Features Jun 5, 2013 at 4:00 am

Two Can Play at This Game!


"i don't know why guys don't seem to want to help when they see this kind of thing going on. But I think that was more Cienna's point then "All men are horrible" which is what many of the commenters seem to want to take away from it."

actually, to get all linear and logical, Cienna did say all men are the problem and referred to "your" bad acts referring to all men:
"What men need is a wake-up call: You're the problem. . . . You're making us feel unsafe every day, in a thousand different ways. To help you better identify your harassing behavior" -- this is simply wrong, as not all of us (a) harass, or even (b) stand by while others do, assuming we have some kind of knightly honor obligation to help the poor, weak wymen.

The reason we don't want to help is likely that in today's world you can get hurt if you help, we let everyone have guns, and it's not our job to police wrongdoers just like it's not my job to "help" a storekeeper who's getting ripped off. And every point made about the reality of the physical threat posed by verbal harassment would support this. The notion I as a man have an obligation to confront some violent asshole because he is lewdly commenting on a bus -- so if I say hey cut it out dude, and he says what you gotta problem and pulls out his knife or gun -- well you see where there can be a downside to intervening.

I was taught if mugged to just hand over the wallet. While sometimes I would help, particularly if seeing actual physical violence on someone, anyone, not just a woman, really, most of us won't help because we might get shot and frankly it's a bit sexist to demand that men in general help. Why is that, because in general we're all big and strong? seems like there's double standards creeping about.
great piece! reminiscent of classic stranger stuff prior to the current takeover of the young, male, confused, hipster. the womenfolk are gaining control again! right on. highlight of this great party wagon? the illustrations of course! i have experienced the disrespect second hand several times: wife got: groped at a show, at hempfest, compliments in stores "oh your so cute!" kind of wack shit. sadly, this situation will never change until we develop the ability to engineer human "essence". in laymen's term: kill the asshole gene. of course all the assholes say then, "how we gonna kill meat without the asshole gene?". corkscrew type debate to be sure. highlights tho: Gabriel? loved the stand up. you one funny, truth telling m-f er. but...You ain't gay?!!!! tight asses on bikes (yuck!...well kind of), tight ass in tight jeans walking down capitol hill?? come on austen, santino is calling for you...it may just be me!

Yup. But WE'RE the overly sensitive ones.

How common is "aggressive staring" and where do you draw the line?
@191 - I think your response is part of the problem. Lots of dudes here 100% behind the not-harrassing thing, always have been, always will be. taking swings at everyone is a pretty good way to lose rather than gain allies.
I don't care if a man is over 6 feet tall with ripped abs, nice eyes and a face like those guys in the mens razor commercials. If I don't know him and he comes on too strong, I am NOT going to be attracted to him. (In my case, I'm rarely attracted to men I don't already know anyway.) This idea that women like being harassed by good looking men is completely wrong. There are some approaches that just will never work no matter how good looking you are.
If many (okay, the VAST MAJORITY) of these aggressive males were willing and able to comprehend what it feels like to live in a world of 10-foot-tall people, many of whom have little or no regard for the intimidation they emanate at will, essentially as an uncorrected, aggressive habits they accumulated as young males in a male-dominated world, they might easily see the problem –– but they can't or won't.

It should also be noted that many of these same damaged males for whom this behavior is still a problem, actually WERE, as kids, subjected to a similar (although not necessarily always sexual) harassment, and are now projecting their unresolved experiences upon vulnerable persons, i.e., women.

Still other males early in life acquired the validated "permission" by example set by older males: "This behavior is how we assert our social dominance over women and we will be rewarded by our male peers, and possibly, the most easily-manipulated of the women."

This could go on...but are there no psychology pros to whom to the Stranger can refer? It is clear this discussion needs more than crudely-drawn cartoons alone can provide in these scant few pages of the Stranger.
Oh, Jesus!
And on a sadly similar topic with chilling similarities, see...

"Bugs in Your Bed
Seattle's Imminent Bedbug Crisis"
by Brendan Kiley

...with the apropos reference: "sexually antagonistic coevolution"

lol there are some crazy guys out there but ladies you can be full of it too sucking up to the boss or to somebody who can do something for you at work.and too many times if you are the hot guy you can do anything to women but if you the wrong guy it is time for you call HR.but women will never stop men from hitting on them, sounds like to me the folks who wrote this are angry not just at the rude guys but want control over which men step to them.

You actually don't have to be super attractive to suffer street harassment, I say from experience as an average looking woman whom some might describe as cute on a good day. All you have to be is there withyour vagina in tow.

Here's a list of what I, an average sometimes cute, woman, have endured:
Ass smacking, commands to smile, being offered money for sex while I sat reading in a cafe, a man whispering the following in my ear as I sat in my bus seat: "I'm going to rip your clothes off," a bus driver joking about how he was going to kidnap and imprison me while I stood near the front door waiting for my stop, a man walking next to me down the ave in broad daylight saying sexual stuff (he finally left when I walked into the Varsity lobby, pointed to him and loudly announced that he was following me), chased me on my bike demanding to perform oral sex on me, stared at me through the skylight of my apt., called me a bitch, called me a cunt, when I was 12 an adult man whispered to me that I had nice breasts when my grandmother turned her back, taunted me with sexual comments and questions about my body as I walked to Planned Parenthood, asked me if I'd ever had an abortion, whistled at me as I stood in my apt. doorway then pushed in the door and cornered me in the stairwell after I rolled my eyes and went inside--Thank God for neighbors, threw a beer bottle at me after I yelled: Fuck you! in response to his sexual comments, sat downin the booth next to me and blocked my way out after I told him I was not interested in having sex with him--I ended up climbing out of the booth, picked me up off the floor after I moved away from in front of him to get a better view of the band, picked me up off the floor while I was dancing, picked me up off the ground while I stood talking to friends outside an art gallery, masturbated while staring at me as I sat in a trolley seat opposite him, pulled out his penis and started jumping up and down as I approached the entrance to Cowen Park--I changed direction, told me he had a monkey in his van--I was 6?--unzipped his jumpsuit and started tugging on his penis--fortunately my friends were close by and my mother was mere feet away in our basement, came up behind me to to ask my name and tell me I was sexy and told me I needed to change my attitude, followed me closely on his bike while I was running and stopped when I stopped modified his speed to keep pace with me and laughed when I gave him the stink eye and told him to stop, came up behind me and grabbed my crotch--fortunately was convinced to run away when I pulled my umbrella on him......

