In the recent discussion about Kathy Sierra and Markos’ febrile and clueless response to her, I see there are some kind, helpful men who are taking pains to make sure emotion doesn’t run rampant in the discussion, that unfair accusations of misogyny or characterizations of harassment statistics get spread in an understandable emotional response to a few very upsetting instances of harassment by piglike men who fall far outside the norm. Surely, these men reason, we mustn’t let these nasty experiences color our judgment of the actual events involved. Surely it helps no one to make wild and baseless charges without looking, in uber-dispassionate detachment, at the actual statistics and methodology and margin of error of the studies that show women get harassed more than men. Come, let us reason together calmly, they say. References to Salem and the McMartin pre-school and such come unbidden to their lips.

I’m a big fan of dispassionate, rational, fact-based discussion of the issues myself, and it is in that spirit that I offer, to my brethren who’ve taken it upon themselves to be a shining light of dispassion on this topic, these fraternal words of guidance:

Shut the fuck up.

Here are a few of the actual facts that prompt the above sage counsel:

— You are not saying anything the women you’re talking to haven’t heard a thousand times before. You are not saying anything the women you’re talking to haven’t told themselves a thousand times before. If you would actually stop your reflexive know-it-all yammering and pay attention to what women actually SAY about the offenses they suffer on the sexual harassment - rape continuum, you will note that almost to a woman they second-guess their own gut feelings about the putative offender far beyond the point where almost any man would.

— You are wrong. If you doubt that the nature of abuse and harassment women suffer, online or off, differs from that men experience, then you don’t know what you’re talking about. Oddly, the Internets offer a way for you to verify this fact for yourself. About a dozen years ago, at the urging of a feminist online acquaintance, I logged on to AOL using an obviously female but non-provocative handle. (”AliciaMN.”) Within five minutes of logging on I had sexually abusive IMs popping up from men I didn’t know. Didn’t matter which room I was in: general chat, politics, classical music. I kept up the experiment for I think four days, a couple hours a day, sometimes chatting with people about non-sexual topics, sometimes just lurking. Two of the men who IMed AliciaMN with blatantly and obnoxiously sexual messages — “Hey, I’m up in Alaska! How ’bout you thaw my dick out with your throat?” being an example I recall — responded to my NON-response by telling “Alicia” she deserved to get raped.

This is neither new nor surprising information to any woman here. I mention it because 1) maybe if a man says it it’ll be taken seriously and 2) it implies a suggestion that disbelievers find a venue equivalent to AOL in its heyday and repeat my experiment, in the spirit of dispassionate empiricism.

— If no woman in your life has ever talked to you about how she lives her life with an undercurrent of fear of men, consider the possibility that it may be because she sees you as one of those men she cannot really trust.

— Finally, let’s assume just for the sake of argument that you’re right. You aren’t. But just as a gedankenexperiment, let’s pretend you are, and that the women who are talking about the massive deadweight silence from men about the harassment they experience, and who are getting all upset and speaking in terms of “war zones” and “hate crimes” and such are just being emotional, hysterical even, and — like the people who forward that bogus email about the guy with the ropes and duct tape in hs trunk in the mall parking lot — just need to be set straight with a calm, measured dose of logic and fact-checking.

In most situations, that’s a fine impulse. There really is no reason to get upset about LSD in blue star tattoos, and Bill Gates really isn’t paying people who forward a chain email.

But this situation is qualitatively different. When the topic at hand is men not taking an issue seriously, suggesting that the issue might not really be all that serious is not being dispassionate. It is, in fact, taking a side. And the people on the side you’re taking, incidentally, include the gropers, the rapists, the sexual-favor-demanding bosses.

In short, if you’re interested in quibbling with the data or suggesting alternate interpretations of what Kos really meant when he called Kathy Sierra a lying “crying blogger,” and your goal is not to be a flaming asshole, shut the fuck up.

And when you shut the fuck up, two magical things happen:

1) You’re no longer actively contributing to the very problem you’re discussing;
2) It’s easier to listen to what the women are actually saying.

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  1. 1 kitten

    I love you a whole lot

  2. 2 caitlin

    If no woman in your life have ever talked to you about how she lives her life with an undercurrent of fear of men, consider the possibility that it may be because she sees you as one of those men she cannot really trust.

    Ain’t that the fuckin’ truth.

  3. 3 Ursula

    Oh, bless you, Chris Clarke, bless you a thousand times over. I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to tell some entitled asshole to stop jawing on about how sexism, or racism, or homophobia, is all in someone’s head. Co-workers, brothers, boyfriends, and on and on it goes. Bless you for being one of the (few?) good ones.

  4. 4 roula

    whole lotta love seconded. thanks chris.

  5. 5 tinfoil hattie

    awesome post.

    thank you.

  6. 6 Joanna

    But this situation is qualitatively different. When the topic at hand is men not taking an issue seriously, suggesting that the issue might not really be all that serious is not being dispassionate. It is, in fact, taking a side. And the people on the side you’re taking, incidentally, include the gropers, the rapists, the sexual-favor-demanding bosses.

    Yes!

  7. 7 JWo

    You said it perfectly, THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  8. 8 Christian

    Do you have a link to Markos’ comments? I assumed he made them online, but can’t find them on his site

  9. 9 MikeEss

    This topic reminds of an interesting discussion some months back at Feministe. The ladies were talking about bras, bra fit, and breast comfort, and some guy was in there arguing that they couldn’t be feeling what they said they were feeling.

    I found it interesting that a male, presumably with small to non-existent breasts, was arguing with full-grown women who presumably had “owned” breasts since puberty. Very odd.

    It’s usually the best policy to shut up and listen when people are talking about things you don’t have, don’t know about, or have not been trained about. Seems like just plain common sense…

  10. 10 Kyra

    Wow.

  11. 11 Raincitygirl

    I am a little bit in love with you right now, Chris.

  12. 12 preying mantis

    It would also be nice if guys whose first impulse is to respond to the personal safety checklist (don’t walk alone at night, don’t go to bars alone, scan the parking lot for loitering or otherwise suspicious people, check the back seat, go clubbing in groups, lock the car doors after getting in, don’t sleep with windows open, etc.) with “But men have to do things like that, too!” stopped for a second to consider the fact that they’re probably not refraining from the oh-so-risky activity of going out alone at night because they’re afraid of being tomorrow morning’s rape-murder headline so much as they’re afraid of being robbed.

  13. 13 nolo
  14. 14 nolo

    Oh, and excellent post.

  15. 15 Amy

    Chris, you’re beautiful.

  16. 16 Mike

    At the risk of being told to STFU again, I have a question.

    This quote intriques me, and needs clarification:

    “If no woman in your life have ever talked to you about how she lives her life with an undercurrent of fear of men…”

    Are you saying here that ALL women live their lives aware of, and reacting to, an undercurrent of fear of men?

    That seem to be an awfully broad brush you’re painting with, if you are saying that.

    I mean, really, do ALL women fear ALL men ALL the time, or is that they’re just aware that there might be a reason to fear a particular male?

    And, if this is true, is this behavior hardwired in women, or learned behavior?

    Regards,

    mike

  17. 17 aimai

    Yeah, I second that. I lov eyou too chris. You’ve said what we’ve been trying to say so beautifully it made me cry. emotional me!

    aimai

  18. 18 dmg

    I mean, really, do ALL women fear ALL men ALL the time, or is that they’re just aware that there might be a reason to fear a particular male?

    And, if this is true, is this behavior hardwired in women, or learned behavior?

    Regards,

    mike

    Mike, STFU.

  19. 19 Rob

    You know when this really hit me recently? During the GFR-Althouse discussion/meltdown there a post Franke-Ruta made on TAPPED about it. The comments were filled with men just commenting on how Garance looked. I realized then how they were obviously clueless about the boundaries they were crossing. And there was little malevalence there, just privilege mixed with ignorance.

  20. 20 BarbaraD

    Mike,

    It really depends on the women and her life experiences. Some women fear all men all the time. Some fear some men all the time. Some fear all men some of the time. Some fear some men some of the time. And most are a combination of all of the above depending on when you ask. But we all know that we have to fear some men…and it makes us leary of men generally and it increases our level of paranoia and hyper-vigilence.

  21. 21 tinfoil hattie

    Mike: though I’m repeating myself from another thread, read Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear. Then come back here and see if you feel like asking your question again.

    Oh, and basically? The answer to your question is very often “yes.”

    And for good reason.

    And in case “STFU” didn’t clue you in, note that you are doing the exact thing Chris is talking about: being a man who comes into a woman’s forum questioning whether we wimmens really, honestly, actually feel and experience the things we say we do, because we can’t possibly be right.

  22. 22 StotheL

    Okay, Mike, you had me until “hardwired.” I was all set to take you at your word and write a reasoned, value-neutral response to your post. But then you had to break out “hardwired.”

    That was your mistake - you let your inner a-hole show with that one. You gave light to the fact that you were merely picking a fight rather than actually seeking understanding.

    So, STFU.

    And while you’re busy not talking, take tinfoil hattie’s advice and read The Gift of Fear.

  23. 23 elm

    In the interest of furthering common courtesy; Mike, please, shut the fuck up.

  24. 24 Andrea

    I would not presume to speak for Chris here, but speaking as a woman, I would say that most, if not all, women live with a conscious wariness of men. It’s a learned behavior; we’re taught from a young age to be wary of strange men (with the laundry list of safety tips that Preying Mantis mentioned), and depending on the personal life experience of the woman in question, it can range from simple wariness to outright fear. I’ve lost count of the times I was walking to my car after class at 9:00 PM carrying my keys laced between my knuckles in case I need to deck someone. I’ve also lost count of the times I’ve nervously listened to footfalls behind me during those walks, only to find that the man behind me was the owner of one of the four other cars still left in the parking lot at that hour. When I went on my first date with my husband, my family impressed upon me the need to go somewhere crowded in broad daylight and not give him private access to me until I knew him enough to trust him. I’ve been one of the lucky women, who haven’t dealt with any overt physical harrassment in her lifetime thus far. If I’m wary and careful, how fearful do you think a woman will be if she’s actually been harrassed or assaulted? Also, the safety tips really only protect you against men you don’t know; statistics overwhelmingly show that women are much more likely to be stalked, harrassed and assaulted by men they are close to, by men they know. What do you do with that knowledge?

    Sometimes is boggles my mind that men don’t understand the amount of precaution women take to protect themselves on a daily basis. But on some level, it makes sense; even if a woman has been open about this kind of fear, it’s difficult to understand unless you’ve experienced it yourself. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live as a man anymore than a man could imaigne what it’s like to live as a woman.

  25. 25 Lucy Gillam

    Mike, I can’t answer for Chris, but what I can tell you is this: no, I don’t fear ALL men ALL the time. I do, however, have a near-constant awareness that any man beyond a very small few (ironically, statistically not necessarily the “safest,” but the ones I personally trust) are an unknown factor. Or, to put it more bluntly, that any given man could be a rapist. That the co-worker I accept the ride home from may or may not be safe. That the guy I let into my house to give me an estimate on painting my baby’s room may or may not be a threat.

    I hate thinking this way, but you don’t spend a lifetime hearing, “why did she go into his hotel room? why was she jogging after dark? why did she go off with him?” as a response to rape and other forms of male-on-female violence without internalizing the idea that (a) you’re somehow supposed to know who the rapists are, and (b) you can never tell who they are. The net result of this is regarding nearly all men with, if not actual fear (and often that), at least an awareness of potential danger.

    And I’d say it’s learned behavior, but it’s learned pretty damn thoroughly.

  26. 26 Kyso K

    Wait, wait, dmg, don’t be so hasty. If Mike’s right and women are hardwired to suspect that men want to hurt them, then when I meet Mike in person, shriek, and whack him over the head with my computer bag, it could be argued that I couldn’t help myself.

    If there is some award for clumsiest attempt to derail a thread, I want to nominate Mike.

  27. 27 Chris Clarke

    “If no woman in your life have ever talked to you about how she lives her life with an undercurrent of fear of men…”

    Are you saying here that ALL women live their lives aware of, and reacting to, an undercurrent of fear of men?

    This has been answered well already, but allow me to take the logical, dispassionate, almost Boolean in its simplicity tack.

    No. In saying “It is unlikely you’ve never met a woman who lives in fear” I am not saying “all women definitely live in fear.”

    I do believe that the vast majority of women live in fear, but if I said that explicitly, Pam Osh*y would stop by to comment about how she doesn’t fear men at all and I’m nuts. And while the resulting thread would be amusing, it’d be an excuse for some people to ignore the post.

  28. 28 kayare

    chris’s is some of the wisest advice i’ve seen on the internets in a while.

  29. 29 Dan

    I mean, really, do ALL women fear ALL men ALL the time, or is that they’re just aware that there might be a reason to fear a particular male?

    You say that as if having a fear of being raped and/or killed by a sexual predator is somehow unreasonable.

    The problem that women have with trusting men in general and unknown men in particular, as I see it, is that rapists look just like non-rapists, and it’s entirely possible for the latter to turn into the former with little or no notice or provocation.

    And of course, by the time a rapist clearly identifies himself, it’s usually too late.

    It seems to me that fear — or at the very least, general wariness — of men is not at all unwarranted.

    And, if this is true, is this behavior hardwired in women, or learned behavior?

    I’m no primatologist, but I would venture to guess that the overwhelming majority of social behaviour among the various species of great ape is learned. Big brains, and whatnot.

  30. 30 preying mantis

    “And, if this is true, is this behavior hardwired in women, or learned behavior?”

    Mike, pretend you have a daughter, if you don’t. Think for a few minutes about how you’d go about teaching her to protect herself from being molested or victimized. Think about why and in what way you’d do this. Now ask yourself if you’d feel the need to do any of that if you really thought people with penises could just automatically trigger some hardwired flight-response in people with vaginas.

  31. 31 Sour Kraut

    Oh shut up, Chris, you whiny little bit…

    What? This post is by a man?

    Never mind.

    Right on, Chris. Us Nice Guys have to stick together.

  32. 32 StotheL

    Kyso K, you just made me laugh so hard I spit out my gum! You said what I was thinking, only you made it succinct and funny. Magnificent.

  33. 33 Deborah

    Chris, you’re now my officially favorite person ever.

  34. 34 Andrea

    On a more related note, great post, Chris. Thank you.

  35. 35 LCforevah

    Mike, if it were hardwired, would the fear be any less legitimate? Asking that question would be just another way to say it’s all in our heads, except that the way evolution works, it would have become hardwired because the fear is based on reality.

  36. 36 Cyrus Pinkerton

    As much as I dislike Kos’ blog, as moronic as his comment about ignoring death threats is, I don’t think he’s guilty of misogyny based on just that one post. Sure, his post is offensively idiotic. Sure, his use of the threats against Kathy Sierra as an example shows that he’s an insensitive jerk. But based solely on his short commentary, I can’t conclude that he’s guilty of misogyny. He seems to be saying online threats against any and all (including his children) are not to be taken seriously. That’s what I regard as equal opportunity stupidity.

    This is a very serious issue. Let’s not get sidetracked by worrying about the nature of Kos’ assholery. Let’s instead focus on how we can protect Kathy Sierra and other women and men from online threats.

  37. 37 sydney

    Awesome, simply awesome.

    Now there is a thread going on at feministing that could use your wise sage advice. 3 guesses as to which one…

    http://feministing.com/archives/006859.html

  38. 38 syfr

    Cyrus, there’s a history there with Kos and feminists:

    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2005/06/mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it.html

  39. 39 Amanda Marcotte

    I step out to go to the grocery store and come back to find Chris flirting with the readers.

    Kidding, this post is awesome. I feel all flirted with. *giggle*

  40. 40 Richard

    Chris you are so right and I agree with MikeEss as well.

    I think I’ve told this small tale before, but I had my cluelessness brought home to me about fifteen years ago. I was visiting a friend in the San Fernando Valley (I was living in upstate NY but that’s irrelevant). After dinner we had stopped by the mall so she could get something. We had parked under a street light so it was not dark. When we came back to the car, we were approaching it an angle. I was just walking along when she veered out to the point that she could see the far side early enough that she could get away if someone had been hiding there. I truly realized at that point that I really had no idea what a woman has to deal with on a day to day basis just to stay alive.

    OT: Thanks again for the quick lesson in HTML Chris.

  41. 41 MAJeff

    On a flight recently, I was chatting with a reseracher at one of the bloody schools in Boston. She was in a male field. some kind of biological or physics thing. I just asked one question about gender in the field (I’d told her I was a sociologist), and she started by saying it was nothing, but then told a story about how people discussed what she was wearing rather than the research she was presenting…even a year later. And she just kept coming up with new things, like she’d known it was going on but hadn’t wanted to name it until that point.

    And this was nothing compared to the stories women have told me about their sexual assaults or their abortions or their relationships or whatever. It’s hard to wish women’s perspectives away when their narratives are embedded within your memory.

  42. 42 Auguste

    I feel all flirted with. *giggle*

    And I respect, not deny, your feelings.

    See? We all win with this post!

    (Great job Chris.)

  43. 43 tpx

    I went to one of those rape awareness displays while at university and became aware women might be afraid of me just because I was a male. When I walk down dark streets and see a woman I cross to the other side so she won’t be worried about a threat from me. It’s not much, but it is something.

  44. 44 smartalek

    The really pathetic thing, of course, is that this post WILL be taken more seriously because it was written by someone without the direct life experience — who had to do actual experiments concealing his gender to get the data — than anyone already possessed of said life experience, who thus already knows.
    Usually, we tend to preference people with firsthand info over people without — but not on this issue, apparently. Now, why do you suppose that is?
    NB — I hope it’s clear that I’m not criticizing Chris, who has done us all a valuable service — but why did HE have to do so, hmm?

  45. 45 nolo

    As much as I dislike Kos’ blog, as moronic as his comment about ignoring death threats is, I don’t think he’s guilty of misogyny based on just that one post.

    How about sexism? Based on Markos’s fairly consistent record of being dismissive of women’s issues, I think it’s totally fair to say that there’s some sexism going on.

  46. 46 Auguste

    tpx makes a good point, and alludes to another - to wit:

    If a woman fears you, she’s not (necessarily) making a judgement on you personally. She’s most likely making a judgement on the patriarchy, one which has been shown repeatedly to be a wise judgement, and inasmuch as you are a participant in said patriarchy is the judgement she’s making on you.

    Knowing this allows you to respect that fear and do what you can to minimize it - which does NOT involve aggressive behavior. It doesn’t even include talking non-aggressively to a stranger. That’s not what minimizes fear.

  47. 47 Auguste

    The point of above comment was a little lost, which is:

    Don’t take it personally, because taking it personally leads to even more assholish behavior.

  48. 48 Richard

    Let me just say that as one of the very few people in this discussion who has been on both sides* it’s immensely liberating to not have to fear everyone you see.

    I like wandering around inner-cities on my own late at night. You learn a lot about the place and I love the feel of a late-night city.

    * I’m bi. I’m currently single and my last few partners have all been female. The only people who really know I’m bi are people I trust not to be queer-bashers. Last time I had a male partner, I was endlessly dealing with harrassment and threats of violence - and not just when we were together. I’m 6′5″ and 250lbs, and I can still walk around in terror.

  49. 49 Aloysius Watermelontail

    I am so linking this.

  50. 50 Dorothy

    When the topic at hand is men not taking an issue seriously, suggesting that the issue might not really be all that serious is not being dispassionate.

    “Don’t be silly–of course I’m being dispassionate.”

    /asshole

  51. 51 Bruce Godfrey

    Chris, I have started a “Take Back the Blog” blogswarm, modelled somewhat in parallel to this month’s Take Back the Night rallies/marches around the country and beyond, to post up on April 28. I would very grateful (if I may) to list this excellent post on it.

    Thank you for writing this.

  52. 52 Christina

    I think I just fell in love again. Chris, you are awesome.

  53. 53 Chris Clarke

    chris’s is some of the wisest advice i’ve seen on the internets in a while.

    Way to set the bar high, there.

  54. 54 Ben Alpers

    It’s worth adding that Kos’s record on feminist issues also involves actively pushing anti-choice candidates like Representative James Langevin (D-RI), who based on very early polling (i.e. two years before the 2006 elections) seemed like the strongest challenger against (pro-choice) GOP Senator Lincoln Chafee.

    In diary after diary (and there are many more), Kos pilloried NARAL for putting choice before party, while actively pushing anti-choice Democrats like Langevin and Bob Casey in PA (at least Casey was running against an anti-choice Republican). To the extent that Kos has any influence on real world politics, it’s in the way races like this get framed. As the leading “progressive” blogger, Kos’s acceptance of Casey as the “strongest” Dem candidate, and subsequent refusal to take seriously any of Casey’s pro-choice primary challengers, helped assure Casey’s nomination. On the other hand, while Kos screamed bloody murder, pro-choice groups helped drive Langevin from the race, leading eventually to the election of pro-choice Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse (to the best of my knowledge, Kos has never apologized for his Langevin-pimping).

    Of course Kos’s “theory” behind all of this is that the only vote in the Senate that counts is for majority leader. This is obviously false. But it is particularly problematic in the case of reproductive freedom issues, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is himself anti-choice.

    All of which is a long-winded way of saying: don’t believe Kos’s defenders who suggest that his Kathy Sierra post was entirely the result of his being tired and out-of-it because of the recent birth of his daughter. He may well be tired and out-of-it. But Kos’s female trouble runs very, very deep and has a profound impact on the kind of politics practiced at what is usually seen as the most influential site on the “left” of the blogosphere.

  55. 55 badpoetry

    Beautiful post.

    Mike’s “hardwired” comment was also instructive, though probably not in the way he intended. For what it’s worth, the answer to his question is that it’s learned behavior, not hardwired (all you need to do is observe the free, fearless, fun loving spirits of girl toddlers to know this).

    But, given that women’s fear of men is learned, not hardwired, the reverse question ought to be considered: is the behavior of men that inculcates this fear in women itself hardwired in “men”?

    Put more bluntly: are men assholes by nature, or is it learned behavior?

    Presumably, MRAs at this point will argue vehemently that it’s obviously “learned behavior”… there are too many men that aren’t assholes for it to be an inherent aspect of the male gender itself.

    Well, good. There’s hope for a better world, then, isn’t there?

    The point of this is the following: the way to actually solve the problems that Chris discusses in tis post- and of misogyny in general- is to change the learned behaviors of the men in our society. This will require systemic changes that affect men from birth through childhood to adolescence and adulthood.

    And yes, it’s OK to discuss changes in learned behavior for women, too, but only insofar as it helps to address the real, actual problem here: the behavior of men, not women.

  56. 56 Church Secretary

    Thanks, Chris. This is one of those issues I’ve often thought about, but never so profoundly. I’ll try to be coherent when I discuss it with my wife, and (in a few years) with my daughter.

  57. 57 ellenbrenna

    Mike any time you hear women talk about how it is too late to walk or take a subway and they should take a cab, or wondering if a friend of theirs should stay somewhere or travel somewhere alone they are discussing a fear of men.

  58. 58 Richard

    Uh Richard at 5:07PM (self) is different from Richard at 5:17PM. Self is mid-fifties, straight white man 5′8″, 160lbs. Not that it matters in the cosmic scheme of things

  59. 59 Cyrus Pinkerton

    Thanks for the link, syfr. After reading Kos’ post about ignoring online threats, I didn’t think it was possible that my opinion of him could get any lower. I was wrong.

  60. 60 LCforevah

    Ben Alpers, thanks for bringing that back up about the anti-choice candidate–that’s when I stopped going to Kos. I won’t take that “little girl, I know what’s good for the party” attitude from anyone.

  61. 61 CS Lewis Jr

    It would also be nice if guys whose first impulse is to respond to the personal safety checklist with “But men have to do things like that, too!” stopped for a second to consider the fact … they’re afraid of being tomorrow morning’s rape-murder headline so much as they’re afraid of being robbed.

    Right. I have an “undercurrent of fear” of other men in my life, but it’s about getting mugged and/or killed, not raped. And it’s not “because I’m a man,” but because I might have some money or am in a rough neighborhood.

    That Kos comment thread is fucked up. First time I had heard the “tish, pshaw and nonsense” reaction to the bizarre and creepy hate campaign against the apparently totally innocuous Sierra. Kos does tend to be an idiot about certain things.

  62. 62 rrp

    Chris, you are the bestest.

  63. 63 Furious|T|

    Well said, Chris. Good lookin’ out.

  64. 64 feminazi

    http://www.echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.com/ had a great post about Markos & misogyny, and she found the first study.

    http://www.enre.umd.edu/content/rmeyer-assessing.pdf
    In internet chat rooms, these are the results of a “person” who didn’t say a word:

    Female names receive 100 malicious private messages a day,
    Ambiguous names receive 25 malicious private messages a day,
    Male names receive 4 malicious private messages a day

    McFall (1990, p.318) has stated in his information processing model of rape:”This evidence paints the following portrait of sexually aggressive men. They enter heterosexual relationships holding distorted cognitive schemata that predispose them to sexual misunderstandings and misguided actions.

    Descriptive studies show that compared to their less aggressive peers, sexually aggressive men typically view relationships with women as hostile and adversarial, have a more promiscuous and impersonal orientation toward sex (Malamuth, Linz, Heavy, & Acker, 1995), and show greater arousal to depictions of forced intercourse (Bernat, 1997; Lohr, Adams, & Davis, 1997). Social information processing and judgments of sexual interactions are further influenced by aggressive men’s rape supportive cognitions (e.g., Bernat, Wilson, & Calhoun, 1997).

    Rape is an everyday occurrence. Research published yesterday by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Home Office Inspectorates estimates that of the 50,000 rapes thought to occur each year, between 75% and 95% are never reported. And almost a third of reported cases recorded by police as “no crime” should have been properly investigated as rape.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/gender/story/0,,2003228,00.html
    ————————
    also found this
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/20…4/5/12151/ 28456

    absolutely beautiful, a keeper.

    But. I now have ZERO tolerance for misogyny. I read a few studies, one in particular, -should have saved it grrr- it made the point very clearly that BEFORE violence against women and other minorities occurs, an environment of pro-hate must be established. An environment which encourages, excepts, or tolerates less-respect-for-X influences every person who is exposed to that environment.

    Environment comes before attitude. Attitude comes before the action. Stop the attitude, stop the violence. Stop the environment FIRST. Anybody who tolerates haters gets the same treatment as if they are the ones spewing filth.

    As long as Kos continues to support Markos, the DailyKos endorses violences against women and minorites. I cannot put a link to DK on my blog as long as Markos is there. I would probably “viewsource” and put the whole thing without any reference to DK on my blog, with attribute to author ONLY, and explain why I did it that way.

    I don’t want a “worship the woman” attitude, but insisting on respect and being satisfied with nothing less, doesn’t seem to be an outrageous requirement. Misogyny is going STOP, damnit!

    “When the topic at hand is men not taking an issue seriously, suggesting that the issue might not really be all that serious is not being dispassionate. It is, in fact, taking a side. And the people on the side you’re taking, incidentally, include the gropers, the rapists, the sexual-favor-demanding bosses.”

    It’s an attempt to minimize, distract, deny that a problem exists.
    –nice post Chris

  65. 65 CS Lewis Jr

    Put more bluntly: are men assholes by nature, or is it learned behavior?

    I believe that a non-trivial percentage of humans are assholes by nature, and because this behavior is rewarded in males and punished in females, you see a disproportionate amount of socially encouraged assholishness from men. If the Patriarchy had a slogan, in might well be “It’s better to be an asshole than a pussy.” That is practically the He-Man Code of Conduct. Now that I think anout it, I believe that is pretty much our entire national foreign policy at the moment.

  66. 66 Jeff Fecke

    Mike sez:

    Are you saying here that ALL women live their lives aware of, and reacting to, an undercurrent of fear of men?

    Yes.

    This has been another edition of simple answers to stupid questions.

  67. 67 Jeff Fecke

    Oh, and Chris? Thanks for saying what I’ve been trying, and failing, to articulate for the past few days.

  68. 68 JM

    Mike, speaking only for myself:

    I’m not afraid of all men, all the time.

    I’m always aware that any generic man has the potential to be a threat, to a much greater extent than a generic woman. So I’m always wary — if I’m walking alone after dark, I’m aware of where anyone else is around me (men as a potential threat, other women as potential deterrents to threats, as witnesses). If it’s a familiar area, I know where the well-trafficked streets and the places that are open late are — where I can run to. If it’s not familiar that’s something else I watch for.

    Does this mean I live in fear? No. It means I’m always paying attention, much more than men are. My brothers were dumbfounded when I explained this to them, when we were out for a walk at night while we were visiting my parents — that even in what was a “safer” city than where any of us were living at the time, I still was aware of things like “that convenience store, and the laundromat a block back, are still open. There was a woman walking her dog on the other side of the street a minute ago.” Keeping track, at least for me, isn’t a conscious Fear Response — it’s just what we *do*.

    NB: I’m lesbian, with what my friends have dubbed strong “Dyke Rays” (men don’t hit on me), meaning I have fewer occasions to be concerned about my safety around male acquaintances than women who date men do — there are fewer occasions when I’d be alone with them. This no doubt colors my answer.

  69. 69 Archy

    From about 40 years ago — “How can YOU deny MY experience?” Obviously, damn, we haven’t moved too far in that time. So, it makes a lot of sense to just cut to the bottom line — STFU.

    Thanks.

  70. 70 ekf

    Wonderful post, Chris. Thank you.

    For additional information on violence and threats of violence against women — and the resulting limitation on participation in society — I highly recommend this series of blog posts by Martha Nussbaum on the University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog (detail given in case the link doesn’t work right):

    Women’s Bodies: Violence, Security, Capabilities

  71. 71 mg_65

    Joining in the general Chris Clarke love. Beautiful post, thank you.

  72. 72 CPP

    Awesome post!

    Speaking as a recovering Nice Guy(tm) myself to any other Nice Guys(tm) around here: we should all be required to read James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time. Baldwin brilliantly describes how people living within a privileged circle CANNOT understand the life of those outside, yet those outside already understand everything there is to know about those inside. As he says, it is pointless for the black man to try to reason with the white man. His logic applies just as well to the gender divide.

    What I took away from that book was a large dose of frustration: that so many people I know and care about are fundamentally unable to communicate with me because I have been emotionally crippled. Men (and whites) are in a way broken people who aren’t allowed to experience the real world. The problems of sexism and racism aren’t only about fixing the world to be more just, they are also about removing the barriers preventing the privileged from being fully real people. (Unfortunately I don’t yet know a way to express this idea that doesn’t immediately ring of the “let’s all feel sorry for the unhappily helplessly-advantaged white men” line of excuses.)

    Now it’s my turn STFU and listen. :)

  73. 73 Isabella

    Thanks Chris. Great post.

    I mean, really, do ALL women fear ALL men ALL the time, or is that they’re just aware that there might be a reason to fear a particular male?

    And, if this is true, is this behavior hardwired in women, or learned behavior?

    Basically yes, though it’s not necessarily a conscious fear at the front of our minds. I think Chris’s phrase “undercurrent of fear” captures it pretty well. Perhaps “undercurrent of wariness” might apply in situations where I generally feel safe. I’ve never been a victim of a violent crime, I’ve never been raped or sexually harassed- but I still feel it.

    Where does this come from?
    (1) Well there’s popular culture and the media. Consider all those crime or horror themed TV shows and movies focusing on the rape/kidnapping/torture/murder of women (usually young women). Think of all the news reports obsessing over stories of missing white women.

    (2) Looks at crime statistics. Women are on the receiving end of a lot of male violence (men actually are to, but it gets less media coverage, see point # 1).
    (3) Consider how, in high profile rape cases (or even not so high profile cases), the woman’s conduct gets dissected and described as “not taking sufficient precautions;” even when she didn’t do anything particularly careless- for ex. while wearing the same kinds of cloths as everyone else, she consumed some alcohol one evening and then went home by herself or allowed some man to accompany her home (conduct that as Amanda has pointed out, plenty of people do every weekend without being crime victims). This sends a clear message to women that they must always be wary.

    (4) I’m sure most women have some creepy experience in their formative years. A few samples:
    - I’m walking down the street. Some guy in a car driving past says “hey beautiful.” I don’t respond because my momma taught me not to speak to strangers, and really, the guy driving past in a car can’t really be expecting a conversation. But apparently he is and he drives past again and says “Stuck up Bitch!” and spits at me. (This happened more than once.)
    - I’m walking down the street. Some man says, “what a nice smile, just like sunshine.” I don’t mind. That’s actually kind of nice. Then he says, “I’m going to follow the sunshine,” and starts following me until I go into a store to get away from him.
    - A friend of mine was walking down a busy street in a nice neighborhood at about 6:30 on a summers evening- a street a few blocks away from my apartment that I’ve walked down many times by myself. Suddenly some guy stabs her repeatedly until a bus driver stopped and helped her. Apparently she caught this guy’s eye and he thought she was snubbing him, so he decided to stab her.

    Why don’t you try to actually imagine what it’s like to go through life as a woman, having even, the otherwise decent, men you work with staring at your breasts while you talk to each other.

  74. 74 femnaz*

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/4/5/12151/28456

    This is the one, sorry. Domestic violence - the article that doesn’t deserve to be at DK.

  75. 75 Aerik

    Agreed. Wholeheartedly.

  76. 76 deep6

    Wow. Spot on, Chris. That’s exactly what I’m feeling.

    My meager anecdotal addition is that there was only one time I have ever lived in fear of men. Not just strangers, but men I knew well. It was after I got hurt. I don’t know what my housemate slipped in my drink, but I couldn’t move. And after it was all over and I rushed over to my friend’s house because I didn’t want to be alone, and I walked in pain for three days, I remember that I couldn’t be around men. Being abused by someone I knew, I felt I couldn’t trust my judgment anymore, otherwise what had happened to me never would have happened in the first place, right? That, and him not using a condom were really the scariest parts. I was still in college and there were men around everywhere. I had usually walked everywhere alert, but not necessarily scared of my surroundings, and had typically taken the attitude that I could trust men I considered “friends”. But after it all happened, that sense of ease and trust around them was just gone. Even around the ones who had never in any way been threatening. Today I’m much better and am mostly back to trusting my judgment - that took a while to get back - but still… when I’m the only female in a closed-door meeting at work, where there is a large number of men, I do get scared. Not because of any immediate threat, but more because of the possibility of it. I don’t go out and drink with coworkers anymore either, and because of another experience, any time a group of friends goes out and someone brings along a new boyfriend or a friend of someone’s boyfriend, I have one drink and call it quits.

    Markos has said a lot of stupid shit, and this really tops the list.

  77. 77 MildredMorgan

    Mike,

    This has been pretty well answered, but: yes, in my opinion ALL women fear violence from men. Is it learned or hard-wired? Well, I’ve suffered 10 episodes of physical assault or harassment in my life. This ranged from exposure of genitals and grabbing on the street to robbery and outright molestation. Perpetrators were both known and unknown. None were women. This doesn’t, of course, even count the many episodes of verbal harrassment, which would take the total well up into the hundreds. And I don’t consider myself to be particularly victimized. This is just the kind of crap that women– and girls– put up with ALL THE TIME. It is par for the course.

    And on that very Kos thread when I mentioned how angry a recent flashing had left me, some fuckwit actually had the nerve to respond that a) I should have taken down the guy’s license plate (which pretty much supports my assertion that men don’t get flashed, making Fuckwit unfamiliar with how the perpetrators make their getaway while you’re lost in that blur of shock, fear, and embarrassment that they were hoping for), and 2) Chicks hit on him all the time, too, so what am I crying about? I swear to god, that’s the kind of answer that makes me want to pound someone in the cock, but I didn’t feel like favoring the trogs in that thread with my further rage, so thanks for letting me get it out here.

  78. 78 Kate Harding

    This actually choked me up. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  79. 79 Theriomorph

    Thank you so much, Chris.

  80. 80 Irene

    mike wrote:

    I mean, really, do ALL women fear ALL men ALL the time, or is that they’re just aware that there might be a reason to fear a particular male?

    I may be shouted down by some of the people here (and of course this is a subject where everyone’s mileage varies) but I personally don’t think “fear” is the best word.

    A lot of people, when they think about fear, imagine the feeling you might get when being chased by a slavering grizzly bear, and that’s not it. That sort of intense emotion (designed, I believe, to get even a relatively unathletic person fifty feet up a pine tree) is not the sort you can sustain for long. Even soldiers in combat zones don’t feel that sort of fear for more than a minute or two at a time.

    No, what most women have is what one of my counsellors called “hypervigilance.” It’s not an active state of fear, no pounding pulse, no sweating hands. But it means that fear is never really that far away. It means that we constantly check our environment for threats, in situations where a man might relax. It’s a sort of well-reasoned paranoia, if that makes any sense.

    For the record, the reason I’m hypervigilant—even by the standards of most women—is because I was abused as a child. The only hypervigilant man I’ve ever known was a policeman, but I suspect that’s just because I haven’t gotten to know any combat veterans really well. It is a natural human response to a dangerous environment, and you can learn to ignore your own constant “check area for hostiles” reflex. It’s also not the most comfortable thing to live with.

    Irene

  81. 81 Matthew

    I have been going by the moniker Concerned Parent, but that was a lame joke and now that I’m posting comments more regularly, I’ll use the name I usually do. Like, you know, my own.

    This is something that I noticed while arguing in another forum (one with a much lower quality of comments)… this tendency of certain men, always it’s men, usually white men, to tell other people (especially women) that their experiences aren’t true.

    It’s insane arrogance and a complete lack of the empathy it takes to be a decent human being.

    In short, awesome post.

  82. 82 junk science

    Thank you, Mr. Clarke.

    Chicks hit on him all the time, too, so what am I crying about?

    Yes, I’m sure they do.

    Actually, it occurs to me that the kind of guy who dismisses these concerns might think you’re underhandedly bragging about all the sexual attention you get when you talk about being harassed. Perhaps since he feels flattered at whatever attention he gets from the opposite sex, and he’s fortunate enough not to have to worry that they might rape him, and no one else’s experience could really be that different from his, he genuinely doesn’t see the problem.

  83. 83 Tlönista

    I ♥ Chris Clarke! That was just wonderful.

