Emmie Mears
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Why Catcalls Feel Threatening

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Why Catcalls Feel Threatening

I walk to work fairly often. I do it to save petrol and for the exercise, because I live a brief ten minute walk from where I work.

Barely a day goes by when I manage to walk that ten minutes without one of the scenarios depicted above occurring. Sometimes more than once.

I’ve had guys try to get me in their car. Guys try to get me to come over and eat their leftovers (seriously). I have guys holler all sorts of random “compliments” my way. I’ve been pestered. I’ve been interrupted. I’ve even been followed.

More than once.

For men, this sort of thing is just a non-issue. (For the most part. I acknowledge and understand that there ARE cases of street harassment where the targets are male.) But it’s different when you’re a woman.

Here’s why this subject matters, and why it should be talked about.

It’s Degrading.

I ought to be able to walk the ten minutes between my apartment and my job in peace. I have every right to walk down the street, across the road, and through the grocery store car park in order to get to work. When people yell things at me, distract me, interrupt me, and try to get me to stop my commute, they are saying that my time does not matter.

They are saying that I shouldn’t get to walk in peace simply because they feel like talking to me. That my minding my own business loses priority to their whims.

Let me be very clear. It’s not someone saying, “Excuse me, ma’am. Do you know what time it is?”

It’s “Hey sexy!” or “Damn, girl!” or “I’d hit THAT!” or “Where are you going?” or “You’re looking fine!” or “Hey, wait.”

Those are not acceptable reasons to engage my attention when I’m walking, minding my own business. Think it, fine. Keep it to yourself.

The message I hear is, “You should stop everything because I am giving you attention.”

I didn’t ask for the attention (and NO, being attractive is in NO WAY asking for attention), and I certainly don’t want it. What I want is to get from my home to my place of employment without being bothered.

It’s degrading also because I’m expected to take it as a compliment. I’m expected to be pleased by the attention. I’m expected to rejoice that some stranger thinks I’m hot. You should see a problem with those things. There is one.

If you don’t see a problem, imagine you’re at work, typing away, and someone barges into your office and sits there on your desk. It’s making you late. It’s taking your time. And when you politely ask them to leave, they get angry and tell you that they came in to give you a compliment. You should be pleased. You should be thankful. Never mind the fact that they interrupted you. Never mind the fact that they have now made your report late. Never mind the fact that you have your own autonomy. Theirs is all that matters.

It’s Threatening.

I am hyper aware when I walk to work. It doesn’t matter if it’s in broad daylight. Sometimes I have to walk home when it’s dark, and then I am at threat level red. I usually have cash on me on my way home. I am alone. And even though I walk through the well-lit car park instead of down the darker street, bad things have happened in much more populated places.

So when someone yells, “Damn, I’d hit that!” from a vehicle and I’m by myself? Yeah. It’s threatening.

Once I had to walk home from the metro when I lived in College Park. Two men in an SUV pulled up alongside me and tried to get me to get in their car with them. They made sexual remarks about what I was wearing, stared me up and down, and when I moved to get away, they pulled their car in front of me. I jumped across a median to avoid them. They made a U-turn to try and catch me the other way, and when I crossed the median AGAIN, they (thankfully) drove away.

So when a man can’t recognise that yelling at a woman who is walking alone is threatening, it upsets me. It’s very threatening. It takes annoyance to the level of fear. Because if he decided he REALLY wanted to ruin my night, it could get ugly fast.

Catcalls make me feel unsafe because not only are they dismissing my right to get from one place to another and mind my own business, but they are a very simple display of dominance. And they are aggressive by nature. They DEMAND attention.

They Are Dismissed.

Just like the cartoon, I’ve heard those exact closing words from countless male mouths. “Oh, I’d love it if women would hit on me like that?”

No, you really wouldn’t.

You would not want to have someone violate your personal space solely because they want to. You would not want to have someone aggressively command your attention. You would not want to have someone follow you, touch you, fondle you, or stop you from going about your business.

It’s not sexy. It’s creepy, threatening, and degrading.

And yet it gets dismissed. If I tell someone to leave me alone, I get called a bitch. (It’s happened more than once.) If I hurry away, it’s “Why do you have to be like that?” If I say I’m married, it’s “It’s not about that! I just want to get to know you!” You DON’T know me, it IS about that, and you’re full of shit. If you are trying to meet friends by yelling at them across a street, you need to seriously work on your social skills. I’ve even gotten this one to the married response: “That doesn’t matter to me.”

Clearly. It doesn’t matter because you have zero respect for me, my husband, my time, and my personal boundaries. Again, I say fuck off.

But time and time again, if women don’t respond with pleasure to catcalls and their varying levels of ridiculousness, we’re the ones called bitchy. Frigid. Cunts. Ice Queens. With no sense of humour, who can’t take a joke, and who can’t even handle a simple compliment.

That is seriously wrong on many levels. That is what is called Rape Culture. That is what makes people blame victims.

It’s the simple denial of a woman’s personhood.

No, catcalls are not rape. But yes, they are related. Any time you force your presence on someone, any time you try and demand attention from them that they are unwilling to give, you are violating boundaries. Catcalls are a long way down that road from rape, but they are on the same road.

It’s not flirting. It’s harassment. And if you’ve never been on this side of it, it can be damn hard to understand. It shouldn’t be. I believe that it’s not that hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes if you squeeze enough and maybe try a shoe horn. But a lot of people seem afraid to do that.

Let me make something else clear: by declaiming street harassment, I’m not saying that all men are rapists, or even that all men who catcall women are assholes. What I’m saying is that catcalling and street harassment are products of a culture that values women’s boundaries less than men’s. A culture that continues to make these things permissible. A culture that continues to put women down for speaking out about it. A culture that undermines the sense of fear that can accompany street harassment, and that often does. A culture that essentially says women should just take it.

No. We shouldn’t.

Street harassment is just as wrong as any other type of harassment. There is no logical reason why women should have to endure unwanted sexual comments, yells, and advances from strangers. When you say that out loud, you have to wonder why anyone would argue against it. But people do, often unknowingly, every time they say we should take it as a compliment. Every time they say the harasser didn’t mean any harm.

What can you do if you notice someone being harassed? Acknowledge it. Male or female, ask the target of the harassment if the harasser is bothering her (or him). Look the harasser in the eye. You might catch some flak for it, but it sends a signal. An important signal. It says that what they are doing is socially unacceptable. 

Making street harassment socially unacceptable is the only thing that will stop it. The only way to do that is to show that it’s not okay, to validate women’s rights to walk from one place to another without being yelled at, accosted, or grabbed. And for the love of Zeus, if you have a friend who thinks it’s fun to catcall, speak up. 

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Author | Emmie Comments | 55 Date | September 9, 2012

comments

Tim Miller

Wow…I didn’t know things were still that bad. I’ve heard of it still happening but didn’t know it was that crazy. Im sorry you’ve had to go through that. I never understood that mentality. Im always worried about being seen as a creeper. I’ve had girls at work report me for simply saying “hello”..like literally that’s all i said but they reported me for giving them “unwanted attention”. its happened twice so now i just try to keep to myself.

September 9, 2012 | 9:14 am

    Emmie Mears

    That sucks.

    A lot of what I experience starts with hello and quickly escalates ino “Why are you trying to be like that?” especially if I try to walk away or express politely that I am not interested. It sucks that creepers make women so wary of any form of attention — and I would surmise that if they reported you for only saying hello, they were on high alert for some other reason that probably had nothing to do with you.

    September 9, 2012 | 9:45 am

      Tim Miller

      Thats what my boss said. still didn’t keep me from getting a complex :/

      September 9, 2012 | 9:52 am

Reenie

I used to live in an “up and coming” neighborhood in Brooklyn and I would walk to work. When the weather changed to warm I started wearing skirts and sundresses, and occasionally even heels. I don’t dress at all suggestively (and even if I did…) but the minute my legs were showing it was like a feeding frenzy. One night I went to the bar owned by my uncle, where I spent a lot of time after work and was crying because it had been so out of hand on my walk home that day. Luckily, not a single man in there said “I’d be flattered.” or anything of the like, but I’ve gotten that from other men in my life. Although once I was walking with a friend and coworker and he wanted to fight a guy who called out to me. I didn’t let him, but it was definitely a heartening experience.

September 9, 2012 | 10:09 am

lisashambrook

My daughter’s had a fair bit of unwanted attention at work and while out walking…at work it’s more frustrating for her because she has no idea if just being friendly is being interpreted the wrong way, then when she’s been propositioned and been clear that she’s not interested, he’s pestered her on FB instead. You have to blank them in the end because the ‘No. Never.’ message just doesn’t go through with some people!
I understand because when I was assaulted eight years ago, I was just talking with a neighbour and he decided my conversing was showing interest. I was mortified that a friendly neighbour conversation had been taken the wrong way and it threw me over the edge for a long time. He appeared at my door the following day with a box of chocolates to apologise. I was furious and it took everything to keep hubby away from him. Thankfully he moved away a year later.
I wish that some men would realise where the line is drawn. There are so many amazing men out there, but unwanted attention scars and can wreck another man’s potential relationship.

September 9, 2012 | 10:59 am

    Emmie Mears

    Yeah, that is brutal. It really does leave scars and can cause post traumatic stress as well, especially if harassment became assault or rape in the past. No one should have to live in constant fear of her boundaries being violated.

    September 9, 2012 | 3:49 pm

Elizabeth Fais

I’m with you sistah! Getting a black belt in tae kwon do helped me feel safer on the street. There’s something about the confidence that gives you that comes through the way you move that makes the hasslers leave you alone. We shouldn’t have to go to that extreme but for me it was well worth the peace of mind. Plus it was a heck of a lot of fun learning to break boards with my bare hands and feet. 😉

September 9, 2012 | 11:42 am

    Emmie Mears

    I REALLY want to get into Karate classes. We just don’t have the money right now — hence ZAP and utilising the free resources that exist! I can learn to be a little more of a badass on my own, at least.

    I want to break stuff with my hands!

    September 9, 2012 | 3:47 pm

Laird Sapir

Emmie, this was a genius post. Thank you for writing it. The only time in my life I’ve felt truly comfortable walking around a city alone was when I lived in Singapore in high school. I don’t think men understand the threat implicit in catcalls because they don’t think about the strength differential between men and women. And it is hard to explain the tone of some catcalls… The anger that lies underneath the words that makes your heart beat faster and the adrenaline start pumping…

Thanks for talking about this. 🙂 -Laird

September 9, 2012 | 11:55 am

    Emmie Mears

    Yeah. It is a hard thing to explain to people sometimes because they get defensive (maybe if they have catcalled someone at some point). But the fact is, without discussing it in public and without women sharing how street harassment really affects their emotions and the way they choose to go about their lives, it won’t ever change. Hopefully by talking about it, it will start to.

    September 9, 2012 | 3:46 pm

pedrorollo

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September 9, 2012 | 11:58 am

alienredqueen

“It’s degrading also because I’m expected to take it as a compliment.”

This is basically what I was saying to my neighbor today. It’s one thing if they say, “You know, you are really a beautiful woman…” But I’m supposed to be flattered by “Yeah, baby, nice ass!”?

And you know, most men MIGHT indeed like it or think it no big deal to be hit on that way, because in all likelihood, they do not feel the same aura of threat a woman may feel. They are not in fear of their safety from most women, because, let’s face it, even if a woman could over power them, they’d never admit it to themselves.

September 9, 2012 | 1:33 pm

    Emmie Mears

    Yeah. Re: men, though, I would argue that if they had their space invaded by an unwanted…erm…suitor, for lack of a better word…they would be very uncomfortable. Perhaps they wouldn’t feel the same level of physical threat, but I think they could imagine enough to reckon on how bad it gets for us.

    But you’re right. Most men who would harass women wouldn’t admit the possibility of the woman beating them.

    September 9, 2012 | 3:45 pm

Doug Daniel

Well, I may not get catcalls from ladies (well, I have in the past, but they were being sarcastic), but I do know how you feel when folk start talking at you and get abusive when you don’t take them on. You’re just trying to mind your own business, but they think you’re actively slighting them. I’ll never understand why some people don’t understand concepts of personal space and insist on imposing themselves on you.

September 9, 2012 | 3:51 pm

    Emmie Mears

    You are absolutely right. I think it goes back to that dominance/aggression/need to “win” something. All it says to me is that those people are so insecure they have to put others down to feel okay about themselves.

    September 9, 2012 | 3:54 pm

Usualfool

I’m not trying to disagree in principle, but as a logician I have to critique a significant portion of your argument. I’ll try to be brief, so please forgive me if this sounds harsh.

If “any time you force your presence on someone, any time you try and demand attention from them that they are unwilling to give, you are violating boundaries,” and you suggest that this is “on the same road” as rape, it becomes impossible for anyone to start a conversation with you unless you give them explicit permission. While I understand that you’re specifically addressing certain varieties of forced attention, you should be more careful in your discussion.

For example, let’s imagine that my daughter is injured but my cell phone is dead. You’re walking nearby and don’t want to be disturbed. Frankly, I’m going to try to get you to pay attention to me regardless of whether you want to talk to me, especially if I see you have a phone. This is nothing at all like rape, nor even on a similar road.

Also, I’m not defensive about this because I’ve ever catcalled anyone. I’m defensive because your argument is poorly formed. You can feel free to say that that makes me a jerk. I’m a logician; I’m used to it. 🙂

September 9, 2012 | 8:27 pm

    Emmie Mears

    If you read back over what I wrote, you will see that I specifically mentioned a difference in stopping someone for a legitimate reason (asking for the time, and therefore if you have an injury or any other obvious need for help that is more severe) as opposed to, “Nice ass! What’s your naaaaame, bitch?” Asking someone for the time or directions or to use a mobile phone — those are worlds away from the behaviour I was condemning.

