Columns Jun 18, 2014 at 4:00 am

Not All Menz


@193 -

" It also means you're more likely to end up in jail or sleeping on the streets. "

You've actually hit on something important here in terms of what I'd consider a category of genuine "female privilege": our society is more invested in protecting and caring for women than in protecting and caring for men. And that's a real problem.

However, you're also proving what a piss-poor understanding you have of the definition of "patriarchy." Like a lot of anti-feminist, reactionary guys who like to talk more than they like to think or listen, you seem to have this idea that when we say "patriarchy," we somehow mean, "everything is awesome for men all the time," and that if you find anything that disproves it, you've somehow toppled our entire house of cards. Gimme a break.

Patriarchy means that men have more POWER. Not more happiness. Certainly not more freedom, or more safety overall. Oftentimes, the preservation of patriarchy is a bitch for individual men, and sometimes, the rules that preserve the greater power structure benefit individual women at the expense of individual men. But overall, you live in a world that takes you more seriously as a thinker and doer and mover and shaker than it does me, deserved or not. Overally, you live in a world that gives you more power to change things. Overall, you live in a world where the people in power represent your interests and point of view considerably more strongly than mine.

Oh, and patriarchy doesn't mean men are big, nasty, violent ogres, either. I could say a few things about misandry in the feminist community and how it's a real issue and how it pisses me off, but honestly, I don't care to waste that speech on you until I see some sign that you can acknowledge the bare fucking facts when it comes to that POWER thing. C'mon, dude.
"And the logic of "yes, this sucky thing happens to women, by men, and almost only to women*, but it's weird that women see some sort of gender thing here" is lacking."

@seandr: Here's what it means. It means that males are born and raised and come to adulthood in a culture that tells them that females are there for their enjoyment. So that when I was in high school, a group of senior boys held court on a stretch of high-traffic campus property and held up cards "rating" girls from 1-10. It was traumatizing for us--either the fear was you'd rank low--and be considered contemptible--or you'd rank high and be subjected to endless harassment. And no one did a damn thing about it. Not one administrator shut it down or talked about the inappropriateness of it; it was considered "all in good fun." That's male privilege.

When I went to a prestigious college as a transfer student, my boyfriend, who was already a student there, took a look at my schedule, noted who one of my professors was, and said, "oh, he's gonna eat you up." And indeed, the sexual harassment started at the second class. It got so bad I would have complained to the brand-newly-formed sexual harassment committee, but the problem was that the sexual harassment committee was headed by the professor who had just married his student--whom he met while he was still married to his first wife. I knew the two professors were friends; I chose to deal with the situation by staying away from class, by allowing myself to fail the class rather than have to deal with a man who routinely called me into his office for no reason, then locked the door behind him and talked about sex and how he wanted to "mentor" me because I showed so much promise. I was 19 years old.

Male privilege means that men can leer, stare, make lewd comments, and jokes about what my body would look like under my clothes, what it would feel like, what they'd like to do to it without ever seeming to worry about the repercussions for saying those things. If I get upset, I'm told to "lighten up" or "calm down," to "stop being so uptight."

The "boys will be boys" attitude is male privilege.

The fact that I first thought I had nothing to contribute to any kind of #yesallwomen discussion because I haven't felt shattered by a lifetime of these encounters because they seem so commonplace is an example of male privilege.

And lastly, the fact that men who've been part of this Savage Love readership community for years can't respect the request for this one week and let women tell their stories without feeling the need to first get defensive and then combative, that it is their "right" to turn this forum into a soapbox for their grievances at the hands of the most extreme second-wave feminists around--that is male privilege.

Can't you just listen for one short week? Can't you just respect your female peers' experiences? If Dan had asked you to donate money to a legal defense fund for a lesbian who faced harassment at her middle school or to fund a GSA at a high school that was systematically oppressing LGBTQ people, you all would be writing checks before I could type this. Why can't you extend the courtesy of just listening without getting defensive?
I wish I recall a story of a man doing the right thing. I know they are out there (I just haven't been around to witness it). I have come to my female friends rescue and them to mine.

Misogyny (hatred and disrespect of women) is very prevalent:…

At best, you're getting the causation backwards. Men occupy most of the positions of power because they're told that if they don't claw their way to the top, they're not Men. Combined with the treatment that men who don't claw their way up get (gay and disabled dudes are conspicuously ignored when people say "no man has to deal with harassment with this"), it's a little disingenuous to say that it's all a one-sided social issue.

As for why Sean and many other dudes react the way they do to words like "privilege" and "patriarchy", try a simple experiment. Go to any feminist blog, leave a comment including the words "female privilege", and watch the reaction. Words are very much defined by use.
@IPJ: How come they target women? What it is about women that makes them soooooooooooooooooooo much more satisfying to harass?

Seriously? Of course men get street harassed, although the harassment is violent rather than sexual.

When the target is a woman, it's about asserting their status and virility by implying a given woman would/should be interested in having sex with them. If he's with a group, he's likely putting on a performance for his friends. And I think some of these guys really do think that if they keep trying hard enough and with enough women, they might get laid. It only has to work once for the behavior to be reinforced.

When the target is men, it's about asserting status through violence and humilation.

Why aren't these men even more vociferously going after those men who "won big" as you put it

Good question. Fear? Respect? Lack of access? It does happen sometimes, such as in the French and Russian revolutions.
Once again some menz derail a conversation and make it All About Them and Their Feels. One day they'll realize they're making our point for us...
#10, you said:
"I wonder what POLY means when he says "I would like to have a main, fulfilling, and committed relationship without limiting myself sexually or emotionally."
I think what the LW meant is that he wants to have a committed primary relationship with an arrangement that allows him to remain open to pursue opportunities for sexual and emotional connections outside of said primary relationship. There's a really great book called "The Ethical Slut" by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy that details the many difficulties that Poly lifestyle can present, and offers strategies for those who are attempting to explore sex and intimacy beyond the limits of conventional monogamy, albeit without the dishonesty and feelings of betrayal that sometimes accompany attempts at non monogamy. @11, you really need to read this book. Your comment seemed massively insensitive. "an adult understanding that people get to make their own decisions in life" is all it takes? I doubt you have managed to maintain a loving and supportive non monogamous relationship with that attitude. People getting to make their own decisions doesn't absolve them from the responsibility to do so ethically while being mindful of the needs, rights, and feelings of all others involved.
@213, yeah- I wonder how this thread would have gone if ONLY women wrote on it. Maybe best to just ignore em now/
Keep trying to think of when men have stood up for me.. The coupla times I've had men show themselves , I was on my own.
The first time,I must have been 13-14, off at the movies with some girlfriends. A guy in a doorway, had his dick hanging out. I went home and told my dad, that this man hadn't finished dressing and that I'd almost gone up to him to tell him! Cannot remember my dad's response .. Innocent little me.
Sitting at a bus stop, this a pretty posh suburb in Sydney, where I grew up. Some guy offered me a lift, I must have been 12 .. I get in. In the car, I got the vibe this was not a good thing to do. Near where I wanted to get out, he asks if I wanted to go with him somewhere- can't remember what line he used- but sure as hell have those moments imprinted on my mind. I declined. Luckily, he let me out. Thank you guy for not raping me!!
Think that must have been such a warning to me, I've taken care since then. So no dangerous incidents, no need for a man to defend me..

@211 Chi Todd
'Go to any feminist blog, leave a comment including the words "female privilege", and watch the reaction.'

Funny, OED doesn't even have a listing for 'female privilege'. And googling 'female privilege wiki' only turns up Mens Rights Activists.

Good job. Try again.
@LadyLaurel: Sorry for the slow reply. Yes, what you quoted is the definition of patriarchy, although I'd rephrase it slightly as just "rule by men". However, when you look at how the word is used, it has taken on several tons of connotative cargo.

I often see it blamed for society's ills. If you think that's a straw man, all I can say is that women register misogyny more acutely than men, and men register man-hate more acutely than women, both definitely exist, and sometimes we miss it going the other way.

(I'd love to believe a matriarchy would be better, by the way, but as women have entered politics, things haven't really improved. For every Susan Warren, there's seems to be a Michelle Bachmann.)

Also, to say that matriarchy doesn't exist isn't quite true. It exists within certain domains. In my corner of the world, women rule families. Ask my kids who the boss is and they'll tell you "mom". Our educational system is, I'd say, vaguely matriarchal. And mental health, especially pediatrics, is a woman's world. You can barely find a male child psychologist in Seattle.

@213: Once again some menz derail a conversation and make it All About Them and Their Feels.