    And since a lot of other women are talking about fearing men, might as well throw in my two cents…

    ellenbrenna was right on:

    Mike any time you hear women talk about how it is too late to walk or take a subway and they should take a cab, or wondering if a friend of theirs should stay somewhere or travel somewhere alone they are discussing a fear of men.

    Way upthread tpx said he crosses the street when he encounters a woman walking at night. That’s a great thing to do — men, instead of opening doors for women, ought to cross the street. I turn down rides and cabs and walk all over late at night, and I’ve never been seriously threatened (though I’m well aware other women would not feel comfortable taking those risks), but I still feel panicky when a guy walks behind me at night.

    By the way, where’d Mike go? Now that so many of us have explained how pervasive hypervigilance is (thanks, Irene, captures it perfectly), do you think he’ll drop back in and admit that he didn’t know what he was talking about?

  84. 84 micheyd

    No, Irene, I think you’re right.

    Hypervigilance is a better word, for which fear is a convenient shorthand. I certainly don’t get a raging pulse and start sweating every time I see any male, but for most strange men on the street in a variety of circumstances, I am unusually aware of where their hands are, where their eyes are gazing, in what direction their feet are moving. And sometimes I feel guilty about it, but it couldn’t hurt to be careful, right?

    And it’s unfortunate that this vigilance does get let down upon getting to know someone better, considering the prevalence of partner- and acquaintance-rape.

  85. 85 micheyd

    ^Not that it shouldn’t get let down, of course. I quite enjoy having men in my life that I trust. It’s just sad that overall women aren’t safe even when they get to know someone.

  86. 86 Clytemnestra

    Wish I could do a standing ovation on a blog…
    Chris you’re great!

  87. 87 Clytemnestra

    When I was in my early teens my sister (three years yonger than I) and I went to the Cinderella City Mall in Englewood, CO (it was buldozed years ago) … anyway she and I were just walking through the mall shopping and such when a guy, I would guess in his 20’s, walked up next to us with his buddies and put his arm around me..

    I didn’t know him and I was terrified. All of us (his buds, him, my sister and I) continued walking. When he picked his arm off my shoulder and walked along his merry way I turned to my sister and said “Don’t tell Mom, she won’t let us come here anymore.”

    Since then I have always been very aware of my surroundings and who was around. I always have the house doors locked even when I’m inside, my car is always locked, key between my fingers when I walk out to my car from class at night.

    I don’t think this hypervigilance will everfy go away, I hope it doesn’t. My great aunt was raped in her own home. She lived in a small town in Kansas, had left the window in the bathroom open a crack, she was 83 when it happened.

    I always make a security check around the house before going to bed. And no matter how hot if is, every window on the first floor is closed and double locked at night.

  88. 88 car

    Oh, and Chris? Thanks for saying what I’ve been trying, and failing, to articulate for the past few days.

    Jeff, you’ve been doing a good job too. :)

    Thank you, Chris. Very well said, and I add to the chorus of girly internet crushes.

    It’s true about having that undercurrent. I’ve had an incredibly lucky life; I’ve never been assaulted, rarely been catcalled, not known many overt assholes, in short there is no reason for me to fear men at all based on personal experience. I even have very few friends who have had bad experiences, so I’ve had little secondhand “it could have been me” exposure.
    But I still carry my keys in the clutched so as to defend myself hold when I walk to my car. I walk faster when there’s a man behind me. I stop working and leave my office when it gets dark, even though I still have things to do and my car is within my view from my window, because it’s too creepy to be there by myself and have to walk to the car in the dark. My heart jumps up a bit when there are two or three guys together on the sidewalk, even if they’re 10 years younger than me and ‘obviously’ not paying any attention to me, and I cross the street and walk faster. It’s still f’ing there, because society has trained me well to be afraid. That sucks.

  89. 89 Dr. Free-Ride

    Sad to say, the burden of proof is on men one does not yet know to show that they can be trusted. And we’re not talking best-friend trust, but trusted not to be assholes or worse. Walking two blocks from campus yesterday evening to a poetry reading — good neighborhood, still light out, I’m dressed in normal work clothes (chinos, neat T-shirt, jacket) — I received obnoxious catcalls from two random males on two separate blocks. You know, for walking on the sidewalk while female. Walking back to campus and my car, after dark, alone (because the students who were there from my department wanted to hang out longer than I did), I made a calculation of which of the various routes back was best lit and had the most non-bar businesses still open, was hyperaware of every other person around me, and was acutely aware that, in the event that someone might assault me, I’d likely be scolded (if not actually blamed) for walking to my car alone at night.

    This is absolutely normal behavior for a woman in these parts. And that makes me sad.

    Thanks for a great post, Chris.

  90. 90 Deborah

    The really pathetic thing, of course, is that this post WILL be taken more seriously because it was written by someone without the direct life experience — who had to do actual experiments concealing his gender to get the data — than anyone already possessed of said life experience, who thus already knows.

    Usually, we tend to preference people with firsthand info over people without — but not on this issue, apparently. Now, why do you suppose that is?

    I am an incest survivor. I have shared that in discussions about molestation or incest, because I thought my life experience gave me valuable insight that could be helpful and informative and supportive. And consistently, for years I have been, instead, dismissed. “Oh, she has a history.” As if that’s a reason NOT to listen, instead of a reason to listen more closely.

    Because “dispassionate” is more valued. Except, as Chris points out, it’s not really dispassion but a point of view that conveniently allows you to assume a facade of dispassion.

    That my experience is dismissed has, in the past, enraged me, but I’ve gotten used to it, and I share less. Which is sad, because almost every time I’ve shared I’ve heard from other survivors who were grateful for a supportive voice. And yet I was prevented from being able to advocate effectively, because I was “biased” or “had issues.” Fucking A.

  91. 91 laura chase

    It’s interesting how hard that undercurrent of fear is for many men to understand, regardless of how progressive they are. An ex of mine once became truly furious when I told him that in my view, all men might potentially sexually or physically harass or assault me. He told me I was “bigoted” for thinking this way. I remember being slightly suprised by his response because I made the statement feeling (coincidentally?) fairly dispassionate: that’s just the way I have to operate in the world if I want to protect myself, plain and simple.

    The only other man I’ve explained my wariness of men to is a (self-defined very recently) feminist whose general response is often tinged with, I think, pity. It’s as though he believes that my own complicated experience with men (aforementioned ex was abusive, etc.) has lead to my almost complete lack of trust, and he feels sorry for me that I’ve closed myself off to all other men because of it. I don’t know that he understands (yet?) that this underlying fear and distrust is not at all an uncommon attitude for women to have toward men.

    So thank you, Chris, for understanding. Today was a bad day, but this post made me feel a little bit better. If we’re lucky, a few more men will understand after reading it.

  92. 92 iolightning

    Mike (way up there), I have not read all the subsequent comments to your query and am probably one of many to respond this way to your question:

    “Are you saying here that ALL women live their lives aware of, and reacting to, an undercurrent of fear of men?”

    Yes.

    Yes, it’s a big brush, but yes, it is true. I can not think of a single man — even relatives (though more out of physical/emotional violence than rape) — of whom I have not been afraid at some point.

    And I am an assertive, confident woman with moderate martial arts skills.

    Get that through your head.

  93. 93 Dorothy

    I thought my life experience gave me valuable insight that could be helpful and informative and supportive. And consistently, for years I have been, instead, dismissed. “Oh, she has a history.” As if that’s a reason NOT to listen, instead of a reason to listen more closely.

    Because “dispassionate” is more valued. Except, as Chris points out, it’s not really dispassion but a point of view that conveniently allows you to assume a facade of dispassion.

    Deborah,

    I think part of this is from the bullshit “independent/centrist” pundit facade we get in the media these days. This aloof kind of “Oh, I’m above all this ‘passion’ and ‘caring’ stuff” really pisses me off–especially because it’s usually a put-on.

    I think the other part is the self-protective denial a lot of people use as a shield: “surely, it can’t actually be as bad as all that–that would make me ‘feel bad’ if it were true!” Or the “she must have done something to deserve it–I know I am different, so that can’t happen to me!”

  94. 94 kathel

    The only hypervigilant man I’ve ever known was a policeman, but I suspect that’s just because I haven’t gotten to know any combat veterans really well.

    I know at least one hypervigilant man, an incest survivor and an adult child of an alcoholic. According to him, hypervigilance is common among men and women of both subsets. Men who were abused as children have the experience of being hurt and shamed by people who they trusted and who physically overwhelmed them. Which, funnily enough, is exactly the experience we’re talking about when we talk about why women fear. The difference is that when boys grow up, the number of people physically and culturally capable of doing that to them shrinks to manageable levels for the most part.

    But there is always going to be someone physically and culturally capable of hurting and shaming a woman. Whether you’ve had that experience or you’ve just been raised to expect that experience (and the number of women who fall into neither category is vanishingly small), you can never forget that.

  95. 95 Caroline

    I’ve been flashed twice. Both times I was walking down a street in a safe neighborhood in broad daylight, to and from university.

    The first time, a male police officer took the report. “Did you get a partial plate?” he said. I shook my head no. “Can I shoot you?” he said.

    The second time, a female officer took the report. I didn’t get a partial plate that time either, but I gave a detailed description of the guy and the car, and she told me I’d given a good narrative, and said she was sorry I had to see that.

    Just an illustrative example.

    And yeah, hypervigilance is the word. I know where all the emergency phones are between my office on campus and my car, and in what direction I’d have to run to them, and I know that on one quad there are none, and I’m always nervous walking across that quad. I schedule repair services so that my boyfriend can be home, because it’s not safe to let unknown males into my house if I’m alone. I’m aware of who’s around and where I could run. I know that even if I don’t look like a mugging target, I can’t help but look like a rape target, because I’m female. Even if I obviously have no money or valuables, there is always something someone could take from me.

  96. 96 Thorn

    Chris, thank you so much. In particular, for this line:

    If no woman in your life has ever talked to you about how she lives her life with an undercurrent of fear of men, consider the possibility that it may be because she sees you as one of those men she cannot really trust.

    This is so very, very true. The more often I try to explain or describe my experiences as a woman to men in my life and get dismissed, second-guessed or otherwise denied that what I’m saying is true, the less likely I am to mention it in front of men again. When women talk about that kind of thing, I’ll bring it up, but with men? The steady application of, “Maybe you’re just being oversensitive/paranoid” has taught me that no, most men in my life, even many who love me, do not consider me enough of a human being to keep a reliable and accurate record of my own experience.

    To Mike: Absolutely. Yes. ALL women. ALL. Not a few, not some, not most. ALL women live with the tales of harassment, assault, rape and murder endured by women we have known, echoing in our ears. For some of us, those echoes are deafening, magnified by the harassments, assaults and/or rapes we ourselves have endured.

    Because of those echoes, we take precautions you probably never once in your life considered taking. Here are some examples:

    - I never get into my car after dark without first checking to make sure the back seat is empty.
    - If I am walking alone after dark, I never listen to my headphones. (Though, when I used to ride the bus, I would leave them in and only turn on my CD player once I was actually on the bus. If I lived in a larger city I probably not even do that, though.)
    - When walking alone at night, I do my best to keep my hands free, and preferably have something I can use as a weapon in one.
    - When I’m carrying my groceries into my apartment after dark, I am aware of what I am carrying in which hand - a single heavy item goes into my dominant hand (a gallon of milk, a plastic bag of canned foods), the other hand is ready to drop whatever it is holding so I can run.
    - If I go to investigate a strange noise in my apartment at night, I grab a heavy object in one hand, and a can of some kind (any kind!) of spray in the other. Alternatively, I punch in the numbers “911″ on my cordless phone and investigate with my thumb over the “on” button.

    I have never been raped. I have never been assaulted. I have never received a threatening letter, phone call or email.

    On the other hand, I have been briefly stalked by an ex-boyfriend. I have been groped by more than one stranger, and by one friend of my father’s. I have been cat-called and name-called on the street.

    Compared to too many women I know, I’ve got nothing to complain about. And yet I remain, and will likely remain for the rest of my life, hypervigilant.

    So STFU.

  97. 97 MikeEss

    All this hate on Mike is really getting me down…

    …oh wait, you mean some OTHER Mike…

    …well I guess that’s okay…

    (It is kind of depressing to know I and other males can cause fear in women. It’s something I’ve learned to appreciate, even though I’m not happy about it. One of the things I’ve learned is to try and recognize situations where I may be extra scary and ameliorate them. Cross the street to stay away from a single woman, try to keep a generous distance, try not to follow too close, etc. I try to imagine how some action of mine might be perceived so I can possibly do something else…)

  98. 98 junk science

    Because “dispassionate” is more valued. Except, as Chris points out, it’s not really dispassion but a point of view that conveniently allows you to assume a facade of dispassion.

    I think the “dispassion” thing is a load of shit to cover up the real, simple explanation. Men don’t want to think that women are scared of them, because it’s unpleasant and hurtful. It’s much more comfortable if they can convince themselves that women are just paranoid.

  99. 99 Carolyn in Baltimore

    Thanks Chris -
    It’s lovely when a man ‘gets it’ and can communicate that to other men. Just as whites are responsible to fight racism, men are necessary to fight sexism in various forms.

    I’d love it if you would cross-post this to DailyKos. It was not just Markos that got to me - it was the pile-on agreeing with him that I found very disturbing on an supposedly progressive Democratic site.

  100. 100 Maya's Granny

    Thank you. This is such a well written post, so full of truth and understanding.

  101. 101 Chris Clarke

    Carolyn;

    I don’t have a DKos account anymore, so I can’t. But if someone else wants to, it’s fine with me. Copy and paste any or all of this. (A link back would be nice.)

  102. 102 Jennifer Cascadia

    (Unfortunately I don’t yet know a way to express this idea that doesn’t immediately ring of the “let’s all feel sorry for the unhappily helplessly-advantaged white men” line of excuses.)

    I’ve just been reading Georges Bataille, and I think he expresses it. It’s like those who are in a position of oppression, but do not understand it, have something missing inside. It is the sense of an organic, subjective relation to other human beings. Instead of this inside, the oppressor has the conditioned tendency to treat other people (considered to be below him) as mere objects to be used and abused. He tends to quantify them and objectifity them in terms of their use value for him. What he doesn’t see is that by virtue of this tendency to treat others as objects and not as subjects, he also loses a substantial portion of his own humanity. He is not able to relate to others except in a mechanical sense. There is something missing from his soul, his spirit, yet he doesn’t know what it is. The person on the outside, who is being oppressed does know what is missing from the oppressor.

  103. 103 Uhura

    Chris….All I can say is WOW.

  104. 104 micheyd

    I’m going to pile-on in the all-Chris all-the-time lovefest.

  105. 105 celticdragon

    Being a woman of transexual experiance, I found out firsthand just what it really means to let go of male privilage. One of those privilages happens to be the ability to walk alone at night on a city street unafraid. I never really experienced fear until I had to walk three blocks to my car in Raleigh, North Carolina after seeing Eve Ensler perform her play “The Good Body”. I was dressed for the evening, and was in heels and a cocktail dress. It was the longest walk of my life, and I will never forget it. I wasn’t just scared…I was almost petrified.

    In the military, I had been a helicopter crewchief and a doorgunner. I am familiar with many types of weapons, and I am a very competant shooter. I’m not really a small person. So what was there to be afraid of? I was being perceived as a woman…in public…at night. I was a target, and I knew it. I have learned to “regulate” my behaivor accordingly, like most women learn. I watch some people a little more carefully. I think about where I’m going, and is it safe after dark. I don’t have that aura of invulnerability I had as a male…and I learned that men really do lead a very different kind of life.

  106. 106 Mike B)

    In addition to JC’s POV, the masters of the employing class use the labour which they have purchased from their hirlings like one uses a knife to cut a piece of meat–as an object and in turn the hirlings sell their skills and time to their masters in order to survive. The pain of risking death by not being able to make a living herds them into participating in their own de-humanizing objectification. And so it goes…….excess is produced by wage-slaves, above and beyond the ability of the master class to use for themselves and the sacrifice continues and the excess accumulates. The surplus must be used somewhere. Where? Squander it in Iraq. Ah yes, blood sacrifice….mmmm-good…….communion. The knife in flesh, objects created to consume animals turned into objects of consumption.

    Meanwhile, Nature is dying from this, seeminly incessant, ever expanding commodification.

  107. 107 D. Sidhe

    Thanks, Chris. It’s aggravating that it takes a man to make the point in a way that men will listen, but it’s nice to know there are some who get it anyway.

    I always wonder what it’s like to not have to *waste* so much of your life. If you’re a man, once the sun sets, you can still take out the garbage, walk to the store, go get the mail, whatever. As a woman, once the sun is down, I don’t. Can men even imagine how much of the winter is just *wasted* knowing I have stuff I should do but feeling stupid to ask my partner or someone to come with me when I go out to the detatched garage to get the kitty litter? The sun goes down, I stay in. Call it fear or hypervigilance. It’s both, and it’s awareness that if, god forbid, something did happen, it would be *all my fault* for being foolish.

    The insult-to-injury thing we get from a lot of men is absolutely enraging. In addition to What Were You Thinking we also get Well You’ve Been Raped So You’re Irrationally Afraid and I Offered You A Ride, What Are You Some Kind Of Man-Hating Bitch. That’s the one I hate the most. When I can’t avoid being out after dark, I cross the street when I’m alone and there are men in my path. I do it with *all* men. And I routinely get glared at by men who think I should somehow know that *they’re* good guys. It’s even worse when I’ve crossed the street and the man in question is a minority. He invariably thinks it’s about his race, rather than his gender. And I don’t really blame them for assuming that. I always have an impulse to apologize to any man I’ve taken steps to protect myself from, but especially men who assume it was for the wrong reason.

    It’s just exhausting. All of it. The very least men can do is recognize that it’s not irrational, and stop blaming us for doing what we have to do to protect ourselves from people who happen to look a lot like you.

    We have to take it personally. You don’t.

  108. 108 Kicker O' Elves

    Wow. I never realized how much women live in fear, to alarming degrees. Actually, I think its the same collective syndrome suffered by the NRA that makes them fear everything, so they need to be carrying guns all the time. And talking amongst yourselves like this only serves to increase the fear when you read more stories about bad things that happen to people.

    While I am not trying to say that women are overreacting, my point is that it is a reflexive action to live in fear. And it does no good. It does not solve any problems.
    What kind of life is it to live in that much fear? I have not had a good nights sleep in about four years until recently, because I was living in fear. Yes, it is not easy to overcome fear. But I am so much stronger for realizing that I should never fear that which I cannot change. That’s not to say I am cured of fear, but I have learned to better control my emotions, and allow my rational mind to outweigh my emotional mind.

    And most of your are acting like a bunch of “Little Liebermans*” over Kos’ comment that attempted to move people beyond the fear and that nonsensical reactionary actions that result from allowing scum to get to you.

    Where are the suggestions as to the root of the problem, and ideas to solve it?

    Why are men that “don’t get it” the problem?

    Please look toward the actions of the Rutgers womens bball team. One news conference they aired their grievances, and they met with imus in private, and came out looking very good. The manner in which the team handled the manner was very professional, and in the end, I think their behavior helped to make it less acceptable for other personalties to get away that shit, because they avoided the mistake of looking like a victim playing it up to get money or fame. Had they done that, then it would have made it easier for the rightwing windbags to justify to themselves their racism and sexism.

    In other words, a measured response serves you better than a hysterical response.

    And yes, I do understand the fear that women have. When I walk out to my car at night, I will walk out my way to not follow a woman out to her car, because i realize that might frighten her. I don’t think women should have to change their behaviors to avoid threats, I think we need to teach men behaviors that will lessen their status as “threats”.
    *Yes, “Little Liebermans” is how best to describe the hysterical flaming of somebody on your side.

  109. 109 paul

    Thanks, Chris.

    In some ways I’m surprised that more men haven’t had — and learned from — the experience of being a target, simply for being there. Or maybe the stereotypical male persona is built around not retaining such experiences, or not being able to generalize to how it would feel to be a target all the time. (It certainly gives men a greater sense of control to be able to attribute their own experiences of being a target to some temporary lack of vigilance or failure to stay in safe territory and thereby write the whole thing off.)

  110. 110 Tlönista

    Wow. I never realized how much women live in fear, to alarming degrees. Actually, I think its the same collective syndrome suffered by the NRA that makes them fear everything, so they need to be carrying guns all the time. And talking amongst yourselves like this only serves to increase the fear when you read more stories about bad things that happen to people.

    Okay, people, what do we say to things like this? In unison…

  111. 111 junk science

    Yes, “Little Liebermans” is how best to describe the hysterical flaming of somebody on your side.

    Excuse me. Nobody is “on my side,” at least not in any way that allows them to dismiss and belittle my concerns and expect me to take it with a smile. You say you understand what women go through every day and even think their fear is justified, so what exactly has crawled up your ass?

  112. 112 Sara

    I’ve actually not experienced much nagging fear of rape/attack in my life. I do live in a small town, and grew up in an even smaller one (where people keep the keys to their cars in the ignition so they don’t lose them). I wonder what’s been so different about my experience, because I’m obviously in the minority.

  113. 113 junk science

    Oops, sorry. What I meant to say was, “Shut the fuck up.”

  114. 114 Alexander

    I am a man. I am also a 250 lb. 6′4″ linemen who has learned wrestling, Tae-Kwon-Do and can probably beat 95% of the population in a dead sprint. I also live in a small town of 7,000 in Vermont with virtually no serious crime. Yet I still feel fear when walking down a street after dark. I constantly carry a knife, sleep with a sword four feet from my head, and frequently carry a carabiner to use as a makeshift set of brass knuckles. I have never been raped or sexually assaulted in any way, but I still take the aforementioned precautions. There is no logical reason not to. But I personally find your collective responses in terms of men as a whole to be rather bigoted if not downright offensive. By all means protect yourself from rape, but to view all men as potential threats is offensive and gross stereotyping. The definition of potential is “the inherent capacity for coming into being”, ie every person, car, bug and twig is a potential threat as every one possesses a non-zero probability of some day injuring you. While I may be getting bogged down in semantics, would it not be better to say that you are afraid of being assaulted which is the reason for your actions? Selectively imposing your prejudices about a gender upon it’s capacity for violence and the level of threat this poses is ridiculous. How does the number of sexual offenses against women compare with the number of people killed by malaria yearly? Should this not suggest an immediate course of agoraphobia as overwhelming number of mosquito bites occur outside, and thus any trip outdoors can be seen as a vast potential threat?

    Furthermore such delightfully enlightened comments as “are men assholes by nature, or is it learned behavior?” only serve to reinforce this motif of sexist stereotyping. I harbor no delusions about the amount of flak I will take over this post, and I look forward to reading any intelligent responses, but please try to keep it that, intelligent. If your post can be summarized as profanity, “STFU” or a dismissal of my words based solely on my limited gender experience, it probably does not qualify.

  115. 115 junk science

    I should add that I don’t spend much time worrying about being raped or assaulted, because the worst that’s ever happened to me has been the odd catcall. I’m aware that I’m being obscenely reckless by roaming the streets of Los Angeles alone at night, and that I would have to take full responsibility for anything that happened to me. It’s a choice we all have to make.

  116. 116 ryan

    Thanks, Chris. It’s aggravating that it takes a man to make the point in a way that men will listen, but it’s nice to know there are some who get it anyway.

    I always find it interesting how feminists spend so much time telling men they need to learn how women think, theyve got no time left over to try to understand how men think, and therefore can’t even make their own points (ie COMMUNICATE) without other men.

    Heres the clue-stick: both men and women are shaped by biology to have different brains, and differnt ways of thinking, and I expect that any women I meet MUST spend exactly the same amount of time understanding my masculine thinking, as I spend understanding feminine thinking.

    In some cases, the things these men say could be interpreted as aggressive or derogitory, but in fact is just a natural way of thinking — to them. No more right or wrong than how women think. If they need to understand your sensibilities, YOU NEED TO GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE and understand them.

    If on the other had, the guy is just a prick, then that is him AS an INDIVIDUAL, or perhaps even as a class (lets say truck drivers), or as a generation (lets say victorians) — but the broader you cast that net the sloppier the argument becomes. It most certainly doesnt extend to the gender as a whole, no more than all women are stupid and emotional.

    Also, anyone who open any discussion with the phrase “STFU”, is a hopeless, self righteous, ignorant, small minded, prick of a broken human being, and deserves every ounce of derision and contempt I can muster. I cannot think of a more assinine “mode of communication”.

    No doubt youll be quick to tar me with the Brush of Mysogyny, but let me offer the meagre defence of being the product of a single mother fleeing from a physically and sexually abusive husband, married to a woman who is in the all male field of IT (with my help and encouragement), and a young baby daughter.

    I have spent all my life listening to women and the problems they face, but I will NEVER suffer to be told, by a man or woman, that they cannot reciprocate and deign to listen to my feelings and opinions.

    So Chris and all of the above, take your own medicine and STFU.

  117. 117 atheist

    Can I just say that, as a man, this entire controversy is really strange to me. I am rather amazed to learn that other men do not seem to believe that women are assaulted more than men. This seems like a kind of basic knowledge to me, of how homo sapiens has tended to act. Men who claim that women are only attacked as much as men, or that women should not take the threats seriously, sound very naive or perhaps wishful, to me.

  118. 118 jackson

    I’m coming to the end of this discussion, but for what it’s worth:
    after years of being a very strong woman in hard circumstances ( at an ivy league college only 5 years after they started admitting women, at medical school when very few women were there, earning a black belt in martial arts ) not to mention full time work + kids….(working in a mainly male environment) I thought I was no longer bothered by this type of shit. I am after all almost 50 and I’ve been doing this MY WHOLE LIFE.
    I went to see the movie North Country (I’m not sure if I’m getting the name right, about the women miners who filed a sexual harrasment lawsuit).
    I cried for 2 hours straight after that movie. It made me realize what a price I paid, and still pay every day to be who I am.
    My husband who is wonderful and admires and respects me, could not quite understand why I was so distressed, but the first women I met and told about this totally got it.

  119. 119 atheist

    Where are the suggestions as to the root of the problem, and ideas to solve it?

    Why are men that “don’t get it” the problem

    Men that don’t get it are the problem because they are refusing to honestly look at an issue that needs to be overcome if this society is to move forward. The reaction of the people on this web site has not been hysterical, though it has been angry and frustrated at times. Can you blame them?

    I don’t think women should have to change their behaviors to avoid threats, I think we need to teach men behaviors that will lessen their status as “threats”.

    So then, you do agree with the women then? What are you saying?

  120. 120 Tricia

    Joining the Chris-Love chorus…

    I needed that. Thanks.

  121. 121 A. Nashol

    Dude, this Chris Clarke guy must get so much pussy with that rap. Fucking genius.

    [

    - CC]

  122. 122 defenestrated

    good thing i learned how to make that <3 thingy in time for this post.

    <3

    It’s even worse when I’ve crossed the street and the man in question is a minority. He invariably thinks it’s about his race, rather than his gender. And I don’t really blame them for assuming that. I always have an impulse to apologize to any man I’ve taken steps to protect myself from, but especially men who assume it was for the wrong reason.

    I get that impulse too, and then figure (I have no idea how correctly) that that would be more offensive…I dunno. I also had a weird experience of getting a similarly offended response from a guy I had kept looking over at while walking down a wide sidewalk (ok, whom I was awkwardly trying to ‘make eyes’ at - because he was cute, and was looking at me non-threateningly, and I don’t seem to have as much guard up about my safety as I’m “supposed to” have). I realized that, oh yeah, women looking sideways at men at night means they’re afraid. It was a teeny taste of what it probably feels like to see people you mean no harm take steps to stay clear of you, but it also wasn’t a huge freaking leap for me to understand exactly what kinds of experiences probably lay behind his miffed reaction.

  123. 123 D. Sidhe

    Men who “don’t get it” are only the problem insofar as they minimize the problem, tell us not to worry our pretty little heads, suggest we’re hysterical, advise us as to who we should be trusting or siding with without providing any sort of evidence, observe that we’re not really in as much danger as we think we are, harrass us and assume it’s all in good fun, blame us for anything that happens to us for not being vigilant enough, get mad at us for being too vigilant or for assuming they might be part of the problem when we really have no way of knowing if they are or not, or follow us for three blocks just to watch us be nervous. Beyond that, you can go ahead and “not get it” all you want and we probably won’t give a damn.

    If none of that describes you, you are not the problem, and even if it does, you are not as big a part of the problem as men who assault women. Did someone suggest that and I missed it? If someone beats you bloody, and someone else comes along and trips you as you’re limping to the hospital, the person who tripped you is not *the* problem. But they’re sure part of the problem, and shouldn’t just be given a pass.

    If that analogy makes me “hysterical”, I can only hope it also makes a point.

  124. 124 Mnemosyne

    Please look toward the actions of the Rutgers womens bball team. One news conference they aired their grievances, and they met with imus in private, and came out looking very good. The manner in which the team handled the manner was very professional, and in the end, I think their behavior helped to make it less acceptable for other personalties to get away that shit, because they avoided the mistake of looking like a victim playing it up to get money or fame. Had they done that, then it would have made it easier for the rightwing windbags to justify to themselves their racism and sexism.

    And what did they get for being classy? Hate mail and death threats.

    But, hey, what did they expect for putting themselves in a position where they could be insulted on national radio by a man they didn’t know and never met? Clearly, they deserved every hate letter and death threat they received.

  125. 125 ryan

    The sun goes down, I stay in. Call it fear or hypervigilance. It’s both, and it’s awareness that if, god forbid, something did happen, it would be *all my fault* for being foolish.

    Sorry, I quoted you in my last post, but your comments really are very understandable. My applogies to you that you feel you must live that way. :(

    Maybe you should try another country. I live in Japan, where society is REALLY mysogynistic, and if annecdotes are anything to go by sexual assault is ridiculously underreported. Yet the divide between rich and poor is rather small, and incidents or physical violence is rather low.

    Women here are cautious, as all women are, but they dont live in the kind of fear I seem to be getting from the above.

    Perhaps this isnt as much about gender as one would assume.

    What I intend to teach my daughter, is to never accept domination or fear from an early age — and she should resort to physical violence if necessary, to liberate herself, not from the possibility that she might one day be a victim in the statisical sense, but from the fear of being a victim.

    I used to think “we have nothing to fear but fear itself” was a ridiculous platitude, but now I consider it wise.

  126. 126 Mickle

    “He told me I was “bigoted” for thinking this way.”

    laura,

    I’ve had similar conversations with my brother.

    The same brother mind you, who repeatedly hid under my bed and outside the bathroom window in order to see me naked when we were kids (he was in elementary school, I was in junior high).

    And downloaded voyeur porn onto my computer the year we shared an apartment.

    I don’t think he poses a danger to the people he knows personally any more, but he can be very much an ass at times.

    One of these days, in the next century when I’ve calmed down enough about it, I’ll write a nice long post bitching about the fact that while Amanda and Melissa were hounded off the Edwards campaign, this same brother is currently working on another Democratic Presidential campaign in a similar position. Gee, I wonder if un-”important shit” like this may somehow affect the tone and topics of the race?

  127. 127 defenestrated

    Hmm…my comment (that’s now in moderation) probably really doesn’t make much sense unless I mention that it wasn’t a white guy. So: It wasn’t a white guy getting all miffed.

    I would have had an issue with it (the whole You Man Hating Bitch thing) if I didn’t have a pretty good idea of the behavior he might have reasonably inferred from my looking at him like that. “Not thinking I’m teh shit” isn’t that kind of justificatioin, and that’s kinda what I assume is behind it when a white dude acts like I should make myself as vulnerable as possible to him.

  128. 128 defenestrated

    Oh! And here’s a manual trackback. Getting blogger to do that for me is my next learn-internets goal.

  129. 129 ryan

    @Mnemosyne
    And what did they get for being classy? Hate mail and death threats.

    And what did Imus get, love letters and poetry?

    Find me someone on the internet or TV that DOESNT get hate mail and Ill concede the point.

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

  130. 130 Desert Vixen

    Let’s try this again.

    Chris, excellent post. Thank you for making the attempt to see things as we see it.

    I would not use the words “fear” or “afraid”, at least in my case. I think “wariness” or “hypervigilance” (thanks, Irene), work better.

    If something does happen to us, if we are raped, unless we happen to be a nun walking down the street in full habit in broad daylight, we’ll get the “What did you do?” treatment.

    What were you doing there?
    Why were you alone?
    What were you wearing?
    Why were you wearing something sexy?
    Why did you go there?
    What were you thinking?
    Why didn’t you follow one of these arcane suggestions for protection that won’t always keep you safe?

    And then we have BS like this thrown at us:
    http://www.isp.state.il.us/crime/saconfronted.cfm

    It’s from the Illinois State Police, on how to deal with sexual assault if you are confronted. Suggestions include telling him you are pregnant, telling him you have “VD or AIDS”, or throwing up on him.

    Or you could always attack him with a rat tail comb or teasing brush.

    DV

  131. 131 kali

    Damn, Chris, that was amazing. Is it OK to tell bloggers they’re dreamy?

    Also:

    I don’t think women should have to change their behaviors to avoid threats, I think we need to teach men behaviors that will lessen their status as “threats”.

    Stopped clock situation? I mean, how can something this intelligent have occurred in that comment?

    It’s almost enough to make me think he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

    KoE:were you just trying to demonstrate “how to be an asshole” in order to provide an instructive juxtaposition with Chris’s “how not to be an asshole” post?

    Ok, you probably weren’t. But re-read the post. Re-read your comment. Contemplate for a bit. And use some empathy to see how your comment comes across as incredibly rude and patronising to a bunch of women who may know just a little more than you do about living in fear of sexual assault.

    And try telling evolution that fear doesn’t solve any problems. Hell, try telling a driving instructor. Fear is a useful response to genuine risk. And the risk of sexual assault is not a negligible one, for women. Obviously, for you it is, assumng you never go to prison. Which is why your opinion on this subject isn’t worth the calories people have had to use up in scrolling down past it.

  132. 132 Alan Bostick

    Damn, Chris, I wish I had written that.

  133. 133 Chris Clarke

    Also, anyone who open any discussion with the phrase “STFU”, is a hopeless, self righteous, ignorant, small minded, prick of a broken human being, and deserves every ounce of derision and contempt I can muster. I cannot think of a more assinine “mode of communication”.

    Thank you, ryan. I was beginning to worry we had an echo chamber in here.

  134. 134 Lauren

    Also, anyone who open any discussion with the phrase “STFU”, is a hopeless, self righteous, ignorant, small minded, prick of a broken human being, and deserves every ounce of derision and contempt I can muster. I cannot think of a more assinine “mode of communication”.

    Shut the fuck up.

  135. 135 jessant

    This post is pure love.

  136. 136 Bruce

    Ryan -

    How the HELL did you type that entire comment with one hand!? Bravo!

  137. 137 D. Sidhe

    Oh. I forgot to add to my “part of the problem” list: suggesting to us that other women have it worse and you, personally, as a man, don’t see that affecting them very much so the rest of us should just get over it.

  138. 138 Doctor Science

    Not a good day for me to post, alas, but I can’t be only person in this convo who has a DailyKos account.

    Chris, if no-one has done so by the time I get up tomorrow morning, I’ll do it — first thing in the morning tends to be a good time.

  139. 139 Mnemosyne

    And what did Imus get, love letters and poetry?

    Find me someone on the internet or TV that DOESNT get hate mail and Ill concede the point.

    So you’re under the impression that all of the basketball teams in the Final Four in both the men’s and women’s tournaments got massive amounts of hate mail at the same levels that the Rutgers team did? Really?

    Or do you think that maybe — just maybe — the fact that Imus singled that team out and caused a huge furor might have influence the fact that they got huge amounts of hate mail, far more than the other 7 teams combined?

    Again, when Imus’ wife goes on the radio and asks his listeners to stop sending hate mail to the team, it seems like the Imuses think it’s a somewhat unusual thing to have happen. And yet you’re saying, “Hey, what did those girls expect?”

    I guess it’s their own fault for letting Imus say those things about them, huh?

  140. 140 Bles

    And what did they get for being classy? Hate mail and death threats.

    And what did Imus get, love letters and poetry?

    Find me someone on the internet or TV that DOESNT get hate mail and Ill concede the point.

    That may be so, Ryan, but I sure as hell doubt that Imus would get sexualized threats hurled against him.

  141. 141 Doctor Science

    While we’re at it — has Atrios posted about this? Josh Marshall? Other male A-listers?

  142. 142 Betty

    Chris, somehow hearing a man say these things is experienced as such a relief. Not that someone gets it, but that I can put down the fucking rallying flag for thirty seconds and the battle won’t end because of me.

    I mean, some ego, huh? But still, it’s such a relief not to feel like so damn alone. I have great sister-feminists, but I want brothers too.

  143. 143 ryan

    @Lauren

    Case in point. I encourage you to use your new found gift of freedom from having to communicate like an adult as often as possible. It will enable normal people to avoid the burden of being around people like yourself more easily in the future.

    @Those who say “don’t take it personally”, we dont fear you, we fear men as an abstract threat.

    So tell me, if Im the “good guy”, and I still get treated like Im any regular prick, then what is the incentive to be a good guy.

    Also, consider as food for thought, that the brains of men and women are physically different*. That means that male brains were selected towards their current form — not by magic, but the sexual choices of women. So men think and act they way they do because they were chosen by your ancient grandmothers. Fancy academic theories of patriarchy, and current USAian social problems dont wish away genetic facts.

    *just one example: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Health/story?id=424260&page=1

  144. 144 tinfoil hattie

    More anecdata: While reading this thread, I asked my husband whether he ever feels worried for his safety when a technician or repairman is coming to our house (our office is in our home). He said, “No, but I thought about you today and worried. That’s why I wanted to come home.”

    A computer repairman was coming to fix my laptop. My husband arrived shortly after the (very nice) man left. Still, I was wondering when I let him in: Is this the guy? Will he be the one who rapes me? Am I safe? Should I even let him in?

    I don’t know whether to be happy or sad that my husband felt the same frisson of concern.

    Sigh.

  145. 145 wayward

    Thanks. I had no idea.

    I always knew women had to be more careful than men about certain things. But I had no idea just how scary it is to be a woman.

    I talked to my wife about it. She was so used to it that she didn’t think much of it anymore. She has never been fondled or assaulted or had anything bad happen to her, yet she has this fear that I do not.