    September 9, 2012 | 9:01 pm

      Tim Miller

      Though on the defensiveness because “most have cat called someone”, I don’t recall actually cat-calling anyone. I understand being cautious, but I don’t think we should assume that every guy is or has been some cat-calling perv either. LIke I said in my comment above, even though all I had done was said hello, I got called into an office with my manager who told me said persons were “uncomfortable” with the unwanted attention I was giving them. I simply said hello or good morning as I walked by their desk in the morning. And they always did say hi, in return.

      But after that talk with my manager, despite all her assurances that I had done nothing wrong, I felt like some kind of douchebag. Then I had to start asking myself am I a creeper, do I look weird? There were a lot of guys on our team who would say hi to the same girl and a lot of other things, some even inappropriate, but they were younger, skinny guys. I’m old and fat.

      The kicker in all this, a week later the same girl sent me a private message through our IM system at work asking me about something with our numbers. I went and talked to my manager explaining, that I’m really not into this “You may only speak to me when I summon you” thing. I either give her the creeps or I don’t. She either wants to talk to me or she don’t. I told my mgr that any communication between this girl and me should be done via email with our manager cc’d. My mgr thought that was reasonable and didn’t know why she would IM me like that. I thought she was baiting me though my mgr said she didn’t believe so.

      anyway, it’s a sticky subject. I’m a pretty nice guy I think, but it really stings when I’m being nice and get lumped into a category with stalkers and rapists.

      September 9, 2012 | 9:25 pm

        Emmie Mears

        That sounds like a bizarre situation, and I hope you don’t feel like I lumped you in with stalkers and rapists. This post, as I am sure you know, was not written in regards to you. It was in response to a very specific behaviour pattern.

        September 9, 2012 | 9:55 pm

Tim Miller

I know that, I’ve just seen a lot of comments regarding “men” in general. I was addressing that.

September 9, 2012 | 9:56 pm

mott342

I’ve begun several comments on this one and stopped each time. I have such high respect for women (yes, more than I do for men, so sue me, boys if I’m being sexist), and this subject angers me and makes me hurt for you and anyone who has to endure this kind of behavior. But I am also totally without the ability to not stare at someone I find attractive (female mostly, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some jaw-dropping [in my opinion] males that pull my gaze as well). I started to feel hypocritical getting all worked up and indignant, but it occured to me that appreciation (lecherous or otherwise) is not the same as violation. So, all that to say: I am sorry this happens as frequently as it does, and thank you agaiin for your openess–you spawn wonderful conversations, which is what makes you such an effective blogger.

September 10, 2012 | 6:21 pm

    Emmie Mears

    Marty, my dear, thank you for your thoughtful comment.

    Looking at someone and appreciating their beauty is one thing — the behaviour I’ve described in this post is something else altogether. Staring (unless accompanied by drool or a persistent angle of gaze directed obviously at a part of my anatomy I’d rather leave un-stared at) isn’t a huge issue to me.

    Looking is fine — but when it comes to allowing whatever goes through someone’s head to come out their mouth (ie: “I’d hit THAT!”), that’s where I draw the line. People can think whatever they want. It becomes uncomfortable for me and other women when they vocalise it in such a rude way.

    And thank YOU for participating in the conversation. My blog would be a boring place if people didn’t stop by and share their own thoughts. It might be my little soap box, but I like when other people join me on it. Especially when it comes to issues like this.

    September 10, 2012 | 6:29 pm

      mott342

      As always, I feel fortunate to have stumbled on your erudite ramblings. 🙂

      It occurs to me now that another facet of this behavior that has escaped comment (unless I missed it) is the implicit arrogance of hollering these things. Regardless of the sex at which it is delivered (or from which) it presupposes that the cat caller is “all that” and the cat callee is lucyk to have the caller’s attention. Basically the caller (sounds ominous that way, doesn’t it?) is saying, “This hottie will gladly jump my bones if I but say the word.” If violence weren’t often implied, it would almost make one want to turn to the aggressor and say, “Hey thanks for the nicely worded compliment, but you’re as ugly as hell and twice as stinky, so I’m gonna say no. Ta-ta.” Ah, the things we wish we could say.

      Continue your ZAP training, Emmie. Zombies, or lecherous perves, they’re all more or less shambling meat suits.

      September 10, 2012 | 7:19 pm

        Emmie Mears

        “Continue your ZAP training, Emmie. Zombies, or lecherous perves, they’re all more or less shambling meat suits.”

        Hahahahahaha — yes. This is true.

        Unless Danny Boyle had a hand in it, in which case endurance and speed are probably the most useful skills. 🙂

        I think I talked about a facet of what you said, but definitely didn’t address the arrogance issue. What I mentioned was the expectation that we will be flattered or pleased, which absolutely stems from arrogance on the part of the caller. (I’ll never read a regency romance the same way again. Though I never really read them anyway.) I WISH I could respond with snark and spite — unfortunately, when even the most even-keeled responses elicit anger and escalation, snark probably wouldn’t help the situation.

        But I can think it. 🙂

        September 10, 2012 | 7:57 pm

          mott342

          Well, you could finish off the snarky reply with a Ninja throwing star to the throat.

          Hmmm…I’m kinda thinkin’ I may have a short story blossoming here. 🙂

          September 10, 2012 | 8:27 pm

          Emmie Mears

          WRITE IT, WRITE IT, WRITE IT! 😀

          September 10, 2012 | 8:30 pm

Matthew Young

Ok, before I say anything else, I want to separate cat calls into three categories: “loud compliments,” “sexual demands” and “pickup attempts.” The latter two, I can see a problem with. Sexual demands are a problem, because no one has the right to TELL you to do something sexual. That’s disrespectful. I get that. Pickup requests, as you mentioned, are people who actually expect you to stop, acknowledge and/or interact with them. That’s a problem because at best your time is being wasted, and at worst they actually do mean you harm. I get that, as well. And needless to say, calling you a bitch or otherwise getting mad and/or insulting you when you don’t return their attention is beyond unacceptable.

I’d also like to say, I’ve never actually cat-called anyone myself. That’s just not me. That being said…

It’s the first category –loud compliments- where I and most guys don’t see the problem. Don’t tell me I wouldn’t love it if women hit on me like that; if you honestly think that guys wouldn’t enjoy that – if you think we DON’T enjoy that, then you CLEARLY do not have ANY understanding of how the male mind works. Which, come to think of it, is probably part of why you think this is so “degrading.” I’ve HAD women cat-call to me on the street. I DID like it. I liked it a LOT. Even if I found them completely unattractive, and there was zero chance I’d ever take an interest in them, just knowing that someone found me attractive made my day. I just smiled and waved. I don’t believe it was a “display of dominance” it certainly didn’t make me feel “dominated;” it made me feel grateful. I think your fear is causing you to assume motivations that aren’t there. I honestly don’t get how complimenting your appearance is degrading.

And then again, you lump following you, touching you and fondling you in with cat calls. NOT the same thing. Saying that fondling you is the same thing as cat-calling you is like equating a verbal insult with a punch in the face. One is words. The other is assault. If you can’t differentiate between the two, that’s YOUR issue. Honestly, I think this is what all this comes down to. It sounds to me like you bundle everything that men do that makes you uncomfortable together. You attach crude compliments to attempts to pick you up, which you attach to attempts to abduct you, which you attach to rape and whatever else would come after abduction.

No, not understanding why you would feel degraded because someone complimented your body does not “make us blame the victims of rape.” Nor is it “the denial of a woman’s personhood.” A man saying you’re hot does not mean he doesn’t see you as a person.

It also doesn’t make any sense to say that it’s a “products of a culture that values women’s boundaries less than men’s.” That would only make sense if there was a double standard where women who cat-called men were considered horrible people and men who cat-call women got off scott-free. That’s straight-up backwards. If anything, women who cat-call men are declared to be (let me see if I can remember the line from the feminist “slut and proud rally”) “modern, sexually-assertive women who will not be bound by patriarchal expectations that they be ashamed of their own sexuality;” while men who do it are simply “part of rape culture.”

September 11, 2012 | 11:01 am

    alienredqueen

    I have recently just relieved myself of a geriatric stalker, and, I’m telling you, even seemingly benign comments can start to become stressful and threatening. Especially if you have asked the person to cool it and they don’t. This 79 year old guy seemed convinced, no matter what I said, that if I didn’t have a child, I’d be over his house during the day when my husband was at work. I tried to be nice. It didn’t work. I tried to be stern. He would just be passive aggressive and say things to put me on the spot or embarrass me; “You really know how to hurt a guy” or worse, TO MY CHILD “Mommy’s mean to me…” He only finally stopped after my maintenance guy went over to his house on the behalf of several of the young women in the complex that he has apparently been pestering, and threatened to call the cops. Sometimes you just can’t win.

    September 11, 2012 | 1:35 pm

      Emmie Mears

      Wow. Thanks for sharing this comment. I agree — the primary problem with this sort of thing is when people have no respect or understanding of boundaries.

      September 11, 2012 | 2:54 pm

      Matthew Young

      I would put that in category two or three; I’m not even sure as that qualifies as cat-calling. That sounds like borderline stalking.

      September 11, 2012 | 3:39 pm

        Emmie Mears

        Yes. My point is that so much inappropriate behaviour begins with category one and progresses that it makes any loud compliment feel automatically threatening. I’ve had very few loud compliments that got left at that. The vast majority have turned into a pick-up attempt or following or worse, at least in my experience.

        September 11, 2012 | 3:43 pm

        Emmie Mears

        Also, thank you for being willing to discuss this issue and ponder it.

        September 11, 2012 | 3:44 pm

    Emmie Mears

    Thank you for your comment and for engaging in this issue.

    First of all, you mention that you don’t find it threatening when women catcall you. Your picture shows you to be extremely muscular — it’s likely that very few people (especially women) would threaten you physically or be able to overpower you. What it seems to me that you don’t understand is that what you describe as “loud compliments” very often escalate into something else. Perhaps you haven’t seen it happen, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t — and it also doesn’t mean that it’s not incredibly common.

    I’ve experienced (and many, many women of my acquaintance have mentioned the same) multiple occasions where something started with, “Wow, you’re looking hot!” The problem with this is that the person saying it expects a response. And they expect a positive response, meaning a thank you or a smile. If women don’t reply with a positive response and thank the person for his “compliment,” that’s when it often escalates. Then he makes her into a bitch for not being flattered. If you want to express to someone politely that you think they’re attractive, there are better ways of doing it. And if someone really doesn’t care how the object of this compliment responds, then why not just keep it to themselves?

    Back to the threat level, a lot of times when these loud compliments are called out, it involves a group of men and one woman by herself. Sometimes there is a group of women, but often it’s just one. Put yourself in my shoes for a moment and see: A) a group of strangers B) yelling loudly at me, probably something like “Hey baby” or “Damn, you’re hot” or something else that can hardly be classified as “polite.” C) I’m alone.

    If you were smaller, not as strong, and knew that people could overpower you — you would probably think of this issue in a much different light. I’m a tall woman and I work out, but I’m not naive enough to think that if a guy my size or bigger were to come at me that I, with no training in fighting, would necessarily be able to fight him off.

    The very first thing you should understand is that I do not know these people. I don’t know if they’re just being kind of douchey or if they’re looking for something else. If I respond with a positive “thank you,” (which frankly, they don’t deserve for yelling at me across a street or a parking lot, which is by and large considered a rather rude way of getting someone’s attention), it often becomes, “What’s your name? Where are you going?” And then I’m IN a conversation I didn’t want — and it becomes much more difficult to get out of this conversation. If I respond negatively in any way, either by ignoring it from the beginning or asking politely to be left alone, it often becomes, “Why are you being like that? I was just being friendly.”

    It immediately gets put on ME, when I didn’t solicit the attention, and it was offered rudely. Loud compliments are not polite. They’re not. Some women might feel comfortable with them, but most of the women I know don’t. And ultimately, that’s the point. You’re making an assumption by yelling comments about someone’s looks that they want to hear it, that they will appreciate it, and that they won’t feel threatened by you because you probably don’t intend them any harm. Most guys probably don’t MEAN any harm — but some do, and honestly, calling me a bitch or cold or any number of the other things that have been said to me for simply trying to extricate myself from one of these scenarios, that is harm. No, it’s not the same as a sock to the jaw. If you could walk in our shoes for a few days or weeks, you would probably understand more what I’m saying here.

    The moment a woman expresses disinterest in the attention, she becomes a “bitch.” Which is not fair, and that is what I meant by rape culture. Rape culture includes many, many facets of social interaction that don’t include actual rape. It means that women are expected to enjoy and feel grateful for a man’s attention even if they don’t want it and didn’t ask for it. As for blaming rape victims, it is precisely that mentality that causes that to happen. “Well, she was making out with me before.” or “She was drunk.” or “Did you see what she was WEARING? If she doesn’t want attention…” Those are statements that blame the victim, and yes, they are tied into not understanding why a woman wouldn’t want to hear your opinion about her body.

    What you’ve asserted here is that you believe men should be able to express their opinions on women’s bodies loudly and in public. And that they shouldn’t take offense to the mode of declaration. And that they should be thankful for it. You’re not thinking about the women. That’s thinking of men only, and how men feel about the way women look. That has absolutely nothing to do with women. When you choose to involve them by giving a “loud compliment,” you’re saying that everyone nearby should hear it. That they should hear your opinion on their body. And while to you it may sound like a compliment, most of us don’t care to have attention drawn to us like that. Because if you honestly just thought, “Yeah, she’s hot,” you’d just keep it to yourself. By vocalising it, you push your attention outside of yourself and onto someone else who may or may not want it and could very well be made uncomfortable by it. When you do that, you’re saying you don’t care if it makes her uncomfortable and you don’t care if it makes her feel unsafe.

