Don’t want to be called a creeper? Don’t be creepy.

One last post before I turn the keys back over to Jill and bow out from my guest-blogging stint:

John Scalzi has written an Incomplete Guide to Not Creeping, particularly at cons, but generally applicable to life. Captain Awkward expands on the list and adds her own observations.

The major theme is that responsibility for correcting creepy behavior is on the creeper, never the creepee. Yes, even if the creeper is just socially awkward or has Asperger’s or is just really bad at flirting. Even if it’s totally unfair that the creepee doesn’t like the creeper, or likes someone else doing the same thing just fine!

Remember, kids: you’re not entitled to get laid with the person you want to get laid by just because you want it. The other person has to want it, too! And sometimes they don’t want you. They don’t have to tell you whyyyyyy.

And for fuck’s sake, keep your hands to yourself.

And with that, I’m out. Auf weidersehn!

528 comments for “Don’t want to be called a creeper? Don’t be creepy.

  1. August 12, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Isn’t the term ‘creep’? I’m not being a grammar Nazi, it’s just that the style of shoes I generally wear are called ‘creepers’
    Here is me with a my most garish pair:
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150272868530006&set=a.10150272867420006.497959.618965005&type=3&theater

  2. August 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Oh, and allow me to give you a heartfelt farewell, zuzu, I know we don’t always see eye to eye, but I credit you with giving me the kind of advice I needed to become a (somewhat) valued contributor around here. I really do appreciate it and wish you luck in your endeavours, especially the Marathon, and if I knew what you looked like I’d gladly hand you some water or a paper towel as you run through my area of Brooklyn

  3. miga
    August 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    I’ve used it both ways. I think “creeper” is a newer variant, though- I only remember it popping up during the past 4 years.

  4. Li
    August 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    ‘Creeper’ is based on the verb ‘creep’ and tends to be used when describing anything other than an actual person (eg. vines). Both are ok, depending on what tone you want to set, but if you want to get super semantic I guess ‘creeper’ is less essentialising and references behaviour.

  5. August 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Zuzu, you were fucken great!

  6. LC
    August 13, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Desire is not consent.

    Really, not that hard.

  7. Echo Zen
    August 13, 2012 at 2:34 am

    I was going to quip, “Try explaining that to the pro-rape party in D.C., where they think women who express sexual desire are fair game for men.” But that would be stating the obvious.

  8. Nick
    August 13, 2012 at 3:42 am

    I want to blame ‘creeper’ on minecraft. The mob in game fits the context pretty well, actually.

  9. August 13, 2012 at 4:13 am

    The thing about Asperger’s syndrome is that people with it often genuinely don’t have a good idea about personal space and learn through more painful mistakes than it takes the rest of us.

    The other thing about Asperger’s syndrome – and I’m genuinely not trying to be controversial here – is that as a psychiatric nurse I saw sexual offenders groom their doctors to give them a diagnosis of it, which is often very difficult to prove or disprove.

    I have a good friend with Asperger’s who will overcompensate and hang back, away from people he doesn’t know; I guess that might be a good way to gauge genuineness.

  10. matlun
    August 13, 2012 at 8:58 am

    When it comes to Aspberger’s, then it can certainly be an issue when it comes to rule 1-3: Ie “It’s on you not to be a creeper and to be aware of how other people respond to you”. As long as this response is only on the non verbal level, this awareness may not be possible.

    This is probably a more general issue with the socially inept (with or without psychological diagnosis). There are quite a few people being honestly unable to understand those types of non verbal signals.

    However, once the message has actually been received (for example by direct verbal communication) then this is no longer a valid excuse.

  11. matlun
    August 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Or what Captain Awkward said:

    If you alert someone to an unwelcome behavior, and the person keeps doing that thing and/or angrily arguing that they shouldn’t have to change anything, the problem is not Asperger’s.

  12. zuzu
    August 13, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Asperger’s does not magically transform creeping from the creep’s problem into the creepee’s problem.

    Onus is still on the creep to leave the creepee alone. This is not difficult.

    Asking the creepee to ignore every warning bell in her head and body that someone represents a threat is why rape culture persists.

  13. debbie
    August 13, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Most milder ‘mental illnesses’ are exactly this. People trying to extract more sympathy from others at the cost of their own well being. If they weren’t coddled they’d be alright in no time.

    I don’t even…
    Not ok.

  14. August 13, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Most milder ‘mental illnesses’ are exactly this. People trying to extract more sympathy from others at the cost of their own well being. If they weren’t coddled they’d be alright in no time.

    Christ, wtf? Not. On.