    When she went to a concert at night by herself, she had to pay for premium parking so she would be close to the theater, while I would save my money and walk a bit farther. I regularly go places by myself without a second thought that she would never dream of going alone. I may worry about losing my wallet and having to replace ID and cancel credit cards if something goes bad. She has to worry about being raped and brutally murdered. She told me that’s why she gets so mad if I don’t lock the door when I leave and she’s still at home. She told me how cell phones enabled her friends in college the freedom to go where they wanted to go without an escort. It works like this: Call a friend. Tell him/her where you are going. Talk with them until you get there. If anything goes wrong, the friend can quickly call for help. Little things I never thought of.

    Simply because I am a man, I have more freedom than she does.

    Kos probably thinks he gets it because he is gay. But he doesn’t. Unless you know and recognize Kos, you don’t know he’s gay, and most people don’t care anyway. Any stranger can tell a woman is a woman.

    Most guys are not rapists or sex criminals, but enough are to make women rightfully afraid. Because of this, I can understand why women are so sensitive about certain things, even if men don’t necessarily mean anything bad by them.

  146. 146 kali

    How does the number of sexual offenses against women compare with the number of people killed by malaria yearly

    *boggle* You think deaths from malaria is the LARGER number here? It really sounds like you believe that. Or else your comment makes no sense at all. Which could also be the case, I suppose.

  147. 147 Lauren

    Case in point. I encourage you to use your new found gift of freedom from having to communicate like an adult as often as possible. It will enable normal people to avoid the burden of being around people like yourself more easily in the future.

    Beg pardon? I was contemplating the awesomeness of my pecs.

  148. 148 Lauren

    Kos probably thinks he gets it because he is gay.

    Huh?

  149. 149 ryan

    @D. Sidhe

    You didnt quote me, but I guess that was towards me. I say guess because you jump to a conclusion I didnt offer.

    My point was you just spent a lot of time telling me I dont understand how women think. But when I suggest that you dont understand how Japanese-women think, in order to broaden your horizons of thinking and understanding, you have no time for it.

    Im sorry, but until you develop a similar level of fluency in Japanese as me, then yes, I do know more about Japanese women, as a Japanese speaker, then you know about Japanese women, as a woman; since well I can talk to them, you can’t.

    You DO know there are places on earth where things arent exactly the same as they are in your back yard right?

    So much for the superior abilities of women as communicators.

  150. 150 Chris Clarke

    Also, consider as food for thought, that the brains of men and women are physically different*. That means that male brains were selected towards their current form — not by magic, but the sexual choices of women. So men think and act they way they do because they were chosen by your ancient grandmothers. Fancy academic theories of patriarchy, and current USAian social problems dont wish away genetic facts.

    Just an informational note, ryan: the fact that people aren’t engaging your evo-psych arguments doesn’t mean we don’t think they’re bullshit. It’’s just an extraordinary amount of commenter hivemind discipline resisting the lure of the off-topic.

  151. 151 Auguste

    Um, does Kos’ wife know?

  152. 152 ryan

    @Mnemosyne

    Or do you think that maybe — just maybe — the fact that Imus singled that team out and caused a huge furor might have influence the fact that they got huge amounts of hate mail, far more than the other 7 teams combined?

    Of course I think that. Im sorry, I think Ive missed your point. Can you make it more clear to me?

  153. 153 Lauren

    So much for the superior abilities of women as communicators.

    It’s funny, seeing that you’re in an English-language forum, that you’d prefer to position yourself as an all-knowing man because you speak Japanese to Japanese women. And considering that this is generally an American blog speaking to American issues, generally about American women, you might take that into account.

    So much for the superior abilities of men as deep, deep thinkers.

    You might learn to shut the fuck up in Japanese while you’re at it.

  154. 154 JB

    Thanks Chris, this is one post with which I heartily agree. I hated having to be so concerned to teach this wariness to my three daughters. I still live with concern for their safety and that of my wife.

    Patriarchal Father

  155. 155 D. Sidhe

    So tell me, if Im the “good guy”, and I still get treated like Im any regular prick, then what is the incentive to be a good guy.

    If “not being a prick to people based on their gender” is not incentive enough for you to be a good guy, may I suggest that you might, in fact, not be one?

    That’s the weirdest thing I’ve seen someone say in days.

  156. 156 ryan

    @Chris Clarke

    I have NO idea what you just said.

    Is it really so hard for people to be clear for the purpose of having a rational discussion?

    So much for males being the logical rational ones.

  157. 157 mythago

    but to view all men as potential threats is offensive and gross stereotyping

    Let’s see…offend random male assholes on the internet, or risk rape, beating and death while being asked “why weren’t you more careful?” if I should happen to survive.

    Yes, I think I’ll take offending dumbasses who should STFU. Thanks, Chris.

  158. 158 Midgetqueen

    A-fuckin’-men, Amanda!

  159. 159 Midgetqueen

    er, whoops. Sorry, Chris. A-fucking-men, Chris!

  160. 160 ryan

    @Lauren

    So much for the superior abilities of men as deep, deep thinkers.

    You see in the grown up world where Im from, people in situation A (merican woman) often gain insight from considering positions of other people, lets say in position J (guess!!).

    I see in your world however, position M (ME-ME-ME) is clearly the only thing of importance, and anything else is out of consideration.

    Lauren, I have to give you credit, you have understood male thinking to an amazing degree. When you realize your position is indefensible, you resort to attacks and stubborm refusuals of reality. Very masculine adaptation.

  161. 161 roula

    So much for males being the logical rational ones.
    So much for the superior abilities of women as communicators.

    SO MUCH FOR STUPID GENDER STEREOTYPES.
    duh.

    of course, the answer to all this is that ryan is BOTH the superior communicator AND the logical rational one. of this whole thread. it’s not him, it’s us.

  162. 162 Clytemnestra

    Lots of posts I’m quoting below:

    Oh and BTW I forgot to say in my post about my great aunt, her rapist was her next door neighbor.

    - If I am walking alone after dark, I never listen to my headphones. (Though, when I used to ride the bus, I would leave them in and only turn on my CD player once I was actually on the bus. If I lived in a larger city I probably not even do that, though.)

    Actually I’d put on my headphone and turn up the volume when I got on the bus and have a magazine ready. It made me look busy/ I wouldn’t seem to be talking or listening, because I swear there were times I had a flashing “Weirdoes sit next to me” sign flashing above my head.

    It’s even worse when I’ve crossed the street and the man in question is a minority. He invariably thinks it’s about his race, rather than his gender.

    I do that too and always have a running dialog in my head, “Did I do that due to race or gender?”

    Kicker O’ Elves
    Apr 13th, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Wow. I never realized how much women live in fear, to alarming degrees.

    You know I wouldn’t call it “living in fear” define the way you seem to. That’s part of gender based cross talk. (that Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus thing). We use the same words but our meaning and intent is different. YOu seem to beleive that we are scared of our own shadow, rooted to the ground and our narratives indicate some deep neurosis.

    But for women it’s pragmatic hypervigilance. To be aware of your surroundings and who is there is pragmatic, to lock doors and window and check the back seat is pragmatic. I got an email from my mom recently that reminded women to get in the car quickly at night and lock the doors - only then proceed with putting on the seatbelt, starting the car, etc.

    To walk to your car at night with some kind of weapon in your hand is pragmatic. We are living our daily lives, we are not coed by fear but we are making pragmatic decisions every day about our safety necessitated because of our gender.

    Because if we don’t, chances are good that we could fall victim of lack of appreciation of how the world works.

    I don’t think women should have to change their behaviors to avoid threats,

    Then you are living in dream world.

    I think we need to teach men behaviors that will lessen their status as “threats”.

    So you can teach them not to be 6ft tall and 250 lbs and you can teach them not to have wide shoulders so that when we make a “threat assessment” as we are walking to our cars, we don’t think “he’s bigger and more powerful than me, stay clear”

    Maybe men need to have an “intention” meter glued to the top of their head that can indicate “harmless charmer, slick talker out rape.

    And just when do you think you’ll have all these men re-educated?

    Thanks but all be pragmatic and hypervigilant - far safer for me.

  163. 163 Mickle

    If “not being a prick to people based on their gender” is not incentive enough for you to be a good guy, may I suggest that you might, in fact, not be one?

    Can I steal that?

  164. 164 Lauren

    Lauren, I have to give you credit, you have understood male thinking to an amazing degree. When you realize your position is indefensible, you resort to attacks and stubborm refusuals of reality. Very masculine adaptation.

    Sorry, I’m still stuck on your use of “males” and “females”.

    The reason my position is indefensible is that I haven’t taken one other that implying that I think you’re stupid. There’s no reason to argue since you aren’t interested in having a discussion that you can’t dominate.

    I’m back to admiring my pecs as long as you’re stuck admiring your use of gender sterotypes to make inane points instead of shutting the fuck up. Did you read the post?

  165. 165 ryan

    @D. Sidhe

    If “not being a prick to people based on their gender” is not incentive enough for you to be a good guy, may I suggest that you might, in fact, not be one?

    That’s the weirdest thing I’ve seen someone say in days.

    Your misunderstanding stems from a mistaken belief that I am arguing for myself, when my purpose was to highlight a possible counter productive outcome of the “fear men as an aggregate” stragety on a social level.

    While “being all nice makes me all warm and fuzzy” is wonderful on the individual boyfriend-husband level, its just not how complex aggregate phenomenom like evolution or society work.

    But its ok, I see youre not here to have minds meet and walk away with greater understanding, you here to see one guy posture and pander to a socially maladaptive quirk of american society.

  166. 166 Mnemosyne

    So tell me, if Im the “good guy”, and I still get treated like Im any regular prick, then what is the incentive to be a good guy.

    Your own inner sense of morality? Adults don’t expect to get a cookie every time they do what they’re supposed to.

    “Or do you think that maybe — just maybe — the fact that Imus singled that team out and caused a huge furor might have influence the fact that they got huge amounts of hate mail, far more than the other 7 teams combined?”

    Of course I think that. Im sorry, I think Ive missed your point. Can you make it more clear to me?

    The point is that Imus decided to talk shit about a group of women who didn’t do anything other than lose a basketball game, which led to them getting reams of hate mail. But, to you, all of that is excused by the fact that Imus got some hate mail, too.

  167. 167 Chris Clarke

    Ryan, you’re embarrasing yourself. Any more silliness and I’ll be forced to remind everyone of the Stick Policy.

  168. 168 JB

    Ryan, I don’t get where you are coming from or going. I agree with little that is said on Pandagon but anyone is an idiot not to see the reality of what has been expressed by Chris and the women on this post.

  169. 169 Clytemnestra

    Maybe men need to have an “intention” meter glued to the top of their head that can indicate “harmless charmer, slick talker out rape.

    That should read

    Maybe men need to have an “intention” meter glued to the top of their head that can indicate “harmless charmer, or slick talker out to rape.” Maybe they can wear a shirt or jacket of a certain color declaring their threat level — I here Homeland Security has got one they’re not using any more.

  170. 170 mustella

    Maybe you should try another country. I live in Japan, where society is REALLY mysogynistic, and if annecdotes are anything to go by sexual assault is ridiculously underreported. Yet the divide between rich and poor is rather small, and incidents or physical violence is rather low.

    Women here are cautious, as all women are, but they dont live in the kind of fear I seem to be getting from the above.

    How exactly do you know that they do not? Do you think that Japanese women are likley to tell you about their daily experiences with sexual threats and harassment? I haven’t heard about anyone in the U.S. seriously proposing “women-only” subway and train cars to cut down on assults…

  171. 171 Leia

    I am a little bit in love with you right now, Chris.

    *joins parade of swooning feminists*

    (This is all a ploy to get laid, isn’t it, Chris?)

    I also note that “ryan” apparently needs an incentive to be a good guy.

    On a serious note, two things come to mind.

    1. I second whoever it was who recommended Gavin de Becker–”The Gift of Fear” is probably the best book to give to any person who doesn’t understand the fear women live under, and why this fear is the only rational response to our circumstances.

    2. I think one thing feminists need to do is have a “war room” of sorts wherein we can come up with talking points to rebut stupid things the men in our lives say, on this topic and others.

    So, for instance, in response to the “I’d LOVE it if a chick came up to me and asked if I wanted to go down on her!” non-argument, what could we say that was short and snappy?

    Well…you could respond with something like, “What if she didn’t look like Angelina Jolie? What if she was as old as your mother? What if she looked like your mother? What if she was a he, and bigger than you, and was talking about your ass?” Etc.

  172. 172 kali

    Any more silliness and I’ll be forced to remind everyone of the Stick Policy.

    when trolls are hilarious, keep poking them with sticks?

  173. 173 ryan

    @Clytemnestra

    You know I wouldn’t call it “living in fear” define the way you seem to. That’s part of gender based cross talk.

    Excellent point. Excellent post. Filled with attempts at communication. Chris could learn a think or two.

  174. 174 The Stranger

    Eeto… onna no de wa, nihon no hou ga amerika no hou yori abunai mo (oppressive) da to omoun da kedo… if there’s not as much fear, like you say, why does Tokyo need to have women-only subways while New York does not?

    And if you have studied Japanese culture as you say, shouldn’t you stop and think about the how general pressure not to rock the boat, to have your “outer face” as a mask to pretend everything is happy and shipshape, and to accept the dominant gender norms and roles might POSSIBLY contribute to an atmosphere where women feel obligated to minimize and deny the fact that they DO feel as much fear? The nail that sticks up gets hammered, after all…

    (It’s been a couple years since I last spoke Japanese, I admit, but I *was* reasonably proficient *and* female with a female professor to boot. The cultural lessons stick longer than verb tenses and kanji do, and I think I heard… a different side of the story)

  175. 175 Chris Clarke

    You must be smarter than this stick to comment.

  176. 176 ryan

    @Mnemosyne

    But, to you, all of that is excused by the fact that Imus got some hate mail, too.

    Where on earth did I say that?? WOW. Thats some large cheese in your ears… wow.

    What Im saying is lunatics are lunatics and it has NO relation to the discussion if we want to keep our selves to rational people.

  177. 177 eyelessgame

    I want to preface this by saying I believe I know reasonably well what women have to go through. (And as to why a man had to say it: “only Nixon could go to China” — it’s that simple, I think.)

    I sense something almost ironic, however, in the specific case of prominent people receiving death threats, the issue Markos was addressing. One may of course quibble about the notion of “prominent.”

    If we are to go down the road of believing that anonymous death threats delivered to prominent men are unserious, unlikely to represent a genuine danger, and to be laughed off, but that anonymous death threats delivered to equally-prominent women are serious, likely to result in actual danger, and thus deserving of some sort of societal restructuring…

    …isn’t this a tad Victorian?

    And yet I see the point. The situations are clearly different, because of biology and culture and culturalization and all the rest of it.

    Still. I can be a target of violence as easily as a woman can: a hell of a lot of both men and women can kick my ass, so I’m not especuially likely to fight off even an unarmed attacker successfully, and statistically I, a male, am more likely to suffer fatal violence than a woman is.

    It is also possible for me to be raped, and again I’m not all that likely to successfully fight off a determined attacker.

    But I’m virtually never scared, or for that matter aware of any such danger. Why? As Chris says, it’s because I don’t have to endure the constant drumbeat of misogyny, of sexual innuendo, sexual dominance games, sexual harrassment, and sexual assault that small-penised men constantly play with women. I have not learned to fear, because it doesn’t constantly happen to my peers.

    Oh, and my thanks to A. Nashol for removing the temptation for me to say something similar.

  178. 178 Shell Goddamnit

    Someone said: ” in the event that someone might assault me, I’d likely be scolded (if not actually blamed) for walking to my car alone at night.”

    Unless of course you were attacked by the person who walked you to your car, in which case, of course, you’d be asked “what were you thinking?!” for allowing him to do so.

    You just can’t satisfy the denialists. It won’t happen to them, or the ones they love, because they do things EXACTLY RIGHT. EXACTLY RIGHT is of course quite elastic, consisting mainly of whatever the person attacked didn’t do.

  179. 179 Clytemnestra

    How exactly do you know that they do not? Do you think that Japanese women are likley to tell you about their daily experiences with sexual threats and harassment? I haven’t heard about anyone in the U.S. seriously proposing “women-only” subway and train cars to cut down on assaults… - mustella

    This is so very true. Some 20 years ago a friend of mine had to go back to Pakistan for a month or so to satisfy immigration requirements so she could be a US citizen.

    While as the crowded outdoor bazaar (covered) she was groped by boys who made it a habit and a pastime of running through the market pitching and squeezing women. (Her American life had rubbed off on her so well that she turned around and kicked the teen so hard she fell on her butt)

    Anyway I told another friend of mine who is also from Pakistan and was getting ready to marry - his fiancée was living with her parents in Pakistan.

    He swore up and down that this was an isolated incident, it really didn’t happen because he’d never heard of it before - surely the women in his life (mother, sisters, etc.) would have said something, he asserted. I said “no they wouldn’t if they accepted that that is something they believe they must endure as women in Pakistan. And if they feared that to reveal it would then keep them further ensconced in the home.”

    Then I asked him to ask his fiancée, but first assuring her that nothing would happen to her if she were honest. He did … then came back to apologize to me.

    Point is in majorly male dominated and misogynistic societies women have no incentive to tell – because often they loose whatever freedom they have. Plus they have an acceptance that this behavior from men is what they have to accept as women.

  180. 180 ryan

    @JB

    Ryan, I don’t get where you are coming from or going.

    Thats because I THOUGHT it was a discussion, you know the kind where you get out what you put in. Clearly however I am mistaken. No one is interested in reading anything I have to write, so Ill just finish up and be out.

    STFU is clearly the order of the day here, and having seent the light, I clearly indend you give you your hearts desire in a moment.

    I totally understand how somone would quite blogging after getting a taste of think interesting circle of people.

  181. 181 ryan

    Ryan, you’re embarrasing yourself. Any more silliness and I’ll be forced to remind everyone of the Stick Policy.

    Whats embarassing, is your high horse. Dude, you are SO getting laid tonight!

  182. 182 Samantha Vimes

    Ack! I decided to refresh before adding my 2 cents and now it look like another 200 comments have arrived.

    So I will just say. Yes, women fear/are hypervigilant around men. For many of us, that includes, at times, loved ones. If you are shouting at and pushing your significant other, be aware she is aware that you can and might hurt her, no matter how nice you are when your temper is not flaring. If you are alone with a woman and she doesn’t know you, she is evaluating you as a potential threat.

    As for walking faster if I think a man is following, actually, I tend to find a reason to slow or stop, like adjusting my shoe. That’s because usually the man passes by and the sense of threat disappears. I’d just as soon control when he catches up to me, in a well lit area where I can be heard. Who knows, he may even be following me to say, “Excuse em, ma’am, you dropped your cell phone”, in which case I’m safer giving him a chance to address me.

    OTOH, if a man actually tries to “strike up a conversation”, I head for a crowded spot at a fast pace. It’s all very complicated, with sort of mental algorithms for behavior and age. And I’m sure different women use different measurements; one who was abused by a grandfather is not going to write off an over-70 fellow as harmless as I probably would.

    And then there are the guys who do get it. The ones who step back if they are in an elevator. The ones who walk parallel on the other side of the street rather than follow a woman. The ones who have a mutual friend vouch for their reliability to escort women out of a party and to their cars. And for them, I feel definite sympathy. It’s not their fault they have to deal with our fears, and they are troubled by the moment of a worried look where less aware men would be oblivious. All I can say to that is thanks for caring, and it was never personal.

    aaaaand, what got me over my trained homophobia, fast, was when a new female friend confessed to me she had lesbian leanings at times, and I had a moment of panic, followed by, “Would she take No for an answer? Of course. I don’t feel threatened by another woman, not when I think about it.” Other women know what it’s like to worry about being violated. Sure, there may be exceptions, but while I have, over the years, often been approached by women who were clearly interested in me, I’ve never had a sense that I was in danger.

  183. 183 ryan

    How exactly do you know that they do not? Do you think that Japanese women are likley to tell you about their daily experiences with sexual threats and harassment?

    Well when you become friends with people, American or Japanese, they tell you things about their life. After they know you and trust you.

    You see culturally Japanese are VERY shy about personal details to strangers, but being non christians they are not at all shy about sexual matters once they know you.

    For example my wife told me about the guy on the motorbike who rode up to her late at night, grabbed her breast and sped off. (Yes this is Japan) She fears being alone late at night, but the fear according to her words from our many discussions about the matter, is proportional to the threat.

    The point was not that there is no sexual crime here, actually there is likely MORE sexual assault. And as usual women here are very wary of being out late at night. The problem is in a country where few people have cars, and most people work until late at night, there is no other option besides walking home alone late at night.

    I haven’t heard about anyone in the U.S. seriously proposing “women-only” subway and train cars to cut down on assults…

    Thank you for allowing me to clear this up. There is likely a LARGER problem with sexual assault in JP. The difference is the social attitude in terms of the likelyhood that that sexual assualt will become violent, which is rare, most women passively accept they assault (ok I can already see it come NO I AM NOT RECOMMENDING WOMAN ACCEPT ASSAULT I AM MERELY POINTING OUT THE FACT OF WHAT HAPPENS IN OTHER COUNTRIES LETS PLEASE TRY TO BE GROWNUPS A LITTLE), and the men, by apparaent social contract seem to not beat their victims to a pulp.

    ONCE AGAIN I AM JUST POINTING OUT A CURRENT FACT. I AM NOT ARGUING A POSITION. DONT PUT WORDS INTO MY MOUTH.

  184. 184 ryan

    @samantha

    Also, thankyou for doing that which so many lazy commentators refused to, explain in a simple clear way what you think and feel. I appredciate it.

  185. 185 Sarah in Chicago

    Chris -

    You fucking rock hon *kisses Chris on the cheek*

    Oh, and Ryan, I would say STFU, as you wholeheartedly deserve such, but instead I just wanted to say thank you for being an absolutely CLASSIC example of what Chris and everyone else has been talking about here. You couldn’t have been scripted better.

  186. 186 Clytemnestra

    Ryan,

    okay so social contract says that men in Japan can violate a woman to the core of her being, - but as long as she doesn’t fight back, men won’t mess up her face.

    For f-ing out loud, while most physical damage done in a rape will heal - the psychological damage, even with therapy, may be there for a life time.

    You’ve just lost your entire argument about women in Japan not living in fear of men.

  187. 187 ryan

    @TheStranger

    nihongo no shiken sitekureta arigatou gozaimasita. desuga, nagai aida ni hisasiburi nihongo ga hanasanai to sugu heta ni nattekite shimaun deshou? nihonjin no sensei kara benkyou sitetan demo, nihon ni sumukoto ga nakattara, nihon no bunka yoku shiranai to omoimasu.

  188. 188 keir

    Chris, seriously man, you are a hero of mine. Hope that’s ok.

  189. 189 ryan

    @Clytemnestra

    You’ve just lost your entire argument about women in Japan not living in fear of men.

    1. I never had “an argument” other than to say STFU is the most idiotic thing Ive ever heard.
    2. Im just stating how things are done here, which you proceed to paste over with your assumptions based on how things are done in America

    I asked you not to put words in my mouth, but you want to anyways. Oh well.

    When a Jp friend was raped in Canada, and I drove down to pick her up and take her to the hospital, and sit with her in the hospital all night. I couldnt understand how she could just sit there so unaffected, so abivilant to the whole thing. I begged her to file charges, get angry, anything.

    To this day I dont understand it…

  190. 190 Clytemnestra

    Well Ryan - when a post of mine up above clears moderation — cause I guess I’ve got a trigger word in there, what I wrote might make sense.

    I understand what your friend was doing, it is all culture based - and even now most American women don’t report their rape and file so (I never did) so that in itself means nothing.

    You never said how your friend lived and continues to live her life now… did you observe any changes, even subtle ones?

    btw I never said stfu

  191. 191 ajum

    nice post, chris. very good to see someone being clear about these issues for once.
    guys, stop feeding the troll. seriously.

  192. 192 ryan

    @All

    Ok, Ive accepted my descent into becoming your personal Troll, and now Im out. Ill accept the lovely albatross and the stick even. But for all your tarring and feathering, it wont change the simple fact that this blog was for you all to have you respective comments or tempertantrums as the case may be, and very few people bothered to show up with something worth reading.

    Just keep in mind, if you really think telling people to STFU is really productive, I encourage you to use it on others as often as possible.

  193. 193 Sina

    Um, Ryan, I imagine that Samantha was not seeking, nor does she need, your approval. And how can you claim to evaluate whether a response is proportional to the threat? What epistemic hubris, man.
    And so, in conclusion, STFU.
    ps. Dude, Lauren’s pecs are amazing!
    pps. Chris, thank you so so so very much.

  194. 194 Clytemnestra

    ajum - you’re right and I need to go to bed

  195. 195 ryan

    @Clytemnestra

    You never said how your friend lived and continues to live her life now… did you observe any changes, even subtle ones?

    Yes shes still a good friend of mine and my wife. After that incident, where the rape councilor warned me not to put pressure on her to do anything, she went back to her life with no councelling. Shes married to a former aquantance of the asshole in question, and theyre living in korea now, expecting their first child.

    IF (please note the word IF) I have a point, is that our reality is a very malliable thing. I say that not as a man, but a person living in a place where the same objective events are interpreted in a different way. Perhaps we can use this lesson to change our own realities to improve our lives.

    btw I never said stfu

    Thank you. Thank you very much.

    The simplest courtesies are often the sweetest.

    OK, I really need to go gardening now! :)

  196. 196 ryan

    Um, Ryan, I imagine that Samantha was not seeking, nor does she need, your approval.

    Do you often confuse sincere thanks with approval by authority. I thought we were adults here, and with no one above others, and everyone entitled to have an opinion? No?

    Right, round here we just … STFU.

    Good for you. Go with that. Im sure it will make you happy.

  197. 197 ryan

    @ajum

    Its really telling about the quality and character of the participants, when a guy who writes his position in full clear terms is the troll and people droning on with obscenities are the message.

    You guys SO deserve your world of Shutting The Fuck Up.

    Its was fun! Glad Im not you!

  198. 198 Anna

    Are women afraid of men?

    Let me give you an example that’s a bit different than others.

    My husband is disabled. Part of his disability makes him extremely tall - he’s 6′10″. Part of it means I will always be faster, stronger, and better able to dodge than him.

    A few months ago now we had a discussion where I had to ask him to stop standing up when we were fighting. I’m find with him yelling at me when he’s seated (and is thus roughly the same height as me standing), but if he’s yelling at me when he’s standing, I have an *instant* fear response. I am terrified, I am willing to do anything he wants me to do to get him to stop yelling at me when he’s looming over me.

    Even though even if he pulled out his cane right then and started hitting me with it, it wouldn’t hurt. And that’s assuming he could do that fast enough.

    Why? Because my brain goes “oh god, he’s going to hit me. He’s going to pin me to the ground and hold a pair of scissors on me and scream ‘Go tell all you friends that I’m abusive! Go on! You can tell them that now!’ He’s going to hurt me and it will be my fault because I yelled at him.”

    I know he won’t do it, but I still think he will.

    He’s a good person. He doesn’t stand up to yell at me anymore. And he didn’t need to be told why it made me scared, he just accepted that it did.

    Anyway.

    @smartalek

    The reason why Chris’ experiences as “female on the internet” can be taken more seriously than, say, Sierra’s, is that no one will think Chris did anything to bring on the sexualised attacks. We wimmin, we do things to lead guys on, just by… um… typing, I guess.

    As much as I hate to go against the majority and the unconditional love of Chris, I just wanted to say… Well, I don’t know how to put it. Thanks, Chris, for being a person who thinks other people matter. I just think it should be the default setting, and not something we single out for special praise. Which makes me sound really ungrateful, I guess. I don’t mean to, it’s just so frustrating every time a man in the feminist blogosphere is singled out for high praise for saying what the women have been saying all along.

  199. 199 Chris Clarke

    Ryan:

    Exit door. Ass. Not to let the hitting happen.

  200. 200 Tricia

    “Shut up shuttin’ up!” — Yosemite Sam

    Sorry y’all, I’ve been resisting that for several comments now, and I just couldn’t any more. I mean how many GBCW comments does it take for a clueless git to git these days?

  201. 201 thebewilderness

    Ryan,
    You asked: So tell me, if Im the “good guy”, and I still get treated like Im any regular prick, then what is the incentive to be a good guy.

    People who don’t think they should bother to be decent human beings without getting a cookie are not now nor ever will be decent human beings.

  202. 202 Chris Clarke

    Anna, I completely agree.

    I mean, I’ll gladly take praise in whatever form, and as an essentially lazy person I’lll even accept it when it comes for doing something that — as you said — should rightly be default, lowest-common-denominator behavior for a decent person.

    But you’re right. And it doesn’t make you sound ungrateful, not to me.

  203. 203 Kali

    I am displeased that you all think it is appropiate to congratulate a man for “getting it”.

    That should be the default position, stupid. Unless of course you think men are defective in the empathy department. There IS NO FUCKING REASON A MAN SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO FUCKING COMPREHEND THIS SHIT! There is no fucking reason men were incapable of understanding this crap a thousand years ago.

    The appropiate tactic is scorn for the man who doesn’t “get it”.

    Cluestick: they don’t want to “get it”, cuz then they’d have to do something about it. When it looks like they no longer can continue the pretense without looking like a retard, then and only then do they capitulate.

    No, I don’t think they’re cute.

  204. 204 ryan

  205. 205 Mickle

    Anna - thanks for saying what needed to be said. I was torn between wanting to say “thanks Chris!” (thanks, Chris, btw) and knowing that doing so would be just as wrong as it was right.

  206. 206 Kali

    “People who don’t think they should bother to be decent human beings without getting a cookie are not now nor ever will be decent human beings.”

    If women aren’t equal under the law, then why obey the law? Works both ways, dumbass.

    Being good is the default position. Bad children stand in the corner.

  207. 207 The Stranger

    Maa, hisashiburi desu nee… demo, nihon de onna no nihonjin to kore no de hanasu koto ga atta kara, nihon no bunka chotto yoku shiranaku nai to omou.

    And, dude, we’re both saying the same thing. Japanese women get shat on by society even more and have as much or more fear than the average American would, but they have been culturally trained to accept and downplay it more. Personally, I don’t see that as an improvement, although it does make their suffering and fear less apparent (more ignorable? less important?) to observers.

    And, Ryan, in all likelihood your friend *was* angry and upset. She just knows, at the core of her being, that she’s not supposed to show it, and that raising a fuss would probably just make things worse. In Canada, there’s a better chance of that not being the case, although it’s still a horrific process, but worldviews die hard.

    So, uh, particularly *given* the Japan example, do we agree that women tend to have a valid fear or complaint regarding widespread harassment from males? Because really, the fact that it’s a good thing for men to realize and be aware of this and, most importantly, listen to what women say about it and NOT DISMISS IT LIGHTLY,is the entire point of Chris’s post.

  208. 208 mythago

    So, for instance, in response to the “I’d LOVE it if a chick came up to me and asked if I wanted to go down on her!” non-argument

    I have, in fact, responded to this non-argument with “Really? Okay, how about you go down on me? Right now.” (Or, if on Teh Internetz, “Why don’t you come over to my place right now?”

    And I have never, EVER had a Studly McStudingham take me up on my immediate acceptance of his wishful offer. Never. They always stutter and say something like, oh, well, I mean, I would except that I’m married, or I have a girlfriend, or I mean hypothetically, or I was talking about men in general, not me, no sirree, because I’m not one of those guys who would fuck a hole in a wall, but most men….

  209. 209 Daniel Martin

    You know, I hate to pimp my own greasemonkey script again, but there’s a really easy way to deal with ryan’s comments if you’re running Firefox and have installed the greasemonkey extension…

    And as for this:

    So tell me, if Im the “good guy”, and I still get treated like Im any regular prick, then what is the incentive to be a good guy.

    None. It’s like playing the standard prisoners’ dillemma game in game theory in a single, isolated interaction. The move that is given incentive is to always be an asshole.

    Now some of us, either through an innate ethical sense or through consideration that we live in a society full of multiple repeated interactions, not a single one-shot theoretical game, manage to not be the “regular prick” most of the time.

    Most people would even view basing one’s decison on whether or not to be an asshole on the immediate external incentive one has as a sign that one is, fundamentally, an asshole.

    Taken to its extreme this attitude is that of the sociopath: if we pass walking opposite ways down a road in the middle of nowhere, what incentive do I have to not stab you and steal your wallet? Or stab you for the hell of it? If I don’t stab you, you’re just going to continue on your way, and disappear from sight after a while, whereas if I do stab you the same thing will happen once I walk far enough, plus I’ll have your wallet. What incentive do I have to be the “good guy” and refrain from stabbing you?

  210. 210 Tricia

    Yet another Catch 22: If I allow my emotions to show then I’m hysterical, but if I’m stoic then it must not have been a big deal.

  211. 211 mythago

    I am displeased that you all think it is appropiate to congratulate a man for “getting it”.

    Part of being a strong, independent woman is not giving a fuck when random posters intone “I am displeased.”

    Chris isn’t expecting a cookie, and nobody is thanking him for “getting it”. What we ARE thanking him for is writing a blog post telling other men why and how they should “get it”.

  212. 212 Joie

    Chris, love you, so much. I’m linking to this post on my blog - and blogger doesn’t give trackbacks, so consider this a manual ping.

    Also, you’re ryan, right? I mean to further illustrate your post, you’re actually the one writing ryan’s comments? Dear FSM, I sure hope so….

  213. 213 Dr. Beads

    Chris, I love you and your brain and especially the way you express it all so beautifully.

    Besides “getting it,” and having a magnificent soul, you are incredibly funny.

    You’re welcome to come over and play with my dog any time.

    Re the polyglot troll who can’t even spell in English, I suggest that he take some lessons from the stick in Shutting the Fuck Up While Listening. It’s a Zen thing.

  214. 214 keir

    Anna is exactly right about the whole default settings thing. As a hyperempathetic male I like to assume my default settings are at the right levels, but I also understood pretty early on to not take it personally if someone- anyone- decided that my defaults needed adjusting.

    I also learned at a young age to listen closely and carefully (about anything, not just friends/acquaintances who needed to talk) and resist the urge to insert my opinion/guess/judgement/whatever. Listened first. Listened to anyone without assuming anything.

    In the main this meant hearing about a lot of horrible things that other men have done to female family/friends/acquaintances of mine. It made me hyper-aware of my own behavior around women, and it was hard, but necessary, to accept that no matter how often I loudly proclaimed empathetic solidarity, I obviously would and could never really understand, and had damn well better listen before I say anything.

  215. 215 Shelley

    Great post, Chris. It only took a year to read all the comments, but I’m glad I did.

    There is a backlash against us protecting ourselves from the collective “you” especially when there is a difference in race. I have always tried to treat people equally, and so when I lived in Minneapolis I said hello to a man who was walking down my street in case he thought I was being racist by avoiding him.

    Well, he responded by mugging me.

    I had my keys in my hand and fucked him up somewhat good, and survived that, but since then I’ll be damned if I care if someone thinks I’m racist for avoiding anyone that might have the chance to attack me. They can all STFU. hey, I’m starting to really like that.

  216. 216 Dan

    ryan:

    So tell me, if Im the “good guy”, and I still get treated like Im any regular prick, then what is the incentive to be a good guy.

    If you need an incentive to be a good guy, then you are not a good guy. QED.

    How that the mantle of troll has been thrust up me, I have to admit I find it all rather amusing that the otherwise normal human act of exchanging words in attempt of communication is considered sexist.

    In your very first post in this thread, you offered an evo-psych “boyz rool girlz drool” argument, a “feminists are man-hating bitches” argument, a “boys will be boys” defense, an “I’m not racist because I have a black friend” defense, and a “what about me because I’m just so fucking important certainly more than you man-hating bitches” squeal of deeply entrenched male privilege. If this is what, to you, qualifies as “exchanging words in attempt of communication,” then you really don’t have the right to act all surprised when someone decides you’re a sexist pig.

    So you’ll pardon me, of course, if no one around here buys your little woe-is-me martyr act. You’re not a fucking victim.

    The best part is, you may find, ironically, the more you ignore a person the louder they tend to get.

    Indeed. The empty can rattles the most.

  217. 217 preying mantis

    “And I have never, EVER had a Studly McStudingham take me up on my immediate acceptance of his wishful offer.”

    Most men who say things like that are idiots who haven’t taken two seconds to think about how the encounter would actually play out in real life and/or are more interested in publicly toeing the gender line than having an actual conversation. It’s really very frustrating.

  218. 218 CW

    ryan, you’re hilarious. Did I see a lightbulb turn on in that last post? Men just want to cop a feel, they don’t want to beat you. Social contract; that’s funny. And your point is? Women are treated differently in different cultures? O.K. I don’t think that is the discussion thread, tho it is an interesting topic.

  219. 219 kathy a

    great post, chris.

    and bless you for an inspired application of the clue stick.

    i can’t count the times i’ve been harassed and annoyed and assaulted merely because i’m female. the catcalls and propositions from random men on the street. getting physically in my space. breast grabbed outside city hall, broad daylight, while working. the boss who wanted me to do a threesome with him and his girlfriend; my imaginary boyfriend came in handy that time. the psychiatrist boss who had me help him move offices in the evening, when the power wasn’t on at the new place, who kept telling me i should be a sex therapist [i was a temp receptionist that summer, until he figured out he wasn’t going to score]. the former friend who attempted to sexually assault me. i haven’t been kidnapped, raped or murdered so far, but i have or have had friends and acquaintances who were. like every rational woman i know, i am vigilant.

    i also can’t count the times that things i have said have been discounted, demeaned, or written off to hysteria, poor reasoning, or thin skin. certainly, this is a much broader phenomenon than reports of harassment or abusive behavior. i have far less automatic credibility than similarly situated men, and so do a great many professional women i know. this is a real obstacle in professional life. on quite a few occasions, i’ve had to make sure male colleagues were present to back me up and lend weight to what i needed to say as part of my work.

    some of the responses in the thread illustrate how absurdly difficult it is for many guys to even imagine that women need to be constantly aware of threats, and how absurdly easy it is for them to apply their patented rationality to demean and disparage experiences that differ from their own.