    It’s not about how you assess the attention you’re giving when it comes to sexuality (which this is about) — it’s how the recipient feels about it. Period.

    That goes the other way, too. Men shouldn’t be made uncomfortable by women’s attention either — and it does happen. I appreciate that you personally don’t catcall, but the next time you’re around someone who does, stop and watch the woman’s body language. And consider that it might have made her uncomfortable. And if you notice that it did? Say something to your friend or acquaintance.

    September 11, 2012 | 3:23 pm

      Matthew Young

      Actually, I never said I didn’t find it threatening. Obviously I don’t; but I’m not going to stand here and say “I’m not worried about what someone fifty plus pounds below my weight class are thinking, so you shouldn’t be concerned about some big dude across the street.” What I said was that I don’t find it degrading. That being said; I still think it’s a bit of an over-reaction to fear for your safety because some worker said you were hot as you passed a construction site.

      You mention that loud compliments escalate. When it escalates, that’s a problem. But the problem is what it escalates to, not the cat calls themselves. I’ve seen videos political debates that escalate to all-out brawls; fists fights and thrown furniture and government buildings! That doesn’t mean that political debate is a horrible thing; and just like political debate, I think that automatically assuming someone saying you’re hot is going to escalate into something worse isn’t entirely reasonable.

      As for them expecting a response; my response was to smile, wave, and keep on walking. I get that loud comments aren’t exactly classy; it’s why I never did it myself. But to tag anything that involves “women being expected to enjoy and feel grateful for a man’s attention even if they don’t want it and didn’t ask for it” as “rape culture?” By your definition, anyone who’s ever approached someone they were interested in and got shot down was part of “rape culture.” When has anyone ever given their attention to someone they were romantically/sexually interested in without expecting they would enjoy it? What would be the POINT? You don’t know if someone would be interested in you until you take a chance.

      As for blaming the victims of rape; you understand there’s a difference between “she deserved to get raped” and “I’m not terribly surprised that she got raped while walking half naked through the ghetto in the middle of the night?” I feel like sometimes the latter gets confused with the former. Rape, like every crime, violent or otherwise, has certain behaviors that are going to make you a more likely target. I don’t deserve to have my car stolen just because I accidentally left my windows open. I SHOULD be able to leave the windows open and the key within and not have to worry about it. It’s my car. No one has the right to steal it; and windows down is not an invitation to do so. That being said; I put them up every night because regardless of how things SHOULD be, part of being an adult is understanding how things ARE.

      I don’t think men SHOULD engage in cat calling; it’s trashy. But no, I don’t think women should take offense at it. A little annoyance? Sure. But I think that tone I most often hear expressed from women in regards to the matter is an over-reaction. I don’t understand why someone should feel degraded because someone said that they liked something about you. I get that they couldn’t have found a better way of doing it but ultimately “nice ass” (one of the things that’s been said to me) is someone saying that something about you is aesthetically pleasing. I consider that a good thing, even if I didn’t ask for it (especially if I didn’t ask for it. Come to think of it, who actually ASKS for it? That’d be kind of sad).

      September 11, 2012 | 5:32 pm

Angela Goff (@Angela_Goff)

Damn straight. I’m with you on this one, Emmie. *fist bump*

September 13, 2012 | 10:24 am

    Emmie Mears

    Every woman I have talked to about it feels the same — it is a pretty clear cut issue for thos of us with the XX, it seems. 🙂

    September 13, 2012 | 2:52 pm

» Big Girls Don’t Cry… Pretty Thing

[…] Why Catcalls Feel Threatening […]

September 15, 2012 | 8:23 pm

[link] On Men Who Think Street Harassment Would Be Awesome « slendermeans

[…] Why Catcalls Feel Threatening (emmiemears.com) […]

October 26, 2012 | 2:42 pm

Jean

First off, Matthew Young, rape rarely happens on the street. Your analogy about how you should be able to leave your car unlocked but you can’t because of possible theft is a terrible metaphor for how women should be able to walk around in the street half naked but if they do get raped. Common man. You are saying that rape happens because women walk around in the street half-naked and men are too stupid to help themselves. This is exactly the kind of threatening, twisted logic that Emmie writes so well about. As a woman, the writer can’t even discuss rape culture without being attacked within one paragraph about how women should not walk half-naked in the street.

Cat calls are very threatening. I, like all women, have struggled with this since age 15.

Once was running in a sports bra and a car slammed on the breaks right next to me and screamed some obscenity I couldn’t understand. The sudden noise/scream/ vehicle two feet from me caused me to fall at a fast sprint and fractured my ankle. I have an enormous scar on my knee from the incident.

Another time a cop called me a little squeeze and asked to drive me home because it was dangerous to be a ‘young woman walking home at night’. I felt scared the whole walk home after that.

Another time I had an egg thrown at me and a guy screamed “can I lick it off”

Also, I’m an amputee so I get all sort of amputee comments on top of this. I’ve been screamed at through cars the following phrases: “You are still rockin’ it” “I’d tap that one-armed bitch” “you got a hook to hand-job me?”

Then there are the usual squeals, name-calling, and threatening statements that put an awful feeling in your stomach.

So Matthew Young, I can tell you are smart. You write well. Use it. If you could have a vagina and boobs for day, my guess is you’d be crying. So be a man and respect the wises/complaints all of the women in your life who have been threatened by the seemingly harmless cat call. It is far far from harmless.

November 13, 2012 | 9:30 pm

    Matthew Young

    Jean, if your claim that rape rarely happens on the street is accurate, then why is it that so many women seem to be saying that part of the reason that cat-calls are such a problem is that they represent a potential rape scenario? Why are they so AFRAID of being raped by men on the street? If your claim is accurate, and my analogy is so terrible, then by extension all these women are psyching themselves out over nothing.

    “You are saying that rape happens because women walk around in the street half-naked and men are too stupid to help themselves.”

    That’s not remotely what I’m saying. I’m saying that your car is more likely to get stolen if you leave the doors unlocked or (in case of a convertible) the top down, and the keys in the ignition. It’s a more tempting target to car thieves. It’s not that car thieves “are too stupid to help themselves.” It’s that they’re car thieves, and a vehicle that they can jump into without having to pick a lock, break a window, jimmy a door, hot wire or worry about an alarm is a more tempting target than a modern vehicle with a clear security system they have to deal with, and thus they’re more likely to hit it.

    Perhaps another metaphor. Who’s more likely to get mugged in a back alley – a short, skinny man in a suit counting a huge wad of cash, or a 6’5, well built man in a tank top and nothing his hands? It’s not that the skinny guy deserves to get mugged. Nobody does. And it’s not that they mugger is “too stupid to help himself.” It’s that the little guy with the cash is a more attractive target; and -regardless of how unfair or unjust it might be- that makes him a more likely victim.

    “This is exactly the kind of threatening, twisted logic that Emmie writes so well about.”

    It’s twisted logic, alright. It’s people like YOU twisting my ACTUALY logic into something that fits your crusader mentality better. You apply meaning that just isn’t there because you’ve so convinced yourself that “rape culture” is everywhere that you actually SEE it everywhere; regardless of if it’s actually there or not. You’re like the minorities who convince themselves the chef is racist if their steak comes out a little overdone.

    “As a woman, the writer can’t even discuss rape culture without being attacked within one paragraph about how women should not walk half-naked in the street.”

    Case in point. I didn’t “attack her as a woman.” I didn’t attack her at all. I disagreed with her. I didn’t make it personal, I didn’t make ad-hominem attacks, I didn’t say “zomg ur a slut lulz.” I presented an alternate way of looking at things. It’s what objective-thinking adults do. Insistence on a one-sided conversation is both counter-productive and childish, and if you take everyone that presents a disagreement in a civil manner personally; that’s YOUR issue, not mine.

    “Cat calls are very threatening. I, like all women, have struggled with this since age 15. ”

    Why? You just got through saying rape rarely happens on the street, so what exactly is the threat?

    “Once was running in a sports bra and a car slammed on the breaks right next to me and screamed some obscenity I couldn’t understand. The sudden noise/scream/ vehicle two feet from me caused me to fall at a fast sprint and fractured my ankle. I have an enormous scar on my knee from the incident.”

    1. Not sure if you actually READ what I wrote, or just decided that I’m just another guy you’d like to rant at, but I made a clear distinction, more than once, between shouting obscenities and loud compliments. Again, you ignore this because it’s easier to simply pigeon-hole me into the archetypical “clueless male” you seem to have decided I am, than to take an objective look at what I actually said.

    2. The fact that a sudden commotion startled you and made you fall and hurt yourself doesn’t make it any more malicious than someone getting in a fender-bender.

    “Another time a cop called me a little squeeze and asked to drive me home because it was dangerous to be a ‘young woman walking home at night’. I felt scared the whole walk home after that.”

    Did it at all occur to you that someone who was doubtlessly more aware of the crime statistics in your area, and is legally and professionally responsible for your safety and well-being just might have been concerned for your safety and offering to give you a ride home? Or is it simply easier to once again assume the worst because it was a guy?

    “Another time I had an egg thrown at me and a guy screamed “can I lick it off””

    Oh c’mon. Now you’re stretching it. That’s not even cat-calling. That’s just plain old assault. Obviously that’s wrong. I SAID that.

    “So Matthew Young, I can tell you are smart. You write well. Use it. If you could have a vagina and boobs for day, my guess is you’d be crying. ”

    Oh please. I lived through being a mixed-race kid in a town with an active chapter of the klan. They don’t yell about how good they think you look. They just threaten to kill you. You think “hey baby nice ass” makes you feel uneasy? You should try hearing “better run boy, yo foot touches mah lawn, we gonna have a problem” from an angry looking man with a gun. You had an egg thrown at you? That’s a shame. I had my skull cracked open with a 2×4. I was assaulted with a knife. I could probably handle a few inappropriate suggestions.

    Don’t fool yourself into think you have some kind of exclusive monopoly on social injustice because you’re a woman. I don’t say what I do because I don’t understand what it’s like to feel threatened on the street. I do it because I refuse to let my experience rob me of my objectivity.

    November 14, 2012 | 9:40 am

      Emmie Mears

      Just because rape is less likely to happen on the street as opposed to in a home or by someone known to the victim does not at all decrease the seriousness of the possibility of it happening. It can and does happen by strangers on the street. Just because it’s a less likely scenario in no way means that catcalls are automatically benign and that women are overreacting. That’s extremely flawed logic.

      What is the threat? The threat is that A: it still happens, even if it accounts for a relatively small percentage of the astronomical number of rapes on the planet, and B: there are other threatening things that can happen that fall short of actual rape, and you are completely dismissing the emotional effects and damage this sort of thing causes for women in favour of defending men who make women uncomfortable. Even loud compliments make most women uncomfortable. I said it before, and I’ll repeat it: they’re not overreacting. If an action makes someone uncomfortable and someone continues to perform the same action knowing that, the blame assessed belongs to the person who refuses to stop performing or defending an action that makes someone uncomfortable. In a large number of the situations I’ve experienced, the men catcalling me could SEE that it made me uncomfortable and found that fact funny. That’s abominable.

      Catcalling makes most women uncomfortable. Period. There is a definitive difference between politely approaching someone out of attraction and treating them like a human being or yelling at them from across a street or wherever. One is respectful. The other is rude and harassing. While the respectful approach may still make someone uncomfortable, I wouldn’t call it harassment until the person on the receiving end tries to remove herself from the conversation and the approacher refuses to to let her somehow, either by pushing the issue becoming rude about being rejected.

      Your point is that loud compliments don’t seem like they should be harmful. Even in and of themselves, I feel that they are. They are distracting, embarrassing for most people, and create feelings of anxiety and nervousness, especially because in the experience of most women, they tend to never stop there.

      If you really want to be objective, try to get in our shoes. Your situation was different in that it was confined to a fairly hostile town and also — if you’d been a woman in that same situation, your level of danger would have been even higher. I’m not trying to discount the violence you experienced, merely asking you to try and understand the breadth of our situation beyond what you seem to be willing to. Ours extends wherever we go, to any time of day, just about anywhere in the world (and in many places, the chance of escalation spikes immediately from words to outright assault and rape, even physical punishment on the part of the law). That is the perspective we’re coming from.

      Just because you think there is no inherent threat in catcalls doesn’t mean there is no threat.

      November 14, 2012 | 2:16 pm

A Question on Catcalls « Emmie Mears

[…] the last 24 hours, I’ve gotten a couple new comments on my post from a while back, Why Catcalls Feel Threatening. One from a woman defending my points, and another from a man attempting to refute […]

November 14, 2012 | 2:22 pm

Matthew Young

Emmie,

“Just because rape is less likely to happen on the street as opposed to in a home or by someone known to the victim does not at all decrease the seriousness of the possibility of it happening. It can and does happen by strangers on the street. Just because it’s a less likely scenario in no way means that catcalls are automatically benign and that women are overreacting. That’s extremely flawed logic.”

But jean’s claim was that rape happening on the street is such a rarity that my analogy was absurd. If it’s that rare, then it shouldn’t really be a concern. If it’s not, then my original point stands.

“B: there are other threatening things that can happen that fall short of actual rape, and you are completely dismissing the emotional effects and damage this sort of thing causes for women in favour of defending men who make women uncomfortable.”

A. Discounting sexual assault, it doesn’t seem to me that a man cat-calling raises the likelihood that he’s about to harm.
B. I’m trying to understand why someone saying something they like about you should cause you “emotional damage” in the first place.

