued himself to us. We kept trying to shake him by dodging him and then flat out telling him we'd prefer it if he left us alone. He followed us to her house. He left after a few minutes, obviously pissed off and then he came into my store a few days later to lecture me about my "behavior" and how I was rather "unladylike" and that it was mean of me to rebuff him because he bought me treats and he paid for a few of my drinks. I told him flat out that I was not interested in dating him, that I did not owe him anything for his "gifts" and that if he felt that way he could just stop coming in to the store altogether. It was completely insane.

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    3. Back in my twenties, I worked in retail and there was this one customer who came all the time. I'm a pretty friendly person and always chitchatted with customers.

      Apparently, chitchat with this one somehow meant I was "interested". He called the store to wish me a Merry Christmas and tell me when he'd be back right after the first time I spoke to him at any length.

      He did seem to have been slightly intoxicated, so I wrote that off as "weird". After that, he started hanging around a bit every day.

      I was going through a divorce, and my ex brought our kid to me one day, and then locked his keys in his car. This guy realized he was my ex, and went out there to watch him try the old coathanger trick to unlock the door, and told him that he was "sorry" we were getting divorced, and hoped that it didn't bother him that we "were friends".

      What. The. Fuck?

      The minute I found that out, I told the guy "we're not friends, there is no relationship between us other than you're a regular customer at my store. Do NOT EVER say anything like that to my ex."

      The guy cut down on his coming in after that, at least for a while. About the time my divorce was final (long process), I'd begun dating someone else who worked for the same company, though not their store side, and he'd come in every day.

      This guy figured out we were seeing each other about the same time we decided to move into together, and suddenly began coming in again, several times a day, trying to chat me up. I brushed him off as much as possible, and finally complained to my manager about him. She spoke to him.

      He cut down to 1-2 visits a day, and would sit in the back at some tables we had to just watch me. Things happened, my manager was fired, and I was promoted. Though never unaware of when he was in the store, I usually had someone with me, and being the boss, could escape to the office to do paperwork.

      Not staying in sight made him come in less.

      Then I found out my new guy and I were expecting. So did this guy.

      He started coming in a lot again, and I swear, timed it so that it was never when my guy was present. He once asked me if I know how pretty babies with both a white and Hispanic parent were, which thoroughly creeped me out. I read him the riot act in front of our lunch crowd over that.

      Stuff happened, he never quite stayed away, and eventually I quit that job over unrelated matters after the birth of my kid.

      Almost a year later, I was managing a store for a different company in a different town about 20 miles from my old place of employment. My guy (then husband) had passed away in an accident. The first day back to work after his death, I had to open my store alone.

      I went to the back room to pull out some stock, heard the bell of the front door, and hurried out.

      Guess who my first customer of the day was?

      THAT GUY. I pretended I didn't recognize him and stayed by the phone while doing some paperwork at the register. It was a very small town, early Saturday morning, the street outside empty of anyone or anything but my car and his truck.

      He threw a wall-eyed fit because I wouldn't talk to him beyond checking him out, slammed his hands down on the counter and cursed me as he stomped out.

      I called my assistant in, then called my immediate superior and quit, then and there.

      Later found out he'd continued hanging around the first store, asking about me. No one who'd worked with me would tell him jackshit, but then a new hire let it slip that my husband had died and where my new job was.

      I haven't seen that guy since, but HOLY SHIT, I about drove myself nuts seeing "shadows" every time I left the house.

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    4. To add to this thread, I worked at a bar/restaurant before I went on maternity leave. I have always been a bigger girl fwiw.

      This one day I was working and this guy came and sat at the counter, and asked me a bunch of personal questions. I smiled politely (from what I can remember, I think my boss was there so I didn't want to get in trouble with him, long story) and answered the not-so-personal questions but tried to remain professional and friendly without seeming like I was inviting him in in any way. I was about 6 months pregnant so I was showing, and he said things like, "oh you're only 19, I can't believe that you're pregnant!" and blah blah.....until he got to this really weird and creepy question about how I "look like I know how to have a good time", closely followed by "what's your favorite position?". I told him that it wasn't any of his business....repeatedly, because he kept asking me. I should have asked him to leave but I believe the reason I didn't was because at that point I was only working like 6 hours a week and couldn't afford to pay for his tab :/ ...plus TBH I was sort of in shock because no one has ever asked me that question like that before. I don't even remember how it got resolved, but I think that I had to get my boss involved and the guy eventually left....YUCK. I got my fiance to pick me up from work that night. :/

      A few weeks ago I was at the bar and this guy bought me a drink and then stared at me from the side of the dance floor....somehow creepier than the guys who try to grind with you/skanky bar make out with you.

      I have always been a creep magnet :(

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  2. I have had stuff like this happen to me so many times. It happens to my friends, it happens to my cousins, it has happened to my Granny. I've been sexually assaulted twice, once at work. It's not even just bars and clubs, a girl from my uni was tweeting yesterday about being harassed on the train by a group of men. A group. Ganging up on one 20 year old woman. Not that her age makes it any worse or better.

    Then to be told when you turn round and react to it, instead of "just ignoring it" that it's just a joke, just a laugh, not to over react, they're not rapists? It just makes me so angry. As a single woman, I flirt and I dance and I kiss and I have sex with people I meet in clubs, but if anyone puts their hands on me when I haven't given my permission I reserve the right to flip my lid. I wish I did more often, but sometimes it's just so shocking and out of the blue you can't do anything but hope it goes away.

    Apologies for the rambling nature and that this probably doesn't make sense but my point is I totally understand and agree. I shouldn't feel scared to walk to the bus stop at night without any of my male friends, I shouldn't feel scared on the night bus. But I do. And it's because of creeps like the guy you just described.

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    1. I was talking to my fiance about this a couple of months ago...as a guy he doesn't really have to worry about walking around outside at night. Maybe I'm just overly paranoid but I am constantly scanning my surroundings as I walk and keeping watch for any weird/potentially dangerous activity. I wish it wasn't like that! :(

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  3. That is some bullshit. And you're right, you should be able to go out in public and be left alone. Women are trained that they're supposed to be helpful to everyone, even if they don't want to be, and that not being helpful and nice all the time means you're a rude bitch. No one wants to be a rude bitch now, do they? Rude bitches have no worth. Except there are men who know that women have been taught that they should be pleasing everyone all the time and take advantage of it. Some of them might not realize it, but I suspect most of them do. Maybe if more women told guys like that to fuck off, they'd realize that we're actual human beings and not toys.

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    1. I hear what you're saying but I don't think 'women' should do anything. It's not our job to fix the assholes who accost us in bars. It's not the job of women who haven't been accosted in bars to fix them, either. The problem is that we as a society, men and women, all ages and creeds confounded, still treat this as a thing that happens to women who ask for it. A boys will be boys sort of mentality.

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    2. Em: completely agree. Along with the boys will be boys bull, I also blame the men are from Mars, women are from Venus idea. It is so idiotic and perpetuates the belief that women are just crazy and cannot be understood. We are not human, we are women so, please feel free to not treat us with any shred of human decency. No matter the empowerment given to young girls, boys are still brought up with this mindset.

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    3. >No one wants to be a rude bitch now, do they? Rude bitches have no worth.<
      You know, under certain circumstances it's perfectly alright to be a Rude Bitch. If some guy is making you feel uncomfortable, you have every reason - and every right - to tell him to back off. This is no reflection on your worth as a person or your 'femininity.' We have to set boundaries and at least give the impression that we are prepared to get ugly if they're crossed. Sometimes a Rude Bitch is enough to make the guy back off.

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    4. Anon and Em, Jessica agrees you; (judging from the name) she is stating society's expectations of women, why it causes some men who believe that shit to act like asshats, and how it's all bullshit.

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  4. This hit home in more ways than you can imagine. The first time I got confronted with this kind of behavior was when I hit puberty, eons ago, and I got my much-anticipated growth spurt. I'd always been a girly girl, but I had never before attracted male attention the way I did when I developed a rack.

    Now I don't remember the catcalls in the street, but I do remember feeling increasingly uncomfortable in leaving the house. I was maybe fourteen when my mother, in an attempt to be helpful, told me to feel grateful for the attention. I was obviously pretty and would have no trouble getting dates as I grew up. (I turned out gay, though, so male attention is still not on my radar.)

    Nowadays, I travel a lot and I'm often in a cab because I'm in cities where I simply don't know how else to get around. When I'm with a man (often a coworker), I'm left alone. But Maud forbid I travel by myself because that's when the invasive questions begin. Where am I from. Am I going back there. When do I go back. Man, I have a nice smile. Am I town for a long time. Maybe I want to get a drink. His shift's ending in half an hour, do I want to have dinner. What about couch surfing. Hotels are so expensive.

    I've spent years ashamed and afraid in these situations. I still don't know how to handle them without that voice at the back of my head telling me I shouldn't have put on makeup today, I shouldn't have smiled at the driver as I told him where to take me. As if these things have anything to do with the unwanted attention we get.

    And yes, I still tell myself I'm exaggerating and should just feel flattered for the attention. A good friend of mine once said I should be glad men have the courage to approach me, as if random strangers accosting me when I am trapped in a confined environment in a foreign country is a dreamy, romantic scenario.

    The point I'm trying to get at here is that this expectation of gratitude is something we're fed from a young age. It's built into us by parents and friends and authority figures and the media. It's nothing you should beat yourself up about because you're fighting against years and years of reinforcement. But it's never your fault when some asshole can't take a hint or even a flat-out please leave me alone.

    I've often wished I had the guts to ask my drivers if they'd behave the same way towards me if I were a man. I think I know the answer already.

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  5. "He'd gone into the parking lot. Because we had said we were going to leave, he'd gone into the parking lot to wait for us."

    This made my heart beat triple-time. Scary! Why was it scary? Because I am a woman in this culture and I know how this story always ends.

    I am so, so happy that yours ended differently, and so, so sorry you had to drive drunk to make it happen.

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  6. I'm sorry this happened to you, Jenny. People fucking suck sometimes, but you handled the situation very well considering everything. I would have panicked and shut down. I've been so regularly harassed by men since the age of twelve that it's become my normal reaction.

    Men like this (and one particular man who has been harassing me for the past two months at college) are why I finally had to buy pepper spray. As much as I've been through, I only just now felt unsafe enough to need it.

    I wish I could tell you it's not your fault, you don't need to stay inside to avoid these people or dress androgynously to try to put them off, etc. I wish I could, but it's not that easy. You didn't do anything wrong. It's all on that entitled asshole. Don't feel bad for feeling insecure, either. It happens. I'm sending you so many hugs right now.

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  7. I no longer go out to bars (small, poor town, and much nicer to drink at home w/friends) but I remember this kind of thing. The worst is the "split" move that some men take, where they send their friend over to talk to your friend from one side, and they talk to you from the other. You feel obliged to at least answer your "suitor"'s question or whatever, and by that time you're facing one way, your friend is facing the other, and you're not sure if maybe she likes him and you shouldn't interfere, or if she's as desperate as you are to get rid of them - at which point you pretty much have to work out how to do it simultaneously. I'm sure they learned that in some rape-y men's mag. I've never learned how to reject a man quickly, politely, and effectively. I feel ashamed of myself for being rude, or bitchy- somehow part of my mind interprets being approached as an obligation. Even worse if they start off nice and then show themselves to be a dick a little later, and because I already talked to them I feel obliged to be polite and not tell them to piss off. I don't know why- lack of self confidence, maybe? If a lost child came to me needing help, that's a healthy moral obligation to feel. But a full grown man wanting to approach me because he's interested, and I somehow still feel the obligation to respond? That's some fucked-up politeness training right there.

    I'm equally frustrated by movie portrayals of women-rejecting-men-at-bars, where the man opens with some totally unrealistic line, the woman fires back some witty "not interested" but funny comment, and the man slinks away. Ha. More likely he'd actually say something like "Oh, you're funny. I like funny women" and if you objected to that, sulk because he was just "paying you a compliment" and ask you what made you so resistant to taking compliments (all the time NOT GOING AWAY). At least in most European countries you can smile and flash a wedding ring (fake or otherwise) and that'e enough to get out of it. I honestly don't know the answer to it... although I propose that when they haul all the girls out of assembly to talk about their "monthlies" they also use the opportunity to do assertiveness training.

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    1. Oh, it gets a heck of a lot creepier than men's magazines. Have you seen anything about the pick up artist/seduction community? If not, check this out to get a heads up on some of their tactics: http://www.reddit.com/r/seduction

      The language is incredibly dehumanizing (women are reduced to a 1-10 rating) and includes suggestions like how to "overcome LMR" where LMR means "last minute resistance"--in other words, how to manipulate someone who said no into bed with you.

      It's a whole social club based around teaching the socially awkward to become giant fucking creepers.

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  8. Maybe I shouldn't be at a bar. Maybe I shouldn't be in this elevator unsupervised. Maybe I am 'asking for it.' Maybe I'm a slut, or a tease. Maybe I should be ashamed of myself."


    Or maybe guys like this should be tazzered till they piss themselves, then have there genitals jammed in a vice-grip until they pop..... :(

    I guess there's something to be said for having perfected the "look of death" as my BF calls it... apparently I scare guys :D

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    1. Yeah, my only issue with scaring people off the way I do with my glare of death is it only takes one to call the bluff and then you have to back it up with teeth.

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    2. True.. But I used to Box & Kickbox... so I have that covered. I can also serve a mean Glasgow Kiss....

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    3. I have a good completely blank uninterested face I can pull out, one I've been told is kind of scary without being aggressive. You have to be willing to be called a cold bitch and similar for using it but if it gets them to go away I don't care.

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    4. It's situations like the one Jenny was in that made me determined to reclaim "bitch." I'm damn proud of being a bitch. "Bitch" is the catch-all term for a woman who is not a doormat, a victim, trapped, helpless, voiceless, and prey. I'll take it.