Grow up.
What amazes me is the number of truly good, morally decent, non-misogynist guys who are made to look bad by the pigs in men's clothing in various walks of life who stubbornly believe that we actually WANT to be harassed, raped, beaten, violently murdered, rudely insulted, cruelly demoralized, shamed, and made to feel we're worth less all just because we're female.

re @219, elaborated further: My point is, to good, morally decent guys commenting to this thread, mad because they "aren't like that", the best way you can help close the current Grand Canyon-sized gender gap in communication is to get mad at the PIGS IN MEN'S CLOTHING who are making YOU look bad by mistreating women this way, INSTEAD of berating us women brave enough for asserting our true needs and for speaking out against rape, violence against women, pay inequality, and other sexism-related problems in our society.

Flip the coin over to a cruel matriarchal society that shames and debases men. Guys, is that how you would want to be treated? Whatever happened to 'do unto others as you would want them to do unto you'?

@220 Part II, the Sequel:

And I believe that that is Dan's point in this week's column: As long as there is inequality, injustice, and repression; so long as rape and violence and hate crimes are tolerated, encouraged, and rewarded, and women continue to earn less than a man for the very same job, communication between the sexes is dead and will forever be in dire need of revitalization.

Okay--griz said a mouthful. Time for bed.
@11: Also, I disagree that poly takes "tremendous emotional awareness and communication skills." It just takes an adult understanding that other people get to make their own decisions in life.

Maybe I'm too cynical, but an adult understanding that other people get to make their own decisions in life seems to me like something that would be a tremendous advance in emotional awareness and communication skills for your average person.
I admit to being naive. I see plenty of evidence that violent and sexual crimes against women are tolerated in plenty of places. I don't see evidence of their being encouraged or rewarded.

I look around and see evidence of enormous improvement over the last 35 years. 35 years ago I was in college and first introduced to the possibility of domestic violence. At that time, there were hardly any women's shelters. Now, I wouldn't say the problem of men beating their wives black and blue was solved, but it sure seems to me that the police do answer the calls instead of calling it a family spat and laughing it off.

Similarly, the very fact that we can have this argument about what constitutes acquaintance rape means that we've come a long way from the days when it was automatically assumed that she was asking for it or when you needed to see evidence of a struggle even when the guy broke into her apartment and raped her at gunpoint.

I do think that there are instances when a woman takes it too far if she cries abuse over something that others would consider an ill advised off color joke, but I love it that we're even talking about where to draw the lines. Of course we're going to run into trouble figuring out what's appropriate in the workplace because women are finally in the workplace.
*gets globe*
*checks to see if the USA is the only landmass*
*notes that other countries exist*

...I feel that your definition of "our world" is completely different from mine, Hunter. In some cases, all a woman has to do is visit family in another country to be held there indefinitely because that country doesn't recognize her as a legal agent in her own right, but as property to be managed by her male relatives (… ) But yeah, let's talk about here in the US for sec.

"Real Oppression". Oh, that's priceless. Apologies for the facile comparison to race relations, but I'm sure lots of African-Americans will be relieved to hear that they aren't being oppressed anymore now that the civil rights movement achieved all their legal victories and Racism Is Over!

It is not *men with guns* who prevent women from making their own choices and living free from fear. It is an entire system that sees women as sexual, sexuality as bad, and women as something that needs to be controlled. No, of course not *all* of the country thinks this way, but enough people do that things like this are not only allowed to happen, but the system provides cover and aide to the (almost always male) perpetrators:

Amish girl whose teeth are removed for telling her mother that her brothers raped her. (… )

Orthodox Jewish girl married off to a man decades older than her against her will and abused for years, only to be completely cut off from family when she flees that husband. (… )

An 11-year-old girl who was gang raped by nearly 20 older men and boys and then ostracized by the community and blamed for being getting "good men" into trouble. (… )

Girls who are hounded to death for being "sluts" after reporting their rapes. (… )

I chose these examples not for the horrible crimes perpetrated against these women, but because in each case, the community and family (men AND women) that should have sheltered and succored the victims instead turned on them as morally depraved pariahs who somehow caused the problem by speaking out (or by merely existing as female). All of this happens *here* in *this country*, and yeah, tell me those girls weren't oppressed. Tell me those girls had choices, and legal protection, and a society willing to stand up and say, "This Is Wrong."

Real oppression. Cee-rist.
@224 Hunter 78

I think you are getting hung up on the word *patriarchy*.

It's not just about bad men in prison. You need to pull back and look at the larger picture how certain behavior effects women negatively. Better yet, ask the women in your life (your wife, daughters, mother, friends, colleagues): Have you ever been in a situation where a man made you feel unsafe or uncomfortable? How did it make you feel? What did you do? And then just listen to what they have to say. Don't talk, just listen.
I didn't address your utterly shallow comments about how women "spend more" on appearance than men because, as per usual, you only look at the surface ("women care about being pretty!") rather than going deeper and analyzing *why* women spend what you seem to think is too much time on their appearance, vis a vis men.

First: You set up men as the norm and women as the deviation. Women spend more time being pretty and sexualized than men. Men are normal, and do not do this, therefore women doing this is abnormal, or somehow wrong.

Second: You ignore that women are reared *from birth* to emphasize appearance. Little girls are "princesses" and are given playthings that focus on hair and clothing. Boys play "rough-and-tumble" and are given toys that focus on military and fighting themes. Girls who play this way and don't dress pretty are "tomboys", deviations from the gender norm, but still "cute" and "girl-next door" and (most important of all) "she'll grow out of it when she notices boys!". Meanwhile boys who like clothes and hair and quiet or cooperative play (e.g. "house" instead of "king of the mountain") are "effeminate" (which is implictly bad) or "sissies". Because it is like a girl, and that is bad. If being *like* a girl is bad, how difficult is it for many boys (AND girls) to get the message that *girls themselves* are bad.

Third: Women who don't conform to gender norms and present as straight-seeming and emphasize features (eyes, breasts, long hair) that are appealing to heterosexual men are in real danger for that non-compliance. Butch lesbians are harassed and told they will be "fucked straight". Transwomen are harassed, assaulted, and even killed for looking almost, but somehow not *quite*, like a properly-heterosexual-male-appealing woman. Women who eschew makeup and bright or pretty clothing are told they'd do better to "look after themselves". We're told our appearance is vital for our career and romantic prospects. Not our financial stability. Not our educational attainment. Not our household skills or career aspirations or hobbies and interests or emotional maturity. "If you dress like that, you'll never get a man": Because getting a man is paramount, and men want women who look good.

Actually, forget all that stuff. I was wrong, you are right. Women dress up to look pretty (sexually appealing) because they are silly and shallow and want to be sexy, because that is self-evidently the goal every woman has in mind when she picks out her outfit in the morning. There is no deeper meaning, no societal construct molding women from birth to present their gender in this way. My mistake. Silly me.
20 years ago I was an officer in my fraternity chapter. We had a pledge who had serious anger issues when he drank. We had two formal small group conversations with him, during which he cried, begged forgiveness and said he was getting help. But then one night he got drunk, drove over to his girlfriends apartment and threatened to kill her. Some other guys kept him from getting near her, fortunately. He was blackballed that evening and moved out in the morning.

Cheating is about not honoring the agreements you made with a partner about the structure of the relationship. Cheating is about lying, deception and false promises. You can be non-monogamous and be a cheater. You can be poly and be a cheater. Cheating is about character, not sex.

I think a wise course of action would be to sit down with people you are dating or married to and tell them you do not want sexual fidelity as part of the relationship. After that, take your time and explore your own boundaries here. As a non-monogamous person I can tell you that at some point you will come to the realization that monogamy, for you, was more about your partner not sleeping with other people than it was ever about you and your ability to be good at monogamy. This is where a good many people get stuck, scared and eventually give up. Because they realize that they have to allow their partners the same choices that they themselves want.

Right now you are thinking of poly as an idealized answer to your real dilemma; which is to not have others think you are a cheater. But non-monogamy is a spectrum. It's not black and white. I am not poly, but I am non-monogamous. Don't drink the poly kool-aid right off the bat. People love predefined boundaries when exploring something new. It's way easier than the self examination that's required to actually understand your OWN boundaries and what works for you and the relationships you have. You may find after a while that you ARE poly! You may find you are really more comfortable with swinging or NSA's while also having a long term partner. You may find that you don't want a long term partner but you want the people you sleep with to get the needs you don't want to fulfill met somewhere else. Once you have a handle on your own boundaries you can look for compatible partners. TRUST ME here. You can suck at non-monogamy, just like you can suck at monogamy. It really comes down to what lifestyle you want to put your energy into.