“Even loud compliments make most women uncomfortable. I said it before, and I’ll repeat it: they’re not overreacting. If an action makes someone uncomfortable and someone continues to perform the same action knowing that, the blame assessed belongs to the person who refuses to stop performing or defending an action that makes someone uncomfortable.”

Really. So all those gay people should just shuffle back into the closet because they’re making ultra-conservatives uncomfortable? People are obligated to refrain from doing things that make others uncomfortable only when said others have reasonable cause to be uncomfortable. Again, I do not condone cat calling because I consider it to be crass, impolite, ungentlemanly behavior. But I don’t think it should be emotionally scarring, either.

“There is a definitive difference between politely approaching someone out of attraction and treating them like a human being or yelling at them from across a street or wherever. One is respectful. The other is rude and harassing. While the respectful approach may still make someone uncomfortable, I wouldn’t call it harassment until the person on the receiving end tries to remove herself from the conversation and the approacher refuses to to let her somehow, either by pushing the issue becoming rude about being rejected.”

Yea, because I’m sure that some guy who was staring at a woman walking over to her and complimenting her from within arm’s reach is going to make it MUCH less threatening. Some of the women I know would have their fight-or-flight instinct primed and their finger on the mace trigger by the time he close enough for her to hear her. If a woman is terrified of someone from a hundred feet away but comfortable with him closing the distance on her, I would concerned for her tactical savvy.

“If you really want to be objective, try to get in our shoes. Your situation was different in that it was confined to a fairly hostile town”

So what? I was fifteen years old. My only means of transportation was a 10 speed bike and social networking wouldn’t be around for another decade. That town might as well have been the entire world. I had to live there. I had to walk to school there. The fact that fifty miles away, in an area that I didn’t get to be in, were more civilized people; wasn’t exactly comforting.

“and also — if you’d been a woman in that same situation, your level of danger would have been even higher.”

Again, so what? Whether the level of danger may have been higher had I been female or not is completely irrelevant. The fact remains that some redneck with a shotgun threatening to kill you –not saying something that you feel might imply he doesn’t like you, but actually threatening to kill you- is a hell of a lot more threatening than someone saying they like your ass, and getting your skull split wide open is a bit more severe than getting hit with an egg. And there wasn’t this swarm of social campaigns showing support for me and my situation. There were no Facebook campaigns or Twitter trends; I dealt with threats that were actually MEANT to be threats, I dealt with them alone, and I was told to just man up and deal with it.

And for the record, while that town was easily the worst I dealt with, don’t think that that I’ve simply forgotten what it was like because I left, either. Half the people I come in contact with think I’m middle eastern, and I live in south, 10 minutes from the country’s largest marine base, not to mention an awful lot of military grave yards where people go to visit the love ones that were killed in battle. I’ll let you work out how well that’s played out post 9/11.

Look, I’m not trying to start a “woe is me” pissing contest here. I wouldn’t have even brought it up, because I don’t like moaning about such things. My point is that she doesn’t get to tell me that I couldn’t handle being a girl because people might shout things about my body when I grew up with beatings and death threats. I take exception to that. She can talk about what she’s been through all she wants; but when she starts acting like I just don’t get it because I’ve somehow had it easy because I was born with a penis? No. That doesn’t fly.

November 14, 2012 | 5:03 pm

denelian

i’, going to regret this…

Mathew Young,

you are refusing to get the point, and PART of the point? is WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

you don’t get to tell people what their experiences are. that’s a big part of it.

second – catcalling – it is NOT a compliment. it isn’t. because it REDUCES THE CALLEE TO WHATEVER IS BEING COMPLIMENTED. i’m not a PERSON to the caller – i’m “a nice pair of tits” or a “great ass”. and when i’m made uncomfortable or mad or upset or scared, i am then ATTACKED for not taking the “compliment” of being told that ALL i am to that caller? is a fucking sex toy.

because THAT IS WHAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE WHO SCREAM THESE RUDE THINGS ARE SAYING – that all i am is something [not someONE – someTHING] that they have a current sexual desire for.

your analogy of a car FAILS because this? isn’t a material object. it’s ME. i don’t care if i’m buck-ass naked, NO ONE has the right to do ANYTHING to me that i don’t want them to. period. because this is ME, not a car.
[and, incidentally – you might be given shit for leaving a window down, or walking down a dark alley with cash. you won’t be told “It’s YOUR fault for being a woman”. which is what women are told when we are sexually assaulted. not just raped. sexually assaulted in anyway. INCLUDING VERBAL ASSAULT. which cat-calls? are verbal assault]

it is a denial of our right to just walk in peace, to NOT be reduced to a sex toy. all. the. time.

and you, defending it? are PART OF THE PROBLEM. because best stats right now, in the US, say that 1-in-14 men have or will rape – and the REAL problem isn’t that. it’s the 11-in-14 who DON’T DO ANYTHING TO STOP IT. who laugh at rape jokes. who defend the status quo. who continue to say asinine shit like “no one deserves it, but she WAS wearing that, and really, what did she expect?”

and honestly? that’s even MORE insulting to MEN than to WOMEN – it’s saying “look, i have a penis, and thus i am COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY FUCKING INCAPABLE OF CONTROLLING MYSELF”
and maybe that cat-caller isn’t a RAPIST – but, apparently, he *IS* completely and totally fucking incapable of controlling himself, because he “just can’t help” yelling assholish, dickish things at any woman he decides is fuckable. and almost always, the assholes who yell these things? they are NOT trying to “compliment” – THEY ARE TRYING TO GET A REACTION. they KNOW it won’t be a positive reaction – they don’t CARE. they WANT to upset/make uncomfortable. THEN, when we don’t respond positively, THEN it’s “why you bein’ that way?” or “don’t be a bitch” or “fuck you i was being nice!”

if you were being nice, you wouldn’t shout at me, a random stranger you have zero respect for, in such a way as to PROVE you have zero respect. you want to be respectful and show me POSITIVE attention, try it. give a NICE compliment, in a nice way.

that STARTS with respecting the fact that i am a PERSON, i.e. more than the sum of me secondary sexual characteristics. it CONTINUES with being POLITE – if you wouldn’t say it to your GRANDMOTHER, why the fuck would you say it to a total stranger you’re hoping to elicit a positive reaction from? and it ENDS with more politeness and respect and social skills to recognize how your behavior is being taken.

guys who come up to me? yeah, i’m generally NOT happy with it. but it depends on how they do it – there ARE ways that don’t look immediately threatening.

and i’m not worried about Random Stranger raping me in the middle of the godsdamned street – i’m worried that he’s cat-called me, he’s insulted me – now he might follow me, stalk me, then he might attack me – not always rape. i’ve had 3 guys get so mad that i wouldn’t “take the compliment” that they stalked me, threw things at me, or personally attempted to assault me. [i.e. they shouted obscene things at me – “look at those tits, i’d love to cum all over them! will you let me tittie fuck you?” which i ignored, and THAT turned into “hey? the fuck? bitch, i’m TALKING TO YOU! get back here! i asked you a question!” to the guy sprinting up and GRABBING MY ARM. which led, in three easy steps, to him having a BROKEN arm – but that’s because unlike most women i have lots of training in multiple martial arts. and PTSD.]

that’s 3/1000 i grant.

it’s THREE TOO MANY.

and they’re ALL hiding behind people like you, who tell me that *MY* experience, and the experiences of all the women i know, don’t MATTER as much as that of some random guy who hasn’t gone through it.

you, as a guy, are NOT taught since birth that you are LESSOR, that you will NEVER be as important as a guy – you haven’t had all of society trying, at all times, to reduce you to nothing more than a sex object. it’s DEHUMANIZING. and YOU ARE HELPING THE DEHUMANIZING PROCESS by telling us that HOW WE FEEL ABOUT AT MINIMUM VERBAL ASSAULT IS “WRONG”.

nope.

verbal assault IS ILLEGAL. cat-calling is ILLEGAL.

‘course, since it’s a crime primarily against women, good fucking luck getting LEO to pay any fucking ATTENTION to it. they still don’t take RAPE seriously!

you’ve been REAL big on “have you actually read what i said” here.
READ WHAT THE WOMEN HERE ARE SAYING. remove how YOU feel about the right to say whatever you want to anyone with a pair of tits [whether or not you do it]. LISTEN TO OUR VALID EXPERIENCE AND ACCEPT THAT IT IS TRUE.

that’s all that anyone really wants. for others to accept that the reality they live IS REAL. you are trying to tell us that the shit we live with DAILY isn’t real.

you don’t get to make that call for us. your options are to either A) fuck off and continue to not get it because you’re continuing to invalidate *OUR* experience because it isn’t *YOUR* experience, or B) accept that it ISN’T YOUR experience, it is OURS, and that WE are the ones who know our experience is. and accept that it is so.
we aren’t asking ANYTHING else of you, except that you fucking accept that this is so. we HOPE that maybe you’ll try and stop it from happening, but we aren’t actually asking that – just that you STOP TELLING US THAT WHAT WE LIVE THROUGH ISN’T WHAT WE LIVE THROUGH. stop trying to tell us what happens to us, and listen when WE tell YOU what happens to us. *WE* actually live it, you know.

November 19, 2012 | 6:55 am

    Matthew Young

    “You don’t get to tell people what their experiences are. that’s a big part of it.”

    When exactly did I tell someone what their experiences was?

    “second – catcalling – it is NOT a compliment. it isn’t. because it REDUCES THE CALLEE TO WHATEVER IS BEING COMPLIMENTED. i’m not a PERSON to the caller – i’m “a nice pair of tits” or a “great ass”.

    You could use that logic on a polite compliment from a loved one. By that logic, “oh, Sarah, I love your new hairstyle” reduces them to a hairstyle. Complimenting one aspect of a person, be it a physical trait or something less tangible, is not a statement or indication that there are no other qualities about said person. It merely states that the feature around which the compliment is given stands out and is immediately evident.

    That you extrapolate implications that are neither stated nor implied is your own issue. I suspect that’s one of the reasons this bothers women and not men: in my experience, men typically take compliments at face value, in the spirit they were given, while far too many women simply jump to the worse possible implications. Case in point, you tell a man he’s got a nice butt, the man thinks “awesome, that woman thinks I have a nice butt” and goes about his day a little happier for the compliment. You tell a woman she’s got a nice butt, and far too often, she thinks –in your own words- “i’m not a PERSON to the caller. I’m just a nice butt.” That just seems like an unhealthy level of pessimism to me.

    “and when i’m made uncomfortable or mad or upset or scared, i am then ATTACKED for not taking the “compliment” of being told that ALL i am to that caller? is a fucking sex toy.”

    It’s frustrating that I have to keep repeating this. I don’t know if you and the others are simply not reading what you’re responding to, or if for some reason you’re having difficulty understanding this, but I have not defended attacking a woman for not accepting a cat call. The very first thing I did in the very first post I made was separate the loud compliments from the more aggressive and inappropriate behavior.
    As I explained above, saying you have a nice ass is not saying that all you are are is a nice ass or a “fuck toy” as you put it. That’s at best an unreasonably pessimistic extrapolation and at worst a projection of your own insecurities.

    “because THAT IS WHAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE WHO SCREAM THESE RUDE THINGS ARE SAYING – that all i am is something [not someONE – someTHING] that they have a current sexual desire for.”

    No. It’s not. Saying you have a nice ass is not saying you have nothing BUT a nice ass any more than saying that you’re smart is saying that you’re not funny or attractive as well. It’s a person complimenting the aspect of you that immediately jumps out at them from a glance.

    “your analogy of a car FAILS because this? isn’t a material object. it’s ME. i don’t care if i’m buck-ass naked, NO ONE has the right to do ANYTHING to me that i don’t want them to. period. because this is ME, not a car.”

    Really? Well, golly-gosh, do you suppose that maybe, just maybe, that’s why I FLAT OUT SAID: “No one has the right to steal it; and windows down IS NOT AN INVITATION DO TO DO SO.”

    THAT’S THE WHOLE FREAKING POINT. OF COURSE NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO DO ANHYTHING TO YOU THAT YOU DON’T WANT THEM TO. Why is this so hard for people like you to understand? I have NEVER, not ONCE said or implied otherwise! But saying “no one has the right to commit crime X, even under circumstance Y” in no way invalidates the claim that “crime X is more likely to occur under circumstance Y than under circumstance W.”

    No, no one has the right to do anything to you that you don’t want them to. Just like no one has the right to mug me. That doesn’t change the fact that –REGARDLESS of whether they have a RIGHT to do so or not- someone is far more likely TO mug me if I look like a weak, unarmed man carrying a fat wad of cash than if I look like a large, dangerous man with $5.00 in my pocket.

    I don’t know why this concept is so hard to understand: acknowledging and understanding the things that are going to make you a more likely target of a crime is not the same thing as saying the crime is ok because you engaged in said behavior. It is simply a matter of realistic, rational thought. Your problem is that you are approaching this like some kind of strike – taking a stand on principle and hoping that the people you’re striking against will get the message that you’re not about to change. The problem? The people you’re trying to send a message to ARE RAPISTS. They’re the scum of the earth. They don’t give a damn about your principles, they CERTAINLY don’t give a damn if you refuse to avoid the behavior that makes you more of a target; in fact they HOPE that you won’t. They’re not going to be embarrassed or shamed into changing; if they cared about public perception of them they wouldn’t be raping people in the first place!

    “and maybe that cat-caller isn’t a RAPIST – but, apparently, he *IS* completely and totally fucking incapable of controlling himself, because he “just can’t help” yelling assholish, dickish things at any woman he decides is fuckable.”