  15. zuzu
    August 13, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Most milder ‘mental illnesses’ are exactly this. People trying to extract more sympathy from others at the cost of their own well being. If they weren’t coddled they’d be alright in no time.

    Fuck. No. I think I’ll delete this comment. Bye, Ashwini!

  16. matlun
    August 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Onus is still on the creep to leave the creepee alone. This is not difficult.

    What? Of course that can be difficult, if you do not know that the person want to be left alone. Assuming you do not want to be a hermit and leave everyone alone.

    And waiting for a positive sign of invitation would not work for the same reason. If you are not be able to catch those non verbal signals, there are no signs of invitation for you.

  17. anna
    August 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    The attitude that people with Asperger’s Syndrome can’t help but be creepy and/or harass people is really insulting and untrue.

  18. August 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Always good to see your posts, zuzu.

    People here at the library have been all kinds of geeked about Scalzi for a while, now, so it’s good to see that post. It’s nice to see authors who “get it” about things like this.

  19. Alara Rogers
    August 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Matlun, as someone who is probably Asperger’s myself, I agree that it is not always *possible* to tell that you are being socially inappropriate… but it is still not anyone else’s responsibility to inform you, and it is still on you if your social inappropriateness makes you seem threatening to others.

    If you’ve been living with autism, Asperger’s or any other spectrum disorder into adult life, you *know* you don’t always get why other people do what they do. You *know* you are perfectly capable of sending inappropriate signals or misreading the signals of others. You’ve been dealing with it your whole life. And if you choose to do nothing about it… well, a person who is legally blind and can only read large print can refuse to bring a magnifying glass to fancy restaurants on the grounds that the restaurant *should* accomodate their disability by offering large print menus, but they’re going to end up with a lot of menus they can’t read if they do. And restaurants, as businesses open to the public, are legally required to make some effort to accomodate people with disabilities. Individual humans you want to be friends with are not.

    There is not, and there should never be, a law that says that other people *have* to be understanding of why you are weird. Good people who don’t feel too threatened by you to make the effort may *choose* to help you out with understanding, compassion and advice… although if you reject their advice and act defensive you probably won’t get more of it from them. And no one has the right to abuse you because they felt you were creepy or weird… but refusing to be friends with you, or talk to you at a con, is not abusing you. No one owes you friendship or conversation.

    A person with Asperger’s who does not want to be creepy can ask a friend for advice, or a family member, or a therapist, but they cannot go up to a total stranger and demand that that stranger explain to them exactly what they are doing that creeps the stranger out. They could, politely, ask, but the stranger is under no obligation whatsoever to agree, and they really don’t have the right to get mad at the stranger or bitch them out or badmouth them behind their back for refusing, because they were asking for something that is an imposition and they had no right to *expect* their request to be granted.

    I often find it totally unfair that people think I am talking too loudly when I think I am sounding perfectly normal, and I often think it is absurd that I am told I “intimidate people” when I’m five foot tall, what do they think I’m gonna do?, just because I speak in a monotone and don’t make eye contact very much. I’ve been driven to tears by the fact that I live on a planet where I am for all intents and purposes an alien, and I don’t understand these people or what they want from me or why they can’t tell how I feel when I outright *tell* them, in words… but none of that obligates any stranger to try to understand me better, and none of that obligates any stranger to cut me some slack for talking too loudly and having weird body language. And because I was raised as a woman, not a man in a patriarchy who thinks he has some sense of entitlement to other people’s time and emotions, I *know* this. And if I know it, they damn well can know it too.

    If you get the idea that other people are bothered by your behavior, it’s on you to fix it or withdraw and stop bothering them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to fix it or what you’re even doing that’s bugging them; they aren’t obligated to tell you and they aren’t obligated to be your friend anyway. *NO* one has the right to the friendship or emotional attention of *ANYONE* else, and the only reason anyone ever says “Oh, but he has Aspergers! He can’t help creeping people out, you should cut him some slack!” is that they’re talking to women about a man, and men are always considered to have the right to the time, friendship and emotional attention of women just because they want it. I can’t recall anyone ever telling any of the guys I had crushes on that they should be nice to me even though I was weird because maybe I had a disability.