  220. 220 kathy a

    isn’t ryan gone yet? it’s got to be past his bedtime.

  221. 221 Chris Clarke

    Ryan is gone, after having failed the stick test.

  222. 222 ML Parks

    It has been inspiring to read your post, Chris, and read the responses that reminded me both of my past youth and experiences

    I don’t know a woman alive that wouldn’t totally understand what you are saying and just love you (a little bit ) for putting it into words what we have known and lived with our entire lives.

    I grew up a long time ago, loving and trusting men: my father, grandfather, brother, and uncle. I could not have been more protected and guided by these wonderful, kind, intelligent, and interesting people. But to a one, along with my mother and grandmother, I was given warnings, for I was a trusting girl. And I heeded their warnings because I loved and trusted them. And situations came up, and some were rather frightening, but I emerged unscathed fortunately. And it always was scary. NowI am leary always, and women know this, and men who love the women in their lives tell them the truth of what may befall them, nicely and kindly, but tell them.

    Ryan, I hope you will be as wise as my dear men were to me to your daughter. Unless the world changes a whole lot, she will need your guidance.

    Brilliant post, Chris.

  223. 223 Phoenician in a time of Romans

    Now some of us, either through an innate ethical sense or through consideration that we live in a society full of multiple repeated interactions, not a single one-shot theoretical game, manage to not be the “regular prick” most of the time.

    Uh-huh. But this comment thread has been filled with examples of the other player saying that their default strategy for interaction is to treat the male as a threat. Considering it as a series of repeated games doesn’t offer much incentive to not be an asshole (ignoring repeated interactions with the same player).

    Ryan, you act like a good guy because it’s what you choose to be for yourself. Even if you’re still treated like a potential rapist by every woman you meet.

  224. 224 LJ/Aquaria

    Chris:

    Thank you so much for this post. I’d add to everyone else offering you lots of love. There aren’t enough of you.

    Like most of the women here, I have my own horror stories, from molestation to rape to assault to sexual harrassment to stalking, to the petty, but invidious, catcalls, gropes, flashings, and assorted other male-dominace games. Some were from strangers. Most were not. The perps have been rich, average and poor. Whichever, I’ve no desire to go into the details here.

    I don’t think most men understand what it’s like to always wonder, way down deep, whether or not even the tough girls like me want to admit it… “Is this the one who’s going to rape me? Beat me? Kill me?” But worse is knowing that the message can get reinforced, when I least expect it. Even if I’m on my guard. It can still happen.

    I don’t like living this way. I seethe inside: “They don’t get to frame my view of the world. They don’t get to marginalize me to the “safe” zones. They have no right to limit me. I’ll go where I please, say what I please, do what I please, short of harming someone else, and if somebody else (including a man) doesn’t like it, that’s not my problem!” Surely I’m not alone in thinking this…or thinking that a bunch of human volcanoes are reaching eruption point. Because I know my little Vesuvius can’t help putting out some steam every now and then about it.

    One note I want to add: I’m debating what’s worse: men second-guessing us when bad things happen to us, or when women do it. Does the latter rip anyone else’s hide?

  225. 225 Bo

    For the very few here who don’t get it, I’ll try. There’s the number floating around that 1 in 3 women will have been sexually assaulted or raped by the time she reaches 18. That means that doesn’t include adults who are raped or assaulted or harrassed in the workplace. So the overall number of adult women who’ve been the target of such behavior is much higher. Think about that. And then think about your petty concern that you’re being unfairly targeted by women as a potential threat.

    Dear. We’d be crazy not to assume unsafe until proven safe.

    I was sexually assaulted as a child by my older brother. I was sexually assaulted at work and didn’t report it until one of my subordinates was assaulted by the same guy. Then I came forward to support her so they’d know she wasn’t making it up or making it out as worse than it was. I had no idea at the time how amazing our HR department was that this guy was out the door that day never to return and there was never any suggestion by anyone that we were at fault. That isn’t the experience of most women. Finally I was raped by my best friend when I was visiting him and his wife and she had just left for work.

    And the sad thing is, I’m not unique. My experiences aren’t even that unusual.

    And that doesn’t include the many many times I’ve been made uncomfortable by wolf whistles and catcalls. I can’t understand, will never understand, why men think I should be flattered by something that is clearly threatening.

    Oh and there are the times I was walking to work in a suit with a briefcase and wearing sneakers (carrying the dress shoes so I could run if needed) and had guys drive slowly by propositioning me as if I were a hooker. At 8:30 in the morning.

    So I don’t need your permission or approval to assume you aren’t safe until my experience of you and your relationships with those around you suggest to me that you are.

    Remember, my experience is probably pretty standard issue. And shut the fuck up.

  226. 226 LJ/Aquaria

    Actually I’d put on my headphone and turn up the volume when I got on the bus and have a magazine ready. It made me look busy/ I wouldn’t seem to be talking or listening, because I swear there were times I had a flashing “Weirdoes sit next to me” sign flashing above my head.

    I think I have that sign over my head, too. I’m the person people approach and ask for directions. Even when I don’t know where the hell I am! Or where to find XYZ store or restaurant. Or I’m the one you crash carts with at the supermarket because you’re 90 years old and lonely and haven’t had anyone to talk to in a week.

    Why? WHY is it always me?

    Anyway, speaking of giving directions, how many guys out there have it ingrained in their skulls to keep more than the questioner’s arm length from him, and keep your own hands close to you, no wild pointing or gestures to “mime” where to go. It’s ingrained to the bone with me. I don’t even think about it anymore, really. although I know the steps: Paste on a courteous, but cool smile. Take a discreet step back (or more, if necessary). Describe where to go, without taking your eyes off the person during it. Give them two chances to understand (more for an elderly couple). If they don’t get it, apologize and advise them to find a policeman. Accept only a “thank you” from the person in compensation, no matter how insistent or “attractive” an offer of more. LEAVE.

  227. 227 Common Sense

    This post and even more so, the comments have been a real eye opener. Thank you Chris and commenters for giving me a lot to think about.

    I’ve got a pragmatic question. I’m a man who accepts the reality of hypervigilance that you’ve all been very patiently trying to explain. What should I do? I already try to make sure I’m either walking much faster than a lone woman on the sidewalk or much slower. I can switch sides (never thought of that before although it seems obvious now). But then what?

    It seems like one way to improve things in the (very) long term would be to have a zero tolerance policy for harassment: whistling, following, lewd comments, unsolicited touching, etc. But I can’t see police departments doing anything on this front.

    So what should I do if I see a woman get whistled at on the street? It seems like approaching the whistler might be scary for the woman since she’d assume I was with him. Screaming “hey asshole, stfu!” would feel good and would get the message across but it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would make the woman feel more relaxed. Any advice?

  228. 228 Cora Judd

    true wit is nature to advantage dress’d; what oft’ was thought but ne’r so well expressed.
    To you, from me and Alexander Pope
    well said.

  229. 229 LJ/Aquaria

    Common sense:

    I think a lot of us would be lying if we didn’t say that we want you to go up there and tell the guy, knock it off, you barbarian idiot! It’s what we want to say. But we don’t. And it’s why we don’t expect it of you: We don’t want to get hurt; we don’t want you to get hurt. We know it’s possible.

    Still, y’all know how to do this with your friends, and without being all macho about it. You can do it with words. You know the tone of voice to use when your buddy really messes up. I’ve seen some of you rein in a guy being a jerk with a simple, “Hey man, not cool,” in a calm steady voice, kind of off to the side, that leaves no doubt that you disapprove, but makes it clear that you’re not trampling on his male ego. If the other guy is halfway decent, he’ll listen to you.

    Perhaps a similar approach would work in those situations.

    I don’t know. I’m not a guy.

  230. 230 ryan

    Oookay, since Chris is sleeping, and its early afternoon here, Ill take a moment to clear my anonymous name for the sake of my own perceptions of myself:

    - I didnt know this blog had a feminist lean when I came here. If I had, I wouldnt have bothered. Its like going to a rightwing blog to argue healthcare — theres no point. This is actually critical, since I didnt understand my own audience.

    - It appears as if a number of my posts which were there, are now not, and some that were not there now are. Not sure if this is some artifact of the software, or just my sloppy reading. I found it difficult to follow the mood of the thread: are we arguing Chris STFU thesis, are we deridding Mr. Kos, are we engaging in a rite of acceptance of a male into the feminist fold? Clearly I mistakenly thought it was the first two cases. Really I have NO context for whatever the grander argument is.

    - There are a number of items detailing various womens experiences with harrassment and assault. I read them and respect each word for what it was, and had no quarrel with their contents. Since their content was not directly related to Chris thesis above, which I thought I was arguing, I felt no need write 20 some odd individualized “thanks for sharing” posts.

    - I have a quarrel with Chris and the idea of STFU. If you think that STFU a good idea to ever get anywhere with feminism, good luck. You deserve all the rewards you get. I know you don’t care what I think unless I toe the party line, but I recommend the act of sharing your experiences as many posters here did, before STFU.

    - I did not come here with “boyz rool” attitude, I came with a beef with Chris’s thesis, in particular his characterization of this “Kos” guy as mysongynistic, and that a mans real problem is that he doesnt listen to women enough. Communication is a two way street, but feminists, by definition only look one way. — as I said this is a matter of not fully appreciating the sensitivities audience, so I apologize for being totally off theme.

    - Let me also give people you disagree with the benefit of the doubt — a courtesy rarely extended to me in the above. Otherwise you are doomed to constantly miss any point the other might be making, and thus ensure you will never have common ground with others, and sadly the irrelvancy of your own opinions dispite their moral correctness.

    - My “whats the incentive for not being a prick” was not well enough worded it seems — not that anyone bothered asking me to clarify before crucifixion. What I mean is, not “why be nice if theres no incentive”, but rather “why be nice when there is a non-trivial DIS-incentive”. Being assumed to be a rapist by simply being male is not a good way to encourage nice guys. Thats all. Anything beyond that is finding a convenient whipping boy.

    - I dont know what “evo-psych” means. I am not a feminist. I dont share whatever jargon or conventions you follow. I stumbled into marked territory without realizing it. Once an outsider comes into marked territory, you can eviscerate him because he doesnt know all your inside common knowledge, or you can offer to share it in an open way. Since the theme of the article, and the resultant reaction is STFU, it is clear which way you prefer. I wish you be best of luck with that strategy.

    - Lastly I came here with insight from women who live in different countries. This was not gathered by momemtarily cutting off my willy, but rather by asking women in my life about their life. Ironically this is something that Chris recommends, but claims is utterly impossible unless one STFUs. The purpose of this was not, as some bafflingly seemed to think, make any sort of attack whatsoever. Clearly if I had known my audience better, and the theme of this discussion better, I would have deemed that information entirely too abstract to consider compared to people sharing rape and having a love-in with Chris.

    - Physical brain differences are a fact, get used to them, or forever be bound by your own ignorance.

    - Cultural attitudes about sex are a fact, get used to them, or forever be bound by your own ignorance.

    - Last but not least, not knowing my audience, I would like to share something true for entirely emotional purposes, with no intellectual motive at all: My father and his brothers was sexually molested and abused severely by their step father. My aunt as well. She had a child with her cousin, who as one might imagine, has some serious behavioural problems. In turn my father molested me and my sister since we slept in the same room. What he did to here was far worse than me, but I had to live with the intense guilt that I stood by, *pretending* to be asleep while my own father crawled into my own sisters bed, being thankful that it wasnt me. My father told my sister if she told anyone he would not only continue beating my mother, but also kill her. He almost did by means of a slow poison that was attributed to mold at the time. Thankfully he chickened out, and my mother found out what was happening to my sister, and she took us all and escaped from the middleastern country we grew up in. She asked me if I saw anything or was touched, my shame at not helping my sister was strong enough for me to say “no”. Dispite the severe problems in my family, and plenty of “issues” I still love my mother, father, and sister, and older brother (though I cant live with them). Draw whatever conclusions you fancy.

    … is that enough of a pass into the club to get listened to without being dismissed out of hand?

    - Really, if responding to blogs is only ever about patting backs of people who toe the party line, or vilifying anyone who doesnt, whats the point?? Give people who disagree with you more credit than you give me. The conclusions you leapt to are all wrong. Period.

  231. 231 Ricky Barnes

    It’s understandable and even admirable the intent behind the service you are attempting to perform for women and I stand with you and others in unwavering defence of anyone - man or woman - whose life and liberty are threatened by others, however, the tone of your article unjustly stereotypes both women and men and does a horrible disservice to to all of us. The mistake you make is forgetting that crimes are only visited upon individuals and only BY individuals. Any class or group of people you can name is an abstraction. “Men” are not evil nor are “women” victims because, frankly, neither of those classes exist as real and living human beings. It is, after all, individuals only and it is individuals - men AND women - who are guilty of irrational and unreasonable behavior and disrespect because all of those dysfunctions are a HUMAN affliction common to us all. For the species to be rid of its disrespectful, aggressive and murderous tendencies, individuals must begin in the least by ridding themselves of lazy thinking as expressed in stereotypes, sexism, nationalism, speciocentric prejudice, etc.

    Classes and stereotypes prevent us from seeing the irreplaceable in EVERY life - human or otherwise - which makes each of us seem hopelessly commonplace and, sadly in some minds, undeserving of respect and disposable.

  232. 232 defenestrated

    Still, y’all know how to do this with your friends, and without being all macho about it. You can do it with words. You know the tone of voice to use when your buddy really messes up. I’ve seen some of you rein in a guy being a jerk with a simple, “Hey man, not cool,” in a calm steady voice, kind of off to the side, that leaves no doubt that you disapprove, but makes it clear that you’re not trampling on his male ego. If the other guy is halfway decent, he’ll listen to you.

    I strongly, strongly agree. I think a lot of times, guys (or anyone taking up an unpopular-in-their-circle POV) feel like they have to accompany the “hey, not cool” with the entire history of thought behind why it’s not cool. Not only is this generally just fucking annoying, but it marginalizes the “hey not cool” as something that requires getting on board with a bunch of hysterical thinking about how women yadda yadda.

    In a way it’s taking the alpha tactics and directing them in the opposite direction. “Hey man, not cool” assumes: this is shit everybody knows, wtf is wrong with you, now we’re all looking at you weird. What could possibly be more powerful than that to somebody who’s enmeshed in patriarchal games?

  233. 233 bad Jim

    Clarke, that was an epochal post.

    And yet, despite the omniprescent threat of violence from any random male, women outlive men, in any country where they earn at least half as much. If lifelong stess accounts for the difference in survival, the men must have suffered more (most likely at the hands of other men.)

    If my experience of jury duty in suburban Orange County, CA, is any indication, most of the women my age have never been the victims of a crime or had any experience with the police, or else they lie shamelessly.

    Perhaps the point of our many gated communities is to create neighborhoods in which one may stroll without fear. (The only crimes reported were by the few who had passports and had their purses stolen in Rome.) My middle-aged peers could be described neither as fearless nor experienced. Most of the commenters here are both.

    (I never got my opportunity to relate my experiences with law enforcement, which include mounted police and helicopters dispensing teargas. “Uncle Jim, we already heard that story.”)

    Altemeyer’s explanation of the authoritarian personality removes the thrill of wondering “what could they be thinking?” It would be handy to have the same handle on misogyny. I can’t dig it. I’ m old. Are the assholes just teens?

    Showtime dramatized “The Screwfly Solution” in its “Masters of Horror” series; a virus slightly tweaks the male sexual response from fucking to killing and humans are abruptly reduced to months from extinction. My eldest nephew-in-law, though, didn’t buy the idea that sex and violence were proximate impulses.

    Maybe women live longer, despite the stress, because they’re better built. Or, or.

  234. 234 Natalia

    On public transit, I’ve found knitting to be a wonderful thing. It sends the message to leering creeps, “I am very busy with my cabling and do not want to talk to you; although I may look young I am in fact an aged and forbidding spinster with no need for your phone number; by the way, I am extraordinarily deft with pointy sticks. Oh, and hey look, I have a couple right here.”

    I noticed recently that, walking on the street in a safe neighborhood in broad daylight, I routinely make eye contact with women, never with men I don’t already know. It kind of pissed me off to notice that I (feel like I have to) do that, but I also realized I was in no way willing to change that behavior. It also pissed me off that I hadn’t even realized that that was my standard MO. And I’ve been lucky — no assaults, no rapes, just the standard verbal harassment, catcalls, leering, groping, and a few very scary close calls. Nothing that left a physical scar.

    Common Sense, I believe it would give me great satisfaction to hear a man give a verbal harasser the “hey asshole, stfu!” It would also give me great satisfaction to see a blue whale — on account of I’ve never seen such a thing in my life. I hear it’s amazing
    It has occurred to me that many men know little of the regular harassment women receive just from walking down the street in their own neighborhoods, because when they walk with a woman, the harassment usually stops. Presumably a lone woman is fair game (or shall we say easy prey?), but a woman who “belongs” to a man, well, that’s protected property.

    Usually when I say “asshole” to someone who’s harassing me on the street, I feel very alone in that decision. It’s only in the past few years that I’ve decided to force myself to do this, against my double training training first, to not be rude to total strangers, and second, to avoid irritating in the least way people who might injure me, to which category males with established misogyny clearly belong. Naturally, I only do it in daylight, when there are plenty other people around. But I am always the only one saying “asshole.”

    Finally,

    As early as the 1870s, [Charlotte Perkins] Gilman protested men’s violence and how it was used to keep women in their place. Once, when she had refused a male escort’s offer to see her safely home, he remarked to her, somewhat bewildered, “But any man would be glad to protect a woman. Man is a woman’s natural protector!” “Against what?” she asked.

    — Michael Kimmel and Amy Aronson, Introd. to Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. Women and Economics: A Study of the Economic Relation Between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft896nb5rd/

    Plus ça change…

  235. 235 Porlock Junior

    In response to Mike’s question, way up there, about whether Chris is saying that all women are afraid of men all the time:

    Check your logic, dude. You know we are more logical than the ladies are, so hold up your end. [On second, thought, even the obviously sarcastic invocation of a dumb stereotype might not be polite.]

    He didn’t say anything about ALL women. For his posting to be accurate, it is a sufficient condition that enough women live with an undercurrent of fear that a few of them are in all probability among those women whom you (or I) know. And he who hasn’t heard from any of them is advised to do some introspection on whether he might be part of the problem.

    Sounds reasonable to me.

  236. 236 Porlock Junior

    Gosh darn it, the instant preview (neat feature if it worked!) showed strikeout type on the snarky comment about being logical. OK, I’ll leave out the sarcasm ENTIRELY [don’t want to use html markup] in the future. Good idea anyway.

  237. 237 Interrobang

    Thank you thank you thank you, Chris Clarke.

    I think I’m kind of unusual, in that I don’t have as much hypervigilance as many women have reported on this thread. I think one difference may be that I’m Canadian — I’ve noticed that the overall “fear level” here is lower. I routinely go walking for exercise after dark in the summer, and have never thought twice about leaving the windows open, despite having once lived in a neighbourhood where there was a rash of home invasions by a guy who would break into women’s bedroom windows and expose himself to them.

    I may just be kind of nihilistic, because I’m also handicapped, so I know damn well that if someone comes after me, I’d better fight, because I sure as shit can’t run. An average-sized man could overtake me at a fast walk if I were running flat out, I think. On the other hand, I have been lifting weights for over two years, and so I’m much, much stronger than I look, and I have an astonishing pain tolerance. Anyone who comes after me is going to have to make me into hamburger before I’ll stop trying to stop them. On the third hand, I’ve also noticed that being visibly disabled effectively “de-genderises” you in a lot of situations, so there is that…

    The worst gender-based violence thing that’s ever happened to me was my having to beat off my now ex-fiance because he was convinced I wanted sex when I was actually trying to sleep (I was mostly asleep) and wouldn’t get his fingers out of me until I punched him, despite being told repeatedly to quit, stop it, let me sleep, fuck off, et cetera. It took me a couple of years to recontexualise that as “attempted rape,” rather than “XF being an asshole again,” incidentally.

  238. 238 Name

    And what does this have to do with men anyway?

  239. 239 Jesurgislac

    Common Sense: So what should I do if I see a woman get whistled at on the street? It seems like approaching the whistler might be scary for the woman since she’d assume I was with him. Screaming “hey asshole, stfu!” would feel good and would get the message across but it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would make the woman feel more relaxed. Any advice?

    As others already said: I don’t expect you to get yourself beaten up by telling a complete stranger “Hey asshole, STFU!” - especially as when I hear a stranger whistling at me or calling at me, my instinctive reaction is to go into hypervigilance mode while at the same time pretending I can’t hear anything or see anything.

    But you can intervene with your friends/acquaintances - or even just someone who’s standing at a bus stop with you. I agree that the best tone to take is a dismissive “Hey man, not cool!” but if challenged (”I’m just showing them how much I like them!” kind of thing) you could say “No, you’re trying to scare them. WTF, you think they’re going to want your number?”

    But I would feel a lot better about the situation if I heard - from the group of men from where I just heard a wolf-whistle - a male voice saying something like that. Because if I don’t hear something like that (and I never have, to be honest) I just assume that the whole pack of you are on the side of the wolf-whistler.

    And I do think in a lot of instances, that while some men are doing this in a hostile way, a lot of men just do it because they’re taught it’s a manly kind of thing to do - show off to your buds that you’re heterosexual - and they never think at all that to a woman, it’s a first-stage threat. The problem is that wolf-whistling/cat-calling is the first stage of “show off to your buds that you’re heterosexual” - and the last stage is gang rape. All without any consciously-acknowledged hostility to women - just a complete indifference to what the target is feeling.

    Good post, Chris. Reminds me oif one time when I told my brother that I had a text file saved that said something like “Hey asshole, you’re obviously an illiterate moron, and I don’t date illiterate morons even if they happen to be female” which I would IM back to every male asshole who tried to get my attention on Messenger with the line “I read your profile and you sound really interesting!” because my profile then said explicitly “Lesbian looking for women for friendship, etc”. This saved a lot of time, and I could ban the moron from IMing me again while they were reading the message. So, I told my brother about this strategy, and he looked at me funny.

    “Isn’t that kind of hurtful to their feelings?”

    I’m still chewing over that response. We argued about it a little and then dropped the subject, but I’m still dumbfounded that my own brother cared more about the feelings of anonymous men on an IM service than my feelings - and expected me to care.

  240. 240 trifecta

    Nobody ever calls me a nigger, lighten up with your worries about racism. Nobody ever threatens to rape me, women quit your griping. Nobody ever threatens to crack my skull open with a baseball bat because of my sexuality. Lighten up with your talk about homophobia.

    I am a white male.

    The media good old boys discussing what a wonderful guy Imus was, and Markos not having a clue as to this story or the crap women go through are two sides of the same issue.

    We need a lot more empathy if we are ever going to progress as a society.

  241. 241 wayward

    Kos probably thinks he gets it because he is gay.

    Upon further review, it looks like I mistook a right wing rumor for truth.

    I, for one, don’t give a damn either way, but I should check stuff like this before I post it.

  242. 242 ahunt

    So tell me, if Im the “good guy”, and I still get treated like Im any regular prick, then what is the incentive to be a good guy.

    Oh, I dunno, Ryan…maybe because being a good guy is the “right” thing to do, and because “right conduct” is NOT contingent on whether it gets you kittens from women? Just maybe?

  243. 243 iwiwus

    Found out I had an account on DKos, and since no one else seems to have done it, I posted the diary here. I don’t usually post here or there, but I hope this was helpful. (I don’t know how to do pingbacks here, and that wasn’t part of the HTML guide.)

  244. 244 ponderingfool

    “Shut the fuck up.”

    So true. It is something all of us men need to keep in mind. The sexism, racism, classism, etc. permeate all of us. The tendency of us white males is to speak our minds without giving time to think. That just leads to givng into those biases society places upon us often at the detriment of non-white males and rational thought.

  245. 245 Carolyn in Baltimore

    Iwiwus-
    Thanks for doing that this morning. I saw it and recommended it.

    Please everybody, if you can rec diaries on DKos, please do so so it gets noticed.

  246. 246 Yep

    I think I get where ryan is coming from, now that he’s told his story.

    He genuinely doesn’t get it and he wasted time trying to talk at a woman he cared about and play “Mr. Fix-It” instead of being genuinely helpful and caring when she needed him the most. He knows he failed her and he genuinely doesn’t understand how or why. I find that to be very sad, really, and can’t get angry at his obvious obtuseness as a result.

    I only hope that he learns how to be truly empathetic with the women in his life someday (that way maybe they’ll actually trust him enough to share their perspective with him) and I hope the woman who was attacked has found a relationship where she feels her emotions can be discussed and understood.

  247. 247 Amanda Marcotte

    And the undercurrent of fear thing—for me, it’s mostly experience. What’s weird is that I live relatively fearlessly for a woman and people chastise me all the time about it. I’ll walk somewhere at night, etc. But at the same time, I have that same wariness women describe, so at least when a man chastises me for not being afraid enough, he probably doesn’t get it.

    On walking around: I prefer men to pace me, cross the street, anything but walk a few paces behind me. I’ve had far too many incidents where men were clearly following me, especially when I was a teenager, and I loathe having to ruin my walk by trying to keep tabs on what some man behind me is doing without being rude about it. Most of the time, the man following you is simply oblivious to the fact that he’s making you uneasy, but that small percentage of the time when he’s hanging right behind you, thinking malicious thoughts, and staying right out of view is high enough that it’s a problem.

  248. 248 Dean Trippe

    High five, Chris. :)

  249. 249 Doctor Science

    Go iwiwus! The early bird gets on the Recommended list!

  250. 250 Sarah in Chicago

    In your very first post in this thread, you offered an evo-psych “boyz rool girlz drool” argument, a “feminists are man-hating bitches” argument, a “boys will be boys” defense, an “I’m not racist because I have a black friend” defense, and a “what about me because I’m just so fucking important certainly more than you man-hating bitches” squeal of deeply entrenched male privilege. If this is what, to you, qualifies as “exchanging words in attempt of communication,” then you really don’t have the right to act all surprised when someone decides you’re a sexist pig.

    Dan, I just wanted to say, this was insanely accurately put. I love it when trolls come in all abusive, and then get all ‘insulted’ when we see through the bullshit, claiming that WE are not the nice ones because we didn’t want to talk to them.

    Oh, and by ‘love’ I actually mean detest.

    Thanks Dan :)

  251. 251 D. Sidhe

    Uh-huh. But this comment thread has been filled with examples of the other player saying that their default strategy for interaction is to treat the male as a threat. Considering it as a series of repeated games doesn’t offer much incentive to not be an asshole (ignoring repeated interactions with the same player).

    You know, I thought about that as I was posting, but hell, I posted here yesterday more times than I usually do in six months, so I didn’t get into it, the “WTF?” response being my more prominent reaction.

    I should preface this by saying I’m pretty sure this is what PiaToR was getting at, but I kind of wanted to take a shot at explaining it myself anyway. So this is more of a riff on that quote than a response to it.

    To my mind, both the behavior and the incentive/disincentive outcome are very different. While men may think that women are being, to use the phrase, pricks, by treating them all as potential rapists, the fact is that A) we don’t know you’re not. We really, really don’t know. Strangers rape. But so do fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, bosses, best friends, first dates, and husbands. Some rapists look scary, others are teachers, doctors, religious leaders, fathers of young girls, policemen, and even psychiatrists. We don’t know. There’s no way to tell.

    B) Women doing this are pricks to men by the mechanism of not smiling at strange men. How bad does it really hurt you that some woman on the street gave you a mistrustful look? Or that your female friends won’t accept a ride home with you after a party if they don’t know you that well? Or that women are less likely to accept dates at all with men they don’t know very well? It must suck to have someone always thinking the worst of you, but does it suck as badly as, say, being raped? Being murdered? Being blamed for being raped?

    There are a lot of people out there who’ve been swindled by con artists. They, also, tend to not trust anybody. You can take it personally if you want, but being mistrusted for you is nowhere near as bad as being robbed again is for them. This holds true even if it’s hundreds of people this person comes in contact with that go away being hurt that they were regarded with suspicion, and even if the person was only conned once.

    Meanwhile, there’s this person going around saying, assuming you credit his “I wasn’t talking about meeeeeeeee!” backpedal, that he thinks it’s quite common among men to *want* to rape women, but that they don’t because, apparently, they’re afraid people will think less of them for it, and that if we stop smiling at them on the street, they’ll just start raping because, hey, why not? (That view, incidentally, is man-hating on a level I’m not capable of.)

    It all comes back to, for me, whether you think being raped or harrassed or murdered and then blamed for being raped, harrassed, or murdered is on the same level as being mistrusted. Anyone who does is so far beyond the Not Getting It event horizon that there’s really no point in a dialogue.

  252. 252 Amanda Marcotte

    Natalia, I think it’s the pointy sticks thing.

    Having something to occupy myself in public seems to attract men who feel entitled to my attention, whether I want to give it or not. Opening the laptop or cracking a book often results in some guy doing the, “Whatcha reading for?” manuever.

    It’s a particularly odious interaction, because while some men take a polite no for an answer, some get very angry with me for not sucking their dick immediately, which they are entitled to because they are “nice”. I find it repugnant to bring up the boyfriend in this case. You take my no because it’s coming from me, not from him.

  253. 253 Clytemnestra

    Amanda -
    Having something to occupy myself in public seems to attract men who feel entitled to my attention, whether I want to give it or not. Opening the laptop or cracking a book often results in some guy doing the, “Whatcha reading for?” manuever.

    That’s why I used headphones, because then they assume you can’t hear them so why bother asking.

  254. 254 Clytemnestra

    oops

    that’s why I used headphones along with reading a book

  255. 255 Rhiannon

    “kitten
    Apr 13th, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    I love you a whole lot”

    OMG!! Ditto… ditto * infinity.

    Mike- 1. Thanks for STFU

    2. It’s a learned behaviour. I learned it when I was 5, then it was reinforced when I was 7, then again when I was 12, then again several times when I was 15, was reminded again when I was 20… and again at 25.. I only just turned 26… as much as I would like to think I’ve had a lifetimes worth of this crap… I’m absolutely certain some crass/perverted/asshole/jerkoff will see fit to remind me again at some later date. In fact, I wonder if there isn’t some mathematical formula to figure out when this might occur… because it most definately will. It’s the when, where and what… that worry me, there is no if. That’s what I’ve learned.

    It always irritates me when men get irritated that I don’t just automatically “trust them” and treat them like the “nice guys” they think they are. I’ve learned not to trust. I was pretty damn trusting before my first “lesson”, now… not so much. I’m not known for giving second chances or being forgiving or even very tolerant. Cause everytime (damn nearly every single time) I gave some male the benefit of the doubt, it’s turned out I was right from the very start. Don’t trust.

    Oh btw… another experience of mine. When I was 9 I attended a slumber party where it came out that ALL of us (there were 7 attendees, not including the host) had suffered through molestation and rape. When I was young I was told by a speaker at my school that the stats where 1 in 7 girls would be raped, molested or sexually assaulted… today I read somewhere it was that it was 1 in 5.

    I don’t know a single female who hasn’t been through one of the 3. So I don’t think either of those stats are right. But that’s my POV.

  256. 256 Tlönista

    Any class or group of people you can name is an abstraction. “Men” are not evil nor are “women” victims because, frankly, neither of those classes exist as real and living human beings.

    Fucking nominalists.

  257. 257 has_te

    This is like the 258th comment…so I’ll just echo the first.

    “kitten Apr 13th, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    I love you a whole lot.”

    That was very sweet.

  258. 258 Clytemnestra

    at this point there are already 175 comments on Kos of “How not to be an asshole: a guide for men (From Chris Clarke)”
    by iwiwus
    175 comments (41 new)

    and it’s on the top of the recommended list

  259. 259 Amanda Marcotte

    I think I may just be a magnet for assholes. I’ve had men try to shout over my headphones, and I’ll point to the headphones and give them pseudo-apologetic smile and that is, as you can imagine, not well-received.

    Or I may just travel by myself a lot. I’m like a classic loner. I like to eat by myself, walk by myself, etc. and that’s sort of unusual and so probably attracts attention.

    Now that it’s shorts season, things are bound to get worse. I wore shorts biking yesterday and I’m at a light that is taking forever to turn green. Meanwhile this guy is standing on the corner trying to get my attention. It starts with, “Hey pretty lady,”* to establish that he is a Nice Guy who Gives Compliments, so I need to pay attention right away out of slavish gratitude. Which of course, I don’t. So he gets increasingly nasty, asking me what my problem is, etc. The light is stubbornly red. I could turn right and get away from him, but that’s providing a reaction, which is all he wants, so I don’t. The light turned green before he progressed to calling me a stuck-up bitch, but that was the general route he was going.

    *This particularly grates on my nerves. No, I’m not. I am the soul of average, especially in terms of women in their 20s tooling around on bikes in Austin. We all know there’s nothing stunning about me that requires that men harangue me. Above all, lies make me fucking bananas, and may in fact piss me off worse than the harassment element.

  260. 260 mythago

    Amanda, frankly I think it’s because you’re young and attractive, yet you aren’t submissive and compliant. They hate that shit. Your job, in their eyes, is to be warm and inviting unless you have another man, like a boyfriend, whose attention trumps theirs. That’s also, I believe, why the paleosphere goes nuts–they can’t peg you as a lonely ugly fat dyke, their usual MO.

    Considering it as a series of repeated games

    I’m glad it’s no more than fun or abstract game-theory to you. That said, the incentive is twofold: not to be an asshole, and to improve things in such a way that women won’t have every incentive to think you’re an asshole. Saying “Fuck it, I’m going to be an asshole” simply confirms the initial impression.

  261. 261 Clytemnestra

    Wow! Amanda I used to get this biking around Denver too. If it weren’t the cars trying to run you off the road it was the asshole men that thought you wanted or deserved their attention.

    I spent one summer on my bike a lot from going to classe at one univerity in the morning, to go to work across the city, then back in the evening for classes at another university.

    If I had a chance I would often stop at a park and just lay in the grass for a bit listen to the birds and watch the clouds. I had no idea a guy saw me enter the park and he plopped himself right down next to me and began talking … “you’ve got pretty powerful leg muscles there — and a nice ass” etc. etc.

    I played along for a bit because he was well within my comfort zone, and I didn’t want to show how nervous I was … then we got up to walk for a bit and I saw my chance I got on my bike and rode away.

    My Dad and I once got into an argument because I was dating grad students (I was an under grad) and didn’t have any money to go out because I had a long standing policy of dutch treat

    Dad was furious when he learned this “you don’t go out unless the guy pays for it.. yada yada yada.”

    I responded by saying “Okay Dad I’ll let the guy pay and if he feels I’m some how obligated to put out at the end of the evening because he paid for dinner and a movie, what then?

    Dad shut up and I never heard another word about it. I only had date trouble once, which was the only time I ignorewd my poilicy - it was after a bad car accident and I just needed to get out - the guy offered to pay and darned if he didn’t feel I was obligated at the end of the date — and he never got so much as a kiss, cause he was a real creep.

    I think the dutch treat thing kind of put each party of the date on a level playing field. There wasn’t this I paid for it mentality ond undercurrent to any interaction on the date.

  262. 262 Doctor Science

    Y’know Amanda, I was mentally comparing my experiences at your age and thinking, “it sounds like she does get this more than I did, I wonder why?” and it occurred to me . . .

    I wore glasses. I don’t know if people still say “guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses”, but they sure did when I was young (Late Stone Age), and I bet they had some Asshole Deflector Ray Pwrz.

    Why is a good question I never really thought of before. I’m guessing it’s because glasses (a) make it harder to read your expression, and (b) are doing something for you (=make you see better) without taking your attractiveness to men into account. So, off-putting.

    Under the circumstances, it’s kind of surprising that I didn’t get more cat-calls telling me to take off my glasses to be pretty. I do seem to recall one, but perhaps the gales of mocking laughter discouraged them . . . .

  263. 263 Clytemnestra

    So Doc Science how hold are you?
    I’m 44 and have worn glases since 3rd grade — even those ugly cat eye glasses of the 60’s that I purposefully lost so I could get John Denver wire frames …

    But I have a lot of experiences like Amanda’s.

  264. 264 iwiwus

    Wow. That was a lot of quick responses on the DKos diary. I didn’t expect it. Also, apparently it only takes 2 hours to become a trusted user, which I didn’t know.

    It looked like you had some server issues before; sorry if that was caused by the diary.

  265. 265 DataShade

    I know I’m really late to the party here, but …

    I kept up the experiment for I think four days, a couple hours a day, sometimes chatting with people about non-sexual topics, sometimes just lurking. Two of the men who IMed AliciaMN with blatantly and obnoxiously sexual messages — “Hey, I’m up in Alaska! How ’bout you thaw my dick out with your throat?” being an example I recall — responded to my NON-response by telling “Alicia” she deserved to get raped.

    This is neither new nor surprising information to any woman here. I mention it because 1) maybe if a man says it it’ll be taken seriously and 2) it implies a suggestion that disbelievers find a venue equivalent to AOL in its heyday and repeat my experiment, in the spirit of dispassionate empiricism.

    I agree absolutely. Anyone who used a chatroom or IMs could have noticed sexualized threats if they’d paid any kind of attention, and anyone who plays any kind of PVP online game on public servers (ie, not just your friends etc) cannot but be exposed to it. It was so prevalent when I was in high school and college I stopped playing games like Counterstrike and UT because I got tired of having some jackoff ban me from his server after I spent an hour spewing profanity at people who used “rape” as a synonym for “defeat.” Even in games with oversight or GMs (like WoW), it’s not uncommon for someone in a PVP Arena or Battleground to use the word rape as a casual thing, like you might see a 14-year-old use “retarded” to describe a homework assignment. To me, that’s even scarier than the violent outbursts; the casual offhand remarks that indicate it’s a solidly adopted part of the lexicon.

    The problem is, if you were to compile a list of all the hateful, harmful, violent, frightening, or degrading things that humans have done to each other over the centuries, and ranked them on each of those criteria, rape would be near the top of the list for each. Homicide can be legally justified in self-defense, dismemberment can be accidental, theft and cannibalism can be a matter of survival, etc. Rape is always a matter of violence, exploitation, or coercion, and is only ever for hate, to inspire fear, or to subjugate, and is the only thing I can think of that is frequently for ALL those reasons. If different concepts belong to different parts of the brain, and the amygdala is the center of fear and hate, then rape is stroking the prostate of the lizard brain.