Okay, I could go on but it's too depressing. I will say that you can add to the above countless comments and leering.

Again, I am average looking.

In Feminist/Women's Studies programs across the USA boorish actions like the ones pictured are taught as RAPE leading the oft quoted false statistic that 40% of US women have been raped. This "statistic" is a factoid that has taken on a life of its own and appears to be the source of much gender anger.
@200 "I got my nose broken trying to break up someone else's bus fight a few year ago, so I do that stuff for other people. I don't know why guys don't seem to want to help when they see this kind of thing going on."

You might want to read this over again.
Keep in mind that men are raised by women; home, day care, school, media etc. Positive male presence is rare and certainly not on MTV or television in general or the internet. We have created the society that is the source of the complaint.
This subject should be a weekly regular!

I loved the story from comment 52 (at the bottom)!

But, there's another scenario you missed that happened to me all the time when I was younger (now, I dress like total shit, and have a pinched-up, bitter, evil look permanently stamped on my face so I hardly ever get harassed like I used to -OH GOD, the RELIEF of not being verbally harassed anymore!!!):

I hate guys that comes up and ask "what's your name" and then call you "rude" if you don't answer. It took me years to finally come up this effective response: I just look at them like they're fucking weirdest and rudest person I've ever seen, and ask them, "Are you a cop?"

...and if they even try to get me with that "you're being rude" shit, then I get really angry and say in a louder voice, "I'm just sitting here, minding my own business, not bothering anyone, and you come at me with 20 questions and call ME rude?!! Get the FUCK out of my face! (or a monotone "leave me alone" repeated over and over like a broken record, is sometimes safer -depending).

Another scenario that would happen to me (& believe me, once is enough!), and I've never seen done or talked about or portrayed in any movie, because women are always goddamned nice to these people, always!:

Let's say an ugly old man comes up to you (say, someone as ugly and old as Jack Nicholson -like the way he looks now -yikes!) and hits on you, giving you unwanted attention. First thing I ask them is "when you were my age were you ever interested in someone who was older or same age as you are now?" If they say no, then I ask, "then why the fuck would you think I'd be interested in you?!" GOD, I FUCKING H A T E OLD MEN!!!!

...and I have so much more to offer to this discussion...

When I was younger I used to fantasize about beating the living shit out of bullies who got pleasure out of picking me out and harassing me, sexually or otherwise, but I'm still too small in real life to attempt it, so I have to be creative in other ways but sometimes I feel so worn out from it all... And I do not subscribe to that bullshit that all women are on the same team because some of the worst harassment and bullying I've ever undergone has been through elitist "normal" women who are evil shit -so much more so than men, that I could almost be categorized as a misogynist myself (regardless of my being a female!!), were it not for the fact that I've also met some cool "regular people" humans who happened to be female (as well as old men too). I use the word "normal" to describe creepy people who make it their top priority to give others shit for not fitting in with the "norm" as they see it... Okay, now I'm really starting to blab...

But, seriously, this should be a regular weekly subject! AND!! you should have thumbs up or down options for every comment too, and a 'reply' option too. Why don't you?

...and to the guy at comment 3, as comment 147 came closest to explaining, maybe all you need is a little bout of prison time to understand the true meaning of "unwanted attention"? How very sad if that's what it takes for you to understand the basic concept (which, unfortunately for most Americans, police have also been gaining a wider reputation for not understanding either) that you should not treat random people in ways that you wouldn't want people, more powerful and bigger than yourself, to treat you.
Oh, and that creepy "smile" one, happened to me so much. It's a trick for them to use as an excuse to further harass you for being "rude" to them, when they're "only trying to be nice to you" as they say.

The only response I feel comfortably using on invasive people in a scenario like that is "leave me alone, I'm not bothering you, leave me alone" repeated in a monotone voice if they keep at me. Any other reaction, like burping -as suggested in the article, seems to invite them in more and that is the last thing I want.

And if they keep bothering me I move to another seat, or inform the bus driver. So far, I've been lucky that the bus drivers I've dealt with have always been really good about helping me out in these kinds of situations. Still, so awkward I know...
good gawd katm, u sound like a 70 year old catholic nun snapping rulers on perverted teen age penis...
Pfff, one of the major reasons I'm glad I moved away from Seattle. This is some straight up hard-core emasculating misandrist bullshit. American woman stay away from me? That is very true of Seattle women. This type of superiority feminism is a very Seattle / hipster bratty thing. Thank Zeus for real wonderful, sweet, warm, intelligent, think-for-yourself women that. The Seattle hipster thing is just anti-male, anti-masculine hate.
Public space belongs to men. Men enjoy making sexually degrading comments to women we see on the street. We have done it since the beginning of time and will do it for as long as there is matter on this earth. There is nothing you can do to stop, or even reduce, street harassment.

Don't like it? Find a new planet.
the whole " what men need is a wake-up call: you are the problem " is kinda sexist sorry but it just is . if you don't believe me change the word men with some other demographic .... " what jews need is a wake-up call: you are the problem" see now it sounds like Hitler or "what black people need is a wake-up call: you are the problem" now its just racist. i think they should have just edited that line out. otherwise it was a fine attempt at bringing to light a form harassment that is unwanted, upsetting and is just generally annoying for everyone .
To all the guys who are writing in about how this is the fault of women who sit around waiting for "male suitors": no they don't. Women will hit on men they find attractive. I spent my youth as one of those straight "shy around girls" guys and I got plenty of dates. So it's all about you - and how generally repulsive you are. Feel free to read some books and get some exercise.
@204/@205: And? There's a wide berth between the two polarities. You can talk to a woman without being a creepizoid, your "point" that it's somehow difficult to distinguish between the two can't really be that you think that the only way to approach a woman is by honking her tits until she screams for the police.
@225 - No, nothing like Hitler. Also, you're not sorry, so why say it?