    Also, most likely, if you have Asperger’s but you are not an entitled asshat narcissist who thinks that the world revolves around you, or that all women are obligated to pay attention to you… then you are probably not that creepy, certainly not to people of your own kind. Fellow geeks and weirdos will cut you a hell of a lot of slack for just being strange. If WOMEN WHO GO TO SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTIONS say that a guy is being creepy, it’s not because he has Asperger’s. It’s because HE’S BEING CREEPY. Because approximately 90% of all our male friends and a significant percentage of our female friends, and very likely, we ourselves, have some kind of social issue, and we can tell the difference between “He’s a great guy but he just doesn’t remember about the personal space thing so sometimes you have to say ‘hey, back up’, and then he does it without complaint,” and “He’s… really kind of creepy and I don’t feel safe being alone in the room with him.” Seriously, how is this even a discussion in science fiction circles without invoking the misogynist concept that women aren’t really geeks, or that all women are socially perfect? We’re freaks too! We’ll cut you slack for being a harmless freak. If we all think you are not harmless, UR DOIN IT RONG. Because lots and lots of guys who are weirder than you have female friends at cons.

    So… if you seriously do not want to be creepy? And you think maybe other people might think you are creepy? Ask someone objective, not a stranger you met at the con but maybe a therapist or something, what you are doing wrong. And, consider the possibility that what you are doing wrong is treating women as level-ups in a video game rather than human beings with minds, because we can generally tell that shit, and it is creepy as all fuck. And yes, handsome, socially adept sociopaths can get away with it and you can’t, but this is not because they are socially adept and you are not; this is because they use their social adeptitude to mask the poisonous mindset that you lack the skill to hide. Rather than attempting to figure out how to hide the fact that you are a raging misogynist who thinks that pussy really ought to be something you could buy at the grocery store, how about, not being a misogynist? You’ll never have the skill to make women feel like you respect and care about them when you don’t, if you’re Aspie, so instead of trying and failing to lie about it, how about changing your attitudes so you don’t have to lie? Most likely, if you genuinely respect and care about women as people, they don’t think you’re creepy. Not the ones you meet at cons, anyway.

    So… gotta agree with Scalzi in the first place. Even if you have Aspergers, even if you *can’t* figure out why other people think you are weird, it’s still not on them to tell you, and therefore, if you want to fix it, it’s still on you to find out.

  20. v
    August 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    As a woman with asperger’s, the whole attitude that all creepy men must have asperger’s and just not understand social boundaries is wrong. What I find so annoying about this when it comes up is that I have personally dealt with “creepers” and none of them assume I have asperger’s yet I’m supposed to write them off for having asperger’s. When my traits related to asperger’s come up (notably, not making eye contact as this is really difficult for me to do) then it is not uncommon for these creepers to get really in my face and even get downright insulting in doing so (getting in my face to go on about “what a bitch” I am being, etc.). I know these types of men are typically insulting like that regardless of a woman having asperger’s but I know in my experiences what usually triggers that in those men is my showing myself to be socially awkward and I can only assume this relates to a stereotype of women being very socially inclined.

    I’m just saying all of this because every time I see a discussion on creepers, it always comes up how these men must have asperger’s and have no idea what they’re doing and I find it so insulting. I feel like the experiences of women with asperger’s who have to deal with men like this are completely erased and I know how extremely uncomfortable these types of people make me feel so I just felt the need to speak up from my perspective.

  21. zuzu
    August 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    What? Of course that can be difficult, if you do not know that the person want to be left alone. Assuming you do not want to be a hermit and leave everyone alone.

    And waiting for a positive sign of invitation would not work for the same reason. If you are not be able to catch those non verbal signals, there are no signs of invitation for you.

    Then you have to Use Your Words, don’t you?

    It doesn’t mean you can touch people without their consent.

  22. librarygoose
    August 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I’ve only had one genuinely Creeper level friend. He wanted to know why he never got dates, and why women ignored his emails on dating sites. So after asking if he was sure, I told him. He is kind of an asshole, and an entitled dick who thinks his brain is an evolutionary leap. ( not in those exact words) He got mad and said NO it was women! Being bitches and didn’t I understand this was hard for him? While he happily ignored my repeatedly telling him I had anxiety issues, that’s why I don’t make eye contact or want to be touched, he just kept pointing it out and making sure I knew I was weird. He got to laugh at my “overreaction” to his behaviors but obviously he was misunderstood.
    Some guys are just douches who want women to fall at their feet. I will admit to some glee in telling him how very not special he was.

  23. Kristen J.
    August 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I have a good number of friends with spectrum disorders. You know those friends have never touched my breasts without my permission. Whereas at the last con I went to I had the pleasure of having 4 grown ass men touch my breasts without my consent.
    I know its a small sample size, but I’m going to call bullshit on the idea that spectrum disorders are the number one cause of inappropriate touching.

  24. matlun
    August 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Then you have to Use Your Words, don’t you?

