A quick pointer to a couple of interesting posts on the “art of no” at CaptainAwkward.com, a highly informative, often hilarious, and thoroughly feminist advice blog.
In the first post, the Captain notes that:
Women are socialized to make men feel good. We’re socialized to “let you down easy.” We’re not socialized to say a clear and direct “no.” We’re socialized to speak in hints and boost egos and let people save face. People who don’t respect the social contract (rapists, predators, assholes, pickup artists) are good at taking advantage of this.
“No” is something we have to learn. “No” is something we have to earn. In fact, I’d argue that the ability to just say “no” to something, without further comment, apology, explanation, guilt, or thinking about it is one of the great rites of passage in growing up, and when you start saying it and saying it regularly the world often pushes back. And calls you names.
In her followup post, the Captain elaborates further on her points, and provides a truly skin-crawly transcript of an OkCupid conversation she had with a skeevy, angry dude who would not take her extremely clear and forceful “no” for an answer.
Well worth checking out.