It's not sexist, just like it isn't racist to blame slavery in the United States on white people.

Fun fact: Men are the problem. Men in the United States are socialized (often) to be assholes to Women. We are the rapists in this culture. Men who are walking alone at night and see a drunk group of women don't fear for their lives.

So here is my problem with this article. It seems to put forth the idea that any advance by a man is a bad thing. Let us take the awkward advance, the "You'd be a lot prettier if you smiled." Sure it's not the best compliment, could do better to break the ice but it certainly isn't on par with the other advances listed in this article.

Saying, "You'd be a lot prettier if you smiled" is the same as the drive by, or the grope? I mean, look at the name of the arch-type. "The Complimenter." It seems this is saying that any compliment, or any attempt to start a conversation with a woman on a bus ride, or in a public place, is unwanted, unintelligent, and step 1 of rape. I have seen in the comment section of this thread some people who want to add the creepy smile archetype, as if any action by men is by default, creepy! Look if we make eye contact on a bus and I smile at you, I'm not being creepy, I'm just being nice.

If I try to start a conversation with a woman, or really anyone in a public place and they don't respond, or they answer negatively, I move on.

Does it make me a creep for offering a compliment or making eye contact or smiling? No. Listen ladies, THIS DOES NOT MAKE ME A CREEP. Got that? Cool. What makes anyone a creep is if after they get a negative response, they continue to pursue it. Men and women alike. If you try to start a conversation with a man on a bus and he either says no thanks or ignores you, and you try to continue to pursue it, that makes you a creep too.

Now here is the difference between men and women, I think. If a man doesn't want to have a conversation with you, he'll tell you, at least if you're a woman. I've had moment while riding the bus or a train when I feared for my safety and I thought it was better to just demure and answer politely and not let the situation escalate. I wondered, if this man started raping me (and I'm a man) would anyone do anything about it? They'd probably laugh, I'm sure. Would anyone step up to help me out? Probably not.

So while I certainly understand the reaction from women who fear for their safety, I think believing all men who make eye contact, compliment you, or smile at you are creeps is irrational. Some of us guys just want to talk, and if you're broadcasting nerdy, maybe we could get a good conversation about sci-fi or board games going.
This article is useless in reality. Most of these suggestions are idiotic and not helpful. If it is meant to be funny or witty, it has failed at both. How about saying, "I'm a woman. Like your mother." I always like that one. Sure yelling back, or barking like a dog can be somewhat useful sometimes, but not in the long run. Any reaction is a good reaction to these creeps. Holding up a proverbial mirror of shame also seems to work sometimes. I will answer to a cat call, "oh yeah, I definitely want to sleep with you now! Wow, please cat call me again, I love sleezy ass holes, I'm sure you get so many women!" and so on.... anyway.... that's about it.
@231 Your argument would be a lot more cogent with my dick in your mouth.
I don't know about that, I think it would mostly sound like "arghbmargh margarghmar blegh."

Then I wouldn't make any sense at all.
oh for FUCK'S SAKE get OVER yourself!!!! men are men and are always going to express themselves if they see something they like. i've got news for you, feminazi...so do WOMEN. remember the diet coke commercial from the 90s? oh wait, you're probably too YOUNG to remember it when all these office women take a 'diet coke break' at the same time only it's not them taking it but it's to ogle out the office window at the hot construction worker with his shirt off drinking a diet coke. i am so fucking SICK of how women collectively have RUINED men to the point where all they do is sit around on their pussified new-agey asses and refuse to be REAL MEN because they're scared of women. if i get wolf called on the street, i take it as a compliment as do many of MY generation and beliefs. goddamm hippies.
@234 That only makes sense if you're dictating or overrating your posts.
and if you're so afraid of men, do what a lot of us do and carry a fucking gun.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you for writing this article!
It is why, yours truly and his cohorts,
have vacated the bar counter for the
exclusive habitat of a gaggle of gals.
While, we have migrated to the
safer pastures of our man-caves;
free of feminine clutter,
(in form of thoughts or thangs!)
Again: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
I assure you, the Gang of Brothers,
will be broadcasting this noble set of admissions,
across the webscape,
for the quick and sure edification,
of those men, who haven't received
the memo yet from the Stranger!
God bless ... and enjoy the mojito!
@238 - Dad, go home - you're drunk.
( hi, mom! )

Men, if you can't tell the difference between flirting with and harrassing a woman, you shouldn't be dating. The excuse that you just don't even KNOW what to do is pathetic.

Here's some basic tips:
If you say something complimentary to a woman (not about her boobs, dumbass) and she smiles and responds appreciatively, you can keep talking to her until she doesn't anymore.

If you say something to a woman and she smirks uncomfortably and doesn't make eye contact or respond, abort. Just stop fucking talking and leave her alone. If you continue to try to engage her when she doesn't want to be engaged, you are now harrassing her. If she was by some teensy weensy chance interested and is just shy and oddly awkward, she knows the ball is in her court.

If you stare at a woman pointedly for a minute and she doesn't stare back, or she appears to be frowning, stop staring.

