Comment of the Day

From Ta-Nehisi’s thread on the Richard Dawkins/feminism ridiculousness:

I wish someone would publish a book on etiquette that specifically dealt with race, gender, and sexuality issues. With chapters like “Don’t ask an Asian-American where they’re from, and when they tell you ‘Baltimore,’ ask them where they’re really from” and “Don’t hit on women in elevators.”

Girl.

Author: has written 5280 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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289 Responses

  1. Florence
    Florence July 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm |

    Ooh ooh! How about “No Means No. Really.” or “How to Take Hints: A Lesson in Soft Rejection”.

  2. Brandon
    Brandon July 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm |

    Maybe writing a book on when it is appropriate for men to flirt with a woman is more needed…and probably more helpful for men as well.

  3. Rocio
    Rocio July 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm |

    YES! If somebody asks me “What is your ethnicity?” I’ll answer. If they ask “Where are you from?” I will answer my hometown or the current city I’m living in.

    I think it happens that way because of the whole colorblind ideology, people are still curious but they are afraid to ask directly about your ethnic background.

  4. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm |

    That was a pretty good comment thread, despite the fact that there are people there who are insisting that respecting women’s personal space and being cognizant of how fear of sexual violence affects how women will interpret someone’s actions is somehow a “double-standard” and unfair to the menz…

    *sigh*

  5. igglanova
    igglanova July 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm |

    I guess I might have been embarrassingly naive, but this whole elevator debacle was a tremendous blow to my faith in humanity. And my faith (HAH) in skepticism as a movement. I dunno, I guess I just thought self-professed skeptics would be smarter than this, but perhaps it’s a movement fuelled as much by principled analysis as it is by smug, idiotic arrogance.

  6. Captain Awkward
    Captain Awkward July 7, 2011 at 5:35 pm |

    It’s like someone put an Awkward-signal in the sky.

    See also:

    When you start a sentence with, “I don’t mean to be racist, but…” or “I don’t want to be sexist, but…” or “I don’t want to be rude, but….”- DON’T FINISH THAT SENTENCE. Trust your inner censor, man.

    Manners still count, even within close family and friend relationships. If you wouldn’t say it to a coworker or new acquaintance, why would you say it to someone you really care about? “I just say these mean, terrible things to you because I care so much” isn’t really an excuse.

    STOP HITTING ON THE WAITRESS.

  7. Tony
    Tony July 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm |

    I don’t mind if someone is interested in my ethnic background. If I ever had any uncomfortableness around that, I’ve had to get over it long ago. I mentioned this in one of Chally’s threads but worst part is when you really don’t know which they mean to ask. Last month a cardiologist asked me, as a way of trying to be friendly, “So, where are you originally from?” It’s always awkward to get that question wrong. Thank god for ‘originally’, which clued me off to answer ‘China’. It’s all about context.

    As to the original reason for this cute little brouhaha, Atlantic’s javascript is killing my browser on this crappy work laptop so I couldn’t read the whole thread, but “SOMEONE HAS IT WORSE” is just about one of those zombie ideas that Paul Krugman keeps talking about. No matter how often you shoot it down as an obvious logical fallacy (someone ALWAYS has it worse, Mr Dawkins), it will keep coming back. Feminists have to deal with a solid legion of these types of fallacies, and I wonder if this one wouldn’t make a nice addition to a Feminism FAQ style website.

  8. matlun
    matlun July 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm |

    I do agree with Dawkins that the elevator incident sounded like a non-issue. (Obviously that depends on the nuances of the situation and exactly how he asked her to join him, but I am going from my impression of her video here).
    On the other hand, Dawkins post where he tried to make this point (the whole “Letter to a Muslima” thing) also seemed very strange.

    A very poor showing all around IMO.

  9. Florence
    Florence July 7, 2011 at 6:03 pm |

    Captain Awkward: STOP HITTING ON THE WAITRESS.

    Sweet Baby Jesus, stop hitting on the waitress.

  10. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    Just one thing to point out, the comments in the thread that Ta-Nehisi links to, if you choose to read those too, I would do it with caution, the sense of overwhelming entitlement by some of the men in that thread can be triggering (to me at least).

  11. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm |

    matlun:
    I do agree with Dawkins that the elevator incident sounded like a non-issue. (Obviously that depends on the nuances of the situation and exactly how he asked her to join him, but I am going from my impression of her video here).
    On the other hand, Dawkins post where he tried to make this point (the whole “Letter to a Muslima” thing) also seemed very strange.

    A very poor showing all around IMO.

    I have to disagree a bit with that. Apparently this was at 4am, in an enclosed space (elevator), and he invited her to his room vs. a public space like an all-night coffee shop.

    I can see where that would make her quite uncomfortable.

  12. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan July 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm |

    I think it happens that way because of the whole colorblind ideology, people are still curious but they are afraid to ask directly about your ethnic background.

    Yeah. I’m always really curious about people’s accents/ethnicity/first language and so on, but being white I usually don’t ask unless I know them pretty well ’cause I think that could really make some people nervous or uncomfortable. They don’t know that I’m just into accents, and like to fangirl about how diverse America is, or that I’m just curious or trying to get better at recognizing people from various ethnic backgrounds. So unless it’s really relevant I usually pass on that.

    But I also don’t pull the “no, where are you really from” thing either (…anymore. D:) When I ask where someone’s from I genuinely mean where they grew up or where they lived last — oh, Philly area? Cool. Oh, grew up local? Sweet, give me coffee shop rec’s!

    (Oh geez, this got long… Clearly I’m such a good white person *facepalm* shutting up now.)

    Topic change: I also like the idea of a dating guide for dudes written by feminist women and girls. Or even some feminist men thrown in the mix, too. It would be about certain principles (“treat women like people!” and “how would you feel in that situation?” or “listen to what she says and believe it!”) rather than lists, natch, but could include examples like elevator cornering.

    But that won’t compensate for the fact that so many people reach adulthood without, apparently, a goddamn clue how to function in a world not entirely made up of people like them. And that’s tragic.

  13. Matt
    Matt July 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |

    I am pretty anti social, so I’m not really a movement atheist, and maybe I don’t say my Hail Richards enough to be brainwashed and that’s why I am not accepting as perfect all the arguments of Not-God, but Dawkins was way out of line here. At least some of the other high profile atheists told him what douche nozzle he is.

  14. Azeylea M.
    Azeylea M. July 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm |

    Annaleigh: I have to disagree a bit with that. Apparently this was at 4am, in an enclosed space (elevator), and he invited her to his room vs. a public space like an all-night coffee shop.

    I can see where that would make her quite uncomfortable.

    Add to that the fact that she had just given a talk about being tired of being seen primarily as an object of romantic/sexual conquest in atheist communities.

  15. Emily L. Hauser
    Emily L. Hauser July 7, 2011 at 6:41 pm |

    It’s my impression that all this and more could be dealt with in a bumper sticker: “Be Unfailingly Polite. Failing That, Try Compassion.”

    (Ok, it’s kind of a long bumper sticker, but still. You could totally read it in traffic).

    Yesterday, I found myself explaining to a young man on the Twitter machine that really, no, really — suggesting that rape jokes aren’t funny does NOT in fact indicate that I’m a tight ass. I just kept saying “1 in 3 women will be assaulted in their lives. Compassion isn’t a bad thing.”

    Sigh.

  16. Nahida
    Nahida July 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm |

    THE COMMENTS ARE TERRIBLE.

    I just had to leave a couple…

  17. igglanova
    igglanova July 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm |

    God forbid someone impugn man’s god-given right to drunkenly proposition unwilling strangers in elevators. God forbid anyone think of such a person as a repugnant dirtbag.

  18. Nahida
    Nahida July 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm |

    I have just decided that tomorrow I will find a white person (heh not hard) and ask him where he is from! And then when he’s like, “Seattle,” I’ll be like, “No, where are you REALLY from?”

  19. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm |

    Nahida:
    THE COMMENTS ARE TERRIBLE.

    I just had to leave a couple…

    I think that if I discuss this subject anywhere, it will just be here. The thread that Ta-Nehisi linked to, some of the comments in Ta-Nehisi’s thread, and other threads online are just saturated with men whining that women are punishing them for having sex drives and that women want to make more places “like Saudi Arabia.” :S

  20. Nahida
    Nahida July 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm |

    Nahida:
    THE COMMENTS ARE TERRIBLE.

    Not under the article Jill linked; under the one you get to if you click through.

    Everyone sounds like an MRA.

  21. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm |

    Azeylea M.: Add to that the fact that she had just given a talk about being tired of being seen primarily as an object of romantic/sexual conquest in atheist communities.

    Yep, that too. It wasn’t just creepy, it was insulting to boot.

  22. Anne Marie
    Anne Marie July 7, 2011 at 7:05 pm |

    Brandon:
    Maybe writing a book on when it is appropriate for men to flirt with a woman is more needed…and probably more helpful for men as well.

    Maybe women don’t need to be responsible for teaching men how to act.

  23. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 7, 2011 at 7:05 pm |

    Nahida: Not under the article Jill linked; under the one you get to if you click through.

    Everyone sounds like an MRA.

    Yeah, that comment thread is pretty bad. I quit that one altogether. You are a far more patient/braver person than I to be replying in that thread.

  24. Nahida
    Nahida July 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm |

    Annaleigh: I think that if I discuss this subject anywhere, it will just be here. The thread that Ta-Nehisi linked to, some of the comments in Ta-Nehisi’s thread, and other threads online are just saturated with men whining that women are punishing them for having sex drives and that women want to make more places “like Saudi Arabia.” :S

    Ugh, in that case I won’t be going back there to see replies….

  25. Captain Awkward
    Captain Awkward July 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm |

    Nahida:
    I have just decided that tomorrow I will find a white person (heh not hard) and ask him where he is from! And then when he’s like, “Seattle,” I’ll be like, “No, where are you REALLY from?”

    Do it! Do it for science! Do it!

    Do it with every white person who asks you that.

  26. SarahMC
    SarahMC July 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm |

    It will have to be written by a cis straight white able-bodied Christian American man, though, or else nobody will take any of the etiquette tips seriously.

  27. z
    z July 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm |

    Florence: Sweet Baby Jesus, stop hitting on the waitress.

    Why is Sweet Baby Jesus hitting on someone??

  28. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm |

    z: Why is Sweet Baby Jesus hitting on someone??

    Brava/o! You nearly made me choke on my drink! :D

  29. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 7, 2011 at 7:49 pm |

    SarahMC:
    It will have to be written by a cis straight white able-bodied Christian American man, though, or else nobody will take any of the etiquette tips seriously.

    Yep, otherwise they will be characterized a hysterical female, just like how Rebecca Watson is being treated right now.

  30. Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther
    Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther July 7, 2011 at 8:09 pm |

    z: Emily

    To be fair, the sweet baby Jesus is actually quite a bit older than he seems.

  31. zuzu
    zuzu July 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm |

    matlun: I do agree with Dawkins that the elevator incident sounded like a non-issue.

    Well, it may seem like a non-issue only because nothing actually happened.

    But had she been followed by this guy back to her room, or had she accepted his offer and then something happened, don’t you think we would have heard a chorus of “How could she be so stupid to go into an elevator alone at 4 am with a man/how could she be so stupid to think he really wanted only coffee???”?

  32. facelessminion
    facelessminion July 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm |

    Annaleigh: Yep, otherwise they will be characterized a hysterical female, just like how Rebecca Watson is being treated right now.

    I wouldn’t say that, I don’t speak to women in public unless spoken too first for these reasons. I’ve gotten on buses late at night and been the only guy and had multiple women pull out pepper spray and tasers and just leave them on the seat next to them multiple times. Weather it be from past experience, socially induced paranoia or just plain fear of what they think “all us guys are like” there will never be a good place to approach a female “passer buy” as a dude without coming across as threatening.

    My answer so far has been to simply keep my mouth shut, speak when spoken too, and hope my presence alone isn’t threatening enough to illicit a response, as it has been some times in the past <_<.

  33. zuzu
    zuzu July 7, 2011 at 8:19 pm |

    Azeylea M.: Add to that the fact that she had just given a talk about being tired of being seen primarily as an object of romantic/sexual conquest in atheist communities.

    And add further that the guy had been hanging around at the bar all night without talking to her, the bar served coffee, she had just announced her intention to retire, and he didn’t speak to her until he cornered her in a fucking elevator at 4 am in a hotel, whereupon he propositioned her.

  34. Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther
    Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther July 7, 2011 at 8:20 pm |

    Not sure what happened there, I was trying to quote z! Oh well. Sorry z!

    z: Why is Sweet Baby Jesus hitting on someone??

  35. zuzu
    zuzu July 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm |

    z: Why is Sweet Baby Jesus hitting on someone??

    Duh.

    He’s a guy. Guys have needs.

    HOW CAN WE PROPAGATE THE SPECIES IF YOU BITCHES WON’T LET US ASK YOU FOR SEX IN ENCLOSED SPACES LATE AT NIGHT??I??

  36. Florence
    Florence July 7, 2011 at 8:24 pm |

    z: Why is Sweet Baby Jesus hitting on someone??

    Sweet Baby Jesus is a total dick.

  37. Captain Awkward
    Captain Awkward July 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm |

    I never thought of the Sweet Baby Jesus as being a sexual predator, but the people behind the Is He In You billboards do raise a good question.

  38. Azeylea M.
    Azeylea M. July 7, 2011 at 8:32 pm |

    Captain Awkward:
    I never thought of the Sweet Baby Jesus as being a sexual predator, but the people behind the Is He In You billboards do raise a good question.

    Um. I love you?

  39. Ellie
    Ellie July 7, 2011 at 8:40 pm |

    Captain Awkward:
    I never thought of the Sweet Baby Jesus as being a sexual predator, but the people behind the Is He In You billboards do raise a good question.

    If you have to ask… eeeeh.

  40. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan July 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm |

    Do it! Do it for science! Do it!

    Do it with every white person who asks you that.

    Definitely for science! …I can predict with 99% accuracy what they’ll say if you happen to ask on St. Patrick’s Day, though. 9.9

    (My ethnicity would be British Isles, maybe a bit of French?, and whoever didn’t run fast enough when the various Germanic tribes strolled through… My ethnicity is a distasteful rape joke, basically. xp)

  41. zuzu
    zuzu July 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm |

    Ellie: If you have to ask… eeeeh.

    Sweet Baby Jesus is a needledick?

  42. facelessminion
    facelessminion July 7, 2011 at 9:38 pm |

    zuzu: Sweet Baby Jesus is a needledick?

    are you frigging kidding me, a “tiny dick” joke on a feminist blog… lord…

  43. Azkyroth
    Azkyroth July 7, 2011 at 10:04 pm |

    Maybe writing a book on when it is appropriate for men to flirt with a woman is more needed…and probably more helpful for men as well.

    When and how. And without assuming too much about what’s obvious, since, while I have no idea if Elevator Guy is one of them, a lot of people do struggle in good faith with this sort of thing, in many cases for disability-related reasons.

  44. Azkyroth
    Azkyroth July 7, 2011 at 10:09 pm |

    Maybe women don’t need to be responsible for teaching men how to act.

    How are people supposed to learn if no one will explain in good faith? Especially the ones who don’t pick up social expectations intuitively.

    And more to the point: do you care more about Being Right or about actually making things somewhat better? Especially given that the only people who would buy a book like that would be people who are actually trying to learn and want to know how to act.

    As was noted upthread, compassion isn’t a bad thing.

  45. Liz
    Liz July 7, 2011 at 10:11 pm |

    @Bagelsan, et. al. – heh. I once chose to do the reverse of this. One day when we were out, a friend of Vietnamese descent from sunny CA got asked the “So, where are you from?”, replied “California,” and then got deluged with “Where are you *really* from?” She dropped a ref to Vietnam in there, somewhere; the questioner then kept. on. grilling her. Finally, when she finally snapped at him (and I, girl-hulk that I am, loomed in the background & did my best to back her up) he replied, with an injured look at us both: “Don’t you care about the Vietnam War? It was not that long ago.”

    We were like, wtf? And then my friend said, “Don’t you care about World War Two?”, indicating me.

    him: blank look.
    me (catching on): “Yeah. Why haven’t you asked me where *I* come from?”
    him: *sputter* *sputter*

    He went away. Of course, his confusion was due to my being whiter than a chunk of Dutch cheese – if he had stuck around, he’d have learned that my friend has at least two generations up on me, when it comes to family in the U.S.

    But at least he went away. :)

  46. mary
    mary July 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm |

    I am a woman and an atheist, and every single comments section surrounding this issue reminds me why I haven’t gone near movement atheism in 8 years.

    Last I heard, atheist men were still complaining that there were no atheist women to date. Y’all: this is why. Seriously.

    It really got under my skin to read some of the comments on PZ Meyer’s post, and on the Bad Astronomy blog entry on this topic. It brought back memories of some truly awful rape dismissing conversations, and it’s upsetting that so little has changed in the last 8 years, that there are as many angry entitled males as ever.

  47. mary
    mary July 7, 2011 at 10:30 pm |

    How are people supposed to learn if no one will explain in good faith?

    You do realize this is exactly what Rebecca Watson was attempting to do in the first place, right?

    If you want to get mad that you aren’t being taught in good faith, get mad at Richard Dawkins for being a dismissive jerk to her, and get mad at the 1000s of comments that have appeared attacking Watson as some delusional, hypersensitive uppity freak.

    Women are tired of teaching because half the time, this is exactly the reward for our troubles.

  48. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm |

    Azkyroth: How are people supposed to learn if no one will explain in good faith?Especially the ones who don’t pick up social expectations intuitively.

    This is like the first point at Derailing for Dummies, you know.

    If someone wanted had the time, energy, and inclination to write a book about this, or to explain about it to someone, then great, good for them. But demanding it would be wrong, because most people this affects the most just *don’t* have the time, energy, or inclination, and compassion goes both ways. I think in this case it needs to start with the privileged class first. If you look at the comment threads about this debacle, or the mammoth comment thread for Kate Harding’s Schroedinger’s Rapist thread, there are a *lot* of men who don’t have a scrap of compassion for women, and who privilege their wants over the very real needs of women for personal space. They are being awful about Rebecca Watson who merely said that this incident made her uncomfortable, and who may or may not be a sexual assault survivor, so I can only imagine what they would be like to a sexual assault survivor who tried to explain that men who disrespect her right to be left alone *scare her*.

    Personally as a survivor of a sexual assault that took place in public, and who needs a lot of personal space from people in general, but especially men when out in public, that’s one challenge I have no desire to take on, and I will never blame any woman who feels she can’t or doesn’t want to try and educate men on this either.

  49. Captain Awkward
    Captain Awkward July 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm |

    Azkyroth, first, maybe don’t put yourself in the shoes of the guy in the elevator and try having some compassion for the other person instead? Second, maybe Rebecca Watson’s first responsibility was to her own safety and comfort level, and then, also, she did gently explain “Hey, don’t do that” in very good faith and got attacked for it?

  50. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm |

    mary: You do realize this is exactly what Rebecca Watson was attempting to do in the first place, right?

    If you want to get mad that you aren’t being taught in good faith, get mad at Richard Dawkins for being a dismissive jerk to her, and get mad at the 1000s of comments that have appeared attacking Watson as some delusional, hypersensitive uppity freak.

    Women are tired of teaching because half the time, this is exactly the reward for our troubles.

    THIS. Thank you.

  51. zuzu
    zuzu July 7, 2011 at 10:48 pm |

    Azkyroth: As was noted upthread, compassion isn’t a bad thing.

    Why should we only have compassion for Elevator Guy and not the woman who doesn’t know if he’s a threat, socially awkward, or just a douchebag who’s taking up her time?

  52. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig July 7, 2011 at 10:52 pm |

    Azkyroth: As the others said, why bother to explain to people who won’t listen? Guys are deaf as posts when it comes to hints like “you are making me uncomfortable, please get out of my space” stated explicitly or through non-verbal cues. I’ve met a lot of guys who wouldn’t get this idea even if it came with a direct hit from a brick. And yes, they were a little neurologically impaired (ADD, ASD, you name it), but so am I, and I don’t need any help to get the concept of personal space.

  53. Mike
    Mike July 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm |

    I think Richard Dawkin’s argument about the Muslim world was a total pantload.

    Yet, at the same time, I cannot help but feel like there’s something wrong with attacking the man who got in the elevator.

    If the problem was that the *person* getting on the elevator was black, all of the comments here would still hold. Elevators are still enclosed spaces, crime victim data suggests that someone who is black is disproportionately likely to commit a violent crime, and it still would be 4am with alcohol involved.

    Yet I doubt anyone would be saying “I know, the nerve of that black person.”

    But when you change it to gender, instead of race, suddenly the prospect of being disproportionately likely to commit a violent crime (again, based on crime victim data) is an acceptable reason to label someone a scumbag.

  54. zuzu
    zuzu July 7, 2011 at 11:15 pm |

    Mike:
    I think Richard Dawkin’s argument about the Muslim world was a total pantload.

    Yet, at the same time, I cannot help but feel like there’s something wrong with attacking the man who got in the elevator.

    If the problem was that the *person* getting on the elevator was black, all of the comments here would still hold.Elevators are still enclosed spaces, crime victim data suggests that someone who is black is disproportionately likely to commit a violent crime, and it still would be 4am with alcohol involved.

    Yet I doubt anyone would be saying “I know, the nerve of that black person.”

    But when you change it to gender, instead of race, suddenly the prospect of being disproportionately likely to commit a violent crime (again, based on crime victim data) is an acceptable reason to label someone a scumbag.

    HE HUNG AROUND HER ALL NIGHT, HEARD HER SAY SHE HATED THIS EXACT THING HAPPENING AT ATHEIST CONFERENCES AND IF Y’ALL CARED ABOUT GETTING MORE WOMEN AT THESE THINGS, STOP FUCKING DOING THAT, AND THEN HE GOT HER ALONE IN AN ENCLOSED SPACE AND FUCKING ASKED HER TO HIS HOTEL ROOM AT 4 AM WHEN SHE SAID SHE WAS GOING TO SLEEP AFTER NEVER HAVING SPOKEN TO HER BEFORE.