      I put "aggressive" in that category, too. Every time I stand up for myself and demand that I be treated decently, as a person rather than an object or an idiot, someone calls me aggressive, a bitch, or (my favorite!) an aggressive bitch. I consider it one of the highest complements I can receive. "Bitch" is my fucking feminist badge of honor. We should hand it out at ceremonies like the Boy Scouts.

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  9. God forbid you don't feel appreciative of unwanted male attention. Dudes have no idea what it is like to be a woman. None. And if you tell them you don't want their attention? Then you're a rude bitch, or a slut, or whatever they feel like calling you when you don't reciprocate their "affection". They're just being nice, right? Bullshit.

    I used to be a super friendly, outgoing gal. Always smiling and chatting and the like. Many years ago I was gang raped (roofies are not nice)and I had to deal with the fallout of that. I now have what my husband calls the "Ice Queen" persona. He says I project an aura of super confidence and unattainableness in certain situations. I pull it on like a mask and go forth. Do I get called a bitch to my face? Only if they have the balls to approach me, which is less and less.

    I came upon this persona after trying to hide. Dressing sloppy, trying my hardest to be unattractive in every way seemed to have the opposite effect. It did feel like I was getting focused on more because, since I wasn't "the pretty one" of the group (or even on my own), I would easily succumb to whatever come-on was tossed my way. So, I went the opposite way. I always look good when I'm out, stand up straight, and imagine an icy exterior that cannot be breached. It seems to work. My friends tell my that it's intimidating and a few of them have stopped inviting me along because they won't get approached by men when I'm with them. However, when they really DO want a girls night out? I always get invited - they use me as a shield. LOL.

    I guess what I'm saying is, it sucks that we of the feminine persuasion have to adapt our entire selves to any given situation at hand while guys can just go about their day blithely ignorant of the perils in which we find ourselves. It just isn't fair.

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    1. Except that as a man, I got the same kind of attention from womens who would not take a no for an answer. As a security guard I had women of all ages, and of all group around me all the time, and I can say that womans will do the same as this man did. It might be less scary for a man to get this kind of attention from a girl, but drugged people are never safe. Except that if a girl jump on me, and I defend myself, I'm guilty by default, since that I'm a man who hit a woman.

      Creepy people will be creepy, its not a gender thing, its a society thing. People with mental problems are not properly treated and roam the streets without any supervision.

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    2. COMPLETELY MISSED THE POINT. seriously dude, just go home and shut your trap, you have NO FUCKING CLUE what you are saying and you are adding to the problem.

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    3. Does this happen to you all the time? Like, whenever you leave the house? Does anybody tell you that you were asking for it, or that "she was just being NICE, god, don't be a dick!" Do you stop to think about what you're wearing and have "she wouldn't have done that if I were dressed differently" thoughts? More to the point - are you afraid of these women, like actually fearing for your physical safety and even your life? Do you alter the way you behave, the way you hold yourself, the way you live your entire life, just to avoid this kind of attention?
      Somehow, I'm thinking the answer is no, and your attempt to paint your experiences as being the same as a woman's is extremely insulting.

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    4. Um, why all the hate just because he's a guy? Guy's can get unwanted attention too. I understand some guys are douche bags, but you really don't need to take it out on someone just because of their gender. That's like when asshole guys assume you want it just because you have a vagina. Don't stereotype based on genitals.

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    5. I don't hate him because he's a guy, and I'm not denying that he experienced unwanted attention which was unpleasant for him. I'm saying that because he's a man, his experience with said unpleasant attention is not the same as a woman's, generally speaking. Saying, "Everybody has to deal with this crap," is a way of saying "this isn't really a problem". This, as I said, insulting for the people to whom it is a big fucking deal.

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    6. o yah those girls must be a real physical threat to you. SIT DOWN.

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    7. I think you took a wrong turn on your way to the reddit MRA forum, dude

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    8. There's something of value here. Guys get unwanted attention too, and they similarly have gender expectations that are forced on him. Girls may be obligated to be objects of affection, but men are expected to dole out affection in spades. Men are expected to be horny and virulent, because homosexuality and impotency are "scary." If he denies the affections of an aggressive woman, he can be given one of these "scary" labels. This mindset appears to be circulated within masculine social groups, propagating disgusting obligations for men and women.

      However, this is simplifying an issue. I am not, nor ever plan to be, a man, so a lot of this is speculation. And while the masculine expectations are undesirable, there are a lot of other factors in the treatment of females, e.g. the fact that men are generally larger than women and assaults are harder to repulse. Perhaps this is peevishness or bias towards my gender, but men generally have and make the choice, and the woman's reaction is less powerful than that choice.

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  10. I've retweeted your post, because it needs to be read by many more people. Of course, I've experienced the same thing. We all have.

    This is not okay, and it should not be blown off.

    I almost want you to take out the description of Holly because her looks don't factor into it. It would have happened anyway because this is somehow acceptable behavior.

    Fuck that.

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    1. Well, I left it in, because her looks actually do factor into it. She can't control the fact that she's the cultural standard of beauty in our region, but she gets punished for it. Even harassment is different based on how we look. Holly gets the catcalls and lewd comments. I get the "I'm different than all the other guys, I'll talk to you even though you're fat," harassment. A woman with tattoos and piercings are going to get another type of harassment. A woman in a wheelchair is going to get another. We're firmly slotted into our roles in regards to how strange men treat us based on our appearances, and predators adjust their game accordingly.

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    2. I agree with Jenny 100% on this one. For the brief period of time in my 20s when I was able to keep my weight down, I was the type of girl who got catcalls. I'm biologically inclined to chubbiness, though, and have spent most of my life anywhere between 20 and 80 pounds overweight. They are two different types of negative attention - although I think that it is less I'm different than all the other guys, I'll talk to you even though you're fat," (no matter what they say) and more "you're fat, so I think you're not out of my league" and "you're fat, so I think you won't shoot me down," maybe even, "you're fat (and in a bar) so I assume you are single and sexually available to me." These guys harass you when you're overweight or displaying any tinge of insecurity because they consider you less of a rejection-threat.

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    3. I've been on both sides. I was overweight for a while and then slimmed down. The harassment when I was chubby was milder in that I didn't have guys try to touch me. I guess they thought I could beat them up or something. But they still made passes and would pester me. When I slimmed down to a size nothing, I looked like someone you could break with a hug. I got more attention and that's when guys started getting grabby. Jokes on them thinking they could break me or something because I'm nearly a black belt. Still.

      The degree of harassment may not have been the same if they were two "hot" chicks (which can help intimidate a guy) or two "fat" chicks (guys may try to play them against each other quieter). While none of it is right, the timing and type of attention changes depending on how you look. It's all sickening.

      Also, terrible as it is, thinner women who are closer to the cultural ideal of beauty for any particular region are more likely to be blamed for the attention we get just for walking in the door, even if we're wearing jeans and a baggy top. Doesn't matter, we're to blame. Go out with a thin woman, and you're to blame. Someone out there is blaming Jenny and her friends because somehow thin woman are always trying to get attention and going out with one means attention-seeking by proxy, and other such bull.

      It needs to end. Period.

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    4. I'm fat (UK size 18) and I haven't experienced harassment in years - I think there is maybe a point where one can become genuinely invisible? not that the anecdotal evidence of one person means anything, and I would absolutely not devalue anyone else's experience.

      the reason I'm posting is that after a lot of therapy I believe that I'm fat, in part at least, because i made myself that way in order to hide, to protect myself from any form of attention - to basically wear a permanent baggy jeans and top outfit (or, you know, a burka) made of fat that would not only insulate me from any attention but also provide me with a solid excuse - no one can accuse me of trying to get attention, no matter what happens. And, yeah it's worked for me, but the price is way too high and I shouldn't have to think in these terms to start with. it's crazy that I have at least partially taken victim blaming and the fear or potential victim blaming and ended up doubling my body weight because of it.

      there's more to all of this than the rubbish in our culture that victim blames, but it's a big part of all of it.

      Jenny I'm sorry to hear that your evening was spoiled by this areshole.

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    5. This is so me. I did exactly this for years. I have slimmed down some but I generally don't enjoy the bar scene and nearly everyone I work with is also female, so there zero harassment. But it's so sad that we have to go to this extreme to avoid cat calls, unwanted touching, etc.

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  11. I'm sorry that happened to you, Jenny. That sucks giant donkey balls. You do not exist for the amusement of men. You shouldn't have had that kind of experience. Just remember, it's cheaper to drink at home! Plus drinking games! And Tim Curry singing (Muppet Treasure Island today, sorry)

    When I was 15, I did a lot of musical theatre. I was walking home from rehearsal one night, when some older, natty looking fellow began to follow me, asking me where I was going. This guy was drunk as a skunk, could barely walk a straight line. Every time he'd get mad I'd start walking faster. So I walked my ass to the front step of the police department and used the pay phone to call my parents to pick me up. I refused to walk home alone after that.

    This is related; like two days ago in my neck of the woods, a 14 y/o girl never made it to school. She was intercepted, killed. They found her murderer last night. Now I have friends freaking the fuck out (because, shit, could have been us or one of our daughters, or one of their friends)and arranging a "Defense Party". Like a Tupperware party, but with tasers, pepper spray, key chain pokey things. Not a bad idea, but here's my qualm: those defense items can be taken away by a predator or is dependent upon the person defending to have them on their person. The party's organizer would have been better off getting a police officer to hit the party and demonstrate self-defense maneuvers to go with the gadgets. While self-defense items can be great and effective tools, I think women would be better served learning to flip a bastard over her hip and kick him in the jimmy. Fucker can't take my foot away as easily as a can of pepper spray. Personally, I think all kids need self-defense lessons- not karate, but skills applicable to preserving one's life.

    I'm going to write the school district here and ask if they can implement Self-Defense with the PE program. It's worth a shot, and I think they might listen.

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  12. I hate it that we live in a culture that blames the victims.

    I read a book, many moons ago, by Gavin de Becker called The Gift of Fear. It's a freaking brilliant book, talks about how to recognise signals that trigger instincts that can help save your life, among other things. It has a fantastic section on how women are often made/taught to feel worthless, or manipulated into trying to prove they aren't 'sluts' or 'bitches' by predators who take advantage of the insecurity instilled subconsciously through the blame-the-victim cultural heritage our mothers keep handing down.

    Long sentence, I know. :) And I love my mum, but she tried the same 'be grateful for the attention' approach that Em, above, wrote her mother did.

    It pisses me off when anyone tries to manipulate me into something, whether it's taking an extra shift at work when I've already said I couldn't, or when some guy comes up to me in a parking lot and offers to help me with my shopping and when I (firmly) say no, thanks, calls me a bitch, a lesbian (not the insult he probably thinks it is), trying to get a reaction from me. Why would I give a shit about what he thinks or the things he says when it has no impact on my life? But somehow, many people still get manipulated into that trap.

    I'm way too independent to accept someone else's attention as validating. I will use the words 'do not violate my personal space' and 'take your hands off me, I don't like to be touched' very loudly in public if I feel I have to draw attention to unacceptable behaviour. I do taekwondo, and have stepped in to speak for other people who have been harrassed in public when no one else would, and I will never accept that it isn't my right and responsibility to stand up and say 'NO!' when it needs to be said. I'm not saying taekwondo is a magic fix-all, just that it helped with my confidence levels and people respond to that in their different ways.

    And you should never have to feel the way you did during that incident, or after. I empathise with you Jen - it's shitty. *hugs*

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    1. The Gift of Fear is an amazing book, and also came to mind for me when reading this post. We're so inundated with societal messages about being polite and helpful that we can't hear the messages our brains and bodies are telling us that could keep us safe. And that's not placing blame, saying "you should have known better" or anything like that, god no. It's just a comment on how screwed-up and tangled things are.

      Also, to Jenny, I offer a sympathy hug, but would not act like an assclown in high dudgeon if you declined said offer. I'm glad you felt like this was a safe place to talk about what happened.

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    2. So glad you mentioned "The Gift of Fear"! I was thinking of it as I was reading this post. It's such a fantastic, mind-changing book. Everyone should read it. Everyone.

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    3. My father gave me the Gift of Fear to read when I was 14, maybe a little young for the material but I will be doing the same thing for my children, whether male or female. It is an amazing book, the sad part is that it takes something like that for it to be 'ok' to be creeped out and "rude".

      The interesting thing for me is that I travel a lot, and in foreign countries you dont smile at strangers. It is an invitation. In the US its expected that you smile and open yourself up to others and their approaches. We are taught as women to be open and friendly with sayings like 'keep smiling because someone is falling in love with your smile', 'look your best because you never know who you will meet that day' and other advice passed down from mother to daughter.
      I have learned to perfect the blank uninterested 'i will f*ck you up if you mess with me look', I'm also a taller built woman that intimidates guys. But i remember my share of cat-calls and unwanted attention especially when i was younger.
      Stories like yours make my stomach curl with fear and anger that we arent as far along as we would like to be.

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  13. That really sucks that happened. The guy was a creep and it's always a good idea to trust your instincts. And while I get it was a short distance and that you felt unsafe, you should have called a cab.

    A wonderful man I've known since I was 12 years old and his wife died Friday afternoon and left three children under the age of 12 orphaned because of someone who decided to get behind the wheel after drinking. And they aren't the first people in my life to die that way.

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    1. Sorry. I got stuck on that part and had to comment. I've read the rest. You have nothing to be ashamed of (aside from the drunk driving. I'm sticking to that.). Unfortunately, women need to take certain actions to keep themselves safe because that is the way the world is. But it is the predators who are wrong and should feel shame. We shouldn't have to be afraid to be alone at night.