Seriously. Get the hint - it's not that hard.
I hate guys that do this shit. I try to be a good human and not do these things. Maybe that's why I'm married? But let me tell you ladies! The starring thing! I was on the bus headed home after a long day, I'm standing and I was tired so I'm blankly starring off into NOTHING! This girl screams at me, "stop starring at me!" The whole back of the bus is looking at each other, "who did it?" "WTF?" "is she crazy?" then sjhe gets up and points at me and screams out, "YOU! You've not stopped starring at me since I got on the bus!" I don't even know where she was standing and I've got to say that was one of the most embarrassing things to ever happen to me. You're on a crowded bus with a lot of tired people, don't think you're so special that everyone can't keep their eyes off of you! I was just trying to stand and wait for my bus stop, you psycho bitch! Oh! And when I tried to explain myself she just sticks her hand in my face, "just shut up you creep!" So, don't let your ego and vanity get the better of you, it shows exactly how ugly you really are!
@125 I'm glad you bring this up. It's actually great to the cause that we recognize that men, on occasion, do know what it feels like to be threatened and scared by strangers. I know a few guy friends who have that story about "that one time" a belligerent drunk threatened or physically hurt him.

Whenever I'm talking to men about street harassment, I ask them to think about the times they've been legit frightened, threatened, creeped out, or harmed by a larger stranger. And then I ask them to imagine living in a world where that happened to them ONCE A WEEK at minimum, and where, whenever they wanted to talk about how horrible that is, everyone pats them on the head and tells them that they should be flattered that so many men want to beat the shit out of them, or that they should take the higher ground and not let it bother them, or that they should stop wearing popped collars or whatever it is that makes other men want to beat them, or that they should stop going to their favorite places after dark.

No. The strangers need to stop their bullshit. A compliment is a compliment, and harassment is NOT a compliment. It's not hard to figure out the difference, and if you're the kind of guy who genuinely offers strange women compliments and then walks on if they don't respond, then you have no need to worry. But if you're the guy who literally SNEERS in my face in passing and says something ABOUT my body or what you'd like to do with it, that's harassment. It's not a compliment, and you know it. You don't think it's going to make me feel good. You don't think it's going to make me like you. You think that *I* think that I'm better than you, because you've got your own problems with yourself, and you say something to take me down a peg. You say something hoping it will make me feel shitty or scared or beholden. Period. You know better. You know the difference. FUCKING STOP IT.
@231: "It seems to put forth the idea that any advance by a man is a bad thing"

If you're an imbecile with no reading comprehension.

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Dear creep apologists,

If you want to chat up a lady and ask her out, make a comment about the weather or something else innocuous. Don't comment on her body or stare. If you wouldn't say it to a strange man or boy, don't say it to a strange woman or girl.


Your Dad
@243 Cool Story, Bro.

I especially like the part where you never show any empathy for the girl you maybe, inadvertently, of course, creeped out by staring in, possibly, her direction for the whole trip.

Unfortunately for you, the rest of us don't live in a magical world where crowded buses have unobstructed sight lines and screeching, teleporting girls.

Still, we all liked the part where you told women how ugly and not special they really are.

No wonder you're, as you made perfectly clear, off the market.
What do you do when it's a perv cop who says no one will ever believe you?
@ 246

Is it any wonder why men are always offended by this type of rhetoric? Try to share my point of view and I'm not approached with charity or a chance of congenial argument, I'm attacked with hostility and condescension.

Might want to look into that. If you think hostility and condescension are going to win the day, then props to you, good luck!
@251 "Is it any wonder why men are always offended by this type of rhetoric?"

The subset of men that are always offended by such rhetoric is small and primarily comprised of the types of assholes engaged in the behaviors discussed.

It's strange that you think you're entitled to a congenial argument but ignore "Here's a good litmus test for compliments: Would you say it to your mother or niece?" and instead flail away at some straw-bitch you've constructed.

Perhaps your problem here is you?
my question for the mouth-breathers who do this sort of approaching of women: Does it ever work?

I'm trying to imagine a scenario where this would result in anything other than an annoyed or insulted woman wanting nothing to do with you. putting aside this whole respect/dignity/personal space argument, it seems like a waste of time and energy.

@225 is hilarious when you consider the two posts before it. Yes, the sexism lies in women fearing for their safety and comfort, not in the posters explaining that all public space is male (not a particularly rare view-- just see how men sit on the subway) and the one who advocates leaving the city because god forbid women not want to get groped or chatted up.

And telling people to smile is just as awful. Like 'accidentally' brushing or pushing up against someone, it leaves the harasser an 'out' and forces the girl or woman to doubt herself, which is golden if you want to continue to harass women and not have them talk back or tell anyone. You're telling someone what to do with their mouth. And how to be prettier. It's laughably offensive. And if you don't believe me, walk up to a table of businessmen having lunch and try it with one of them. Let's see if they appreciate it!

"The subset of men that are always offended by such rhetoric is small and primarily comprised of the types of assholes engaged in the behaviors discussed."

You've come to this conclusion based on what?

You know nothing about me, zero, and yet you call me "the type of asshole engaged in the behavior discussed."

Oh arguing on the internet, where everyone has the moral high-ground and no one needs to make friends, only smite enemies. I'm sure you're a perfectly social person in real life but this is generally not how you win people to your cause, this is how you make enemies. No faster way to alienate someone than calling them a rapist, or equating them with a racist (because we both know that's what comes next).
@255 'You know nothing about me, zero, and yet you call me "the type of asshole engaged in the behavior discussed."'

You self selected into a group I described; it's been said (in #252) 'Perhaps your problem here is you?'

Of course, it's also been said (in #246) 'If you're an imbecile with no reading comprehension.'

@255 'You've come to this conclusion based on what?'

Well, you had said (#251) "men" and "always", so based on the fact that "men" are a large and varied group, and the fact that "always" is almost always included in statements that grossly overstate the occurrence of something, I congenially offered a different theory regarding those offended.

Strange that you took offense, and continued (#231, #251) lamenting how you're being attacked rather than discussing points on their merits.

Stop trolling.

If you don't want to have a real conversation and just want to play games then I'm done.
Can I get pervy mime on a t-shirt?
what the assholes are trying to say is that on some level women attractt this type of abuse and then complain instead of fixing the bait within or accept wildlife while being in the concret jungle.
Having said that, these perverted animals need to get their face busted and balls torn off BY LAW and see how polite they will get. Yeah that's right, open the f***ing door for me and if you even look down at my body for a second it's pepper spray in the eyes for you- MANDATORY!!!
Something many women don't realize is that its a harrowing experience to get rejected. Plenty of women feel rejected, yes. There are many women who don't get male attention at all- Hell, I'm sure a handful would welcome the occasional leer or catcall- but its important to understand that women by and large don't GET rejected.