    So, yeah, if a black person got on the elevator in the same set of circumstances and did the exact same thing? Still fucking creepy.

    It’s like you haven’t read a word here.

  55. shfree
    shfree July 7, 2011 at 11:15 pm |

    Realistically, I am obligated to help only one person learn to navigate her way through society and its structures, and that is my child. While it would be nice for me to assist men to learn how to treat women with the respect we deserve, frankly, that is something they should have been able to figure out on their own by now. I’m not their caregiver.

    Nor is it my job to go about and assess each man to determine if his inability to treat women with dignity and respect is due to assholishness, douchiness, if he is on the spectrum, or gosh darn it, he means well, he just doesn’t know how to talk to women. First, I’m not remotely qualified to determine whether or not someone is neurotypical or not. Second, I simply don’t have that kind of time, it’s so endemic to male behavior. Lastly, the times I have tried to walk men through how they were being shitty, when they were all “please, help us understaaaaaand…” they simply Did Not Get It. (Also, the level of praise for the effort it takes for when we try to explain shit to them? Not NEARLY high enough.) So…fuck that noise.

    Azkyroth: How are people supposed to learn if no one will explain in good faith?Especially the ones who don’t pick up social expectations intuitively.

    And more to the point: do you care more about Being Right or about actually making things somewhat better?Especially given that the only people who would buy a book like that would be people who are actually trying to learn and want to know how to act.

    As was noted upthread, compassion isn’t a bad thing.

  56. shfree
    shfree July 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm |

    Realistically, I am obligated to help only one person learn to navigate her way through society and its structures, and that is my child. While it would be nice for me to assist men to learn how to treat women with the respect we deserve, frankly, that is something they should have been able to figure out on their own by now. I’m not their caregiver.

    Nor is it my job to go about and assess each man to determine if his inability to treat women with dignity and respect is due to assholishness, douchiness, if he is on the spectrum, or gosh darn it, he means well, he just doesn’t know how to talk to women. First, I’m not remotely qualified to determine whether or not someone is neurotypical or not. Second, I simply don’t have that kind of time, it’s so endemic to male behavior. Lastly, the times I have tried to walk men through how they were being shitty, when they were all “please, help us understaaaaaand…” they simply Did Not Get It. (Also, the level of praise for the effort it takes for when we try to explain shit to them? Not NEARLY high enough.) So…fuck that noise.

    Azkyroth: How are people supposed to learn if no one will explain in good faith?Especially the ones who don’t pick up social expectations intuitively.

    And more to the point: do you care more about Being Right or about actually making things somewhat better?Especially given that the only people who would buy a book like that would be people who are actually trying to learn and want to know how to act.

    As was noted upthread, compassion isn’t a bad thing.

    Mike:
    I think Richard Dawkin’s argument about the Muslim world was a total pantload.

    Yet, at the same time, I cannot help but feel like there’s something wrong with attacking the man who got in the elevator.

    If the problem was that the *person* getting on the elevator was black, all of the comments here would still hold.Elevators are still enclosed spaces, crime victim data suggests that someone who is black is disproportionately likely to commit a violent crime, and it still would be 4am with alcohol involved.

    Yet I doubt anyone would be saying “I know, the nerve of that black person.”

    But when you change it to gender, instead of race, suddenly the prospect of being disproportionately likely to commit a violent crime (again, based on crime victim data) is an acceptable reason to label someone a scumbag.

    …Why are you assuming that the person who was getting on the elevator was white?

  57. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm |

    Mike: If the problem was that the *person* getting on the elevator was black, all of the comments here would still hold. Elevators are still enclosed spaces, crime victim data suggests that someone who is black is disproportionately likely to commit a violent crime, and it still would be 4am with alcohol involved.

    Yet I doubt anyone would be saying “I know, the nerve of that black person.”

    But when you change it to gender, instead of race, suddenly the prospect of being disproportionately likely to commit a violent crime (again, based on crime victim data) is an acceptable reason to label someone a scumbag.

    No, just no.

  58. EG
    EG July 7, 2011 at 11:28 pm |

    If the problem was that the *person* getting on the elevator was black, all of the comments here would still hold. Elevators are still enclosed spaces, crime victim data suggests that someone who is black is disproportionately likely to commit a violent crime, and it still would be 4am with alcohol involved.

    If all this man had done was to step into the elevator with Watson, then indeed, these comments would be inappropriate. Since this is not the case, your analogy does not make any sense. Nobody has argued that men should not ride elevators with women.

  59. mary
    mary July 7, 2011 at 11:29 pm |

    @ Mike:

    “But when you change it to gender, instead of race, suddenly the prospect of being disproportionately likely to commit a violent crime (again, based on crime victim data) is an acceptable reason to label someone a scumbag.”

    It’s almost as if race and gender aren’t interchangeable, or something.

    Also, the man in the elevator is not a “scumbag” because of crime statistics. He is a scumbag because of his actions. He listened all night to Rebecca Watson talk about how unwanted sexual attention makes women uncomfortable and drives them away from atheist conventions, and how she personally does not like it; and then he proceeded to foist his unwanted sexual attention on Rebecca Watson in an enclosed space.

    He is a scumbag because she clearly and repeatedly spelled out her boundaries – Watson literally broadcast this information to hundreds of people using a microphone, so I don’t know how much clearer she could have made it – and he still decided to ignore those boundaries because he wanted to get laid.

  60. bellereve
    bellereve July 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm |

    Ok, I don’t mind doing a little educating for those who are genuinely wanting to learn. (Of course, I don’t begrudge other women for being exhausted with these types of questions from men).

    So, here you go. This is the abridged version:

    1. Never approach women in confined, secluded spaces, or spaces that are otherwise difficult to exit/walk away from.
    2. A woman who does not smile or make eye contact with you, who moves away from where you are sitting or standing, who is occupied with a book or a phone call, who turns her head the other way, or who does not greet you or engage in small talk, is likely not interested.
    3. Even if a woman DOES smile, say hello, or seem friendly, it is still possible she is not interested, because women are socialized to be polite to men.
    4. And whether she acknowledges you or not, never assume a woman is single, heterosexual, attracted to you, interested in meeting new people, or even open to conversing with strangers.
    5. If you have ANY doubt as to whether approaching a woman is appropriate/welcomed in a given situation, simply refrain from doing so.

    Good luck!!!

  61. The Nerd
    The Nerd July 7, 2011 at 11:37 pm |

    Someone needs to take the entire Microaggressions blog and publish it into an encyclopedia.

  62. shfree
    shfree July 8, 2011 at 12:13 am |

    I have no idea why my last post did that weird thing, but it did.

  63. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 8, 2011 at 12:53 am |

    6. Do not begin your approach by grabbing or touching a woman.

  64. rayuela23
    rayuela23 July 8, 2011 at 3:38 am |

    Dear Mike,

    If you are white – and, oh, I’m just SO SURE that you are – then, no, a black person is absolutely not disproportionately more likely to commit a violent crime against you. Significantly less likely, in fact. A white woman, in particular, is statistically most likely (and by a long way) to be assaulted, sexually or otherwise by…. yep… a white man.

    Also, the guy is not being ‘attacked’, Watson just commented that he didn’t really get the point, did he? (Who does this remind us all of?) And this based not on him entering the elevator but on him entering it in order to proposition her.

    I think (?) we are all in agreement that dudes are allowed to use elevators? Or is that a thing now?

  65. Ugsome
    Ugsome July 8, 2011 at 4:39 am |

    The world really needs a Cluepedia. I know I have a lot to learn.

  66. David
    David July 8, 2011 at 5:23 am |

    bellereve: 5. If you have ANY doubt as to whether approaching a woman is appropriate/welcomed in a given situation, simply refrain from doing so.Good luck!!!

    Well, I wouldn’t go as far to saying this. Doubts can vary wildly from person to person. If I followed this advice, I’d be alone and living with twenty cats.

    The #1 rule I would give is: be kind to all people, including the ones you are propositioning for dates. That is all.

  67. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage July 8, 2011 at 5:54 am |

    Dawkins lost quite a few fans and potential fans with that hurtful statement. I doubt he’d take kindly to being told “shut up about how hard atheists have it in the US/Europe, don’t you know atheists can be killed in $random_theocracy?” That he thought dismissing Watson’s legitimate concerns was in any way an appropriate response exposes the limits of his insight and rationality.

    Oh, and some of the mansplaining above made me facepalm so hard that I accidentally pushed my skull out the back of my head.

  68. cat
    cat July 8, 2011 at 7:20 am |

    Of course, Mike (I generally do not do this, but I am jumping on the “you probably are not black” bandwagon), black men typically do not do things like this in public to white people, because they are socially taught to be hypervigilant of scaring or making a bad impression upon white people. Black people do not go around cornering white people in elevators to make sexual advances, except in the fantasies of racists who are disconnected from reality. (Also, ditto for what rayuela said). This entitled asshole ignorance about one’s threatening sexual behavior something that works horizontally and downwards, not upwards.

  69. SarahMC
    SarahMC July 8, 2011 at 7:28 am |

    Here is how it would go down if there was a book–from a woman’s perspective–on how men should go about interacting with women.

    Men:
    “Let me try to convince you otherwise!”
    “Are you saying men can NEVER talk to women on the street!?”
    “It’s evolution!”
    “I am not going to censor myself for women’s benefit!”
    “It’s a compliment!”
    “Not all men are rapists!”
    Blah blah blah”

    I know this because that is exactly what happens whenever women tell men how they want to be treated. And as you can see, it’s what happened to Watson.

  70. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 8, 2011 at 8:02 am |

    Mike, this shit happens to women of color (and likely on a far larger scale since a lot of people don’t class them as women or human) yet you don’t seem to think they exist. Your erasure is duly noted–I guess the feelings of men only count here.

    Yet, at the same time, I cannot help but feel like there’s something wrong with attacking the man who got in the elevator.

    Oh, FFS. No one is attacking this man. She mentioned this incident in a 30-second aside in an 8-minute vlog. Dawkins, you, and a bunch of other defensive and overly entitled dudes (and the token women who stand by them) have blown this up into some sort of Totally Unjust False Accusation Or At The Very Least A Gross Overreaction of the Ladies Who Are Always Scared of Their Own Shadows Amirite?

    All she said was, “Guys, don’t do that.” And then explained why:

    1) This guy knew she didn’t want this because she had spent the better part of the day talking about it, and he was part of a conversation afterward where this point was stressed over and over again.

    2) She told the group that she was exhausted and was going to sleep.

    3) It was 4:00 AM.

    4) He completely ignored what she said during the day and in the conversation that he was a part of and decided to do whatever he wanted anyway. Which is really fucking rude, entitled, and given the context (4:00 AM, inviting her back to his room, in an enclosed space), fucking creepy, no matte WHAT his ethnic background was.

    I’ll also note that when Desiree Washington (one of those invisible Black women) brought rape charges against Mike Tyson, people immediately said, “Well, what did she expect? She went back to his hotel room with him!” Yet when this guy’s overtures are taken as a comeon for sex, we’re told that no, he only asked for coffee. Had she gone to his room and got attacked, we would have heard “What did she expect–she went to his room with him at 4 AM.”

    I mean. The passive-aggressive douchebaggery is simply awe-inspiring.

  71. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 8, 2011 at 8:14 am |

    How are people supposed to learn if no one will explain in good faith? Especially the ones who don’t pick up social expectations intuitively.

    I call bullshit. Watson explained in good faith–at the conference, during the conversation before she went to bed, and in her vlog. She was actually very calm and kind about it, and explained why. That you and other men choose not to listen but drown her out in a torrent of 300+ comments in threads that accuse her of hypersensitivity, cruelty, and hysteria is your problem, not ours.

    Oh, and BTW? I am really fucking tired of hammering this point home, but it seems that yet again, you d00ds don’t fucking listen: Socially awkward women and non-NT women exist too. How about you fucking remember that, and remember that they get harassed as well?

    And more to the point: do you care more about Being Right or about actually making things somewhat better? Especially given that the only people who would buy a book like that would be people who are actually trying to learn and want to know how to act.

    If YOU care about making things better, you could actually listen to what Watson said, to what other women said, and actually respect those boundaries. You could maybe say something to other guys who refuse to get it. But I think this is more a case of “I’d rather be deliberately obtuse and turn things around on these women rather than change my behavior or listen to them.” Good luck with that. And again, there are socially awkward women and non-NT women out there, and you and the other men who suddenly disovered the evils of ableism in these conversations are very good at erasing and ignoring them.

    As was noted upthread, compassion isn’t a bad thing.

    Too bad that we bitches should not expect any. It seems that’s only for the men, it seems, in your world.

  72. Kathleen
    Kathleen July 8, 2011 at 8:53 am |

    I love this whole discussion. Dawkins ran from his discredited (and dead sexist) science (_The Selfish Gene_) into atheist advocacy the way so many right wingers caught embezzling or sexual hypocritizing run to evangelical Christianity. In both kinds of cases the overriding ambition is to find a new arena in which to pontificate thunderously and preserve a position of scorn toward perceived “inferiors”, god or no god be damned. I’ve hated how much slack Dawkins has gotten from (some) feminist quarters for far too long, he’s just the worst kind of gasbag.

  73. Kathleen
    Kathleen July 8, 2011 at 8:54 am |

    the continuity between his old crap and his new crap, it’s all the same crap!

    (conclude rant)

  74. Johnny Heartbeat
    Johnny Heartbeat July 8, 2011 at 9:11 am |

    Maybe women don’t need to be responsible for teaching men how to act.

    To be honest I can’t tell if the original commenter that you’re responding to is being MRA-snarky or genuine, but I just thought I’d point out that this entire thread was generated because someone suggested (even tongue in cheekily) the potential benefit for someone with less privilege to teach someone with more privilege how to act.

    In other words, maybe your comment is a knee-jerk response to a suggestion that might, if implemented, actually be of some benefit to both men and women.

  75. Wednesday (one of several)
    Wednesday (one of several) July 8, 2011 at 10:08 am |

    3. Even if a woman DOES smile, say hello, or seem friendly, it is still possible she is not interested, because women are socialized to be polite to men.

    Yes, this, exactly!

    And we may also be acting friendly because we also sometimes like to make _friends_ with people with similar interests! You know, platonic friends, the type you hang out with! Maybe we’re chatting with you because you’re wearing a band’s t-shirt because we don’t know many people who share our taste in music, and want more friends that do. Maybe we just moved into town and don’t have many friends (of any gender) in the area yet.

    Or maybe we want to be on friendly terms because we’re going to be interacting a lot anyway in a professional context! If it’s a context related to the work we do, maybe (and this may be a shocker), we are being friendly in order to make professional connections, ie, networking!

    Why, it’s amazing how many reasons a woman might act friendly towards a dude that she has no romantic interest in! It’s almost like women think they should sometimes be able to interact with men for roughly the same reasons men interact with men.

  76. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 10:50 am |

    Johnny Heartbeat: In other words, maybe your comment is a knee-jerk response to a suggestion that might, if implemented, actually be of some benefit to both men and women.

    Please tell this to Richard Dawkins and the hundreds of male internet commenters who jumped all over Rebecca Watson for attempting to do exactly this.

    And please stop framing this problem as “Women are being mean by not teaching us!” That is not the problem. The problem is men who do not WANT to be taught.

    If Anne Marie’s response seemed “knee-jerk” to you, maybe it’s because women have seen these bullshit requests to “teach” about a thousand times before.

  77. Kathleen
    Kathleen July 8, 2011 at 10:50 am |

    Johnny Heartbeat — thank you for your insightful and original commentary regarding knee-jerk feminists. It has expanded my mind in ways I never before thought possible. Whole unexpected vistas have opened up before my eyes. This entire discussion has so been enriched by your contribution. Again, *thank you*.

  78. Mike
    Mike July 8, 2011 at 11:03 am |

    So much falsehood, where to begin…

    Let’s start with my actual comment: at no point did I say a black person was disproportionately likely to attack a woman (white or otherwise), simply that someone who is black is disproportionately more likely to initiate a violent crime (which remains true, I never set limits on the victim’s gender or race in my comment). It REALLY helps if you read a comment before attacking it. Please try and avoid embarrassing strawman arguments in the future by actually responding to what was written rather than what you wish was written.

    Second, the comment still stands. The fact of the matter is that women, in the United States, are statistically unlikely to be attacked by anyone, regardless of gender or race. The vast majority will go through their lives without ever being assaulted.

    Being male or being in an enclosed space does not turn someone into an attacker. The fact that most attackers are men is being unfairly read as “men are attackers,” in a manner no different than a high rate of crime among the black population is often read as “blacks are criminals.”

    Next, thanks for calling me entitled and hinting at racism, I understand that people often react that way when confronted with their own cognitive disonance.

    Finally, in response to the general “She said she didn’t want it!” How do any of you even know what he was asking for? When I read about this at the Atlantic, the original story states that he asked her to his room for coffee because he was interested in what she had to say about atheism. What proof do any of you have that this wasn’t a genuine request? How do you even know the guy wasn’t completely disinterested in sex (perhaps even not a heterosexual!)?

    The fact of the matter is: you don’t know.

  79. Kathleen
    Kathleen July 8, 2011 at 11:09 am |

    Mike — thank you for your insightful and original commentary. Whole vistas have opened up before my eyes. My mind has been expanded in ways I never thought possible.
    All of my preconceptions about race and sex and what goofuses have to say about racism and sexism have been profoundly challenged. This tone of this discussion has been immeasurably raised by your participation in it. You are an exhilarating breath of fresh air. Nothing will be the same from this day forward. So, *so* many thanks.

  80. Mike
    Mike July 8, 2011 at 11:12 am |

    Sheezlebub,

    I don’t even know how to respond to this statement:

    “[T]his shit happens to women of color (and likely on a far larger scale since a lot of people don’t class them as women or human) yet you don’t seem to think they exist. Your erasure is duly noted–I guess the feelings of men only count here.”

    I never said women of color don’t exist. I never said they aren’t women.

    I certainly NEVER agreed with the sentiments surrounding Mike Tyson’s assault of someone 20-odd years ago.

    I suspect you did not bother to carefully read my comment (indeed I was careful not to label the nature of the hypothetical attack, the race or the gender of the victim in hope of heading some of this off).

    I further suspect you are having an argument with someone who is not me, given that you were ready to go with responses to arguments I did not make. I would like to suggest that you find whoever that person is and take your points up with them.

    On the otherhand, if writing “You’re self-entitled!” over the internet to strangers helps you to deal with whatever it is that caused you to argue against points I didn’t make, I completely understand.

  81. Andie
    Andie July 8, 2011 at 11:19 am |

    Mike:
    What proof do any of you have that this wasn’t a genuine request?How do you even know the guy wasn’t completely disinterested in sex (perhaps even not a heterosexual!)?

    No, you’re right. Rebecca Watson did NOT know that. She also didn’t know that he wasn’t a potential attacker. She knew nothing about the guy except that a) he’s approaching her in an enclosed space at an ungodly hour when he had many opportunities previous to that

    I for one, await with anticipation the day where ill-intentioned potential-rapists light up bright green so that I know who I can feel safe in an elevator with, and who is completely innocuous and well-intentioned if maybe a little socially stunted.

    That technology, however, does not exist yet and while realistically we know that a vast majority of guys out there likely ARE well-intentioned guys who just want to talk the sad fact remains that we do not know WHO the bad guys are. So we have to err on the side of caution a lot of the time, and go if it walks like a duck (approaches in an enclosed area, with no escape options) and sounds like a duck (approaches after she publicly has already talked about how she HATES that, showing a propensity to ignore set boundaries) then there’s a chance it might be a FRIGGIN’ DUCK!

  82. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 11:22 am |

    Mike: It REALLY helps if you read a comment before attacking it. Please try and avoid embarrassing strawman arguments in the future by actually responding to what was written rather than what you wish was written.

    Physician, heal thyself.

  83. EG
    EG July 8, 2011 at 11:25 am |

    Being male or being in an enclosed space does not turn someone into an attacker.

    Good thing that nobody said it did, then. We’ve said that following a woman into a closed space after she has said that she is exhausted and going to bed, and then making a pass at her after she has said that she does not want passes at her, rather than speaking to her about atheism in the public place where you both were makes you a threatening douchebag.

    “She said she didn’t want it!” How do any of you even know what he was asking for? When I read about this at the Atlantic, the original story states that he asked her to his room for coffee because he was interested in what she had to say about atheism. What proof do any of you have that this wasn’t a genuine request? How do you even know the guy wasn’t completely disinterested in sex (perhaps even not a heterosexual!)?

    Because Watson specifically noted that the invitation was a come-on. This may be a little much for you to handle, but, by and large, women can tell when a man is hitting on them. Men are not even half as subtle or smooth as they often seem to think they are. And, again, because he didn’t take the opportunity to talk to her, even to introduce himself, in public. He’d had every opportunity to talk to her about atheism–she’d been at the bar talking about atheism until 4 AM!

    Finally, you seem to be under the impression that the man’s intention is what matters most in this kind of situation. It’s not. Women live in a very different reality than men when it comes to sexual assault, harassment, and boundary violations. Over the years, I’ve known not one, not two, but numerous friends who had been raped. And indeed, rapists often “test the waters” with inappropriate/discomfitting remarks/actions in order to see if they can get away with boundary-violation:

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/03/25/predator-theory/

    Here’s a relevant quotation:

    “These undetected rapists:

    • are extremely adept at identifying “likely” victims, and testing prospective victims’ boundaries;

    • plan and premeditate their attacks, using sophisticated strategies to groom their victims for attack, and to isolate them physically”

    So you can see why a man who does not respect a woman’s boundaries and isolates her physically just might trip some alarm bells for her. You might also take a look at Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear to understand why a woman might want to trust those alarm bells.