    There’s no easy way to tell a friend, a coworker or an acquaintance - let alone some jackoff online - that he’s spending too much time with his thumb shoved up his ass, jerking off to Animal Channel … but there’s no excuse or defense for not noticing.

  266. 266 Doctor Science

    I’m 50, and yes, I started out on those cat-eye frames, too, then switched to wire. So it may be luck, or it may be that it happened less in Philly & NYC than elsewhere — not that I didn’t get catcalls, etc., but not *constantly* — or maybe I just looked meaner. But I also have trouble picking voices out of crowds, so it’s quite possible that I just didn’t notice because I ignore voices so much.

  267. 267 Clytemnestra

    Doctor Science -

    It maybe that in Philly and NYC there is a different atmosphere. My husband noticed it when he went to visit his best friend and the best man at our wedding. He had grown up in the Bronx, but went to do his under grad work in Denver.

    My husband noticed that his friends persona totally changed from out and about in NYC than what it was when out and about in Denver or even insidethe confines of his own home.

  268. 268 Clytemnestra

    by the time I get this posted the los diary will be at 400 comments

  269. 269 DataShade

    Andrea Apr 13th, 2007 at 4:45 pm
    …When I went on my first date with my husband, my family impressed upon me the need to go somewhere crowded in broad daylight and not give him private access to me until I knew him enough to trust him….

    Heh. My current girlfriend likes to joke about how, when she and I first went out, she left a LiveJournal post with, like, where we were going, when she was supposed to get back, what I looked like (maybe even a picture of me?), my car’s make/model/license#, and instructions that if she didn’t take down the post within 6 hours to call the police.

    Only, it’s not a joke. She actually did that. I guess maybe I’m just more of a grown-up than the average joe, but I didn’t take that personally. And I don’t understand how you can take someone’s personal-safety preferences personally without being, and realize you are being, a selfish immature prick.

    Hmm. Girlfriend is saying maybe it’s not so much that I’m a grown-up as I am a self-aware selfish immature prick. For the purposes of discussion, I suppose that’ll do.

  270. 270 Rhiannon

    Dr. Science. I get “hits” because I wear glasses sometimes… but they’re mostly from anime fetish geeks, who -while disturbing- tend to be fairly harmless. While there may be men who don’t “hit on” me because I wear them… it doesn’t seem to be much of a hinderance, generally speaking.

  271. 271 Cedwyn

    okay…whoa…

    >

    given the prevalant acceptance of the notion that all women fear men, mike’s question is entirely appropriate. if all women do, indeed, fear men, it has to come from somewhere. asking if it’s hardwired is as fair as anything.

    >

    so? reid being personally anti-abortion doesn’t mean squat. is anybody pro-abortion? the point is, though, what is the likelihood of reid, or pelosi (we do have a bi-cameral legislature, you know…it’s not like the senate and the house get to just throw laws around willy-nilly) introducing legislation that limits choice?

    seriously - please demonstrate how kos’ claim is “obviously false.” how does having the democratic caucus control the legislative agenda not beat the pants off of a GOoPer majority, even if a few of them are nominally “pro-choice”?

    and how many draconian, anti-choice GOoPer judges did lil’ old pro-choice “puddles” chafee confirm without batting an eye? oh that’s right…each and every one of those federalist society nutcases shrubya sent down the pike got an “aye” from him.

    >

    more like stupid answers to valid questions that threaten an asinine assumption. ALL women live in constant fear of ALL men? give me an effin’ break.

    as a woman, i think THAT is a misogynistic view that objectifies and victimizes women. and i’ll have none of it, thanks. i don’t fear men any more than anything else on this planet that can fuck me up or kill me.

    bottom line: people can suck - to quote the dread pirate roberts, “life is pain. anybody who tells you differently is trying to sell you something.”

    and life is the riskiest proposition there is.

    oh…and fuck fear.

    I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.

    -Frank Herbert

  272. 272 DataShade

    badpoetry Apr 13th, 2007 at 5:29 pm
    …The point of this is the following: the way to actually solve the problems that Chris discusses in tis post- and of misogyny in general- is to change the learned behaviors of the men in our society. This will require systemic changes that affect men from birth through childhood to adolescence and adulthood.

    And yes, it’s OK to discuss changes in learned behavior for women, too, but only insofar as it helps to address the real, actual problem here: the behavior of men, not women.

    Agreed.

    As far as I can tell, tho’, one of the biggest early steps would be making sure men, especially prominent men, who are “borderline” - whose actions are not directly misogynistic but whose actions nonetheless encourage, excuse, or enable misogynistic behavior - be presented with evidence and outrage against their carelessness.

    In other words, getting people like Markos to shut the fuck up.

  273. 273 Arun

    Now that it’s shorts season, things are bound to get worse. I wore shorts biking yesterday and I’m at a light that is taking forever to turn green. Meanwhile this guy is standing on the corner trying to get my attention. It starts with, “Hey pretty lady,”* to establish that he is a Nice Guy who Gives Compliments, so I need to pay attention right away out of slavish gratitude. Which of course, I don’t. So he gets increasingly nasty, asking me what my problem is, etc. The light is stubbornly red. I could turn right and get away from him, but that’s providing a reaction, which is all he wants, so I don’t. The light turned green before he progressed to calling me a stuck-up bitch, but that was the general route he was going.

    The Guy in this incident presumably at least has the learning ability of Pavlovian reflexes. One must therefore speculate that this kind of behavior, starting with “Hey, pretty lady” often produces the kind of results that The Guy wishes for. (Or it never does and the man is like playing a one in a million lottery? Or maybe nastiness is in his genes? Or is it so ingrained behavior that the man cannot change it no matter what?)

    Actually, whatever the answer is, I don’t see a way to a solution to not having this kind of confrontation, so perhaps I should STFU.

  274. 274 kali

    just want to say, different kali from the one with a capital above, and I don’t think Chris is getting the love here just for being a decent human being while possessing a Y chromosome, I think he’s getting it for being a damn good writer who is saying something that sorely needed to be said, in a very powerful way.

  275. 275 The Infidel Sage

    We eagerly await the companion guide to this for women. How Not To Be A Bitch.

  276. 276 DataShade

    I always make a security check around the house before going to bed. And no matter how hot if is, every window on the first floor is closed and double locked at night.

    I started doing that when I was dating a rape-victim counselor and got to listen to the stories she brought home. She got a little upset when I asked her to do the same when I wasn’t there, and wanted to know why, and I just told her it was to keep the zombies out.

    I know she knew why, but fuck, I was 21, young and stupid and not exactly comfortable talking about my irrational(?) fears.

  277. 277 DataShade

    The Infidel Sage Apr 14th, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    We eagerly await the companion guide to this for women. How Not To Be A Bitch.

    I am ashamed to even quote you, because I’m pretty sure your comment will get deleted as being off-topic. At the risk of feeding the trolls … who’s being a bitch?

  278. 278 Kirk Spencer

    First, an echo - thank you, Chris.

    I’m one of the rare guys who’ve had several women tell me of the undercurrent of fear — the hypervigilance - they life with. Unlike folk like Ryan, I get it. Allow me to be dispassionate to him and the other commenters of his type.

    At what probability of “a bad thing happening” do you act so as to prevent the bad thing even if it increases your load? Seriously? Little things, like … when you go to a restaurant and give the waiter your credit card to pay, do you double-check the receipt before you sign it? That’s a (if I recall the number correctly) significantly less than 1% chance of it being changed. You’re walking down the sidewalk and see a group of 7-10 young adult (17-24) males loitering in a loose group - do you walk through the middle of them, or try to go around? And if you go through the middle do you tense up? The chance of them doing something is, well, most of the time it’s way less than 5%. That “something” includes verbal harassment. Let’s run with that a moment.

    So, you’re willing to modify your behavior when the situation has a whopping 5% chance of being slightly bad. Heck, if what can happen is significant (loss of money), a less than 1% chance of it happening is enough for you to become slightly more vigilant - just in case.

    The chance of a female being sexually harassed before she’s an adult is over 80%. By the time she’s thirty, the chance approaches unity. That’s “just” harassment. By the time she’s 30, there’s a better than 40% chance she’s been sexually assaulted — a lot higher if you include “minor” actions like pats on the ass and arms across the shoulders. By the time she’s thirty, the odds she’s been raped are slightly higher than the odds that you and I, males, will have something happen if we happen to walk through that group of young adults.

    So the dispassionate measure is: There is a greater than 5% chance, if in the presence of males, the woman will suffer harm. And you’re amazed the woman is fearful/mistrustful/hypervigilant?

    It amazes me not that women are hypervigilant, but that they consider the payoff of meeting the “safe” ones worth the effort.

  279. 279 mythago

    Shorter Cedwyn: How dare you insult TEH KOS!!!1!!!

  280. 280 Ivyfree

    “We eagerly await the companion guide to this for women. How Not To Be A Bitch.”

    Because, yanno, it’s just as hard for a man to cope with a rude woman as it is for a woman to cope with rapes and beatings.

  281. 281 junk science

    I don’t know if people still say “guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses”

    If they do, it’s a lie.

    We eagerly await the companion guide to this for women. How Not To Be A Bitch.

    1) Get on your knees immediately every time a man leers at you.
    2) If you never say no, you’ll never get raped.
    3) Shut up and let the men talk. When we want you to contribute, we’ll ask for more beers. When we want your opinion, we’ll tell you what it is.
    4) Your boyfriend looks at porn because you’re not hot enough. Put down the cake and shut the fuck up.

  282. 282 Isabella

    I didnt know this blog had a feminist lean when I came here.

    Dear Ryan,

    It sounds like this is you are new here.
    Many feminist bloggers advise newcomers to avoid commenting right away.* They advise you to lurk around for a few weeks and get a feel for the site. That way you can avoid some of the problems you had here.
    (1) You’ll have a better idea of how to write your comments to convey your points to the other readers.
    If you read this site for a few weeks, you’ll see that there are people who comment who are not interested in a real discussion. Once you experience the frustration of a discussion you’re interested in getting pushed off track by some annoying commenters who clearly doesn’t care about the issue at hand or who are willfully clueless, you’ll understand the urge to say STFU. Unfortunately, in your initial posts, you sounded like one of those commenters.
    (2) You’ll better understand the tone and mores of the site.
    (3) You’ll understand that you are entering an ongoing discussion. Some of your comments hit on matters that have been extensively discussed in other posts and other comment threads on this site. This particular post was discussing a topic about which we (the bloggers and most of the readers and commenters), are very well informed. We’ve been discussing aspects of this topic for days. Most of us have fully explored the topic of what was wrong with Kos’ comments and whether he’s a mysogynist, so we didn’t rehash it here. That’s not what this post is about.

    I’m sorry you think feminists aren’t interested in your opinions. That’s not true. However, when it comes to the experience of being a woman- women know more about what it’s like to be a woman than men do. We are sick of men marginalizing our attempts to tell them what it’s like to be a woman.
    When Mike asked if ‘All women really go around in fear of All men,’ it sounded kind of sarcastic. He also sounded like he was belittling women’s experiences (the very thing Chris’s post was about) That’s why some respondants were not very nice to him.
    But plenty of women took the question seriously, and most of this thread is women trying to explain what its like to live as a woman. And when it became clear that the word “fear” was giving some men the wrong idea, women explained it as “hypervigilence.” I’m glad that men like Common Sense found this thread informative. He found it informative because he refrained from commenting right away, but rather really read and wrapped his mind around what women had to say. When he did comment, he made a valuable contribution to the discussion.

    * Probably good advice for any blog.

  283. 283 mythago

    Get on your knees immediately every time a man leers at you.

    Unless you have a boyfriend or a husband, in which case, immediately inform the man who owns you of the leering. Your boyfriend or husband will give you further instructions, which may include such things as “stand aside while I beat him up” or “show some more leg so I will gain Man Status from the attractiveness of my woman.”

  284. 284 teac

    I didnt know this blog had a feminist lean when I came here.

    You didn’t know Pandagon was a feminist blog??? Not the problem of anyone here. That’s your problem. Lurk first, for a very long time, before spouting.

    If you want some context, word to the wise: First - Read Amanda’s post from April 12 titled, “In order to argue effectively . . . ” and the comments following. Second - Re-read Chris’ post, and as you do think about what from the comments to Amanda’s posts prompted Chris to write what he did. Third - think, think, think, and then think some more.

    There’s a whole universe here you seem blind to. Open your eyes.

    One final piece of advice: visit I Blame the Patriarchy and read the FAQs.

  285. 285 teac

    Isabella - How is it that two people who have never met have the same thought at the same time?

  286. 286 Isabella

    The malaria comment upthread is silly but illustrative.
    I’ve traveled to places where there’s a risk of catching malaria. It didn’t stop me from going and I didn’t hide inside out of fear of catching malaria, I didn’t shrink back in terror at the sight of a mosquito. However, I lived with an uncurrent of fear (more in the sense of concern) of catching malaria. I was extra conscientous of using bug spray, and mosquito coils. I avoided mosquito ridden areas if possible, or avoided them in the evening.

    In the same way, I don’t avoid interaction with all men out of fear. However, I take the kinds of precautions that women have described above.

    Where are the suggestions as to the root of the problem, and ideas to solve it?

    If my “problem” you mean the threat of male violence- I direct you to the past 30-some years of feminist activism.

  287. 287 Isabella

    ugh, typo
    I meant “If by problem…”

    Hi teac- I guess great minds think alike:)

  288. 288 Doctor Science

    Clytemnestra:

    My husband noticed that his friends persona totally changed from out and about in NYC than what it was when out and about in Denver or even insidethe confines of his own home.

    In what way? Can you give more details?

    Arun:

    The Guy in this incident presumably at least has the learning ability of Pavlovian reflexes. One must therefore speculate that this kind of behavior, starting with “Hey, pretty lady” often produces the kind of results that The Guy wishes for. (Or it never does and the man is like playing a one in a million lottery? Or maybe nastiness is in his genes? Or is it so ingrained behavior that the man cannot change it no matter what?)

    I think I’ve actually seen a study (or at least a sociologist*g*) saying that the “results” The Guy gets are from other men. That is, these are not really pick-up lines aimed at women, they’re performances aimed at other men. This is why it’s so common for the remarks to come from a car with two or more guys in it.

  289. 289 junk science

    How Not to Be a Bitch, Volume 2.

    1) Some guys are Nice and others are Assholes. Learn to recognize them by sight, and never, ever confuse the two. The Assholes are the ones trying to talk to you, and the Nice Guys are the ones bitching to their friends about how much women suck for not liking Nice Guys.

    2) Reward Nice Guys with pity sex as often as you can. Pretend they’re the best you’ve ever had. If you don’t, don’t be surprised if they stop being so Nice.

    3) Be careful around men. Don’t be surprised if you’re out walking alone and some man rapes you. What were you thinking, anyway? You’re not safe around men you don’t know.

    4)Unless they’re me. Use your superior female intuition to discern that I, unlike all those other pigs, am not a rapist. If you treat me the way I’ve told you to treat all other men, you’re a bigot.

  290. 290 The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    I’m loving me some Chris Clark right now and I’m SO linking this.

  291. 291 Ridnik Chrome

    This post and the accompanying comments have been a very enlightening read. I’ve always considered myself to be a forward-thinking and progressive man, but since I started hanging out here I realize that I’ve still got a lot to learn. Keep up the good work.

  292. 292 Mike

    To those of you who “assumed” I was spoiling for an argument: you’re wrong.

    To those who took umbrage at “hardwired”: it’s become my way of saying “genetic.” I apologize for assuming anyone else but my wife would know that.

    I appreciate the honest discussions of the idea that women might fear all men all the time.

    I appears they don’t, but, in talking to my wife and others, the wariness is certainly on 24/7/365.

    Which begs the question: how do we solve this?

    No human, male or female, should have to go through life in a state of constant wariness (IMHO.) It’s stressful, and stress tends to shorten lifespans.

    Anyone have any cogent suggestions aside from the obvious ones of lobotomizing all males at birth?

    Regards,

    mike

  293. 293 Bonnie

    To borrow a phrase, it’s the privilege, stupid!

    What causes some men to think it’s just fine and dandy to pass judgment on women and our choices, sexual or otherwise?

    Partner and I were in big-box home improvement store one summer eve. On our cart we had among other home improvement items a tree, about an 8 footer.

    Man we do not know, had no interactions with, says out of the blue, “Huh - how you girls plan on getting that home?”

    1. Nunya fucking business.

    2. In my fucking pick-up truck, jackass.

    3. “Girls”????

    WTF?!?

    Mind you, neither partner nor I look “feminine.” We were more than likely wearing jeans and t-shirts. I generally exude confidence - and I’m tall.

    WTF?!?

  294. 294 iwiwus

    I posted it at My Left Wing, too. I hope that’s OK.

    There are some really horrible responses at DKos. This one, for example.

    Also, I’ve notice a really weird HTML thing here today. When I do two links, the preview window screws up and erases everything up to the second link. The problem goes away if I take out the quotation marks in the first link. Any idea why that might be? I thought the quotation marks were necessary.

  295. 295 Dan

    Dear Ryan:

    When you are up to your waist in a hole of your own devising, STOP DIGGING, MORON.

    Your friends,
    — everyone who isn’t you

  296. 296 Amanda Marcotte

    We eagerly await the companion guide to this for women. How Not To Be A Bitch.

    Rule #1: Understand that the Infidel Sage has nothing to say.

    Rule #2: See Rule #1.

  297. 297 Dan

    Bonnie, the situation you describe makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever from the get-go, because I can’t imagine anyone, regardless of gender, going into a big-box home-improvement store and buying something large without first considering how they’re going to get it home.

    But then again, no one ever went broke from underestimating human stupidity.

  298. 298 MAJeff

    We eagerly await the companion guide to this for women. How Not To Be A Bitch.

    Rule #1: Understand that the Infidel Sage has nothing to say.

    Rule #2: See Rule #1.

    Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Kittens?

  299. 299 Dan

    iwiwus:

    Also, I’ve notice a really weird HTML thing here today. When I do two links, the preview window screws up and erases everything up to the second link. The problem goes away if I take out the quotation marks in the first link. Any idea why that might be? I thought the quotation marks were necessary.

    That’s happened to me, too. It’s a problem with the preview plugin, not with your code. As long as you do your HTML right, it’ll render correctly when you submit your comment, even if the preview field displays it improperly.

  300. 300 Chris Clarke

    Iwiwus: no problem, and thanks.

  301. 301 MAJeff

    I do think that one thing that helps men to actually listen is to feel some of the same kind of vulnerability. I was reminded of that yesterday when walking to the grocery store and having someone yell “Fairy” at me (been a long time since I’ve heard that). It’s that sort of thing that doesn’t show up in statistics (I’m not gonna report that little piss-ant shit to anyone) but it’s part of the daily grind. Living through that makes it easier to hear and believe others’ stories of experiencing it, and other things.

    Some other folks have mentioned the fact that it’s a man saying these things rather than a woman, who would be written off. It’s a sad fact that as men, we’re given a legitimacy (because we’re not perceived as being ‘interested’ parties or some such nonsense) to discuss such topics that women aren’t. The responsible thing, as I see it, is to use that privilege in order to undermine it. I’m a white man who teaches classes on gender and race in order to undermine white supremacist patriarchy. Or at least I try to :)

  302. 302 junk science

    Anyone have any cogent suggestions aside from the obvious ones of lobotomizing all males at birth?

    1) Stop being a drama queen.
    2) Get off the defensive stance and listen to what women have to say. Sometimes sympathy and understanding go a long way toward making people feel they’re not alone, and feeling alone is what this is really about.

    Easy enough, I should think.

  303. 303 Bonnie

    Dan - It was one of those, “I’m so incredibly non-plussed that I don’t know what to think” moments.

    I’ve never had women say anything of the sort to me. And certainly not all men do, but of the ones who do their comments are equally as insipid. I mean, even if we hadn’t considered how to get the tree from the store, why is it such a concern of his that he feels a need to essentially mock us for our perceived lack of foresight and planning?

    Seriously. I just don’t get it.

  304. 304 doremi

    Bonnie- I probably would have been really sarcastic “Well I arrived on a bicycle, so I was just gonna strap it to my back”

  305. 305 doremi

    Get off the defensive stance and listen to what women have to say. Sometimes sympathy and understanding go a long way toward making people feel they’re not alone, and feeling alone is what this is really about.

    Yes.

  306. 306 Bonnie

    doremi - If only i’d been so quick-witted! Ha!

  307. 307 Orange

    Bravo, Chris. I like how you’ve got a really smart woman inside your brain.

    I don’t actively, consciously go around fearing men. However, I limit how much I walk alone at night in my city neighborhood. And every time I get in my car in a parking lot, I reflexively lock the doors. Not that anything’s ever happened to me in a parking lot or because of unlocked car doors, but it’s one small step I can take to forestall danger. How many men have the same door-locking reflex? I’ll bet it’s below 2%. How many women do?

  308. 308 Phoenician in a time of Romans

    PiaToR: “Considering it as a series of repeated games

    Mythago: I’m glad it’s no more than fun or abstract game-theory to you.

    Were you bounced on your head as a baby, or do you just play like it on the net?

    Daniel Martin invoked game theory. I pointed out the flaw in framing the situation in that way, and went on to provide an existential basis for not being an asshole.

    Brain. One issued per customer. Use.

  309. 309 Betty

    The Infidel Sage Apr 14th, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    We eagerly await the companion guide to this for women. How Not To Be A Bitch.

    That doesn’t sound like a very useful guide to me, Infidel. Let me instead present a more useful guide:
    How to be a bitch
    Have opinions of your own. Bonus points for disagreeing with a man.Consider your comfort before your attractiveness to the hypothetical heterosexual male when getting dressed. Be sexy when you want to; not because it’s obligatory.Consider your words as of equivalent value to those of a man. Insist they be treated as such.Notice sexism. Say something about it.Require more from men than that they not rape you in order to consider them “nice guys.”Don’t give out cookies for minimum standards of decency: expect more.Expect an orgasm for yourself from sexual encounters as the default. Be willing to take matters into your own hands.Don’t feel guilty or sorry for failing to conform to someone else’s idea of how you should perform gender. Don’t apologize.When it’s appropriate for someone to shut the fuck up, do let them know.

    I hope this has been a helpful guide for those pursuing bitchiness.

  310. 310 Betty

    alas, my beautiful unordered list got eaten. It looked so nice in preview!

  311. 311 lb

    Excellent post. Just an aside, I was a seriously reckless college freshman and I walk home alone one night from class. After being berated often my dormmates to never walk alone, I noticed a guy walking behind me about 50 paces and waited until he caught up and asked if could I walk with him (it was a small town college; figured it was OK). There was no other path to take to the dorm, there was nothing along this street that he could possibly be walking to. He barely responded to my aimless chatter: “Thanks for being here, blah, blah”. I remember he seemed genuinely upset that I saw him as a non-threat and that on a dark street it was ME who walked up to oh-so-scary HIM. I guess after spending most of my teen years as a big athletic girl who got abusive attention from men and fought back, HIM as a little nerdy guy seemed like the right person to walk with.

    Don’t dare doubt it — guys LOVE it when they can think you’re scared.

  312. 312 Chris Clarke

    Brain. One issued per customer. Use.

    Do you think, PiatoR, that — given the topic of the thread, and the abundance of other venues in which you can feud with the other regulars here — that you could, just this once, and a favor to me, I dunno, not bracket your responses to women with insults when they challenge your response to a discussion of their experience?

    Shorter me: well, you know.

  313. 313 mythago

    No worries, Chris. As a woman, you get very used to men telling you that the only reason you don’t agree with their superior reasoning is that you’re too stupid to grasp it. You also get used to having substantive issues responded to with tantrums.

  314. 314 Caledonian

    I am somewhat disappointed by the idea given a lot of currency here that being female means your experiences cannot be challenged by men, but men’s can be challenged and dismissed by women.

    This idea that women can always be potentially at risk, while the set of people who pose a risk for men diminishes to nothing over time, is just silly. Do you think there aren’t small men? Physically weak men? Gay men, or men perceived as likely to be gay? Do you really think that there aren’t any men who have to be constantly on-watch?

    I wonder what the actual incidence of male-male rape is in the US. I wonder whether it’s much, much higher than reported incidents alone would suggest.

    It seems to me that in response to cultural and sociological ‘privilege’, some people are trying to create their own culturally-sanctioned privilege for themselves. Unfortunately, believing that you’re entitled to special treatment or social privileges because of an inherent trait inevitably turns people into smug idiots.

    How many people here will feel justified in immediately dismissing my “experiences”?

  315. 315 Tom

    I came here from Kos and wanted to share the comment I left on that site:

    Kathy Sierra is not a political, controversial blogger. She blogs about how to make technology more useful and exciting to your customers. Her controversial books include books on learning the Java programming language. She has done nothing to stir up hatred other than commit the crime of “blogging while female”. Markos is usually right on the money but in this case he really, “doesn’t know shit about this” and he needs to shut his fucking mouth. I have known Kathy for years and Markos’ implication that she is some weak female who is suffering from the vapors is sexist to say the least. Markos doesn’t know Kathy and he doesn’t know what happened to her although if he had bothered reading anything about the incident he would have known that the FBI was investigating. That should have been enough to tell him that this was not a case of Kathy getting a nasty email.

    After reading the comments here, I just wanted to say a couple of things…

    Yes, it is true that not all guys “get it,” but guys, especially younger guys, don’t live in the same kind of world that women live in. Most guys don’t have to worry about the things women have to worry about and for some until someone they love is attacked or they have a daughter, they just never think about it. It just never occurs to them that a woman might have fears of men on a regular basis.

    lb: “guys LOVE it when they can think you’re scared.” Please don’t be so judgmental. Not every guy wants to scare women or enjoys scaring them. Certainly there are some men like that but I doubt that they are anything other than a small minority. But then it only takes a small minority to make life difficult for women.

    Finally I wanted to comment on the use of the term “retard” or “retarded”. I wrote about this in a diary on Kos (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/3/7/115236/0427) so I won’t go into great detail, but let me assure you that those words hurt those of us who have a loved one who is developmentally disabled.

  316. 316 DocMara

    Anyone have any cogent suggestions aside from the obvious ones of lobotomizing all males at birth?

    A good start is to get rid of all mechanistic explanations for complex human behavior. For example, don’t use the term “hardwired” or “wired,” when you really mean “cannot be stopped.” There are no wires in our heads (at least, none that aren’t physically added), and genetics has been unable to account for ANY unstoppable widespread complex social behaviors, save solitarily-experienced physical decrepitude and death. Even the most adament geneticists will not account for incredibly complex social interactions (esp. ones including semiotic and performative constructions like gender, sex, violence, and fear) with something as simplistic as an on/off circuit or switch. Using a term like “hardwired” massively oversimpifies things and typically serves as a way of stopping or redirecting the topic of discussion. No wires in there.

    Instead, let’s take each person seriously, each experience seriously. We don’t need inaccurate thumbnail philosophies and hamhanded metaphors to efface individual lived experiences. It just keeps us from hearing things. You know…listening. If we are listening, then we aren’t committing violence or silencing those that may have just experienced it.

  317. 317 Cara-he

    While following this thread - literally I was reading it when this happenned to me - I was verbally abused while at work by a regular visitor to my office. Two of my (female)colleagues were within speaking/hearing distance of me while this man proceded to give me a dressing-down for my appearance (rather hysterical given the standard for my office)and my refusal to acknowledge his right to the floor (so to speak). I told him that I neither asked for his opinion, nor did I care about it, and said that I would prefer if he not address his insults to me, since we had no relationship in the context of which there was an open invitation to him to attempt to degrade me. He said “Fine. If you can’t take it then it’s not my problem.” He then walked out of my office. One of my colleagues then said “I think you offended him really badly.”

    !

    He was offended because I chose not to accept his right to walk up to me, demand my attention, and make insulting comments!

    And she tried to worry me that the guy would go “talk” to my boss about it!

    I realize that this is not exactly on topic, except that I had a moment (actually about a half hour) of fear that I would be reprimanded or fired because I politely told this guy to fuck off with his insults.

    Argh.

  318. 318 Fansler

    I am somewhat disappointed by the idea given a lot of currency here that being female means your experiences cannot be challenged by men, but men’s can be challenged and dismissed by women.

    How many people here will feel justified in immediately dismissing my “experiences”?

    Caledonian, have you read the comments here? Because I can’t see any evidence of women dismissing men’s experiences anywhere. In fact, a few men have explained how they also feel like they have to be hypervigilant and nobody has challenged them (see MAJeff’s comment for example).

    Also,

    It seems to me that in response to cultural and sociological ‘privilege’, some people are trying to create their own culturally-sanctioned privilege for themselves. Unfortunately, believing that you’re entitled to special treatment or social privileges because of an inherent trait inevitably turns people into smug idiots.

    What “special treatment” are you talking about? You mean the social privilege of being able to walk alone at night, or of not being harassed when minding your own business, or of being believed when you tell someone about your experiences? Because those don’t look like special privileges to me, they look like things that everyone should be able to expect when living in a civilized society.

  319. 319 Raging Moderate

    I completely understand why most women live in fear of men. Watch the news or read the papers, and it is easy to see why. Being afraid of men is a safety issue, not a bigotry issue. I can certainly relate.

    I work in a bit of a dodgy neighborhood, and recently there have been several incidents of a group of black youths delivering vicious beatings to white men while mugging them. Also, I was robbed at knifepoint by a black man several years ago (the second worst experience of my life).

    I have to admit that the comments here about how some women feel when there is a man following them on the sidewalk is exactly how I feel when some black men are following me on the sidewalk, especially in that neighborhood. I will cross the street to avoid a group of black men.

    There are times when I feel badly about it, because I’m no racist and I have nothing against any race. But my safety is more important to me than hurting the feelings of black men, so I’m unwilling to take any chances.

    One must do what one feels is best to stay safe, and don’t let those who tell you are a bigot get you down. They just don’t get it.

  320. 320 Bonnie

    Yeah, I want the “special treatment” of not having some big dude I’ve never met, never spoken to, out of the blue in the big-box home improvement store mock me and my choice of purchases based on his misapprehension that I haven’t made appropriate plans to transport said purchase.

    That’s right, that “special treatment.” I own that special treatment.

    Dude, if the comments here aren’t about you, then the comments here aren’t about you.

    And let me actually be the first to say that I do dismiss men’s feelings of put-out-edness when I and other women don’t acknowledge their attempts to engage us, women they don’t know who are minding our own business, in some *flirting ritual* while waiting for a bus / sitting at a stop light / shopping at the grocery store / having a drink at the bar / walking through the park wearing a tank top and shorts / etc. / etc. / ad nauseum.

    We ain’t here for your pleasure, bub.

    Fansler, thank you.

  321. 321 Dan

    Caledonian:

    This idea that women can always be potentially at risk, while the set of people who pose a risk for men diminishes to nothing over time, is just silly. Do you think there aren’t small men? Physically weak men? Gay men, or men perceived as likely to be gay? Do you really think that there aren’t any men who have to be constantly on-watch?

    Don’t be stupid on purpose. When was the last time you saw a short guy get catcalled by a construction worker for being short? When was the last time you saw a skinny guy get harassed by a co-worker because he wasn’t a muscled love-god?

    But short and/or thin guys still have the advantage of being perceived as men by misogynysts. Gays don’t have that.

    It seems to me that in response to cultural and sociological ‘privilege’, some people are trying to create their own culturally-sanctioned privilege for themselves. Unfortunately, believing that you’re entitled to special treatment or social privileges because of an inherent trait inevitably turns people into smug idiots.

    So you’re saying that not being sexually harassed, raped and/or murdered means that you’re receiving “special treatment”?

    How many people here will feel justified in immediately dismissing my “experiences”?

    FFS, get over yourself. The simple act of having an opinion does not entitle you to any consideration whatsoever, especially if you can’t even be bothered to offer something that we haven’t already heard a million times before.

  322. 322 DocMara

    Sweet, Raging Moderate! How listening of you! I am so sorry that you are unable to get away from that category that so brutally bullies you (I assume it wasn’t just a dark-skinned man after all, because then you would logically be talking about the predominant characteristic of that person. Namely, his maleness). When you are being pummelled and/or stalked by the dark-skinned women and men, do you get the feeling that all you want to do is go all Swiftian and make some sort of mind-bending analogy. Because I get EXACTLY THAT SAME URGE. When I was brutally beat up in the third grade, all I could think about was that these shoe-clad bipeds were not to be trusted. Whenever I see barefoot forums being swarmed by the brutal “cloggers,” I just want to try to show them up by writing asanine analogies about how I don’t trust Native Americans because they are all hooked on the Firewater and they can’t be trusted ’cause they’re all sneaky and stuff. It totally changes the subject and takes me off the hook. Nevermind that these brutalizers were all guys, because that would be unimportant. I think Steve Martin summed it up best when he said “he hates the CANS…GET AWAY FROM THE CANS!”

    I hope I heard you correctly.

  323. 323 Phoenician in a time of Romans

    Do you think, PiatoR, that — given the topic of the thread, and the abundance of other venues in which you can feud with the other regulars here — that you could, just this once, and a favor to me, I dunno, not bracket your responses to women with insults

    Oh, please. I’ve confused both Dana’s and Pinocchio’s gender, apologised when this was pointed out, and treated them no differently online. Do you really think I’d be treating mythago any differently if she stood instead of sitting to pee? I’m willing to give her credit for having different experiences to mine in gender relations (the thread has been useful that way), but when it comes to snarkiness, do you really want me to treat her like a delicate little flower because she’s a woman?

    when they challenge your response to a discussion of their experience?

    Chris, I realise this may be a big task for you, but go back and read. I stayed out of the discussions about female experience - I STFU’d, because it was interesting and I wanted to listen. I’ve been continuing to STFU.

    I made one brief reply to Daniel pointing out a mistake in his framing of the issue. Mythago came in and snarked at me personally based on either temporary idiocy or a severe lack of coffee - “I’m glad it’s no more than fun or abstract game-theory to you” - and I snarked back, treating her no differently than I would a male.

    Shorter me: well, you know.

    Feel free to bite me.

  324. 324 Natasha

    Thank you. If not for “getting it,” for saying it.

  325. 325 RobW

    ryan:So tell me, if Im the “good guy”, and I still get treated like Im any regular prick, then what is the incentive to be a good guy.

    If you need an incentive to be a good guy, then you are not one.

  326. 326 Irene

    mike wrote:

    Anyone have any cogent suggestions aside from the obvious ones of lobotomizing all males at birth?

    A little upthread (yes, I realize it is turning into the Endless Monster Thread that Ate the Intertubes) a few people have suggestions about how individual men can help change things. I suppose it sounds naiive, but it seems to me that a lot of them start with simple awareness. Say you’re walking down a street at night, and you realize you’ve been inadvertantly keeping pace with a woman walking ahead of you. If you’re aware that she (a) has probably noticed you, and (b) may be freaked, you could, perhaps, stop and fiddle with your shoelace. If you have friends who engage in (what they probably see as) mild sexual teasing and you realize that women might see it as threatening, you could let them know you disapprove.

    If a woman seems not to trust you, especially if you’re strangers or have just met, please remember that it’s not personal. We’re not trying to be mean, and it’s not because we hate you. It’s generalized wariness, not dislike of you.

    And when our vigilance fails, when something nasty happens to a woman, please remember that the first thing to do is not to second-guess her. It’s a common human quirk, to try to rewrite the past—to say, “Well, if only she’d realized,” or “If she hadn’t,” or “If she’d screamed and ran when she first saw him.” But before you say anything like that, please remember that the woman in question—or, in too many cases, her grieving family members—is/are probably doing the same painful, useless exercise. Such statements can’t help, and they can easily be taken as, “Well, if you hadn’t been so stupid—”

    So don’t please don’t say it.

    Irene

  327. 327 Jesurgislac

    Chris: Do you think, PiatoR, that — given the topic of the thread, and the abundance of other venues in which you can feud with the other regulars here — that you could, just this once, and a favor to me, I dunno, not bracket your responses to women with insults when they challenge your response to a discussion of their experience?

    He’s a rape apologist troll, Chris, what do you expect? (And the rape apologist troll is commenting on a thread about how not to be an asshole. The irony, it burns.)

  328. 328 ryan

    @Kirk

    Yes Im a glutton for punishment, despite it being known Im not welcome and should STFU, but he did ask me, and I actually enjoy exchanging ideas even if the other party will refuse to reciprocate.

    At what probability of “a bad thing happening” do you act so as to prevent the bad thing even if it increases your load? Seriously?

    Hard to say. As I tried to explain, its up to the individual. Its also a continuous optimization: there is no descrete point of being “safe” or “unsafe”. If make an unreasonable preparations on the assumption that every black man I meet will rob me, is it racist? If I have an unreasonable lack of preparations on the assumption that no black man is any more likely to rob me than a white man, is that stupid?

    Little things, like … when you go to a restaurant and give the waiter your credit card to pay, do you double-check the receipt before you sign it? That’s a (if I recall the number correctly) significantly less than 1% chance of it being changed.

    Rarely. Almost no instance I can think of, but I guess I must note the price when I sign it.

    You’re walking down the sidewalk and see a group of 7-10 young adult (17-24) males loitering in a loose group - do you walk through the middle of them, or try to go around? And if you go through the middle do you tense up? The chance of them doing something is, well, most of the time it’s way less than 5%. That “something” includes verbal harassment.

    No one ever walks straight through a group of people, its just rude, youre interrupting their converstation. I walk around, but if thats impossible, I apologise and walk by in the lest disruptive manner. But if you mean do I cross the street to avoid a group of black kids, no thats racist and only perpetuates a climate of fear that contributes to racism.

    If I have to take beating to prove the righteousness of my abstract principles of equality, then thats a risk I have taken many times in the past.

    No I do not tense up in any visual sense, since as I said I believe its racism.

    Let’s run with that a moment.

    Im sorry you failed to make me a hypocrite, but as I tried to explain, I think this is in large part to due with the fact I have had the luxury of never living in the US. Its a lot easier to walk downtown in major metropolises in some other countries.

    As I tried to point out above, I think this has a large soemthing to do with US society (among others). Perhaps some experience living in other ones might give some perspective.