      I developed very early -- a C cup when I was 9 -- and I have an hourglass figure. Basically, I have the body (though not quite as tight as it used to be) of a 1950s pinup girl. So I've been getting a lot of attention from a lot of men for a long time and I guess I just don't even notice it as anything anymore except a part of my life. I've learned to deal with it because I've had to. But, yeah, strange men thinking it's OK to touch me isn't cool and I do hate that. They even do it when I'm with my boyfriend, so even having a man with me doesn't stop it. Oh, and I have naturally curly hair, which also seems to be an open invitation to touch.

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  14. I am so sorry you had to go through this. This is a topic I have been thinking about often recently. I'm spending the semester in the UK and have found that the men here are only more aggressive. Two nights ago I was out dancing with my friends and had two random guys come up and touch my ass. I don't know what is wrong with our society that ANYONE thinks its okay to touch another person like that unsolicited. It didn't matter that we were just a group of girls trying to dance and have fun, all the men stood around us just waiting for an opportunity to pounce. While the incident was minor, I left feeling violated.
    I wish that I could make you feel better, as others have said. I wish that I could tell you that you don't need to be afraid and that this incident is behind it. I know that you no this is wrong and not your fault but it's difficult to translate it to your emotions. However, what I can tell you is that shame and self-blame is a textbook reaction to sexual assault. You should not and cannot be made afraid to leave your home. I urge you to seek some counseling if you haven't already. As women I think we are prone to believe we can handle things on our own but as you said, no matter how logical you are it doesn't change your feelings.

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    1. I had a similar experience when I studied abroad in Spain. I couldn't believe how aggressive the men were (there were also some wonderful chaps about, too, don't want to overgeneralize). But if I got upset with the attention or rebuffed their advances, I always got told I was an "American bitch" or I just "didn't understand European culture." *Rolls eyes*

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    2. I think perhaps it is just that you are a foreigner in a different country so you appear more vulnerable. Also there is often the idea that students go abroad just to "have a good time".

      I say this because I used to live in the UK and I was only harrassed about once or twice in my life. Since moving abroad it seems to happen all the goddamn time, especially whenever anyone hears me speaking English. They think it's an invitation because hey, they speak some English too! Like half the planet does...

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  15. I've been fairly lucky with the times I've gone out by myself (in a non-English speaking country- but never more than walking distance or a 5 min cab drive) but I also go to the 'boring' places and always head home around 9-10 PM. In Germany, party time kicks off at 11pm-1am. I live a boring life.

    The one time I had an issue was when an American guy offered to 'show me around' when I first got here. Warning bells were confirmed. Turned out the bastard not only was just hoping that I would get tipsy enoghf for him to cop a feel, see me in a computerizing position or instate drunk sex. He was also married and kept sniffing around for the next half a year (he was in a different unit and in housing so keeping him at a distance was easy). After some months of no contact he even managed to get around me long enoghf for him to tell me some sob story about his baby daughter and to hint at asking me to be his "other women" to cheat on his wife with. -_-

    I did tell my shop SGTs the about him (the proposition to be his mistress was the last "FUCK THIS SHIT!") when I found out he was transferred to my unit (my First Line was awesome when they tried to have me pull a 24hr duty with the guy - "Nope, she's not doing it").

    I did not bother reporting the guy. I spent a long time thinking it over but ended up concluding nothing would have come of it save mark me in some way.

    He didn't actually "do" anything save be a creepy ass- which is tolerated behavior in men and even expected with military men. Everything he did he set up so he could loop it back to me being at fault. "Well, she started it- she was rubbing up on ME! She got shit face I was there watching her back (never mind he got so drunk he was pissing every two feet, trying to show me his junk and trying to lean on my shoulder while I walked fine, with a glass bottle of water in my hand waiting for a reason to use it).

    He was also knew how to play the system to his advantage and turn everything in to a race card in his favor.

    There was nothing I could get out of reporting him because nothing would have stuck and he fucking knew it and I was dumb and I fell for it- that shit won't happen again.


    Even when I told my SGTs they agreed that yeah, it's not against the law to be a shit bag.

    But it worked out, he's getting his ass chaptered and he was knocked down in rank over something.

    I am lucky that most situations I get in tend to handle themselves. I am concerned about the day that I get corned (but mostly because I see such an event ending in a blotter report and a chapter...or me in the hospital on top of a blotter report and a chapter).

    I don't want to deal with that shit! I just want to drink in freaking PEACE!

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  16. Also- and part of why I end up taking the informed risk of going out by myself- staying inside and living in fear does not solve a damn thing. It just make you isolated, more vulnerable and more of an ideal target.

    I know people who live in that kind of fear, I was one of them (still am to a degree) and the mind fuck it does to you is not worth it. I can't give advise on body image- people rarely see me (which is its own risk) and that maybe why I have an easier time going out. If they don't see you, they don't harass you (nor do they interact with you which some would argue voids the point of going out, but I just wanted to get out of my room for a bit).

    Living in fear just gives the "Stay inside like a good girl or the bad men will get you" and such more voice and power.

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    1. I'm siding with War Writer--I'm at a point in my life where I'm not too interested in going out, really, and I'm old enough and fat enough now that men don't see me now, either, but I never had fear issues about going anywhere alone, even when I did get hit on. I think it might be because I always had some gender confusion going on; though I was a straight woman, I felt like a guy inside and I reacted to the world like a guy. (I think it came from completely identifying with my dad growing up, and not at all with my mom.) That came with it's own set of issues, but in the end I think it was a good thing. I'll be damned if I'll be kept in the house by fear of shitty little men.

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    2. Its own, not it's. Sorry. Jenny, can't there be a comment edit button? We're all probably too literate here to suffer the mortification of grammatical errors that can't be fixed, and too impassioned to always preview carefully....

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  17. "I would have no problem standing up for someone else, but when it's me, there's that doubt."

    Hell's yes! First, just thank you for writing this. I am right there with you!

    The other side of this, that's really fucked up, is how I have explained away being harassed while with a group of people. I'm a big girl, big enough that even outside Hollywood I am not "conventionally" attractive by virtue of my size alone. So sometimes I've feigned surprise at a cat-call with a a "who'd have though I'd be the target, out of everyone? Not, fat ol' me."

    How fucked up is that! I mean for one thing, this crap has got absolutely nothing to do with actual attraction or whatever...it's all about these men wanting something they think they can take from you (whether that's attention, or sex, or whatever). Plus, this crap is not a damn compliment about my appearance. And yet partly due to my own twisted internalized notion that my worth is tied to my appearance, and that it's my job as a woman to diffuse a tense situation...I've actually made a self depricating joke out of the whole thing.

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    1. DUDE. YES. i feel the exact same way. it's really pathetic. but for a long time now i've been ignored in many ways because of my weight, so when shit like that does happen to me i've been really surprised.

      interestingly, on OkCupid i am bombarded with messages from guys who are not in my league whatsoever (in terms of intelligence and match %) and who don't actually read my profile or anything. they just send me messages saying "hey" or something creepy and/or something about my appearance. i guess they expect me to take what i can get because i'm fat. maybe the internet is the way big girls get harassed. idk.

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  18. This is really truly a grade A level of bullshit. As everyone else here I'm really sorry it happened, and as most everyone else here I've had similar experiences. Nothing nearly as extreme, so far, but I would say most of my friends have probably been hassled in public. My friends and I went to this faux-Irish pub O'Neils and there was a band and it was super loud and we were all dancing, it was definitely not a time for talking, but this one dude would just not stop talking to me. He didn't do anything threatening, but the fact that he just kept bothering me when I was obviously there with a bunch of people. Last week my friend was out having a good time at a bar with a dancefloor and some dude just kissed her completely uninvited. My boyfriend and I now have an ex-friend because we went on two dates that didn't go well like six months before my relationship with my boyfriend began and he threw a fit because he thought he was entitled to my person because he liked me or whatever. The thing is that you trick yourself into thinking it's not a big deal, but then you start adding up all of these little instances and it's a frightening trend. It becomes all the more terrifying when you realize the dude that may have drunkenly kissed your friend once time may next time escalate into following someone out to their car and bothering people incessantly. I don't think it matters what you look like there will always be someone to single you out as the weak link or single you out because you fit into their particular brand of weird.

    It's a really shitty epidemic of piss poor behavior, but is definitely not your fault or any woman's fault. We supposedly live in a civilized society. We shouldn't have to be chaperoned everywhere we go. We shouldn't have to put up with men just because we are out without rings or boyfriends or husbands or significant others. It's not our job to politely put up with men, and men shouldn't be trying to make us politely put up with them. No should mean no whether it is sex or regular social interaction, and fuck any man that thinks otherwise.

    I read this book for my Aestheticism in Fin-de-Siecle Lit Class (which is a fancy way of saying books during the aestheticism period between 1880 and 1900 roughly as fin-de-Siecle is a fancy way to say end of the century), and it was called The Heavenly Twins by Sarah Grand. I forget the exact date it came out but it was after 1882 and during the midst of the huge syphilis epidemic going on at the time and she was considered most racy for including syphilis in some of her characters (of course). However, the thing that struck me is that The Heavenly Twins is a sort of proto-feminist novel in the sense it was written by a woman who later became a suffragette and felt the education of women was necessary. It was kind of disheartening to realize that some of the things they were fighting for over a hundred years ago right at the dawn of the 20'th century are still things we are struggling with in the 21'st century. Women's equality in the work place, the idea it's our body we have minds and we know what we want to do with it, and while obviously things are much improved compared to then it's still a little depressing. Yet it makes me all the more pissed off that men still just can't leave us the fuck alone.

    Sorry that turned into a rant, but I feel for you and I feel for all of us. It's just infuriating all around.

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  19. I've been pawed at by creeps at bars, and during a crowded show on a street someone grabbed my ass. One time there was an incident in a group of friends, with a friend, and I passed it off as a joke because I didn't wanna be seen as uptight. Even years later, past where it should even be something I remember, it still bothers me, and the skin that was touched feels greasy and my stomach unsettled. And I can't help but feel like i'm overreacting, I mean its not like I was assaulted or anything...

    But that's a fallacy, isn't it. My sense of safety, and my comfort being in public around people was assaulted.

    The issue here is that we tend to look down on people who overreact to things. If you catch a cold, for example, whining about it will get people telling you to stop being such a baby. If you stub your toe, people laugh while you hop around cursing like a sailor until the pain fades. But we carry that mentality into everything. "Sure, this thing happened and it was awful, but other people have it worse, what happened to me wasn't so crippling/damaging/scarring/scary." Or worse, "It happens all the time and nobody else makes a fuss, I should stay quiet too."

    Don't be quiet. Keep a certain level of cautious awareness, but this isn't something that should keep us indoors, talking in hushed voices about how its scary to go outside. Go outside. Tell yourself you aren't afraid until it becomes the truth. Tell yourself you can handle any situation until you believe it.

    And learn self defense. You shouldn't have to, but shouldn't doesn't protect you from creeps.

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  20. Hi Jenny,

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience and also for so candidly expressing your thoughts and feelings. I'm surprised at myself, but when I read your words I realized something that is also true for myself. While I am ready to stand up for other women, when I experience uncomfortable, unwanted advances from other men, I feel ashamed like either I did something or someone else will think I did. Or yes, like I'm bragging if I talk about it, which is the WORST because it is actually just uncomfortable and humiliating. And that's hard to admit.

    So thank you, because knowing I have a rad, smart woman like you on my side helps! Rock on and keep writing. Thank you!

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  21. As a man - I am both shocked and saddened by such unbelievably degrading and horrible behavior that some men out there, even in today's so called "advanced" and "open" society we live in, display such poor social intelligence and some of them still manage to get away with downright scary sounding harassments of women.

    I am writing this comment just to give a voice to the more sane men that are still out there – that know when it's more appropriate and when it is less appropriate to approach a women and know that, in case they misjudged a certain situation, that no means no. I am simply horrified by the amount of comments here of other women expressing similar thoughts and experiences and would like to remind you all that while the situation might look grim to many of you, if it's any consolation, there are still sane men out there that aren't downright creepy/intimidating.

    From my experience, I have several times actually witnessed some men act a bit creepy and/or aggressive to women, but I didn't really do anything about it. The reason to this is that I myself feel intimidated by these men, which are usually of the more hot-headed type of people that trying to interfere with them might put me at physical danger. While most men don't usually use physical violence against women they don't know – the more aggressive types won't hesitate to physically harm another man – just because he tried to comment on their behavior, especially if they're intoxicated

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    1. Just wanted to add that I will try to make sure that such behavior doesn't occur at least within my own group of friends that I currently know, in case they exhibit such behaviors like the ones described above me.

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    2. @Gidi: Look, it's one thing to share how you feel conflicted about stepping in against meatspace harassers because you're scared for your own safety. That's understandable. But you could at least speak out against such misbehavior using the relative anonymity of the internet. When you instead try to "remind" women that there are "sane men" out there, that's not helpful at all. Women know that already. And it's not about you. What needs changing is the culture that says men are entitled to women's attention and bodies, and one of the things that will bring about that about is if decent dudes make it damn clear to other dudes that they don't support or condone either harassment or treating women as the prizes in a game of win-all-the-pussy. (Not keen on your depiction of harassers as mentally ill, either.)

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    3. Errr, that should be "bring about that change. I blame the tiny preview window.

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    4. A. Noyd, I'm not reading Gidi's comment in the same way. Just as level-headed feminists try to separate from the ones often called feminazis, the ones who go so far as to think men should start paying us for stuff "they" did to "us" hundreds of years before any of us were born, he's trying to separate himself out from the jerks to not be punished for the actions of other. Fair. Absolutely fair.

      Also we don't know that he's not speaking out when it's safe to do so. I am not going to blame him for not getting in the middle of a potential assault when the possible-assaulter is the sort who may hurt Gidi. Pissing off a hot-head can make it worse for everyone . The appropriate reaction would be to alert the bartender or someone else in a position to intervene.

      Gidi, you do need to know that most cases of assault ARE by men against women they know. Most cases of rape and physical assault and murder by men the victims knew.