    By the way, you know those lists women are constantly getting about ways to avoid rape? Oh, you probably don’t. Well, one thing they continuously specify is “Do not get into the elevator with a strange man.”

    I know you’re a dude and all, so your view of the world is usually automatically deferred to, but women have a fairly accurate ability to assess the world we live in. You don’t live in that world, and you’re not at risk, so your assessments of the risks we should be willing to run so as not to hurt some guy’s feelings is are irrelevant.

    I really don’t understand why it is so hard for (some/many) men to accord women’s judgments and experiences any respect.

  84. EG
    EG July 8, 2011 at 11:26 am |

    Bah. Messed the formatting. Sorry about that.

  85. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 11:28 am |

    Mike: How do any of you even know what he was asking for? When I read about this at the Atlantic, the original story states that he asked her to his room for coffee because he was interested in what she had to say about atheism. What proof do any of you have that this wasn’t a genuine request? How do you even know the guy wasn’t completely disinterested in sex (perhaps even not a heterosexual!)?

    If he really wanted to talk with her over coffee, he could have a) spoken to her during the time when he was lurking around the edges of the group she was with in the bar; b) spoken to her while in the bar, which served coffee. Probably much better coffee than he had in his room.

    Also? He opened with “Don’t take this the wrong way, but.” You don’t say that if you don’t know you’re being a jackass. And he most certainly had to know he was being a jackass, propositioning a woman he’d never previously bothered to introduce himself to despite being in her presence for several hours. Especially when said propositioning is done on an elevator at 4 AM when said woman has just announced in his hearing that she was tired and was headed for bed.

    If he were really interested in talking over coffee, the thing to do would have been a) talk to her over coffee while at a place that, in fact, served coffee; or b) suggest meeting later for coffee and letting her go to bed. What not to do? Corner her in an elevator in the wee small hours and invite her back to your room.

    You’re either naive or a jackass if you need help interpreting an invitation back to one’s hotel room. I’m voting jackass.

  86. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 11:31 am |

    Mike: How do any of you even know what he was asking for? When I read about this at the Atlantic, the original story states that he asked her to his room for coffee because he was interested in what she had to say about atheism. What proof do any of you have that this wasn’t a genuine request? How do you even know the guy wasn’t completely disinterested in sex (perhaps even not a heterosexual!)?The fact of the matter is: you don’t know.

    You’re right. We don’t know. That’s why, if men aren’t creeps, they should avoid emulating the behavior of creeps. Rebecca Watson kindly explained to you how to avoid such misunderstandings in the future. Men who genuinely want to have coffee and talk with women should be THANKING Rebecca for taking the time to explain the best way not to request this from women.

    So if you’re upset, you should really take your complaint up with Dawkins and the angry male cohort of the atheist movement who shat all over Rebecca for offering this advice.

    Oh, and you might also want to take this point up with the male atheists who have said things like “I’m not going to let these uppity feminists stop me from asking for sex,” “we have urges and the right to proposition any woman we want,” etc. See, it’s not just we “uppity feminists” who have taken the interpretation that Elevator Guy wanted sex. It’s also people who are defending his actions, and seem to think he had every right to ask Rebecca Watson for it at 4 a.m. in an enclosed space.

    It’s hilarious to me how both the “men have urges, we can’t be denied the chance to ask for sex ever” and “how DARE you suggest he wanted sex!!” cards are both being played against Rebecca Watson in this situation.

  87. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 11:32 am |

    Anne Marie: Maybe women don’t need to be responsible for teaching men how to act.

    Who said anything about being responsible for it? People write books all the time and don’t feel it is their responsibility to do it…they genuinely want to write the book to express their opinion or be helpful in some way.

    Most of what I read on feminist blogs is what men shouldn’t do. All I am saying is, that clearly isn’t working so well…so maybe enlighten men as to when you feel it is appropriate to flirt or otherwise “hit” on a woman.

    It seems to be inappropriate for men to flirt with a woman practically everywhere. We can’t do it at work for fear of sexual harassment lawsuits, it’s creepy if we do it while walking up to you on the street and apparently we shouldn’t do it in elevators.

    The only place I can think of are social parties (not office parties) where it might be OK to flirt there. Office parties are a NO GO because it is still considered “company time”.

    My point being is that if you want men to respect your boundaries…it might behoove you to say what those boundaries actually are. Otherwise, you have to suffer through men using trial and error to find those boundaries. (I am talking about boundaries in relation to dating/flirting…not physical boundaries like unwarranted touching or rape).

  88. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 11:47 am |

    [

    Brandon: It seems to be inappropriate for men to flirt with a woman practically everywhere. We can’t do it at work for fear of sexual harassment lawsuits, it’s creepy if we do it while walking up to you on the street and apparently we shouldn’t do it in elevators.

    Oh no!!! You mean women have the gall to want to work, walk down the street, or ride an elevator without stopping their day to field your sexual advances? Men have it so hard ;__________;

    My point being is that if you want men to respect your boundaries…it might behoove you to say what those boundaries actually are.

    You mean sort of like what Rebecca Watson did by giving a four-hour lecture about how being approached and propositioned at atheist conferences makes her uncomfortable and alienates a lot of women? Yes, I can see how Elevator Guy (who stated he had been at this very lecture) could have gotten confused and mistakenly interpreted that as Rebecca Watson saying “please approach and proposition me.”

    Or maybe you would prefer Rebecca to define her boundaries by mentioning examples of how not to make passes at women. Oh wait, didn’t she do that in her vlog and get attacked by hundreds of male atheists?

    Brandon, seriously. The problem is not that women aren’t defining their boundaries. The problem is that men aren’t listening, or worse, that they become actively hostile when women DO state boundaries. Rebecca printed an e-mail from a male atheist threatening to rape her to teach her what “real problems” are.

    So fuck you for acting like the problem is women not explaining clearly enough. If rape threats are the reaction women get for making even a mild statement like Rebecca did, is it seriously difficult for you to understand why women are reluctant to stick their neck out and explain how we’d like to be treated????

  89. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 11:51 am |

    Brandon: It seems to be inappropriate for men to flirt with a woman practically everywhere. We can’t do it at work for fear of sexual harassment lawsuits, it’s creepy if we do it while walking up to you on the street and apparently we shouldn’t do it in elevators.

    Poor, poor lamb.

  90. Andie
    Andie July 8, 2011 at 11:51 am |

    Brandon:
    My point being is that if you want men to respect your boundaries…it might behoove you to say what those boundaries actually are.

    Strictly in relation to this particular thread Re: Rebecca Watson/Elevator guy – that’s exactly what she did. And has been getting repeatedly shat on for it.. the fat lot of good THAT did for her, since he didn’t respect those boundaries anyway.

    Which goes back to what another poster said about “Why, when the this is the thanks we get?”

  91. Tomek Kulesza
    Tomek Kulesza July 8, 2011 at 11:52 am |

    auditorydamage: fan

    Yeah. It reminded me of Naomi Wolf trainwreck/suicide, only that i value Dawkins for his biology and atheist stances.

    Really disappointing.

  92. EG
    EG July 8, 2011 at 11:59 am |

    Most of what I read on feminist blogs is what men shouldn’t do. All I am saying is, that clearly isn’t working so well

    Yeah, right. The problem isn’t that men have been socialized to think that they have the right to intrude on and demand a woman’s attention at any given moment in her life and to ignore her boundaries. The problem is that feminist bloggers aren’t being clear enough!

    No. That’s bullshit. There was just a study that dispelled this myth, that the poor little men just don’t know how to read women’s signals. They do. They just don’t care.

  93. Laurie
    Laurie July 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm |

    I dunno, Brandon, I can’t imagine it’s all that onerous to confine your flirting to non-work-related social events. If that’s tough for you, apparently you need to get out more.

    Of course, another issue is what you consider to be “flirting.” I hope you don’t think that it’s “flirting” to corner a woman on an elevator in order to proposition her when she has said she does not want to be propositioned.

  94. Laurie
    Laurie July 8, 2011 at 12:13 pm |

    It DOES seem that a lot of men* take it as a challenge to be overcome when a woman states her boundaries. My own experience was that whenever I told a man I did NOT want to go out with him or have a relationship him, he would pursue me all the more determinedly.

    My advice to Brandon: Assume women mean what they say and respect that. If a woman says she does not want a relationship with you, stay away. If you ask a woman out two or three times, and she says “no” each time, stay away. If a woman becomes chilly when you start to flirt, stay away.

    *I didn’t say “all men.” I didn’t say “most men.” I said “a lot of men.”

  95. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm |

    @Mary:

    I find it funny that you are taking everything I say to the extreme. For one, yes women have the right to work and walk down the street, etc… I never said women should be harassed…you twisted my words.

    Men have it hard. Women have it hard. People have it hard…Life is hard.

    I am not saying Rebecca Watson is wrong either. In fact I am not talking about her at all. I am talking about places where feminists/society/American culture deems that it is OK to try and meet a woman and flirt with her.Not just Rebecca…but women in general.

    It is a basic assumption that flirting with women at work is a bad idea because like you said, women have the right to not be harassed at work. I am not advocating that men should be allowed to do that…I am just recognizing that work is off-limits. Which means I AM listening and understanding womens boundaries. (or in this case, your boundaries)

    Are you expecting men to read/watch Rebecca’s videos/blog to learn what her boundaries are? Don’t you think that is expecting a lot for men who have jobs, families and a plethora of other things that are more important than one person’s blog.

    Again, I a talking about what should be acceptable places for men to try and flirt with women. Kinda like a “culturally accepted flirting zone”. Where men and women can flirt and potentially start a relationship.

    How is a man supposed to know what a woman’s boundaries are…if they never even talked to one another. Rebecca is an odd case since she was making a speech about it….most cases will not involve a woman verbally announcing her beliefs for men to hear.

    On one hand, Dawkins is a dumbass if he did hear her. But on the otherhand, it was more advantageous for him to talk to her. If he didn’t open his mouth, he would without a doubt miss an opportunity to get to know her. If he did, his chances might still be bad, but they are still better than nothing. So logically, you have a far better chance of meeting people if you talk as opposed to not talking.

    Lastly, I made no comments about rape threats. I don’t know the full details of Rebecca’s case…but nobody should be getting rape threats…or any threats for that matter. So please don’t try and say I condone such behavior…because I don’t.

    You didn’t feel reluctant to tell me to fuck off when I didn’t even talk about the rape threats Rebecca received. Any woman could write the book and post it anonymously on the internet…hence her anonymity would protect her from any “hissy fits” people would have in response to it.

  96. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl July 8, 2011 at 12:29 pm |

    My point being is that if you want men to respect your boundaries…it might behoove you to say what those boundaries actually are. Otherwise, you have to suffer through men using trial and error to find those boundaries.

    Which is what is happening on this thread, and yet you still want to engage in blowback rather than furthering your own comprehension. Go figure.

    Also, I’m guessing here, but if a gay man were to come on to you, you would fully expect *him* to understand your boundaries, no? And you wouldn’t feel the least bit bad about feeling uncomfortable if he propositioned you, alone, in an elevator, at 4 am, when you were bone tired and had just spent the entire day explaining how you are straight and don’t like being propositioned by gay men.

    Also, guys, if you are using the word “propositioned” and thinking that this is a *good* thing, then I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  97. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl July 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm |

    LOL.

    Nothing says “boundaries” like having to post shit anonymously.

    Really Brandon, do you not see the contradiction here?

  98. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm |

    Laurie:
    It DOES seem that a lot of men* take it as a challenge to be overcome when a woman states her boundaries.My own experience was that whenever I told a man I did NOT want to go out with him or have a relationship him, he would pursue me all the more determinedly.

    My advice to Brandon:Assume women mean what they say and respect that.If a woman says she does not want a relationship with you, stay away.If you ask a woman out two or three times, and she says “no” each time, stay away.If a woman becomes chilly when you start to flirt, stay away.

    *I didn’t say “all men.”I didn’t say “most men.”I said “a lot of men.”

    That is good advice Laurie…except you are jumping over one crucial step. The initial contact. I am talking about the step men have to take to initiate the conversation (in the appropriate venue). You are jumping right to the rejection part and skipping over when it is appropriate to start a flirty conversation to potentially get rejected or not.

    It’s pretty easy for me to do what you are saying. Hell, why would I want to be with someone that constantly is turning me away? Sounds pretty stupid to me.

    I pretty much follow those rules to a tee. If a woman gives me a dirty look, I take that as a rejection and move on. If she doesn’t pickup the phone on the 2nd to 3d time I call her…I delete her number.

    Men do see it as a challenge when women give them “token resistance”. I have personally seen women act disinterested only to open up and be friendly to a man 5 minutes later. Then the woman usually opens with “I didn’t like him at first…” later on.

    The problem is that is a fine line…and a lot of men don’t know when to quit. They think it’s always “token resistance” when it is actually “I am not attracted to you and I want you to get the fuck away from me”.

  99. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm |

    Q Grrl: Which is what is happening on this thread, and yet you still want to engage in blowback rather than furthering your own comprehension.Go figure.

    Also, I’m guessing here, but if a gay man were to come on to you, you would fully expect *him* to understand your boundaries, no? And you wouldn’t feel the least bit bad about feeling uncomfortable if he propositioned you, alone, in an elevator, at 4 am, when you were bone tired and had just spent the entire day explaining how you are straight and don’t like being propositioned by gay men.

    Also, guys, if you are using the word “propositioned” and thinking that this is a *good* thing, then I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

    I have been “hit on” by a few gay men. I just say “I am straight, but thanks for the compliment”. If he tries again, I get slightly more firm but polite. If he goes for a third time I usually say “Listen, dude. I am not gay. So please stop flirting with me”.

    I am a fairly big guy so unless the guy is a Patriots lineman…I can handle the situation.

  100. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm |

    Brandon: How is a man supposed to know what a woman’s boundaries are…if they never even talked to one another. Rebecca is an odd case since she was making a speech about it….most cases will not involve a woman verbally announcing her beliefs for men to hear.

    Rebecca is not actually an “odd case.”

    Rebecca stated her boundaries, just like you want her to. Elevator Guy ignored what she expressly spelled out for him. This happens all the time to women – we state our boundaries, only for some guy to trample all over them in his quest to get laid.

    It doesn’t matter how clearly, intelligently, politely or forcefully we state our boundaries. A lot of men only hear what they want to hear. You are either very naive or willfully ignorant if you don’t understand this point.

    Do something to fix that problem before you complain about women not speaking up enough.

    Lastly, I made no comments about rape threats. I don’t know the full details of Rebecca’s case…but nobody should be getting rape threats…or any threats for that matter. So please don’t try and say I condone such behavior…because I don’t.

    Don’t make it about you. I am telling you the reality of what actually happens to women who state their boundaries.

    I explained to you that rape threats and other hostile behavior, including physical violence, are how some men react when women state their boundaries.

    If you are upset by this information, don’t shoot the messenger. Get upset with your fellow men who make these kinds of threats.

    Any woman could write the book and post it anonymously on the internet…hence her anonymity would protect her from any “hissy fits” people would have in response to it.

    Seriously????? You’ve got to be trolling at this point.

    Your solution to rape threats is for her to stay anonymous???

    What about you, Brandon? What are you doing about this situation? Are you telling your fellow men to quit making rape threats? Are you standing up against the men who have attacked Rebecca Watson? Are you doing anything to make the environment less hostile for women?

    If the answer is no, then you are not lifting a finger to help women. So what makes you think you are entitled to help from women?

  101. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 12:51 pm |

    Ack, formatting. Sorry.

  102. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm |

    @Brandon

    Pretty simple really, don’t “flirt” with people who haven’t indicated a reciprocal interest. You may “speak” to people in lots of places including elevators. Indeed, I speak to men, even men I don’t know, all the time. The rules for speaking to women are similar to the rules for speaking to men. Ask: Would I stand this close to another dude? Would I interrupt another dude reading a book? Would I continue talking to a dude who was pointedly ignoring me? Would I invite another dude to my hotel room to discuss philosophy? Would I touch another dude while speaking to him? Most of these “boundries” are not foreign to men, they’re just foreign when applied to “target” women.

  103. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl July 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm |

    I am a fairly big guy so unless the guy is a Patriots lineman…I can handle the situation.

    You really, really, really don’t get it do you? Are women supposed to navigate your “fairly big” size with a smile on their face, or can they too be intimidated by it?

    I mean, you’re obviously comfortable using physical threat after a guy propositions you at only the third time –so why are you having such a hard time with this thread and what *women* have to say about their experiences?

    Is it perhaps that unless there is a threat of physical violence, you are the one choosing to ignore boundaries?

  104. jennygadget
    jennygadget July 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm |

    Most of what I read on feminist blogs is what men shouldn’t do.

    Since I read and comment on feminists blogs quite a lot, and very little of the conversations I am a part of have anything to do with what men (not people), as a class, should do (or not do)…

    And since a significant percentage of conversations about what men should do, when they do arise, tends to revolve around telling specific men to stop derailing the comment thread and making it all about them…

    I do have to wonder if maybe…just perhaps…the issue is not what we are saying as a whole, but that you do not bother with conversations that do not (in your mind) revolve around you.

    Case in point:

    Brandon [clearly being clueless]:

    “My point being is that if you want men to respect your boundaries…it might behoove you to say what those boundaries actually are.”

    Mary [attempting to explain to persons that lack reading comprehension, empathy, and apparently the ability to do the tiniest amount of research all by their wibble selves]:

    “So fuck you for acting like the problem is women not explaining clearly enough. If rape threats are the reaction women get for making even a mild statement like Rebecca did, is it seriously difficult for you to understand why women are reluctant to stick their neck out and explain how we’d like to be treated????”

    Brandon [who clearly thinks that the conversation is about him and what he says]:

    “Lastly, I made no comments about rape threats…[also]…You didn’t feel reluctant to tell me to fuck off when I didn’t even talk about the rape threats Rebecca received.”

    Jesus fucking christ on a stick, Mr. Jackass. (Aside from yes, clearly, saying something under your real name on a vlog and in public is EXACTLY the same thing as making a (semi?)anon comment on a blog /sarcasm)

    To be educated, you have to want to be educated. This generally does not involve responding to an argument that contains information that is new to you with “I made no comments about [that].” Yes, you willfull ignoramus – WE KNOW – that’s why it was brought up in the first place.

    *facepalm*

  105. Laurie
    Laurie July 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm |

    Brandon, you meet women by talking to them at places where people expect to mingle and interact. Places like parties, clubs for special interest groups, or perhaps bars that are understood to be places for people to mingle. You then talk to them as though they are regular human beings. I would actually not worry so much about trying to flirt. I would concentrate more on just expressing an interest in your conversation-partner, what she does, what her opinions are — while also volunteering your own views and things about yourself. It should be a mutual getting-to-know-each-other. Injecting humor into the interaction is helpful if you are able to do this skillfully.

    If she seems receptive and appears to enjoy your company, ask her out. But take no for an answer. If you suspect she is only offering token resistance, still take it at face value. If she really is offering just token resistance, that ought to teach her to cut that shit out. And if she likes you enough, then she is capable of re-initiating contact once you start walking away.

    By the way, a proposition for sex in-and-of-itself is not necessarily the worst thing in the world. Just do it in a place where the woman has an easy escape route, take no for an answer no matter what and retreat, and don’t act as if her own possible social value to you as sex.

  106. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm |

    Brandon: I am a fairly big guy so unless the guy is a Patriots lineman…I can handle the situation.

    And what if it were a Patriots lineman?

    What if you were in a small, enclosed space with that Patriots lineman? What if you had already stated your preference not to be hit on, and the big buff Patriots lineman still asked you back to his room at 4 a.m.?

    What if you wrote a blog post stating “Hey, it really wasn’t cool of Mr. Patriots lineman to bug me in a small enclosed space when he knew I didn’t want it”, only to have OTHER big burly Patriots linemen come out of the woodwork saying they would rape you in order to teach you a lesson?

    Is this all very uncomfortable for you to imagine? Good. Because now you have some teeny tiny fraction of a hint of the discomfort women feel on a regular basis when “Patriot linemen” refuse to acknowledge appropriate boundaries.

  107. Laurie
    Laurie July 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm |

    And yes, I agree with jennygadget that Brandon is being willfully obtuse. Sorry, Brandon, but you are.

  108. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm |

    Laurie: And yes, I agree with jennygadget that Brandon is being willfully obtuse. Sorry, Brandon, but you are.

    Yep.

    The “how can I learn if you won’t teach me?” needs to be flipped around to “how can I teach you if you won’t learn?”

  109. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm |

    And here amongst the comments, are the reasons why most women don’t want to bother educating men on this issue:

    – men being deliberately obtuse and uneducatable
    – men implying that women worrying for our safety is misandry (or in other places on the internet, outright saying that)
    – people who are actually denying that hateful comments have been posted about Rebecca Watson on other places on the internet, etc. etc. etc.

    This is why I, as a sexual assault survivor, someone who is non-NT and has PTSD, who is a WOC, and who deals with regular harassment when I am out in public, will never bother to try to teach men about this subject. It’s. not. fucking. worth. it.

  110. Angela
    Angela July 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

    I am a fairly big guy so unless the guy is a Patriots lineman…I can handle the situation.

    Bingo!

    It might surprise you to discover that most women (or at least most women of my acquaintance, including myself), are almost always aware of their own physical vulnerability relative to men. Therefore, they take measures to ensure (as anyone physically vulnerable would) to minimize the risks to themselves.

    We do this without any regard for your feelings of insult or confusion, your desire for social and romantic interaction, or your need for emotional and physical intimacy. Because those things don’t matter to us when we feel unsafe.

    It doesn’t feel like too much to ask for you to be aware of other people’s vulnerability (real or perceived) relative to you, and to refrain from interacting in situations (such as alone in elevators late at night) where they may feel that way. That’s back to the compassion.

  111. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan July 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm |

    Again, I a talking about what should be acceptable places for men to try and flirt with women. Kinda like a “culturally accepted flirting zone”. Where men and women can flirt and potentially start a relationship.