    It doesn’t mean you can touch people without their consent.

    Obviously not, but no one here has defended inappropriate touching. That is only a small and extreme part about what the OP and linked article was discussing.

  25. igglanova
    August 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Why do people never seem to figure out that their lack of basic social skills is nobody’s problem but their own?

  26. matlun
    August 13, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Matlun, as someone who is probably Asperger’s myself, I agree that it is not always *possible* to tell that you are being socially inappropriate… but it is still not anyone else’s responsibility to inform you, and it is still on you if your social inappropriateness makes you seem threatening to others.

    Well, I am on the ASD spectrum myself, and I agree with this. But there has certainly been situations where I have afterwards realized that some person was offended/uncomfortable where I just did not get it at the time (or even really understand why afterwards). It happens. As I have grown older and hopefully wiser it happens more seldom, but I do not think these types of incidents can ever be 100% eliminated.

    Though I do hope that even when I fail at social interaction I come across as “odd” rather than “creepy”…

  27. matlun
    August 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Why do people never seem to figure out that their lack of basic social skills is nobody’s problem but their own?

    Because often it is a problem for those around them? It is the creepee who is the primary victim in the interaction here, so it certainly becomes a problem for them.

    I would agree that it is nobody’s responsibility but their own, but that is a different statement.

  28. Katya
    August 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I have a good friend with Asperger’s who will overcompensate and hang back, away from people he doesn’t know; I guess that might be a good way to gauge genuineness.

    Nah, I have a relative with Asperger’s who will happily subject near-strangers and close friends alike to his monologues without any sense that they are not interested or that he is talking too much. He’ll talk to you literally for hours without reading any signal that it’s gone on too long.

    I think it’s too easy to conflate “socially awkward” with “inappropriate creep.” I know many people who are socially awkward, either because they have Asperger’s or for some other reason. None of them have ever been creeps. They have not harassed me or anyone I know, or made anyone feel unsafe. While I am sure that some Aspies also harass others, I’m not comfortable saying it’s because they have Asperger’s. You can have Asperger’s and also just be a jerk.

    I really dislike the idea that I’m supposed to excuse bad behavior because the person exhibiting it might have a spectrum disorder. I don’t think that most harassers do, for one thing–half the fun of harassing is witnessing the other person’s discomfort–and I don’t think it’s my job to accommodate people who make me feel unsafe.

  29. pheenobarbidoll
    August 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I feel like the experiences of women with asperger’s who have to deal with men like this are completely erased and I know how extremely uncomfortable these types of people make me feel so I just felt the need to speak up from my perspective.

    Yup. She’s never considered “socially awkward” or “maybe she has Aspie’s” or ” but what about this” when she rejects a man.

    She’s just a man hater.

    I noticed after that woman (I forget her name, sorry) posted about the jerk hitting on her in the elevator after a conference. No one even considered SHE might have social issues. Nope. Just the poor poor creep who didn’t know any better.

    *not saying either of them did have social issues, just that no one was willing to try and excuse her rejection of the creep.

  30. Chiara
    August 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Because often it is a problem for those around them? It is the creepee who is the primary victim in the interaction here, so it certainly becomes a problem for them.

    I would agree that it is nobody’s responsibility but their own, but that is a different statement.

    when the word “problem” is used in the sense of “that’s your problem, not mine” the meaning is closer to “that’s your problem to solve” or “that problem is your responsibility”. even if the problem is affecting both parties.

  31. matlun
    August 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    @Chiara: Yes, that makes much more sense. However, just saying that it is their problem to solve does not work. Their poor behavior is often a problem that will not go away if you just ignore it, so this type of situation has to be addressed by others in some way.

    I liked the discussion in Captain Awkward’s post and would typically recommend confrontation (unless the risk for violence is an issue), but YMMV.

  32. August 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Off-topic, Fat Steve:

    “I’m not being a grammar Nazi”

    Could you not use that phrase, please? Thank you.

  33. Mandolin
    August 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    For what it’s worth, the woman who first posted about the jerk (there are two women who have named and described harassment by the jerk) is actually quite socially adept, or at least comes off that way, at least in geek crowds. She’s smart, witty, and appears very easy in personal conversation. It’s possible that people were aware of that–since likely most of the initial commenters know her–in the first wave of responses to her post.

    However, there have been other allegations of harassment against other people on other occasions from other women whose social reputation is opposite–and no one says “well, she is socially awkward (has asperger’s) so he should have been more understanding”–it’s “she is socially awkward (has asperger’s) so SHE should be more understanding” since she probably just failed to read his behavior correctly, which is clearly HER fault (just as if he was the one with asperger’s, it would be HER fault that he didn’t read her correctly).