  329. 329 teac

    A.k.a., “How not to be an asshole”

  330. 330 Alara Rogers

    Let me ask something.

    Do *guys* walk around randomly being all smiles with strange guys? If a guy was riding his bicycle, and a bunch of strange guys shouted out the window of their car at him — something, anything, it could be “I like your jacket” for all I care — do guys automatically think, “Ah, what fine fellows! Thank you, my fellow men!”

    Because it seems to me that when men bitch about women in public places being unfriendly to them, they are not employing the first and most basic rule of equality — ie, “if a strange guy came up to *me* and demanded to talk to me while I was busy, would I like it? Would I be friendly?”

    Sure, guys probably don’t cross the street at the approach of other guys. (Neither do I, honestly. I won’t give that much to fear.) But if some strange guy a man doesn’t know from Adam comes up to him and starts acting overly friendly in a demanding and pushy way, would this not bother your average male? Because *it is fucking annoying* to have total strangers bothering you. And it is not impolite to make a scowly face and refuse to talk to total strangers who are imposing on you. It is impolite of *them* to impose. And the proof of this, is that if a male stranger imposes on another man, the man’s reaction is often “Get lost, buddy!” or “What are *you* looking at?”

    So the “But, but I was just being FRIENDLY! Why are you women such bitches?” is totally disingenuous. It not only ignores that women are at threat from strange men, and cannot possibly know that you are a Nice Guy… it also ignores the way men *themselves* would respond to the exact same overture. (Frankly, the *exact* same overture has been known to get men beaten to death when it was presented to other men…)

    Me, I walk around with a permanent scowl on my face. I pay no attention to people I don’t want to talk to — or I glare at them hard. And they back off. I don’t know why. I’m 5′0″ so it’s not like I look like I could kick their asses. But if only I could figure out what I do, I’d sell my method to other women and make millions, because I have only been sexually harassed twice in my entire life. (I’m 37.)

  331. 331 teac

    Ryan:

    teac
    Apr 14th, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    I didnt know this blog had a feminist lean when I came here.

    You didn’t know Pandagon was a feminist blog??? Not the problem of anyone here. That’s your problem. Lurk first, for a very long time, before spouting.
    If you want some context, word to the wise: First - Read Amanda’s post from April 12 titled, “In order to argue effectively . . . ” and the comments following. Second - Re-read Chris’ post, and as you do think about what from the comments to Amanda’s posts prompted Chris to write what he did. Third - think, think, think, and then think some more.

    There’s a whole universe here you seem blind to. Open your eyes.

    One final piece of advice: visit I Blame the Patriarchy and read the FAQs.

    Just in case you didn’t read this earlier.

    P.S. - Punctuation. It’s not just for breakfast any more.

  332. 332 ryan

    @ivyfree

    Because, yanno, it’s just as hard for a man to cope with a rude woman as it is for a woman to cope with rapes and beatings.

    On one extreme end of bad male behaviour is rapes and beatings. On the opposite extreme end of female behaviour is rudeness.

    How is what you said intellectually honest?? I find the major problem among the posters arguing, as opposed to those just telling their stories and sharing, which is really rather cool to me, is theyre letting their emotions get too much in the way.

    Yeah, yeah, STFU. But STFU doesnt change reality.

    STFU doesnt change the fact that a childhood friend of mine married a Hong Kong girl who daily berated and demeaned him, and when he’d joke about her beating him with metal coat hangers (shes half his size) and I got upset and ranted on about how he needed to get some self esteem and call the police and leave her, she just turned around and forbade him to associate with me.

    Thats the problem with feminism: its only a one way street. Men only ever rape and beat. Women only ever don’t smile to leering strangers. Get real.

    Chris started this off by mocking the dispassionateness of Mr. Kos and any other man who might be offended by blanket attacks on all men (like me), and of course hes right, but there needs to be a certain limit on emotion over reason for polite discourse.

  333. 333 shah8

    This thread makes me furious. Good thing I had Lamb playing…

    I think I understand what others have said here, and I respect all’s personal histories and experiences, and the feelings that they can generate.

    However, y’all makes me want to lock all of y’all in a room with a stack of books, at the very top of which would be Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

    I am so not good at expressing how I feel in words, with pardon, allow me to express why I feel that way.

    Open fear is a loaded context. However as much as I am aware of how much women are hurt and shamed by all too many people in a position of power, actions based on fear is purely actions based on fear. No matter how many *good* reasons a woman might have to show that she is afraid of me, and no matter how much this is *impersonal* (from her perspective), it really ISN’T (from my perspective). However much I could try to understand things from someone’s viewpoint, I will *never* be able to match it, to truly understand the hypervigilance. Not only that, I genuinely cannot stop my feelings from being hurt.

    Not only this, in many cases, it is an insult (not so much on the particular woman’s part so much as of the society in which the woman is a part of…). So much of what displayed and communicable fear is about loss of standing within a society. In other words, part of how she belongs is by showing fear of whatever brand of “other” her society proffers. Not to say that such women aren’t genuinely afraid of me, but the fear of contamination (to which society tells will be mixed with violence), is one of the more effective put-downs available. So in a few words, I do not know you, and I have my own business to attend to, yet you tense up, and start to avoid my path or start walking very slow, or do any number of things to announce, not just to me, but *everyone* around me, that I’m not to be trusted. And do you know what? I can and do pass you by and look forward, and act without acknowledgement by your actions. However, I cannot control anyone else’s perceptions. Perhaps people are more oblivious to anyone but their own concerns in public places, but perchance next time, watch the people around you and the person you’re afraid of. The world is bigger than your fears.

    That said, I really get, however much the *appearance* of trust is important to the establishment of amicable/nonhostile relationships, that this is, truly, a rape culture. I only have to watch Heroes, to see violence against the female regulars (who are all notable available to the notions of availability to men) perpetrated in terms of violating sanctuaries and in deeply physically intimate terms, and *they* survive. The women who don’t have cred for being subservient are killed off summarily (with only the fbi woman remaining, but that’s okay, she’s obviously a man hating bitch), or dissappeared. And of course, the news are pretty big on the whole white women should be scared of shadows ’cause there’s some nasty problem out to get them! And in case you women don’t get the message direct, all that violence against women is served up nice an titiillating to all the screw up men, and *they* will provide the reinforcement which oughta fix it…

    And mother culture will make sure there are an endless supply of fucked up men to ensure that no discourse will survive to interfere with the divide and conquer mechanism (with the side bonus of supplying the storm trooping dittoheads with the social permission to act their base desire in return for being with the program)

    So I rage. I don’t like feeling helpless. (and when it comes down to it, seeing terrorism as probably the only mechanism that might at all work is the epitome of helpless, yay for bad to worse!)

  334. 334 teac

    Sorry all for botched attempted double blockquote.

  335. 335 ryan

    @Isabella

    You rock. All points heard and duely considered. Thanks.

    Incidentally, I was going to name my daughter Isabella, but but it didnt sound good enough in JP. :)

  336. 336 RobW

    oops, should read whole thread before posting. i’ve repeated what a dozen or so have already said. S’ing TFU now.

  337. 337 tristan heydt

    P.S. - Punctuation. It’s not just for breakfast any more.

    Funny that he linked to the Penny Arcade “assholes on the internet” comic, but managed to miss how important punctuation is in a reasoned debate. Or even an unreasoned one.

  338. 338 tristan heydt

    Hmm, screwed up my coding…

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/11/03

  339. 339 ryan

    @teac

    I came here linked of the deep bowels of reddit. I didnt come to troll, I came genuinely opposted to the flippancy and anti-communicative, anti-intellectual bent of “STFU”. Heck if the thesis hadnt even containted a curse word, it probably wouldnt have bothered me enough to bother commenting.

    If you can’t guess, I am a scientist/technologist by profession, and I spend my life deeply rooted in cross cultural misunderstanding and communication problems.

    To be honest, I just assumed this was a technical blog, given the general content of reddit.

    There’s a whole universe here you seem blind to. Open your eyes.

    Why do you think I keep coming back for more punishment and calls for me to quit having an opinion?

    I promise Ill take that advice if you consider it applies to you (and well every other human being on the plant) as well.

    Ive seen some pretty amazing assumptions fly out from some of the people here, so in case you may admit the possibility that operating through the internet has given you templated archetypes for the people you meet here, and there may be in fact real human behind these keyboards, I invite you to stop by my house if youre ever in Japan, and you can inform me in detail of the real in fact ways that I perpetuate patriarchy in my real life, as opposed to the ways you assume I must according to your preconceived templates for me. Chris has my email.

    Cheers,

  340. 340 Mickle

    Not only that, I genuinely cannot stop my feelings from being hurt.

    Well, then it’s a damn good thing no one asked you to try.

    You do get that there is a difference between not taking it personally and denying your feelings, right? “Cuz, you being a nice guy and all, I’m sure the issue isn’t that any response short of “wait! that hurts your feelings! oh, dear man, I’m sorry. I will never fear men again!” would suit you.

    Not only this, in many cases, it is an insult (not so much on the particular woman’s part so much as of the society in which the woman is a part of…)

    (emphasis mine)

    Well, yes, that would be the valid part of “the patriarchy hurts men too.”

    However, the correct response is not the dismissive:

    The world is bigger than your fears.

    (especially not when it comes directly after - “but, but…..I fear you being afraid of me will make other people not trust me as well!”)

    It more along the lines of “Well, gee. What can I do to change this?”

    hint: if you are drawing a blank, the answer may still be: STFU

    Is it wrong that I’m absurdly happy that I finally got an appropriate chance to use that in this thread?

  341. 341 Mickle

    grrr

    that should be

    ““Cuz, you being a nice guy and all, I’m sure the issue isn’t that no response short of “wait! that hurts your feelings! oh, dear man, I’m sorry. I will never fear men again!” would suit you.”

    of course

  342. 342 Common Sense

    MAJeff said:

    I do think that one thing that helps men to actually listen is to feel some of the same kind of vulnerability.

    I suspect this is dead on. I swear, I’m not trying to trivialize anyone’s experiences, but the closest I’ve ever come to feeling that sort of background vulnerability was when I was out running errands at night, alone, while crossdressing. I remember a constant background awareness that the heels I was wearing really impeded mobility and that I wouldn’t be able to run if the random group of guys up ahead decided they didn’t like me. Even though I’m used to wearing shorts all the time, the combination of tights and a short dress made me feel exposed, as if everyone was watching me when I could clearly see they weren’t. Looking back, that sense of exposure might better be described as being on display.

    This is obviously nothing compared to the experience of actual women who’ve been actually catcalled / stalked / harassed / assaulted / followed etc. I’ve medium sized and heels only help, so I’m not at the same physical disadvantage. Plus I haven’t been exposed to decades of warnings about how dangerous life is and how I should behave differently to avoid getting assaulted by men. Plus I can turn the whole thing off in a way that women just can’t.

    Some of my discomfort stemmed directly from the physical: women that are dressed like society expects have more limited mobility and they also tend to be a lot more exposed. I know it sounds unbelievably trite, but that experience helped me see how we expect women to show off their wares. The next time I attended a formal dinner, I was struck by how most of the women had exposed legs and shoulders and form fitting clothes; that’s just part the defintion for little black dress.

    On the other hand, part of my discomfort stemmed from transgressing a social boundry. I have trouble figuring which effect was larger. But I suspect that if I actually looked more like a woman and less like a guy in a dress, I wouldn’t acutely feel like I was violating a social norm but I would still feel exposed and aware and a little defenseless.

    So, I propose we find a way to get college or high school guys to replicate that experience: get them to spend a day or a week walking around in heels and a dress. Make them journal about their experiences and require that they do spend time in public, at night, alone, even if its just grocery shopping or taking public transportation to go visit a friend. It seems like this could be one of many ways to fill a diversity requirement at schools that have them. If you can get men to write about the experience for the school paper or give a presentation, then this program might be effective even if only a small percentage of men participated.

  343. 343 Dan

    shah8:

    However as much as I am aware of how much women are hurt and shamed by all too many people in a position of power, actions based on fear is purely actions based on fear. No matter how many *good* reasons a woman might have to show that she is afraid of me, and no matter how much this is *impersonal* (from her perspective), it really ISN’T (from my perspective).

    Tough shit. Perhaps you should consider the possibility that it’s not all about you.

  344. 344 ryan

    @Alana

    Im assuming here you actually care what a real male thinks about what you assume real males think. Because frankly, most of what Ive seen written that purports to speak to real mens motives is absurdly incorrect, sexist and insulting.

    if some strange guy a man doesn’t know from Adam comes up to him and starts acting overly friendly in a demanding and pushy way, would this not bother your average male?

    Yes it is annoying and insulting, and I would be polite in telling him so. Not NICE, but *polite*. As in, sorry friend, but fuck off. NOT please let me suck your cock and defer to you, BUT Im trying to be polite but youre trying m patience, and if you persist, it is possible for me to make your life difficult. Sure you may be able to beat the living fuck out of me, or even rape me if youre gay or just out of jail, but thats a role society expects me to take, so consider how nasty you want this situation to get. Also I could be armed. How important is it to you to fuck with me?

    Perhaps its an aquired skill. I know there are plent of men who dont have the confidence to do that.

    Maybe girls need to be taught to get into more fist fights when theyre children when the risk of actual harm is low, I dont know ….

    Because *it is fucking annoying* to have total strangers bothering you.

    Yes it is.

    And it is not impolite to make a scowly face and refuse to talk to total strangers who are imposing on you. It is impolite of *them* to impose. And the proof of this, is that if a male stranger imposes on another man, the man’s reaction is often “Get lost, buddy!” or “What are *you* looking at?”

    Yes.

    So the “But, but I was just being FRIENDLY! Why are you women such bitches?” is totally disingenuous.

    Often. As one person already pointed out, this is often just a show for other males.

    Also its a sign of despiration. Hes been turned down by all the women in his life, so now out of fear of being alone or unloved, as opposted to the oft infered I WANNA FUK, he will say fuck it and do something crazy like awkwardly walk up to a woman and be a complete fuckup about it.

    Men are taught to be confident however, so in order to appear in control, he’ll mask his utter incompetence with aggression.

    Me, I walk around with a permanent scowl on my face. I pay no attention to people I don’t want to talk to — or I glare at them hard. And they back off. I don’t know why. I’m 5′0″ so it’s not like I look like I could kick their asses. But if only I could figure out what I do, I’d sell my method to other women and make millions, because I have only been sexually harassed twice in my entire life. (I’m 37.)

    Nothing says “dont talk to me” like a perminent scowl!

    Message to all men: DO NOT try to pick up women you havent been introduced. Bars even. :)

    How many men have good relationship with women they just picked up??

  345. 345 StarWatcher

    ryan said - Being assumed to be a rapist by simply being male is not a good way to encourage nice guys.

    shah8 said - No matter how many *good* reasons a woman might have to show that she is afraid of me, and no matter how much this is *impersonal* (from her perspective), it really ISN’T (from my perspective). I genuinely cannot stop my feelings from being hurt.

    Point 1 - women do not assume that all men ARE rapists. But, statistically, it is a fact that any man COULD be a rapist.

    Point 2 - although many women live with hypervigilence, most will try to cover their reactions; it is a truism that showing fear may incite an attack. If she crosses the street, her reason could be something other than the stranger who is approaching. (Probably not, but it COULD be.) To assume that other people are reading into her behavior what YOU read into her behavior is just that - an assumption. I would bet that most don’t even notice.

    But, as a woman on a street alone, approached by a strange man, I have two choices —

    A. proceed happily without a care, assuming that he will not accost me, or worse.

    B. proceed cautiously, assuming that he might be dangerous and planning ahead for how to protect myself / escape if he tries something.

    If I choose B, and I’m wrong, nothing happens to me. If I choose A and I’m wrong, there is a very real chance that I will be accosted, assaulted, raped, and/or murdered.

    So when someone suggests that I should “next time, watch the people around you and the person you’re afraid of. The world is bigger than your fears” because my reaction might reflect badly on HIM…

    [snark] Oh, sure, it’s so much more important for him to save face than it is for me to try to avoid the possibility of rape. I’ll get right to work, correcting my stupid reactions. [/snark]

  346. 346 Dene

    - My “whats the incentive for not being a prick” was not well enough worded it seems — not that anyone bothered asking me to clarify before crucifixion. What I mean is, not “why be nice if theres no incentive”, but rather “why be nice when there is a non-trivial DIS-incentive”. Being assumed to be a rapist by simply being male is not a good way to encourage nice guys. Thats all. Anything beyond that is finding a convenient whipping boy.

    Here’s what’s problematic about this comment to me. My “fear” of men (and hypervigilance is a better word) may seem worse than useless to you, but it’s common sense to me. In fact, it’s brought up any time a woman gets attacked: don’t you know you’re not supposed to be out alone/talk to strange men/be out after dark/be where you were/be alone with a man/not be totally aware of your surroundings. But even without that, it’s common sense. It’s smart to as best you can avoid situations where you’ll put yourself in a little bit more danger if the guy in question turns out to be a rapist.

    It takes NOTHING from you that I can see, since you’re shocked to even hear it happens. You’ve dismissed my precautions as unreasonable (and claim women in Japan back you up) and want to talk about the apparently more serious problem of your being “assumed to be a rapist simply because you’re male.” And I’m amazed that you have that kind of entitlement, that you’re trying to take away one of my lines of defenses just so that you can assume that I don’t see you as a potential rapist. Not a rapist, mind you, but a *potential* rapist because you are male. Even though as a strange male that’s exactly what you are. It’s not an insult.

    And yet I don’t even get how this is supposed to harm you in any way. If I’m walking down the street and am aware of you on the other side and make a note of you as a man and so watch you closely, what does that do to you? If I don’t take an elevator with you alone, what does that do to you? If I’d prefer to meet you in a public place? Why are you asking me to let down my guard? Doesn’t it make a thousand times more sense for me to be wary of the “good guys” to protect myself from the guy who’s a rapist than be immediately trusting of the rapist to avoid thinking badly of some random good guy who probably won’t notice either way anyway?

    Is that how we teach children to protect themselvs? I seem to recall being taught to be wary of all strangers. Is there anyone who teaches their children that it’s rude to not go off alone with strangers because they might think you think they’re a pedophile? Of course not. Any responsible adult accepts that a child should treat them as a potential threat because that’s a responsibility that comes with being an adult. Just as a man you can deal with taking responsibility for the threat you pose physically.

    The fact that your response to that is to feel like you’re being insulted and my “fear” is part of the problem and say that if I’m not going to assume all men are great guys I’m responsible for them being pricks by not giving them the incentive to be good, indicates to me you don’t have even a minimum respect for my personal safety or well-being at all. It’s like I don’t even exist except as something to validate you. It’s less important that I take precautions for my physical safety that millions of other women do than it is that your image of yourself as a good guy beloved of women is challenged.

  347. 347 ryan

    @lb

    Its possible you may have a case of severe attribution error. Is it possible his reaction had less to do with you, than the test he just failed, or that he is basically shy and doesnt know how to talk to women?

    In my case, there was an instance of a girl asking me to live with her, presumedly because I was “safe”. My disappointment at that had NOTHING to do with loving women scared of me (exactly the opposite, I cannot stand wimpy wishy-washy women, or men for that matter). It even had nothing to do with the fact she was implicitly refusing sex to me, which admitedly is a disappointment in its own right. It had everything to do with the fact that she had mentally crossed me off the list of people who were interesting to her as a potential partner. I was unattractive to her, I was uninteresting, I wasnt smart enough, good enough. I was just another peice of prop furnature for her apt.

    I liked her. I thought she was all of the things she didnt think of me. That was the part that made me react badly to her asking me to share an aptment.

    In retrospect I think I was wrong. If I had moved in with her, perhaps in time she might have come to know me better, and maybe she might of thought differently. Or at least introduced me to a girlfriend. ;)

  348. 348 Tom

    ryan:So tell me, if I’m the “good guy”, and I still get treated like I’m any regular prick, then what is the incentive to be a good guy.

    So that you can sleep at night knowing that you did the right thing?

    Are you saying that the only reason to be the “good guy” is so that you get treated well? Then what is the incentive to be the “good guy” when no one is watching?

    alara:If a guy was riding his bicycle, and a bunch of strange guys shouted out the window of their car at him — something, anything, it could be “I like your jacket” for all I care — do guys automatically think, “Ah, what fine fellows! Thank you, my fellow men!”

    The other day I was coming out of the music store with a new amp for an electric guitar that I bought for my daughter. You should understand that I look a bit like an aging rocker with long graying hair that I often wear in a pony tail and a goatee. Anyway, I had the amp up on my shoulder and was walking through the parking lot and some guy slowed down, leaned out his car window, and shouted, “Rock on, Dude!” And although I may not have thought precisely, “Ah, what a fine fellow,” that wasn’t far from what I was thinking.

  349. 349 Daniel Martin

    I pointed out the flaw in framing the situation in that way, and went on to provide an existential basis for not being an asshole.

    Indeed, I brought up game theory as an aside for those people who seem to be unswayed by the concept of “innate ethical sense”. I also think that PiaToR is incorrect in his objection, and that there are valid purely game-theoretic reasons to not be an asshole, but recognize that this is a side issue. (If you really care, PiaToR, take it to email) Personally, my own reasons have to do with empathy and not being a sociopath. (I think; I’ll admit that I’ve never really carefully analyzed my internal reasoning and emotions to be certain in this regard)

    Relevant to the discussion, though, is the recognition that many women are used to seeing their experiences dismissed by men, and so men should accept a bit of misinterpretation in that direction. It’s a little like the “don’t take it personally that you’re assumed unsafe in physical interactions” rule - don’t take it personally that you’re assumed to be dismissive of women’s experiences in online interactions. It is a given that in online discussions, regardless of topic or participants, someone will be misinterpreted in some manner; do not take this particular misinterpretation personally. The pain of unjust accusation fades after three or four deep breaths.

    However, I try to follow the “don’t immediately take it as a big deal when people ‘unjustly’ accuse me of things I didn’t say” rule regardless of context, so I’m not really sure whether or not I follow this rule more here than elsewhere.

  350. 350 hbsweet

    Novelist Margaret Atwood writes that when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women, he answered, “They are afraid women will laugh at them.” When she asked a group of women why they feel threatened by men, they said, “We’re afraid of being killed.”

    In a nutshell.

  351. 351 Mickle

    ryan

    I was going to ignore you and not feed the troll, but I simply must ask:

    WTF is up with the “@” ?

    ***

    It’s a little like the “don’t take it personally that you’re assumed unsafe in physical interactions” rule - don’t take it personally that you’re assumed to be dismissive of women’s experiences in online interactions.

    Yup. It would also be a good idea to not respond with images of girl children with head injuries in a thread that’s all about violence against women. That’s gotta be in poor taste, if nothing else.

    Which, when you consider that it’s not all about you, was obviolusly the point Chris was making. Especially seeing as we all know that if there’s “a big girl” who can take care of herself, it’s mythago.

  352. 352 Dan

    ryan:

    In my case, there was an instance of a girl asking me to live with her, presumedly because I was “safe”. My disappointment at that had NOTHING to do with loving women scared of me (exactly the opposite, I cannot stand wimpy wishy-washy women, or men for that matter). It even had nothing to do with the fact she was implicitly refusing sex to me, which admitedly is a disappointment in its own right. It had everything to do with the fact that she had mentally crossed me off the list of people who were interesting to her as a potential partner. I was unattractive to her, I was uninteresting, I wasnt smart enough, good enough. I was just another peice of prop furnature for her apt.

    I liked her. I thought she was all of the things she didnt think of me. That was the part that made me react badly to her asking me to share an aptment.

    In retrospect I think I was wrong. If I had moved in with her, perhaps in time she might have come to know me better, and maybe she might of thought differently. Or at least introduced me to a girlfriend.

    I had my suspicions, but this skeevy little anecdote tears it.

    Ryan is an classic Nice Guy™. No doubt about it.

  353. 353 shah8

    God, I really do love this blog, but this is really one of those times where I’m pretty damned pissed at some of the people here.

    put simply. I desire freedom. I view feminism as a means towards that freedom. One of several means towards that freedom. So much of this thread is about navel gazing of the exclusive sort. Parsing through details and correlating them with all the others in the know.

    I cannot know you, and you cannot know me. Yet we all do as we must be, guided by our inner lives and storms, and pressed by outer currents. Even though we cannot fully share our experiences, we still must have interfaces and knowledge of the other’s skin. A thread that is so much about the bitterness and fear experienced by people isolated within themselves is one that serves The Man.

    To the line by line…

    First,
    Mickle, way to be an agressive parser of words. I never asked anyone to be sympathetic to my feelings. By writing it, I merely placed it as true. Take it or leave it, as one would have of any other person’s feelings, worthwhile or no.

    I am sure I can do something about me being 6′ and 250lbs and black. That will work so well. Perhaps I should dress white? Nice italian suit, expensive tie, sweet leather shoes and a snappy briefcase. Oh my that would work so well!! Or if the person on the train is somebody who has olive skin, short, black hair with a janitor’s outfit. Perhaps he should get himself a preppy outfit from The Gap, put on some cK cologne, and have that empty smile that the pros wear. That would work JUST as well! And then there’s that redneck hick with the ill-fitting cheap suit on the way to town hall, now HE should wear…

    /me ends sarcasm.

    To end my rebuttal to your petty response…you have NO idea, apparently, how dangerous fear is to others. Beyond the stupid remarks about losing face, or my feelings, having a memetic sweep of the thought that “she thinks he’s scary”…”maybe that’s because he IS scary” to “we should do something about it.” And you know what? People sometimes WILL do something about it, to my disadvantage. I cannot help but be conscious of how people are aware of me. And lastly, the general fear the permeates the intermediation of everyone is mixed of several sources, as I’ve said before, and not always even remotely rational or PTSD. Which is why I wanted to really push into the discussion how so much of this is about class. The world is very truly bigger than any one person’s fear, and this fear is but a component in the reifying social structure that make up part of our social world. I am not saying that you should be afraid of me when you are. I am not trying to change your actions in any immediate circumstances. However, I AM saying that greater perspectives are needed when one day we step back to think things through, in our safe places, mentally and physically.

    So you know something? I think I have the upper hand in saying…
    Shut the fuck up. (…as if that wasn’t ever a supremely stupid sentiment, one that I’ve fought against in any community I’ve ever belonged to)

    Dan:
    I suppose I could refer above. I will say this. Of course, it’s not about me. It’s not even specifically about all the people who comment here. The nature of the post is about the intercises of expectations where the content of one party’s transmission has a question of hostility.

    In this case, it’s about everyone, and truly so. We should not get wrapped up in why we automatically fear, or about explaining to other men about why we automatically fear. This is a component of every person’s life, and every day! A young couple who wants to buy a durable item like a dishwasher or car or house is afraid that they will be ripped off, for example. And if that is too mild for you, how about the fear that if you say anything to vigorous against the Bush administration in company you aren’t sure of, you could get on a no fly list, which would impair your ability to make a living? Or the fear that if you sit on a nasty toilet seat, you could pick up hepatitic c?

    So when I have people being so visably spooked by me, and perhaps I get upset inside, my urge has not, and has not always been to try and change her mind. My urge is the desire to stop all the memes that told that women to fear me, and to prevent all the lessons that taught her to fear me. It’s part of why I’m so upset with the world, to have it remind me of the scale of human suffering that happens every single day. I don’t wanna have to deal with the shit some abusive guy dumped on a girl, but I do.

    StarWatcher:
    I do the same thing. I cover up my fear, and deal with the situation as needed whenever I felt I was in a dangerous situation. I am not genuinely talking about that sort of thing. I am talking more about highly overt displays short of a scene.

    If you think that it’s about “face”, then I genuinly wish you’ve been in my oh so uncomfortable shoes.

    Fear is a killer of minds and of souls. The ultimate goal is not just to be considerate of other people when they feel vulnerable, but to alleviate it.

  354. 354 Edie

    I work at a major National Park in the US. We get a lot of international workers, and recently we had in influx of workers from Thailand. Alot of the women have first names that end in “-porn”, a common enough ending. I witnessed and exchange recently that made my skin crawl.

    A young, slight Thai women with the name of Tanichaporn was hanging out with some Americans, and one male asked her name. She told him, pronouncing it slowly. She spoke English a whole lot better than he spoke Thai, but that didn’t stop him from leaning close, learing and saying in a rather patronizing tone of voice “Do you know what porn means in English?” She responded levely “Yes, I do.” I was proud of her. I turned to him and said “She really doesn’t need you to remind her, I’m sure she has heard it over and over. Don’t be unoriginal.” I’m old enough to be his mother, and I think that may have slowed him up some. He backed down.

    My roommate is from the Philipines, is very small, very pretty, has waist-length curling hair. Her name is Nimfa, and when I tell folks she’s my roommate, I am often asked if she’s really a “nymph”, as in nymphomaniac.

    I am sick of it. I’m sick of the mentality that allows for the objectification of women, under the guise of “humor”. It’s not funny, and it is clearly meant to intimidate.

    We tend to fear as a result of experience. We learn to live with that fear. Some of us are better at living with it than others.

    I am constantly being told by one woman I know not to go out hiking by myself, and I have to remind her of the reality of rape in America: It’s not stranger-danger, it’s the men you know who are most likely to “not respect boundaries”, as it is so politely euphemized.

    Chris, I’m not going to give you a cookie for right-thinking. I am going to praise your writing ability, and thank you for going against the status quo of silence and speaking out.

    Edie

  355. 355 Dan

    ryan:

    Im assuming here you actually care what a real male thinks about what you assume real males think. Because frankly, most of what Ive seen written that purports to speak to real mens motives is absurdly incorrect, sexist and insulting.

    I’m sorry, but you don’t get to feel insulted just because some women refuse to pay deference to your assumption of deeply entrenched male privilege.

    Like I said. Classic Nice Guy™.

  356. 356 Dan

    Edie:

    I am sick of it. I’m sick of the mentality that allows for the objectification of women, under the guise of “humor”. It’s not funny, and it is clearly meant to intimidate.

    It’s not just objectification of women. I commented in another thread that there’s a pretty wide mean streak that runs through all forms of reactionary “humor.” It’s not done out of an effort to be funny, it’s just a tool to keep perceived social inferiors in their place.

    I think they like to use it because most of them, once they reach junior high school, cease to age mentally. Our society really is run by a bunch of ten-year-olds in big pants.

  357. 357 BizzaroSuperman

    It certainly seems reasonable to say that women are harrassed online more than men. I believe that. But if you want to prove it to naysayers, can’t you do that rather easily? If critics reject anecdotal evidence you could collect numerical evidence to prove your point.

    The problem with “STFU” is that you aren’t going to convince anyone who doesn’t already agree with you - and in fact your are re-inforcing the point that you aren’t interested in a serious discussion.

    If people object based on supposed facts, the way to fight that is with better facts.

    Outside of this little corner of the internet nobody is going to take your “STFU” argument seriously, and in fact it will be used against you. I can see the blog post now: “Brilliant feminist retort: STFU!”

    Men are not women. They don’t get the sort of emails and IMs that are directed at women, and most men are not going to take the time to pretend to be women in order to vaildate or disprove any claims.

    If you were to do that and capture it in a psuedo-scientific way you would have a very powerful argument that nobody could easily object to without doing real research themselves.

    Personally I don’t doubt what you are saying is true - I’m sure if I logged in as a woman to a site I would receive a lot of negative sexual attention. But if I didn’t believe that nothing you’ve sad would convince me.

    I suppose the question is, do you want to convince anyone of anything, or do you just want to hear applause the people that already agree with you?

    This is one thing I’ve never understood about some feminist websites - the propensity to write “persuasive” arguments that are clearly intended only for the captive agreeing audience and are never going to actually convince anyone of anything. Mr. Shakes recent post about progressive men and feminism is another good example of this.

    If you really want to convince people of this, repeat your experiment (or women, log in with a male screen name), capture the results in some scientific-looking excel spreadsheet or some shit like that and say “here is my proof, now STFU unless you have better counter-proof.”

    Yes, it’s kind of silly that you would have to do that to prove something which should be rather obvious, but doing that would actually have a chance of convincing people not currently in agreement. It *forces* people to consider your point. What you’ve written now can easily be dismissed as vitriolic anecdote.

    If you perform your little study rigorously enough it would likely get major play in the progressive media and maybe even in the MSM.

    The question again is do you really want to convince anyone of anything, or are you just enjoy the sound of virtual hands clapping?

  358. 358 junk science

    However, y’all makes me want to lock all of y’all in a room with a stack of books, at the very top of which would be Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

    Not the best way to get women to stop being scared of you.

    It had everything to do with the fact that she had mentally crossed me off the list of people who were interesting to her as a potential partner. I was unattractive to her, I was uninteresting, I wasnt smart enough, good enough. I was just another peice of prop furnature for her apt.

    Christ. Take things personally much? My roommate doesn’t want to fuck me, and I don’t think she thinks of me as furniture.

    But I can understand how being considered “safe” is maddening to the Nice Guy psyche, and I don’t entirely blame them for it. If your understanding of human relationships comes primarily from movies and comic books, “safe” isn’t sexy. Women are supposed to like their men dangerous. Either you’re afraid of a guy or you don’t want to fuck him. It’s disturbing.

  359. 359 Edie

    Oh, one more question for Chris: In all seriousness, why hasn’t Ryan been banned from posting?

    Do you have a policy of non-censoring? Is it a technical inability?

    Yes, if this were my blog, I’d ban him.

    Yes, I realize this is an incendiary question, but I would genuinly like to know your reason. I promise to be respectful of your answer, Chris. It is your post, after all, and you have the right to do as you please.

    Edie

  360. 360 junk science

    Shorter BizzaroSuperman: You’ve convinced me, but you’re never going to convince anyone else, so you better do things the way I say from now on.

  361. 361 Common Sense

    BizzaroSuperman:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you believe the following things:

    1. The purpose of this blog (or any) is to convince people that don’t agree with you.

    2. Any random person should be able to walk onto any blog and get their mind changed after reading a post or two and a couple of comments.

    Do you believe those statements? Because they represent conventional wisdom for a lot of people.

    But they’re not actually true. Implicit in #1 is the idea that preaching to the choir is wrong. And yet, we don’t close churches, even though most of the people who attend are choir members in some sense. This blog works as a community rather than a debating society. Part of what good communities do is support and affirm their members. Human beings rely on other humans for the sense that their beliefs are normal. Without places like this, it is easy for community members who live in places that don’t share their beliefs to feel overwhelmed and insane.

    Communities always have some debates, but no community is obligated to debate random strangers. If you walked into the local Rotary club or catholic church and demanded that people justify their beliefs to you, there would be unpleasantness and perhaps police involvement. Why would you expect people online to behave any differently?

    Even if a blog was dedicated to convincing strangers, how long do you think that process should take? You suggest that no one will come to this blog and be convinced of anything they don’t already believe, but I’ve certainly had my mind changed. It didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been reading occasionally for months. Humans are by nature slow creatures; It may take weeks in order for arguments about something as fundamental as the role of women in society to sink in.

    Debates in communities work because community members already trust and respect each other and can assume good faith. Debates with strangers often fail for lack of trust. In other words, people on this blog are probably willing to debate you, but, you have to respect their time by taking the time to educate yourself and learn some local customs. Start slowly and demonstrate to the community that you’re acting in good faith. Granted, that’s harder than crashing someone’s pad with guns blazing, but that’s the way humans and communities work.

    Finally, I believe a commenter upthread posted a link to a scientific study demonstrating the female username effect.

  362. 362 BizzaroSuperman

    Say you’re walking down a street at night, and you realize you’ve been inadvertantly keeping pace with a woman walking ahead of you.

    I once did this, walking about 30 yards behind a woman at 1 AM or so. I walked a little slower than usual so that I didn’t make up any ground, instead falling back a bit. (In fact, I might have used the old “stop and tie your shoe” trick) Also I was wearing work shoes so my footsteps were pretty loud. (Making it hard to sneak up on anyone)

    Finally she reached her destination and walked up some steps, and as I passed her while she was opening the door she said “thanks for the escort.”

    She didn’t say it in a sarcastic way, she was smiling and kind of jovial. I think I gave her the thumbs-up sign and kept walking. (I’m kind of a dope like that)

    It was very strange. Obviously she was aware that someone was behind her and thought about it in terms of potential danger. I have no idea how to interpret her comment.

    I don’t appear to be a very threatening person, maybe she was expressing gratitude that I did stay back and not catch up to her. Or maybe she was threatened but then saw that I was just walking home myself and was expressing relief. Or maybe she was really nervous and just sort of blurted it out.

    I’d like to think that my constant footsteps, which made it clear that I wasn’t trying to conceal myself or catch up, were somewhat re-assuring but I really have no idea. I know personally I feel find if I can hear someone behind me enough to keep tabs on their location.

    I’m a man, I’m in decent shape and I sometimes carry a butterfly knife or two on me. (ZOMG illegal!) But walking alone at night I always pay close attention to whoever is around me - if I pass someone I listen to make sure they aren’t doubling back around for example. That’s prudence, not paranoia.

  363. 363 BizzaroSuperman

    Shorter junk science: actually convincing people doesn’t matter.

    In all seriousness, I don’t think it is wrong to point out that an ostensibly persuasive argument isn’t very persuasive. I don’t disagree with the sentiment at all, I’m just saying that if your goal is to convince non-believers you are probably failing. It seems to me that convincing more men that women get a disproportionate share of attacks online is a good thing.

  364. 364 Common Sense

    BizzaroSuperman:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you believe the following things:

    1. The purpose of this blog (or any) is to convince people that don’t agree with you.

    2. Any random person should be able to walk onto any blog and get their mind changed after reading a post or two and a couple of comments.

    Do you believe those statements? Because they represent conventional wisdom for a lot of people.

    But they’re not actually true. Implicit in #1 is the idea that preaching to the choir is wrong. And yet, we don’t close churches, even though most of the people who attend are choir members in some sense. This blog works as a community rather than a debating society. Part of what good communities do is support and affirm their members. Human beings rely on other humans for the sense that their beliefs are normal. Without places like this, it is easy for community members who live in places that don’t share their beliefs to feel overwhelmed and insane.