I get the feeling that you are already in a long term, monogamous relationship. If you are, you need to think long and hard about how much you fear losing that relationship. How much you might fear it if your partner is OKAY with being non-monogamous themselves. And how okay you are watching them date and sleep with other people. I often see people cheating because they just don't want their partners to have the choice of sleeping with other people. They hide what they are doing because they just cannot deal with the thought that their partner might want to do the same thing! So, if you are married or in an LTR be prepared to deal you own insecurities and fears.

P.S. If I offended poly folk with the kool-aid remark, I apologize. My intent was that the poster would be better served exploring themselves than adopting a label they think will solve a problem.
You know, I've been thinking really hard and I can't think of a single instance when a man intervened or advocated for me when I was being harassed or threatened. When I grew up my dad was always very protective of our family, but I can't recall anyone else in my adult life. I've actually experienced women looking out for me on various occasions (and a woman once even protected me against a man who was trying to sexually assault me while I was passing out) but I can't think of any men who have done so. And that surprises me and makes me sad :-(

ETA: I just thought of one! A male friend once pushed a drunk, aggressive guy who was bothering me. So I guess that's a good example.
@217: Yes, what you quoted is the definition of patriarchy... However, when you look at how the word is used, it has taken on several tons of connotative cargo.

Are there words used to describe emotionally-laden subjects that have not taken on several tons of cargo? I honestly can't think of any. People eventually make up new words when the old words get over-burdened, and then people don't like the baggage that lands on the new words, because the problem was always the baggage and not the vocabulary word. It's unfair to complain that someone discusses (insert group) privilege using a term that is accurate but emotionally loaded: it's not like they could have chosen any emotionally unloaded ones.
@230 (TheaNova): Good points. I hope POLY is still reading.

@Auntie Griz @219, 220, 221: Thank you. Well said.
@232: I will relate my experiences.

If ever there were a thread for that, this is it.
@230: You can be non-monogamous and be a cheater.
I've noticed several letters, from both sides of a couple, in which they tried to respond to cheating by opening the relationship so it wouldn't be cheating any more, and the cheater immediately figured out how to be still cheating under the new rules.

I often see people cheating because they just don't want their partners to have the choice of sleeping with other people. They hide what they are doing because they just cannot deal with the thought that their partner might want to do the same thing!
This is an interesting point, and I suspect very true.
@228 - Kes, you are remarkable. Keep on keepin' on...
@180 LadyLaurel, "If that sounds good to you"

OMG, thanks for the laugh.. Yes, that would make a world of difference..
Googled "Comebacks for street harassment, and came up with this one ladies.. I need to remember a few of these.…

I would add one I came out with once, "And I would ask you to show me your cock if I thought you had more than 4".."
241 @214, I like Opening Up by Tristan Taormino as well The Ethical Slut.

In your post, you skipped the key part @11 where I said it's important to understand that "other people" get to make their own decisions in life.

Yes, each person has to behave ethically, by their own standards, in order to live with himself/herself/SOPATGS-self (Some other point along the gender spectrum). Taking care of ourselves is our first priority in life, and keeping one's self-respect is part of that.

What people don't get to do is impose their ethical standards on anyone else, even on their life partners. You can observe your partner's ethics, and have conversations about ethics, and you can leave if you're not satisfied. But you're not in charge of your partner's ethics, and that's true regardless of whether you're in a monogamous or a polyamorous situation.

Eudaemonic @222, yes, maybe. I agree that many people don't want to let other people make their own decisions. But the issues don't get harder with polyamory, though perhaps the issues become more obvious. Fundamentally, the task is simple, even if it isn't easy.
IPJ, specific threats are evidence of a planned crime. The emotions caused by the threat are not the justification for the police getting involved.

In cases of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is not the employer getting upset because of tangible harm done to their business. It's the employee suing because she was made to feel bad emotionally.

And once again, I am not saying that any woman isn't "permitted" to feel any feeling.
Kes wrote: Allen, you don't seem to get that subway rape and workplace harassment are both intimately connected to an attitude that some men hold that women exist for their sexual gratification. I was drawing a line from one behavior to the other, and I'm just all kinds of shocked that the connection remains invisible to you.

The connection is clear, but what you're describing is a thought crime. You don't like a certain "attitude" so you're going to make it illegal. It's no different from a religious fundamentalist deciding to make the "attitude" of doubting the religion illegal. You can expose men for being entitled pigs all you want, but you need to stop short of violating freedom of thought and speech.

Sexually repressed, huh? Yeah, I'm all kinds of sexually repressed because I don't want strange men telling me all about *their* sexual thoughts regarding my body.

Wow. Perhaps we define sexual repression differently, but that's exactly what I mean. Why are you so upset that men want to have sex with you? You're like a straight guy who says he's not homophobic but is horrified at the idea of a gay man hitting on him. The shame many women have been conditioned to feel about sex is a large part of the motivation behind sexual harassment law.
LadyLaurel, people spend around half their time in the workplace. Restrictions on speech in the workplace are restrictions on speech. Some are justified by practical business considerations. But when you start enforcing politically correct speech at work to protect other employees from emotional discomfort, you're going too far. What if a gay man's employer told him to dress more butch because he was making the other employees uncomfortable? What if a Jewish man were told to stop using Yiddish words so the Christian employees wouldn't feel uncomfortable?
Allen, I don't give One Single Fuck if all the men I've ever met wanted to fuck me. I don't *care* what they are *thinking*. I Do Care about what they DO. I do not walk around thinking, "Gee, I really wish that guy opposite me on the bus would tell me he'd like to get me wet." or "I'm really glad that *nine-year-old boy* just told me his brother told him he wanted to eat my pussy."

As I told them, and as I told you, next time you have a thought about MY PUSSY, keep it to your goddamn self. Am I in a singles bar? Am I on a date with you? Am I at a party chatting happily with you about our mutual interests? Have I ever fucking *seen* you before? No? Then don't fucking talk to me about how you want to spread my legs out on your mattress. Talk to me about the weather. Talk to me about politics or Local Sports Team. Hell, I don't care if you just *have* to throw out a "You look real nice today darlin'!" I wish you'd left off the familiar diminutive, but I always respond to those kinds of remarks with, "Thanks! Have a nice day!"

What I DON'T WANT is to be reminded, in the middle of my commute while going over my grocery list and worrying that I left some food out where the dog can get it, that to some asshole on a train I am just a pussy with a mind inconveniently attached. I don't want that attitude to be made illegal because that is impossible. I want that behavior, treating women as if you sexual needs and desires about her are privileged information she *just has to know about*.

And let's not play obtuse games and pretend that these kinds of men, and this kind of harassment (strangers on the street/bus/park/wtf) is about those men trying to get those women to actually have sex with them. It is about intimidation. It is about embarrassing someone else so you can feel good about yourself. It is about getting a thrill by making someone else feel afraid and uncomfortable. It is about re-enforcing Men as the predators and Women as the prey. There is NOTHING mutually sexually fulfilling about this kind of interaction. Men are the Subjects and women are the sexual Objects they get to act upon if the mood suits them. If that's the kind of male sexuality you think is so central to men that trying to change it is "neutering" you, then you, and your sexuality, are disgusting, and I get to tell you so. Sorry if I hurt your feelings...
Lolorhone wrote: You can't make bomb jokes at airports without serious legal repercussions.

True, but also not reasonable. Real terrorists don't make bomb jokes. Also, not relevant to the issue of whether speech constitutes victimization.

You can't make sexual advances on someone you've employed without opening yourself up to litigation.

True, but the harm there is not the emotions caused by the speech. It's the attempt to trade sexual favors for a job or promotion, or the threat of being fired if the employee refuses.

Perhaps I should have said that the expression of a fact or opinion is not victimization.

You can't tell someone you want them dead or gravely injured without opening yourself up to charges of harassment/terrorist threats.

False. You can say, "I hope you die of anal cancer." But you can't make a threat because that would be evidence of a planned crime.

The consequences of how one can make another feel have always been deeply ingrained within the law- and that's hardly a leftist agenda.

False. Fifty years ago, laws against hurt feelings would've been laughable.
@242: In cases of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is not the employer getting upset because of tangible harm done to their business.

Golly is that interesting. No detriment to the office functioning, client satisfaction? Have you considered printing this up and distributing it to clients? I would expect you to have the nerve to stand behind it, after all.

