Dudes the world over (I feel like until people stop saying “but I’m not like that!” I have to keep amending statements like this by saying OK GUYS #NOTALLMEN, WE GET IT, MOVING ON) claim that no, they’re not harassing women, they’re just flirting! Can’t they flirt? Is flirting illegal now? Why can’t we flirt anymore? FEMINAZIS, AMIRITE?
Yes, guys, you can flirt. But you might want to consider the fact that some women feel actively threatened by what you call “flirting” constructive feedback and improve your technique so that when you’re expressing romantic or possibly sexual interest in someone, you don’t end up making them feel hounded, harassed and/or worried for their safety.
Here’s some tips for not being predatory while you’re flirting. Keep reading »
Here’s what I’ve learned about men on the internet who are annoying at best and abusive at worst: They think they know the women they harass. They have access to our ideas and our creative output (i.e. writing, videos, etc.), to our faces, to basic information about us, to a few scant personal details, and from that they concoct for us fictional life stories, fictional personalities, and fictional motivations. It can be terrifying on this end of that interaction, because we don’t know who these men are at all, but they believe they know us and interact with us, talk with us, as if they do.
It’s worse for celebrities, because it’s not just compulsive internet commenters who do this — it’s everyone. We want to be able to relate to celebrities. So we take their movies, videos, music, writing, interviews, press releases, and Instagram and Twitter accounts, and we create a fiction about who they are, or who they would be if we knew them personally. To some extent, that fictional personality is something that they curate and cultivate in order both to create demand and to create distance. Keep reading »
I’m not even going to pretend that I didn’t watch Buzzfeed’s What Men Are Really Saying When Catcalling Women video (above). Like, a good 20 times. Earlier in the day I’d written on my Tumblr about being catcalled six times in an hour while I was trying to run errands, and it was super-cathartic to laugh at the pathetic idiots who catcall me every time I do so much as leave my apartment.
Except, well, that’s not exactly true. The Buzzfeed video makes a variety of arguments as to why men catcall women: They don’t know how to empathize with women, they do it to feel manly, they want to look cool; but more than anything, the video makes catcallers out to be lonely, sexually frustrated losers who can’t get a date and compensate by being sexually forward to strangers. There are two problems with characterizing catcallers this way. First, the next logical step in this line of thinking is, “Well, if women would just give them attention, they’d stop,” which again puts the onus on women to placate men for our own sense of well-being. Keep reading »
It’s not just women who are at risk of being hurt if they stand up to street harassment: a man in Philadelphia was attacked and knocked unconscious when he tried to stop a car full of men from catcalling a group of women. NBC Philadelphia reported that a 39-year-old man visiting from Texas saw several men pull up in a car in Rittenhouse Square and start harassing a group of women. When the visiting Texan told the men to “watch what you’re saying,” according to police, one of the passengers got out and punched him in the head. The victim fell over and whacked his head on the concrete; as of yesterday, he was hospitalized in stable condition. Keep reading »