When you get rejected day in and day out, and you feel pressure internally and externally to get laid, you start to build up anger and defenses that can pretty easily manifest themselves in the form of harassment and cat calling. I sincerely believe that most men cat call and harass to steel themselves for rejection and build up an ego to better handle it, whether or not they realize this.

Its not an excuse, obviously, but I think its a useful perspective for women understand. The problem here is rooted in a lack of empathy, and I believe that most women, however much the victims in these situations, are equally lacking of empathy in understanding how absurdly painful it is to get rejected. You need to be assured of yourself to cope with rejection, and the easiest mode to do this in asshole mode.

Asshole men are indeed the symptom, but they are not the root of the problem. the root is the system that puts men in the role to be rejected. Its the system that determines that women are to paint themselves as billboards and men are to pursue them. Fix the balance of pursuit and you'll have a chance to fix the problem.
I was actually just harassed like that today. I was walking out of Walmart when these guys driving buy make a comment about "wanting to pound that" and hooting at me. When I told my dad about it he was just like "Well you have to expect that when you go out dressed skimpy." From my own father. I'm sorry, but I will wear shorts and a tank top outside when it is 90 degrees out, and I shouldn't have to worry about being harassed like that for it. There are a million other ways a guy could compliment you when he thinks you look good. "Hey, you look nice in those shorts." "That outfit suits you really well." "You're really pretty." All those are acceptable, but don't treat me like a piece of meat just because of what I'm wearing.
@231 What would it take to convince you that "You'd be a lot prettier if you smiled" is not just an inept compliment?

Suppose it implies that (a) the target isn't pretty enough on her own merits, (b) the target's value is only based on how attractive "The Complimenter" finds her, (c) that the target now owes "The Complimenter" something, (d) that any provided response indicates interest on the part of the target or a character defect in the target, etc.

All of your terminology is geared towards a predator preying on their target. You're defining the narrative completely as "this guy is hunting this woman, he is trapping her by his comment."

What if the guy simply meant, "Cheer up!" Do most women perceive in that way? No. Most perceive it as a man hitting on them.

You're automatically applying a certain narrative, a predatory narrative to "The Complimenter." Would it be different if he said anything else? When does "inept compliment" turn into "Predatory, Rape step #1" What if The Complimenter said "Hey, smile, life can't be that bad."

I would say "You'd be a lot prettier if you smiled" depends on the intent of the one speaking it, and who it is being spoken to. If a father says it to his daughter, or son to his mom still make it a Predatory Compliment?

Really, put yourself in the head of the guy, or hell look at that XKCD comic. One of the worst things you can call a guy is creepy, and most nice guys have this fear of, "How can I approach that nerdy girl, what is a good icebreaker?" Is it an appropriate response if he says "Cute netbook" for her to freak out and call him a creep, then declare to the rest of the onlookers that he is a creep, then post his picture all over her Facebook publicizing that he is a creep?

It become an environment so hostile that some women would have be believe that approaching a woman at all in public is a huge no-no. All women don't want to be approached in public, especially not for a possible romantic relationship, that one must first know them through friends and family before one could possibly date them. Yes, a lot of men do get that impression, but through personal experience I know that is not the case and there are many different types of women out there, some who don't mind being approached in public at all, and would enjoy either a new friend or a new romance.

I won't try to explain this to you as if I was a predatory, we're not going to go into that narrative and I feel no obligation to defend myself on that front (unless of course you believe that every man should have to provide evidence he's not a predator beforehand).

All I'm saying is I do not believe that the first archetype belongs with the rest. That guy clearly looks like a shy nerd who is awkward around women, and I guess he is missing a hand, poor bastard. All men who say this do not have predatory intentions, and it is clearly an inept compliment, one could simply say "Cheer up" or "Smile, life can't be that bad."
@231 What would it take to convince you that "You'd be a lot prettier if you smiled" is not just an inept compliment?

What if four women went to the trouble of writing and illustrating an article that says that phrase itself and others like it are creepy? What if instead of demanding people see it from your point of view, you tried out theirs?
Ever since I started going through puberty I started getting harassment. Every single time I wait for the bus in front of my house, I get harassment. It makes me feel sick. It makes me want to throw up. I wish I could so that I could aim my puke at their heads. I don't even dress provocatively! It's totally disgusting to have to be hooted and whistled at. I don't care if the person is Brad f*cking Pitt--it's still scary as hell and makes me feel sick and little. STOP HARASSING ME PEOPLE!!
@6...um...go ahead and write an article blaming the perpetrators of child abuse. I don't think anyone would have a problem with "listen here, people who beat, berate, or otherwise abuse children, YOU are the problem. That kid did nothing to deserve your shitty treatment." That is, after all, the truth, and it does not matter for a second who the major perpetrators of the abuse are. If a woman abuses her child (even emotionally), the child can be removed from her care, she can be charged criminally, and she can be ordered to do all kinds of things like participate in therapy or stay away from ALL children - even if that costs her her job or any convenience she could conceive.

And no one who makes a harassing move is "an appropriate suitor." Pick-up lines don't really work, either, now do they? These guys aren't yelling "hey, how was your day?" or "would you like to get a cup of coffee and discuss the politics of Obama's approach to Syria?" SMDH that people still don't get this. MAKING AN APPROACH TO SOMEONE WHO YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN DATING THAT ACKNOWLEDGES THEM AS A WHOLE, INTELLIGENT HUMAN BEING IS NOTHING LIKE HARASSMENT. They look totally different. Of course, if you're constantly getting shot down while trying to interest someone in dating you, well...you probably don't know the difference.
@251: You could again try not being an idiot with no reading comprehension for once in your life.