Ever try that "I'd love to flip you over the desk and have at your virgin asshole" line on a client? I mean, if the only problem is your client having some "emotions" about it, and it's actually quite a humorous proposal, you should have the guts to try it on people who can make your life difficult, not just people whose paycheck you control. If you believe that no one should get upset about that, or take any action because they're upset, let's see you live that belief.

@242: You don't like a certain "attitude" so you're going to make it illegal.


No, seriously, show me the legislation that prevents you from having thoughts.

A shift in cultural morés in which people once said "racial mixing is immoral and anyone who does it should be stoned" or "joking about how you want to flip your secretary over the desk for some anal rape is all in good fun" and now those sentiments might get you in trouble may be a reason to pout, just as the judgment that your favorite style of tie is now fuddy-duddy might. But it hardly equates to arresting you, shipping you to a re-education camp, or even forbidding you to say it. It just means your employer doesn't want to hear it at work--directed at management, or your subordinates, or your co-workers, or clients--and your family and friends don't want to hear it and will get up and leave if you start. You can buy a sandwich board that reads "I'm a real man!" and walk down the sidewalk if you like, and no one will stop you.

You have free speech. You don't have freedom from any consequences of that speech.
Dan, thanks for writing this and for stepping out of a spotlight that's meant for us women, but could easily be co-opted (as other men have shown us.)

I feel lucky to have some wonderful men in my life and even more lucky to have positive stories about men I don't know quite as well. For a long time, I identified as bi, but in the past year or so I started identifying as a lesbian. A while ago I was making out with a guy in a bed and things started consensually progressing. He went down on me and I was about to return the favor, but realized that I was only going to do so because it seemed expected. I looked up at him, apologized, and said that I didn't feel like doing it. He said, "That's totally fine. You have the right to choose. Also, seriously, don't apologize." We decided to make out a little more and then went to sleep. In the morning, I thanked him for being such a respectful guy and then we had a really great conversation about consent and sexuality. At the end he said, "I hope you find a really great girl" and I said, "you too!"
Allen Gilliam @246: When did I say it should be against the law to hurt someone's feelings? The concept I was invoking was the hostile work environment, not 'That mean man made fun of me, Mommy." If you think that's just the delicate feelz of the coddled masses, I hope your insatiable gay boss is real.

You think it's unreasonable to lock someone up for making bomb jokes at the airport because terrorists don't make bomb jokes? How gallingly incompetent would security be if they just assumed that and let the person through? If needlessly mobilizing emergency resources because some idiot thought it'd be funny to make hundreds of people feel inches from death isn't worth getting incarcerated to you, I'm not sure what would be.

Finally, if the law fifty years ago is your ideal template for justice and equality, there's really no need for us to continue this debate.
@244 - workplace sexual harassment policies aren't made by feminists, they're made by HR people who want to make DAMN sure that the issue just doesn't come up. And since you mention gayness and Judaism...really? You haven't seen that employers are just as cautious with all these other "controversial" issues? Most workplace policies pretty much strive to keep things as sterile as possible.

I hope you know a thing or two about the history of women in the workplace and how we were once basically seen as professional eye candy. Current laws and policies are a reaction to that, so of course they're problematic. Reactionary policies always are. I think it's a big problem to demonize male sexuality, but I don't exactly think it's a bad idea to limit sexual discussion in the workplace.

From a legal point of view, sexual harassment is what happens when a workplace becomes outright *hostile* to a worker based on gender. That's pretty difficult to prove, but even the accusation is bad PR.

It's a complicated situation, not some goddamn matriarchal conspiracy.
Holy shit, Allen Gilliam, you have *got* to be kidding me.

Why are you so upset that men want to have sex with you? You're like a straight guy who says he's not homophobic but is horrified at the idea of a gay man hitting on him.

I live in NYC and get street harassed EVERY FUCKING DAY! I don't have the freedom of walking down the street and minding my own fucking business. Men seem to think that they have a god-given "right" to demand my attention, my smile, my appreciation for their attention. I should be flattered that some asshole doesn't respect my lack of consent to engage in a conversation? The problem is my attitude, and not the failure of some men to let me just walk in peace?

Here's the truth that you seem unable to understand... I have no safe options. If I ignore him, I might get screamed at and physically threatened. If I say "Thank you," I may be followed. If I respond angrily, possibly screamed at.

The typical response women get from men harassing them on the street is unpredictable and volatile. We just want to mind our own fucking business. Why can't you wrap your fucking head around this idea?
@217 - Seandr

So...what we've been arguing about this whole time isn't actually the definition of the word, but the fact that it makes you feel bad because you've heard it used in some ways that you don't like? And so I shouldn't use this FACTUALLY ACCURATE word?

I submit, sir, that it is you that needs to "grow up" on this issue. Respectfully.
Kes, if you don't care what men are thinking, why do you care what they say? What harm does it do to you beyond distraction? Sure, some comments are power plays, men attempting to dominate women verbally. So what? Put two fingers to your lips, inflate your cheeks, and then get on with your life.

You're asking for the power to silence any speech you find offensive. It's an unreasonable thing to expect. It would be like me, as an atheist, demanding that Christians stop wearing crosses because it reminds me that they think I deserve eternal torture in Hell. People are offended by all sorts of things. If being offensive to someone justifies banning speech, then free speech is over.
@211 - I'm pretty sure I didn't imply any causation. Certainly didn't intend to.

"Men occupy most of the positions of power because they're told that if they don't claw their way to the top, they're not Men. Combined with the treatment that men who don't claw their way up get (gay and disabled dudes are conspicuously ignored when people say "no man has to deal with harassment with this")."

I agree with all of this. This is exactly what I'm talking about when I say that patriarchy hurts men. Y'all are put under some pretty damn strong pressure to continue enforcing the social order, a social order that has you on the top and women essentially subjugated, in terms of power and influence.

Can you really blame feminists for not wanting to recognize any kind of "female privilege" when the concept is so strongly associated with MRA assholes? A lot of people just don't know how to conceive of gender roles and the struggle for equality without seeing it in zero-sum terms.

For my part, I'm extremely critical of the feminist movement and very big on the idea that we need to better recognize the difficult plight of men and how gender roles are constraining for them. But that doesn't mean we should just throw the whole movement out. The pressure to do so is infuriating.

Social movements will ALWAYS consist of some people who are too angry and too reactionary. Just look at this nonsense that's going on with Dan right now over referencing the word "tranny." It's outrageous, but he somehow manages to weather it without any talk of dismissing or discrediting the entire trans movement, or of telling them that they should stop using their terminology. Amazing!

Pro tip: if you guys really want to do something useful, put your energies into listening to feminists who aren't idiots and then form some of your own ideas about how men need to be challenging SOCIETY AT LARGE. Not feminism. Quit trolling the reactionaries and do something productive for yourselves.

Start here:
IPJ, you are egregiously misunderstanding me and I feel no need to waste time correcting you.
@253 - Like I said earlier in this thread, I'm a phone sex operator. In that context, I can pretty much handle hearing ANYTHING that men have to say to me.

But when we're IN PERSON? That's completely different. There's a potential threat that exists there which doesn't exist in the words-only context of my job. If you can't appreciate the difference, I don't think you've ever really thought hard about what it feels like to be a woman among men...
This from offwhite @251: I don't have the freedom of walking down the street and minding my own fucking business. Men seem to think that they have a god-given "right" to demand my attention, my smile, my appreciation for their attention. I should be flattered that some asshole doesn't respect my lack of consent to engage in a conversation? The problem is my attitude, and not the failure of some men to let me just walk in peace?

It doesn't even need to be followed with the idea that she has no "safe" options. For what it's worth, I rarely feel that I have no safe options to street harassment (which by the way starts to taper off once you hit 50). I generally don't worry about my safety; I always ignore the comments and have never had anyone get angry.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't worry about men street harassers getting angry when you fail to give them the response they want, it's to say that it shouldn't matter whether the woman being harassed feels that her safety is imperiled or her bodily autonomy is threatened. That women feel the need to make that point to the Allen Gilliams of the world is just another example of male privilege: we have to satisfactorily convince some man that we have the right to not want to be dragged into a personal, sexualized interaction against our will with a disrespectful stranger. The very fact that we're engaging in this argument and trying to prove what is wrong to a man who, by virtue of his sex not only feels he should have every right to sexually harass any woman he wants while simultaneously knows he is safe from ever having to live through that experience from the other side is proof enough of the existence and reality of "male privilege."

I don't have to fear for my safety to have a legitimate reason to not want to be verbally harassed. I don't need to have to get your approval of my discomfort, I don't need to have to pass some test designed by you in order to be qualified to have a legitimate complaint.
Lolorhone, calling it a hostile work environment is Orwellian bullshit. It's just offense and hurt feelings. That phrase makes it sound like people are shooting arrows at you while you try to make your way to the coffee maker.