    Communities always have some debates, but no community is obligated to debate random strangers. If you walked into the local Rotary club or catholic church and demanded that people justify their beliefs to you, there would be unpleasantness and perhaps police involvement. Why would you expect people online to behave any differently?

    Even if a blog was dedicated to convincing strangers, how long do you think that process should take? You suggest that no one will come to this blog and be convinced of anything they don’t already believe, but I’ve certainly had my mind changed. It didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been reading occasionally for months. Humans are by nature slow creatures; It may take weeks in order for arguments about something as fundamental as the role of women in society to sink in.

    Debates in communities work because community members already trust and respect each other and can assume good faith. Debates with strangers often fail for lack of trust. In other words, people on this blog are probably willing to debate you, but, you have to respect their time by taking the time to educate yourself and learn some local customs. Start slowly and demonstrate to the community that you’re acting in good faith. Granted, that’s harder than crashing someone’s pad with guns blazing, but that’s the way humans and communities work.

    Finally, I believe a commenter upthread posted a link to a scientific study demonstrating the female username effect.

  365. 365 Bonnie

    I don’t disagree with the sentiment at all, I’m just saying that if your goal is to convince non-believers you are probably failing. It seems to me that convincing more men that women get a disproportionate share of attacks online is a good thing.

    That’s not the point of Chris’ post.

    The point is that

    1. If you are a man,

    2. Reading a thread in which women are saying, “These are our experiences with hypervigilance / fear of rape and assault / men who intrude on our personal space,”

    3. Don’t patronize women by verbally patting us on the head,

    4. By either directly or indirectly saying,

    5. “No they’re not, because that’s not MY experience as a man with the women I know,”

    6. “And plus you insult me by ignoring my manly concerns.”

    Clear?

  366. 366 mythago

    Mythago came in and snarked at me personally based on either temporary idiocy or a severe lack of coffee

    Actually, it was because of your severe idiocy in repeating the “why should I stop being an asshole because I get the same result” bullshit, topped with a helping of the notion that game theory is actually useful. If you were trying to mock or disagree with a previous poster’s use of ‘game theory’, you did a bang-up shitty job.

    Bizzaro, you can’t convince people who don’t want to be convinced and are offended that you try to convince them. Those men would simply pretend the study was somehow flawed anyway.

    I have to admit that the comments here about how some women feel when there is a man following them on the sidewalk is exactly how I feel when some black men are following me on the sidewalk

    No, they’re not. The fact that you pretend otherwise shows that you’re not especially interested in listening to or learning about the constant threat of sexual violence you live under; you’re just playing “Hahaha, you feminists can’t argue with me because you’d be RACIST! Double politically incorrect whammy LOLZORZ!!!”

    So how about you STFU.

  367. 367 mythago

    duh, “women live under” for “you live under,” above.

    I rather doubt RM is concerned that black men are going to rape him. He’s probably never gotten an obscene phone call from a black man. I doubt that he’s ever had a black male co-worker or boss comment on his appearance; he’s probably never been groped by a black man in a public place or on a bus.

    And there’s no cultural suggestion that such behavior is flattering, or that he invited it by dressing wrong, or that it’s just a fact of life that black men are going to harass white men so he should simply get used to it.

  368. 368 kathy a

    ryan thought this was a technical blog? and yet, he has so many opinions.

    ryan was shown the door last night, with an invitation to be cautious of it hitting his hinderparts.

    he evidently has a LOT of trouble with concepts, but access to other computers. or something. “can’t take a hint” comes to mind. he appears to have no self-esteem issues whatsoever, complemented by poor boundaries and sadly limited critical thinking skills. it is once again past his bedtime.

  369. 369 BizzaroSuperman

    Bonnie: I get the point, it just isn’t convincing to anyone who isn’t already a believer. “Don’t do this” is not a convincing argument in itself.

    Mythago: He’s probably never gotten an obscene phone call from a black man. I doubt that he’s ever had a black male co-worker or boss comment on his appearance; he’s probably never been groped by a black man in a public place or on a bus.

    I’ve never had a black man make an obscene phone call but I’ve had black men threaten to pull guns on me. I’ve never been groped but I have been pushed to the ground. I’ve had an acquaintance shot over an argument at a pickup basketball game by a black man. I’ve had a black man in car stop me while I was walking through a bad area to tell me that I should get out of there because the next car with a black man in it was going to pull over for a very different reason. (And in fact, someone was shot and killed the next morning at the barber shop I had just walked past) I’ve had a black man threaten to break my neck.

    I didn’t see RM call avoiding black men racist as a way to disprove your point - quite the opposite. If anything RM is the racist. (Although I would not say that)

    He didn’t say “well, that sounds a lot like ‘when I see a black man I call 911′ and that’s super racist!” He said that he, rightly or wrongly, avoids black men in the same way that the women here say they avoid men in general. It wasn’t a gotcha.

    Bizzaro, you can’t convince people who don’t want to be convinced and are offended that you try to convince them. Those men would simply pretend the study was somehow flawed anyway.

    Certainly there are people who could NEVER be convinced - but there are also people that are simply wrong but open-minded enough to change their minds.

    When you make an argument predicated on an insult, your should *expect* people to be insulted and reject your message. This is what I don’t get about messages like this, and Mr. Shakes recent “why aren’t more progressive men feminists? Is it because they are stupid and selfish?”

    When your argument is “STFU” you should expect people to reject your message out of hand, regardless of what merits it has.

    You are conflating two very different groups of people - people who will never believe that women are harrassed more because they have some ideological axe to grind, and people who don’t believe it because they lack personal experience and reject anecdotal evidence.

    On some forums and online games I use a name/persona that is sometimes taken for female and I do get treated differently. I’ve had people ask me my age and location, proposition me, etc. Including just idiotic stuff like “R U female IRL??” and people trying to make much more smalltalk with me than they do when they know I am male. So I know that this problem exists.

    But for people who don’t know, I may be idealistic, but I think using a well-developed and official looking Excel spreadsheet with numbers and direct quotes could potentially make some people see the light. At least it has a better chance than a purely anecdotal argument couched in condescending language.

  370. 370 BizzaroSuperman

    Oh yeah also not realizing this is a feminist site is just plain stupid to the point of not believable. Coming from me that means a lot.

    With that I’m off to bed.

  371. 371 Chris Clarke

    Oh, one more question for Chris: In all seriousness, why hasn’t Ryan been banned from posting?

    Ryan was banned. He’s apparently changed IP numbers while I was out at an AIDS benefit. He’s about to get banned again.

  372. 372 Chris Clarke

    oh, and Piator? Feel free to look up the definition of “thin ice.”

  373. 373 N1nj4G1rl

    Chris, you are without a doubt one of the most kick ass guys I have ever come into any kind of contact with.

    Thank You.

  374. 374 Mickle

    if you want to prove it to naysayers, can’t you do that rather easily? If critics reject anecdotal evidence you could collect numerical evidence to prove your point.

    Golly, gee. Why didn’t we think of that before?

    Those men would simply pretend the study was somehow flawed anyway.

    Silly mythago.

    You’re just imagining that some Nice Guy named jerry seems especially concerned that we all realize that the-study-that-has-yet-to-be-done is fundamentally flawed. And, really, if he did exist, the rest of us would think that it’s just so very nice of him to want to explain to us that harassment is subjective, and how this means we can’t be certain of what the researchers meant by harassment. Shame on you, mythago, those poor men may have been doing nothing more than asking women out for dates!

    Besides, I’m sure if there really was such a study, and it was brought up in response to Kos’ well-meaning, but misguided post (you know he just had a baby, right?) everyone would be falling all over themselves to correct this oversight.

    ***

    grr…since I can’t get linking to comments to work - imagine that “jerry” links to here:

    http://www.haloscan.com/comments/bitchphd/9170870738516011373/#374443
    and that the last sentence has a second link to here:

    http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2007/4/12/22533/9224/226#c226

  375. 375 Cara-he

    I’m with MAJEff.

    If we’re going to make 14yr olds carry around those annoying crying dolls for a week for “perspective” then let’s get the boys to spend a week as a woman.

    Aside from the fact that I love a man in a skirt and perhaps this would convince men of the bonuses of wearing them (as my brother and his friends do and have done for years - not to cross-dress, but because they had to for an Ultimate team, and found they liked them. One of my favorite aspects of Samoan culture.), if this post has has demonstrated anything, it is that most men truly do not understand the feeling of vulnerability that comes from a constant societal impression that they are weak, hysterical, unreliable, vacillating, and inferior.

    We could call it “Femme Like Me” week.

  376. 376 Phoenician in a time of Romans

    Actually, it was because of your severe idiocy in repeating the “why should I stop being an asshole because I get the same result” bullshit, topped with a helping of the notion that game theory is actually useful.

    I was dismissing the entire game theory framework as irrelevant - Dan’s use of it has a certain logic in itself (random women are still going to have the fear whether or not you, yourself, are an asshole, as commentators have noted), but is invalid as a whole (you’re not making the choice as plays in a series of games, you’re making the choice because it defines who you want to be). That’s not repeating the bullshit, m., it’s dismissing it.

    Look on the bright side - snarking at someone for not using their brain is a sign of frustration at someone who I believe has a brain. This comment is bullshit, however - you can do better.

    oh, and Piator? Feel free to look up the definition of “thin ice.”

    You wanna ban me for STFU and listening on this actual discussion, treating mythago like any other person, and deliberately being a contrarian when the ambient groupthink level starts rising to dangerous levels, go ahead.

  377. 377 BizzaroSuperman

    Thanks, the study is interesting. It doesn’t really say what PhD. says it does but it certainly does say something compelling.

    In which case, you should know that women online–not just bloggers, but women in chat rooms or commenting on blogs or on internet forums–get twenty-five times more harassment than men do. That’s not 25%; it’s 2500%.

    What the study said was that on teen male centered IRC channels (video game related mostly) female chatters got 25x the harrassing messages. It doesn’t say anything about bloggers or web-based discussions.

    I will agree that Jerry was being obstinate. The study is not a sociological study and it isn’t the Final Word ™ on online harrassment but it is a valuable data point.

    It isn’t a stretch to say that the same behavior likely applies to other online venues. And technical subjects online appear populated largely by young males (who play World of Warcraft, which was one of the channels used). So in the case of Kathy Sierra it is especially applicable because her audience is going to overlap with the study subjects more than say the audience here.

    This is the first time I’ve seen this study, or any study of this sort. Not that I hunt around for them but I do keep my eyes open and I did try googling.

    It seems like a good hammer to beat people over the head with - with the caveat that the person using it shouldn’t claim it says more than it really does.That said, when people try to quibble over the fact that it was IRC and not blogs a good retort there is “ok…so let’s see your fucking study then!”

    Does anyone know if Kos has even seen the study? I don’t read Kos regularly so I don’t know if he replied to PhD’s open letter or not.

  378. 378 DocMara

    Thanks mythago for simplifying what I was trying to say about RM. Some experiences are incommensurable. Stupid analogies work (a.k.a. if a stastically and experientially-justified fear men is O.K., then a statistically-unjustified and historically inaccurate fear of African-Americans should be Okie Dokey too). Funny how the distance between conversation and real problems is inversely proportional to the stupidity of status-quo justifications.

  379. 379 Tom

    if this post has has demonstrated anything, it is that most men truly do not understand the feeling of vulnerability that comes from a constant societal impression that they are weak, hysterical, unreliable, vacillating, and inferior.

    Well, actually it has demonstrated that a couple of the men who posted comments in this blog entry are that way. It says nothing about what “most men” think or do.

  380. 380 DocMara

    Tom, it *has* demonstrated that. Stop nitpicking. If it helps, meditate on how your own life reflects the premise that you just tried to complicate and undermine. Reflect…and listen.

  381. 381 Cassy

    Ryan hasn’t done the right thing in life. He lay there while his father molested his sister, he did nothing to help her. He says he still loves and respects his father, he still does nothing for his sister. Stand up for her and at least tell her you think it was wrong. It is still destroying her to this day.

    You are at more risk to molest your own daughter if you don’t deal with it. As she grows you will likely identify with your father more. You can pretend you’re different than him but that is not enough.

  382. 382 Mark Foxwell

    This is one of those huge threads I wish I’d gotten on top of before it went stale. I’m only about 1/5 the way through comments and that by skimming.

    Again and again, in anti-feminist polemics, we see the charge that “women are too emotional, not rational like men.” At some point, in addition to debunking this claim by pointing out how emotional and irrational many “normal,” socially approved (de facto if not rhetorically) typical male decisions are and the frequent demonstrations women make of their ability to function rationally, someone should point out that a great deal of our brain matter is devoted to these allegedly non-rational mental processes. We have emotions for good reasons; they are part of our sane thought processes, and insofar as our society pretends men are “less emotional” and persuades us to either supress what they tell us or pretend we are not experiencing them, it means we are that much more dysfunctional. Whereas people who have social permission to experience emotions frankly, or simply assert that right and duty in defiance of society, are in fact thinking more clearly and taking more factors into account and being more realistic.

    The best way to “control” emotions is to get comfortable with them, to allow bad feelings to manifest and think about them. This is what women have to learn to do even to fill the limited social roles offered to them by mainstream society; indeed since they are burdened with the expectation of being everyone’s “mommy” they are expected to outthink everyone’s emotions, not just their own.

    This is one reason I tend to have more confidence in women than men; they are using more of their brains, typically. Unfortunately for them and all of us they are using them typically to remain under the radar of a harshly limiting society, and thus enabling many aspects of that society to go on unsung for these tasks.

  383. 383 Caledonian

    When did the practice of referring to male sociocultural advantage as ‘privilege’ begin?

    It’s a fantastic example of embedding assumptions about a problem in the terminology used to discuss it, but it’s fairly inaccurate. Privileges are specially-granted rights or abilities not available in the default state. The ability to walk down a street at night while being slightly less afraid for one’s life/physical integrity is not a privilege granted to men. It’s a consequence of biology and society.

  384. 384 junk science

    No shit, Caledonian. And “patriarchy” doesn’t refer to a ruling body of fathers who get together once a year and plot how to make the rest of us miserable.

    Look, Bizarro, when I first discovered this site, I was mostly pro-choice, but I thought abortion was still pretty morally ambiguous, and I didn’t like the way people here talked about it. I couldn’t believe how flip some were on the subject. I liked what I had seen of the rest of the site, and when I read a few of Amanda’s posts on abortion, I realized where people here were coming from, and that when I considered the arguments I couldn’t help but be convinced by them. What I did not do then was get on my soapbox and lecture everyone on how easily they could have turned me away from their cause by not being polite enough about it.

    The kind of people we want to convince are you and me. The ones who won’t get sidetracked by language and will instead actually try to understand an argument without needing it spelled out for them. The ones who understand that people who hang out together a lot will start to sound like each other, and that an environment like that can be a bit alienating to outsiders. We don’t want people who need their hands held and their asses wiped, because such people are not and will never be on anyone’s side except their own. Don’t worry so much about what will happen if we don’t cater to the lowest common denominator. People will sometimes surprise you.

  385. 385 Leia

    It’s a consequence of biology and society.

    1) It’s a consequence of society–if it were “biological” it would hold up cross-culturally no matter where you were, and plenty of anthropologists have shown that it doesn’t;

    2) That’s exactly what privilege IS–a consquence of society. You’re not entirely clear what you think privilege is (your definition does not contradict your definition of the reason for male lack of fear), but it’s not a gold star or a cookie. It’s society systematically making things tougher for certain groups than for others.

    And what, pray tell, is the “default state”?

    (Answer: the male state, of course. So of COURSE males don’t have privilege!)

  386. 386 Leia

    deliberately being a contrarian

    Someone needs to write this one up in a helpful Guide for Feminists somewhere. When a guy describes himself as “deliberately being a contrarian,” what he means is “being a pedantic, nonsensical twit and then getting mad at you for dismissing his non-arguments.”

  387. 387 DataShade

    RobW Apr 14th, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    If you need an incentive to be a good guy, then you are not one.

    Yeah … you know, I don’t remember any stories about Buddha cashing in good karma for head or Jesus getting handjobs from the prostitutes. I always thought being good was its own reward. Maybe you should try it, Ryan. Pay someone else’s check as you leave a restaurant, pay someone’s bus fare as you get off, shovel the snow on your neighbor’s sidewalk or brush the snow off a coworker’s car, walk an old lady across the street or help an old man load his grocery cart full of his favorite beer. Do things for strangers without expecting or accepting a reward, or even without giving them a chance to thank you. Do that for a week and see how it makes you feel. If knowing that, at least for five seconds, you made someone else’s problems and worries go away and made them smile, if only on the inside, doesn’t make you as happy as you’ve ever been after having sex … then you probably shouldn’t be having sex, because you’re just masturbating using a vagina.

    They say money can’t buy love. Newsflash! Love can’t buy love, either. There’s no quid pro quo where the quo is romance or adoration. So save the fake smiles, obnoxious offers of favors or presents, and thinly-veiled aura of desperation for your pets. They like treats and they’ll take any kind of unprompted petting you give them.

  388. 388 Nick Turner

    “If no woman in your life has ever talked to you about how she lives her life with an undercurrent of fear of men, consider the possibility that it may be because she sees you as one of those men she cannot really trust.”

    The world is run on fear. Women fear Men. Men fear Men. Men fear Women. Please show me one single person who has not felt the emotion of fear because of another person. Communist Russia. Nazi Germany. U.S. Democracy. One must either have fear, respect, or more commonly fear and respect to lead a country. I will not say that women do not have their unfair share of difficulties. But please remember, that sexual favor seeking male boss is an asshole. Not just to women, not just some of the time, he’s an asshole to everyone most of the time. But for the sexual favor seeking male there are, while not as many, sexual favor seeking female bosses. There are also organizations that deal with men who have been abused by women. Fear is a primal emotion. Why can’t we focus on eliminating those who survive off of the fear that they create in others. Those men and women are who need to be addressed.

  389. 389 Librul

    This has been a wonderful thread. Thanks to Chris and the many posters. I have never been raped but I have been hassled many times and had a guy try to jump me once. I attribute this in part to the great amount of fear inculcated in me by my mother and grandmother. The only reason I feel safe in my neighborhood at night is that it’s a heavily trafficked gay bar district.

    As to Ryan, I don’t think he should be blamed for not defending his sister as a child. He was a child too and victimized. Blame the perpetrator.

    I dated a man who was molested in daycare. Around nap time every day a male caregiver would pick a victim and take him/her into the bathroom. My ex BF said that every day around nap time he would think over and over, words to the effect, “Please not me, pick someone else.” (He started wetting the sleeping mat and got yanked out of daycare for it. His parents never found out about the molestation.)

    It seems like the “pick someone else” attitude is one born out of desperation. An abused child is in no position to mount a crusade to save other victims. We with our adult minds can think of all kinds of plausible plots and schemes but remember that children have limited cognitive faculties, have not read all the books and watched all the movies we have, and tend to view adults as omnipotent and omniscient gods.

    coda: the ex BF I mentioned above never believed me when I said I got harassed, which was a frequent occurrence when I walked the mile to his apartment from the train stop. and he sort of blamed me for the guy jumping on me. Our sex life was mediocre, and I now attribute that to a lack of trust on my part - I could not trust him to take me seriously or believe me. So there you go men, a reason to take women seriously: your sex life may improve drastically.

  390. 390 Bonnie

    BizzaroSuperman
    Apr 15th, 2007 at 2:57 am

    Bonnie: I get the point, it just isn’t convincing to anyone who isn’t already a believer. “Don’t do this” is not a convincing argument in itself.

    No, you’re still missing the point of Chris’ post.

    The point is to give men a Code of Conduct(TM) when on a thread where women are talking about our experiences of being harassed, abused, and threatened by men.

    That Code of Conduct(TM), STFU, is for the men whose impulse is to counter our stories with, “Huh uh it isn’t really like that” or whatever other inane “convincing” you’re trying to do.

    Chris is not trying to “convince” you of anything. He’s telling you, “Dude. In this context, women don’t want your advice or input. So Shut The Fuck Up.” In this context. In the context of women talking about our experiences.

    I don’t think it could be more clear than that.

    We’re not trying to “convince” you that we have these experiences. We don’t want your opinion on what you perceive our experiences to actually be.

    Re-read Chris’ post. Then STFU.

    That’s the point.

  391. 391 Clytemnestra

    Either you’re afraid of a guy or you don’t want to fuck him. It’s disturbing.

    And it’s a policy that irritates my son because he often looses the very girls he wants to date because he’s the nice guy and they go for the dangerous guy.

    I’ve told him to be patient, because all those girls are saying is that they don’t want a relationship that will work. Bad boys don’t make good relationships.

  392. 392 Dene

    Either you’re afraid of a guy or you don’t want to fuck him. It’s disturbing.

    Clytemnestra -And it’s a policy that irritates my son because he often looses the very girls he wants to date because he’s the nice guy and they go for the dangerous guy.

    I think the person was satirizing people thinking this is how women think and not how they actually think. The thing about assuming there is such a policy is that what humans want is complicated and personal. Even as a guy is bemoaning their taste, there might be a nice girl who would love to date him, only she loses the very guy she wants (him) because she’s the nice girl and he only wants whatever it is he seems to want in the girls who are rejecting him (prettier, bigger breasts, dangerous girl, less intelligent girl who doesn’t want him). Perhaps the girls *aren’t* attracted to the dangerousness of these other guys but something else. When we don’t want someone else it’s reasonable; when they don’t want us they’re shallow and self-destructive.

    The trouble with the “nice guy” perspective (and I’m not accusing your son of having this perspective, it’s just one I’ve seen elsewhere) is that what someone claims is going on in someone else’s head isn’t always going on. More than once I’ve heard a guy complain about girls not appreciating a “nice guy” like him when what he’s showing me he’s exactly the opposite and should be avoided because of his creepy attitudes about women and because he does not seem like a good person at all.

  393. 393 junk science

    Exactly, Dene. I don’t think it’s true at all; I think it’s the brainchild of Hollywood screenwriters who didn’t get laid a whole lot when they were young.

  394. 394 Clytemnestra

    I was gone most of yeasterday afternnon and into the evening… so I’m just catching up (Yes Dr. Science I know you asked a question and will respond soon)

    I found this interesting (I don’t know if the time stamps are different or the same for everyone)

    shah8
    Apr 15th, 2007 at 12:53 am

    I am sure I can do something about me being 6′ and 250lbs and black. That will work so well. Perhaps I should dress white? Nice italian suit, expensive tie, sweet leather shoes and a snappy briefcase. Oh my that would work so well!! Or if the person on the train is somebody who has olive skin, short, black hair with a janitor’s outfit. Perhaps he should get himself a preppy outfit from The Gap, put on some cK cologne, and have that empty smile that the pros wear. That would work JUST as well! And then there’s that redneck hick with the ill-fitting cheap suit on the way to town hall, now HE should wear…

    Okay, and here’s something that I wrote:

    Clytemnestra
    Apr 14th, 2007 at 12:00 am

    So you can teach them not to be 6ft tall and 250 lbs and you can teach them not to have wide shoulders so that when we make a “threat assessment” as we are walking to our cars, we don’t think “he’s bigger and more powerful than me, stay clear”

    You see the 6ft tall 250lb, broad shouldered man I was thinking about was my eldest son & so white he’s pink. Outside of his mechanic’s clothes, dresses in blazers, slacks, button down shirts when he goes out and t-shirts and jeans for college.

    But by his physical stature he is very imtimdating and has been asked to be a bouncer many times. He will probably do it professionally once he turns 21.

    So why do clubs, bars, et. al. get to recognize that my son is by his physical apperance is intimdating - and use that - but I can’t turn around and do a “threat assesment” when walking into a parking lot and think that he is a guy I should stay away from?

    I know my son is a great stand up guy. When he was in his early teens he built a snow cave in the front yard and he and his younger brothers had a lot of fun with it. But when he discovered that the neighborhood boys were trapping girls in the cave by standing in the exit so they could cop a feel, not only did he forcefully throw the boys out, but he demonished his snow fort to keep it from happening again.

    But anyone with his physical appearance just passing them on the street, seeing them in a parking lot, etc. I would assume the worst.

    My son understands.

  395. 395 Clytemnestra

    Dene and junk science

    for a Hollywood constrct he’s sure been hit with it in real life at least 3 times now … plus there are a few books written about it.

    (when my much longer post comes out of moderation I’ll write more to answer this)

  396. 396 Mickle

    Thanks, the study is interesting. It doesn’t really say what PhD. says it does but it certainly does say something compelling……..It doesn’t say anything about bloggers or web-based discussions.

    Dear God, YOU’RE RIGHT!

    Plus!!!!! in the real world, the rate of sexual harassment flips from being mostly male to female during puberty to then being mostly female to male during adulthood! So any logical person would assume, in the absence of further study, that this not only doesn’t apply at all to other forms of electronic communication, but it may really be the opposite!!!!!!

    [/snark]

    It’s real nice and all that you conceded that the study is a good point to use. However, (while I’m sure you’re still right and we’re the ones that need the advice and not you) I wonder if it might have been better to flip the post so that you lead with the “oh, great study!” and end with musings about how this is really only part of the picture and further studies would be helpful. ‘Cause you know us silly feminists, taking offense at everything; we may see your opening salvo as hostile, and therefore question your so obvious good intentions.

    ***

    Dene, you put that so much more nicely than I would have.

    Clytemnestra,

    When it comes to teen girls, never underestimate teenagers aversion to people who treat them like little children nor teen girls’ ability to see the connection between this and boys who want to treat them like they’re made of glass.

  397. 397 junk science

    Clytemnestra, did these girls actually tell your son they didn’t want to date him because he was too nice? Because it’s too much of a cliche for me to be able to accept anyone else’s judgment of their behavior.

    That said, if this is the same son who destroyed the snow fort, then he certainly is a good person, and any girl would be lucky to have him.

  398. 398 Constantine

    However, y’all makes me want to lock all of y’all in a room with a stack of books, at the very top of which would be Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

    Not the best way to get women to stop being scared of you.

    Not to come to ryan’s defense, but there’s a certain point where one could be convinced on this thread that there is no way to get women to stop being scared of you. People have point blank said that they are, to a degree, afraid of all men. He simply doesn’t know how to deal with that. His instinct is to want all women to want him, which is somewhat irrational.

    I think the best men can do is see who our circle of intimate friends are and do what we can to make sure they don’t feel afraid and don’t belittle their experiences. For everyone else, there are just too many different people, too many situations, and too many social cues to keep track of. We cannot possibly make sure that all women (or men) can be protected from being afraid of us or anyone else at all times. That goes for other social situations as well. The best you can do is be yourself until someone tells you that he or she personally would rather you’re not doing what you’re doing and then take that person’s feelings into account.

    At a certain point, we have to learn to have some detachment from the strangers around us. I can’t stay up at night constantly worrying if I made someone fearful because I crossed the street at an inopportune time or walked at the wrong pace, much like I can’t constantly beat myself up by worrying about if I offended someone or said the wrong thing. Just do what you think is right and don’t ever, for a second, allow anyone but those you trust to second-guess you. What I can do is rise to the defense of people who want better lighting on the sidewalks and better police patrols in neighborhoods so that people can feel safer at night.

    And ryan, if there were rewards for being a good person in the life, then Al Gore would be president right now. If you haven’t figured out that you’re not supposed to do the right thing simply for a reward, learn. Now.

    As for this, from Alexander:

    I am a man. I am also a 250 lb. 6′4″ linemen who has learned wrestling, Tae-Kwon-Do and can probably beat 95% of the population in a dead sprint. I also live in a small town of 7,000 in Vermont with virtually no serious crime. Yet I still feel fear when walking down a street after dark. I constantly carry a knife, sleep with a sword four feet from my head, and frequently carry a carabiner to use as a makeshift set of brass knuckles

    Is this some kind of trollbait? You have no business calling anyone paranoid or taking anyone to task for the precautions they take, given your personal situation.

    The difference between Alexander and most women relating their experiences here is that most women have firm evidence that they are a potential target since they or their friends and neighbors have likely been attacked in the past.

  399. 399 Dene

    Clytemnestra, did these girls actually tell your son they didn’t want to date him because he was too nice? Because it’s too much of a cliche for me to be able to accept anyone else’s judgment of their behavior.

    Yes, that’s the thing. I find niceness and being a good person an attractive quality. I’ve never liked “bad boys.” But that doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily going to be attracted to every guy that is nice. If I’m not, I can’t imagine it would be the niceness that turned me off. It could be any number of things. Just as I would imagine if I guy I liked didn’t like me back, it wouldn’t be because I had good qualities. He might appreciate those good qualities and just not be attracted to me. I definitely believe it is possible to be both a very good man and very sexy–I’ve also heard men claim to be good while behaving in a way that’s decidedly not good and so not sexy to me.

  400. 400 tigtog

    Clytemnestra,

    Have these girls actually told him that they prefer the other guy because they are attracted by a “dangerous” quality?

    Have these girls actually told him that they agree that the guy they prefer actually does have this “dangerous” quality?

    Because if they haven’t explicitly said exactly that to your son, then your son is speculating about why they prefer the other guy. Being a normal young man influenced by what he sees in TV/movies, he’s going with the “women prefer jerks” trope.

    Everybody who is rejected wants a reason to stop feeling so bad, because being rejected sucks. Hollywood and Madison Ave have taught boys to blame it on “women prefer jerks” while girls have been taught to blame it on “men are so superfical about T&A”.

    But in every case, unless the rejected person has actually asked the object of desire why they prefer that other person, then all the rejected person is doing is speculating. They Don’t Really Know.

  401. 401 Clytemnestra

    junk science
    Apr 15th, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Clytemnestra, did these girls actually tell your son they didn’t want to date him because he was too nice? Because it’s too much of a cliche for me to be able to accept anyone else’s judgment of their behavior.

    That said, if this is the same son who destroyed the snow fort, then he certainly is a good person, and any girl would be lucky to have him.

    Yes this is the same son who distroyed the snow fort. (I’ll let him know you said that)

    And the conversations went something like, you are so nice that I see you as a brother - - - they’d then prceed to date guys who everyone knew only wanted in their pants

  402. 402 Mickle

    That said, if this is the same son who destroyed the snow fort, then he certainly is a good person, and any girl would be lucky to have him.

    Which reminds me of another point: in my experience, most girls that are smart enough to realize this as teens are also not necessarily the ones who spend a whole lot of time dating to begin with.

    Maybe I’m just projecting here, but it seems like such girls would care about friendship, family, and school first. Then getting some nookie. So serious and/or serial dating tends to be way far down on their list of things to do, especially since they are probably also smart enough to realize that even actual nice guys don’t always get the whole “girls have desire too” as teens.

  403. 403 tigtog

    Dang, Clytemnestra, other people posted the same thoughts while I was composing, so now it looks like a pile-on. Soorry.

    I second junk science’s call that a young man who would demolish that snow fort is definitely a good catch. I would hate for a young man with all that thoughtful considerate potential to fall for the bullshit about “women prefer jerks” because of a few romantic setbacks, and maybe get resentful if that belief is reinforced by others he trusts and then decide to join the jerk team to get girls, that’s all.

  404. 404 Mickle

    And the conversations went something like, you are so nice that I see you as a brother - - - they’d then prceed to date guys who everyone knew only wanted in their pants

    Which suggests that the difference is in how much make-out time they’d get out of it, not that they see bad boys as better marriage material than your son.

  405. 405 junk science

    Yeah, that’s basically “I like you as a friend, but I’m not sexually attracted to you” not “I’m not attracted to you because you’re nice.”

  406. 406 Clytemnestra

    Mickle
    Apr 15th, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    Which suggests that the difference is in how much make-out time they’d get out of it, not that they see bad boys as better marriage material than your son.

    Which is why I told my son to be patient.

    tigtog
    Apr 15th, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    Dang, Clytemnestra, other people posted the same thoughts while I was composing, so now it looks like a pile-on. Soorry.

    No problem

    I second junk science’s call that a young man who would demolish that snow fort is definitely a good catch. I would hate for a young man with all that thoughtful considerate potential to fall for the bullshit about “women prefer jerks” because of a few romantic setbacks, and maybe get resentful if that belief is reinforced by others he trusts and then decide to join the jerk team to get girls, that’s all.

    He actually is now sitting back and waiting for a someone who is working on getting her degree in Biotechnology. The only thing that is pretty much stopping romance is they are almost 100 miles apart (though she grew up and her parents are still in this neighborhood).

    So he’s working on his degree here as fast as he can so he can join her.

    (he’s the same son I wrote about in my blog about Vonnegut)

  407. 407 Chris Clarke

    There’s also the thing about teens of whichever gender not generally making what we old farts would see as the wisest choices, in part because of less ability to read what prospective dates/partners have in mind, in part because of less familiarity with what one’s own self really desires, and in part because Every. Minor. Detail. Is. Very. Important. Right. Now.

  408. 408 tigtog

    And the conversations went something like, you are so nice that I see you as a brother - - - they’d then prceed to date guys who everyone knew only wanted in their pants

    But do the girls themselves realise/believe that about those particular guys? My own experience of dating later-revealed-as-jerks was that I thought they were glamorous and exciting, not dangerous. It took me a while to become suspicious of glamorous/exciting, but I did eventually learn.

    If the girls do realise/believe that those boys Just want One Thing, then assuming that they know about contraception safe/sex, why not have wild monkey sex with some hot guy that you would never in a million years get married to and quite possibly don’t even respect? It’s a lot less emotional work than having a relationship with a guy one respects, you just turn up and get shown off and hey! hot monkey sex!

    “Nice Girls” have been expected to wait around for boys to “sow their wild oats” and Get Serious about respectful relationships since forever.

    But when young women act in exactly the same way they are characterised as LIARS who pretend to like nice guys but REALLY like jerks who treat them mean. Are men LIARS who say they want to settle down with nice girls are but REALLY like airheads who treat them mean? Is this an essential, permanent truth about men extrapolated from youthful trends?

    My problem is that there’s a double standard, which casts young men and young women doing exactly the same thing as somehow the women being fundamentally insincere in a mysterious essentialist way while the men are merely being tactically insincere in a goal-directed way. And that the men will grow out of it yet it’s somehow an eternal truth about women.

  409. 409 tigtog

    BTW, my comment above has moved way beyond Clytemnestra’s son into examing the larger cultural issue of the “women want jerks” myth.

    I’m glad to hear he and an accomplished and clever young woman have found each other.

  410. 410 junk science

    My problem is that there’s a double standard, which casts young men and young women doing exactly the same thing as somehow the women being fundamentally insincere in a mysterious essentialist way while the men are merely being tactically insincere in a goal-directed way.

    That’s a great way of putting it. I guess the ubiquity of the “men are straightforward, women are mysterious” meme comes from the fact that so many of our stories are told from a male point of view.

  411. 411 Chris Clarke

    My problem is that there’s a double standard, which casts young men and young women doing exactly the same thing as somehow the women being fundamentally insincere in a mysterious essentialist way while the men are merely being tactically insincere in a goal-directed way.

    See, now, I didn’t need to write my last comment. This is it exactly.

  412. 412 Clytemnestra

    Well tigtog -

    Beleive it or not we are on the same wave length. My son has beaten himself up for being the nice guy who always finishes last. But he won’t change it.

    The boys these girls have chosen have usually been involved with drugs, and not the brightest bulb in the pack (on one occasion one particularly memorable night the new boyfriend of a girl who had just dumped my son showed up at my door drunk and high looking for her, his black 2fast2furious chick magnet idling in the background).

    Now I have a pretty open relationship with my eldest (for instance I do know how many times he’s had sex - and he knows that if it’s without a condom I will kill him) He always asks me what a girl means when she says such and such. At some points he get’s really annoying because as I have said “we DON’T have a secret code3 book” - but he has been lead on enough that he doesn’t want to waste his time

    Also I said that his major problem was that he was finishing his last year of high school when most guys his age were either out in the world or starting college and what he was looking for was a girl/women who had gotten done with sewing her oats. He wasn’t going to find that until he got to college.

  413. 413 Clytemnestra

    tigtog
    Apr 15th, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    I’m glad to hear he and an accomplished and clever young woman have found each other.

    Not so fast tigtog, until he get’s up there, she’s still sewin (but it irritates him that she acts so jealous when he goes out with someone)

  414. 414 Constantine

    Also I said that his major problem was that he was finishing his last year of high school when most guys his age were either out in the world or starting college and what he was looking for was a girl/women who had gotten done with sewing her oats. He wasn’t going to find that until he got to college.

    And even then, perhaps not. There are plenty of men who want to get married at a young age. It’s a means of “locking in their gains” early. Women, on the other hand, are going to realize in college that basically every guy from her age up to the age of 40 is going to be interested in her, and she will have her pick. So she could either “settle down now” with someone young and at the beginning of his career with uncertain prospects, or she could enjoy her 20s dating lots and lots of different men that are all going to be interested in her right now. The odds do not favor a man who wants to marry young (YMMV depending on your location, I hear things are quite different in the south).

    My experience is this: your son can probably date or marry someone at any time if that’s what he really wants to do. However, the odds that he will be able to date or marry the specific person he happens to want right at that moment are probably quite low. Actually, that’s probably true for most “average” people, male or female. Those with stunning beauty and/or wealth can generally get anyone they want at any time, but that causes a whole host of over other problems and complexes.

  415. 415 tigtog

    See, now, I didn’t need to write my last comment. This is it exactly.

    Maybe I should stay awake all night more often.

  416. 416 tigtog

    Clytemnestra - hey, at least he knows that she does find him romantically/sexually attractive despite his “nice” rays. Even if it is (as it sounds to be) a typically confused adolescent romance regarding commitment levels etc, that’s got to be a whole lot better than feeling that none of the girls he liked fancied him back.

  417. 417 Mickle

    Women, on the other hand, are going to realize in college that basically every guy from her age up to the age of 40 is going to be interested in her, and she will have her pick.

    And in the unlikely event that she doesn’t see middle aged men for the catch/great lay they really are, there’s also that pesky question of kids that sometimes comes up.

  418. 418 Clytemnestra

    Constantine

    All true (will live in Mass btw).
    But once he’s out and into the world he’ll be exposed to more and his wants may change too.

    Recently we had a dicussion of the findings that more women and starting divorces than men, even when the marriage is in it’s 20th or more year? I asked him what he tought that meant and we got into a whole conversation of making sure that it is not just him who has his needs met and is happy in the relationship but whom ever he’s with too.