Shake things up! Have some fun!
@260: Some people are so rotten inside they literally deserve to die alone and unloved.

Abusing women pushes you further towards that deserved path.
Recently, I was biking up 12th and just before Jackson this driver said through his passenger's rolled down window(they were both men) "that ass is just about perfect". I felt angry and not very threatened, so I said really loudly, "I've been hearing about my ass since the age of 12 and I'm fucking sick of it."

A male driver on Jackson started laughing really hard at what I'd yelled(I think, he seemed shocked that I was that honest) and the driver who commented on my ass followed me sickeningly slowly to the stoplight and then asked me if I didn't like what he said and that it was a compliment.

I was too surprised to stop being honest so I said, "haven't you ever heard of patriarchy or sexism?"

He surprised me again by saying, "yes, I have heard of those."

"Well, those are why I don't find that a compliment", I said.

He said 'would it be better if I said that you have a beautiful soul and a good heart?'

the light changed. Upon reflection, I don't think that he is qualified to say anything about my soul or my heart, not knowing me at all. I'm not sure who is qualified to speak about these matters, but i think it would have to be someone who had seen my humanity in a variety of contexts, not just someone who wanted to mollify me after abusing the power that society unwittingly granted him at birth through its irritating hierarchy.

i'm not saying he should say nothing, but fuck all, why should the burden be on me or anyone in a group that is regularly attacked, to show their attacker how to better treat them? Like I said, I'm sick of trying to think of witty, clever, helpful or life saving responses. Not that being sick of it gets me out of the crappy situation of being stuck within this and many other types of oppression--nothing but death will do that.

He totally understood what upset me when I used the words patriarchy and sexism and I guess this is my main point...the people in the fucking street are offering their power analysis, why not offer your own? The interaction may not get any better, but why does their interpretation of reality have to be the only one that is voiced in the public sphere? I don't feel like anyone in that interaction other than myself, truly understood how irritating it was to have my ass commented on in this way after so many years of hearing that shit, but I am really past the point of caring if anyone else understands.

It is like when you are in a nightmare and all you want to do is scream and in your dream there is only silence until the satisfaction of waking up to the sound of your own voice making a mark in the world of the living.

I want to thank you so extremely much
for creating public dialogue around these issues.

I really appreciate that you are asking questions about oppressive structures and practices, all of you who are doing that, original authors and people who've posted thoughtfully to this thread about power and privilege.

I am glad to share a world with you and may I never scream unconsciously in your ear.
If you have a gun and know how to use it, you don't have to live in fear of these creeps.

Let them exercise their first amendment rights by being creeps, but if they decide to go into an attack dog mode (escalation) you have a right to defend yourself.

All this "living in fear" is tiring. Too many people do it. From the suburban conservative living behind double locked doors watching FOX and fearing brown people to the urban snarker living behind double locked doors watching CNN and fearing libertarians, it's all one big fat kettle of control.

When you are able to defend yourself, "their" world of fear becomes a harmless ghost and fades away.
@263 I think you really need to get that IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU'RE OBJECTIVELY CREEPY OR NOT, and your intentions mean fuckall.

Unless, it ends up in court or something, but at that point you've already lost.

Seriously, if "One of the worst things you can call a guy is creepy", then shouldn't you listen when women tell you something comes across as creepy?

Here's the thing you seem to keep missing, any opening that implies that you think that you, a man she does not know, gets to tell her what to do, is already problematic and has a huge probability of coming across as creepy.

Sure, "have a nice day" is a long way from "it rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again", but if you're not getting positive reactions from the women you talk to, why would you make it any harder on yourself?
If a man speaks this

Have a nice day
Smile, life can't be that bad
Cheer up

It is seen as a command from the authority of the patriarchy?

I guess where I'm coming from that's a tad bit insane. Who is responsible for your security? If I say any of those things (Cheer up, Have a nice day) I'm coming at it from the perspective that that woman is an equal. I assume she looks at me and either doesn't see a threat or she sees a threat she has an avenue to deal with. I look at her the same way.

There are assholes throughout life. Would you have them restrict the first amendment so that sexual harassment is illegal, under the law? What, for some perceived security? What is the penalty here, life imprisonment, forced castration? I'm being serious, what is your solution, what is the end game?

What is your other solution here; hand the power to protect oneself over to the police? Sorry, that's not an option. In the best case scenario the police aren't everywhere, also they're not a homogeneous group. Some would protect me and in the worst case others would just watch, or they themselves might be the predators.

Even if we lived in a perfectly equal society, you would still have assholes. Straight up, there will always be assholes, and more than that there will always be rapists, killers, thieves, and child abusers. These predators tend to pick on people who they perceive to be weak, and it is one of the responsibilities of a sovereign being to defend itself from attack. Take your own security as a responsibility. When you start assessing situations based on their objective threat level instead of living in a state of fear, it all changes.

Your safety is your responsibility in the face of it all. No matter what law or cultural norm you create, there will always be people who seek out the vulnerable and try to exploit them, try to hurt them, try to rape them, try to kill them. Both men and women are victims. If you don't want to face the prospect of hurting someone, then have a friend who does, find someone that will protect you. Travel in groups if that isn't enough, don't give predators a chance to attack, do not be easy prey.

Then a "Cheer up" no longer becomes threatening, then a "Have a nice day" is no longer a threat. You think men don't have to take responsibility for their safety? You think I don't live in fear? I look at most strangers, men or women, as potential threats. Personally I'm a pacifist, I've always been a bit more feminine than most men, and I can't even conceptualize taking another life. I only use violence to stop violence. I think taking a life would irreparably scar me, but what is the alternative? Being helpless? Being subject to someone who is physically stronger/martially adept that I am? As a human being, not as-a-man, I have to take responsibility for my own safety.

So assess these situations for what they are, objectively. Is some socially awkward nerd who says "You'd look prettier if you smiled" going to assault you? Probably not, and that changes the whole social dynamic.