If needlessly mobilizing emergency resources...

Whoa, whoa, whoa. We were talking about a bomb joke, not tricking security into thinking you're a real threat.

Finally, if the law fifty years ago is your ideal template for justice and equality, there's really no need for us to continue this debate.

That's an out-of-context deceptive misrepresentation of my statement... and you know it.
Offfwhite, please refer to my comment #253.
Allen Gilliam @258:

The concept of hostile work environments are Orwellian bullshit? Your privilege is showing.

How is security supposed to tell the difference between a joke and a 'real' threat? And isn't it quite possible that while they make that determination, a 'real' threat could get through in the confusion?

And please enlighten me on the finer points of offense and feelings in the law fifty years ago. I'd hate to speak on things I know nothing about.
225, Hunter 78.. Yes.. Women's power over men. Starts at a very tender age, the Mother. In most cases, the primary caregiver- and she can either be a very aware mother, or not.
And yes, young women present themselves in sexually alluring ways. Ensnaring men, as you say. Though, depending on the mans development ,
How much he has resolved of the original woman's damage to his psyche- he
Can be able to just enjoy the visual beauty of young women's bodies( as a lot of women also do, and not just Lesbian women), and not be ensnared by them. In regard to your comment re women spending a lot of money on their beauty. Some women, not all.. To actually develop ones self esteem beyond how we look, for women, also takes some inner development.
In relation to positions of power- the Structure of western capitalism has evolved over two- three hundred yrs, to suit the male timetable. Asin, to have children, nurture then when they are young and be available as they are growing towards adulthood( like 16 yrs plus), this ( traditionally and biologically), follows the female timetable..
That women are concerned for how our sisters of the Middle East are treated is a real empathy and disbelief this is still happening to women.
I am in the camp that no one should be rewarded for just not being a dick or bitch. It has been a long, long time since a man has had to "protect" me from unwanted anythings. I learned how to protect myself. How to defend myself. How to deal with creepers, asshats, twatwaffles and the like.
My advice to women is to not wait around for a guy that is not "that guy" to save you from any damn thing. Save yourself. I have a buddy system with my female friends for saftey calls, for example. Just because a guy is a decent person doesn't make him responsible for YOU, women or even other men.

That being said I want to shout out to the Trany hookers in Oak Lawn (Dallas, TX). I am a straight female that worked in a "gay" neighborhood. Or as we called it, "the gayborhood". I was walking home from work one night and a bunch of rednecks decided gay bashing me and raping me was a fun Friday night. I was beaten and I was going to be raped. The Trany hookers that worked in the area saw what was happening. They (literally) popped off their snap on fingernails and beat the fuck out my attackers. They got me away. They called 911 and got me help. When the persons were apprehended, they showed up and identified them. If things had gone to trial they would have testified. These MEN helped me at great physical risk to themselves. They identified my attackers at GREAT risk to themselves and the ridicule of the Dallas police department. They stood up for me, defended me and saved my life. I could never say thank you enough. My "medal" goes to these guys.
In my life I have had too many experiences with the "bad guys". I've been harassed at work twice, raped, and sexually abused as a small child. Then there are just the sort who believe I'm less because I'm female and threatened that I am smarter, better at my job, make more money, blah blah blah.

What keeps reminding me of the good are my three brothers. They are now each husbands and two are fathers. They do not adhere to "traditional roles" and they stand up when there is misogyny. They treat every woman the way they want to be treated. They are the best of men. Because of them, I believe men are not all "baddies".
LadyLaurel wrote: But when we're IN PERSON? That's completely different. There's a potential threat that exists there which doesn't exist in the words-only context of my job.

I understand that it sucks that women have to be continuously security conscious. It's like being the only straight guy at a gay, male, bodybuilder's convention. Okay, a guy says something crude to you in circumstances where you could be raped. If the guy's intentionally trying to frighten you, that's shitty. But does it cross the line into something that needs to be illegal? And how can you know what his intent was? Anyway, I was originally talking about workplace sexual harassment which is about offense rather than threat.
Some kick arse women on this thread. Beautiful.
@264: Sexual harassment in the work place is a double edged sword for women, in my experience. If you slap a person down that's bad (according to HR). But if you go to HR you are perceived as someone who cannot stand up for themselves.
Personally, I just want to show up and do my job without having to deal with this crap. I think it's just INSANE that I have to think about sexual harassment or sexual advances when I am just trying to earn a paycheck, have a life and a career. And to be honest that is what pisses me off so much. Men, in general, don't have to deal with this shit. When men are jealous of other men or threatened by another mans work experience they don't start calling them "honey", "sugar" or ask another man to get them a cup of coffee. They don't snark with sexual innuendo. They don't try to get other people to think of a man as a slut or treat them in a way that makes others perceive them as sexually available. Why IS that? And more importantly why the fuck should I have to deal with that just to have a job?
@LadyLaurel: Fair enough.
Also, when I was in martial arts, one of the guys in the class would always hit way too hard. He injured a few of the women. Another of the guys could always be counted on to kick his ass. Whenever this jerk would catch my eye for sparring, and would give an eyebrow, I'd turn to the other guy, catch his eye, and give an eyebrow towards the jerk- want to fight him? He'd look with a casual shrug as if to say sure, why not? The jerk would look with a slight flinch, as if to say $hit. Then I'd be sitting that round out, watching him get the ring wiped up with him.
Correction. Hunter78, you used the word " enslaved"..
I read it wrong. Interesting choice of word.
My 16 yr old son has a good friend, female- who is a lovely and gorgeous girl. Like model gorgeous. She does dress a little provocatively, and I really feel like I should talk with her, cause visually she is pure young woman
Fresh, happy, humble.. My 4 yr old granddaughter, a smart, blond haired little beauty-I have fears of someone grabbing her, because of her female beauty.
This is the female form, to be celebrated, honoured- not debased and enslaved by. So many men's response to feeling " enslaved" by female beauty,
Is to return the favour- and enslave.

OSW's complaint seems in part to stem from differences in communication styles between men and women.

As Plait stated, "try staying quiet for a while and actually listening to what the thousands upon thousands of women discussing this are saying."

OK, then what? Men like to fix things. Come to them with a problem and they break out the tool box. So some guys are misogynists, mistreating women. So, should we beat the crap out of them? Kick them out of the boys' club, what?

No, just listen. I'm not putting this down. Yes, we do have to listen to what women have to say. But women have to understand that men are driven to action. There comes a time for us when the listening is done and there is something to do. By us, by the women, by society in general. But what is it?

There's an old joke about the person who goes to the doctor with the complaint, "It hurts when I do this." So the doctor says, "Don't do that."

The sad part is that some people want to come in and say, "It hurts." But then take no advice and do nothing about it but come in again and say, "It hurts." Pretty soon, the doctor is going to figure that they must enjoy the pain. Or the complaining. Neither of which make for a healthy personality. And eventually, the doctor is going to suggest that the patient seek help for that underlying condition.
Allen,who on earth is talking about making any non-threat speech illegal? I'm certainly not, I'm just saying it would be nice if guys would quit doing this sort of thing so much and maybe police each other, as it were. I'm just's not nice, its not flattering, it's not a "compliment."
And yeah...this thread has now been quite THOROUGHLY filled with men defending themselves, giving women requirements and qualifiers, and taking bites out of feminism.

Now, I might have some sympathy for this if this had been a thread about the problems women have with men, but...Jesus, you guys. This was a thread for talking about guys being awesome. And you couldn't even avoid dominating the conversation for THAT...when specifically asked to.

I couldn't even do it for the sake of scientific curiosity? Just this once?
@LadyLaurel: This would require them to acknowledge an issue. I am going to be all femi-nazi here for a minute. Men are AWESOME at fixing a problem; but sometimes horrible at acknowledging the original issue.
I think most guys are pretty good guys. The issue with violence against women and misogyny is that, to my mind, guys are unaware of what they need to fix.

So, guys that are NOT that GUY! Here's the fix. Teach other guys, though socialization or even directly, all the things that make you not "that guy". Stop being a knight in shining armor for WOMEN. START being one for other men! We don't need you to fix us! We need you to fix other guys!
Not planning on reading all the comments: I'll just add my story of a righteous man. Before we were married, my then-boyfriend and I lived together with my seven year old daughter in a house I owned, and we rented out the upstairs to another couple. This couple fought a fair amount, and sometimes got really loud. On one occasion, the man started to get verbally abusive, shouting at her and calling her names. My future husband didn't intervene right then, but the next day took him aside and said "we can't have someone living here who treats women like that. We are trying to raise a daughter, and we want her to understand that behavior towards women is totally unacceptable and she never has to tolerate it, so we're asking you to leave now." And BOOM. I suddenly wanted to marry him.
@271 Holmes
'And eventually, the doctor is going to suggest that the patient seek help for that underlying condition.'