    What is it with people like you and your insistence on inserting the words “he can’t help” into my mouth. I never said that. I never implied that. It’s like you’ve simplified your social view so much that you’ve convinced yourself that anyone who sees more than one angle to an issue like this automatically fits perfectly into this neat little archetype that you’ve created. I never said that cat-callers can’t control themselves. I never said they have a right to cat-call. I never said that by wearing or behaving a certain way, that makes it ok for anyone to do anything. I have never said or implied ANY of these things. The fact that YOU insist on ATTACHING these things to my words simply serves to reinforce my belief that a big part of why this bothers you is that you attach meaning words that simply are. Not. There.

    “and almost always, the assholes who yell these things? they are NOT trying to “compliment” – THEY ARE TRYING TO GET A REACTION. they KNOW it won’t be a positive reaction – they don’t CARE.”

    First of all, trying to compliment someone and trying to get a reaction are not mutually exclusive things. When I compliment my wife, I’m trying to get a reaction. I’m hoping she’ll smile. Have you considered that perhaps they DO care and are hoping that it WILL be a positive reaction? I realize it’s a deluded, unrealistic hope; but perhaps it’s a hope none the less.

    “THEN, when we don’t respond positively, THEN it’s “why you bein’ that way?” or “don’t be a bitch” or “fuck you i was being nice!”

    And I’ve said more than once how wrong this is. But a negative reaction to your LACK of reaction (or are you referring to flipping them off as “not responding positively?” Because that’s a whole other ball of worms. I’m going to just assume you mean simply walking away) does not make the initial compliment itself such a horrible thing.

    “if you were being nice, you wouldn’t shout at me, a random stranger you have zero respect for, in such a way as to PROVE you have zero respect.”

    Complimenting you doesn’t mean someone has zero respect for you. Not everyone shows respect in the same way.

    “you want to be respectful and show me POSITIVE attention, try it. give a NICE compliment, in a nice way.”

    Have you considered that perhaps what YOU consider to be a nice compliment and what THEY consider to be a nice compliment differ? That perhaps some of them actually thought they WERE giving you a nice compliment and you took it as something else?

    “that STARTS with respecting the fact that i am a PERSON, i.e. more than the sum of me secondary sexual characteristics.”

    You’re right. Next time, they should simply their magical personality/intelligence vision to evaluate who you are, at a glance, and compliment you at that. This is what I mean by pessimism. Guys focus on what people ARE complimenting. You’re focus on what people are NOT. Instead of feeling good that someone thought SOMETHING about you is better than most people, you’re pissed off they DIDN’T tell you that OTHER things are better than most people. You think that because they mentioned ONE thing as great, they’re implying that it’s the ONLY thing about you that’s great.

    “it CONTINUES with being POLITE – if you wouldn’t say it to your GRANDMOTHER, why the fuck would you say it to a total stranger you’re hoping to elicit a positive reaction from?”

    Agreed. I’ve said this from the start; and this is why, while I think that there is a lot of over-reaction to your average cat-call, I still don’t think it’s appropriate. I don’t think that loud compliments are the grandiose evil that they’re presented to be, but it is bad manners and bad taste. Of that, I concur.

    “guys who come up to me? yeah, i’m generally NOT happy with it. but it depends on how they do it – there ARE ways that don’t look immediately threatening.”

    It’s very, very difficult. There are women who convince themselves that getting within 10 feet and talking to you represents a significant enough threat to kick you in the balls or mace you. There’s a quote going around from a noted feminist saying that women have to look at every man as a potential rapist. That being the case, I find it difficult to accept that a woman would consider saying something loudly from across the street and not moving as less threatening than looking at you, and then crossing the street TO you, walking to within arms’ length and THEN saying something. You do THAT, and the story she tells later changes from “today someone yelled something from across the street and I felt disrespected” to “this total stranger looked at me from across the street and then walked all the way up to me to tell me that [insert comment]. I was afraid he was going to do something to me.” To be perfectly honest, I find this a far more reasonable thing to feel threatened about. It’s a primal, ingrained, hard-wired instinct in humans to be on guard when an unknown person or animal that appears to be capable of posing a physical threat approaches you with unclear motivation.

    “and i’m not worried about Random Stranger raping me in the middle of the godsdamned street – i’m worried that he’s cat-called me, he’s insulted me – now he might follow me, stalk me, then he might attack me – not always rape. i’ve had 3 guys get so mad that i wouldn’t “take the compliment” that they stalked me, threw things at me, or personally attempted to assault me. [i.e. they shouted obscene things at me – “look at those tits, i’d love to cum all over them! will you let me tittie fuck you?” which i ignored, and THAT turned into “hey? the fuck? bitch, i’m TALKING TO YOU! get back here! i asked you a question!” to the guy sprinting up and GRABBING MY ARM. which led, in three easy steps, to him having a BROKEN arm – but that’s because unlike most women i have lots of training in multiple martial arts. and PTSD.] “

    And it didn’t occur to you that a guy who said he wanted to cum on your tits, then followed and grabbed you might have had rape on his mind? Seriously?

    “and they’re ALL hiding behind people like you, who tell me that *MY* experience, and the experiences of all the women i know, don’t MATTER as much as that of some random guy who hasn’t gone through it.”

    Never said your experiences “don’t’ matter as much.” That’s what SHE SAID TO ME. SHE made it personal. I said that she doesn’t get to tell me that I couldn’t handle getting cat-calls and eggs thrown at me from across the street; when I’ve had my skull cracked open, guns pointed at my head, fought armed attackers and have been told on more than once occasion that I was going to be killed. To think that your experiences are so unique, and so much worse than mine just because you’ve got a vagina is as insulting as it is ignorant and self-centered.
    The difference between me and you isn’t that I’ve never had to deal with social injustice. The difference between me and you is that you’re encouraged by other women to share your struggles and then they tell you how strong you are for “enduring” the mean words, while men like me are told to quit bitching and man up the day after we leave the hospital with stitches.

    “you, as a guy, are NOT taught since birth that you are LESSOR that you will NEVER be as important as a guy – you haven’t had all of society trying, at all times, to reduce you to nothing more than a sex object.”

    “victims, aren’t we all?” Fine. Alright, wanna do the “social injustice pissing contest” game? Seems rather childish, but whatever. Let’s play. I’ll ignore for a moment the fact that “all of society” has never done ANYTHING to ANYONE, EVER. That would require a level of agreement that even “MOST of society” has never been able to attain. I’ll further ignore the fact that there are more women than men in the world, and that by your logic, feminists are either not part of society, or are themselves trying to reduce you to a sex object.

    “ I, as a guy,” are taught since that I am the great oppressor, responsible for all of the world’s ills. I’m taught that women are not to be seen as weaker than I, yet that I’m never to hit one, even if she punches me in square in the face. I’m taught that women do not need me to protect or take care of them; but that I’m not a man if I fail to do so anyway. Every movie, every TV show, every piece of pop culture I’ve experienced in the past twenty years has hammered home the trope of the stupid, bumbling husband whose far more intelligent wife has to clean fix the messes he makes and tolerate his crazy bumbling.

    And, of course, I, as a black man, are taught that if I don’t frighten white people, I’m somehow trying to “not be black.” That if I’m articulate and civilized; that if I don’t listen to angry music filled with lyrics that make me uncomfortable, that I’m an uncle Tom. And yet, if I do any of those things, I’m told that I’m perpetuating a negative stereotype that drags down my people.

    But I suppose none of that matters right? Because hey, I have a penis. So I’m the bad guy. Naturally I have no idea what it’s like to deal with day to day hardships or social injustice.

    “verbal assault IS ILLEGAL. cat-calling is ILLEGAL.”

    Where is cat calling illegal? That seems like it’d be difficult to uphold and enforced in a free speech society.

    “‘course, since it’s a crime primarily against women, good fucking luck getting LEO to pay any fucking ATTENTION to it. they still don’t take RAPE seriously!”

    Who or what is LEO? I’m starting to sense a possible cultural barrier here…

    “you’ve been REAL big on “have you actually read what i said” here.”

    And yet, you clearly haven’t, because you keep putting words in my mouth.

    “remove how YOU feel about the right to say whatever you want to anyone with a pair of tits [whether or not you do it].”

    I don’t feel that anyone has the right to say whatever they want to anyone, tits or otherwise. That’s nonsense. It floors me that you JUST got through saying that I’ve been real big on people reading what I’ve actually said, and yet here you are dropping this crap on me, and clearly IGNORING how many times I’ve said that it’s WRONG to say certain things.

    “LISTEN TO OUR VALID EXPERIENCE AND ACCEPT THAT IT IS TRUE.”

    I’ve never doubted your experiences were true. I’ve simply questioned the conclusions you’ve drawn from them.

    “that’s all that anyone really wants. for others to accept that the reality they live IS REAL. you are trying to tell us that the shit we live with DAILY isn’t real. “

    No, I’m not. I’m telling you that you are interjecting meaning into things that isn’t there. I BELIEVE it to be true in the case of cat-calls, I KNOW it to be true in the case of the things that I’ve said. And the fact that you have so ROYALLY and RIDICULOUSLY misquoted me screwed up my words goes a LONG way towards reinforcing these beliefs. You have made several TEXT BOOK examples of what I’m talking about.

    “accept that it ISN’T YOUR experience, it is OURS, and that WE are the ones who know our experience is.”

    Once again, your experience is not the same as the conclusions you’ve drawn from said experience. On the contrary; psychology 101 says that more often than not, the more personal something is for someone, the LESS able they are to look at it objectively. This is particularly true when an experience is traumatic. When an event in our life haunts us, it’s extremely common for the memories of that event to taint how we analyze and perceive other events that share any similarities to it. Why do you think it is that during jury selection, they’ll commonly dismiss people who have been victims of the crime the person is on trial for?

    November 19, 2012 | 1:59 pm

denelian

so… comment notification doesn’t work? and i just got back, so…

i’m going to say that most of what i said what extrapolation from what I said. a lot of it was just following from one instance to the next, telling you how it is to deal with it, not necessarily responding over all to you. and a LOT of it was sheer frustration from the fact that now that i’m in a wheelchair, it happens less often but is now *worse* [because now i’m supposed to fawn over anyone who gives me attention? i don’t even know. but when a guy does cat-call now, it escalates even faster]

my biggest problem is your insistence that “loud compliments” are somehow not the same. i’ve never had a “loud compliment” that WASN’T followed by dickish behavior. period. maybe it was only a muttered “bitch” when i didn’t respond, but there’s always a followup.

and i used to be nice about this – i tried to accept it as complimentary. a guy would shout whatever, i smile or say thanks, and the next thing i know, i’m being follow and he won’t STOP. then i started ignoring. and… you know, the dickish muttering wasn’t any worse.

and i’d never tell a stranger anything about any part of them that was sexual – because that’s rude. period. as much as i might like this guys ass or that guys abs, i’d never tell them [unless we somehow met and became friends or something]. it’s a basic level of courtesy- sex is personal and private and etc. it may not be some magical “only when your married” thing, but i’m not going to have sex with random strangers. and cat-calls almost always feel like an attempt to either get me into bed fast, or make me feel back because i won’t. *shrug*

“Never said your experiences “don’t’ matter as much.” That’s what SHE SAID TO ME. SHE made it personal. I said that she doesn’t get to tell me that I couldn’t handle getting cat-calls and eggs thrown at me from across the street; when I’ve had my skull cracked open, guns pointed at my head, fought armed attackers and have been told on more than once occasion that I was going to be killed. To think that your experiences are so unique, and so much worse than mine just because you’ve got a vagina is as insulting as it is ignorant and self-centered.
The difference between me and you isn’t that I’ve never had to deal with social injustice. The difference between me and you is that you’re encouraged by other women to share your struggles and then they tell you how strong you are for “enduring” the mean words, while men like me are told to quit bitching and man up the day after we leave the hospital with stitches”

“unique” doesn’t mean what you mean here. most women have this experience. most men don’t. sex as a tool of oppression being the difference.
as for the never dealing with social injustice…
i’ve never been told i was strong for enduring. in fact, i’ve gotten the same “suck it up” attitude most of my life. so you got raped? suck it up, it’s your fault for looking like that. so you got groped? it’s your fault.
THEN, when i took measures to ensure i’d never be helpless again, i’ve been told how unnatural i am now, or that i’m mean, or a castrating bitch, or whatever.
which… no. i get sick of not being able to win. it’s either my fault because i can’t defend myself, or i’m bad FOR defending myself?
at least feminists understand that it’s a no-win situation and tell me to put my safety first. even if i do get shit for having PTSD.

but i get really, really sick of people who don’t have the same social conditioning telling me that i’m WRONG. look, if random people shouted racial slurs at you EVERY TIME YOU WALKED A STREET, for no reason, and then all the white people tried to tell you that they were COMPLIMENTING you, because to white people those things are “positive” even if you never really see them that way… how would you react? it’s NOT a perfect analogy, i grant. but racial epithets and sexual epithets have a LOT in common.

[i feel you on the racial bullshit. i will absolutely kill the next person to call me an “apple”. strangely, my guy is given less shit for being a black guy who plays D&D than i am for being a Native chick who plays D&D. wtf?]

LEO = Law Enforcement Org

November 26, 2012 | 12:55 pm

Matthew Young

“my biggest problem is your insistence that “loud compliments” are somehow not the same. i’ve never had a “loud compliment” that WASN’T followed by dickish behavior. period. maybe it was only a muttered “bitch” when i didn’t respond, but there’s always a followup.”

Well then you’re either exceptionally unlucky or you live in a crappy area. Regardless, the problem is the followup, not the original comment. “loud compliments,” as often as not, are simply that – someone shouting that they think you’re hot. It’s crass and classless; but regardless of how it makes you feel, the truth is that there is NOT malicious intent behind it.