      I understand what you are trying to say, but you are misinformed. I encourage you to stop with the "reminding" and instead show how you're not one of the jerks by openly speaking out against this, even if you're intimidated by the assaulters. Join the Twitter brigades getting pro-rape t-shirts pulled from Amazon, speak up and encourage others to seek help from the proper people, such as bartenders and bouncers, if they see someone harassing someone, etc.. These actions WILL help send the message that this stuff isn't acceptable, and will help show you're not the same. Talk is cheap. Doing is gold.

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    5. @Alys Cohen: First, "feminazis" are the invention of Rush Limbaugh who characterizes as fascists any women, including (or especially) level-headed ones, who speak out against patriarchy. We don't have to work to show we're the "reasonable" ones when we're being compared to mythical straw-feminists rounding up men at gelding knife-point to send to the ovens. On the other hand, stalkery, harassing, entitled dudes are everywhere. I understand that Gidi wants to separate himself from those dudes, but he's taking the tack that a) women don't already know there are men who aren't creeptastic sleazoids (even though plenty of the women on this thread have mentioned their husbands), and b) it's important that we know he's one of the good guys. That's not helpful; it's cookie-seeking. But you're right; maybe he does speak out elsewhere. I hope so. As for the rest, you're basically repeating what I said. I like how you give some specific examples of things decent dudes can try, though.

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    6. Well there are feminists who identify as "extreme feminists" and want to give patriarchy the boot and such, but I don't know how widespread that is. I really hate the term 'feminazi' as it is applied to vilify all feminists, but I did want to mention that there are women who aren't so mythical in their extremes. Still we shouldn't have to show that we're reasonable. I don't disagree at all I just wanted to throw out an FYI type thing.

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    7. It would be nice if the majority who are level-headed were thought of as the default, but he minority of any group that is louder than the rest are who will come to mind first.

      I do know a couple of the extremist feminists. Yes, they're the minority, but squeaky wheel and all that.

      Rush Limbaugh needs to be shot into the sun.

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    8. Another blog I read linked this article with more things guys can do to combat internet harassment.

      @Kylie Chezem: Uh, wanting to give patriarchy the boot isn't extreme. It's the basis of feminism itself.

      @Alys Cohen: See, I think "extremists" should be embraced. Of course critics will over-focus on them, but the second they're silenced, what you or I consider reasonable will be the new extreme. Extremists also make it possible to push for things that are less extreme than their positions but that lie beyond what the majority of moderates call acceptable. If critics want to be listened to, then it's on them to see what the people they're addressing are actually saying.

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    9. I misspoke, sorry it's late on my side of the world and tired doesn't equal coherent. I went way too general and didn't finish the thought well. Basically, as far as I've seen, the idea of "extreme feminism" is to completely boot the patriarchy BUT then replace it with an equally oppressive matriarchy where men become the subjugated ones. (That's where my brain was going with the completely booting the patriarchy statement, once again sorry I didn't finish the thought.) I'm sure there are somewhat lesser extreme feminists, but that is the furthest extreme I have seen thus far. I don't think extremism is the way to go because otherwise you have people chalking extreme feminists up to nutjobs much like the tea party on the reverse end of the spectrum. I want equality; no glass ceiling, no invasive doctors office procedures to shame me about my body, and so on and so forth. However, I wouldn't turn around and try to impose that on men. After all if you start punishing men for being men do you punish the gay men or just the gay men who aren't 'manly' or men who were once women or drag queens or not black men because they've been oppressed as a minority etc etc. Obviously the cis white male privilege is a problem, but a complete role reversal isn't the answer (as Star Trek attempted to demonstrate once upon a time). It's not viable, and then you find yourself having a hard time identifying as a feminist at all lest you be marginalized by virtue of being brushed off "as one of those crazy extremists". They have their right to do that of course, but I'm just not sure it's constructive. Will it get things done, maybe, but if they're only a small group then without the support of the women who are side-eyeing for ranting against the men of the world who hold doors open (which I have seen on Tumblr and I know it's a stereotype but the point remains) they won't get nearly far enough.

      Also you will see these "extreme feminists" express contempt for any woman that embraces the wife and motherhood role so then not only are they expressing contempt for any male they've also started expressing it towards the very people they are supposedly trying to help which seems completely counter-intuitive and bizarre to me. Once again they aren't going to get very far by alienating people. Like I said they have a right to feel that way and I can understand where they are coming from, but it's illogical, unsupportable, and why there probably isn't as much traction as there could be. One Million Moms is in the news more often than any extreme feminists or feminist movement for example and they have a tendency to be the antithesis of feminist ideals. I'd like to see a new breed of suffragettes truly, but I don't think extremism will bring it about.

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    10. *'are manly', sorry about typos, even later on my side of the world still tired, etc, and of course you can't edit.

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    11. @Kylie Chezem: See, the thing is, while I'm sure there is the occasional female chauvinist out there, I've yet to see evidence that there are any organized feminists who advocate for female supremacy. (Basically, the people who believe in chemtrails and mind control through fluoridation are more organized.) I bring up this distinction because it's important; one can't rationally act as if an "extremist" is dangerous to society if she's just a random weirdo secluding herself to a women-only commune and growing cotton for weaving her own menstrual pads. There are plenty of feminists portrayed as working towards female supremacy, but none who turn out actually to do so. This is why Hothead Paisan and Kate Beaton's Straw Feminists are humorous characters--and even they take the world on one or two people at a time.

      My point about embracing extremists is that we shouldn't have a hard time identifying as feminists because others hold up apocryphal examples of rabid weirdos to try to shame us. Extremists are a buffer against becoming labeled as extremists ourselves. Just get in the habit of asking if the person you're talking with is interested in engaging what you have to say or wants to keep telling you what you believe based on what they think all feminists are like. If they can't manage the former, then there was nothing to be gained there anyway and you won't waste your time.

      Criticizing feminists that you, as a feminist, disagree with is a separate matter. Although it's horribly misdirected, having contempt for mothers and motherhood is not extreme, not given the way that motherhood is pushed on women so assiduously even still; just try getting your tubes tied before the age of 40 without having had children. Nor is it extreme to rant about dudes holding doors open as special treatment (rather than common courtesy); chivalry is definitely a toxic notion that needs to go away forever. But where there are disagreements among feminists, it's better to criticize the ideas for being wrong (if they are wrong) rather than for making feminism look bad or "alienating people."

      And because this is well into derail territory, I'll stop here. But I'll read any reply you care to write.

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    12. I suppose it depends on what you define as organized, but I know there are blogs, tumblrs, and the like that advocate it. I wouldn't say it's organized much beyond cyberspace, but as that is where plenty of people spend time I suppose it counts enough. I'm sure the feminist tag on Tumblr would bring up some examples as people like to multi-tag posts for optimum exposure, and that is definitely where I've seen it at work before though it was ages ago. A casual google brought up this website post which quotes several very anti-man sentiments though I don't think I agree with the title of the post or it's intended message it's just an example that people are saying things and they are heard and it's being talked about and out there. That was the top result too, and obviously the snippets don't provide any sort of context. So it's not just lone wolves, and I think the portrayal is getting more attention than it deserves whether it is effective or not.

      That's the thing though we can embrace them and use them as a buffer, but then I have a hard time embracing people who I doubt would embrace me. I'm not often put in the position of having to defend myself as I know a lot of lovely, open-minded, egalitarian people, but when I see feminists "extreme" or not engage in blatant hatred that is equal to the display of misogyny by that horrible "Manosphere" blog it's hard not to get frustrated by their point of view. It just doesn't seem to invite any positive attention, and so people, myself included, find ourselves shying away from the festering pool of negativity. Sure other people can try and use the rabid weirdos to shame all of us, but I personally can't behind that level of hatred and not because other people are shaming me but by virtue of the fact that the behavior and attitudes exhibited aren't something I don't think I'm proud of. It's not people showing me these things and saying, "Look how awful and crazy they are. How terrible." It's me stumbling across these things and being personally repelled by them.

      I think having a very hateful contempt of women that choose to be wives and or mothers is extreme. I won't argue that motherhood is pushed on women, but that isn't always the case. My grandfather was very strong in the idea that I shouldn't give two damns about boys or kids until I was well through college and old enough to decide as an adult what I wanted to do, obviously not everyone has parents or grandparents like that. There is still this pressure by society to get married and have kids or otherwise there is the pervasive notion you've failed somehow, but why punish people for succumbing to this psychosis? Obviously it's contemptible that they are going to possibly continue the cycle, but calling them breeders and launching offensive attacks against people just for saying they want to get married and have kids? I mean for a lot of women it's too late the deed is done short of getting a divorce and sending the kids to live with dad there isn't a reset button so what are you supposed to do then? How does it make sense to hate on these people, especially if they aren't part of one million moms and trying to counter feminist agenda? (c)

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    13. I'm not trying to make feminism look bad. I'm saying that on the far end of the spectrum it doesn't need help looking bad or alienating people. Ultimately I'm saying that the extremists get all of the attention, it's rarely positive attention, and as a result that also alienates people. Also the fact that the far end "extreme" end of the spectrum would swiftly kick my ass to the curb for just wanting to get married though I know I definitely don't want children. In the end hating men blindly and also attacking those of your gender you are supposed to be helping (breeder, etc) isn't doing anyone any good. It just seems way to destructive to be constructive.

      [Wow I ran out of space, hence two posts.]

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  22. It's these sorts of experiences with men that makes it incredibly hard for me to talk to strangers. I work in the theater, and go to a few open workshops, so unfortunately conversations with strangers is something I sort of have to do to network properly.

    The thing that scares me is that we'll be talking business, and I genuinely don't know if one of these guys is going to turn around and assume because I was interested in working on a play with him that also means I was interested in fucking him.

    I used to think I had trouble reading signals from people who were attracted to me, but the truth is that society tells men all these ridiculously coy sentences are secret codes for "let's get sexual". Frankly, there's no fucking secret code to see if a woman wants you, heterosexual dudes- the best way is to actually ask her.

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  23. I was already feeling angsty about women being accosted in public after #followed trended on Twitter yesterday, but now I'm all sorts of pissed.

    I'm sorry that this creep fucked up your night-on-the-town with your friends. I'm disappointed that D-Rock's pit bulls didn't eat him. Next time, maybe.

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  24. I feel like I may be a "lucky" one after reading through all the comments. I'm fairly attractive, but I'm also six feet tall and perfected the "do not touch me or talk to me" aura a long time ago. Consequently, most people that I'm friends with (including my husband) will tell me that when we first met, they thought I was cold, stand-offish, snobby, or a bitch. That's a huge chip on my shoulder and a symptom of this weird standard for women in our society. If you're not open and lively and accommodating, there's something wrong with you. If you're naturally more withdrawn, less talkative, if you don't just automatically smile at everyone you meet or if you're not particularly engaging to people you don't know, there's something wrong with you.

    It sucks, but it's served me well. I get a lot less shit than my more outgoing/feminine/pleasing friends. I worked for years as a cocktail waitress and had to wear a pretty skimpy uniform to work each day, and still my 1,000 yard stare was enough to keep anyone from starting shit with me.

    However, that shouldn't be the way it is. I AM a lovely person. I'm warm and kind and FUCKING HILARIOUS. BUT! I learned from an early age to put up a defensive wall. Nothing as traumatic as rape or sexual assault ever happened to me, but I was conditioned at an early age and through my natural predilections to opt for coldness first and only warm up once trust has been built.

    All of it sucks, and I'm trying to raise my step-daughter to be smart, but I don't want her to supplant who she really is just so she can feel safe in public.

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  25. Where are the men's responses to this kind of situation? The silence is depressingly deafening.

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    1. Oh God, you DON'T want men responding because the overwhelming vast majority of those responses will be negative, sexist and will completely miss the point. Case in point; go back up and read the few male comments already made. We have 'what about the menz' and a complete dimissal 'hey guys, PEOPLE are crappy. It isn't just men' when YES it is mostly men doing this shit to women. No no no, things like these always spiral out of control into trolling.

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    3. Putting in a word for the men here: some of the men reading this may be keeping quiet because there really isn't anything to say. As a white woman, I tend to have the same problem with discussions of race. I read and listen and pay attention because I don't want to participate, even passively, in a racist system. But there are times when a story is told and there is not a damn thing I can say. "I'm sorry"? That's a given. "I understand how you feel"? Well, no, I don't, because it's never happened to me. "I'll try to help if I ever see this happening"? That's derailing the discussion onto me, when it's not ABOUT me.

      My point is, there may be guys reading this thread who do listen, who sympathize and care and want to make things better, but they truly can't think of anything to say that would help.

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    4. @Anon: Actually, it's not a given that men are sorry this shit happens, so a man who communicates that is doing something. (At least, as long as it's not part of a ploy to demand recognition for being a good person.) If you're not trying to speak in place of women (as a man) or people of color (as a white person), the targets of sexism and racism appreciate it if you speak up when you see such -isms in action, especially if you do it in instances that the target has no access to. Some sexism and racism only come out when guys are with their guy friends and white people are with their white friends. A pledge of support, such as promising you'll do your best to tell your friends you're not okay with what they're saying/doing, is not making it about you.

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    5. @A.Noyd:

      I'm a guy, and I try to do my best to prevent these things from happening. I've never been in a position where I've had to intervene at all, but I have been trying my best to tell guys not to be creepy. Just a couple of days ago, I saw an "advice for shy guys" thread in a forum where one of the posters said something like "it's important to keep asking women out even if they say no, because they might do so out of sheer reflex and then later regret it" to which I replied that it was awful advice, that no means no, that if she regrets saying no then it's her loss, that men ought to respect a woman's rejection and take a hint, and so on.

      I don't know what it's like to be a woman. Whatever social discomfort I've experienced or unwanted sexual advances I've suffered are less than meaningless in comparison to what women have to deal with on a daily basis. I know that, and I hate that it keeps happening.