What underlying condition? Misogyny?

'There comes a time for us when the listening is done and there is something to do. By us, by the women, by society in general. But what is it?'

If you want to fix things, get out your tool box. First legislatively. Don't vote in assholes like Todd 'Legitimate Rape' Akins and the like. Vote NO on bills that limit women's reproductive choices. Write your congressman and senator. Call out your friends, colleagues, relatives when they mistreat and disrespect women. Tell them that it's not OK. If you see a woman in a dangerous or threatening situation, come to her aid.

Sadly, many men minimize or dismiss our concerns. Hopefully other men will listen to you.

@271, you don't have to "do" anything/ just listen and keep adjusting your own attitudes. Each man, each moment..
I entered this conversational thread in good faith, & fulfilled Dan's request to talk about am upstanding guy that came to mind (my pal Jody). As I hit "save", I thought to myself, the men reading this thread aren't gonna let it go.

There's gonna be a few women who can't think of a time when a guy stood up for them - check, that's happened - & then dudes are gonna drop in, tell women how they're wrong, or how they need to grow a thicker skin or how men can't help themselves, what with women dressing all slutty.

Didn't predict the "Grow up" comment, but that tone? Yeah. Every time I've tried to have a discussion about misogyny & how it affects women (& also limits men!) every day, the responses are just like this. #1, No all men. #2, what about male victims of rape & harassment*. #3. you women, if you didn't dress that way, we'd leave you alone. We're animals, "it's in our nature". #4. Women: get over it &/or you're exaggerating, it's not that bad.

Presumably, Dan Savage is a man some of us admire, that's why we're here, right..? & Dan *asked us* to have the men just listen, for this one week, about this topic.

I knew it wouldn't happen. What's depressing is how positive & open-minded some of you dudes seem about other topics, but with this one, I could be reading the comments thread from Gawker or the Daily Beast. :/

There was a thread awhile back - I forget who'd written the article, maybe Bethany Jean Clement? - but it was about a guy who came up to her on the street & just hissed at her: "Nice tits". She felt (justifiably) freaked out. I recounted a time when a guy had followed me for a long city block in NY, cajoling me to smile. When I asked him to go away, he yelled & screamed at me, called me a crazy bitch.

Both of these incidents were bulldozed over by some guy members of the Slog commenter pool. So I think this was a A for effort, via Dan, but it's too bad this conversation feels just the same as when it happens elsewhere.

BTW, if you're thinking, I'm friends with women, & I've never heard about street harassment or worse..think about the reactions above. If you knew that telling someone about something fucked up that happened to you meant that you'd likely not be believed, have to convince people & bonus, it wouldn't change anything - would you bother? Most women I have talked to about this experience those kinds of things so often it just becomes ordinary to them/us.

* = I mean in no way to diminish the impact of harassment/abuse of men, by women or by other men. But that is a topic that frequently gets rolled out when women try to discuss their experiences to derail the conversation.
P.S. - thanks to all the grrls & guys who *did* enter into the above conversation with good faith. It's appreciated. Inevitably some NAMM (Not All Men, Man) will doggedly hang in there to have the last word. But ain't nobody got time for that.
This whole comments section makes opposite-sex attraction seem even grimmer than usual. Some dismal shit here...
Allen @264: are you seriously saying that threatening people with rape or bodily harm shouldn't be illegal? Why the hell not?
The internet has a way of bringing this stuff out. I don't think most people secretly feel this way and are more honest about it in anonymity, I think the format makes it possible for four people to seem like forty. Once the crazy hits the tipping point, the normal people stop talking and well, its circular. It's sad, because the conversation we tried to have had good potential.
Fuck ya Dan, you finally got it right when it comes to misogyny!
@262 "trany[sic]" is an offensive term for anyone who is transgender or, less commonly, anyone who is a transvestite. If the people you were talking about were transgender, then they're not men. They identify as female and should be referred to as such. If they were transvestites (crossdressers) then tranny is still an offensive term.

Anyways, I know Dan asked for women to share stories of men standing up for them, but my story is about my best friend and not myself so I think that's okay? Also, I'm FTM so I did suffer a decent amount of the harassment relevant to this topic prior to coming out and transitioning.

This happened about two years ago, when I was 18. I was clubbing with a group of friends; several, including my best friend, were people I'd known for years, but two of the girls we'd only met a few weeks prior. This was maybe our third time out with these girls. We were in a club, and I know from other guys that this is known to be the club you go to if you're looking for a hook up - by which I mean "the girls get drunk and easy". I never had to look far to find guys being sleazeballs when I went out clubbing, but this club was always crawling with them. And one of them latched onto one of our new friends. She's pretty small, he was much taller, somewhat built, and very pushy. He'd barged into her personal space to dance with her and was pretty much man handling her to do it - grabbing her by the waist, pulling her right up against him, trying to get her to kiss him. She tried to play it off like it was fun and not at all creepy, but after thirty seconds of trying to gently extract herself from him, it was pretty obvious he wasn't letting her go. So my best friend - who is nothing but skin and bones, and has only met this girl three times - slides in between them, takes over from the douchebag, and doesn't let him grab the girl back when he tries. She looked very relieved and thanked him sincerely. I'm even smaller than my best friend, but I always remember that when I see guys being douchebags in clubs because the look of relief on that girl's face made me remember all the similar harassment I used to face and am now thankfully (mostly) immune to.
@235 nocutename: Thank you, too, for equally excellent comments in this thread. I say the damnedest things when my back is up.
@251 offwhite: Unfortunately, from reading Allen's reprehensible comments, he obviously already has his head too wrapped up in his pants to have a clue. Maybe he needs a wedgie--or a zap in the badoobies.
@260 lolorhone Thank you and bless you!
@273 LadyLaurel: Agreed. *sigh* This is largely why I remain so blissfully single and live alone.
@266 & @274 TheNova: Bullseye and thank you!

Thank you, those of you with good guys actually being truly good guys comments. We need more like comments, and more of you.

@Eva Hopkins #279

You're absolutely right on all points.

I'd like to add that a reason for female silence about it, is a common reaction to being bullied : shut up and lick your wounds in private.

Allen Gilliam, you're just a bully, defending bullies. You make me think of the way religious types react when one of them has been found guilty of a crime.

What is the name of this religion you're fighting for, Allen Gilliam ? The name of this religion which prefers a male "Me" over a male-and-female "We" ?
When POLY said he "would like to have a main, fulfilling, and committed relationship without limiting myself sexually or emotionally", did he mean that only he would have the right to screw around? Nowhere in his letter did he indicate he was willing for his lovers to themselves enjoy the same privileges. I got the impression that being poly is for him exclusively!
@225 Hunter78

"women enslave men with their beauty"

Think about it for a minute.

Do you want to spread several layers of powder and paint on your face each and every morning ? Do you know how it feels, to have paint covering your face, preventing fresh air to touch your skin ? To have to check every hour, if the paint hasn't been smudged ? To reapply some after each meal ? To get rid of all of it (and it takes time) before each night, however tired you already feel ?

That is life with makeup.

Have you ever worn underwear with only a string going inside your ass-cheeks ? It chafes horribly. Have you ever worn tight clothes which are designed to malfunction every second you walk ? It's uncomfortable. You have to check your every moves. Your body is constrained. It's not fun. Can't run, can't lift one's arms.

That is life in alluring clothes.

Women are heavily peer-pressured to do conform to that.

What do you think of women who don't show their bodies, who don't apply make up, who don't shave their legs, Hunter ? You think of them as being not-normal females. As being less-than.

In this world of men and women, we're all losers.

Don't believe that women as a whole have decided to choose to enslave man with their beauty. Each one is told that if she doesn't, she's not a true female.

Just like I don't believe than today's men as a whole have decided to choose to enslave women with domestic tasks and poor recognition and the like. But many of them are pretty happy that their forefathers did, and they'd go a long way to make things stay this way. Because face it : it's convenient for you males. Very convenient. "Female executives would be as successful as male executives if they had a wife at home" : so true. It's not the executive who does the difference, it's the human devoted to the executive at home who does. Every male gets a mostly-free female worker at home to help him along, that was the good old ways. Be a slave for your boss at work, and have a slave at home to be the boss of. Very convenient. Except for half of the population.

