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Signal boosted because it hit me in the gut. - Kathryn
October 9th, 2009
09:03 pm

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Signal boosted because it hit me in the gut.
I was reading this thought-provoking article about the conscious decisions women* make to evaluate their environment and the people in it, and the threat they pose. Specifically on how, if a man* presses a woman for conversation or further contact even after she's given either implicit or explicit signals that he should leave her the fuck alone, this causes her red flags to go up, as well it should. Why? Because that indicates that he feels like his desire to get something off her trumps her desire not to give it, and, well, now she knows that about him.

A surprisingly** large number of guys turned up in the comments to this post to complain about how unfair it was that they were being marginalized and stereotyped and lumped in with rapists just because they pestered a girl at a bar (on the subway, at a bus stop, at their office) for her phone number until she caved. And in response to one of these guys, the blogger dug up this entry from a couple of years ago and reposted this section in the comments, and it hit me, the reality of it, like a punch in the stomach:

‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…</p>

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates womento the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.

And that guy? Thought you were on his side.



And so I repost it here, for you to read.



* I know there are exceptions to this rule. They are real, and they are valid, but they are also exceptions. The vast majority of this kind of behavior takes place from men to women.

** Not actually surprising at all.

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]
From:torreybird
Date:October 10th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for reposting this. It hits a mark that has been made numb - and then hits and hits and hits and hits and hits and hits until it cannot be denied - and then makes its knockout punch.
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From:mamishka
Date:October 11th, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
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Powerful, and disturbing, stuff.

This vaguely reminds me of when I made a section at Scarecrow Video based on The Rule by Alison Bechdel.

As soon as I set this section up we got immediate praise and thanks from women and complaints from men that it was 'sexist' and 'male-bashing' and all sorts of other ludicrous crap. They were unable to see what EVERY SINGLE WOMAN was able to recognize without a second thought. That the point of the section was to illustrate the fact that in a video store of (at that time) approximately 60,000 films I was hard pressed to find 80 films that fit the criteria of "The Rule". 80 out 60,000!! I find it astonishing how easily men, who have all the power and control, can feel threatened and what a stink they will make over things that are stupid and petty compared to what women have to put up with.

I had to actually write an 'explanation' of the section and still got shit from one of my co-workers who insisted it was still sexist and stupid and shit. He is the first person I have ever actually kicked in the butt because I thought he was such a fucking asshole. Sadly I did not kick him as hard as I wanted to. But he did get fired not long after for calling a customer an asshole, so I feel vindicated in the end.
From:pbristow
Date:October 12th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
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Ooh! An actual Bechdel Rule section seems an excellent idea! And as long as those same videos are also available in their "default" sections then I don't see that anyone would have grounds for complaint. (If the shop has an "everything in one category only" rule (which I find stupid for several reasons) then it might get trickier...)


[User Picture]
From:mamishka
Date:October 12th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
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It was temporary section, based on just that one cartoon strip, kinda along the line of a staff picks section. At Scarecrow we often have month long 'themed' sections, just to mix things up and give people ideas and inspiration for different kinds of choices rather than just the new releases. So no, during the time that the section was up, the same videos were not in their default sections, but then again, that wasn't what people were complaining about.

Some men complained that the section was 'sexist' (against men) and male-bashing, and other such things when it was clearly not. It was just ludicrous.
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From:rmd
Date:October 11th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
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there was a bunch of interesting discussion about this over on metafilter. there are women (and men) there who have way more tolerance for giving feminism/genderpolitics 101 than i do. but, yeah, good stuff.


Edited at 2009-10-11 04:24 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:kestrels_nest
Date:October 12th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
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There's another assumption in all of this: that women must continually evaluate their environment and the people in it consciously to determine what threat they pose. I hear other women talk about that regularly. I don't recall the last time I heard a man say that he'd walked away from a social encounter because he felt unsafe.

Thanks.
From:pbristow
Date:October 12th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
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"I don't recall the last time I heard a man say that he'd walked away from a social encounter because he felt unsafe."

Perhaps because those of us who do (e.g. timid shortarses like myself) would never risk admitting it, especially in the hearing of other males? (Oops, I think I just did... ) =:o\

[ETA:] Here via vixyish, BTW.


Edited at 2009-10-12 06:47 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:kestrels_nest
Date:October 12th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)
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Here via Vixy myself.

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From:kyril
Date:October 12th, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC)
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Well, I have. Done so, not said it...and in one case they were in-law cousins. Burly, farmer cousins.
[User Picture]
From:kestrels_nest
Date:October 12th, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC)
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Burly farmer cousins? Sounds like the discretion that is the better part of valor from where I sit.

I am sorry; upon re-reading it does sound like I was thinking it didn't happen. I didn't mean it that way, only that it was not openly discussed in our society, let alone encouraged (or demanded) as it often is for women.

I expect in some ways it would be worse, because it isn't socially acceptable to acknowledge that you feel threatened physically. We still carry far too much of the Wild West ethos around and burden the men of our society with it.

From:pbristow
Date:October 12th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
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...And thankyou.
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From:sarakate
Date:October 13th, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
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That is excellent, and very true. I am adding this, and the advice contained in the first article, to the list of Things I Need To Teach My Son. Because teaching my son not to perpetuate this cultural sickness or tolerate it in his friends is pretty much as important as teaching my daughter not to become a victim of it.
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From:biguglymandoll
Date:October 16th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
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Sarakate, you have it exactly. I have 2 daughters and 1 son, and the trick is to raise them all to understand what equality means, up at the sharp pointy end - Trust Your Instincts and Don't Be An Asshole, to all of them, equally.

Also here via Vixy, via Seanan. All ya'all rock, as far as I can tell. ;-)
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