      In my comment below, I tried to focus on the effect this incident might have on Jenny, and trying to be encouraging and positive, but there's little else I can say without slipping into mansplaining, WATM, making it all about me or the like. I know guys like me exist, I know I'm nothing special, I know women know it and I don't want cookies for doing what every guy should do.

      So yeah, I just wanted to say that in case there was any doubt we exist and we're sorry as fuck this happened.

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  26. If a woman gets up on a table or bar to dance, you don't get to complain about cat calls because that is an action that will draw attention. Just walking in a door and sitting down with friends shouldn't get cat-calls or anything more than someone trying to strike up polite conversation that ends as soon as it's made clear the conversation is unwanted (none of us can know if someone else wouldn't welcome being talked to). Politeness and respect are key.

    However nothing, NOTHING, gives anyone the right to touch you or to keep insisting you talk to them. I used to be that girl who'd go Coyote Ugly in clubs. It was fun. No one had a right to touch me.

    One night I was at a club and some jerk named Andre, I'll never forget his name, wouldn't take no for an answer and tried shoving his hands between my legs. I grabbed his balls and told him I would twist and pull them off if he didn't get the f* away from me. He did. But he kept following me around. I was a bit nervous to leave, and so called every number in my phone, ending with an ex of mine, trying to find anyone awake and answering a 1am.

    At another club another night I got a bit plastered, and a few guys were hitting on me at once. One of the bartenders took the initiative to make sure I was safe when the friends I was there thought it was funny that I was literally being closely surrounded by those guys (guess who I wasn't friends with after that).

    Too bad these guys don't understand that being respectful, especially in a location where a lot of people seem to think caddish behavior is acceptable, is very sexy. Being a jerk never is.

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  27. Ooooh, you know what I just thought of? Starship Troopers. They don't bash you over the head with it with a big mallet, but their society is very gender-equal. Everyone, male and female, goes into the army and is treated exactly the same- they shower together, clown around and heckle each other like buddies regardless of sex, and get killed at the same rate. The best captain in the fleet is a woman and no-one thinks anything of it. I lost my copy of the movie to a psychotic ex, so I can't check the details, but I remember thinking wistfully, I wish our society was like that.

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    1. Would you like to know more...?

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    2. Amusingly, in the book most of the fleet pilots were women because women were naturally better at it. Or something. Running theme in the author's work, he definitely believed women were not inferior or subservient to men, but also was a firm believer in gender essentialism. Just had a different list of traits than most. ;)

      As corny as the movie was, it's a good example of a movie adaptation of a book that adds to and changes it; the book also played the military-service-for-citizenship card completely straight, none of the funny nods to war propaganda and fascism like in the movie.

      Also, lol@Shea

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  28. Fine, I’ll bite. But I’m unsure of how accurate this may be.

    Firstly though, I do wish to say I am not a ‘typical’ man. I am not saying that I think myself above things, or feel I am special, but that I legitimately have a learning disability that makes social interactions very unintuitive to me. Everything I know, I learned through study and observation, rather than practiced and instinctual knowledge.

    In that regard, I often find myself on the outside looking in, at relations and social interactions. At work and about the town, I often hear men saying, ‘let’s go to the bar and meet some bitches!’ These are men that I know, and even somewhat like, and this attitude instantly makes me go ‘ick.’

    The reasoning behind these men’s actions is that they have gone to a bar, to meet and sleep with women. That is the primary reason for them being there. It’s petty, shallow, but yeah, that is their primary reason for going out that night.

    Following that reasoning, they instantly assume that anyone in the bar is there, for the exact same reason. So they approach any women, in a group or alone, under that assumption. They think of the entire thing as a dance, a mating ritual. The bar is the place the ritual happens, there are rules and rituals to be observed, and if you do it right, you get to take home your prize. They assume that all women there are to participate and any that don’t are wasting their time, and confuses them in the first place why they are there.

    Now, these guys don’t think of it as objectification. They think this is a mutual activity, performed by both guys and girls, in a willing partnership, each side looking to get lucky. I have never been, so I have no idea how true this view is, or if it’s simply a delusion on my or their part. Perhaps in some clubs/bars, that’s what the expectation is, and both sides are happy with it. I think the problem in this case, is people taking this attitude to every bar, and every night-time social interaction. That is the difference between a clubber, and a creeper.

    It’s the assumption that women don’t go to bars to have fun, or hang out, like men do. Women go to bars to show off, and to get attention. This is why these men also get angry, they see it as wasting their time, they put themselves at social risk, and damnit if they are going to be seen wasting their time! Any non-blunt rejection is just part of the game, and they want to win that game.

    That is where the term, ‘mixed signals,’ gets thrown about as well by men. They see any non-blunt refusal as compliance with the game. Make the right counter move, and she should be putty! Then a blunt rejection hits them, and they feel it’s come out of left field.

    Know that these men think it’s a game, a game that is being played all the time. They don’t think of this thinking as being wrong, this is an assumption on their part. So be blunt, right away. I don’t consider it rude, if I’m at a pub with friends and a guy I don’t know tries to join the conversation, if we tell him to butt out. Do the same thing; I think this will at least give some breathing room. I think the guy may actually be grateful, as he may mutter a curse or two for ‘wasting his time,’ but at least he won’t be stuck with the delusion of the Gambler’s Fallacy pushing him forward.

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    3. I was trying to explain it from their point of view. I was not condoning it, or encouraging it. My comments were entirely based on observation. I never said their behavior was right, or justifiable. Indeed, I personally find it reprehensible, and am in total agreement that it is objectifying.

      Perhaps I did not make that part clear enough in my initial post, and for that, I apologize.

      To reiterate, I was not trying to justify their behavior, just explain it.

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    4. Actually, reading my last paragraph, I would like to express regret writing it.

      As I stated above, I have no first-hand knowledge of these events, and thusly I should not have offered any advice or suggestions on how to resolve them. By doing so, I can see where you got the impression that I may be blaming women for not being blunt enough. I apologise again for that, Alys. It was a suggestion based on hypothesis and observation, not knowledge or first-hand accounts.

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    5. There is no way to explain or justify away assault and harassment toward women, and even attempting to is wrong. How about spending time condemning the guys who do it instead of telling us to be more blunt? That is how your message comes across.

      "They don’t think of this thinking as being wrong, this is an assumption on their part. So be blunt, right away."

      Since THEY don't think it's wrong, WE are the ones who need to do something. That is outside of your attempt to mansplain why guys do this. You've given instruction on how we can be responsible for not being assaulted or harassed, and this is the wrong way to go about it.

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    6. I have to post because seriously: Alys, you are blowing his post completely out of proportion. He was trying to be the Devil's Advocate, and he even admitted he said the wrong thing, and didn't mean it how it came out. PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. But now you're slamming his post all over the comments acting like he's a rape advocate for letting his example get away with him. When he's been nothing but polite and apologetic.

      This upsets me because reactions like this are part of the reason men are so silent on the abuse front: if they slip up just a little, women hungry for blood, will vilify and attack them. Just because he doesn't fully understand the situation (how can he? He doesn't live with this fear daily) doesn't mean he warrants being called an asshole, or his apologies and clarifications completely ignored.

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    7. ADDING: You turned what could have been a great opportunity for an intelligent discussion about the societal training which brought the thought process of "just be blunt" and why that is not an applicable solution, into name calling and finger pointing.

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    8. You're right. Telling us women that it's our responsibility to be more blunt because of the men who don't see assault as wrong is totally okay. I'll delete my comments because of the feelings of a guy telling women we need to just be more blunt. Who cares about the women who've been victims and have heard that sort of thing often. I guess we haven't heard it enough to understand.

      Rather than telling men that no explicit consent means don't do anything, it's our responsibility to make it crystal clear that we are saying no.

      I stand corrected. It's my responsibility to not get assaulted.

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    9. We live in a society that tells girls "Don't get raped," not one that tells boys, "Being a creeper and rapist is wrong."

      If the "decent" guys within earshot of hardcore creeping don't speak up, then they are condoning the action with silence.

      Ladies, scream your fucking lungs out if some creeper gets touchy-feely in public places. Men don't like being associated with harpies.

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    10. @ Anonymous. Yeah, no. Nobody blew it out of proportion. That was textbook manspaining. If I am in a bar and I tell you to go away then you should GET THE FUCK AWAY. Continuing to badger me for attention is bullshit. I have no tolerance nor patience for guys who can't read social cues. Because that's bullshit. They REFUSE to read the social cues.
      And you are defending a mansplainer. Bullshit. Sorry I didn't use this "opportunity" to turn this into an "intelligent discussion". After all, we should be quiet. The man is speaking.

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    11. @Alys Cohen: I didn't catch what you wrote above before you deleted it, but I'm glad you called G E Andrews' comment mansplaining. Whatever his intentions, it could have come straight out of Manlee Mann's Manbook on Man-errific Mansplaining.

      And here are two points to add to Alys': 1) (Neurotypical) men aren't incapable of picking up nuance. Outside of interacting with women they want to bone, they do it just fine. It's just society tells them it's okay to stop trying to pick up on a woman's signals if that gets in the way of scoring pussy. Society needs to stop telling men that. 2) Turning guys away bluntly is not always safe. If you're lucky, you just get called a cunt or a bitch or a fat whore or a lesbian or whatever. Some guys will try to get back at you, especially if they feel you've injured their pride. Especially if other guys saw you injure their pride. Society tells men that this is a genuine concern. Society needs to stop telling men that.

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    12. Well, it looks like t made one of the same points I did while I was writing that up. Oh well, it's one that needs lots of reinforcement. Unfortunately.

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    13. I am somewhat puzzled and upset that my attempts to understand how a man can arrive at this state seems to insinuate that I agree with the hyponosised conclusions.

      I am unfamiliar with 'mansplaining,' as a term and why it is offensive to try and understand how jerks arrive at the conclusions that they do. I seek understanding, not justification, or an excuse.

      Before I make an argument, I try to understand the others position, even if, (As in this case,) I firmly believe the other position is wrong.

      Perhaps this type of approach to a sensitive topic such as this one was the wrong way of doing things. That seems to be the consensus of those responding to my initial post, as I did not firmly advocate my own personal beliefs of how wrong this behavior is.

      So let me firmly state here, that I feel the behavior described by Jenny is reprehensible, abhorrent, and wrong. If any close friend of mine engaged in it, they would no longer remain my friend.

      If I ever observed said behavior, I would do everything in my power to support the women being harassed.

      I have learned my lesson, and will no longer post my musings of trying to understand the other side of an argument on such a sensitive topic.

      If I continue to see that people are offended by my first reply, I shall remove it with no regret. No offense was meant by it, no justification was intended, and no rationalization of why the behavior is 'okay,' was intended.

      We can't change other people, at least, not easily. What we can change is our own behavior. These type of people will continue to exist in some form or another. I will adjust my behavior to be even more conscientious of the feelings of those around me, online or not, and stop injustices and wrongness when I can.

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    14. @G E: You aren't an evil guy. But when you come into a discussion that highlights abuse by men towards women, you need to tread lightly; not explain why they exhibit poor behavior. When that happens, it appears that you are defending such poor behavior (even if that is not your intent). Women are harassed constantly, so telling us to see the other side is offensive. We don't think all men are evil. But men that REFUSE to back off are assholes, no and ifs or buts about it.

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    15. I feel like I really need to say this: I'm one of the most liberal people out there, and I hang out with people who are mostly liberals, too. I did work, at one time, in a job paid for through Republican money, and I learned a thing or two. But so help me if I ever tried to explain a Republican position to one of my liberal friends. I'd try to say, "oh, no, that's not it, exactly, the idea is supposed to be this..." The problem is, (and I'm afraid I find this a very U.S. habit) many people think that explanation = agreement. I would get screamed at simply for clarifying a position which I didn't even agree with. I can explain the logic behind Nazi work creation schemes, too, but it doesn't mean I condone Nazism. The beginning of solving a problem is always investigating why it occurs, and since we'd begun to discuss the societal pressures that cause the "bar phenomenon" I thought Andrews' contribution was appropriate. Understanding other people's stupid beliefs doesn't implicate you in them, it just helps you address them better.

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    16. Ok firstly as a woman, nay, a human being I did not find Andrews opinion offensive. Being in similar situations as jenny even as young as 6 I've often thought about why men (and women) do these things.
      Andrews contribution is a totally valid point to some degree and at least if I dont fully agree with it I'm not going to shut it down. Shuting down a persons point of view or attempt to undeprstand behaviour totally villfies the situation. I thought this was up for discussion?
      I agree that we as women shouldn't have to be 'blunt' because why should that be our responsibility. No means no simple. And we shouldnt feel ashamed for saying so.
      Treading lightly on such matters is complete b.s. As always people are going to be offended and thats inevitable. By treading lightly perhaps Andrew may not have realised his point of view is not entirely 100% correct. How many people hold this view? And by having an open and honest discussion without fear of being put down for our opinions then perhaps we as a group, as a community can better educate and communincate with one another.
      Because at the end of the day thats whats it comes down to. There will be people who are totaly sickos out there and they cant be helped. Neither are the ones who think theyre have some sort of entilement over women. but the ones who can be helped and be educated are the ones who just don't know , who genuinely hold the belief that a bar is like a 'mating ritual' and its ok to act in a different manner than you otherwise would is ok (its not,men and women should be respected and have thier spaces and persons respected - especially if the attention is unwarranted)and the men who hold these beliefs and are bystanders to the situation. it needs to be stopped and the only real way to do that is to have an open, intelligent, logcially coherent discussion on the matter.

      Delete
    17. @G E Andrews:
      --"I am unfamiliar with 'mansplaining,' as a term..."

      I know your fingers aren't broken.

      --"...and why it is offensive to try and understand how jerks arrive at the conclusions that they do.

      That's not what you're doing. You're treating your rather naive analysis as if it's something women need to hear, and the last paragraph (of your first comment) is chock full of imperatives. People don't use imperatives when they're just "trying to understand" something. At least you seem to have caught on to that somewhat.