“and i used to be nice about this – i tried to accept it as complimentary. a guy would shout whatever, i smile or say thanks, and the next thing i know, i’m being follow and he won’t STOP. then i started ignoring. and… you know, the dickish muttering wasn’t any worse.”

Again, this is when it becomes a problem; but again, there’s a difference between “he shouted nice ass from across the street as I passed by” and “he FOLLOWED me as I walked down the street trying to pick me up.”

“and i’d never tell a stranger anything about any part of them that was sexual – because that’s rude. period. as much as i might like this guys ass or that guys abs, i’d never tell them [unless we somehow met and became friends or something]. it’s a basic level of courtesy- sex is personal and private and etc. it may not be some magical “only when your married” thing, but i’m not going to have sex with random strangers. and cat-calls almost always feel like an attempt to either get me into bed fast, or make me feel back because i won’t. *shrug* “

This is one of those things I’m not sure you understand: what women take as rude, men would take as a compliment. I 100% guarantee you that if you say “woo, nice ass” and smile at a straight guy walking by, he’s not going to be offended or think you’re being rude. He’s going to feel flattered. The trouble is that a lot of guys simply don’t understand the differences between how the average woman thinks and how the average man thinks. Probably not a good idea to actually do this, as he’s just as like to stop and try to pick you up, since you initiated flirtations, but still.

On top of this, the notion that it’s rude to compliment someone on something about because it’s sexual is one rooted in sexual modesty and conservatism; both of which face increasing levels of social disdain as we move towards greater levels of sexual liberation. What was considered inappropriate and controversial not too long ago is commonplace now.

And to be honest, in regards to what’s appropriate as far as discussing sexuality, the feminist movement seems to send out mixed signals. On one hand, I regularly encounter the “pro-slut” messages as I’ve heard them called, proclaiming that sex is a positive thing, women should be completely open about it, and the idea that there should be any embarrassment whatsoever about it is antiquated, oppressive and misogynistic. Then on the other hand, I get the “shame on you for looking at my breasts” and “it’s rude to compliment someone on part of them that’s sexual.”

“ “unique” doesn’t mean what you mean here. most women have this experience. most men don’t. “

By unique, I didn’t mean the 100% exact experience. I mean dealing with social injustice and feeling threatened simply because of how you were born.

“i’ve never been told i was strong for enduring. in fact, i’ve gotten the same “suck it up” attitude most of my life. so you got raped? suck it up, it’s your fault for looking like that. so you got groped? it’s your fault.”

Are you serious? I can’t go half a day without tripping over communities about heroic women enduring their struggles with thing like this. I swear to God it’s like women are the freaking Justice League and guys are some cartoonish cabal of super-villains.

And as for people saying it’s your fault if you got raped? I hear women say “men do this all the time” a lot more than I actually hear anyone really say this. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s been my experience that anything that even remotely sounds like that is met with a TREMENDOUS backlash. Look at this very thread. I merely said that certain behavior will increase the odds of one being a victim of rape or a sexual assault, and Jean turned it into me claiming that men “can’t help themselves” under certain circumstances and then YOU slammed me for not getting that she has a right to walk down the street unharassed, despite the fact that I said, as clearly as I could manage, TWICE, that exact same sentiment. I have to say that rather hurts your credibility when you make claims like this. I makes me question whether people actually said that to you, or if you simply twisted their words as badly as you did mine. As I said, when someone has been traumatized by an event, it’s common for them to become defensive lose their sense of objectivity in regards to the topic.

“THEN, when i took measures to ensure i’d never be helpless again, i’ve been told how unnatural i am now, or that i’m mean, or a castrating bitch, or whatever. which… no. i get sick of not being able to win. it’s either my fault because i can’t defend myself, or i’m bad FOR defending myself?
at least feminists understand that it’s a no-win situation and tell me to put my safety first. even if i do get shit for having PTSD.”

And did these “measures,” by chance include increased levels of hostility? Misanthropy? I wouldn’t call you a “castrating bitch,” but you do seem rather defensive and accusatory to me. You display a willingness to assume the worst of people which I can only imagine could result in people feeling like you haven’t exactly given them a fair shake. Men don’t like being treated like they’ve done something wrong by people they’ve never met any more than you do.

“but i get really, really sick of people who don’t have the same social conditioning telling me that i’m WRONG. look, if random people shouted racial slurs at you EVERY TIME YOU WALKED A STREET, for no reason, and then all the white people tried to tell you that they were COMPLIMENTING you, because to white people those things are “positive” even if you never really see them that way… how would you react? it’s NOT a perfect analogy, i grant. but racial epithets and sexual epithets have a LOT in common.”

Not a perfect analogy? It’s a RIDICULOUS analogy. Racial slurs and cat-calls have VERY little in common. The former are by people who HATE you and wish –or just as often threaten- harm or death upon you. The latter is from people who at best think that you’re physically attractive and at worst want to have sex with you. If you honestly think some guy shouting “nice ass” as you pass by him is the same as some redneck saying “get out of here you filthy nigger,” then you are so lacking in perspective it borders on delusional, and makes it difficult to take you seriously.

November 26, 2012 | 3:10 pm

    denelian

    and…
    that’s where you aren’t getting it.

    having been the recipient of BOTH racial and sexual slurs, i’m telling you – they sound the *same*. same tone, same hostility.
    yes, every once in a while, it’s a guy just being loud and rude and clueless. that’s SO rare i don’t even call it a “cat-call” [personal preference. i don’t speak for others]

    all that stuff i said in my first comment, that you told me wasn’t so because i was just projecting what i thought men meant or something?
    THAT is what it’s for

    i know you don’t believe this. maybe it’s not true for you [except you don’t cat-call. have *you* asked men why they do it?] but it’s true for lots and lots of them.
    i used to work with an org that deals with gender violence, and one of the things we did a LOT of was try and stop cat-calling. the things i’ve been told are beyond horrifying. things men won’t say to a woman they’re actually faced with in a professional setting, but will tell other men. let me quote:

    “She’s walking down the god damned street like she’s got a right to be struttin right past me. flaunting.”
    “they have the pussy man, they don’t want shit, tell ’em to give it up”
    “they want equally. if i can fuck it, it’s not equal.”
    “that bitch? she fine, yeah? i’d fuck her til she bleeds. talk to her? ain’t nuthin’ to say to a puta. she is. i know. puta dress like that*, she sayin what she is”

    [*the “woman” he’s referring to was a 16-y-o kid wearing a sundress to her knees and flat sandals, and she was working with us along with the rest of her youth group.]

    this was 12 or 13 years ago. i really, really doubt it’s gotten better, because so many things have gotten *worse*

    for the record – no, not hostile. numb, yes. stopped bending over to not piss people off, yes. how is that hostile? no, the names and judgement come from me taking akido and tai kwon do classes – *that’s* what made me “bad” in the eyes of so many in real life. not everyone, no – but more people gave me shit for it than supported it or ignored it – in fact, the same type of people who blamed me for being raped at 12 blamed me for taking steps to ensure i wouldn’t be helpless again.

    and oh! the internet. it wasn’t around [well, it sort of was? but i didn’t even own a computer of my own til i was 15. and BBS were local. and etc] so the social justice your thinking of wasn’t a factor for me. i didn’t run into that community until i was 28 or so. i’m 35.
    do the math there – from the time i was 12 until i was 28, all i *really* heard – outside of a shrink’s office, or from a *very* few friends – was how it HAD to be MY fault. because i looked older than 12 when it started. because it went on for years. the neighbors knew – hell, he’d beat in in public before he ever raped me. but it was MY fault. they’d warn my mother that i was going to “steal” her husband, call me a homewrecker – and treated him the same as normal.

    yeah, i’m hostile about it, because it’s my experience – note, i said EXPERIENCE – that while guys like you don’t commit violence, other guys hide behind what you say as an excuse. it emboldens them to know that so many thing that they’re not doing anything *wrong*. every rape joke let slide, every “no one should ever be raped but if they X, well” – every single things like that gives them more cover, more leeway.

    rape nd other gendered violence [and it’s always gendered, even when it’s men raping men] STARTS with the assumption that it happens because the victim did something WRONG. it’s never the rapists fault – even if you say “he should not have raped” if you continue with “but the victim should not have” YOU ARE NOW SAYING THAT IT IS THE VICTIM’S FAULT. period.
    most rape isn’t like on TV. it’s not because a woman was wearing something sexy.
    rape happens because a rapists decides to rape. the only way to not be raped [aside from being capable, absent weapons that get rid of it, of fighting said rapist off] is to NOT BE AROUND A RAPIST WHO HAS DECIDED TO RAPE.

    the difference between rape and cat-calls is one of DEGREE, not kind. i said, originally, that it was verbal assault. look of the police definition of “assault”; THEY tend to think yelling is assault.

    for women, this is a very emotionally charged subject. so when we’re angry and defensive and fed up, there’s a *reason*, starting with the fact that we’re tired of being told our experience isn’t what it IS, and that it’s OUR fault – for being a woman [we get told that so very often], or not responding properly [and i have YET to find a “proper” way to respond, that DOESN’T make it worse. you say that that means it isn’t a cat-call. or, rather, you say it means it isn’t your category 1. which, as i already said, is SO RARE, i think its happened to me less than a dozen times.] and to just sit back and be *happy* with this hate.
    it’s hate.

    November 27, 2012 | 6:53 am

      Matthew Young

      “having been the recipient of BOTH racial and sexual slurs, i’m telling you – they sound the *same*. same tone, same hostility.”

      One person is making a comment that indicates that at best he thinks you’re attractive and at worst he thinks you should have sex with him. Both are statements of desire.
      The other is at best making a statement of specific, unmasked HATRED for you and at worst threatening you with bodily harm or death. And you you’ve experienced both and put them on the same level?

      Not buying it. No reasonable person can honestly tell me that the statements that “nice ass” and “die nigger” carry the same level of hostility. That’s absurd.

      At this point, you strike me as the type of person who will say whatever you think will give your argument sufficient weight, and if it’s not entirely true, you feel it’s still justified because of how important you perceive your overall stance.

      “all that stuff i said in my first comment, that you told me wasn’t so because i was just projecting what i thought men meant or something?
      THAT is what it’s for”

      ??? That’s what what WHAT’S for?

      And yes, I absolutely believe you are doing that, because you DID do that with me. I know THAT for a fact. And you did it to a degree that it seriously degrades your credibility. If you mangle my words and intentions this badly, why should I believe you don’t’ do the same with strangers on the street? You’re clearly very sensitive in this matter (I’m perfectly willing to accept that you have entirely valid reasons TO be sensitive to it); and it seems fairly clear that it’s clouded your objectivity.

      “i used to work with an org that deals with gender violence, and one of the things we did a LOT of was try and stop cat-calling. the things i’ve been told are beyond horrifying. things men won’t say to a woman they’re actually faced with in a professional setting, but will tell other men. let me quote:

      “She’s walking down the god damned street like she’s got a right to be struttin right past me. flaunting.”
      “they have the pussy man, they don’t want shit, tell ‘em to give it up”
      “they want equally. if i can fuck it, it’s not equal.”
      “that bitch? she fine, yeah? i’d fuck her til she bleeds. talk to her? ain’t nuthin’ to say to a puta. she is. i know. puta dress like that*, she sayin what she is”
      [*the “woman” he’s referring to was a 16-y-o kid wearing a sundress to her knees and flat sandals, and she was working with us along with the rest of her youth group.]”

      1. Has it at all occurred to you that the fact that you were regularly exposed to the worst cases may have skewed your perception of the typical case? I’ve hear it said that nothing frustrates a pediatrician quite like a doctor who’s just had their first baby. Suddenly every cough or spitup isn’t just a little bit of “baby yuck” it’s a symptom of something they saw almost kill somebody. Likewise, a lot of times when you hear about police officers who just seem cruel and eager to assume someone is guilty; it’s not that the officer was always such a hard-ass. It’s that he’s seen so many people do so many horrible things to each other that he starts believing that’s just how the average person is. Perhaps your experience has done the same.
      2. All your quotes have done is pointed out that there are very crude men with very crude views on women. I’ve never challenged that notion. The fact that there are crude men out there does NOT make “looking good baby” a statement of hostility.
      3. If they won’t say these things to women, how do you even know they were said?

      “for the record – no, not hostile. numb, yes. stopped bending over to not piss people off, yes. how is that hostile? no, the names and judgement come from me taking akido and tai kwon do classes – *that’s* what made me “bad” in the eyes of so many in real life.”

      I find that most of the time, when people say things like “I stopped bending over to not piss people off,” “bending over” = taking reasonable levels of consideration. Basically, if you’ve stopped making an effort to not piss people off, it typically comes off as mean and hostile; as most people do, in fact, take certain steps to avoid exactly that in their day to day lives. I certainly do; particularly at work. If I said a quarter of the things I feel I’d be out of a job. It’s part of being an adult. I rather doubt that people said you were mean and hostile because you took some self defense courses. The fact that you think that kind of reinforces my assertion that your perceptions of human motivation seem a bit skewed.

      “and oh! the internet. it wasn’t around [well, it sort of was? but i didn’t even own a computer of my own til i was 15. and BBS were local. and etc] so the social justice your thinking of wasn’t a factor for me. i didn’t run into that community until i was 28 or so. i’m 35.”

      What’s your point?

      “do the math there – from the time i was 12 until i was 28, all i *really* heard – outside of a shrink’s office, or from a *very* few friends – was how it HAD to be MY fault. because i looked older than 12 when it started. because it went on for years. the neighbors knew – hell, he’d beat in in public before he ever raped me. but it was MY fault. they’d warn my mother that i was going to “steal” her husband, call me a homewrecker – and treated him the same as normal.”