    Match.com. Go there. Go nuts! Go wild! But mostly… go away. Because we’re trying to have an adult conversation that isn’t about your dick being parched and alone.

  112. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm |

    My point being is that if you want men to respect your boundaries…it might behoove you to say what those boundaries actually are.

    Um, Brandon, Watson made it crystal clear, multiple times. As have the women on this thread. Your deliberate obtuseness and refusal to listen is your problem.

    Mike, I find it very amusing that you give us all lectures about reading your posts when you apparently never read anything we posted here. Watson didn’t complain about a random Black person getting on the elevator. She didn’t even complain about a random man getting into the elevator. She talked about a man, who was part of the conference she spoke at and part of the conversation she was engaged in at the bar, ignoring the very boundaries she laid out (you know, how she didn’t like being hit on, etc.), ignoring her statements that wow, it was 4:00 AM and she was really tired and was going to bed, and decided to get her alone in the elevator and ask her up for coffee in his room.

    You decided to ignore that part and equate the inappropriate behavior of a man with racism, which is utter fucking bullshit. It’s a nice strawman, but it’s not working as a tactic since, you know, you need to read the fucking comments already. I brought up women of color because you’re the one who tried to introduce some sort of element of racism in this. Well, here’s the news: women of color do deal with this sort of inappropriate behavior as well, and it’s not cool to try and create some sort of imaginary scenario that ignores the actual words of Watson to try and score gotcha points.

    If you’re going to lecture people about reading your comments carefully, I suggest you take your own advice, dear.

    It’s nice that you felt what Tyson did was wrong, BTW. But you’re creating the can’t win conundrum when you insist we don’t know that this guy maybe only really wanted coffee. Well, Desiree Washington figured Tyson wasn’t going to try for sex either, and when she was assaulted, people blamed her for going to his room. If Watson had gone with this guy to his room and had been assaulted, you’d see the same thing here. We can’t win.

    And really? I’m sick to fucking death of whiny, entitled guy screeching about their right to hit on women and how we’re not making our boundaries clear when they’ve been made crystal clear, over and over again.

    It’s almost as if you’d like to ignore what we say and do what you want anyway.

  113. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan July 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm |

    I am a fairly big guy so unless the guy is a Patriots lineman…I can handle the situation.

    No, you can’t.

    If someone were very determined to rape you they absolutely could. Women find this out all the time — you think we don’t take efforts to avoid physical violence? You think that plenty of rape survivors hadn’t tried to “handle the situation”?

    That lineman is bigger than you, or maybe he’s less drunk than you, or maybe he isn’t alone like you are, or maybe he’s got a badge, or maybe he’s got a marriage license with your name on it, or maybe he’s been following you in his car for 5 minutes as you walk down the street, or maybe he’s noticed that you freeze up when he touches you instead of fighting back, or maybe he put something in your beer, or maybe he has an entire community of other linemen who’ve been saying throughout the years “Brandon is a slut and Brandon should keep his damn mouth shut and stop being such a bitch and Brandon needs to get in that hotel room like you told him” and looking at the fit of your pants and looking at how late at night it is and convicting you as an object of lineman affection and a target of lineman predation, not the first Brandon and not the last Brandon this guy will find, and certainly not a Brandon worthy of protection and respect and unassailable boundaries, because respect is for people not warm holes.

  114. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm |

    @Bagelsan,

    That was simply too much win for one comment.

  115. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm |

    Kristen J.:
    @Brandon

    Pretty simple really, don’t “flirt” with people who haven’t indicated a reciprocal interest.You may “speak” to people in lots of places including elevators.Indeed, I speak to men, even men I don’t know, all the time.The rules for speaking to women are similar to the rules for speaking to men.Ask:Would I stand this close to another dude?Would I interrupt another dude reading a book?Would I continue talking to a dude who was pointedly ignoring me?Would I invite another dude to my hotel room to discuss philosophy?Would I touch another dude while speaking to him?Most of these “boundries” are not foreign to men, they’re just foreign when applied to “target” women.

    Again…I am asking for appropriate venues where feminists would approve of men approaching them specifically to flirt. I got bars, special occasions (not pertaining to work) and elevators (just not in this case).

    Getting into someones personal space and pestering them means you are being an asshole.

    I have interrupted people while they were reading a book. Sometimes they quickly answer, sometimes they like talking about the book. The book is irrelevant, it is how receptive they are to furthering the conversation. If they set it down and continue talking…that’s the sign they are interested in continuing the conversation…otherwise, they want you to go away so they can get back to reading their book.

    I have tapped men on the shoulder or patted them on the back while talking with them.

    Q Grrl: You really, really, really don’t get it do you?Are women supposed to navigate your “fairly big” size with a smile on their face, or can they too be intimidated by it?

    I mean, you’re obviously comfortable using physical threat after a guy propositions you at only the third time –so why are you having such a hard time with this thread and what *women* have to say about their experiences?

    Is it perhaps that unless there is a threat of physical violence, you are the one choosing to ignore boundaries?

    “Fairly big” means I am built like a lineman. I realize my size can be intimidating to people. This is why I try to have a smile on my face and be polite and friendly.

    I never said anything about physical violence. I said I can handle myself.,,,meaning I am not afraid if HE gets violent with me. Not the other way around. If I have a way to avoid a confrontation, I take it. Because of my size, I realize the amount of damage I am capable of doing and I am a fairly passive person and don’t like violence at all. I would much rather walk away.

    @Mary:

    If I was a 100 pound woman and a 300 pound linebacker came into an elevator with me…it would probably be scary. I get it….women tend to be safety conscious much more than men since men on average are physically stronger than women. I have also pointed out that Dawkins is a dumbass for not respecting Rebecca’s boundaries when blatantly told so. So we all agree that Dawkins is a twit. I am talking not just about Rebecca’s case…but of approaching women in general. Also, Dawkins is no lineman…he is a scrawny little bugger.

    Annaleigh:
    And here amongst the comments, are the reasons why most women don’t want to bother educating men on this issue:

    – men being deliberately obtuse and uneducatable
    – men implying that women worrying for our safety is misandry (or in other places on the internet, outright saying that)
    – people who are actually denying that hateful comments have been posted about Rebecca Watson on other places on the internet, etc. etc. etc.

    This is why I, as a sexual assault survivor, someone who is non-NT and has PTSD, who is a WOC, and who deals with regular harassment when I am out in public, will never bother to try to teach men about this subject. It’s. not. fucking. worth. it.

    Ya…I asked a question and it took about 3 responses to get a real answer. In the mean time I was told to “fuck off” and that I was obtuse or naive.

    Women should worry about their safety…and it is not misandric at all. Just like men worrying about theirs and it is not misogynistic.

    I don’t know if you were targeting me…but I did not deny anything about Rebecca getting harassing messages. The messages that she got that were harassing her are inappropriate and she shouldn’t have gotten them.

    I am sorry that you were sexually assaulted, but if you are unwilling to teach men about this subject…then nothing has changed and you might as well accept that nothing will change. Certain things like sexual assault are no-brainers. You shouldn’t do them. But fumbling around dating and relationship nuances is not the same as forcing yourself on someone. One is downright disgusting and the other is making a relatively harmless social faux pas.

  116. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

    Brandon: Again…I am asking for appropriate venues where feminists would approve of men approaching them specifically to flirt. I got bars, special occasions (not pertaining to work) and elevators (just not in this case).

    The Feminist Collective, Central Planning Division, finds your comment double plus ungood and refers you to the Reeducation Section.

  117. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm |

    Bagelsan:
    I am a fairly big guy so unless the guy is a Patriots lineman…I can handle the situation.

    No, you can’t.

    If someone were very determined to rape you they absolutely could. Women find this out all the time — you think we don’t take efforts to avoid physical violence? You think that plenty of rape survivors hadn’t tried to “handle the situation”?

    That lineman is bigger than you, or maybe he’s less drunk than you, or maybe he isn’t alone like you are, or maybe he’s got a badge, or maybe he’s got a marriage license with your name on it, or maybe he’s been following you in his car for 5 minutes as you walk down the street, or maybe he’s noticed that you freeze up when he touches you instead of fighting back, or maybe he put something in your beer, or maybe he has an entire community of other linemen who’ve been saying throughout the years “Brandon is a slut and Brandon should keep his damn mouth shut and stop being such a bitch and Brandon needs to get in that hotel room like you told him” and looking at the fit of your pants and looking at how late at night it is and convicting you as an object of lineman affection and a target of lineman predation, not the first Brandon and not the last Brandon this guy will find, and certainly not a Brandon worthy of protection and respect and unassailable boundaries, because respect is for people not warm holes.

    Thats why I conceal carry. If that SOB wants to try and rape me…he is getting shot in the kneecaps. He is going to have to work to try and make me a victim.

    Which is why I support Pink Pistols.

  118. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm |

    Brandon: Certain things like sexual assault are no-brainers. You shouldn’t do them. But fumbling around dating and relationship nuances is not the same as forcing yourself on someone. One is downright disgusting and the other is making a relatively harmless social faux pas.

    You don’t get it. The ones who fumble around dating and relationship nuances while I’m out in public TRIGGER me and my PTSD because my sexual assault happened *in public* while I was trying to pass through public spaces. The men who badger me for my phone number and who ignore my body language which probably screams “Leave me alone!” are doing something very similar to the men who assaulted me, albeit on a smaller scale obviously. But the lack of respect for me as a human being is there in both cases.

  119. EG
    EG July 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm |

    If that SOB wants to try and rape me…he is getting shot in the kneecaps.

    So…women should be so prepared for rape attempts that we should pack a gun at all times, but not so paranoid that we are rude to men who violate our boundaries in elevators? And the same juries and cops that don’t believe us when we say some asshole tried to rape us–even when there is overwhelming corroborating evidence–are going to believe us when we say we shot him because he was [i]trying[/i] to rape us?

    You honestly think those things?

  120. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl July 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm |

    I never said anything about physical violence. I said I can handle myself.,,,meaning I am not afraid if HE gets violent with me. Not the other way around. If I have a way to avoid a confrontation, I take it. Because of my size, I realize the amount of damage I am capable of doing and I am a fairly passive person and don’t like violence at all. I would much rather walk away.

    Ah, but remember that you’re on an elevator, it’s 4 am, and you’re tired. Of course you’re going to rely on your size to imply that you can “damage” someone.

    But here’s the thing. You also, probably not consciously, rely on the fact that many other men do resort to violence, and that a man’s size, his musculature, etc., do convey a level of threat that simply can’t be ignored. *You* may not like violence, but you rely on social cues and scripts that hint at your ability to do “damage” should you *choose* to do so.

    Strangely enough, despite your size, despite your ability to do “damage”, etc., you still want women to tell you how to talk to us. What you then want is for women to ignore ALL the social cues that hint at your ability to do “damage”, including your insistence that women don’t set clear boundaries, and then you want us to ignore our reactions and basically hold your hand so that you might get an opportunity to fuck one of us. Trust me, it’s not a very appealing proposition! I mean, holy hell, what do women get out of this?

  121. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm |

    Brandon, you insist that no woman has ever made her preference clear, but this whole shitstorm started because one woman made a 30-second aside in an 8-minute video about how she didn’t like getting hit on in an elevator at 4:00 a.m. And other women in this thread and other comments threads have pretty much backed her up.

    There have been “real” answers you just chose not to listen to them or take them seriously.

  122. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm |

    @Brandon,

    Define flirt. Because I spend time in bars and I don’t want strange men walking up to me, invariably placing their arm around my waist or arm and initiating a conversation about some part of my anatomy. Not acceptable unless invited. At any location.

    I have no problem having a normal conversation with a dude at a train station, in an elevator, at the grocery store, at work, even on an airplane. But I have zero interest in flirting with any of them.

    You pat men you just met on the back?

  123. Emolee
    Emolee July 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm |

    What in the fuck is “token resistance”?

    @Brandon: “I have personally seen women act disinterested only to open up and be friendly to a man 5 minutes later.” This sounds dangerously like “she might fight it at first, but then she’ll be into it.”

    I don’t think anyone was purposely promoting rape. But, this “oh, but it’s not real” attitude about women’s boundaries when it comes to verbal socializing overlaps with and informs this same attiude when it comes to women’s boundaries for physical/sexual contact.

    @Brandon: “The problem is that is a fine line…and a lot of men don’t know when to quit.”

    Here is your answer: Quit the first time she asks you to. Err on the side of respect and take all resistance seriously.

  124. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl July 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm |

    Brandon: hint: fairly passive people who don’t like violence tend to dialogue about things, not carry guns with the intention of shooting other humans.

  125. saurus
    saurus July 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm |

    Can’t we ban people who type a sentence that starts with “I am sorry that you were sexually assaulted, but”?

  126. jessi
    jessi July 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm |

    Brandon:
    If I was a 100 pound woman and a 300 pound linebacker came into an elevator with me…it would probably be scary. I get it….women tend to be safety conscious much more than men since men on average are physically stronger than women. I have also pointed out that Dawkins is a dumbass for not respecting Rebecca’s boundaries when blatantly told so. So we all agree that Dawkins is a twit.I am talking not just about Rebecca’s case…but of approaching women in general. Also, Dawkins is no lineman…he is a scrawny little bugger.

    You know, before writing comments, maybe you could actually read at least one article about the thing that’s being discussed. Clearly you didn’t, otherwise you wouldn’t think it was Dawkins who propositioned Watson.

  127. igglanova
    igglanova July 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    Successful communication requires a brain and willingness to pay attention. Look at body language, for fuck’s sake, and start the conversation with something other than ‘hey you wanna fuck out back?’ Pay attention to how interested or bored the subject of your attention is throughout your interaction. Boredom = break it off and find someone else.

    There are no hard line rules about propositioning someone – hell, it may even be fine and dandy to proposition someone for sex in an elevator at 4AM sometime, if there is evidence that she’s into that. (That’s the key – EVIDENCE that she’d be into that.) But Watson made it clear that she’d already interacted with this clown and expressed disinterest. The onus is on you, the initiator, to PAY ATTENTION to signals that indicate interest or disinterest. If you can’t read someone at all, that’s your problem and not hers. Try initiating some benign contact to gauge the reaction if you’re really dying of curiosity.

    I feel like I’m talking to a 14-year-old. Human communication, sexual or otherwise, doesn’t rely on hard and fast rules, so you’re not going to get much that are any good other than ‘accept rejection and don’t act like a petulant turd when you fail.’ To be successful, you have to be observant and adaptable. What women want depends on context and the individual – whatta concept!

  128. Tony
    Tony July 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm |

    Brandon: Again…I am asking for appropriate venues where feminists would approve of men approaching them specifically to flirt.

    Brandon, serious question.

    Why do you care?

    First of all, ‘feminists’ do not speak with one voice. The individual women here have valid perspectives, but that’s all they are. Perspectives, not gospel.

    Secondly, ‘feminists’, even if they did speak with one voice, wouldn’t have any veto power over your next move. No one from here’s gonna be looking over your shoulder telling you, you can or can’t do it.

    So I don’t see how arguing with people over the validity of their reactions in the abstract helps.

    Just use your judgment. The only one whose opinion matters… is the woman you’re going after. Since we don’t even know who that is, we don’t know what ‘appropriate’ behaviors or venues would be.

  129. XtinaS
    XtinaS July 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm |

    mary:
    I am a woman and an atheist, and every single comments section surrounding this issue reminds me why I haven’t gone near movement atheism in 8 years.

    Gah, word, entirely.  The only blog I read specifically for the atheism is Greta Christina’s, and even then I tend not to read the comments.

  130. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm |

    Sheelzebub:
    My point being is that if you want men to respect your boundaries…it might behoove you to say what those boundaries actually are.

    Um, Brandon, Watson made it crystal clear, multiple times.As have the women on this thread.Your deliberate obtuseness and refusal to listen is your problem.

    And really?I’m sick to fucking death of whiny, entitled guy screeching about their right to hit on women and how we’re not making our boundaries clear when they’ve been made crystal clear, over and over again.

    I agree with everyone that Dawkins is a twit because Watson DID make it very clear. I am not just talking about her but more abstractly in regards to “When IS it appropriate to have those types of conversations with women?”

    Maybe I am being obtuse to you (and everyone else), because you keep taking what I am saying out of context.

    Now men are “entitled” because we can walk up to any random person and try and strike up a conversation (sexual or otherwise).

    @Bagelsan:

    Ya online dating sucks. Tried it, didn’t like it. I like my dating life face to face…not through a computer monitor.

    So you are mad that men take a proactive stance on getting laid? Ya good luck with trying to stop men from wanting sex. It seems men can do no right. If we approach you wrong we get chewed out. If we do it at work, we get a lawsuit. If we date women younger than us, we get attacked for being children, if we use porn we get Naomi Wolf’s lecture about porn is like crack cocaine. And if we choose not to marry we get called “kidults”.

    So my question is basically “How do men have to behave so that women/feminists/academics will stop criticizing us and actually approve of something we do?”

    If you can’t communicate that then what incentive do men have to give you what you want? We might as well just do whatever the fuck we want and let the chips fall where they may. We might as well ignore what you say and just be indifferent to your needs.

    While what Dawkins did was rather dumb…it isn’t illegal. So as long as men stay on the legal side of things…we might as well do what we want because people are going to be mad and upset with whatever choice we make. So we might as well make the choice we want and not the one you want us to make.

  131. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

    Now men are “entitled” because we can walk up to any random person and try and strike up a conversation (sexual or otherwise).

    No, you’re entitled because you insist that we hold your hand and teach you things you should already know, things we have already told you, things you have decided not to listen to. You’re entitled because you’re complaining about a woman’s preferances and boundaries putting a crimp in your dating life, and deciding that your dating life is far more important than respecting what any of us have said.

  132. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

    Now playing: the tiniest violin on God’s green earth

  133. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm |

    Whoops, the violin is intended for Brandon, obviously, not Sheezlebub.

  134. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm |

    Blinks.

    Oh, I’ll take the serenade, Annaleigh. I’m cranky today with all the fail. ;)

  135. matttbastard
    matttbastard July 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm |

    So you are mad that men take a proactive stance on getting laid? Ya good luck with trying to stop men from wanting sex. It seems men can do no right. If we approach you wrong we get chewed out. If we do it at work, we get a lawsuit. If we date women younger than us, we get attacked for being children, if we use porn we get Naomi Wolf’s lecture about porn is like crack cocaine. And if we choose not to marry we get called “kidults”.

    *sniff sniff* I smell the unmistakeably whingy stench of an MRA troll wafting off Brandon’s odious (and tedious) comments. Feed the POOR WITTLE DARLING!!1 at yr own discretion. #awwdiddums

  136. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm |

    Tony: Brandon, serious question.

    Why do you care?

    First of all, ‘feminists’ do not speak with one voice. The individual women here have valid perspectives, but that’s all they are. Perspectives, not gospel.

    Secondly, ‘feminists’, even if they did speak with one voice, wouldn’t have any veto power over your next move. No one from here’s gonna be looking over your shoulder telling you, you can or can’t do it.

    So I don’t see how arguing with people over the validity of their reactions in the abstract helps.

    Just use your judgment. The only one whose opinion matters… is the woman you’re going after. Since we don’t even know who that is, we don’t know what ‘appropriate’ behaviors or venues would be.

    I don’t really care all that much. I am going to do and behave the way I see is moral and appropriate. I just like debating and trying to understand someone else’s perspective.

    Granted, feminists aren’t just one huge collective…but they do share similar dogma and ideology. I doubt most feminists would not fight to repeal Roe v Wade. Well, maybe they have a “pro-life feminism” somewhere. So I think it is pretty safe to say “Feminists believe in a woman’s right to choose”. There will always be exceptions, but there is also the majority.

    Yup, no one here wouldn’t look over my shoulder and tell me I can’t or can do something. But I often find that besides posting articles about abortion or prominent rape cases, feminist blogs also like to point out “jerky, assholery male behavior”. I like to know why they think it is “jerk” behavior.

    I am not looking for approval from the commenters . I am looking to better understand why they feel the way they do.

  137. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm |

    @ Brandon:

    The fact that you continue to focus on the question “but how can I get laid?” instead of “how can I do my part to stop the harassment, violence and disrespect women endure?” shows how fundamentally sexist your priorities are.

    So, as the person who told you to fuck off, I stand by that statement.

  138. igglanova
    igglanova July 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm |

    Well, Brandon, the point feminists make about patriarchy is that men *don’t* have an incentive to treat women like anything less than human garbage. It’s one of the key things we’re opposed to. It speaks volumes about your own selfishness if you’re only willing to treat women with respect if there’s something in it for you.

    And now, back to our regularly scheduled program – ‘men with shit social skills blaming feminists for why they can’t get laid’

  139. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm |

    @Brandon,

    If not being a shithead isn’t incentive enough for you to learn people skills, then I got nothing for you.

    Feel free to ignore the interpersonal dynamic and treat all women as a monolith which is violating your rights to female attention when not responding via the super special man communication method.

  140. catfood
    catfood July 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm |

    Several comments on this seem to assume implicitly that the RW incident was all about the possibility of rape or other violent acts. I spotted 53, 78, and 81 to begin with.

    Can we be clear on this point? Not raping or beating a person is setting the bar rather low. R. Watson had already told this guy, in the group setting, that she didn’t want to get hit on at conferences by men. Even if the guy was officially certified Not A Rape Threat, he was still behaving in an annoying way, in a confined space.

    And more to the point, R. Watson wasn’t even really condemning the guy. She was just saying that if you want more women to join your conferences, it would help if the men didn’t try to pick them up in elevators at 0400.

    So yes, this is about rape and other forms of violence. But it is also about not being annoying and intrusive even without any threat of violence. All these protestations about the supposedly low probability of violence miss the point.

  141. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm |

    Sheelzebub:
    Blinks.