Most of us, males or females, are sheep ; don't go thinking that females are wolves, because they don't want to be second-class sheep. That has to stop.

And to stop that, male sheep have to listen to female sheep, instead of blaming them for being sheep, just like them. Some stuff we have no choice over. But some stuff, males can help deal with it.

If you just started listening.
Oh, and Hunter78, about makeup and women : most women will love the effect of their makeup ; it does them more pretty, and that adds to their inner and outer value.

Think Stockholm syndrome.

The only way out of makeup is loosing part of one's worth. Would you dare to do that, if you were a woman, Hunter78 ?
Am I the only one who thinks that men physically defending women (either by beating up the offenders, or by threatinenging violence, or by just being physically intimidating) are part of the problem? (I am excluding cases where the situation is so that the only possible intervention is a physical one.)

If I am harassed or insulted, I am grateful for anyone who takes my side without thinking that the situation demands threatening or exacting physical violence. A man stepping up and threatening another man for cat-calling, just annoys me, because he perpetuates the notion that a strong men has to protect those fragile women.

@279: & then dudes are gonna drop in, tell women how they're wrong, or how they need to grow a thicker skin or how men can't help themselves, what with women dressing all slutty.

It's my hope that part of his column next week will be a quote of his directions, followed by quotes from Allen et al explaining how this is all about them and women are bitches who aren't in touch with their sexuality and secretly are asking for it, without further comment.
There's a tenor to the arguments that a couple has during the first two years of their child's life that I've found to be the same in every household: namely, that each person thinks: I'm doing more work than s/he is. When you see the subtext of the argument this way, it's easier to break it down and resolve it. Because to each person, he or she really is doing more than the other. This is partly because we are really somewhat narcissistic and have a hard time understanding that everyone else doesn't experience things just like we do; it's mostly because the "work" that anyone is doing is like an iceberg: only part of it is visible; most of it is below the surface, and can't be easily apprehended by someone else by a visual check. So only you, yourself, knows what you're really doing, and your partner only sees a little bit of it.

So I see these gender spats that crop up here similarly. Each side thinks that the issues it struggles with are unseen and unappreciated by the other, while simultaneously seeing only the tip of the other's iceberg. Here's the thing about icebergs: they're dangerous. (Cue Titanic reference.) Until global warming melts them, the only way to be safe when traversing the seas they are in is to navigate around them. But to do that, sailors need to have equipment to detect the whole of them, not merely the tip that rises above the water's surface.

For example, Hunter78 sees women enslaving men through their beauty, and many of the women here don't think that Hunter appreciates what that "beauty" thing is all about--how the beauty industry preys on insecurities, how women often feel enslaved by it and to it, how they resent it but know that mainstream culture demands it as a normative sign. But to men, or Hunter, at least, it is a weapon that women have at their disposal to lure men into having to work to appease them.

I always hope that a forum like this column's comment threads can help make those submerged facets of human experience more visible to the others. Because an understanding of the other's experience, a view to what's below the visible surface of the iceberg is crucial to working our way around it safely. Ideally, I'd like to be able to aim a sort of laser at the submerged part of the iceberg, to melt it way, make it disappear. I am idealist enough to hope that with enough willingness, we can make a large part of the iceberg melt away, and at the very least we can map its bulk accurately so in the meantime we can navigate around it instead of having our hulls ripped open by it.

This is why I don't necessarily mind the male/female experience/attitude divide that often crops up here--though I wish it could be done more civilly than it often is It's interesting to me that the gay/straight divide isn't nearly as wide as the male/female (particularly the straight male/straight female) one is. But sometimes when I see these discussions devolve into name-calling or people's willing obtuseness to get the other one's point, I feel so discouraged. Is this really as far as we can go?
'Why do women spend much more than men on their appearance? The utterly shallow answer is, according to Kes, the patriarchs have forced mothers everywhere to give pretty things to their daughters and keep them from rough play.'

Well, according to science, parents place an emphasis on a daughter's appearance that isn't placed on sons. Parents are more likely to google 'Is my son gifted?' and 'Is my daughter overweight?'. Boys are taught to focus on their intelligence and skills and girls their appearance. From cradle to the grave. But don't trust me, read for yourself:…
@295 - ah, but don't you know, albeit? We women just need to have a thicker skin and not care what anyone thinks of us! Unlike guys, you know, who have to deal with REAL social pressure when it comes to being "manly enough"!

Nocutename - thank you for your very sober and wise analysis of all this.
One of the main issues we're trying to address with in the #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen discussion is the idea that men can't control their sexual urges, so it's up to women to not tempt them too much.

I find it really interesting that the two most vocal males in this thread are arguing that female beauty enslaves men (Hunter78) and that men should never have to worry about repressing their sexuality (Allen Gillam).
Allen - you seem to be overly focused on the workplace aspect of this discussion. I'm curious about a few things. Is this an issue that you've personally dealt with, ie. have you had someone lodge a complaint against you? And if so, what was the context? Why is it so important to you to bring your sexuality into the workplace? Unless you work in the sex industry, it's really not relevant. There are plenty of personal, non-work related subjects that I will avoid if I become aware that it's making my coworkers uncomfortable. (Graphic descriptions of dealing with injured animals, for one.)

I'm curious as to how you would react if every time you made a sexual joke your female coworker launched into a detailed description of her last menstrual cycle. Would you consider that appropriate office discussion? Or is that something you would strongly prefer not to hear about?
LadyLaurel, I originally took issue with someone lumping dirty jokes in with physical sexual assaults. I'm defending free speech against political correctness and sexual harassment lawsuits. Defending the principal of free speech is often unpopular. I'm reminded of all the shit the ACLU caught for defending the free speech rights of neo-Nazis.
Gueralinda, a clear threat should be illegal. But "Nice tits." is not equivalent to "I'm going to rape you." And a dirty joke certainly isn't a threat. I'm saying that speech restrictions based on political correctness are about protecting people from being offended and enforcing an ideology rather than protecting anyone from tangible harm.
IPJ wrote: It's my hope that part of his column next week will be a quote of his directions, followed by quotes from Allen et al explaining how this is all about them and women are bitches who aren't in touch with their sexuality and secretly are asking for it, without further comment.

Dan won't do that because nobody said anything like that and Dan, unlike you, is not fond of manufacturing straw men.

Regarding not following Dan's directive to let women tell their stories about good guys: I originally took issue with dirty jokes being lumped in with physical assault in comment 96 where Nursepotter was violating Dan's directive herself by detailing men behaving badly and nobody defending her. So, at the risk of sounding like a ten-year-old, she started it.

Dan didn't say that all men had to stay out of the comments or that other issues couldn't be raised. He only told men not to complain that not all men are like that.
BarnChick, I haven't been personally victimized by sexual harassment lawsuits.

I'm opposed to the government getting involved in legislating good taste or politeness at the expense of free speech. It's a slippery slope. Many people would consider it impolite to advocate for gay rights or comprehensive sex ed in the workplace.

Another facet of the problem is the censoring of "cultural insensitivity" on college campuses.

Censorship is not okay, even when liberals do it.
@Allen Gilliam: You're right that "nice tits" isn't the threat that "I'm going to rape you" is, but I would hope that you see that they exist on a continuum. And that where the concept that it is perfectly okay to talk to a total stranger as if she is an image in a magazine or on a computer screen up for evaluation and consumption, in which none of the social rules of polite behavior have to be observed because images on paper or screens aren't actual people exists, it makes it far easier to dismiss the owner of said tits as being an actual person who should have some say in how she wants strangers to interact with or approach her.

I'm not going to go back over the whole thread, especially because this hasn't been my axe to grind, but I don't think anyone has been suggesting that catcalling on the street be made illegal (for one thing it would be pretty unenforceable), but it would be a menschadik* thing to do to acknowledge that based on the testimony of the women who've been chiming in, you understand that the overwhelming majority of us don't find such comments flattering or benign; that rather we find them irritating, demeaning, said with the intent to either humiliate us or as a prelude to a further, far more unpleasant interaction.

Someone (you possibly) began with the idea that a catcall is a compliment. This could well lead to the idea that that women are being overly sensitive to them, perhaps even hypocritical, since they spend a lot of time, money, and effort (as Hunter 78 points out) in making themselves attractive to men, and that if they are sufficiently attractive to men, men will be under their control. The other male attitude expressed here and elsewhere is that having someone express sexual interest in you should be no big deal or even welcomed, as the man only wishes he were the recipient of such indicated female sexual appreciation.