      When you were 12.

      Not that ANY of this has ANY barring whatsoever on this subject; but who the hell were you hanging out with that blamed you for getting raped at 12?

      “yeah, i’m hostile about it, because it’s my experience – note, i said EXPERIENCE – that while guys like you don’t commit violence, other guys hide behind what you say as an excuse.”

      1. A few paragraphs up you said you’re not hostile. Now you’re saying you are.
      2. What exactly have I said that could ever be used as excuse for violence?

      “ it emboldens them to know that so many thing that they’re not doing anything *wrong*.”

      I never said that. I said that it’s wrong because it’s crass and lacking in class. Again, you’ve reinforced my belief that you skew people’s words to better fit with your view of society. My assertion is that people like you over exaggerate when put someone yelling “nice ass” from across the street on the same level as a Klan member saying “you better run nigger.”

      “ every rape joke let slide, every “no one should ever be raped but if they X, well” – every single things like that gives them more cover, more leeway.”

      When did I do, advocate, or even imply that either of those would be ok? Stop trying so desperately to pigeon-hole me into this one-dimensional archetype you’ve created.

      “rape nd other gendered violence [and it’s always gendered, even when it’s men raping men] “

      If it’s always gendered violence, regardless of what genders are involved, then what’s the difference between gender violence and regular violence, and why is the word “gender” even in there?

      “rape nd other gendered violence [and it’s always gendered, even when it’s men raping men] STARTS with the assumption that it happens because the victim did something WRONG. it’s never the rapists fault – even if you say “he should not have raped” if you continue with “but the victim should not have” YOU ARE NOW SAYING THAT IT IS THE VICTIM’S FAULT. period.”

      1. Welcome to tangent-town. Population: you.
      2. No, saying “the victim should not have been” is not saying it’s the victim’s fault. If you’re walking down an alleyway in the middle of the night with big wad of cash in what you know to be bad neighborhood and you get mugged, it’s the muggers fault, not yours. That does not mean that acknowledging that walking down said alley in the middle of the night with a huge wad of cash in your hands increased your likelihood of getting mugged.

      “most rape isn’t like on TV. it’s not because a woman was wearing something sexy.
      rape happens because a rapists decides to rape.

      the only way to not be raped [aside from being capable, absent weapons that get rid of it, of fighting said rapist off] is to NOT BE AROUND A RAPIST WHO HAS DECIDED TO RAPE.”

      Right. And there are certain circumstances under which you are more likely to come in contact with a rapist, certain environments in which they are more likely to indulge the impulse to rape, and certain behavior that is more likely to motivate them to rape. And no, I did NOT just say that “the rapist can’t help himself.” Let’s just head off that little repeat comment ahead of time. I understand that there’s a difference between “he can’t help himself” and “he’s fully capable of controlling himself, but he’s not a good enough person bother” and rapists typically fit into the latter column.
      Therefore, understanding and acknowledging which circumstances, environments and behaviors are most likely to result in, as you say “being around a rapist who decides to rape” will reduce the odds that you FIND yourself, as you say “around a rapist who decides to rape” and thus will reduce the odds that you are raped. Doesn’t seem all that complicated to me.

      “the difference between rape and cat-calls is one of DEGREE, not kind. i said, originally, that it was verbal assault. look of the police definition of “assault”; THEY tend to think yelling is assault.”

      Really. So a family member shouts “Merry Christmas” at you and it’s assult? No. There is such a thing as verbal assault, but simply the fact that you’re yelling from a distance is not enough by itself to qualify. WHAT is being yelled has to be malicious.

      “for women, this is a very emotionally charged subject. so when we’re angry and defensive and fed up, there’s a *reason*, “

      Regardless of whether or not there’s a reason, when you are, as you say “angry and defensive and fed up” it blurs your sense of objectivity.

      “starting with the fact that we’re tired of being told our experience isn’t what it IS,”

      In your case, there’s precedence for doing so. You have, on more than once occasion, attributed statements, meaning, and motivations to me that I did not say or imply. If you’re getting things wrong after a day or two, when a perfect record of them is sitting right in front of you, in black and white, why on earth should I believe you’d do any less with events long past?

      “and that it’s OUR fault – for being a woman [we get told that so very often], “

      So you say. You also said that I claimed rapists are not able to control themselves. I suspect that you, and a lot of people like you, only hear what you decide the various archetypes you squeeze people into would say; regardless of what is actually being said. I don’t think you necessarily do it on purpose, but I do think it further bleakens your world view; or at the very least your view of males.

      December 3, 2012 | 2:13 pm

        denelian

        i’m trying to explain, and i get worked up trying to explain, and that’s apparently a bad thing.

        so all i’m going to say is: misogyny is hate. when a man looks at you as nothing more than a thing to use, it’s hate. when they shout things at you like that, what they’re *saying* is “all you are good for is to be used. if i can’t use you, you are nothing, worse than nothing.” i actually PREFER to hear “Die, you red bitch” to “Suck my cock” or “nice tits” or any of it.

        as an aside, not really “saying” anything, really – there are guys who shout out that *don’t* radiate waves of hate and hostility. THEM, i smile at, wave, sometimes talk to. it’s VERY easy to tell the difference.

        December 4, 2012 | 7:26 am

Matthew Young

“i’m trying to explain, and i get worked up trying to explain, and that’s apparently a bad thing”

Getting worked up is not a bad thing. Allowing your frustrations to cause you to misrepresent and wrongly judge people? That I as absolutely a bad thing.

You say misogyny is hate? Guess what? So is misandry. But lust is neither. It’s sad that you seem incapable of grasping the concept that saying one thing about you is exceptional is NOT the same as saying that nothing else about you is. Saying you want to have sex with someone is NOT the same as saying sex is all that person is good for.

“A an aside, not really “saying” anything, really – there are guys who shout out that *don’t* radiate waves of hate and hostility. THEM, i smile at, wave, sometimes talk to. it’s VERY easy to tell the difference.”

Oh for the love of God, THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN SAYING.

December 4, 2012 | 9:00 pm

    denelian

    oh, da – that’s what you said, and fuck me, i said it, TOO.

    what i ALSO said is that it’s so bloody rare, it’s insane. that 99% of the catcalls aren’t some guy whose awkward and stupid, that 99% of them are HATE.

    you haven’t listened/read anything i’ve said, except to discount it. you all but flat out accuse me of lying, or misrepresenting actual events that actually happened to me, in presence, or to people whom i trust to accurately relay them – in one set of circumstances, where i was able to listen the recordings of the vile spewed out.

    the PROBLEM is that most women? can’t tell. not for a long time, years and years of torture. no, actually, THE REAL PROBLEM is that it DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER, because as i said, 99% of the time, it’s just HATE.

    and i repeat – i seriously would rather have someone shout at me to die because i happen to be Cherokee than have yet another person tell me, at the top of his lungs on a crowded street, that all i’m good for is a fucktoy.

    99%

    in a REALLY good year, it might be as low as 95%. never happened to me, but it COULD.

    but, you see, RACIAL prejudice? isn’t openly allowed most places anymore. if someone DOES shout “Die Injun” or “Die nigger” or “Die spic”, well, people are going to JUDGE that person, think that person is bad.
    if someone shouts out “nice ass” – but MEANS, but his tone and inflection and body language – “look at you, you stupid bitch, all your good for is something to fuck, you aren’t even worth as much as my pet dog, if i can’t fuck you i’d rather see you hurt”
    well, in that case, people fucking FLOCK to tell us it’s a “compliment”, that WE are wrong for resenting the way we’re talked down to, the we’re treated and hated.
    [screaming “suck my cock” to a woman on the street is verbal assault. it varies by jurisdiction what LEO will do, but shit like that is generally considered a hate crime. i have no fucking clue why you’re arguing that one, i really don’t]

    and you know, i’ve been trying and trying, despite my many other issues right now, that aren’t relevent except insofar as oxycotin and fentanyl do NOT make it easy to measured and calm, and in fact make it MUCH to easy to go off on to a rant that i don’t realize is a rant until days afterwards, i’ve been writing and writing [painfully] because you do seem like a reasonable person, except for this little inability to understand that just because YOU haven’t experienced it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. or, if it IS real, that it musn’t actually be THAT bad, because how could it be? YOU haven’t gone through it, or “seen” it [and you have. you just didn’t understand it. just like a white dude ain’t ever gonna get how my cousins can joke and call me an apple, but ONLY because they’re my cousins]

    and i feel helpless. because the biggest problem when it comes to all this – call it sexual issues, since gender set you off, and sexual or gender, whatever – the sexual issues in this country stem from the fact that we have 3,000+ years of women being nothing BUT sexual slaves, and it’s only been in the past century that we’ve really tried to change that, and the thing is, people don’t want it to change.
    the ONLY way it’s really going to change – not this shit now, where we can get the same jobs for nominally the same pay [women have ALWAYS worked. they just generally didn’t paid for it, instead their fathers or husbands did…] is if MEN start working towards it. not just SOME men, and not just SOME of the time. MANY men, ALL of the time, in ALL of the things. everything from “who cares if she’s naked, if you have to rape you, you AREN’T A MAN’ type propoganda to “don’t scream hate at women, even if YOU don’t mean “look at dat ass” as hate, most the guys who scream it DO mean hate, so DON’T DO IT BRO BE BETTER THAN THAT”

    until you, and guys like you, start doing that, we’re fucked.

    not in the good-THIS-is-why-sexual-equality-is-the-way-to-go-so-that-women-can-have-sex-with-the-dudes-or-dudettes-they-want-without-being-branded-as-whores-so-that-means-EVERYONE-gets-to-have-more-sex sort fucked,
    but in the we-might-as-well-fucking-go-back-to-chastity-belts-and-arranged-marriages-and-no-birth-control-and-women-dying-young-in-childbirth-while-men-have-wives-AND-mistresses-because-women-are-nothing-but-sex-slaves-and-baby-makers sort of way.

    and it both frustrates and scares the holy living HELL out of me that guys like you – smart, articulate guys who are well-read and logical – can’t, or won’t [i never can tell] SEE this. they look around, they see this thing or that, and think “well, that’s okay then, men look like duffuses on sit-coms, so that means women are pulling ahead” instead of seeing “oh, dear gods, even the fucking SIT COMS are trying to say that women ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING MEN DO. not just “she wore that she was asking to be raped” but even “she didn’t stop him from blowing his paycheck on something stupid, despite the fact that he’s a grown-ass man, fully adult, married with children, who SHOULD have a functional brain and some measure of self-control, but noooooo, men DON’T NEED self control, that’s what WOMEN are for, and if a man does something stupid, it’s a WOMAN’S fault, see, because SHE somehow didn’t STOP him.”
    because women don’t have power [in the fantasy of misogynists] but shit rolls downhill. women have all the responsibility and none of the authority, that’s what they want to BRING FULLY BACK – since it’s NEVER gone all the way away – and you, none of you, see it.

    and i weep.

    and yeah, i’m being melodramatic, a little. my pain level is over a 9, i haven’t been able to even get off my fucking bed without help in almost a week, i hate my pain meds, i can’t sleep, and no one listens to me. you aren’t taking the over-all point of what i’m saying, you read it all but then tear it apart, missing the POINT.

    it’s exhausting. and it scares me. okay? i won’t be around to see it get worse. my nieces and my friends and my friends daughters will. that terrifies me even more.

    December 5, 2012 | 1:06 am

Matthew Young

“what i ALSO said is that it’s so bloody rare, it’s insane. that 99% of the catcalls aren’t some guy whose awkward and stupid, that 99% of them are HATE.”

Based on what, other than your own insistence on assuming the worse of people (or at least men)? 99% of catcalls aren’t “hate” they’re LUST. Your issue is that you either can’t tell the difference or you simply refuse to.

“you haven’t listened/read anything i’ve said, except to discount it.”

I can’t do the latter without listening to the former. That’s why I respond point by point: I actually read and consider it all. It’s rather ironic (and hypocritical) that you say that, though; as you, on the other hand, have repeatedly misquoted me and pinned non-existent motivations upon me.

“you all but flat out accuse me of lying, or misrepresenting actual events that actually happened to me, in presence, or to people whom i trust to accurately relay them – in one set of circumstances, where i was able to listen the recordings of the vile spewed out.”

You repeatedly misquoted what I said a day or two earlier, yet you’re shocked when I question the accuracy with which you relay the words of a man that you heard not personally, but second hand, TWELVE YEARS ago? Really?

“the PROBLEM is that most women? can’t tell. not for a long time, years and years of torture. no, actually, THE REAL PROBLEM is that it DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER, because as i said, 99% of the time, it’s just HATE.”

Can’t tell WHAT? That it’s hate? There’s a reason for that: IT’S NOT. Lust =/= hate. Also, equating someone shouting that you’re hot to torture? Really?

“and i repeat – i seriously would rather have someone shout at me to die because i happen to be Cherokee than have yet another person tell me, at the top of his lungs on a crowded street, that all i’m good for is a fucktoy.”

1. If you’re serious about that, then I don’t believe for a moment that you’ve actually had someone threaten to kill you that actually seemed like they meant it. I promise you, the first time you face someone who’s actually saying he wants to end your life; and may actually DO so? You are NOT going to be thinking to yourself “wow, this sucks, but hey, at least he didn’t say anything about my ass!”
2. As I’ve said more than once already; you have far too loose standards when it comes to what you believe qualifies as “telling you that all you’re good for is a fuck toy.” Telling you you’re hot isn’t the same as telling you that you have no other value. Your insecurities do not change that.