    Oh, I’ll take the serenade, Annaleigh.I’m cranky today with all the fail. ;)

    Very well then, but in light of all the fail you deserve a much bigger violin! ;)

  142. Emolee
    Emolee July 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    @Brandon: “If you can’t communicate that then what incentive do men have to give you what you want? We might as well just do whatever the fuck we want and let the chips fall where they may. We might as well ignore what you say and just be indifferent to your needs.”

    You should not need an incentive to respect women. Women are human beings, and as such deserve basic respect. And women do not owe you instructions OR a place and time to flirt with them OR sex or anything else other than basic respect as a human being. YOUR ENTITLEMENT IS SHOWING.

    In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with asking for advice as you did earlier… but resorting to threats when when you don’t get the response you wanted… not cool.

    And the fact that you want to have sex with women but also want to be “indifferent to [their] needs” speaks volumes about you. And is an attitude I see WAY TOO OFTEN from men.

  143. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm |

    Brandon: I am not looking for approval from the commenters . I am looking to better understand why they feel the way they do.

    You’re not interested in understanding. If you were, you’d do more than search for cue words that enable you to drop MRA troll talking points.

    You’re such a dumbass that you’re still insisting it was Richard Dawkins in that elevator hitting on Rebecca Watson! What a fucking jackwagon you are.

  144. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    Brandon: I don’t really care all that much. I am going to do and behave the way I see is moral and appropriate. I just like debating and trying to understand someone else’s perspective.

    This may just be a debate for you, some fun, but for us this is our daily lives are like AND YOU AREN’T LISTENING.

  145. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    Brandon: I don’t really care all that much. I am going to do and behave the way I see is moral and appropriate. I just like debating and trying to understand someone else’s perspective.

    This may just be a debate for you, some fun, but for us this is what our daily lives are like AND YOU AREN’T LISTENING.

  146. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm |

    Even when you say it twice!

  147. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm |

    zuzu:
    Even when you say it twice!

    Sadly yes!

  148. igglanova
    igglanova July 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm |

    ‘I don’t really care all that much. I am going to do and behave the way I see is moral and appropriate. I just like debating and trying to understand someone else’s perspective.’

    Since Brandon has basically admitted he’s engaging in bad faith, I guess we can just go ahead with mockery instead of investing any more energy than he is in this argument. It would be quite fun. Let us all marvel at the dim wit that is incapable of figuring out that women are annoyed by annoying people who produce annoying solicitations in elevators.

  149. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm |

    igglanova:
    Well, Brandon, the point feminists make about patriarchy is that men *don’t* have an incentive to treat women like anything less than human garbage.It’s one of the key things we’re opposed to.It speaks volumes about your own selfishness if you’re only willing to treat women with respect if there’s something in it for you.

    And now, back to our regularly scheduled program – ‘men with shit social skills blaming feminists for why they can’t get laid’

    I think I treat women just fine. I am polite, friendly and I think overall I am a decent man. Women call my phone and ask me to hang out with them…so I can’t be all that bad. I enjoy spending time with women. Most of the time, they are a blast to be around. On the other hand, I am just looking to have a good time (eat out, museums, parties, etc…) I have no real desire to get married, so my relationships with women are often superficial and shallow. I want to have fun, they want to have some fun…so we have fun.

    I pretty much am as honest I can be with them. I say “I am just looking to have a little fun and nothing serious”. We meet up, go places and enjoy each others company…then go back to our lives. Everybody wins!

    People are selfish. I am not going to be in a relationship and give and give and give and expect nothing in return. That is called being used.

    I think my social skills are fine and I have no problem “getting laid”. (as you so put it)

  150. Lu
    Lu July 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm |

    Then why are you constantly posting demanding flirting guidelines? Could it possibly be because you are an ass whose only interest is to rile up feminists and waste their time?

  151. Laurie
    Laurie July 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm |

    OK, I know I totally fed the troll upthread. *Cowers in shame* But I thought it would be interesting to give Brandon a straight answer to his question about venues where it might be appropriate to initiate contact with a woman. So at 105, I answered his question. My suggestions included any place where people congregate for the purpose of mingling — such as parties, certain kinds of bars, clubs for people with similar interests. Apparently, this was not good enough for Brandon (see 115). (Also, I didn’t see anyone suggesting elevators.) Methinks this is because he is really not interested in the answer, and because NO answer will satisfy him if it puts any limitations on when or where he can hit on women.

    Also, Brandon, for the love of God, Richard Dawkins did not hit on Rebecca Watson on the elevator. Dawkins made a comment later about Rebecca Watson’s account of an event in which an unnamed dude hit on her in an elevator.

  152. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm |

    Brandon: I think my social skills are fine and I have no problem “getting laid”. (as you so put it)

    So why the fuck are you hanging around asking for a primer on how to approach women so you can get laid?

    Jackwagon.

  153. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm |

    Brandon: I think I treat women just fine.

    No, you don’t. You have been rude to every single woman on this thread.

  154. P.T.Smith
    P.T.Smith July 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm |

    Brandon,

    Seriously guy, let it go. There’s no special, magical way to “handle” women or feminists in order to get laid. You meet a person, you start talking with said person, you listen to what they say, what their body language tells you, what other people around them tell you, and you figure things out from there. Have interest in plain meeting new people, not just running around trying to find the key to “appropriately” getting laid. And frankly, I’m not even sure why you care. If you are trying to please a made-up feminist who thinks 90% of your actions are wrong…well…this made-up feminist doesn’t strike me as your type. If you’re honestly trying to pay attention to a person and treat them decently, you’ll be fine most of the time. If that’s what you’re honestly doing…

  155. becky
    becky July 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm |

    So you are mad that men take a proactive stance on getting laid? Ya good luck with trying to stop men from wanting sex.”

    …aaah, and there it is. *facepalm*

  156. cat
    cat July 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm |

    @Mike, violence against women happens all of the time, with mostly male perps. Or does sexual violence and domestic violence not count as violence in your book? One in three girls is the victim of rape or sexual assualt before she even turns 18. In addition, most forms of violence with male victims also have a male perp, so it really does not follow that male on male violence should decrease a woman’s fear. Men commit far more crimes against women than women against men. This is not true of black people and white people (especially when taking into account lower conviction rates when the victim is black or state sponsored violence). The only way your analogy works is if you pick a group that actually is the victim of most sexual and other violence with a black perp-a black victim. Which puts two guys in the elevator for the gender example.

  157. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm |

    Brandon, your last comment has fuck-all to do with the OP.

  158. Laurie
    Laurie July 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm |

    Yes, that has always been a major goal of mine as a feminist and a straight woman — to stop men from wanting sex.

    Because, of course, I myself NEVER want sex since women aren’t wired that way.

  159. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm |

    Because, of course, I myself NEVER want sex since women aren’t wired that way.

    Shhhh. . .we’re going to get the mansplaining hordes here lecturing us on how they know our libidos better than we do.

  160. matttbastard
    matttbastard July 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm |

    I don’t really care all that much. I am going to do and behave the way I see is moral and appropriate. I just like debating and trying to understand someone else’s perspective.

    To paraphrase Rep. Barney Frank (D, MA): Brandon, trying to have a debate with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.

    Jackwagon.

  161. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm |

    Sheelzebub: Brandon, your last comment has fuck-all to do with the OP.

    But why can’t you meanie feminists teach him in good faith when it’s the appropriate time to broadcast his alleged sexual exploits? :(

    Men just can’t win :( :( :(

  162. igglanova
    igglanova July 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm |

    Ok then. If you really don’t have trouble getting laid, then why are you asking us for advice on how to get laid? The mind boggles.

    Going back to your original point. Giving men further advice on how to not alienate women is unnecessary: available research shows that men who piss off, oppress, and generally act like dicks toward women are aware that they’re doing it. They just don’t care. It’s a waste of feminists’ energy to write up detailed manuals for jackasses on how to act like human beings.

  163. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm |

    @zuzu:I am not asking for a primer on “how to get laid”. I have no problems in that department.

    @mary: I haven’t been rude to anyone here…this coming from the person that told me to “fuck off” You might want to take your own advice.

    @Laurie: Yes you did answer my question…and I appreciate it. In fact you are the only one that really did.

    BTW, I don’t care in the sense that I am not going to get all worked up about this debate and start name-calling.

    My first comment had nothing to do with the Rebecca/Dawkins issue.It was suggesting that maybe their was a list of acceptable places where women would feel comfortable to flirty conversations with women. Laurie came up with a few suggestions.

    I ask a simple question, all hell breaks loose, I get told to “fuck off” and that I am a dumbass. And people wonder why men and women have a hard time getting along. Such hostility…it’s not good.

    @Emolee: You are seriously mixing what I am saying. For one…women deserve basic human rights and respect. No woman should get harassed, raped, assaulted or otherwise physically touched in a way she doesn’t want to.

    The women that I am with, I treat very well and I am attentive to their needs…because they appreciate it and reciprocate.

    I also don’t go demanding sex from women…that would be the proper definition of “being entitled”. I talk to women and lead it towards sex if I feel attracted to her…but if she doesn’t want to kiss me, touch me or sleep with me, that is her right and I don’t push the matter. I simply revert back to being non-sexual and friendly. Hell, maybe I might make a friend instead of a lover…who knows unless you talk.

    What I was saying in that paragraph you quoted was: If everything men do is disapproved by you, then it doesn’t really matter what we do because you will still not approve of the choices or lack of choices that we make. That wasn’t an invitation to say men have some fucked up right to verbally and physically attack you. But that all those nuanced social etiquette things you might like men to do go out the window. If you make men always in the wrong and never right….we might as well act in a way we want. (the rule of law still applies)

  164. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    Brandon: I haven’t been rude to anyone here…

    Demanding that women “teach you” and then refusing to listen to what they say is rude. Saying “I’m sorry you were sexually assaulted but…” is rude. Saying “I’m just playing devil’s advocate” about the actual shitty experiences women endure in their lives is rude. Not bothering to actually read any of the background on the Rebecca Watson situation before you charge into a thread and start arguing is rude. Derailing a conversation about women so that we can all focus on your sex life is fucking rude as hell.

    Suggesting that women should sacrifice time and energy to write a big shiny special book to help you get laid, but that they should do it anonymously because of rape threats, is not just rude, it’s incredibly selfish and fucked up. Oh, and your extra classy touch of referring to rape threats as a “hissy fit.”

  165. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm |

    Oh, mockery eh?

    Then I respectfully submit for your approval:

    A vegan’s kitten wearing a meat bacon hat, traveling to a royal wedding via an airplane that hits a building because kittens are shitty pilots…while disapproving of invitations from men who corner her in an enclosed spaces.

  166. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm |

    Brandon: If you make men always in the wrong and never right….we might as well act in a way we want. (the rule of law still applies)

    Hmm…where have I heard idea this before?

    Oh yeah! In that manifesto of that guy who set himself on fire.

    Wow.

  167. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm |

    Again…I am not demanding anything. I am not holding a gun to your head and ordering you to write a book.

    Also, the book idea wasn’t about getting laid…but places in society where men can have non-professional, non-work related, flirtier conversations with women without women getting creeped out

    I feel genuinely sorry for a woman that has been traumatized through sexual assault and I am being rude…just wow.

    I am not playing devil’s advocate.

    My initial comment had nothing to do with Watson.

    You are also deliberately inserting “rape threats” into everything I say. I didn’t bring it up.

    Also, I didn’t say women should make the book anonymous because of fear from rape threats. If someone did write the book, but didn’t want their name on it for fear of being attacked (through the blogosphere not IRL), then they can use a pseudonym. Also “hissy fits” refers to anyone trashing the book. That means some feminist blogger ripping it to shreds or some retarded MGTOW guy complaining over it. “hissy fits” has nothing to do with rape threats. Men use pseudonyms all the time…there is nothing misogynistic about them.

    In the end, it seems that neither one of us can communicate in any meaningful way. Which is a shame.

    I get verbally attacked by you and a few others and I am the rude one. Funny

    @annaleigh: I meant things like burping, farting in public and scratching ones balls…not soaking yourself in gasoline and lighting yourself on fire.

    How can you not see that? Why did you jump to such a hostile, extreme viewpoint without even further asking for clarification? All you could have said was “do you have any examples?”…but no you just jump to “Brandon is a misogynistic man who will light himself on fire the first chance he gets…because of teh womyns” Can’t even give me the benefit of the doubt and ask for another explanation.

    Ya, I am not killing myself to get back at or try to control a woman. I have no need to control a woman. Why bother? I love women…but not enough to die for.

  168. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm |

    Jesus Christ. No, you’re not threatening suicide, but you are embracing the whole “if women don’t tolerate things from me they don’t like, I’m just going to do whatever I want and take my ball home” just like he did, and guess what, his comments along those lines didn’t have anything to do with his suicide. He said if women and society hold men accountable for child abuse and domestic violence, that men should just commit child abuse and domestic violence since they can’t win anyway.

    You’re saying that if women don’t want waste to their precious time trying to explain to you that some women want to be left alone in public, that you should just ignore all the signs from women saying “leave me alone” since men can’t win anyway.

  169. Emolee
    Emolee July 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    @brandon
    I think you are the one misinterpreting me. I don’t think and did not say that you were a rapist or thought rape was ok.

    But I think you and I have very different ideas of what respect is. Not raping or physically or verbally assaulting is setting the be pretty low. You have said that since you didn’t get he answers hat you wanted that you will do whatever you want within the bounds of the law. If not breaking the law is your only guidance in dealing with people then you are likely not going to be being respectful much of the time.

  170. sadpanda
    sadpanda July 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm |

    Ya know, I just want to point out that there are a lot of feminists out there who would take the fact that this dude took no for an answer in a “compromising situation” as a GOOD thing, and a sign that feminism is making head way.

    So now responding to a no answer isn’t good enough, now if we GET a no in the first place we have to assume we were being triggering and or threatening and were STILL the oppressor?

    Any feminist will tell you that guessing what will cause a threatening response is a dice roll. “body language”, and “signals” don’t work, this is why humans invented language to better communicate. When i was a child i was told to use my words to express how i felt. This man was told no, so he took it, where i come from that’s called respect not “why did you ask in the first place”.

    Conversations like this have led me to operate under the idea, “you can never be sure if your being threatening so just assume you are”. While this keeps me out of trouble for the most part, the idea that the solution is to simply never speak to women just doesn’t feel right. I assume there is a feminist friendly answer out there better than total social isolation from female but nobody seems to be able to tell me what it is.

  171. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm |

    Ya, still you jumped to a really bizarre conclusion.

    I am in no way condoning child abuse or domestic violence.

    I guess what I am trying to get at is: if the world was a feminist utopia…what would dating, courtship and intimate relationships look like? (how would people meet, would marriage still exist, etc…) I guess I am trying to see how you would see the world if it was the way you wanted it to be. That is what I really want to know and understand. While not relevant towards Watson per se…the whole “Don’t ask me out in an elevator” brought up the question(s).

    I am not demanding you answer, I was just hoping that you or some other commenter would at least try and help me understand how you want the world to look like…so I can better understand feminism.

    The whole situation is a catch-22 from my POV. You can not find out a woman’s boundaries without at least approaching her to talk. Men are not mind readers, hence we can not KNOW when you don’t want to be approached until we actually approach you.

    At the very least a body language cue is needed to determine if a woman wants to talk to you. (like she crinkles her nose when you are walking up to her = don’t talk to me).

    I don’t see anything patriarchal or entitled with men walking up to a woman and saying hi. Saying hi does not entitle men to sex or anything else…not even a conversation.

  172. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm |

    Brandon: @zuzu:I am not asking for a primer on “how to get laid”. I have no problems in that department.

    Pull the other one.

  173. Emolee
    Emolee July 8, 2011 at 6:23 pm |

    Above typos should say setting the bar pretty low and answers that you wanted

  174. Laurie
    Laurie July 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm |

    To me, feminist utopia would be (1) men taking no for an answer, and (2) men trying to put themselves in the woman’s place and think about whether there is any reason that a proposition, flirting, come-on, asking for a date, etc. in a particular circumstance would place her in an awkward, uncomfortable, or fear-inducing situation for any reason.

    I’m a woman but I try to do this in all my interactions with people, including when I’ve asked men out or come on to them. I have always tried to approach a man in a way that doesn’t place any pressure and that gives him an easy out if he is not interested. Men don’t usually seem to do this for women though.

  175. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm |

    Brandon: At the very least a body language cue is needed to determine if a woman wants to talk to you. (like she crinkles her nose when you are walking up to her = don’t talk to me).

    I don’t see anything patriarchal or entitled with men walking up to a woman and saying hi. Saying hi does not entitle men to sex or anything else…not even a conversation.

    I think you need to talk to the men I meet then, because I bet my body language is VERY clear, yet it is nearly always ignored. I can look as uncomfortable and miserable as all get out, and. they. still. won’t. shut. up. Because they could care less how I may actually be feeling.

    There was a little something that happened the other day when I was out in town that I have been using an example to demonstrate the difference. I am a pretty shy person, so when I go out in town with my iPod and Kindle in hopes of being left alone at places like buses or bus stops, it’s not just men I often would like to have leave me alone. So I was listening to the iPod at a bus stop one day and some woman came to wait for the bus, and evidently she is very extroverted, because in a short amount of time I knew a lot about her and had said very little at all myself. She eventually realized that, acknowledged that she had interrupted my iPod listening and that I had probably preferred to go back to my music. She apologized and because I appreciated that, I made a little small talk about the weather until we got on the bus and she saw someone she knew, someone who is much more on her wavelength apparently.

    This never happens with men and I will die of shock if men ever show that kind of consideration. They. keep. on. talking. They keep on talking if I’m looking away, they keep on talking if I tell them I’d rather not give my phone number out, they keep on talking if I divert my attention to my Kindle, they keep on talking if I tell them more or less that I’m uncomfortable. They. keep. on. talking.

  176. XtinaS
    XtinaS July 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm |

    Laurie:
    I’m a woman but I try to do this in all my interactions with people, including when I’ve asked men out or come on to them. I have always tried to approach a man in a way that doesn’t place any pressure and that gives him an easy out if he is not interested. Men don’t usually seem to do this for women though.

    Same here.  When I approach anyone for chatting or chatting-up, I try to be considerate of the environment, their body language, my approach, and so forth.  So my feminist utopia would totally involve men doing the same thing.

  177. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm |

    @sadpanda: I kinda see your point. I think it’s awkward to walk around as if I am this intimidating person. I don’t want to move through life walking on eggshells. I would much rather be bold and assertive than meek and timid.

    If I constantly thought I was this big bad intimidator, I would feel like shit…and never talk to a woman ever again. I would much rather be cool, calm, collected and confident. (funny…C4). Be fun, be sociable and enjoy life.

  178. Tony
    Tony July 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm |

    Brandon,

    People responded to your sarcastic, taking-it-to-the extreme tone beginning from your second post, where you equated not wanting to be hit on at work, walking in the street, and in elevators to not being allowed to hit on women “anywhere”. Where you answered your own question about where it would be appropriate to hit on a woman (at a party) and then turned around and deemed it an insufficient answer.

    Where you described instances in which women have set boundaries and then turned around and said that the problem is that women have never set boundaries. That set the tone for how people responded to you. I don’t know what you meant by that post, but it struck people as disingenuous, and fairly so.

    Claiming that you don’t care what feminists think while writing so passionately in this thread, and claiming that you aren’t looking for advice to get laid but you are looking for advice on flirting and hitting on women, also seems disingenuous. And claiming that all you want is answers but then arguing with people who give you answers, as well as arguing with Rebecca Watson’s advice, is disingenuous.

    And making statements like “feminists never approve of anything men do” and “when will you stop criticizing us” which are absurd and unanswerable is just you setting yourself up to get shat at. Of course feminists approve of lots of things men do… most in fact, I would say. And no, there probably will never be a day when all feminist criticism of all men ceases.

    Finally, to turn it around and act like the victim of the discussion is further disingenuous, and manipulative.

    Men who go on there loudly demanding to be educated usually won’t receive a positive response on feminist blogs.

    Arguably your behavior on this thread is an example of why that is so.

    A man who wants to learn from “the feminist perspective”, has plenty of resources at his disposal to do so. The easiest place to go is Google. People who come on threads and demand answers in this passive aggressive sort of way are at best being lazy, and at worst acting in bad faith.

  179. matttbastard
    matttbastard July 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm |

    sadpanda:

    BLAH BLAH BLAH FEMINAZIS IZ NEVAH HAPPY.*

    Ok, audible collective MRA thumbsucking = TEH BORING. Can we photochop some funky British hats on this thread too?

    *loosely paraphrased, natch.

  180. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm |

    sadpanda: Ya know, I just want to point out that there are a lot of feminists out there who would take the fact that this dude took no for an answer in a “compromising situation” as a GOOD thing, and a sign that feminism is making head way.So now responding to a no answer isn’t good enough, now if we GET a no in the first place we have to assume we were being triggering and or threatening and were STILL the oppressor?Any feminist will tell you that guessing what will cause a threatening response is a dice roll. “body language”, and “signals” don’t work, this is why humans invented language to better communicate. When i was a child i was told to use my words to express how i felt. This man was told no, so he took it, where i come from that’s called respect not “why did you ask in the first place”.Conversations like this have led me to operate under the idea, “you can never be sure if your being threatening so just assume you are”. While this keeps me out of trouble for the most part, the idea that the solution is to simply never speak to women just doesn’t feel right. I assume there is a feminist friendly answer out there better than total social isolation from female but nobody seems to be able to tell me what it is.

    Please refresh yourself on what ACTUALLY HAPPENED in the Rebecca Watson case.

    She gave a long speech, at a microphone to a crowd full of people including Elevator Guy, in which she stated that she does not like to be hit on at atheist conventions. Okay? There was nothing coy or subtle about it, no body language needed. She literally broadcast in words that she was not interested in sexual advances from men.

    Elevator guy proceeded to make sexual advances to her anyway.

    Do you understand? Rebecca Watson stated a big loud NO, and a man still approached her anyway. He did not take her preemptive no for an answer.

    I wish you would spend your time and energy calling out the men who commit these boundary violations on a regular basis. It’s their fault if women learn to keep their guard up.