We tried to tell you why we don't feel that way. It would be menschadik for you to see our point and to acknowledge our viewpoints, maybe even to concede that you hadn't thought of those aspects of the issue of street harassment before.

As to illegal sexual harassment in the workplace--you'll have to take that up with the Supreme Court.

* Yiddish for "decent," as a good human being
@301: You raised a specific example, that someone telling their subordinate about a desire to tip them over the desk and have at their virgin asshole was not something any sane person would take exception to unless they're some sort of permanent victim. Generalize that specific example to any sort of "I'm thinking about fucking you," including your "nice tits" above. You are the one who expressed this as something one might direct to a subordinate.

When I ask if this "any reasonable person wouldn't take any exception to this" claim of yours applies to people whose mild displeasure might cause you problems, all of a sudden you appear able to keep all those workplace urges to comment on the tits around you under wraps. A full 180 on what any reasonable person might visibly react to in a negative manner. Which suggests you don't believe a damn word you're saying. (And that 298 is onto something.)

This isn't "do you give or take assignments" or "do you give or take criticism" from this person. It's "do you expect they will stand there and smile, because all sane people would realize this is quite witty and laugh, or at worst shrug it off and not otherwise react." If you wouldn't comment on a new client's tits when your boss introduces her, then you know damn well it's not appropriate to your co-workers, subordinates, or women who are engaged in activities like "trying to drink their coffee in a coffee shop."
@303: No one has suggested making street harassment illegal; many have suggested making it something that is socially frowned on, at least pushing social morés in that direction.

Allen, however, appears to have a victim mentality.
You know, something can be legal and still not be right. Speech can be protected and still be shitty. The American Nazi party had every legal right to march in Skokie, IL back in 1977, but that didn't make it a decent thing to do. Especially when the point of marching through a predominately Jewish community in which 1 in 6 residents was a Holocaust survivor, could be legitimately interpreted as an extremely hostile act of aggression. The Supreme Court still protected the display of the swastika as an act of free speech.

So there's no doubt that street aggression towards women (i.e. catcalling, telling women what you think of their bodies or what you'd like to do to them sexually, rating their attractiveness appeal) is protected under the First Amendment. That's not in question.

Indeed it could be argued that yelling "nice tits" at a stranger is essential to someone's right to the pursuit of happiness. But that stranger with the tits, she has some rights, too. She has a right to feel safe and unharassed. Indeed it could be argued that her right to the pursuit of happiness rests on her ability to be unmolested, both physically and verbally, as she goes about the business of her day.

What is at the center of this issue is whose rights are to be more respected. Is it of greater importance that someone's right to free speech, even if the purpose and intent of that speech is to make someone else feel uncomfortable, demeaned, unsafe, not be abrogated or is it more important that people's rights to go about the ordinary business of their day, safe from being made the unwilling participants in a stranger's sexual conjecture about them be upheld.

The laws say that those rights are equal; the mores, the standards, the (yes, patriarchal) culture at large all say that the right of the street harasser to freely speak, even if that speech is offensive, are more important than the right of the target of that offensive speech to not be in that position. Why do I say this? Because there is no historic equivalent, as well as no social/cultural equivalent for a gender reversal. The fact that women are having to argue for something which basic decency would make a non-issue is evidence of male privilege, of a patriarchal culture.

Lastly, Allen Gilliam and others who feel the same way: If your mother told you that as she walked down the street a group of men hooted at her and one told her that he'd like to eat her pussy, would you say to her: "Yikes, Mom. That sucks, but you've got to respect his First Amendment right to say that." If your 12-year-old daughter came home from school in tears because as she was walking home some adult man driving by, slowed his car, rolled his window down and yelled, "want to see my cock?" would you say: "Oh honey, don't take it so seriously. Think of it this way--that guy thinks you're cute. You should take it as a compliment." If your wife, your girlfriend, your granddaughter, your sister told you that as she was sitting in a cafe studying, a stranger sat next to her, far too close for her to feel comfortable, and said, "man, I could really get into squeezing those nipples" and then, when she got up to move to a new table, he followed her and sat near her again, would you say: "Lighten up. Stop being so uptight. I only wish some woman would show that much sexual interest in me! What's your problem?"

Would you accuse your mother, your daughter, your girlfriend, wife, or sister of trying to claim "victim status?" If not, I'd like to know what prevents you from extending the sympathy, even the righteous anger I sure as hell hope you'd feel, to all women.

I've had two of the preceding experiences happen to me, and I didn't say a word about it because I knew no one would tell me there was anything to be done. Because I know it happens to women every day. When I was 12, as a matter of fact, I felt somehow guilty, dirty and ashamed, as if I had done something bad, something to make that man believe he had the right, the just cause to make that comment. Because his male privilege told him he did. Because he knew he could get away with it.
@306 in continuation:
The fact is when men get angry at instances like the ones that I gave as examples of street harassment, it's typically because someone did something to their womenfolk. It's his wife, his daughter. No one talks that way to my mother, my sister. It's their possession that has been insulted; it's their property that has been disrespected.

That's patriarchal culture at play.

If Allen Gilliam or his defenders argue that women who object to being treated this way are claiming victim status but would rush to the defense of their own female family members of the objects of their romantic affection, it's because of a patriarchal system they still buy into.
@302 Nobody has suggested or implied that remarks be illegal. You're arguing against something that no one has brought up. I certainly wouldn't want it - I'm the Queen of dirty jokes and innuendo. And yes, there have been a couple occasions where I've inadvertently made people (male and female) uncomfortable. So I apologized and refrained from that type of humour with those individuals. BECAUSE IT'S THE CONSIDERATE THING TO DO. As it would be with any other non-work related topic that was making people uncomfortable. (Ie. "We all poop... Why don't you want to hear a graphic description of my diarrhea?")

And sexual remarks are far more loaded than the other examples I've provided. Harassment, assault and rape are very real threats that #YesAllWomen have had to deal with. I'm willing to bet that almost, if not every woman on this thread either knows someone who has been raped or has been raped herself. It's not an intellectual discussion about a highly unlikely possibility; it's something we've had to deal with on a very personal level.

Do most guys who catcall or shout rude remarks have any intention of assaulting their target? I doubt it. But many women who've been assaulted by strangers had it start in that manner. So it makes them nervous.

Are sexual jokes automatically a rape threat? Of course not! But once again, many women who've been acquaintance raped had it start with a guy (sometimes coworker) who started with the heavy innuendo and refused to quit/got offended when she made her discomfort known. So that type of behaviour rightfully raises alarm bells.

All this comes down to is showing some courtesy for your fellow human being, regardless of gender. Taking a moment to think about how your words and actions effect others and why they have that effect. Not about banning dirty jokes.
let's go all equality and have everyone from any gender explain circumstances in which anybody stood up for them.

my guess is people that stand up for others, stand up for themselves, as well as having a history of people standing up for them. they have to learn it from somewhere.
I love your response to this, Dan. Thank you for inviting women-only responses about the ways we've experienced the goodness of men in this area. A decade ago I was flying from Israel to Heathrow, seated next to a man who hated Americans and women in particular and was visibly harrassing me on a full plane. The young man across the aisle offered to exchange seats. I am not a small woman or an easily frightened woman, but this man did something I won't forget. Now, on the other hand, I have dozens more stories of misogyny that did NOT get addressed by men, and I agree that misogyny and homophobia are intertwined. But that would be another thread.
I'm a 16 year old girl, but I look quite older than my age and often get hit on in public by men who are way older than me. The other day I was down at pike place market outside the starbucks waiting for my friend to come out with her drink-it was a bit too crowded inside for me. I was sipping on my latte when a man came up to me and asked why "such a pretty little lady such as yourself" was drinking alone. I was visibly uncomfortable as he sauntered close to me, obviously trying to get a look down my shirt. I told him I'd prefer to be left alone and got the "come now, don't be unfriendly!" response. Just then a younger gentleman came out and saw the crisis. My body language must have been horrifyingly clear since he came right over and said "honey, I got you your splenda! Can I help you?" while turning to the older man, who stuttered a no and left. He turned, smiled to me and apologized. I could hardly mutter out a thanks before he left. Thank you, anonymous splenda-proffering starbucks gentleman. (and yes, I know this brings up the whole issue of "men respect men more than a girls right to say no", but at the moment I was frightened and caught by surprise and so in my mind, the man is still a hero)
@306 nocutename
' I'd like to know what prevents you from extending the sympathy, even the righteous anger I sure as hell hope you'd feel, to all women.'

Lack of *empathy*? See also: Sociopathy.

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