Once you take responsibility for your own safety, and adequately preparing for these situations, things start looking a bit differently. What is the alternative, living in a world of fear?
*sexual harassment on the street (Not in the work place)
@273 Have you read Phaedra Starling's "Schrödinger’s Rapist"? Do you think you understand it?

Saying "You'd look prettier if you smiled" increases your threat level score.

You claim you're a socially awkward nerd; why doesn't it follow that your opinion on how these social interactions work is flawed? Doesn't that mean that you could improve your interactions by listening to almost anyone else in the whole wide world?
That's your response to all of that?

Well then, farewell.
So much commentary when there is such an easy solution. Spray bottle with some bleach. Works like a charm, escalation, spray in the eyes.
@276 You keep saying that you're bad at this, but don't seem to accept any point anyone else has made in this entire thread.

Why would I write pages and pages for you to ignore?

The fact that you think I said I was a "socially awkward nerd" proves to me that #1 you didn't read my post, and #2 if you did you didn't even attempt to understand it.

One of the most powerful tools in rhetoric is defining the narrative. I refuse to let you do so, I refuse to let the subjective view of certain people supplant the reality of the situation. If you want to follow "Schrödinger’s Rapist" then how could we possibly agree on any middle ground? If you want to say the only thing that matters is the subjective realities of certain people, instead of the objective truth, what could we possibly have to talk about?

You're intentionally being dishonest, and I thought for a second there we could have an actual conversation instead of the usual, "I've cherry picked data and now I set forth to 'prove' my hypothesis." Sure, I guess that works for some people, but people with sufficient intellectual dignity want to weigh all of the evidence, and see the consequences of conclusions.

You want to live in fear of all men? That's your choice. How could I possibly argue you out of it?

And you seem to be fond of false attribution, I've never said I was bad at this, I simply don't want to waste time discussing gender roles with an ideologue.
@279 Perhaps it's #3, you're not a clear writer and you jump from point to point without much in the way of transitions?

If you want I can walk you through your posts to show you all the places that seem to say exactly that you see yourself as a "socially awkward nerd" but I don't think you'd appreciate that. Still, I will accept your assertion that you never said you were a "socially awkward nerd", apologize for my apparent mis-attribution, amend my statement to say that you come off as a socially awkward nerd, and that you seem to need help improving your interactions with women.

From there, if you had read the subtitle of "Schrödinger’s Rapist", you'd know that it's actually about how guys could be a little more socially aware and therefore have more positive interactions with women on the street. I don't see how suggesting you consider the women you interact with could preclude any middle ground.

So what do you get out of "winning" the reality of the situation, if she still walks away thinking your a creep?
You know what they say about assumptions.
I really want you to see what happens when a person with a different point of view comes to an internet article about not being an asshole:

"@231 Your argument would be a lot more cogent with my dick in your mouth.
Posted by Not Creepy, Only Awkward By TK421's Logic on June 10, 2013 at 1:32 PM"

"@231: 'It seems to put forth the idea that any advance by a man is a bad thing'

If you're an imbecile with no reading comprehension.
Posted by undead ayn rand on June 10, 2013 at 7:29 PM"

"@251 'Is it any wonder why men are always offended by this type of rhetoric?'

The subset of men that are always offended by such rhetoric is small and primarily comprised of the types of assholes engaged in the behaviors discussed.

Perhaps your problem here is you?
Posted by Probably Ruined Someone's Day Along The Line"

"You self selected into a group I described; it's been said (in #252) 'Perhaps your problem here is you?'

Of course, it's also been said (in #246) 'If you're an imbecile with no reading comprehension.'"

"You could again try not being an idiot with no reading comprehension for once in your life.

Shake things up! Have some fun!"

"You claim you're a socially awkward nerd; why doesn't it follow that your opinion on how these social interactions work is flawed? Doesn't that mean that you could improve your interactions by listening to almost anyone else in the whole wide world?
Posted by Probably Ruined Someone's Day Along The Line"

"If you want I can walk you through your posts to show you all the places that seem to say exactly that you see yourself as a "socially awkward nerd" but I don't think you'd appreciate that."

Really, how can you speak of public civility with posts like this? What ground do you stand on? Am I not deserving of civility? From both you and undead Ayn Rand?

At the very least if you're going to talk to me like that please, please, don't implore me to be civil to anyone, you have no right to.

I think you want to hurt me by insulting my masculinity. Is this how you talk to people in real life? You're just like the men committing these acts, aren't you?
Dear menfolk: I'm a trained killer. I'm also PTSD from Military Sexual Assault. Your call
Wow, i'm amazed that men still think they have the right to embarrass and humiliate women in public because they seem to think they would like it. What bit of "WE DON'T LIKE IT" don't you quite get?
@279 'One of the most powerful tools in rhetoric is defining the narrative.'

Interesting. How would that play out in a conversation?

@282 'I really want you to see what happens when a person with a different point of view comes to an internet article about not being an asshole:'


Still, I was there and don't think what happened means what your poorly and inconstantly formated post seems to imply.

That said, I am glad you didn't highlight all the times you were compelled to disregard everyone else's points to rail against your poor treatment, because that would probably make me look really foolish.

@282 'At the very least if you're going to talk to me like that please, please, don't implore me to be civil to anyone, you have no right to.'

You realize that this seems to imply that you blame Undead Ayn Rand and I (but apparently not "Not Creepy, Only Awkward By TK421's Logic") for your behavior.

I believe that threatening to storm off comes after the accusations of poor treatment, right?

@282 'You're just like the men committing these acts, aren't you?'

I am a lot more like those men than you seem to understand, but different in ways you seem unwilling to consider.

@281 'You know what they say about assumptions.'

What do they say about assumptions?
What I had trouble grasping was the aggressive starer segment

"The guy who stares at you like you're a hamburger in slut’s clothing"

How unerringly can one measure a gaze?
Was that lecherous ogling or a pronounced astigmatism?
Perhaps this is a real issue but is it tangible?