      --"So let me firmly state here, that I feel [feels omitted]"

      Sincerely glad to hear it!

      --"We can't change other people, at least, not easily. What we can change is our own behavior.""

      Women already do change our behavior. Jenny's OP is all about changing her behavior. Your suggestion that we women change our behavior more is not helpful. Shrugging about how "these types" will never fully disappear isn't helpful. What is helpful is speaking out against the behavior of creeps (like you did in this reply) as much as possible. That will help make a world where creeps have no support and where they face consequences for being creeps. That's how change happens.

      Delete
    18. A. Noyd, that was the gist of my comment, and that what he's saying men think isn't objectification absolutely is, that a lack of clear and willing consent is a NO and not a mixed signal, and I called him out on his claim that women just need to be more blunt to save our time and theirs, which puts the burden of responsibility for not being assaulted into the shoulders of women.

      Also picking up social cues requires observation, which this guy seems capable of doing.

      Delete
    19. A. Noyd, I was talking about my own behavior.

      In an earlier reply, I did express regret for my last paragraph, which was ill thought out. It was more a suggestion then an imperative, and a poorly written and conceived of one. It was more my musing then anything. Frankly I should of waited an hour, read what I had written again, and then posted, and I would be avoiding much of this, as I would of deleted that paragraph.

      Delete
    20. I was going to leave this thread alone, but it has been obsessing me all day sooo I'm back.

      I'm not going to jump down your throat, GEA. I understand what drove you to post, because I do agree that the first step toward changing society is understanding what causes its problems. The reason your post caused people to holler "mansplainer" is this: we do already understand that. We aren't confused about why men do this-- or at least, speaking for myself, I'm not. I know when I go out in public that some men are only looking for sex and they will be angry at me when I turn them down because they don't see me as a person, they see me as either a provider of sex or a lesbian bitch.

      But simply having this knowledge doesn't change it. It isn't just bars, it's everywhere. This same behavior happens on the bus, in our workplaces (by coworkers and customers), at shows, at the playground... Basically anywhere we might come into contact with men is a place where men might assault us (either verbally or physically).

      So what do we do with this knowledge? Never go out? If there was one location that was "come here only if you want sex" then I wouldn't go to that location unless I wanted sex. But like I said, this happens everywhere. Should women never go to bars? Or outside at night? Or ride the bus? Or basically do anything without a male chaperone? It just spirals out of control when somebody suggests that we should anticipate what men want and change our behavior accordingly. It gets our hackles up because we have heard it explained often, and usually the implication is, "You knew what to expect when you left the house, so deal with it" instead of, "This is a much-too-common attitude among men, let's talk about how we can educate boys earlier about appropriate vs. inappropriate behavior."

      Anyway, I know you already back-tracked a bit, I just wanted to share my thoughts with anyone reading this conversation.

      Delete
    21. "So be blunt, right away. I don’t consider it rude, if I’m at a pub with friends and a guy I don’t know tries to join the conversation, if we tell him to butt out. Do the same thing; I think this will at least give some breathing room. I think the guy may actually be grateful, as he may mutter a curse or two for ‘wasting his time,’ but at least he won’t be stuck with the delusion of the Gambler’s Fallacy pushing him forward."

      Or he might go lurk in the parking lot, waiting for the woman who bluntly told him to get lost to come out. Did you even read Jenny's post?

      The problem you're running into here, and the reason you're getting told off, is that your comments keep implying that women just haven't considered what the men harassing them might be thinking (LOL), or thought through which responses might be most effective (LOL), or attempted to assert themselves and communicate clearly (so much LOL).

      Since you're so keen on people trying to see things from the perspectives of others, here is your opportunity to see your comments from a woman's perspective. You know what those comments imply? That the women you're talking to are idiots who lack even the most basic of critical thinking skills, and that they haven't already tried the tactics you're suggesting because after all how could we possibly figure out that telling someone to go away might be a possible response with these silly little ladybrains of ours?

      You are talking to people who have far more experience with the issue you're talking about as if they know less than you do. You're free to keep doing that if you want, but it's not going to end well for you.

      Delete
    22. @GE This is well past the original posting date and you'll probably never see this, but part of your post has been bugging me.

      "The reasoning behind these men’s actions is that they have gone to a bar, to meet and sleep with women. That is the primary reason for them being there. It’s petty, shallow, but yeah, that is their primary reason for going out that night.

      Following that reasoning, they instantly assume that anyone in the bar is there, for the exact same reason. So they approach any women, in a group or alone, under that assumption. They think of the entire thing as a dance, a mating ritual. The bar is the place the ritual happens, there are rules and rituals to be observed, and if you do it right, you get to take home your prize. They assume that all women there are to participate and any that don’t are wasting their time, and confuses them in the first place why they are there."

      Now, reverse the gender, and instead of being on the hunt for sex, lets say I'm out to hit a guy over the head with a nerf bat. It's why *I* am out at the bar, so it's only reasonable to assume that all the guys present are there to be hit on the head. Why else would they be at a bar if it isn't to be a target of my nerf bat hitting intentions? That's far too confusing for me to understand, that someone would be out at a bar for any other reason than to feel the thwack of my nerf bat over their skull. I mean we all know that men only go to bars so they can be whacked on the head by a woman with a nerf bat. They are there because they want my attention. Saying otherwise is sending 'mixed signals', again confusing me.

      It's just a game, a game I play all the time, it's not wrong to thwack guys on the head with a nerf bat. If they didn't want me do, they wouldn't be sitting at the bar with their head uncovered.


      Now in all seriousness, that's what your argument is. In trying to 'understand' the perspective of the men who behave this way, you're essentially saying is that their personal beliefs are allowed overwrite all other evidence to the contrary. I don't give a damn how socially inept a guy may be, you don't get to define my reality any more than I get to go around hitting guys over the head and say they were clearly asking for it because they weren't wearing hats.

      Delete
  29. I'm sorry that asshat ruined your evening. *offers a fistbump of solidarity* Also I'm sorry for the inevitable comments you'll get from mansplainers on this post. Really sorry :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I think it's shitty that some ladies are reluctant to leave their homes because they are uncomfortable, or even frightened, by lecherous attention. I honestly have never felt that way, even when drawing that sort of attention myself.

    ReplyDelete
  31. That guy is a fucking asshole. He should be arrested.

    Jenny, I'm sorry you and your friends couldn't have a fun evening because that guy was a fucking asshole.
    There is No Way women deserve abuse and harassment. Not ever.

    The guys at the bowling alley and the guy at the second bar are to blame - 100%. And when in the fuck are non-asshole guys going to stand up to the assholes??

    ReplyDelete
  32. Anonymous directly ahead of me -

    Being too dumb to know you're when you're in danger is not something to be proud of.

    Also, no one has to tolerate what you're willing to tolerate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You make a lot of incorrect assumptions about me: I'm in danger when I go out; that I made my earlier post out of pride; that I advise tolerance. Being too dumb to refrain from baseless assumptions is not something you should advertise.

      Delete
  33. I'm really sorry this happened to you. It truly sucks.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous-
    You advise tolerance?
    Women should tolerate abuse and harrassment??
    You. Are. Wrong.
    You are still dumb.
    I will waste no more time on you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When did I say I advise tolerance, exactly?

      Delete
  35. I found this post from a link provided by Dr. Nerdlove as an example of how he's been saying men ought not behave for the last year and a half. I'm a large man, and reading this story I felt less safe. You've told this all-too-common story in a very evocative way, and I'd like to do more to combat the prevalence of this kind of behavior. I don't really spend a lot of time in bars, though; I rarely see this sort of thing happening.

    ReplyDelete
  36. That really sucks Jenny, and I'm very sorry that it happened to you. I can't remember how many times I've been in a similar situation, I just remember the more major incidents. Like the time, whilst working as a barmaid, a customer trapped me in a corner and his friends stood in front to completely hide us from view. Or the time I was on my way to work at 6am and a complete stranger grabbed my arse when I was going down stairs in the tube station, or the several times I've had a hand put up my skirt or up my top by a man I was innocently dancing with. Immediately after reading this entry I talked to my (very nice, kind, considerate) boyfriend about some of the things that have happened to me. I couldn't adequately describe the fear caused by something like this, how deeply you are affected. I told him that I would rather be stabbed than raped (again) because sexual assault completely robs you of bodily autonomy. Your body stops being your own and it takes a very long time for you to get it back, and I think sometimes you don't get it all back. And that is the reason that men behaving in that manner is so terrifying, because of the fear of rape.


    There was one thing about your story that made me the most angry, why didn't the bartender get involved? Part of his job is to keep his customers safe. He should have kicked the guy out, and ordered a cab for you. When I worked in a pub, I often phoned taxis for customers too drunk to drive/negotiate public transport. And for solitary or small groups of women. The boys I worked with would remove problem customers from the premises, or at least threaten that if they didn't tone down their behaviour. We also called the police when it was needed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreeing with this. The bartender let THREE paying customers go, because he wouldn't step up to ONE that was ruining their experience. What a poor excuse for a bartender.

      He should've kicked the guy out, and then after you ladies were done having your fun, walked you out to your cars to make sure the guy had stuck around.

      Delete
    2. Bartenders don't overhear every personal conversation that happens. If the bartender knew and did something, then calling him out would be appropriate. The boys you personally worked with didn't catch every instance of a guy being a creeper unless they personally shadowed every man and supervised. Most often than not, women just leave instead of telling bartenders. When I've been in that position, sometimes I didn't say anything because I didn't want the bartender to kick the guy out when I was going to be outside myself leaving.

      Delete
    3. I apologise for my assumption that the bartender didn't help you, Jenny. The way that section of your original post read to me was that you and Holly both told him what was going on and that he did nothing. I'm really glad that he walked you to your car, that was exactly what a bartender or bouncer should do in that situation.

      I also hope that my original comment did not sound like victim blaming, that was certainly not my intention. You and your friends did everything right and it is awful that you were in this situation. I am really glad that you got home safe.

      Delete
    4. Alys, the pubs I worked in where City pubs i.e. pubs in the financial district of London. We had very few female customers, probably between 10-15%. And the male customers were typically loud, arrogant and sometimes high on cocaine, so the bar staff would and were able to keep an eye on our female customers. And I would never advise a woman to leave a bar quietly after having an experience like Jenny's. If you let the bar staff know then they can walk you out, call you a cab or just make sure the man hassling you doesn't follow you out. Letting people know will keep you safer. Also Jenny said in her original post that both she and Holly let the bartender know what was going on, that was why I reached the conclusion I did. I just misread one sentence.

      Delete
  37. I'm so sorry this happened to you and your friends.

    ReplyDelete
  38. This comment thread is starting to depress me. Even though these forums are essentially anonymous, I wish people would speak as if they were face-to-face. Be thoughtful, don't just spout snark from behind the security of your computer screen.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I'm so sorry that jackwad ruined you girls' night. I've never been a fan of bars, I don't like being around obnoxious drunk strangers. Drunk friends are entertaining, but not creepy drunk weirdos.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Like almost everyone else on the comments, I feel where you're coming from, so hard.

    Experiences I've had like that also make me want to stay inside forever.

    But hey, when I've got the great jennytrout blog to read, WHY WOULD I EVER NEED TO GO OUTSIDE?!?

    Anyway, seriously, much love. I tell myself I just need practice at being assertive. I think I'm getting better at it, and I do believe my tolerance for bullshit is waning.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Wow, I'm terribly, terribly sorry this happened to you, Jenny. There are no excuses for what that douchebag did, none whatsoever. I just want to offer my deepest sympathies and impotent rage at what happened to you. I am really pissed this will probably reinforce your intentions to remain at home, and miss out on the good things out there or having a nice night out with your friends. That's the suckiest part and I hope you can fight the urge to stay at home.

    I know it must be hard for you, but you have to find the strength to keep on doing what you enjoy doing. You can't let the assholes get away with shit like this.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Holy shit, that's terrifying! I'm so sorry this happened to you.

    It really does freak me out that we live in a society that just tells us to shrug off this kind of dangerous encounters. I'm only a high school senior who doesn't really leave the house that often--let alone late at night--and STILL I've had to deal with creepy stuff like this.

    A few weeks back, I went to the downtown part of my city just to kill some time. I visited my mom at her work then got on the 5:20 train to go to a library. I was in uniform (unflattering khaki pants, red polo, and an oversize white sweater) and just trying to make sure I didn't miss my stop, minding my own business. All I did was look around the crowd once and caught the eye of one guy in his thirties. He FOLLOWED me out on my stop and started asking me personal questions. What kills me is even though I made it pretty clear I wanted him to leave me alone, he kept asking if I had a boyfriend and hitting on me. Like the only thing keeping him from making a move on a visibly uncomfortable teenage girl is the possibility that she's already "taken."

    I really, really hope this kind of thing doesn't happen to you again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes pervs will ask boyfriend questions as a way to find out if you're sexually active, because that makes it all okay in their mind.

      Delete
    2. I once got so sick of being harassed about having a boyfriend that I told the dude I was planning to become a nun as soon as I turned 18. Since this was in my punk phase (purple hair and a Bad Religion t-shirt) it wasn't wholly convincing, but the guy did fuck off.

      Delete
  43. My brother and I were having a discussion about gender relations issues the other day and he came up with something interesting to think about. He asked me what I would do differently if I were a man for a week. I thought about it, and decided I'd probably go out by myself a few times and actually talk to people in the bar or on the street or in the restaurant. Wherever. To take the chance to go out and participate in casual socializing with strangers and not be afraid. I asked him the same thing, he couldn't think of anything he would do differently. This was coming from a very sensitive male, but he couldn't imagine how he would interact differently as a woman. I told him that wouldn't be smart, so he asked "Is it really that bad out there for you?" Not every night, not every place, but that every once in a while creep changes every interaction I have with strangers. The most awful creepy feeling, though, is that even intelligent, conscientious men like my brother don't already understand why women are often dismissive of attention, and can then hold it against us!