  181. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm |

    @Annaleigh: That has to be the best comment so far. No hostility and you actually gave me some insight. Don’t you love common ground…i do.

    I agree that certain men just don’t shut up. They think if they keep talking you will change your mind…you wont though.

    My environment is rather irrelevant. I am social around everyone. But I don’t think we should have this “you can approach here but not here” attitude. (well maybe work would be the exception). Just say hi and if she talks back and is friendly…keep talking otherwise walk away.

  182. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm |

    Brandon: Be fun, be sociable and enjoy life.

    Is that a demand that women put aside their feelings of intimidation so you can feel calm, confident, etc.?

    IOW, SMILE, BITCHES!

  183. Lu
    Lu July 8, 2011 at 6:57 pm |

    “Just say hi and if she talks back and is friendly…keep talking otherwise walk away.”

    I invite you to examine why you feel compelled to use this thread as your personal ruminations on your dating life. I just really don’t get this constant externalization of your inner process. What is going on here? Has anyone said they care? I confess that when you said, “I agree that certain men just don’t shut up. They think if they keep talking you will change your mind…you wont though,” the irony struck me full force.

  184. JD
    JD July 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm |

    @Brandon:

    You want to know what my ‘feminist utopia’ would be like? It would be a place where men don’t look at women and immediately think, “Ooh, something I can fuck! How do I get her to say yes?” Instead, men would think of women as *actual human beings* and not simply objects to be used for their sexual pleasure, to be propositioned any time the man feels like.

    Women are NOT responsible for making sure you can get laid whenever you like it. Try establishing basic human relationships with them first, and then maybe together find pleasure. But your comments repeatedly betray your sense of entitlement, your unwillingness to think of women as anything other than a means to your own pleasure, and a lack of respect for what WOMEN want. ALL you seem to care about is getting what YOU want, and THAT is the fundamental problem both here and in the incident Watson described. If you want to be taken seriously by women, stop thinking only about what *you* want.

  185. Laurie
    Laurie July 8, 2011 at 6:59 pm |

    I am intrigued by Brandon’s suggestion that we are asking him to walk on eggshells when he would prefer to be confident, calm, cool collected, fun and sociable.

    In real life, I am extremely confident and sociable. Yet, I am always thinking about how my words and actions are affecting the other person in a variety of ways. Am I asking an overly intrusive question? Am I bothering someone who would rather be reading a book? Am I talking too much about myself? Am I putting the other person in awkward situation in anyway?
    Being considerate and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes has nothing to do with walking on eggshells. If I am unsure, sometimes I just ask: “I see you brought a book with you. I am enjoying our chat, but if you would rather read, I brought a book too.” OR “I know you have a super-busy schedule but I would love to treat you to dinner on Friday if that’s do-able.” Etc. Sometimes just acknowledging the other person’s possible concerns can win a favorable response that you would never get otherwise.

    But I think guy-culture tends to say that placing too much concern on other people’s needs, or deferring too much to other people’s needs, is somehow at odds with being confident or bold or manly. In my feminist utopia, more men would question this underlying assumption.

  186. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm |

    Lu: I confess that when you said, “I agree that certain men just don’t shut up. They think if they keep talking you will change your mind…you wont though,” the irony struck me full force

    :)

  187. jennygadget
    jennygadget July 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm |

    “Again…I am asking for appropriate venues where feminists would approve of men approaching them specifically to flirt.”

    Since there clearly is no mutual interest going to be happening between us and you, why the fuck do you care what we* would consider to be acceptable flirting? Is this, like, a hobby for you? Collecting rules on dating/fucking from people who would never want to date/fuck you? Because if so, I think you need a new hobby.

    *yeah, you said “feminists” but – shockingly enough, we do not speak for all of feminism any more than we speak for all of womankind. We speak for ourselves. Your inability to comprehend women and feminists as something other than monoliths is, I suspect, a large part of your problem.

    *****

    EG

    YES. Thank you. xinfinity.

    I keep trying to figure out: at what point in the process of being threatened am I finally allowed to whip out my gun? Because – seeing as how having already ignored my pe-emptive no is not considered by a depressingly large number of people to even be the kind of behavior that deserves to be called out, I’m a little boggled by the idea that escalating the violence by astronomical levels is considered to be a better solution by many of these same people. Based on this, I have to conclude that the only “right” answer to my question is: once I am already incapacitated.

  188. jennygadget
    jennygadget July 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm |

    But I think guy-culture tends to say that placing too much concern on other people’s needs, or deferring too much to other people’s needs, is somehow at odds with being confident or bold or manly. In my feminist utopia, more men would question this underlying assumption.

    Quoted for truth!

  189. Emolee
    Emolee July 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm |

    @JD. Great comment. Seconded.

  190. Brandon
    Brandon July 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm |

    Tony:
    Brandon,

    People responded to your sarcastic, taking-it-to-the extreme tone beginning from your second post, where you equated not wanting to be hit on at work, walking in the street, and in elevators to not being allowed to hit on women “anywhere”. Where you answered your own question about where it would be appropriate to hit on a woman (at a party) and then turned around and deemed it an insufficient answer.

    Where you described instances in which women have set boundaries and then turned around and said that the problem is that women have never set boundaries. That set the tone for how people responded to you. I don’t know what you meant by that post, but it struck people as disingenuous, and fairly so.

    Claiming that you don’t care what feminists think while writing so passionately in this thread, and claiming that you aren’t looking for advice to get laid but you are looking for advice on flirting and hitting on women, also seems disingenuous. And claiming that all you want is answers but then arguing with people who give you answers, as well as arguing with Rebecca Watson’s advice, is disingenuous.

    And making statements like “feminists never approve of anything men do” and “when will you stop criticizing us” which are absurd and unanswerable is just you setting yourself up to get shat at. Of course feminists approve of lots of things men do… most in fact, I would say. And no, there probably will never be a day when all feminist criticism of all men ceases.

    Finally, to turn it around and act like the victim of the discussion is further disingenuous, and manipulative.

    Men who go on there loudly demanding to be educated usually won’t receive a positive response on feminist blogs.

    Arguably your behavior on this thread is an example of why that is so.

    A man who wants to learn from “the feminist perspective”, has plenty of resources at his disposal to do so. The easiest place to go is Google. People who come on threads and demand answers in this passive aggressive sort of way are at best being lazy, and at worst acting in bad faith.

    I didn’t say everywhere…and using “at a party” was giving the commenters an example as to what I was talking about…not to answer my own question. I was hoping for an answer such as “ya a party is good as well as any social function, etc… It wasn’t until Laurie finally gave a few answers, but it took like 3 responses by me to even get an actual response to my question. Everyone used far more words then was needed to answer that question. I could have gone” Parties are good; work retreats are good too; oh and I met my husband at a dive bar…so I can vouch for those too.” Simple and clean answers. Instead I got a bunch of “fuck offs” and “I am not answering that because you misspelled two words…which obviously means you are retarded and your opinion is meaningless”. (extrapolated from emolee’s response)

    I never demanded to be taught anything…I simply asked a question. If you wanted to actually answer it you could. If you didn’t you don’t have too. Like I am going to demand something from someone over the internet. I ask questions…I don’t demand answers.

    I see feminism taking a rather large dive in popularity if it is so hostile to outsiders. Without converting people to your way of thinking, every belief system will eventually fail.

    I tend to agree with a lot of feminist beliefs and you will get my support if women are being paid unfairly or some dimwit is preventing a woman from entering a clinic. But I find this whole atmosphere very hostile towards men . Which really only pushes men away from accepting feminism and promoting it. It is probably why I think groups like MGTOW are rather stupid as well since they are so hostile towards women. I guess I am just a moderate or centrist.

    There are 1000’s of articles written by feminists and I have yet to see any meaningful amount praising the efforts of men (regular men…not just political leaders). I have never seen an article titled “What this man did right!”. But I guess it would be hard to find a “Women are respectable and honorable people” on a MGTOW site.

    Maybe it’s because I believe women should get paid equally and that some MRA’s make a good case to dissolving alimony payments and restructuring child support.

    Anyways…I got Friday night party plans WOOHOO!!!! Beer, Pool, Eats. Let the fun begin!

  191. Charity
    Charity July 8, 2011 at 7:38 pm |

    Word, Lu.

  192. sadpanda
    sadpanda July 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm |

    Jill: Wait. Seriously? We should be like, “A dude didn’t rape someone, APPLAUSE”?!

    did I use the word rape? I don’t think I did, i think I said “took no for an answer”. As in didn’t do anything ELSE to try to interact with her or make her more “fearful”. The idea of “just don’t act like a creep” is totally impossible since its 100% relative, what some women think is appropriate “freaks” some women out, its human nature.

    the only thing that makes sense is to come up with a set of rules based on things others can verify and not just “she probably feels like this so if you can’t figure that out your a jerk”

  193. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm |

    sadpanda: did I use the word rape? I don’t think I did, i think I said “took no for an answer”.As in didn’t do anything ELSE to try to interact with her or make her more “fearful”.The idea of “just don’t act like a creep” is totally impossible since its 100% relative, what some women think is appropriate “freaks” some women out, its human nature.

    the only thing that makes sense is to come up with a set of rules based on things others can verify and not just“she probably feels like this so if you can’t figure that out your a jerk”

    In other words, you think he deserves a cookie for not raping her. Because what else could you mean by “took no for an answer”?

    Though how you think that cornering a woman in an elevator at 4 AM and propositioning her for sex after you’d just spent hours and hours listening to her talk about how she did not want to be propositioned for sex is “taking ‘no’ for an answer,” I’m not sure. Perhaps you could enlighten us all here.

  194. EG
    EG July 8, 2011 at 8:51 pm |

    Women call my phone and ask me to hang out with them…so I can’t be all that bad.

    Wow, women call your phone? That’s amazing! I have so much respect for you now!

    I pretty much am as honest I can be with them. I say “I am just looking to have a little fun and nothing serious”. We meet up, go places and enjoy each others company…then go back to our lives. Everybody wins!

    People are selfish. I am not going to be in a relationship and give and give and give and expect nothing in return.

    What on earth does any of this have to do with the topic at hand? I mean, congrats on your honesty, but so what?

  195. sadpanda
    sadpanda July 8, 2011 at 9:12 pm |

    zuzu: In other words, you think he deserves a cookie for not raping her.Because what else could you mean by “took no for an answer”?

    Though how you think that cornering a woman in an elevator at 4 AM and propositioning her for sex after you’d just spent hours and hours listening to her talk about how she did not want to be propositioned for sex is “taking ‘no’ for an answer,” I’m not sure.Perhaps you could enlighten us all here.

    … for the 3rd time now, I did NOT use the word rape, please stop responding to me as if I said something I didn’t. I also am pretty sure I didn’t say he “deserves a cookie”. NOR did I say 4 am in an elevator after a speech on sexual assault was the most appropriate place to proposition a woman.

    What I MEANT was that men and women condemning each other for “not being on the same page” when it comes to social context is NOT a viable solution, coming up with rules of thumb on BOTH sides is. At least that was my 2 cents thrown into the hat.

    but obviously my continued comments are serving to antagonize people which was NOT my intent, as such I will re frame from offering opinions on this topic and stick to questions only. I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused.

  196. mary
    mary July 8, 2011 at 9:37 pm |

    sadpanda,

    Rebecca Watson already made it clear in a speech at the convention that she did not want to be approached by men at all, so your argument that “men just have no way of knowing what women want!!” is bullshit in this case.

  197. Emolee
    Emolee July 8, 2011 at 9:46 pm |

    @Brandon whoa I never told you to fuck off and I never called you retarded or said your opinion didn’t matter. I never commented on your spelling. So when you say that stuff was “extrapolated” from my response, this is complete crap. I did correct two typos in my OWN post- perhaps you misunderstood? I don’t have time to address anything else in your latest mansplaining manifesto, but I want to be clear that I never said or implied any of what you falsely attribute to me.

  198. jennygadget
    jennygadget July 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm |

    … for the 3rd time now, I did NOT use the word rape, please stop responding to me as if I said something I didn’t.

    ?!?!?!

    Ya know, I just want to point out that there are a lot of feminists out there who would take the fact that this dude took no for an answer in a “compromising situation” as a GOOD thing…

    so…the options that are on the other side of not “[taking] no for an answer” are…what, exactly, if not rape/sexual assault? The force feeding of coffee? Being kidnapped to his hotel room for long, tortuous game of Scrabble?*

    Ya know, I just want to point out that there are a lot of feminists out there that would take the fact that you seem very determined to describe a situation that could only be called rape, and yet absolutely refuse to call it that, to be very fucking disturbing. Just saying.

    On a side note: why the “quotes” around “compromising situation”? and what the fuck is that supposed to mean, anyway? and do I really want to know the answers to those questions?

    Since I find the entire framing of “taking no for an answer” – as opposed to “listening to what she says she wants” – to be rather illuminating, I rather suspect the answer to that last is “NO.” Especially as one of the bonus things the former phrasing gets you is the continued disappearance of the ways in which she had already made her desires known prior to his voicing his question.

    *It is remotely possible that what you are trying to communicate – albeit poorly – is something along the lines of “hey! he didn’t call her a bitch when she said no! that’s progress, yes?” But, well…since I’m not quite sure how to categorize the outrage over her remarks other than a significant number of people doing the equivalent of calling her a bitch on Elevator Guy’s behalf…

    …yeah.

  199. jennygadget
    jennygadget July 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm |

    mary,

    After reading far too many comments of the “but he was just asking! and he backed off when she said no!” variety, I have come to the conclusion that this is just another variation of the “but she didn’t fight back [therefore how was he to know?]” victim-blaming myth.

    What such comments seem to be trying to say is that she had not yet said “no” in the very specific way she should know to do, according to these ppls, so what else was Elevator Guy supposed to do? [It's like "but she hadn't rejected him, specifically, yet" has replaced "she was just playing hard to get."] Which makes all the whining about feminists expecting men to abide by a bunch of mysterious rules make so much more sense. Projection, you are swimming in it.

  200. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 8, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

    jennygadget: Being kidnapped to his hotel room for long, tortuous game of Scrabble?*

    NOOO! Not Scrabble…yatzee maybe, but Scrabble is death (at least for those of us who spell poorly).

  201. sadpanda
    sadpanda July 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm |

    @mary, @jennygadget, @zuzu I mentioned earlier that my goal was not to antagonize, and as such would refrain from commenting and stick to only asking questions. However in the interest of potentially education conversation on my part I would permit you to contact me via email and would give Jill permission to disclose it to you such that I could offer explanations to my position offline.

    Obviously only if you are interested in such conversation.

  202. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan July 8, 2011 at 11:45 pm |

    “Again…I am asking for appropriate venues where feminists would approve of men approaching them specifically to flirt.”

    I don’t have anything else to do atm, so here’s some input on my personal response to this. For me, there is no venue where I want men approaching me specifically to flirt. It’s not an ideological thing, it’s just that my dating style involves getting to know someone quite well before I start feeling attracted to them — it is extremely important to me that we talk as equals and connect as people first and foremost, and that we have engaging things to say to each other, and that they are a person I would be friends with even if we had zero sexual attraction. Hell, my crushes are almost 100% intellectual first, though looks and flirting don’t hurt as we move things along.

    On the other hand, I’m sure there exists more than one feminist who would be fine with a raised eyebrow across a smokey crowded room followed by anonymous screaming bathroom sex.

    So… there’s a response for you, whatever it’s worth. (Hint: not worth much. All your begging was a waste of time, eh?)

  203. Natalia
    Natalia July 9, 2011 at 12:04 am |

    I tend to feel bad for guys who just want to get to know and potentially date a woman, but wind up unintentionally creeping her out.

    Considering how hyper-vigilant women must be in a society which still blames them for “gettin’ themselves raped” most of the time though, I feel worse for the woman who is the one getting creeped out.

    Ending up in a socially awkward situation sucks – but fear for your safety, having to acknowledge your own vulnerability for the umpteenth time, tends to be worse.

    Best case scenario: You had good intentions but made her uncomfortable and seriously struck out. It happens to everyone. Even film stars. Gives you a chance to work on your game. I mean, you do realize that women can strike out as well? We generally don’t freak out and go “and all men better give us 100% Foolproof Rules On How To Hit On Them” when it happens.

    For the woman, on the other hand, the experience can be upsetting in that really scary way.

    At 4 a.m. in an elevator, I’d probably get startled even if it was, like, Javier Bardem inviting me over.

  204. jennygadget
    jennygadget July 9, 2011 at 12:32 am |

    Kristen J

    Well, I did say it was tortuous. :p

    I do have to admit that my repugnance towards Elevator Guy’s actions are shamefully colored by the fact that I am apparently the only person in the world who does not like coffee, so I don’t even find the offer tempting at face value (especially with the Scrabble game included – bad spellers unite!). Now…try to lure me to your hotel room for some decent hot chocolate or quality tea and I am so there!

    Bagelsan,

    It’s almost like women are individuals or some other crazy shit, yes?

    And yeah, while in theory, I would not mind guys coming up to me specifically to flirt…in practice…

    First of all, my (admittedly limited) experiences with this have all been bad bad bad* and so I would not generally recommend it as a useful tactic. And secondly…I am confused on how exactly is this flirting supposed to go if there is no geek talk to go with it. Are all the normal conversational rules I live by supposed to go out the window? Am I supposed to be charmed by men talking about my various body parts or something?

    *I think my favorite was the guy that corned me at one of the local bar/music venues…and proceeded to tell me that he recognized me (and yet didn’t know a thing about me?) and when I was all, “no, we have never met before” he was extremely insistent – all the while inching closer and closer in a way that made it very hard for me to leave without touching him in some way. He tried to argue that “no, we had that class together” – The only reason I didn’t reply with “um, asshole? I went to college in another state. And all my classmates were women. Leave me the fuck alone.” was because I didn’t want to fall for what was obviously a ploy to get information from me without giving any up.

    ***

    Both of which bring to mind…

    The thing is, even if Elevator Guy hadn’t been ignoring Watson’s clearly stated pre-emptive “no” – he would still be more than a little obnoxious and rude. Because really, hours of listening to her talk and the most personal thing you can come up with is “coffee”? At 4 am? (Are we presuming decaf here, I suppose?) And you are also very vague about which of her ideas you want to discuss further? That’s not very…flattering. It’s pretty damn impersonal and dismissive, actually. So, like, “don’t do that” is still quite often going to be very good advice, no matter what.

  205. David
    David July 9, 2011 at 3:14 am |

    I wonder why any of you (this is addressed to both groups of argumenters in this thread) bother anymore with this shit? You probably will never understand each other’s point of view, and what’s more, you’re not even trying.

    Admiral fail, set fail for fail.

  206. Aletheia
    Aletheia July 9, 2011 at 3:21 am |

    Brandon: There are 1000′s of articles written by feminists and I have yet to see any meaningful amount praising the efforts of men (regular men…not just political leaders).

    Because praising men should really be the focus of feminist discourse.

    Oh wait. Doesn’t feminism exist because pretty much the entire world is already all about how awesome and important men are?

  207. the-r-evolution
    the-r-evolution July 9, 2011 at 3:59 am |

    Brandon: “There are 1000′s of articles written by feminists and I have yet to see any meaningful amount praising the efforts of men (regular men…not just political leaders).”

    I can NOT stop laughing.

  208. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 9, 2011 at 10:24 am |

    So I thought about this last night, where I would wan’t to be approached by a guy who was interested in me, and although I don’t care what Brandon thinks, I figured I would post about it for sake of discussion:

    To begin with, I don’t go to any real parties, and I’ve never even been to a bar, so the main areas I have men demanding I pay attention to them is when I out running errands, and I hate that, because among other things, I am busy y’all!

    But the main places I would be more open to being approached are school, or family functions (not gross at all, in my local culture, really large extended families are the norm, and it’s expected/accepted that family members of all ages will invite their friends over as guests to everything from a family dinner, to a birthday party, to Christmas, even to a wedding reception and everything in between. It’s not considered rude to show up at something like a wedding reception for someone you don’t even know if you are a guest of a relative of the one of people getting married… my Dad was a frequent dinner/party/holiday guest of some of my Mom’s male cousins and that is how they met), because I know I will be looked after at a family function, and someone interested in me will have to be respectful if they approach me there. I feel safe there the most, so this is probably the best place to approach me at this time.

    And back when I used to be an evangelical, Bible study meeting or church functions would have been a good place too, because I would have assumed that someone approaching me there would be more respectful.

  209. koach
    koach July 9, 2011 at 10:34 am |

    You know what’s amazing about this whole conversation with Brandon? In his 2nd comment, he says:

    if you want men to respect your boundaries…it might behoove you to say what those boundaries actually are.

    But only 2 sentences before that, he says:

    It seems to be inappropriate for men to flirt with a woman practically everywhere. We can’t do it at work for fear of sexual harassment lawsuits, it’s creepy if we do it while walking up to you on the street and apparently we shouldn’t do it in elevators.

    Clearly, he already knows many common boundaries. He is well aware of socially acceptable boundaries. He just doesn’t like the boundaries. That’s the real problem here.

    p.s. longtime lurker, 1st post here. Hi!

  210. Chai Latte
    Chai Latte July 9, 2011 at 10:36 am |

    Azkyroth: How are people supposed to learn if no one will explain in good faith?Especially the ones who don’t pick up social expectations intuitively.

    And more to the point: do you care more about Being Right or about actually making things somewhat better?Especially given that the only people who would buy a book like that would be people who are actually trying to learn and want to know how to act.

    As was noted upthread, compassion isn’t a bad thing.

    Dude, I don’t have TIME to teach y’all how to act. I have shit to get done!

  211. Chai Latte
    Chai Latte July 9, 2011 at 10:40 am |

    Jill: Wait. Seriously? We should be like, “A dude didn’t rape someone, APPLAUSE”?!

    His parents must be so proud.

  212. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 9, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

    koach: Clearly, he already knows many common boundaries. He is well aware of socially acceptable boundaries. He just doesn’t like the boundaries. That’s the real problem here.