The article seems a little tongue-in-cheek to me. Maybe I'm just an apologist for eyefucking, but I consider that removing your headphones and blindingly threatening to assault someone over a perception of how they were employing their eyeballs is a subjective escalation.
I dont get it, according to the TImes men in Seattle are too timid for this and women want a man who will start a fight in a bar to get her attention.
Where were all these women in the comments section of Danielle Campoamor's Times article? All seattle men are too timid to do this. They are to shy to even talk to a woman, she prefers the type that starts bar fights.
Regarding GabrielDiesel's suggestion that you can't tell if a stranger wants you to say 'Nice ass!' to them...

Here's a rule of thumb. If the average man wouldn't say it to her in front of his mother, you shouldn't say it to a stranger who has expressed no interest in your opinions about the placement of her fatty tissues. So, regardless of whether she isn't terribly offended by it, it's just inappropriate unless you're a bonobo. So perhaps some women like it, but it's still disrespectful, and it's safe to assume most strangers don't wish to be disrespected. There are tons of women saying "please stop doing that shit," and not very many women saying "I wish more strangers would comment on my tits!"...just listen.

And one has to be either a trolling or a complete moron to not understand such basics of how to behave in public.
Why are all the men white?
@290 "Why are all the men white?"

...because overwhelmingly, they _are_ white.


So that's 70.1% in Seattle, 75.8% in King County and 84.5% in Washington State, based on 2010 numbers.

Oh hey, let's make gross generalisations about an entire gender.

You're just as bad as the people who say all men are potential rapists.
White Knights don't get laid, and Seattle women, if they think of themselves as a "Seattle Women", only want attention from six-figure techies or Sub Pop poseurs. When they're not complaining about us being too timid, they're complaining about the working class slob who stares at their ass too long when the sun comes out.

The word has been out for a long time that women here have turned dating into some kind of needlessly difficult problem. It isn't even an interesting topic, except to the kidults who need something to scream about because daddy pays for their condo.

Real harassment is a problem, but ladies, the guys living in section 8 housing or the hanging out in bus stops don't care about furthering the cause. I'm sorry.

When I was in college, I worked late at the library one night and then needed to catch the last bus home. A space invader sat down next to me and began alternately making comments and inching closer and closer to me. At first I just edged away uncomfortably, but that can only go so far on a bench! I thought about going back inside the student union, but I would have had to stay all night; there was nobody to call and come get me if I missed that bus. So instead I turned to face the man. I let my lower lip begin to tremble, and then said in a high, childish voice, "Are you a ... STWANGER?" As I continued, I kept escalating my voice until I was shouting. "My momma told me NEVER to talk to STWANGERS! If you're a stwanger and I'm talking to you I am gonna get in so much twouble, and my momma's gonna be mad, and you're a STWANGER ... " By this time, of course, the man was off the bench and backing up fast, sputtering, "Lady, I never touched you ... hey, lay off, calm down .... " I just kept on, now "blubbering" a bit (actually, trying hard not to laugh), and he turned tail and ran off.
You're advocating physical assault and filing false police reports in response to verbal harassment, and you're telling me that I'm the problem just because I'm male?

Listen, get over yourself. Sometimes women do these catcalls and stalkerish things too, and that doesn't make you the problem just for being female.
I like the Jesus one. Heh heh. Some of these seem undignified, but anything that tosses the "just ignore it" BS into the bin tends to please me.
All you guys feeling that this issue is overly manhating or such, I just want you to think about this.

Most of you have never or would never done any of these things. I get that. I know that. Most guys, beyond middle school, don't.

You feel unfairly blamed for the behaviors of a few, and perhaps feel that many of the women complaining about this issue are inflating it.

But, on the other side, while most of you don't do this - I would bet my next paycheck that absolutely EVERY woman posting here has had it done to them. Recently.

For example, I am pretty sure that almost all women in America, with the possible exception of the ladies living in Amish country or something, has had that disgusting V finger tongue thing mimed by someone at least once in their life.

We all have had to duck our heads and avoid eye contact when we are alone & someone is aggressively imposing on our psychological or physical space, sometimes in the guise of being 'friendly'.

We've all been groped by someone in a crowded bus, subway, dance floor, school, or even grocery store.

Not whining. It is just the way it is. But a public discussion of this issue is not a blanket hate and blame on all men.

But statistically speaking? It's crap almost all women, no matter the age or attractiveness, has to deal with from puberty on. You may not do this crap, but regardless, we all still have to deal with it our entire lives.

Think of it this way, like almost everything else, the few bad apples ruin it for everyone else.
"Woman is the dominant sex. Men have to do all sorts of stuff to prove that they are worthy of woman's attention."

"Men know they are sexual exiles. They wander the earth seeking satisfaction, craving and despising, never content. There is nothing in that anguished motion for women to envy."

-Camille Paglia

You are missing one really important point. When you can take an action and you don't know whether the recipient of the action would like it, it's best NOT to take it. You like being catcalled? Okay. Many people don't. Most women don't. Just because one woman apparently did does NOT make it okay for you to assume that any given woman wants it. Just because you like it does not make it okay for you to assume that a woman you see on the street likes it. And in this case, she's not going to suffer any harm from you just keeping your mouth shut and erring on the side of caution. If you're not sure - just don't do it.
What would it be considered.. if you are dancing with your group of friends (guys) in a crowded dance-floor, when suddenly you feel somebody's body (back and butt) rubbing against you. You ignore it at first, but then you feel a push against your back. When you turn around to see who is pushing against you, you notice it is a lady dancing in a circle of friends together. You then keep dancing in your circle but start to dance along with the person behind you, back to back. Then eventually you turn around and proceed to or try to touch, grab initiate contact with the lady, when she quickly turns her head slightly and says: "don't touch me"...this is a real scenario I experienced.

How would you all interpret this situation??
@301 That's totally insane, alexthe3rd!

That's like when a woman brushes past you on a dark stairwell, so you put your penis in her and suddenly you're the bad guy?

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