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...not to derail the conversation, but if I was a guy for a week, I'd pee my name in the snow and jerk off.

      Delete
    2. This also came up, just thought I'd skip right to the point haha.

      Delete
    3. I've got years of martial arts training under my belt and have been trained in how to disarm someone. I have less of a fear of harm than I probably should be since my fighting style is unexpectedly aggressive. Of course in the dojo and in real life are different. But even I can't help but feel fear in a lot of situations, especially at night. I hate that I used to feel safe, but now I'm nervous in a lot of situations that once wouldn't have caused concern.

      Know what else sucks? I've mentally prepared myself for one day being raped again and have accepted that there's a chance it would happen (again). Life for a woman. Ain't it grand....

      Delete
  44. God this is so depressing. Jenny, your experience is frightening, and the bartender should have been waaay more helpful.

    I think *every* woman in the Western world has experienced some kind of unwanted attention, if not worse, from men. And yet, I have a sense that it's accepted, to a degree, because we have 'equality' now. There are stories about 'maneaters' being 'on the prowl', and there's newspaper articles about how more women are behaving like men sexually, e.g. having one-night stands and so forth. But that just plays into the assumption that if you're in a bar or club, that you *are* there to hook up.

    'No' still means 'no', damnit.

    Unwanted attention can happen anywhere, anytime. Just last week, there was a crowd of young guys hanging around on a street corner in my town, who were being rude to anyone that came in range. They got shifted on a couple of times, and it was probably a case of young blokes with no sense and nothing better to do trying to impress each other. One of them made a rude remark to me as I walked past them. I outwardly ignored it and continued on, but inside I had that same gut wrenching fear reaction. If I'd reacted, said something to them, would something worse have happened? Would they have followed me? Assaulted me? Followed me HOME, even?

    Probably not, but even teenage boys are bigger and stronger than me, and although the incident was over in a moment, it caused a reaction in me that should never happen. I should be able to walk around in my own town at any time, much less in broad daylight, without being harassed or fearing for my safety. And this incident, though relatively minor, showed me that there's another generation coming through that thinks its ok to behave like that.

    Guys, even the nice, sensible ones, just don't understand that we live in a world where that underlying fear, the need to keep ourselves safe, is ever present.

    So fucking depressing...

    Andi in NZ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny, I didn't see the clarification about the bartender until after I'd posted this. You're right, there's not much else he could have done.

      No taxis in my town, either. :(

      Andi.

      Delete
  45. I am a fat chick that typically gets the opposite reaction. I naturally have a serious, impassive expression and, as a result, I have only had two kind of uncomfortable encounters (at work of all places where I looked absolutely frumpy and awful. One was with an obviously mentally disturbed guy and the other was a guy who really wanted to be 'friends' and that my boyfriend didn't 'need to know' which was the only time that has ever happened. He was more annoying than scary.). When I was younger my friends liked to club with me because I apparently exude this don't-fuck-with-me aura that prevents obnoxious intrusions (this of course doesn't help me in the service industry). I've been called a cock blocker and my friends have been told that ' if it weren't for your fat friend you would leave with me' (this kind of stuff used to hurt my feelings. Now I find it insane that I ever thought that way).

    I don't live in fear of creepy people; it certainly might be stupidity. It has never really occured to me to be afraid because my prickly shell allows me to avoid almost all interactions with strangers. I have just never had to worry about being swooped upon by vultures, so I don't. People give me a look of disbelief when I mention my husband, which is really obnoxious. I'm not unattractive; I'm just built like a curvy linebacker.

    I am really sorry this happened to you and it is super shitty that some drunk fuck ruined your night. It also really sucks that, since it is a small town, you might have to interact with him again. Stuff like this should never fucking happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any comments I get from strangers (and friends, actually, but that's another story) are reassurances that they don't find me attractive enough to harass. Or, as they put it, everything ranging from, 'Wow, you're fat but you're still out in the pub having a drink, good for you' (ACTUAL QUOTE, no word of a lie - I think he barely stopped himself from adding 'like a normal woman') to 'ugh, fucking fat cow' in the street.

      I know I'm "lucky" that so far, my lack of response to men like this has always led them to be satisfied that they've won, that they've shamed me enough and left me in no doubt of how repulsive I am to them, and therefore they need no long fear I/their friends might think they could have such terrible taste as to not find me disgusting. That's usually enough for them. (Most men plain ignore me, but some obviously are in such fear for their reputations that that's not signal enough.)

      I'm "lucky" that these men don't want prolonged interaction with me, they want to make it clear to me that I'm ugly, in case I didn't already know - heaven forbid that I be allowed to be in ignorance of my crime against society - and then move on.

      I'm lucky men haven't been persistent the way this guy in the bar was.

      Society expects me to think this way.

      ALL of it is bullshit, all of it. Men feeling they can tell you they like you or they hate you or ANY insistence that you have to take their view of you into account in your view of yourself.

      Delete
    2. This makes me weep. Lo siento, amigas. I've been there.

      This is off topic from Jen's post--which is very disturbing, and I'm sorry that happened, too--but it does fit into the recent Roadhouse body image topic; Why the need to crush the fat girl? To make sure you don't dare to think you're pretty or that anyone might find you attractive? It may be bullshit but that doesn't stop it from being brutally damaging. I feel like I've been so scarred by it that I find myself extremely skeptical about the blogosphere fat activists (mostly much younger than me) who seem to ooze sexual confidence. They seem to set themselves up as veritable sexperts. I can't figure out how they developed that, how they escaped the harshness that shaped me.

      Delete
    3. It used to really eat at me, Anon. I don't understand to the pathological need for some people to hate on the fat chick. They certainly don't do it to fat men (and I know fat men who would never dream of hooking up with a fat woman). I think the worst thing is that they think they are doing you a favor for telling you this information, like the guy congratulating you on being out probably genuinely thought it was a compliment.

      I don't blame people for not being attracted to fat people. You're attracted to what you are attracted to.

      But one doesn't have to advertise disgust. It certainly isn't super frowned upon to tell a fat person they are gross. It's really sad. Like I have a friend who is a chubby lady, just ran into a gas station to get a quick crappy breakfast. She was in a hurry, and just grabbed a breakfast sandwich. A guy told her that she would "never find a man if she kept eating like that and looking like that." She's been married 15 years and has two kids and a happy relationship. It's fucking bullshit that people are comfortable enough to make those kind of snap judgements about people.

      I know a couple of fat activist type women, and I wish I had half their confidence. I can't do it. It's hard to when I know that my chances of getting a front desk or any kind of face job are slim because I'm fat. Employers aren't supposed to discriminate, but they absolutely do. My husband can't really understand it, even though I have tried to explain my concerns (in his defense, I suffer pretty significantly from anxiety and depression, and he is very sweet when I get a little crazy anxious about stuff) because he is a guy (who is also of average weight for his height). There doesn't seem to be the same pressures on fat men as there are on women.

      I am just starting to get old enough that I'm letting go of some of my insecurities (I'm 26 and trying like hell to be in a better mental place), but it still hurts when people feel the need to tell you about you, like your self-worth should be tied up in other peoples' opinions. It's just a different form of harassment (that women sometimes join in with as well). It needs to stop as well.

      Delete
  46. Wow, I'm really glad that you and your friends are okay. That is pretty scary.

    I loved this post. I've had all too many frightening confrontations with men that thought me being in any public setting meant an invitation.

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    Replies
    1. Also, oh god, I wish I had not read some of the comments above.

      Delete
  47. I'm terribly sorry to hear that this happened to you, and I certainly don't blame you in the slightest for your decision to drive home. But I do feel like I have to ask- is there a reason that you didn't call the non-emergency number for the police? I understand feeling trapped, and not seeing a way out of a terrifying situation, and I realize that every town is different. I'm just wondering if it just didn't occur to you, or if you just didn't think they'd be able to help you, perhaps? Even thought it's after the fact now, if there's a good way to contact your local PD, you could perhaps consider finding out whether they would provide you an escort home if such a situation were to arise again. You should never have to be afraid to ask for their help, and your situation was more than deserving of their attention.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I'm really sorry to hear about that. That is stupid.

    But mostly the reason I'm commenting is because maybe you will enjoy this news story? "People laugh and they're a little bit shy and embarrassed at first, but then they dive in and share a lot" is a quote...about a colon exhibit. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/colorectal-cancer-awareness-month-kicks-off-giant-inflatable/story?id=18632999

    ReplyDelete
  49. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/it-is-time-for-girls-to-toughen-up-on-sexual-harassment-and-schools-must-teach-them-how-8519509.html

    WARNING contains victim blaming, and the comments will make you very very angry.

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    1. The article is actually quite good. I know for a fact I could have massively benefited from assertiveness training and how to recognise the different types of abuse back when I was a teenager. Teaching both boys and girls about how to form and maintain healthy relationships sounds like an excellent idea and would be far more useful in later life than most of what you get taught in school, in my opinion. Can't speak for the comments though, I expect they will just make me very angry so will try and be good and avoid reading them!

      Delete
  50. Here's the difference between flattery and creepy:

    Flattery goes like this "Hi, I'm Steve and I was over there with my friends and I wanted to stop by and offer you a drink because I think you're cute/lovely/pretty" "Oh Steve, thank you but no thank you, I'm married and just want to have a night out with my girlfriends here" "Well you ladies have fun, good-bye"

    Creepy: everything you just wrote.

    What men don't understand is that every single one of them is a potential rapist until they prove they are not. And that isn't always fair to them, but as a woman, you have to be thinking two steps ahead to avoid getting manhandled in a parking lot somewhere. You have to avoid situations where you could possibly be alone with strangers, you have to monitor your drinks, your alcohol consumption, your friends. You have to go out in groups and plan a night out at the bar like it's a tactical war effort "Susan, you're the driver. Amy, you're in charge of watching everyone's drinks. Tara, you make sure the group stays together and Debbie you get to play cockblocker tonight in case one of is separated from the herd and we send you the SOS" and men do not have to do this. They don't understand that. You are completely right and I'm so glad you got home safe with your friends.

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    1. Seriously, me and my girlfriends used to use a "code word" almost every time we went out. If someone is bothering you, say the "code word" (usually something ridiculous like "orangutan!") and all of us would huddle around the girl who was getting creeped on and act as a shield from the offender.

      Personally, being the tallest out of all my friends, I would usually take up the most aggressive position (closest to the guy) and tell him that she was not interested. Sometimes they would be so pushy, I'd have to tell them three or four times. Its fucking ridiculous.

      Delete
  51. WOW that is absolutely gross. I know a lot of women think it is their "job" to avoid these situations - well, fuck that!!! All the advice and self defense classes for women will never change the fact that the men are the aggressors. I would love LOVE it if during sex ed there was also a section for boys - "do not rape or assault women". Seriously this is a problem for both sexes and we all need to be part of the conversation to stop this shit!!! And yes he targeted you because you were the weakest "looking". I am "that one" in my crew, too.

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    ReplyDelete
  52. ...I typed out a longer response but it got deleted.

    Basically, thank you for this post. I'm sorry about what happened, that shit is beyond not okay. But I think it is important that we never stop talking about sexual harassment. So many people think it "isn't a big deal". Okay, well I'm 18 years old and the majority of my scariest and most inappropriate situations involving creepy men were when I was between the ages of 12 and 15. Some 30 year old asshole hit on me at the fucking SPCA and continued even after I told him I was only 14. So yeah, it is a big deal and anyone who says it isn't probably does it or thinks it's okay. Bull fucking shit.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I find it disturbing that you Jen, felt ghst you had to say you weren't gonna post this because you thought someone would think you were bragging. Then I read the comments from the overweight girl who says she is never "hit on" like this because she is overweight, but guys will make rude and disgusting comments to her. Quite frankly there really isn't much of a difference between the 2 scenarios.
    Getting harassed by a guy is not a compliment. Much like being raped is much more about power than sex, harassing assholes are also about power. You cannot tell me that guy didn't know you didn't want him around, and he was making you uncomfortable. He simply didn't care, and was probably getting off on how uncomfortable he made you feel. This whether he was telling you he wanted to f*** you or whether he was telling you he thought you were ugly. Same effect. Not a compliment.

    I think part of the dialogue has to be that we should not be afraid to call these fellas out, for being mistaken as bragging. Any asshole who says that you are bragging because some creep scared the crap out of you, is f****** ignorant.

    when a bully picks a fight with a guy at a bar, does anybody ever tell him he should be flattered? If he wasn't so big and strong that guy never would have fucked with him. Of course not.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Ugh, that's just so shitty that that happened to you, and shitty that it happens all the time to so many women.

    I agree that we need to be teaching boys how not to harass women, instead of teaching girls how to deal with being harassed.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hooray for everyone who stands up and says it is not OK to treat anyone like this. Society is slow to change, but frank discussion can and will open a few eyes. I believe it is our jobs as parents, or future parents, to teach our sons to treat women with respect, and our daughters to expect that respect. Actually, for our children to treat EVERYONE with respect - no discrimination for any reason!

    ReplyDelete
  56. You're not "asking for it"*, and it's not your fault. It's not anything that you're doing that's making this happen. I know that you know this, intellectually, but it doesn't hurt to hear people reflecting what you know back at you. Be kind to yourself. You don't deserve this shit, nobody does.

    If you're not already familiar with the sadly defunct Shapely Prose, this might be a great article to start with.

    http://kateharding.net/2009/10/05/would-it-kill-you-to-be-civil/

    This stuff happens to most of us, if we present as women. It's gendered, it's the result of misogyny (and sometimes homophobia), and the fact that it discourages women from being active in society? That's not entirely a coincidence. I know that knowing that doesn't make dealing with the bullshit any easier, but at least know that you're not alone and that there are a whole lot of people who have your back and who feel exactly the same anger about it that you do.