    That in itself is part of gender based cross talk. What men define as needs in a relationship are different than what women define as needs in a relationship. They both use the same word and assume it means the samething to their partner.

    In other word “make sure she’s satisfied and don’t be selfish damnit”

  419. 419 Clytemnestra

    that shouldn’t be a question mark there it’s a true statement

  420. 420 Sjofn

    And the conversations went something like, you are so nice that I see you as a brother - - - they’d then prceed to date guys who everyone knew only wanted in their pants

    I dunno about anyone else here, but I said the “you are so nice you are like a brother to me therefore we cannot date” to my fair share of guys. And I was lying. There were many reasons I didn’t want to date the various guys (I just didn’t feel attracted to him, he was actually sort of a jerk, I had a huge crush on someone else, etc), but the “you’re just so nice” was the most acceptable excuse, and I knew it. “Everyone knows” girls don’t want nice boys, so upon rejecting whoever it was I was rejecting, telling them they were “too nice” got them to lament the fault was with ME instead of THEM, and I felt better knowing that.

    I would never do that now, of course, because I actually really hate the tired old “women only like assholes!” crap, but at the time, it seemed the best way to reject someone.

  421. 421 Purple Library Guy

    “My problem is that there’s a double standard, which casts young men and young women doing exactly the same thing as somehow the women being fundamentally insincere in a mysterious essentialist way while the men are merely being tactically insincere in a goal-directed way.”

    I think the problem there is more fundamental. It is assumed that young men want sex primarily, and therefore if what they mostly do is seek it out, that’s unsurprising. But young women are not, according to the dominant narrative, supposed to want sex primarily–sure, they’re supposed to arouse a desire for it in men, but they’re not supposed to actually want it themselves. Now this means that if they clearly do, they’re going to be vilified. But it also means that even if that is what they want and are fairly clear about it, people will find ways of overlooking that and assuming that they want something else and are really making some kind of mistake if they seem to be seeking it out. Or variations on that–they only *think* they want sex, etc. etc.

    Mind you, the belief in the heads of some young women that macho numbskulls are the place to go to get good sex is probably mistaken, and put there by yet another kind of widespread social propaganda brought to you by the patriarchy.

    Loved the article (and yet still apparently couldn’t keep my mouth shut).

  422. 422 BizzaroSuperman

    Clytemnestra: At a certain age most girls are not interested in “nice guys” - either genuinely nice guys or the doormats that like to call themselves that. When these girls have gone around the block a couple of times with a pigheaded ass who can’t hold a job, is constantly aggressive, etc etc, they will see the light.

    This is not an affront on your son at all, because I obviously know nothing about him, but a lot of self-proclaimed “nice guys” are not rejected just because they are too nice. Some are too quiet, defer often enough to the point of being annoying, are not forward to the point women think they aren’t interested in them, etc. Just like the “Nice Guys” on forums like these are genuinely just nice guys, a lot of men who bemoan their love lives have something more going on than just being too nice. That said, as I said above at a certain age, steady polite supportive guys aren’t as attractive to women who haven’t been burned once or twice by the 2fast2furious clown.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you believe the following things:

    1. The purpose of this blog (or any) is to convince people that don’t agree with you.

    That is not the purpose of this blog. However the original post is ostensibly not aimed at the regulars here. Why exactly do the regulars need rules on how not to be assholes? Don’t they already know that?

    These guidelines are clearly not for people who already get it.

    I don’t understand the purpose of posts like these and Mr. Shakes recent “Why aren’t more progressive men feminists - they too stupid?” It seems to me these guidelines were written only so that the regular posters here could say “yeah, great job!”

    This post is explicitly NOT aimed at the regular crowd. So while the point of the blog may not be to convince people, it seems that for this particular post being convincing would be a good thing.

    I suppose you can say that instead of guidelines it’s implicitly simply “here are the stupid things assholes do that annoy us!” However it really isn’t couched in that language and in some sections appears to at least attempt to be persuasive.

  423. 423 Common Sense

    However the original post is ostensibly not aimed at the regulars here. Why exactly do the regulars need rules on how not to be assholes? Don’t they already know that?

    How do you know this? And why are you so certain? You’re not the author.

    Maybe Chris wrote this because he was frustrated; maybe he wrote it because he knows people here (or on other sites that linked to it) would be persuaded even though they wouldn’t be able to work out the argument on their own. Maybe he just wanted to express some solidarity with women and point out that they’re not completely on their own.

    Maybe he wanted to get laid. Maybe he wanted to foment an interesting discussion that would actually help people. Maybe he just wanted to vent his frustration.

    People do all kinds of things for all sorts of reasons but it seems like you’re assigning motives for which there’s no real evidence.

    These guidelines are clearly not for people who already get it.

    “Getting it” is not a binary concept. There are degrees of understanding. For example, I mostly “get it” but I still learned a great deal from reading the post and even more so from reading the comments. That seems like a win for everyone.

  424. 424 Mickle

    Common Sense,

    I think you just want to get laid.

  425. 425 Anon

    Im pretty sure you guys are men, as we all know there are no women on the internet, and anybody who says they are is likely a trap. Its a law of nature.

  426. 426 Raincitygirl

    I dunno about anyone else here, but I said the “you are so nice you are like a brother to me therefore we cannot date” to my fair share of guys. And I was lying. There were many reasons I didn’t want to date the various guys (I just didn’t feel attracted to him, he was actually sort of a jerk, I had a huge crush on someone else, etc), but the “you’re just so nice” was the most acceptable excuse, and I knew it. “Everyone knows” girls don’t want nice boys, so upon rejecting whoever it was I was rejecting, telling them they were “too nice” got them to lament the fault was with ME instead of THEM, and I felt better knowing that.

    I would never do that now, of course, because I actually really hate the tired old “women only like assholes!” crap, but at the time, it seemed the best way to reject someone.

    Sjohn, thank goodness you said that. I was starting to think I was the only one who did that back in the day. It’s tough to turn someone down 100% honestly, because so often the honest truth is a variant upon, “Much as I like you, you just don’t make my ladybits tingle.” I mean, come on, there’s no way to say that without hurting someone’s feelings, and most people don’t like hurting someone’s feelings.

    In my own case, either I got bitchier with time or I got better at issuing tactful rejections without actively lying. But the person I was at 19 hadn’t figured out those skills yet, so yeah, I tended to lie. I had this idea that the real reason might crush the guy’s self-esteem into the dirt.

  427. 427 Elaine

    Excellent post. Thank you. I am lucky that the only assholes I have to deal with nowadays are the ones I meet online.

  428. 428 kiraseldon

    Although I prefer to ignore the majority of the points Ryan made, since he’s been banned and clearly was incapable of listening to opposing arguments even before the banning, I do want to address the one about women in Japan “not living in fear.”

    Speaking as a woman, fluent in Japanese, who has been living and working in Japan for two years, the culture of fear for women is at least as strong, if not much stronger, in this country than in America.

    My female co-workers and I got into a particularly eye-opening conversation while out on one of the group bonding office trips that Japanese workplaces tend to have on a yearly basis. They all introduced the subject of sexual harassment by telling me earnestly that our office was much better than some of the others they’d worked in — one had a previous boss who blatantly groped her at drinking parties, one had had a boss who didn’t personally grope her but explicitly encouraged that behavior from her male co-workers, one had made the mistake of allowing a male co-worker to borrow the key to the women’s room on a prior office trip, upon which all her male co-workers poured into the room after midnight and proceeded to harass and molest them, and so on — and then moved on to make explicit plans to keep us safe during the party, that night, and the next day. From our co-workers. Because we would have no recourse for complaint if they did, in fact, molest or harass us.

    I, as a foreign woman, am somewhat safer because I belong to a social category different from native Japanese. Even so, I am routinely warned against “risky behavior” like riding the train alone in broad daylight, by both men who take a paternalistic attitude and women who have been groped or harassed in those situations. I have personally been groped, directed onto the wrong train by a man who wanted an opportunity to be alone with me, harassed in stores, harassed by co-workers, assumed to be a whore by both random male passersby and police who pulled me over for Biking While Not Japanese, and told that — in a small rural town, even — the only thing that makes me even marginally safe walking or riding a bike after dark is that I am tall, have short hair, and can pass for a man in the dark.

    Japan is not better, and I must suggest that anyone who thinks it is because his female Japanese acquaintances haven’t complained to him refer to point three of Chris’s excellent post.

  429. 429 the_bone

    WTF is up with the “@” ?

    I don’t think Ryan’s use of the loathesome @[foo] conceit (often found at digg.com) is any accident. He’s clearly far more interested in talking at people than with them.

    Chris, I love you too (in the most manly, heterosexual way I can… which isn’t saying a lot in my case, but whatev).

  430. 430 The Rev. Jenner J. Hull

    Kudos, Chris, for showing that not all of us are complete and utter assholes (in the sense that you meant).

  431. 431 Reynard

    It’s not just objectification of women. I commented in another thread that there’s a pretty wide mean streak that runs through all forms of reactionary “humor”. It’s not done out of an effort to be funny, it’s just a tool to keep perceived social inferiors in their place.

    I think they like to use it because most of them, once they reach junior high school, cease to age mentally. Our society really is run by a bunch of ten-year-olds in big pants.

    (Emphasis Mine)

    Reactionary “humour” is used, not because “they” cease to age mentally, but because it’s a highly effective tactic. Regardless of whom it’s used against, if you call them on it, the retorts are usually along the lines of: “Internets, serious fucking business!”, or “It’s just a joke”, or “Reny a sense of humour”, or “Don’t be so thin skinned”. They deflect the criticism of spreading hateful ideologies, and make those (those whom they are trying to demean and objectify goes here) look like self-righteous, sticks-in-the-mud, who have no sense of humour and who take everything too seriously. To the casual observer, it will appear this way. It also serves to sow seeds of doubt. Once that’s done, it becomes easier to dismiss what others are trying to tell you.

    Seemingly “good natured” joking and humour gets past the defenses very easily. Don’t kid yourself into believing that they don’t know this.

  432. 432 Sjofn

    Sjohn, thank goodness you said that. I was starting to think I was the only one who did that back in the day. It’s tough to turn someone down 100% honestly, because so often the honest truth is a variant upon, “Much as I like you, you just don’t make my ladybits tingle.” I mean, come on, there’s no way to say that without hurting someone’s feelings, and most people don’t like hurting someone’s feelings.

    Woo, thanks for replying, I really was wondering if I was the only one who had that coping mechanism back when I was in my late teens. I don’t know if I’ve gotten better at it, as the last person I had to delicately reject was eons ago. It’s nice to pretend I have, though! But I’d probably just be mean. Alas!

  433. 433 Mickle

    the_bone,

    thanks! and dear god.

    I thought he maybe just kept pressing the wrong buttons or something. I had no idea the “at” was deliberate. That gets an extra “WTF?”

    At least now I know to avoid anyone egotistical enough to use that as a greeting.

  434. 434 Laurie

    It’s about freakin’ time this was said by a man! Way to go!

    Some men will give lip service and say they understand, or they believe in the right of women to be safe… blah, blah, blah - but they say it in private when it serves their purpose and don’t get out there and take the risk of saying it loudly and cleary in public. You go for it, brother!

    Now, if we could get judges, police officers, Crowns, JP’s, and members of the Parole Board to listen…

    You rock, man - keep going with this!

  435. 435 Dene

    Sjohn, thank goodness you said that. I was starting to think I was the only one who did that back in the day. It’s tough to turn someone down 100% honestly, because so often the honest truth is a variant upon, “Much as I like you, you just don’t make my ladybits tingle.” I mean, come on, there’s no way to say that without hurting someone’s feelings, and most people don’t like hurting someone’s feelings.

    Yes, and it behooves the person you’re rejecting to want to put the blame on you as well. So if you actually do say “You’re a very nice guy with lots of great qualities, but you don’t make my ladybits tingle” (perhaps because you’re also other things that I won’t get into) the person might *hear* “You’re too nice and THEREFORE I don’t want to be with you.” Or want to argue the point by saying, “If I’m such a great guy, WHY don’t you want to be with me?” (Same goes with women getting dumped too.)

    Then you can possibly add to that the guys’ friends and family who of course also want to encourage him to feel good about himself and blame the girl for having no taste. I actually just saw this happen to an acquaintance I don’t know very well. He met a girl, really liked her, and before long she said he was a great guy but she just wasn’t interested in a relationship. Within days he and his friends had agreed on a narrative where she was a manipulative, awful person, and that turning someone down when you know he’s a great guy was crazy talk.

  436. 436 SisterGrace

    RIGHT THE FUCK ON!

    You kicked ass with this post/response-
    I’m proud of you and I don’t even know who you are!

  437. 437 Gdr

    Here’s an experience from the other side. Cycling home from work, I was stopped at a traffic light when I noticed that the car in front of me had a broken stop light. I know how easy it is to miss these things on your own car, so I decided to tell the driver. I pulled forward and said, “excuse me”. The driver took one look at me and rolled up her window as fast as she could.

    Boy, did I feel bad for scaring her.

    (Not her fault. Not my fault. The patriarchy’s fault.)

  438. 438 Sheelzebub

    My point was you just spent a lot of time telling me I dont understand how women think. But when I suggest that you dont understand how Japanese-women think, in order to broaden your horizons of thinking and understanding, you have no time for it.

    Ryan, honey–as a woman who lived in Japan for years, speaks the language fluently, and has many close Japanese women friends, allow me to tell you unreservedly to STFU.

    Those Japanese women you claim to know oh-so-well? Are routinely harassed, groped, and blamed for it. There’s plenty of fear there. Don’t be so naive.

  439. 439 Marcy

    @Those who say “don’t take it personally”, we dont fear you, we fear men as an abstract threat.

    So tell me, if Im the “good guy”, and I still get treated like Im any regular prick, then what is the incentive to be a good guy.

    So, in other words, since women cross the street when you’re walking towards them, you might as well just go ahead and rape them, since they expect it anyway?

    If you need an incentive to not attack women other than an internal moral compass, then I posit that you are not, in fact, the “good guy” that you claim to be.

  440. 440 Sheelzebub

    Thank you for allowing me to clear this up. There is likely a LARGER problem with sexual assault in JP. The difference is the social attitude in terms of the likelyhood that that sexual assualt will become violent, which is rare, most women passively accept they assault (ok I can already see it come NO I AM NOT RECOMMENDING WOMAN ACCEPT ASSAULT I AM MERELY POINTING OUT THE FACT OF WHAT HAPPENS IN OTHER COUNTRIES LETS PLEASE TRY TO BE GROWNUPS A LITTLE), and the men, by apparaent social contract seem to not beat their victims to a pulp.

    Do you actually think that a sexual assault/rape is somehow less traumatic if you’re not beaten to a pulp? Have you never heard of acquaintance rape? Those don’t end up in beatings, but they’re traumatic nonetheless.

  441. 441 Petey Wheatstraw

    My fiancee has been sexually molested (as a young teenager), abused, and cheated on by her high school sweetheart after he joined the military and dragged her halfway across the country. She was never a victim–she has always been strong (up until two weeks ago she ran an independent bookstore [eventually closed by a rapacious landlady]).

    I asked her about this and she said:
    “How could you not be afraid of men? There are a lot of creepy men in the world…there are men in this world who are stronger than me and are nutcases…I’m just being cautious.”

    It was pretty surprising to me because she’s one of the strongest people I know. I have never seen her take shit from ANY man.

    So, I don’t think the blog conveys what women actually feel very well. It rather reads as if women are all shrinking violets who live in quavering terror of the other half 49% of the species. As Susan put it, “I ‘live in fear’ of someone running me over when I’m out jogging, but I don’t stop.” Maybe that’s something to think about.

  442. 442 badgerbag

    We don’t need “how not to be a bitch”, we need The Bitch Manifesto!

  443. 443 Sara

    You know, Sheelzebub, I would argue that rape is generally less traumatic when you’re not also beaten to a pulp. It all depends on the specifics, of course, but worse doesn’t replace bad and bump it up to ok. (I actually wrote a post about this a while ago regarding my own rape experience, if you’re interested.)

  444. 444 junk science

    Mind you, the belief in the heads of some young women that macho numbskulls are the place to go to get good sex is probably mistaken, and put there by yet another kind of widespread social propaganda brought to you by the patriarchy.

    Or it could be that the macho numbskulls really are good in bed.

    Seemingly “good natured” joking and humour gets past the defenses very easily. Don’t kid yourself into believing that they don’t know this.

    True. They’re very aware of this, which is why they feel especially threatened by people who call them on their stupidity and manage to be genuinely funny about it.

  445. 445 C.Anna

    First off: *great* post, Chris. Thank you for writing it. Thank you for being aware enough to be ABLE to write it.

    Secondly: to the Mike that posted the “are all women afraid of all men all the time?” I have this to say: (speaking only for myself, of course)

    I am always, always vigilant, though less so now that I live in a small town where I know all my neighbors and can leave my bike outside overnight and have it not disappear. When I lived in East Oakland, the vigilance was upgraded to “fear”. I have been raped a couple of time, once by a boyfriend, once by a guy with a gun and serious case of the crazies, and once by a dude significantly bigger than I was - which leads me to my point.

    Or, well, maybe not a point, but more of a musing. I am much taller and heavier than your average woman: 6′1″ in my bare feet, and 235 pounds. I think that my size alone makes me safer than most women. Since I attained this height around the same time I grew into my breasts and hips (15), I will never know what it means to be womanly in appearance and also significantly smaller than most men. The size difference alone has got to be terrifying. One of my best friends is a slender chick, 5′1″. I can easily scoop her off the ground. A man with intent to hurt her would have no trouble whatsover overpowering her. I cannot imagine what it feels like to be *prey*. If I have fear at my size and with the attitude I deliberately protray when I walk, what must it be like to be a small woman? I intimidate men just with my appearance, and I am not foolish enough to lack gratitude for that, and wish that more of my gender had that god-given advantage. The other advantage I had while living in the danger zone was that I had two large, scary looking dogs that I took *everywhere* with me. Between my size and my dogs, I suspect that many would-be attackers took a second look and decided to find an easier target.

    If I were ever to have children, if they were female, they would be in martial arts classes from the moment they were old enough. And they’d have a dog. A big dog. Preferably a professionally trained protection dog, but really, any large loyal dog would do. A dog cannot be taken from you and used against you, unlike a knife or a gun or even mace. Plus, dogs are just the best thing to ever happen to mankind.

    I guess what Im getting at, in my longwinded way, is that yes, I live in constant vigilance, but if I were smaller, I think I would be actively afraid.

  446. 446 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood

    Thanks for this post, Chris. Very illuminating. The comment threads also.

    You can classify me as having been in the ‘I don’t see the problem’ camp. I’m starting to get a clue now. It hasn’t been easy to realize that I may have been part of the problem.

    Anyway, I’ll shut up now.

  447. 447 Caprica

    “So, I don’t think the blog conveys what women actually feel very well.”

    But you have to understand, until you and Superman showed up, we didn’t have any guys explaining how to express ourselves and what we really meant to say, so we were just lost floundering on our own.

  448. 448 Subgrrl8

    I’m going to say this now: Women do like nice men.

    There is a psychological link between the patterns of relationships you learn at home, and what you end up getting as an adult (until you get past it or learn better). Thus, my dad was an asshole, manipulative, abusive, and denigrating of anyone’s feelings other than his own- but still a charming bastard.

    So, uh, what did I date for a long time? Charming bastards, with variations of the rest of it.

    Now, some of them were more nice than others, all had their bad points, but it in no way didn’t mean I *wasn’t* looking for a nice man who would treat me well. It’s just that I had this relationship pattern to get through before I could uncloud my eyes and see the REAL nice men out there, not the Charming Bastards With A Nice Side and Some Potential To Not Be A Dickwad.

    So there you go.

    I also firmly believe that people need to not base their future dating prospects on high school or college years experience. Shit changes when you are out in the world.

    Chris, good post. Good points. And I hate that living in vigilance thing. It makes me truly rage-y like nothing else patriarchy-related (other than actual rape that is).

  449. 449 Sheepless

    The only time I ever got sexually assaulted, was by a female, in a “lesbian” relationship. She liked to use the word “lesbian” about every five minutes. And tried to convince me that there were rules about how a “lesbian” relationship meant that I was never allowed to say “no” to anything (even micromanagement of my clothes or hairstyle.) And that I was obligated to submit to any disgusting sexual demand, any time. She had a fixation about her strap-on going up other people’s arses.

    When I asked her, “How would you respond to me doing that to you?” she angrily stated that it would be sexual assault. But it was magically *my* fault when she did it to me. And I was the jerk for dumping her, of course.

    As a result of that experience (including the preceeding emotional arrogance and abuse), I will NEVER have any kind of “lesbian” relationship ever again. Because they simply cannot control themselves, and connot be trusted. Zero understanding of boundaries or limits.

    I expect to be celibate permanently. Much better than making myself vulnerable to another fetishistic, arrogant “lesbian” predator.

    On a platonic level, the worst users and abusers I have known were other women. Always obsessed with the money or material things they didn’t have. And either bullying me give them things, or to sabatoge my own life, and to be a loser.

    When I was young, I met numerous females (OK, let’s be direct - lesbians) who went so far as to tell me to commit suicide, to bully me to stop working harder than them, and earning slightly more money. Or who even advocated violence against me for it.

    And that’s not to mention the teeth-grinding, eye-bugging aggression and threats, when I dared to talk about the reality of mother-perpetrated child beating on defenceless girls and boys.

    Speaking as a women, I view ALL women as prospective parasites and abusers, ALL the time. I trust women to exactly the same degree that I trust men - zero. It is NOT hardwired, but rather, learned with great encouragement from many people - both male and female.

    I bet I would get lynched if I dared to say this in a room full of feminist lesbian types. And the creepy thing is that, many years ago, I almost had a delusion that I should be one of them. Until reality intruded.

  450. 450 Cassy

    I call bullshit on the Sheepless post. You hate women because one woman you had a dysfunctional relationship with treated you badly. Sexual assault is ugly no matter the perpetrator’s gender. One person does not represent all women.
    Due to your speech patterns you seem to be a man writing as a women.

    Staying celibate until you resolve your anger issues seems like an excellent idea.

  451. 451 Nazrafel

    I second Cassy on the ironically authored Sheepless (Sheeple) post. Looks like a pretty amateur attempt to yet again point out the “error” of our ways, because see, if you turn it around and apply the same logic to a totally different, unrelated and isolated (most likely fatuous) incident, obviously thousands of years and millions of women are totally and completely wrong for looking askance at the stranger tailing them down a dark and lonely road late at night. Silly wimmin! Why do you only fear men? Don’t you realize that you do this to each other at the same rate, with them same amount of violence and intimidation, with the same results? Don’t you read the newspapers and see, every day, a woman shooting/strangling/beating/stabbing her girlfriend and dumping her body in the bay/garbage/desert/woods/roadside? When will we open our eyes and realize that the real danger is US? /Snark
    Anyhow, I called bullshit for the following reasons:
    1) People generally do not “decide” to change sexual orientation as a result of one adult abusive relationship. It’s a little odd to self-id as lesbian and then swear off all women because one of your lovers is a biyatch. (If this happened most of the time with people exiting abusive relationships, we’d have people bouncing back and forth all day long).
    2) Agree with Cassy on the writing style, very dudely. None of the other women on this site or any other site say they don’t trust ANY man, but when living in a patriarchy you have to assume the worst until proved otherwise. No one says that all men are rapists and or murders, just that given the social situation that it behooves us to assume so until given reason to believe otherwise (see any conversation that begins “she should have know better than to X)
    3) You want us to believe that you (Sheepless) you were in such a tightly controlled relationship with an obviously obsessive personality and you just “dumped” the person with no repercussions other than being a “jerk”? (“Jerk” is also not an adjective generally thrown towards women, we generally get “bitch” “ho” or “cunt”, btw) In the experience of most women, hetero, homo and bi- I think it is safe to say that if you are in a relationship where the person forces you to perform sexual acts against your will, controls your makeup and wardrobe and essentially requires you to submit to their every demand- you are with a very dangerous person and if you should try to extricate yourself from the relationship, violence or at least the threat of violence is almost assured. So I call BULLSHIT in a major way. You are insulting the intelligence and experience of anyone, man or woman who has ever been in an abusive relationship by assuming anyone would believe your little one-act play where you describe your very real misogyny as a result of fantastical obsessive-controlling lover who you seem to have magically extricated yourself from with all the ease and simplicity of leaving the bathroom.
    Where did my troll traps go to?

  452. 452 AntonGarou

    I didn’t read the comments, so I don’t know if this was raised in them- apologies if it was.

    I disagree with this post, very much disagree with it as a matter of fact.I disagree with it because I think many of these “dispassionate” men are simply good, decent people who have been sheltered and just can’t believe that so many of the other men aren’t, or people with some remaining subconscious prejudice which this will help them identify and fight.And since the internet is an almost perfect example of Sturgeon’s Law they want something a bit more concrete then “I say so” and “everybody knows” when they run into a piece of news that is this alarming for them.

    Telling them to STFU will only antagonize them if they started “on the fence”(or maybe even a bit on your side) as it were.IMHO it would be a much better strategy to have a list of studies and facts that you can refer them to composed beforehand(maybe even create a common net one everyone can use?) and refer them to it.

  453. 453 Tina H

    Courage can easily be defined as “being afraid but doing it anyway.” Sure I’m afraid, but I’m not paralyzed.

  454. 454 Raincitygirl

    Well, whaddya know, Anton, we already have just such a thing on hand. Feel free to read it. And until then maybe you could STFU.

    http://finallyfeminism101.blogspot.com/

  455. 455 AntonGarou

    Thanks for the pointer Raincitygirl, I didn’t know such a site existed.Which makes my point all the more important:if you got that information, use it!Don’t tell people to STFU when you can point them at that stack of information(preferably at a specific post) and tell them “Here are the statistics on sexual harassment, here are the statistics on rape, here are studies about both- go read and tell me if you still disagree after that”.

    What you do when you send people to that information is very simple and very important:you show don’t assume malicious intent on their part, and you treat them as thinking adults.Sure, many of the people who use that rhetoric are using it to hide(either conscious or subconscious) misogynism and prejudice, but some *aren’t*.And the moment you shout at someone who was just asking for information because what he heard made him go “WTF” and he wants to be sure it’s true, you lost that guy.You lost him not because he wouldn’t listen, but because you won’t talk to him in a reasonable manner, because you won’t treat him as a thinking adult who simply wants information.

    And personally I think that at that point you betray your own purpose- ’cause that’s one guy you practically sent to the other side of the argument, one guy that will take that much more convincing that feminists aren’t all men-haters who substitute emotion for reason, one good, reasonable, guy that could have argued for the case of women and now won’t.

  456. 456 Raincitygirl

    Anton, if a guy is going to refuse to acknowledge the reality of sexism in our society because his fee-fees were hurt over some random woman in the internet not being nice enough to him, I don’t think that guy is much of a loss from feminism. It is not MY job to educate you about the injustices in the world we live in, nor is it the job of anybody else on this site. If I’m going to be a full-time educator, I want a paycheque, damnit.

    I realise this is the Thread That Ate the Internet, so it’s not unreasonable that you didn’t read the comments. If you had (I don’t recommend it if you get frustrated easily. Hell, I’m starting to wish *I* hadn’t read the comments), you’ll find repeated examples of so-called feminist allies stomping on here to flip out over being told to STFU, and making it all about them, and most importantly, denigrating women’s experiences of the world. Some of those guys were well-meaning but tactless, others were assholes (well-meaning but tactless usually get it eventually, because their questions come from a desire to know, not a desire to play ‘gotcha’). The assholes, however, heard women’s personal stories of how hypervigilance re: the danger of sexual assault affects their daily lives, and told them they were paranoid, or making it up, or driving more men to be rapists because they were being so MEAN.

    And this thread is not particularly unusual. Hell, the entire reason for the Feminism 101 blog is because of the endless derailments by clueless guys who come into threads and make everything all about them. “I know you ladies are talking about sexual assault or the wage gap, but is it true that feminists hate men? My question is much more important. How dare you not drop your existing discussion and educate me? Fine, I’m taking my ball and going home. You girls should feel pretty stupid, though, because I was totally prepared to be on your side. All I wanted you to do was to STFU and explain it all. That conversation you girls were having before can’t possibly be as important as ego-massaging me into feminism. I mean, there were no men taking part in it.”

    The STFU response is not directed at any one particular guy, it’s directed at the endless dribble of “well-meaning” trolls who insist on barging into feminist discussion forums and telling women what they SHOULD think about their own experiences. And if that means that the occasional well-meaning guy gets told to STFU, well, deal with it. We’re not on a recruitment drive here, endlessly trying to attract new members. I chose to give you that link because I felt like it, not because you are entitled to a detailed breakdown of feminist thought from any feminist you come across. You know how to use google, you can look it up for yourself if you really want to know. And if you (generic you) decide feminism in general sucks because one particular feminist (who’d probably fielded quite a few similar questions that day) decided to snap at you, then we don’t need you on our side.

    Harsh? Yup. Lousy PR? Quite possibly. But it’s not all about PR, and sometimes women, being flawed human beings, have bad days where they’re not perfect angels guiding men to the light. Or they’ve had one too many run-ins with men who pretend they want to be guided and then proceed to act like complete assholes. Because there are guys on the internet who troll feminist forums for sport (I don’t think they have lives, or they’d find something better to do), and sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a well-meaning but tactless newbie and a newbie who’s trolling his little heart out. Bottom line, if you are told to STFU, it probably isn’t personal. Read the 101 blog, come back, ask questions in a thread where they’re relevant to the topic at hand, and remember not to act like the other commenters owe you.

    Also, your thoughts and opinions are just as valid as any other commenters. However, that doens’t mean that your opinions on, say, sexual harassment are more valid than the opinions of someone who’s BEEN sexually harassed. You can disagree with someone who’s been through something. What you can’t do is to deny her experience and decide you can interpret it for her better than she can because you’re so much more objective. Avoid these common pitfalls and you’ll do just fine. Or, if you screw up and don’t avoid some of said pitfalls (and hey, we’re all human), listen when you get called out for it, apologise, and move on.We don’t eat men for breakfast here, we just run out of patience sometimes, owing to the rotten signal-to-noise ratio. WE’re actually a pretty forgiving bunch when we’re dealing with sincere people who phrased something badly by accident.

  457. 457 Erin

    I’m commenting on this rather late, so I don’t know if anybody will even read my comment, but I can’t believe that nobody has brought this up.

    I will now be thinking of this post and STFU when I’m taking part in a discussion about race, about class, about education. Thank you.

  458. 458 peter

    thanks Chris for the understanding of women
    thanks Chris for not understanding men, at all

    to all who use the argument of sexual harassment and fear of rape to support feminism:

    aren’t you aware of what you are saying? aren’t you aware that this is a totschlagargument in the real sense of the word because if women are so much afraid of men all the time you necessarily want all men to be dead, because as long as they are not dead they frighten women although most of them would never hurt them. harassment is a problem, but not good as an argument in a discussion about gender etc. because in this way ALL things men do without female support is violence against women, but you’d never think of what WOMEN do against a man’s will is the same verbal or non-verbal violence.

    Rape and harassment is not useful as an argument against men, but a fact only women are able to solve. it’s not men who have to solve it. and if women really want to get rid of the fear, they have to swallow it or kill all men. because harassment and rapists are a fact like drug abuse. you can’t get rid of it.

    or let’s put it another way: as long as women think they can get rid of the fear by accusing all men as potentially violent assholes, I will accuse them of using Sippenhaft against all men.

    what do you really try to achieve with this argument of harassment, Chris? You do not know. because there is nothing to achieve with it. or do you really think that only the modern world was aware of this problem? do you really think that men don’t understand women in their fear of being raped? do you really think you are the only one who’d be willing to help a woman in such a situation? never heard of honor killings? I know, you would only mention the women killed through honour killings, but not the male part, because he is not that important. honour killings would not only hit women, but also men that were cruel and brutal to women. THERE IS NO MAN WHO DOESN’T UNDERSTAND A WOMAN’S FEAR, BUT A LOT OF WOMEN WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM OF MEN: being dismissed latently and being a slave to her will for all of his life. that’s indeed the same as being raped. because rape means ‘to be deprived of freedom to chose by his/her own will’. Most men, by far, understand that they are slaves for their lifetime, some don’t. but to dismiss all because of only a few is injustice. i therefore think of your argument as unjust, Chris. (i know that you feminists will laugh about a man who asks for being judged equitably. think about sexism!)

    to get out of this circulus vitiosus, it is not useful to be a feminist. it is necessary to think human.

    in fact, feminists like you are the same sexists than men who think of women only as a material for his pleasure.in fact, you didn’t understand a thing, Chris, because you forgot the women who sleep with men only because they feel the power, her body has over them. doesn’t she use him as a material for her? yes she does. and she can. he can’t. yet, some men do it. you forget that sexuality is much more complex than ‘is it rape or is it not’! there is nothing more to say. just accept it.

    to put it another way: i will kill the man who rapes my daughter or wife (although I am not sure my wife wouldn’t like it because once she was raped and she actually was not so unhappy about the rape, but just about the fact that the rapist didn’t use a condom) but I’ll never accept that I have to suffer from idiots like you because of idiots like them.

    @raincitygirl:
    yes, just like men also lose patience sometimes because feminists always come up with this fucking unsolvable totschlagargument of their ‘fear of being raped’. again, it’s not a useful argument.
    you don’t want to be told what emotions women should have? I also do not want to be told what emotions I should have. like Anton said: i do not want to be treated as some mentally sick person or child who has to understand. It’s only women who have to understand, understand the nature of power. not the power men have over women (in fact, they don’t have), but power itself. I am still waiting for the feminists to understand.

  459. 459 elise

    D. Sidhe said: I always have an impulse to apologize to any man I’ve taken steps to protect myself from, but especially men who assume it was for the wrong reason.

    I know that impulse myself. I’ve started to think it’s a measure of how strong the pressure is on us to take care of men’s feelings. Like, no matter what’s happened to us, no matter who they are, no matter what else is on our list of tasks, that’s still part of Our Job.

    Something’s very wrong with that picture.

  460. 460 Elaina

    I feel like a member of some secret club as a feminist. Many of the posts on here give me a renewed sense of confidence in myself as a woman and I hope they will inspire my clients- I work in a shelter for survivors of sexual and domestic violence and facilitate the daily morning meeting with shelter residents- I’m always looking to expand their critical thinking of their habituated participation in the system that continually subordinates them.

    Thank you for giving me great examples of how to articulate without yielding to anger- that’s my problem: I tell myself so much of the time to just STFU because I’m afraid my feminist perspective will come out wrong.

    I found this blog in bitch: feminist response to pop culture. Thanks so much for existing!

    Peace

  461. 461 sandra

    Man, a whole lot of wasted funding in here. I guess we should always draw a line in the sand and not bother sharing, discussing, and educating. It certainly is always better to be quiet than to question. Questions can lead to trouble. It’s good for men and women to not ask each other questions. Let’s regress back to our primordial Victorian relations. Let us not speak the same language.

    By stfu’ing we make problems worse and we create new problems. Enjoy your boring fear-filled trivial existences.

  462. 462 KGR

    A feminist mother I know named her daughter “Sage”.
    I asked her why. She said she envisions her daughter living her life with wisdom, and seeking it always in lieu of any other pursuit in life. Not to say names like Angelina or Priscilla arent lovely, but thats all they are, really.
    That was the most beautiful yet meaningful girls name Ive ever heard. I believe women are often ignored for their inner ‘wisdom’ and almost premonitional sensitivity to other people and events.

    Being labelled instead as ‘emotional’ or what was that Mike said in a previous post ‘hardwired’ toward whatever it is he wonders a woman is hardwired towards. Mike, I may as well let you in on the fact that unfortunately many argue that men are ‘hardwired’ toward sex, and that alone. Although I agree with other posts about even using the word ‘hardwired’ in the first place. Unless Mike is a true scientist who has conducted studies…you have alot of audacity to use such a word to describe your theory.

  463. 463 KGR

    “…ALL things men do without female support is violence against women, but you’d never think of what WOMEN do against a man’s will is the same verbal or non-verbal violence…” Firstly, Peter, your post is intriguing, albeit lengthy. Shame you didnt put your point (intriguing as it is) more succinctly rather than writing a book. Oopsy I just criticised a man! Oh the fear inside me that ensues is now overwhelming! Just teasing;) Anyway.
    Now I have a question for you:
    Can you think of any example, where a woman has done anything against a man’s will? I suggest you think in terms of historical illustration(s). I cant. I wonder if anyone can. theres a challenge.

    There is only one society that exists so harmoniously some scientists feel that they may outlive us. Ants. Sure cockroaches could survive a nuclear meltdown, not us humans however. If Im not mistaken some varieties of ants can too. Those little insects that spoil picnics, there is a fascinating societal difference between ants and us humans. They are polyandric. One Queen is kept safe in her nest and reproduces with several males. She produces hundreds of worker males. They exist solely to bring food back to the colony so it survives. And only a select few mate with the one queen of the colony. A very efficient system. The worker male ants have never revolted so far as I know anyway. They just do what they are intended to do. Are they being abused on a psychological level? Please dont answer that unless you feel truly impelled to. thank you.

  1. 1 Blog of the Moderate Left » Clarke Speak
  2. 2 scotchneat.ca » Blog Archive » Clear prose and a bit of humility = must read
  3. 3 F-Words
  4. 4 “…dispassionate, rational, fact-based discussion of the issues…” » melle.ca
  5. 5 mythago performs a blog dance for your amusement - Man-to-man advice
  6. 6 Reno and Its Discontents»Blog Archive » Its Just Wrong
  7. 7 The perks of not being an asshole at PunkAssBlog.com
  8. 8 links for 2007-04-15 « Dark Corner of the Empty Head
  9. 9 Progressive Gold » Blog Archive » It’s LART* Time Again
  10. 10 My Love Letter to Dude Nation: How Not to be an Asshole « Hedonistic Pleasureseeker
  11. 11 Mike the Mad Biologist
  12. 12 Lying Media Bastards » Sexist Assholery and Its Discontents
  13. 13 Kos | ¡Para Justicia y Libertad!
  14. 14 Bingo night « Tlönista
  15. 15 That Fucken Patriarchy


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