“but, you see, RACIAL prejudice? isn’t openly allowed most places anymore. if someone DOES shout “Die Injun” or “Die nigger” or “Die spic”, well, people are going to JUDGE that person, think that person is bad.
if someone shouts out “nice ass” – but MEANS, but his tone and inflection and body language – “look at you, you stupid bitch, all your good for is something to fuck, you aren’t even worth as much as my pet dog, if i can’t fuck you i’d rather see you hurt””
well, in that case, people fucking FLOCK to tell us it’s a “compliment”, that WE are wrong for resenting the way we’re talked down to, the we’re treated and hated.
[screaming “suck my cock” to a woman on the street is verbal assault. it varies by jurisdiction what LEO will do, but shit like that is generally considered a hate crime. i have no fucking clue why you’re arguing that one, i really don’t]”

That’s beyond ridiculous. So cat-calls are worse than racial slurs and death threats because they’re more accepted? THERE’S A REASON FOR THAT. By that logic, flipping someone off is more of a violation than RAPE, because people are strongly against rape but don’t care if you flip someone off.

“and you know, i’ve been trying and trying, despite my many other issues right now, that aren’t relevent except insofar as oxycotin and fentanyl do NOT make it easy to measured and calm, and in fact make it MUCH to easy to go off on to a rant that i don’t realize is a rant until days afterwards, i’ve been writing and writing [painfully] because you do seem like a reasonable person, except for this little inability to understand that just because YOU haven’t experienced it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. or, if it IS real, that it musn’t actually be THAT bad, because how could it be? YOU haven’t gone through it, or “seen” it [and you have. you just didn’t understand it. just like a white dude ain’t ever gonna get how my cousins can joke and call me an apple, but ONLY because they’re my cousins]”

I’ve said this more than once, but have you ever considered that since you’ve stated above that you were repeatedly sexually molested as a child, developed PTSD and are running on a cocktail of oxycotin and fentanyl; that maybe, juuust maybe, this issue is a little too personal for you to look at it objectively? Once again, I refer you to jury duty. If everything you’ve claimed about your history is true, no one –not the most die-hard feminist judge/attorney – would allow you to sit on a jury in a case regarding sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, molestation, etc., because the likelihood of you being able to stay objective is far too remote.

“and i feel helpless. because the biggest problem when it comes to all this – call it sexual issues, since gender set you off, and sexual or gender, whatever – the sexual issues in this country stem from the fact that we have 3,000+ years of women being nothing BUT sexual slaves, and it’s only been in the past century that we’ve really tried to change that, and the thing is, people don’t want it to change.”

Ah yes, the old “throughout history we’ve been oppressed” argument. The truth is that unless you’re hanging out with immortals, there’s a limit to how much the social outlooks of people around you are influence by those of generations past. This goes doubly so for the type of people who cat-call women. You don’t really hear much “hey baby, nice ass” from the intellectual elite; generally speaking the type of people who do these things aren’t students of cultural history. Their attitudes are influenced by the environment they grew up in and what they’re exposed to in their own life times. Now, it can be reasonably argued that the environment they grew up in was shaped by the adults they were raised by, who in turn were shaped by the adults of the generation before, who were raised by the generations before that, and so on and so forth. But ultimately, the further back you go, the less relevant you get. In other words, you said yourself that we’ve been changing our attitudes towards women in the past century; and really that’s all that’s relevant to the attitudes and motivations of people today.

“the ONLY way it’s really going to change – not this shit now, where we can get the same jobs for nominally the same pay [women have ALWAYS worked. they just generally didn’t paid for it, instead their fathers or husbands did…] is if MEN start working towards it. not just SOME men, and not just SOME of the time. MANY men, ALL of the time, in ALL of the things.”

Incorrect. The only way the things are going to improve for women is the same way they’re going to improve for minorities: by dropping the angry, bitter, resentful attitudes that see us pointing fingers of blame and hostility over things that were done by generations past and to focus on the future. Your blatant misandry will at best get you nowhere and at worst drag you backward.

“ everything from “who cares if she’s naked, if you have to rape you, you AREN’T A MAN’ type propoganda to “don’t scream hate at women, even if YOU don’t mean “look at dat ass” as hate, most the guys who scream it DO mean hate, so DON’T DO IT BRO BE BETTER THAN THAT” “

Most guys do not mean it as hate. They mean as lust. The fact you confuse lust with hatred, sex with shame; that’s YOUR issue.

“ and it both frustrates and scares the holy living HELL out of me that guys like you – smart, articulate guys who are well-read and logical – can’t, or won’t [i never can tell] SEE this. they look around, they see this thing or that, and think “well, that’s okay then, men look like duffuses on sit-coms, so that means women are pulling ahead” instead of seeing “oh, dear gods, even the fucking SIT COMS are trying to say that women ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING MEN DO.”

That’s because smart, well-read and logical men – smart, well-read and logical PEOPLE – look at things logically and objectively; an ability you seem to sorely lack. How on God’s green earth does men being consistently portrayed as bumbling idiots on TV, in contrast to their strong, reasonable, intelligent wives equate to women being responsible for everything men do? This is why it’s so hard to take people like you seriously! You’re so blatantly misandrous that it distorts everything you see!

“ but even “she didn’t stop him from blowing his paycheck on something stupid, despite the fact that he’s a grown-ass man, fully adult, married with children, who SHOULD have a functional brain and some measure of self-control, but noooooo, men DON’T NEED self control, that’s what WOMEN are for, and if a man does something stupid, it’s a WOMAN’S fault, see, because SHE somehow didn’t STOP him.” “

Oh FFS, who says that? NOBODY blames WOMEN for not stopping MEN from spending foolishly. No one EXPECTS them to! If anything, it’s the exact OPPOSITE! For God’s sake, loot at yourself! You’re so misandrous that you’re getting offended by things that don’t actually HAPPEN. You sound JUST like the Klansmen in Ohio; your prejudice has so completely taken over your mind that it feeds back into itself and just keeps growing until you start inventing slights to further justify your own hatred and bitterness. It’s things like THIS which are dragging us down.
If the things you’ve said about your childhood experiences are true; your issues are not without cause, but like the American WWII/Korean War/Vietnam POW survivors that grew to be racist towards Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese people, they ARE your issues, and I honestly hope that you find the help you clearly need to DEAL with them. In the meantime, it is not my responsibility to humor nor indulge your issues any more than it is Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese people’s responsibility to do so for said former POWs.

“and yeah, i’m being melodramatic, a little. my pain level is over a 9, i haven’t been able to even get off my fucking bed without help in almost a week, i hate my pain meds, i can’t sleep, and no one listens to me. you aren’t taking the over-all point of what i’m saying, you read it all but then tear it apart, missing the POINT.”

No, I get your point. The trouble is that your sole means of substantiating your over-all point is with the many ridiculously FLAWED smaller points that I respond to; and there’s a reason for that. You can’t substantiate your overall point with anything more reasonable because your overall point itself sorely misguided. I “tear apart” your posts because I actually READ your posts. I don’t just skim over what you’ve said and then reiterate my point without addressing the many points you’ve made; that a troll does. I actually READ every single word you put up. I read them, and I consider them. That’s WHY I am able to see their FLAWS.

December 11, 2012 | 1:10 pm

    denelian

    i’ve been not replying, because you moved from vague insults to direct ones.

    and i don’t feel like this fight, anymore. i’m trying to give you the emotional scope of what we go through. you take each thing i present and use it to attack me.

    and if you don’t see how, then… well, at that point, i’ll call *YOU* a liar, as you’ve been implying i am.

    but telling me i hate men, when rather i hate a certain attitude, and it isn’t JUST men, nor is it even JUST sexual, because i hate the same type of behavior when it’s racial bigotry or social bigotry or class bigotry – that’s over the line. period.

    in general, i have relayed what i have *personally experienced*. i can quite easily tell the difference between a person obviously attracted to me, and a person who *despises* me because he feels attracted to me. who hates that i now have some vague, not-wanted-on-my-end “power” over him [or her] because he’s attracted to me.

    i hate being made to feel that way, it’s true.
    i am using shocking language, to try and get it across to you, it’s true.
    also, it’s OBVIOUS that these things are true. i am not exaggerating the incidents, nor am i exaggerating my feelings, but it’s not like, every time [or most, or even the majority of the time] some idiot does or says these things, i REACT in any way but internal.

    yes, i have PTSD. i also, up until i was forced to start taking opiates, have an eidetic memory, perfect recall. i can recite entire conversations from as young as two years old. I CAN’T FORGET. i can picture each incident, except within the past five years, with PERFECT AND TOTALLY ACCURATE CLARITY.
    that’s annoying, actually. unlike most people, i can’t eventually remember finding something that i said, or remember it as something less hateful. i can describe the look, the clothing, the location, the weather… everything.

    i admit to a mild curiosity; if you met a person who, with [what they believed] was a GOOD REASON due to a history of continual harassment and worse committed by members thereof, HATED the KKK the way you seem to feel i HATE MEN, would you THEN think that person was just blindly racists against ALL WHITE PEOPLE?
    or would you, perhaps, think that the person was, in some way, justified in their fear and loathing and hatred and exhaustion? would you call that person a racist, or understand?

    you don’t get it. you don’t want to get it. these two aren’t actually related; i know lots of guys who WANT to get it who just don’t. of course, they don’t continually question whether or not i’ve been hit on, whether or not i had a man beat me almost to death, whether or not i’ve been accosted for being Native in the wrong place at the wrong time,
    they’ve listened to me talk about PTSD, and know what it ACTUALLY does, they don’t assign strange things to it. [here’s a hint; before the years and years of EMDR and therapy, PTSD would send me into fight/flight at provocation; it doesn’t ascribe MOTIVE, it’s much too basic for that. in effect, it takes an event that happens and carves a reaction into your reflexes. so if A stimuli occurs, i go into fight/flight – i react, period. no thinking. not ABLE to. and, well, i am, to quote Night Court, MUUUUUUUUUCH better now. i haven’t swung at someone sneaking up on me in well over a decade, for instance.]
    those guys don’t get it, but they don’t mock and insult me. or, if they do, they don’t do it where i can hear it, they don’t communicate it to me.
    but you are. i’m getting the feeling, after this last response of yours, that you aren’t doing it unknowing; that you just don’t care if i think you’re mocking me and insulting me.
    whether you do it intentionally doesn’t matter, i guess. i mean, you’ve claimed i’ve insulted you when i intended nothing of the sort, so at the very least, you insulting me accidentally is only fair. but you did rather cross the line. i didn’t once ACCUSE you of anything except refusing to accept the experiences of others. not JUST me – you’ve refused to listen to anyone else, either. so. line crossed.
    i don’t even really know why i’m still typing, at this point. i’m exhausted, haven’t slept in too long, hurt too bad. but…

    i guess i feel, like i always do when i talk to someone who seems intelligent and empathetic, that the failure is *mine*. no matter the topic, whether it’s about this, something related, LGBTQI issues, racism, classism, international issues, intersectionality… whatever; that if only i could say the *right thing*, this person would UNDERSTAND.
    not “change the way zie thinks” about whatever it is. but, at the very least, understand the other side of the issue. that’s all i go for. that’s all i want.
    that’s why i talked at all. that’s why i talked about things i almost never, ever talk about. oh, not completely; i’m suicidal as all hell, and that makes one a bit more reckless in general, so it’s not quite the same level of acting out of character that it might be, otherwise. but you… i had the impression that you were very close to *understanding*, and if i could just say the right things, convey the emotions felt in those moments, you’d get it. and then, i confess, your reactions goaded me into pushing more, giving more, because…
    you know, i don’t know? normally, i’d have just stopped after the second reply. the fact that you refused to get the difference between me replying to a general situation and replying to you, specifically, in the areas where i DIDN’T reply to you specifically, that should have been enough.
    for whatever reason, i kept trying, and like always, i feel the worse for it.

    but not as much as i could have. with a single lobbed insane accusation, you have let me know that the problem was never solely mine, in this conversation. i should thank you for that, for what good it would do. and the novelty; i’ve never been accused of misandry before, so i guess i could cross that off my bucket list. if i had

    December 19, 2012 | 5:32 am

    Emmie Mears

    Matthew, I have read little from your arguments based in research or fact, yet you’ve accused Denelian of writing falsehoods when she’s been clear she’s speaking from her own experience, which by definition is anecdotal evidence. As you don’t seem to be a regular reader of this website, I can only assume you came to discuss a topic about which you had already made up your mind. While at first your comments were more respectful, this discussion has grown more heated than I am comfortable with allowing to continue.

    Nothing I have read from Denelian suggests that she is indeed misandrous, only that SOME men have been grossly inappropriate and threatening toward her. On the other hand, you’ve equated her expression of her experiences with the KKK, and that’s the real absurd argument here. If you truly wish to have a dialogue about this issue, start listening to the women around you. Ask them (and allow them to answer without forcing your qualifications on them) how they feel about strangers yelling things at them. I don’t know of a single woman who is comfortable with catcalls, and when I did a poll on my blog, the overwhelming majority of women said they found any catcalls of any structure to be at least mildly threatening. That is the point you don’t want to see — that regardless of how much you think men deserve to be able to yell at strangers, their doing so has negative effects on the recipients of their unwanted attention.

    You argued once that me saying that meant gay people ought to all go back into the closet because it makes conservatives uncomfortable, which is an absurd jump because the actions of homosexuals behind closed doors or even their marriage has no direct effects on the lives of others. Catcalls, on the other hand, immediately violate someone’s space (space being defined as both physical boundaries and auditory range).

    This has gone back and forth quite long enough. I am closing comments on this post.

    December 19, 2012 | 4:03 pm

Comments are closed.

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