    (By the way, um, hi! I came here via a link to the 50 Shades mockery, stuck around because you're awesome.)

    * I hate that phrase so much. It's just such a blatant attempt to shift responsibility away from the only predator and onto the prey.

    ReplyDelete
  57. This hits a little too close to home (and I guess it should since it's a pretty terrible problem) because I had an incident that also happened this past summer wherein a male friend of mine manipulated a situation to get me alone and things went downhill from there. I now have a tendency to stay in doors unless I can go somewhere where I'll be alone or where I won't have to put up with that sort of attention (like the store or...uh, the store.) Everything about this post was spot on and heartbreaking.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Also, just in case some asshole turns up to whine about how it's not fair to assume that the dude who headed out to the parking lot after being creepy and aggressive was up to no good, here's an idiot's guide to why, yes, women are allowed to make those assumptions.

    http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is excellent. Thanks for sharing it.

      Delete
    2. Note to potential whiner mentioned above: That's okay to do because someone that ignores no in one context might ignore it in another.

      That's a totally different thing than just going "You're male, so you're instantly a rapist until proven otherwise."

      Delete
  59. You are how old and you don't know how to say "Fuck off" and get the bartender or bouncer when he sat at your table? "Oh we HAD to drive drunk because I didn't nip the situation in the bud in the first place!" You continued to hang out after he sat with you??? Grow up! Grow a spine! Or you could leave one of your friends to fight with him or just let her go out as bait first! Are you fucking kidding me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are YOU kidding? Telling a creepy guy who's ignoring social cues to back off to "Fuck off" runs the risk of inciting a violent reaction.

      I take it from the tone of your post that you are a guy - who therefore does not live in a world where roughly half the population is physically bigger and stronger than you, and can force themselves on you if they so choose. You don't have to monitor everything you do or say in a social situation to minimise the risk of being abused, assaulted or worse.

      And what the hell do you mean by "let her go out as bait first"????

      Stop blaming the victims, the guy should have known to fuck off when he was asked to leave them alone.

      Andi in NZ

      Delete
    2. Hey, anon, how's this for a spine? GO FUCK YOURSELF AND I HOPE YOU GET SMALLPOX.

      Delete
    3. Ah it seems that a troll has arrived.

      Be careful not to feed the trolls, troutfans! Follow this rule and the internet will thank you.

      Delete
  60. Well, looks like we got some MRAs up in there. I guess I could use the laugh.

    This post brought out a lot of feelings for me because back when I was in my 20s and went bar hopping all the time, this sort of thing just kept on happening to me and/or my friends. The trouble is, we live in a society that makes men think they are entitled to the affections of a woman just because they are interested in her. The male-dominated media is full of extremely unrealistic male wish fulfillment scenarios--so many TV shows and movies have plotlines in which the shlubby guy goes after the hot girl, she initially rejects him, but he eventually wears her down and she falls for him. There's a lot of pressure on a woman to be polite when rejecting a guy--at best, she comes off looking like a frigid bitch; at worst, he will react with hostility. And while not every guy will resort to physical violence, you never know which ones will. It's hard to tell sometimes. So it's better to be safe than sorry.

    So let me get this straight. If a woman is raped, it's because she should've done more to protect herself--she shouldn't have been out alone, she should've gotten a bartender or bouncer to help her, etc.--but if she does try to protect herself, she's an asshole for assuming every perfectly nice guy who can't take no for an answer and has no sense of personal boundaries is a potential rapist. Don't you just love rape culture?

    Jenny, I'm so sorry you and your friends had to go through that. While I've had my fair share of unwanted suitors, at least I was lucky enough that nothing truly scary happened to me or to my friends. There were times when I tried every polite excuse under the sun (I have a bf, I'm married, I'm a lesbian, etc.) but the only way to lose the guy was to physically leave the bar. Recently, after leaving a birthday party at a club, my friends and I got cursed out by some guys for ignoring them when they catcalled us. Incidents like that remind me why I don't miss bar hopping.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I know my comment will probably get drowned i all the other comments, but I have something to say. It was Valentines Day this year, and short history, I work in a small store in some mall, so I am with my friend and coworker (who's also a girl) and the phone rings at around 11 am. My friend answers, and it's some guy, and he tells her he has a few thinks he wants to know about, so my friend wasn't feeling well and passes the phone over to me (and I was the MOD at the moment, so it was appropiate) and this guy immediately asks me something along the lines of if I'm a strong woman. I'm thinking "WTF?" Sure...I answer, and it goes south from there. He was very into BDSM, so I couldn't even be rude since he would take it as me "dominating" him, I can almost assure that he was aroused....so anyway, I was getting really annoyed w/ him, mainly cus he was wasting my time when I could have been doing something else than listening to this stupid guy and his sexual shit, and I wanted to hang up so badly, but I felt that I couldn't do it because of the whole "customer service" shit (me being the MOD and all, I felt the responsibility of being civil.) So finally I was about to just be "f*ck it all, I'm hanging up" when he was like "I'll just head over there." I was annoyed and worried. Worried that he'd go to the store and make a scene, so Jen's story made me remember the annoyance I felt. It seems like I always attract freaks, and this one was the worst. And it makes me feel like cus I'm a girl, this will always happen to me, because of my gender. So yeah, that's my story.

    ReplyDelete
  62. You know, I was going to give my own example about an instance where I have also been made to feel unsafe, or as an object, or have had to play “the bitch” and felt guilty by it, when I realized that, at twenty-two, I have been sexually assaulted, harassed, raped, demeaned, inappropriately touched, and catcalled more times than I can count. The most notable two were when my ex's mother blamed me for his raping me, and when a man asked me, after I politely refused his inviting me to home with him, if I would do it for money. The fact that the rape doesn’t make the two is itself notable.
    Your post reminded me of how much we really learn, as women, to watch our backs - that is, don't walk too close to alleyways, never leave your drink unattended and now that I live on my own, never leave the blinds open because someone might see I live alone. It makes me sad that I have to do all this to survive in the world, and even after all my precautions, I still have experienced things that no woman should ever have to.
    I don't mind being hit on - I don't even mind being whistled at - if and only if, it is done in a non-threatening way, and when I say please stop, it stops. The problems begin when I am called a bitch for not responding, or when the "no" is taken as "try harder".
    As for the comments by some saying that it's not the women's job to fix the problem, I would argue that, to an extent, it is. While it is not my job to fix my ex who raped me, or to sit down with the pervert who tried to finger me after trapping me in a booth at a bar and tell him exactly why trying to force his hands into my underthings when I say "no" is wrong, it is my job to be upfront and honest with people I encounter, and to be non-judgmentally informative to my male friends, and to the young men with whom I have relationships: my little nephews and the like. And, it is my job to not perpetuate a stereotype of victimhood and self-blame.
    When I was a kid, my mum used to tell me - at 5'3" and 140lbs - that I was too fat to be loved, so any attention I got, I should be grateful for. Or he's "just being nice". I was reduced to a pile of meat with no lovable qualities outside of my physical person. It is things like this that help to create a mentality in people - not just women, and not just men - that a person is only so much as their physical exterior. That is a problem that we all need to fix.

    Also, partially because discussing my sexual history makes me sad (a fact which also makes me sad), and partially because there's a note about cute dog photos below the comments, I'm going to leave this here.

    http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/baby%20huskies

    ReplyDelete
  63. Wow, this is a whole lot of response! Jen, you said before we should look at your archives to see how you were not popular! Well didn't you touch a nerve today. Of course, this is a terrible problem you've addressed which should never have happened. I just wanted to ask, with it being a small town, do you know this creep? Are you worried you will have to see him again? Were you worried he would figure out where you lived? I love the idea that you had planned to walk home after a night out with your friends, that should have been a lot of fun. Maybe having your own guard dogs would work better than a horse - dogs do love to walk... If you know who he is maybe you could still file a complaint with the police and they could have a few words with him, and, maybe keep a note in their police computer system? This guy might have been a special kind of stupid that should be monitored long term.

    ReplyDelete
  64. I once left a social club meeting (a club I felt safe in at other times) because it was only men who I was not familiar with. Absolutely no one did anything wrong. I was just so uncomfortable and felt so vulnerable.

    ReplyDelete
  65. I'm a woman and the fear of being assaulted is always there for me. Unless I'm alone in my room with the door locked, some part of me is afraid.

    The saddest thing is that I've started avoiding being physically near my little brother ever since he grew taller than me and started puberty. I don't know where this fear comes from. It's not like I'm experiencing a trigger because I've never been assaulted. And it's not like my brother is giving any creeper vibes out.

    If someone wants to respond to this go ahead, but I likely won't be back to this because it is so depressing.

    ReplyDelete
  66. This fucked up story reminded me a lot of this thread at Captain Awkward: http://captainawkward.com/2012/09/15/conversations-on-a-train/ Her stories take place in a different setting (public transport instead of a bar) but it really, really shows that in these situations there is NO response the woman can give that will guarantee that the man will go away and never bother them again. None. And when the man is drunk or on drugs, the likelihood of ANY response the woman gives having that effect is even lower, dwindling to absolutely non-existent. Anyone who tries to suggest something Jen and her friends could have done to make the situation she describes not dangerous is flat-out wrong. And this is why I hate when men get upset about the fact that they don't get approached and asked out by strange women. These are the men who can't seem to imagine anyone getting a date outside of 'person approaches another person they have never met or spoken to but find attractive and asks them out'. When women describe getting harassment of this type these men somehow seem to translate the women's awful experiences into 'guys often approach me and ask me out politely, and then I decide if I find them attractive or not, because of course I am permanently open to thinking about dating all the time when I am going about my daily business, and then I say yes or no. And when I say no, the man always accepts it calmly and walks away, never to bother me again.' They just do not seem to comprehend the reality of these situations, which might involve verbal sexual harassment, physical sexual harassment, and the very real possibility that every woman needs to think about, which is that the man may become violent when rejected outright. People can say 'oh, women must be just not making their no clear enough!' and it is true that women are often socialised into thinking that saying no to men, or asking to be left alone by them, is wrong. But let's not forget that many men who would approach women in this way could well become violent when met with a cold reaction from the woman and given a no. And let's not forget that by refusing to take no for an answer, the man can prolong his interaction with the woman with ease, because what is she going to do if he doesn't go away?

    Sorry to rant, this whole issue makes me very angry. :( I'm sorry it happened to you and your friends, Jen, and I fully support your decision to drive home as being the safest for you.

    ReplyDelete
  67. I'm so, so sorry this happened to you, and that it happens all the goddamn time. I wish I had something a bit less lame to add, but every time I hear these stories I just get sad and angry and inarticulate.

    ReplyDelete
  68. The most harassment I see in public transport is non-sexual. (I'm Finnish) It's from drunks who will harass you, and talk to you (I see this happening to men as well, just few days ago a drunk was butting into a company of several young men asking if they've gotten much sex lately)

    I have been yelled at for being a gypsie, and for 'sending noises to his brain', and for being 'autistic', and of course my ferret gets attention as well when I'm travelling with her. Once I was walking her on a leash when a man just petted her without asking and wanted to hold her.
    My ferret is sweet, but she was startled, and I was afraid she'd bite him, out of fear...

    But, I don't really go to bars or something like that, plus I dress in a very unfeminine way and have been mistaken for a man...

    ReplyDelete
  69. Internet's been wonky so this is the first I'm seeing of the post. I'm really sorry that happened, Jen. I was kinda hoping the story was going to end "And then D-Rock let her pit bulls out of the car." but I guess that wouldn't really be fair to the dogs. I'm sure they're lovely animals and don't need the hassle of picking assface out of their teeth. (I babysit my neighbors pit bull when she's out of town. The dog is a total sweetheart but walking that thing is one of the funnest things EVER, everyone gets out of your way XD)

    To throw in my tale of woe and molestation, I get all the 'hey baby, you need a ride baby, looking real fine baby' bullshit which is fairly easy to ignore unless they do the stalker-y slow down the car and trail you thing. This one guy MEOWED at me like a cat in walgreens, one time, and then proceeded to ask me out to dinner (no). This all played out in front of my mother who was visiting me, by the way, and we snickered like mean girls about it after the fact.

    And just this weekend I got straight up yelled at on Bart (Bay Area Rapid Transit, kinda but not really the bay area answer to the subway). We were alone in a car and this guy, who looked completely normal and almost cute, kept trying to talk to me. I was super tired and just wanted to be left alone. Thus I said something along the lines of, "Hey man, don't take this the wrong way but I've had a really long day. I'm not really up for conversation right now." and he just went off. I was legit wondering if he was off his meds or something. He just started screaming at me about how I led him on and why the fuck am I sitting there looking all attractive if I'm just gonna shoot him down. This whole big tirade and he was right in my face, it was I N S A N E. The second the train stopped I kinda shoved him and booked my ass the hell out of there, up the stairs to where I knew an employee would be in case he followed. He didn't. And then I had to wait like ten minutes, totally out of sorts, for the next train so I could get off on my actual stop. But seriously! What the hell??

    And to clarify, because this keeps sticking out in my mind, when I go out at night, when I know I'm gonna be alone, I wear what I only partly jokingly call my 'homeless outfit'. A men's jacket, my workbooks, a Giant's beanie with my hair tucked under it, and my granddad's haver sack (makes it a lot harder for purse snatchers). So, no, I was not 'sitting there looking all attractive'. I was very purposefully making myself look as innocuous as possible. And dicks like you are the reason why.

    I'm so mad at myself too. And then I get mad at myself for being mad at myself. Like others have mentioned, I am also the type to stick up for the people around me. Someone harasses my little sister or my friends. BOOM. I am right there, in their faces. Ain't nobody fucking with my clique, to put it simply. But the second I'm alone and it happens to ME, I freeze. It's infuriating.

    I didn't mean to write a damn novel but wow. This thread is at once educational and seriously depressing.

    ReplyDelete
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