    So true!

    The other thing that gets me about Brandon is that he seems to think that women should all adhere to the exact same set of boundaries (and not a very big set of boundaries either), because it’s so unfair and mean to the menz.

    Of course the whole reason that different women have different boundaries and different limits is because we are human beings with personalities, not blow-up dolls. *sigh*

  213. igglanova
    igglanova July 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm |

    Aye, David, tis because we are bored. Sometimes a good old fashioned flame war is enough to warm the cockles of our withered black hearts.

  214. igglanova
    igglanova July 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm |

    ‘How are people supposed to learn if no one will explain in good faith? Especially the ones who don’t pick up social expectations intuitively.’

    People who repeatedly pester women who are not interested, or people who give off hardcore creep vibes, are uninterested in learning respect, especially from feminists. Besides, lots of people have actually written guides for the well-intended already. The problem is that the number of well-intended bumblers is much smaller than the number of deliberately hostile jackasses.

    But I repeat myself.

  215. JD
    JD July 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm |

    @ Emolee – Thanks. :)

    @ zuzu, the-r-evolution, Annaleigh – Oh, won’t someone think of the poor Menz? Clearly they deserve cookies for not raping anyone! Evil feminists are evil and clearly just hate all men because they are not filling the ether with odes to all the times men have done something right. It’s not like behaving with basic respect towards women is one of those things that you are just, you know, supposed to do as a decent human being. And obviously feminists need to take some time away from the unimportant subject of how women are treated to pay more attention to the men. It’s not like they ever get any attention whatsoever, is it. *sarcasm button off* Seriously, it’s like Illustrating the Patriarchy 101 with brandon and sadpanda here.

    “Of course the whole reason that different women have different boundaries and different limits is because we are human beings with personalities, not blow-up dolls.” Word. I am nobody’s blow-up doll.

  216. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

    David:
    I wonder why any of you (this is addressed to both groups of argumenters in this thread) bother anymore with this shit? You probably will never understand each other’s point of view, and what’s more, you’re not even trying.

    Admiral fail, set fail for fail.

    For one thing, this subject is very personal for me, for reasons I’ve described earlier in the thread. As for “not trying” to understand other people in the thread, I think that letting someone be in peace is a bigger priority than someone else finding their next date, so it should be obvious that feminists will be disgusted and unsympathetic that someone repeatedly whines that another human being’s wish to go from point A to point B peacefully is ruining their chances of getting laid.

    And if I get angry at certain people in this thread, it’s because the this issue is a source of a great deal of emotional and social stress for me for a variety of whereas, for people Brandon, this thread, this subject, is just playtime for him.

  217. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

    Ack, that last comment should read “And if I get angry at certain people in this thread, it’s because this issue is a source of a great deal of emotional and social stress for me for a variety of reasons, whereas, for people like Brandon, this thread, this subject, is just playtime for him.”

  218. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm |

    JD: Word. I am nobody’s blow-up doll.

    Amen!

  219. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan July 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm |

    Oh, won’t someone think of the poor Menz? Clearly they deserve cookies for not raping anyone!

    I dunno, I like the idea of giving them cookies, but aren’t edible treats bad for their teeth? That’s why all my men are clicker trained! Every time a male friend or relative of mine can go five minutes without raping me they get a rewarding “click”, while anything inappropriate gets a sharp “No!” or “Leave it!” Sure, my clicker thumb gets tired after a while but it’s sooo worth it not to be raped all the time, yanno? :D

  220. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan July 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm |

    (And before y’all men start complaining about “hey, that’s hugely insulting!” and “we’re human beings–!” yadda yadda yadda, please be assured that I used to treat men like rational adults who could be trusted to make good judgements and care about my wellbeing, until Brandon convinced me that all men are actually extremely stupid and have no empathy. I tried, guys!)

  221. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines July 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm |

    All this talk of cookies is making me hungry! A bag of double chocolate chip would be very welcome now.

  222. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm |

    Bagelsan: That’s why all my men are clicker trained!

    Alas, some men don’t clicker train well. Some still expect a cookie after the click.

    Also, M is currently making andagi. YUM!

  223. April
    April July 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm |

    Brandon: I am a fairly big guy so unless the guy is a Patriots lineman…I can handle the situation.

    I know a guy who historically dated women, but went on a date with another man who was very physically assertive at the end of the date. My friend wasn’t interested in taking things further, and said that once he finally left, he really began to understand the discomfort and fear a lot of women feel on a regular basis when encountering potential sexual situations where they are likely to feel physically intimidated by a man who is trying to solicit sex from them. He said he’d never realized until then– when he was confronted with a man who was much more physically strong and assertive than the women he’d been with in the past– how frightening it could really be to be in that kind of situation.

    I think about his story a lot. I wish more hetero men would try to put themselves in women’s shoes. We’re really not being as unreasonable as you may think.

    Also, about the whole women-teaching-men-how-to-act thing. I don’t really think anyone was suggesting that women SHOULD be obligated to teach men “how to act.” I think it WOULD be a great idea for feminists to write a good “how to approach women” guide that doesn’t cross the line into “never talk to a woman ever, because she’ll think you’re a rapist,” Shroedinger’s Rapist style. It’ certainly possible, and a great idea. Not an obligation, not a rulebook on how to act, just friendly suggestions for guys who are literally clueless– clueless, and with good intentions– not predatory and willfully ignorant. There is a difference, and we oftentimes tend to conflate the two.

  224. zuzu
    zuzu July 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm |

    Annaleigh: The other thing that gets me about Brandon is that he seems to think that women should all adhere to the exact same set of boundaries (and not a very big set of boundaries either), because it’s so unfair and mean to the menz.

    He wants that because he thinks there’s such a thing as a pussy vending machine. So if he does X and Y, jackpot! He gets pussy.

  225. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm |

    zuzu: He wants that because he thinks there’s such a thing as a pussy vending machine.So if he does X and Y, jackpot! He gets pussy.

    OMG. That is a *really* great description. And it says a lot about what we’re dealing with, sadly.

  226. zuzu
    zuzu July 9, 2011 at 4:32 pm |

    And sometimes, if he doesn’t get what he wants, he just tilts over the machine!

  227. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable July 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm |

    Disclaimer: I skipped the last 30 or so comments – read one of these threads where dudes whine about how hard it is to fuck bitches (or not? I… don’t think I really know what the problem is when everyone apparently has such fulfilling sex-lives filled with museum visits or whatever the fuck), read them all, amirite? — but can I just say how much I love it when one of my completely nonsensical rules about dating men is reinforced? Today’s reinforced no-fuck-list rule: any dude that spells yeah “ya.” Irritates the shit out of me, and somehow always written disproportionately by frat-ty types.

  228. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan July 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm |

    Ya, PrettyAmiabro, word to that. *holds out fist for bump*

    –Brogelsan

  229. PrettyAmiabro
    PrettyAmiabro July 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm |

    hahahahahaha

  230. Florence
    Florence July 9, 2011 at 8:47 pm |

    Natalia: At 4 a.m. in an elevator, I’d probably get startled even if it was, like, Javier Bardem inviting me over.

    And then I’d go back to my friends later and be all, “Dudes, Javier Bardem is a total creepster. You won’t believe what shit he pulled.”

  231. jennygadget
    jennygadget July 9, 2011 at 9:43 pm |

    Florence: And then I’d go back to my friends later and be all, “Dudes, Javier Bardem is a total creepster. You won’t believe what shit he pulled.”

    Yeah, I just…I said this another time of these massive internet discussions about men’s right to hit on women occurred…but I just can’t get over the fact that they keep picking George fucking Clooney as their typical celebrity creep with no sense of irony. Granted, I do not know the man, just the public persona – but a large part of his public persona is that he does not pull shit like that – unlike, say, Russel Crowe – which totally colors what people picture in their heads when you say relatively non-descriptive stuff like “hit on.”

    Next thing you know they will be talking about how we would be totally swayed if it was Matt Damon making anti-feminist arguments or something.

  232. Stacy
    Stacy July 9, 2011 at 10:24 pm |

    You guys, I just started reading these comments, and I just want to real quick say that I think Brandon may be a horrible person. Also sadpanda. Just, not very good people. Bad people. Like Dawkins. Some people are just bad, you know? Can’t be taught outta them. You just have to shake your head, and never ever ever get close to them because they DO NOT LISTEN TO WHAT WOMEN ARE SAYING EVER.

  233. sadpanda
    sadpanda July 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm |

    Stacy:
    You guys, I just started reading these comments, and I just want to real quick say that I think Brandon may be a horrible person. Also sadpanda. Just, not very good people. Bad people. Like Dawkins. Some people are just bad, you know? Can’t be taught outta them. You just have to shake your head, and never ever ever get close to them because they DO NOT LISTEN TO WHAT WOMEN ARE SAYING EVER.

    Do not fret, according to my therapist I suffer from mild Gynephobia so good people are not likely to get close to me.

  234. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 9, 2011 at 11:45 pm |

    sadpanda: Do not fret, according to my therapist I suffer from mild Gynephobia so good people are not likely to get close to me.

    I think you need to demand a refund from your therapist. Zie has failed in hir job of making you a better person.

  235. EG
    EG July 10, 2011 at 2:12 am |

    I think it WOULD be a great idea for feminists to write a good “how to approach women” guide that doesn’t cross the line into “never talk to a woman ever, because she’ll think you’re a rapist,”

    OK. What the hell. Here goes:

    EG’s guide to when it is OK to hit on a woman:

    Has the woman in question expressed a desire to be hit on?

    If yes, go ahead and hit on her.
    If no, proceed to the next question.

    Has the woman in question expressed a desire not to be hit on?

    If yes, don’t do it.
    If no, proceed to the next question.

    Survey the context. Does the woman in question have a relatively easy way to get away from you if she wants to, i.e. plenty of exits, and/or the security of plenty of witnesses?

    If no, don’t do it.
    If yes, proceed to the next question.

    Is the woman in question doing something that suggests she is busy or is uninterested in interacting with you, such as, but not limited to, reading a book, listening to her iPod, walking briskly, or writing in a notebook?

    If yes, don’t do it.
    If no, proceed to the next question.

    Make eye contact with the woman and smile. Does she hold the eye contact and smile back, or does she quickly look away?

    If she quickly looks away, don’t do it.
    If she holds the eye contact and smiles, proceed to the next question.

    Approach the woman in question. Do not stand any closer than you would stand if you were shaking hands with a man you’d never met before. Engage the woman in conversation. Acceptable conversational topics include, but are not limited to, the weather, experiences/interests you and the woman share (such as the band playing, or the speaker who has just finished, or the piece of art on the wall, or the slowness of crosstown traffic, or whatever). Unacceptable conversational topics include, but are not limited to, her body, her face, her hair (unless she has an unusual hairstyle or dye job that indicates membership in a subculture you share), what you look for in a woman, the size of your penis, etc. Pay attention to how the woman responds. Does she answer with complete sentences, explaining her point of view and asking yours? Or is she giving monosyllabic answers and looking away?

    If she is giving monosyllabic answers and looking away, tell her it was nice to meet her and then leave her alone.
    If she is answering with complete sentences, explaining her point of view and asking yours, proceed to the next question.

    Continue with the conversation. Continue to pay attention. Do you make each other laugh? Does she seem to be enjoying herself? Or is she casting uncomfortable glances at other people at the party/bar/museum/concert, as if hoping to find an excuse to talk to somebody else? Does she at any point excuse herself to go to the ladies’ room?

    If she is casting uncomfortable glances at other people, excuse yourself and go away.
    If she goes to the ladies’ room, wait five minutes (ten to fifteen if there is a long line). If she does not come back, then she does not wish to speak with you any further. If she comes back, proceed to the next question.
    If she seems to be enjoying herself and laughing, proceed to the next question.

    Tell the woman in question you are enjoying her company and would like to see her again. To that end, offer her your phone number, as doing so gives her the option of calling you, and thus the power to decide, at her leisure, whether or not she would like to invite you into her life. Do not ask for her number. It is not an inherently creepy thing to ask for her phone number, but it does require her to make a spot judgment on a man she has just met: is he some kind of creepy stalker who will harass me, she has to decide, or is he probably going to be OK? Why put her in this situation? Just give her your number. If she is interested, she will call. If she is not, you have not done anything to make her uncomfortable. If she loses your number, too bad. Shit happens.

    Note: Do not touch the woman in any way at all unless she purposely touches you first (the only exception is that if she is falling over for any reason, you may catch her or steady her), put anything in her drink, “neg” her, stare at her breasts, talk about what a crazy bitch your ex was (even if she was), or insult any of her friends.

    Congratulations! You have successfully, and without being a creep or making any implicit threat, hit on a woman.

    Note that absolutely nothing in this sequence of events precludes the woman from hurrying things along if she so chooses. She can approach you without the initial eye contact. She can speak to you while in an elevator without any exits if she wishes. She can offer you her number at any point. You can say “Can you believe this traffic?” and she can, if she wishes, respond with “Yeah, it sucks. Want to duck into the bathroom in that Starbucks down the block and get it on?” You are not giving up the prospect of immediate sexual gratification! You are merely making sure that if any immediate sexual gratification occurs, it is with a partner who is completely into it, to the point that she suggests it. And surely that is the only kind of immediate sexual gratification you would want, anyway, right?

    This handy guide to approaching women without being a douche can be used in a number of situations including, but not limited to, the subway, a convention, a dive bar, a synagogue, the top of the Empire State Building, a dog run, a museum, an amusement park, a funeral, a wedding, a bar/bat mitzvah (do not hit on the bat mitzvah herself or any of her friends unless you are also under the age of 16), the line at a movie theater, etc.

    Seriously, guys, how hard is it? Treat women like human beings whose boundaries should be respected. Do you really need a flowchart for this?

  236. EG
    EG July 10, 2011 at 3:02 am |

    Oh, and as an addendum to the above guide, which is currently in moderation, but needs this addendum nonetheless:

    Situations in which this guide is not applicable because you should not hit on a woman in these situations at all:

    1) When you are a therapist/psychiatrist and the woman is your patient.
    2) When you are a teacher and the woman is your student (exceptions can be made if you are teaching something like an amateur yoga class at the local gym).
    3) When you are a boss and the woman is your subordinate.
    4) When the woman is underage.
    5) When you are in a closed marriage and/or the woman is in a closed marriage.
    6) When the woman is involved with your best friend, sibling, child, or parent.
    7) When you know for a fact that the woman is not interested in men.
    8) When the woman is related to you by blood (your sister) or marriage (your stepdaughter) or was formerly related to you by marriage (your ex-wife’s sister). Exceptions can be made for second cousins or stepsiblings, if they really must be.
    9) When you are a cop and the woman is in need of your professional help.
    10) When the woman is clearly traumatized.
    11) When you are a corrections officer and the woman is an inmate.
    12) When you are an Evil Overlord and the woman is a member of the Rebellion.

  237. sadpanda
    sadpanda July 10, 2011 at 5:21 am |

    Annaleigh: I think you need to demand a refund from your therapist. Zie has failed in hir job of making you a better person.

    as many here have pointed out, it is not the job of women to make men better. But rest easy as all of the situations I have mentioned are purely theoretical to me, I have never approached a women, and as I am considered a bad person, strive to never infect others with my problems. As such I keep to myself.

    And I would hate to stigmatize my therapist by demanding a refund and telling her she was bad at her job simply because I did not get better.

  238. Alvin Sloan
    Alvin Sloan July 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm |

    So…is the subtext of this entire elevator discussion that both genders assume men are supposed to be the initiators of contact with women and responsible for correctly reading women’s body language to determine whether they should continue? That seems to be the baseline assumption of every single feminist response to the elevator situation I’ve read. It’s almost as if there’s a tacit but unspoken understanding that men are supposed to be the pursuers, as all the objections are to the elevator guy’s methods. The idea that a woman in an elevator might be equally interested in sleeping with a guy hasn’t even been floated.

  239. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm |

    Alvin Sloan: So…is the subtext of this entire elevator discussion that both genders assume men are supposed to be the initiators of contact with women and responsible for correctly reading women’s body language to determine whether they should continue?

    No! No one has said anything about women not initiating contact with men. This has nothing to do with the topic at hand. Quit making it sound like the poor menz are being put upon again with the bitchez’ numerous requirements. Stop it.

    What this discussions is about is what happens when a man chooses to initiate contact (no one forced Elevator Guy to badger RW, ok? That was *his* choice).

    What this discussion is about is that sometimes initiating contact with a woman may be completely inappropriate given the context, and how, if a man chooses to initiate contact, he needs to be aware of the context, pay attention to whether the woman is receptive to the contact, and if she isn’t, or she’s completely uncomfortable because the man chose a bad time or place to initiate the contact, HE NEEDS TO LEAVE HER ALONE.

    How hard is it to understand that?

  240. EG
    EG July 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm |

    No. In fact, most feminists assume that if the woman is interested in the man in the elevator, she is more than capable of making the first move; in the absence of such an action on her part, the man should keep himself to himself. It’s the anti-feminists who seem to think that if men don’t express sexual interest in a woman whenever and wherever the idea pops into their heads, sex will cease altogether.

    Moreover, we are discussing this specific incident, in which, hard as it may be to believe, Rebecca Watson did not wish to sleep with this guy.

  241. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm |

    I guess Alvin is filling in for Brandon while Brandon’s out partying. *sigh*

  242. Alvin Sloan
    Alvin Sloan July 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm |

    Who the hell’s Brandon? And why’s he out partying in the middle of a Sunday when he could be arguing with people on the Internet?

  243. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

    Alvin Sloan:
    Who the hell’s Brandon? And why’s he out partying in the middle of a Sunday when he could be arguing with people on the Internet?

    Aha! Clearly you haven’t bothered to read the thread and merely came to whine that “men have to do all the work” when it comes to dating and initiating contact. No wonder you had no clue what the fuck everyone has been talking about.

  244. Alvin Sloan
    Alvin Sloan July 10, 2011 at 2:09 pm |

    Ouch.

    I was kidding; I’d seen that Brandon was a previous commenter. And I don’t think I was whining, although it might have sounded that way. I was saying that in every feminist comment I’ve read about the situation, and I’ve been following it since it started on Skepchick, there’s an underlying reinforcement of the men-pursuing-women cultural standard.

  245. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm |

    Alvin Sloan: I was saying that in every feminist comment I’ve read about the situation, and I’ve been following it since it started on Skepchick, there’s an underlying reinforcement of the men-pursuing-women cultural standard.

    Ok, but no one is even talking about women approaching, and it’s not because feminists don’t think women should approach (I think in some cases women might love it if men let them make the first move, for various reasons, the safety issues mentioned in the thread being some of them).

    Again, what’s being discussed is that if a man chooses to approach a woman, they have to realize there are times and places where women probably would prefer to be left alone (and much to Brandon’s chagrin, those times and places are different for every woman). 4am in an enclosed space like an elevator is an almost universal no no, and that’s what feminists are trying to get people to understand.

    P.S. – Since you did read the thread, I apologize for bringing the claws out.

  246. Athenia
    Athenia July 10, 2011 at 3:12 pm |

    This isn’t about “dating etiquette.” This is about a person being a predator. This is about a person who thinks “no” means “try harder.” This is about a person who thinks that when the woman says “don’t hit on me” he thinks “she doesn’t mean *me*.”

  247. sadpanda
    sadpanda July 10, 2011 at 3:17 pm |

    What this discussion is about is that sometimes initiating contact with a woman may be completely inappropriate given the context, and how, if a man chooses to initiate contact, he needs to be aware of the context, pay attention to whether the woman is receptive to the contact, and if she isn’t, or she’s completely uncomfortable because the man chose a bad time or place to initiate the contact, HE NEEDS TO LEAVE HER ALONE.

    Isn’t that what happened?

  248. Stacy
    Stacy July 10, 2011 at 3:20 pm |

    sadpanda: Do not fret, according to my therapist I suffer from mild Gynephobia so good people are not likely to get close to me.

    Well, if one of them does, please imagine one of us sharply saying to you, “No! Leave it!” And if you obey, go quickly to a bakery and get a cookie!

  249. sadpanda
    sadpanda July 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm |

    Stacy: Well, if one of them does, please imagine one of us sharply saying to you, “No! Leave it!” And if you obey, go quickly to a bakery and get a cookie!

    I was being serious, no need to insult my situation.

  250. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable July 10, 2011 at 4:06 pm |

    …Though I’m sure how you could understand people not taking you seriously, right? If you do have a fear of women, that sucks. No one should be mocking you or your treatment. That is completely fucked up.

    But… if you’re coming onto a thread about sexual harassment with a reference to the South Park episode featuring the sexual harassment panda… you can see how people might be skeptical that you’re here in good faith, right?

  251. sadpanda
    sadpanda July 10, 2011 at 4:45 pm |

    PrettyAmiable:
    …Though I’m sure how you could understand people not taking you seriously, right? If you do have a fear of women, that sucks. No one should be mocking you or your treatment. That is completely fucked up.

    But… if you’re coming onto a thread about sexual harassment with a reference to the South Park episode featuring the sexual harassment panda… you can see how people might be skeptical that you’re here in good faith, right?

    the reference was to the meme, not the south park episode

    http://perfectpandas.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/sad-panda-podiatrist.jpg

    but this thread has still helped me in understanding the points of views of others, even if i did have to deal with a volley of slings and arrows to get there. Sadly what I seem to have observed is that what I was looking for, doesn’t exist. As somebody who as never approached a women, and who is constantly told by friends and relatives “if you never talk to them your going to be alone”, I have been searching for a way to promise a polite no if and when I decide to venture “out of my shell”.

    The idea that women constantly feel threatened by every day life situations is not new to me. I’m taller than 6 foot and black, I have become accustomed to women being horridly fearful of me by simply walking in the room. I regularly take public transit late at night and it is not uncommon for women to simply remove pepper spray and tasers from their bags and place them on the seat next to them. And I am fully aware that any response they make if they feel scared will be justified and if I don’t want to get shocked or tased in the face, I must give their fear the “right of way”.

    So as someone who has immersed the concept that “men approaching women for copulation and being honest about it (aka being blunt and not a PUA)” is rude by default, it is there for impossible to ever get a “polite no” or a no that doesn’t involve potentially triggering her, which until recently I had faith existed in some fashion.

    But as I have been shown, there are apparently a vast majority of women who simply believe that this scenario doesn’t exist, and the approach is simply a social scape where permission to do so is a right for women only, lest they feel unsafe. Thus fueling my long believed perception, “if she wants you, she will come get you, if she doesn’t then she won’t”

  252. Avida Quesada
    Avida Quesada July 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm |

    bellereve:
    Ok, I don’t mind doing a little educating for those who are genuinely wanting to learn. (Of course, I don’t begrudge other women for being exhausted with these types of questions from men).

    So, here you go. This is the abridged version:

    1. Never approach women in confined, secluded spaces, or spaces that are otherwise difficult to exit/walk away from.
    2. A woman who does not smile or make eye contact with you, who moves away from where you are sitting or standing, who is occupied with a book or a phone call, who turns her head the other way, or who does not greet you or engage in small talk, is likely not interested.
    3. Even if a woman DOES smile, say hello, or seem friendly, it is still possible she is not interested, because women are socialized to be polite to men.
    4. And whether she acknowledges you or not, never assume a woman is single, heterosexual, attracted to you, interested in meeting new people, or even open to conversing with strangers.
    5. If you have ANY doubt as to whether approaching a woman is appropriate/welcomed in a given situation, simply refrain from doing so.

    Good luck!!!

    Excellent. Some comments:

    1. The first one is difficult to understand for men that don’t accept their privilege: They don’t live under the shadow of possible sexual assault. In fact a Women corresponding to a men in a elevator may be just avoiding conflict.
    3. I am taking this one as meaning in a closed situation. Because if not a Bunch of Latin american women will be frustrated at Men never ever taking any initiative. I, in the other hand, will prefer a word were we take the initiative for evident biological reasons.
    5. Together with 4 & 3 if we are not talking about close situation effectible means: Never be confident and never act if you are not.

    If we are not in a situation closed (or otherwise threatening situation from the point of view of a average woman) , it will be different. Is enough to be polite and accept no as an answer, with no drama. You should see if she is talkative etc before.

    A good tip from a friend of mine, we were talking about a guy that was so sure that he approach one of my girlfriends when she was surrounded by a group of women. What he said was: We do that so she feels secure.

    I don’t know if that is the care, but I like to see that he thinks not only in the possibility of habbing a bad encounter with tons of laughs at him and so on , but also in fact that we live “rape culture”

  253. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig July 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm |

    Bellereve & E.G.: I’d like to point out that the eye contact rule should not be considered a hard and fast rule of thumb. As I noted upthread, I’m not neurotypical (and I’m very,very shy) and I find it difficult to make eye contact with even my nearest and dearest friends. Let alone some dude I just met.
    Sadpanda: A little tip here, you are not going to meet Ms. Right on a bus.
    I’d suggest going to cheap concerts, go to bars, go to bowling alleys, plays, museums or author readings, rather than trying to hit on someone on the midnight 17 cross-town line.
    I use the bus a lot, and like most people, I’m just trying to get from point a to point b as fast as I can. I don’t like being bugged, and the later it gets, the more I want to just get there safely. A man hitting on me makes the ride very unsafe, no matter what height or color he is.

  254. EG
    EG July 10, 2011 at 10:21 pm |

    So as someone who has immersed the concept that “men approaching women for copulation and being honest about it (aka being blunt and not a PUA)” is rude by default, it is there for impossible to ever get a “polite no” or a no that doesn’t involve potentially triggering her, which until recently I had faith existed in some fashion.

    Well, the thing is this: if you are actually approaching a woman and bluntly asking for copulation, as you put it, the chances of the woman being intimidated are very high indeed, because being propositioned by a stranger who is bigger than you is indeed threatening. What you want to do is to approach women with whom you have an interest in common, in a non-threatening way, as I outlined above, in order to talk to her about that interest, just as you would do in order to make friends with a man. Once you are able to spend some time interacting with a given woman, you’ll be able to build up a relationship and some trust, and then, when you say something like, “Listen, I need to tell you–I have feelings for you. I wonder how you feel about that?” the woman is far less likely to be threatened, and even if she doesn’t return your feelings, she’ll probably say something like “I’m so sorry, I just don’t think of you that way,” and there’ll be no harm, no foul. If you skip straight to “Nice to meet you, want to fuck?” (to put it bluntly) then you’re very, very unlikely to get a positive, or even polite and non-threatened response.

  255. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 10, 2011 at 10:39 pm |

    sadpanda: Isn’t that what happened?

    Yes sadpanda, apparently Elevator Guy did leave Rebecca Watson alone after that, but a) he shouldn’t have initiated the contact at all because he admitted himself he heard her speech at the conference about how offensive it is to be treated like a piece of meat at atheist conferences like this, and b) Rebecca Watson is lucky in that respect. Many women are not. There are a couple of men, for example, who still hound me every time I meet up with them in public (one of them went so far as to follow me aisle to aisle, room to room, everywhere I went in the local library as I tried to go about my business there… ) They either still haven’t figured out yet that I want to be left alone after several very uncomfortable interactions, or, they don’t care. I’m going with the latter.

  256. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 11, 2011 at 1:40 am |

    Ok, it’s late and I have things to do before I go to bed, but just as an example for you sadpanda, I will describe the behavior of the man I mentioned who harasses me, so that you can see what women are up against.

    The main place I see this guy is on the buses. When I am on the bus at the same time as him, he tries to sit near me, and regardless of where I am sitting at the time, he stares at me for the entire trip, not saying anything because I am too uncomfortable to converse. It is very uncomfortable. Sometimes he tries to touch me even though I am obviously uncomfortable. On one occasion, he sat in front of me, but someone got on the bus with a bunch of stuff, and when he got up to help her, I quickly went to the back of the bus, and he had the audacity to look annoyed. He did stare at me the whole way as usual, I just wasn’t up close to him.

    With the library incident, he happened to be there when I got there, as soon as he noticed me, he followed me from aisle to aisle, at one point I went into the room where the books for sale are kept to try to get away from him, but he followed me there too. At one point he was distracted and I was able to get my books checked out and slip out the door so I could call the taxi to come get me, but in a short while he was out there and sat and stared at me the entire time, and he also asked me to be his girlfriend (which he asked again during a later bus ride).

    This has been going on for years.

    I have an epic example of someone who has not repeatedly harassed me, but the one time he did, he flung his male and extrovert privileges about like monkey poo and made me extremely uncomfortable.

    I was at a bus stop, and he was there. He insisted he knew me, but I have no idea who he is. All of the details he gave drew a blank. We went to the same high school, but he graduated three years before I started at the school, and as I said, I have no idea who he is.

    But apparently he *does* know a few things about me, so after asking for my phone number and offering me his, he proceeded to tell me that my whole way of life is wrong. This local culture is dominated by extroverts who think going to the club and getting completely drunk is fun. My idea of fun is reading a book, crafting, doing genealogy research, going to family functions, or entertaining a friend or two at my home over a quiet weekend. He insisted I should be out partying. I don’t think he realizes that there for a few years I was a shut in because of my mental illnesses, and (I was an evangelical back then), people I knew at church tried to get me out of the house, but that is totally different.

    Anyway, I’m ashamed to admit that I tolerated the lecture. It was a hot September day, and I didn’t wan’t to walk all the way to the next bus stop. But I sooned realized that he never had any attention of waiting for the bus, he just stuck around because he just had to tell me I was Doing my life Wrong. That was even more infuriating.

    Those are a couple of stories. Elevator Guy was inappropriate, but he’s not as pushy as some of his fellow assholes out there.

  257. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 11, 2011 at 1:50 am |

    Ok, ok, ok, one more comment for sadpanda, and then I really need to sort out my medications for the week and go to bed.

    I want to apologize for my nastiness and my remark about your therapist re: your gynephobia.

    I thought you were trolling when you brought it up, but your later comments show me you were quite sincere, and I am so so sorry for my nasty remarks.

    I really feel you for you and what you’ve described you go through. I can relate kind of. I think sometimes that I have a bit of androphobia because of the harassment and sexual violence I have suffered. It sucks to be afraid of and alienated from half of the population, so I really hope your therapist can help you.

  258. Brandy
    Brandy July 11, 2011 at 10:58 am |

    EG, you deserve some kind of award.

  259. zuzu
    zuzu July 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm |

    sadpanda: Isn’t that what happened?

    How fucking stupid are you? He cornered her in an elevator at 4 am and propositioned her. Does that sound like leaving her alone to you?

  260. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie July 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm |

    DUDES – start here:

    You do not have a right to talk to any given woman at any given time.

    I know! Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

    But you don’t. You don’t have the right to talk to, “proposition for a date” (charming quote from a commenter upthread), “make advances” on (charming depiction of what a man does to a woman when he wants to “meet” her), get a smile from, go on a date with, or have sex with any woman. On earth. Ever.

    Start there. Just keep saying that to yourself. See if your thinking progresses from that point.

  261. matlun
    matlun July 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm |

    tinfoil hattie: You do not have a right to talk to any given woman at any given time.

    What are you talking about? With some very few limitations everyone pretty much has that right (freedom of speech).

  262. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm |

    matlun: What are you talking about? With some very few limitations everyone pretty much has that right (freedom of speech).

    OMFG, this is the first time I literally have ever heard of harassment of women in public being a First Amendment right. I think I’m going to be sick.

  263. matlun
    matlun July 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm |

    Annaleigh: OMFG, this is the first time I literally have ever heard of harassment of women in public being a First Amendment right. I think I’m going to be sick.

    However did you manage to get this out of my comment?

  264. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm |

    matlun: However did you manage to get this out of my comment?

    “Everyone pretty much has that right” and “freedom of speech”

    Jesus Christ that is infuriating…

  265. igglanova
    igglanova July 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm |

    matlun, you’re misreading TFH’s usage of the word ‘right.’ Yeah, you have the legal right to do this and not be arrested. You do not, however, have some kind of entitlement to approach strangers and expect them to indulge you.

    Really, this whole argument is so damn simple. People are entitled to their emotional reactions to being approached by strangers – Watson was totally within the realm of social acceptability when she made a short remark about someone’s behaviour in an elevator that she found creepy. If you get rejected, grow the fuck up and deal with it like an adult. Repeatedly pestering people is annoying at best and threatening at worst. Annoying people get what’s coming to them when they’re cast out of social activities, whether that be a roll in the hay, a D&D game, or an overlong Feministe comment thread.

  266. matlun
    matlun July 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm |

    @igglanova: She did say “right”. Perhaps what she wrote was not what she really meant – if so, fair enough.

    The point is – we do have many “rights” – legally and as a basic matter of freedom that includes things that we should not do.

    That is a matter of social norms, manners and in general being considerate towards each other. As to how this applies to the elevator situation in this case, that has been debated enough in earlier posts in this thread IMO.

    @Annaleigh: I would like to respond to you, but I am honestly not getting what you are trying to say.

  267. JD
    JD July 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm |

    matlun:

    Freedom of speech refers to the fact that the government (and only the government) cannot silence you simply because it dislikes the content of your speech. It does *not* extend to the right to actually harass people. Harassment is illegal. So no, nobody has the right (legally as well as more broadly) to go up to and speak to or proposition anyone they like, anytime, ever. You have the right to speak to people only so long as you respect their boundaries and do not move over into harassment.

    And the usage of the word ‘right’ above is perfectly in keeping with the common usage of it; the legalistic usage is a narrower one and it was fairly clear, I think, that that was not the way it was being used.

  268. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm |

    JD:
    matlun:

    Freedom of speech refers to the fact that the government (and only the government) cannot silence you simply because it dislikes the content of your speech. It does *not* extend to the right to actually harass people. Harassment is illegal. So no, nobody has the right (legally as well as more broadly) to go up to and speak to or proposition anyone they like, anytime, ever. You have the right to speak to people only so long as you respect their boundaries and do not move over into harassment.

    And the usage of the word ‘right’ above is perfectly in keeping with the common usage of it; the legalistic usage is a narrower one and it was fairly clear, I think, that that was not the way it was being used.

    This. Thank you, JD. You said it well. I was too upset to articulate my outrage very well myself.

  269. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie July 11, 2011 at 8:24 pm |

    And yeah, I meant what I said. Incorrect application of “First Amendment!!11!eleventy!!” aside, you don’t have an inherent right to talk to women. You don’t. You’re not entitled.

    Start there. Change your thinking. Then try again.

  270. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh July 11, 2011 at 8:35 pm |

    tinfoil hattie:
    And yeah, I meant what I said. Incorrect application of “First Amendment!!11!eleventy!!” aside, you don’t have an inherent right to talk to women.You don’t.You’re not entitled.

    Start there.Change your thinking.Then try again.

    Here here. Amen.

  271. zuzu
    zuzu July 11, 2011 at 9:01 pm |

    matlun: That is a matter of social norms, manners and in general being considerate towards each other.

    No, you want women to show consideration toward men by indulging their encroachment on women’s time, space and privacy. Men don’t have to show any consideration.

  272. EG
    EG July 11, 2011 at 10:11 pm |

    Aw, thanks, Brandy!

  273. machina
    machina July 11, 2011 at 11:16 pm |

    EG: Well, the thing is this: if you are actually approaching a woman and bluntly asking for copulation, as you put it, the chances of the woman being intimidated are very high indeed, because being propositioned by a stranger who is bigger than you is indeed threatening.What you want to do is to approach women with whom you have an interest in common, in a non-threatening way, as I outlined above, in order to talk to her about that interest, just as you would do in order to make friends with a man.Once you are able to spend some time interacting with a given woman, you’ll be able to build up a relationship and some trust, and then, when you say something like, “Listen, I need to tell you–I have feelings for you.I wonder how you feel about that?” the woman is far less likely to be threatened, and even if she doesn’t return your feelings, she’ll probably say something like “I’m so sorry, I just don’t think of you that way,” and there’ll be no harm, no foul.If you skip straight to “Nice to meet you, want to fuck?” (to put it bluntly) then you’re very, very unlikely to get a positive, or even polite and non-threatened response.
    I think your advice is pretty good, but I don’t really like this style of initiation because it seems to be duplicitous and ambiguous. I’d rather say something like “I’d like to get to know you better…” in the initial conversation because it communicates that you’re attracted to them from the beginning. It gets progressively more awkward the longer you leave it before saying that you’re attracted to them.

  274. EG
    EG July 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm |

    I take your point, but for me there’s an important gray period. I would never advocate building an elaborate friendship with somebody over a period of months when really you just want to get into their pants. I was more envisioning two people hanging out for a couple weeks while they figure out what kind of relationship they want to have with each other. What I meant is that if, like sadpanda says, he is having no sexual/romantic success with women, the first step is not to try to get laid, but to try to relate to women as he would relate to anybody else. So I think it is important to establish a rapport first, and, provided he does genuinely like the woman as a person, to use that liking as basis for broaching the subject of a romantic relationship. I think this might be a YMMV thing, because if a strange man said to me in the course of our first conversation “I’d like to get to know you better,” I’d be pretty put off–I don’t know, it would just feel…kind of pushy? or maybe a bit too intense. Yeah, it would feel too intense for me–I mean, my first thought would be “How do you know? We’ve just met! We might not get along at all!” Personally, I would prefer something a bit lower key, like “I’d like to hang out with you again some time.”

    But really, all I was trying to get across was that interacting with the whole woman, the woman-as-person-with-whom-I-might-have-something-in-common, rather than just the woman-as-potential-for-sex, is usually a better way to go.

    But I do take your point. I did not mean to advocate this classic xkcd cartoon! http://xkcd.com/513/

  275. matlun
    matlun July 12, 2011 at 4:16 am |

    zuzu: No, you want women to show consideration toward men by indulging their encroachment on women’s time, space and privacy. Men don’t have to show any consideration.

    Not how I meant it at all actually. If we take the elevator situation:
    If the man here knew that his approach would make the woman uncomfortable, but did it anyway, then this would clearly be an inconsiderate thing to do.
    Since he (probably) did not actually know this, the situation becomes a bit more ambiguous which is probably why we have a 275 comment thread here.

    And everyone: What is it with conflating “talk to” with harassment?

  276. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley July 12, 2011 at 4:42 am |

    matlun: Not how I meant it at all actually. If we take the elevator situation:
    If the man here knew that his approach would make the woman uncomfortable, but did it anyway, then this would clearly be an inconsiderate thing to do.
    Since he (probably) did not actually know this, the situation becomes a bit more ambiguous which is probably why we have a 275 comment thread here.

    And everyone: What is it with conflating “talk to” with harassment?

    Wait wait wait! Earlier in the day she gave on how the very thing he later did made her feel uncomfortable in Atheist spaces (a talk he attended) and yet you believe he probably didn’t know that what he was doing was going to make her uncomfortable? Are you serious?

  277. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley July 12, 2011 at 6:11 am |

    *Earlier in the day she gave a talk

  278. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl July 12, 2011 at 7:26 am |

    If the man here knew that his approach would make the woman uncomfortable, but did it anyway, then this would clearly be an inconsiderate thing to do.

    Since he began his approach with “don’t take this the wrong way”, he clearly knew that it would (instantly) make her uncomfortable.

  279. matlun
    matlun July 12, 2011 at 8:18 am |

    Q Grrl: Since he began his approach with “don’t take this the wrong way”, he clearly knew that it would (instantly) make her uncomfortable.

    He clearly considered that it was a risk, but he also obviously hoped it wouldn’t and that he would get a positive response.

    I don’t think there are any hard and clear lines here. Sometimes it is perfectly Ok to talk to an unknown woman in the elevator and sometimes it is not. Also, details matter: The body language and exact delivery/tone of voice can make a huge difference.
    I think you just have to judge these situations on a case by case basis and accept that reasonable people will disagree on exactly where to draw the line.

  280. IrishUp
    IrishUp July 12, 2011 at 10:34 am |

    “I don’t think there are any hard and clear lines here.”

    WTF?!?!!! So, “details matter”, do they? Have some details!

    She stated (paraphrasing) “I hate being looked at as date material when I’m functioning professionally” out loud as part of a professional presentation. This was followed by several hours of follow-up conversation – still in this professional capacity – reiterating & expanding on THAT SAME point. This was followed by her stating “I’m tired and I’m going to bed”.

    If these DETAILS don’t constitute HARD AND CLEAR LINES for you, matlun, then the problem is not the lack of HARD AND CLEAR LINES, but that you and your boundry-ignoring-misogynist-douchecanoe ilk don’t give a shit about other human beings.

  281. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl July 12, 2011 at 11:35 am |

    Matlun: have you even read any of the articles about this? You really sound like you haven’t.

  282. zuzu
    zuzu July 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm |

    matlun: If the man here knew that his approach would make the woman uncomfortable, but did it anyway, then this would clearly be an inconsiderate thing to do.
    Since he (probably) did not actually know this, the situation becomes a bit more ambiguous which is probably why we have a 275 comment thread here.

    He knew quite well. The first words out of his mouth were, “Don’t take this the wrong way.”

    Which means he knew damn well he was doing something that was inappropriate.

  283. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm |

    Conversations to have in the elevator: I really enjoyed your speech today. Or, man, the Sox and Yanks are neck and neck this year. Or, this hotel is great. We should always have our conferences here. Have you had a good trip so far? Etc.

    Conversations not to have in an elevator with a stranger who has previously indicated she is uninterested: Want to go back to my room?

    Clear line established.

  284. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley July 12, 2011 at 3:44 pm |

    matlun: He clearly considered that it was a risk, but he also obviously hoped it wouldn’t and that he would get a positive response.

    I don’t think there are any hard and clear lines here. Sometimes it is perfectly Ok to talk to an unknown woman in the elevator and sometimes it is not. Also, details matter: The body language and exact delivery/tone of voice can make a huge difference.
    I think you just have to judge these situations on a case by case basis and accept that reasonable people will disagree on exactly where to draw the line.

    What the sweet fuck are you talking about? She said in front of hundreds of people in a public talk: “I DON’T LIKE GETTING HIT ON AT ATHEIST CONVENTIONS! IT MAKES ME FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE AND UNWELCOME. DON’T DO IT”. This asshole was at that talk, he heard those words come out of her mouth and then later on decided that clearly what she meant was that she didn’t like getting hit on by anyone except him of course, he was the special snowflake exception, she totally wants him to hit on her.

    Seriously, stop being purposely obtuse and look at the facts, this was a case of explicit, clear and public boundaries being drawn and then broken by some dipshit.

  285. JD
    JD July 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm |

    @ Annaleigh: yeah, I had to take a moment and simmer down myself. I’ll admit that First Amendment!!!eleventy! is a bit of a new one to me, omfg.

    @ tinfoil hattie, zuzu: Word, to everything you said. Nicely put.

    @ EG: I’m with you on the need for some sort of gray zone, at least for me personally. Because otherwise the only signal I get is “I see you as an object I can use to fulfill my sex needs, not as a person.” Which, ICK.

    @ matlun: I won’t reiterate all of the “hard, clear boundaries” Watson made clear – others have done that better than I could. But before you go making claims that the boundaries weren’t clear or some crap like that, please do us all and yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with the basic facts of the case. At least if you don’t actually want to come off as a boundary-ignoring douchecanoe. Taking steps like that tends to make people take your arguments rather more seriously than they would otherwise.

  286. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley July 12, 2011 at 6:02 pm |

    ohhh douchecanoe!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry just had to say how much I love that and give you kudos for using it!

  287. JD
    JD July 12, 2011 at 6:18 pm |

    :) Thanks, but I stole it from IrishUp. *points upthread* It is perfect, no?

  288. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley July 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm |

    Ohh totally missed it the first time. Big ups to IrishUp too then XD

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