  34. August 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Off-topic, Fat Steve:

    “I’m not being a grammar Nazi”

    Could you not use that phrase, please? Thank you.

    What is your objection to that phrase? Considering my great grand-parents were killed by the Nazis and my grandparents were Holocaust survivors, I kind of think that using the term Nazi as a pejorative is self explanatory.

  35. August 13, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I noticed after that woman (I forget her name, sorry) posted about the jerk hitting on her in the elevator after a conference. No one even considered SHE might have social issues. Nope. Just the poor poor creep who didn’t know any better.

    Rebecca Watson?

  36. Sam
    August 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Zuzu,

    I think there are two archetypes of creepiness: one, shyness-induced lack of confidence, often coupled with lack-of-confidence induced eagerness to please, that lead to a certain lack of assertiveness in both body language and conversational style, which is often perceived as unpleasant. Basically, the embodiment of a too-soft handshake. Two, (premature) sexualisation, which implies a failure to understand the current state and/or nature of the interaction or relationship. Sadly, the latter creepiness can become a consequence of ill-adjusted attempts to overcome the former. Since the latter is far more problematic than the former, I’d say those suffering from the former should not beat themselves up if they’re called creepy, they should accept it see it as an opportunity to learn.

    There’s a general problem, though: that’s the general perception of male sexuality as being at least latently *inherently* creepy, dangerous, borderline sociopathic. For a lot of guys, hearing “creepy” thus creates a defensive mechanism that prevents learning from the specific situation, *and* it reinforces a problematic sexual self-perception they may already have. So often, being called a creep is not perceived as “stop, back off a little, you’re in my mental/physical space and I don’t like that”, it is perceived as “you and your desire for women is bad”. If you think that’s over the top, consider how the construction of male sexuality is easily perceived by guys as either not talked about or dysfunctional.

    That shoudn’t concern a woman who wants to call a guy creepy, but it’s a general point of concern with respect to the term that I believe is not really considered in the discussion.

    Don’t want to be called a creeper? Don’t be creepy.

    The title, though, I believe is not ideal, because it solely focuses on the perception of one party in an interaction. It’s entirely possible to call someone a creep without having thought about the term or some other reason than an even subjectively justified comment on actual behaviour. Also, standards will differ. I remember being out with a female friend once when a guy hit on her and she didn’t seem to mind his invasive behaviour (as I perceived it) while she wasn’t one bit interested in him. I’d have called him creepy, she didn’t. So whether or not someone was creepy can never really be established – and “don’t be creepy” should really be “don’t let someone else think of you that way”, which, alas, is, as explained, impossible to do. So “don’t be creepy” is a good idea, but since one only has one’s own standards it really doesn’t ensure that someone else will not perceive something as creepy, even it is covered by social convention.

  37. zuzu
    August 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    @Chiara: Yes, that makes much more sense. However, just saying that it is their problem to solve does not work. Their poor behavior is often a problem that will not go away if you just ignore it, so this type of situation has to be addressed by others in some way.

    No, it doesn’t. It’s still the responsibility of the offputting person.

    There’s a general problem, though: that’s the general perception of male sexuality as being at least latently *inherently* creepy, dangerous, borderline sociopathic. For a lot of guys, hearing “creepy” thus creates a defensive mechanism that prevents learning from the specific situation, *and* it reinforces a problematic sexual self-perception they may already have.

    Doesn’t matter. If someone is creeped out by that person or their behavior, the creeped-out person is not responsible for finding some way to ignore the creepy behavior. The person with the creepy behavior is responsible for making the behavior not-creepy, or going away from people who are uncomfortable with their behavior.

    Yes, it might suck for the person who just wants to be loved and accepted, but that doesn’t mean that the person who is legitimately creeped out by that person’s poor social skills should be pressured into ignoring all the red flags at the cost of their own personal safety and comfort.

  38. zuzu
    August 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    The title, though, I believe is not ideal, because it solely focuses on the perception of one party in an interaction. It’s entirely possible to call someone a creep without having thought about the term or some other reason than an even subjectively justified comment on actual behaviour. Also, standards will differ.

    The standards that matter are the standards of the creepee. The creepy person doesn’t get to dictate the creeped-upon person’s definition of creepy.

  39. Omar
    August 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    This reminds me of my own life, both at work and at school when I was in college. Instead, it should have been renamed “Don’t want to be called a terrorist? Don’t be terrorist-y.”

    Having a beard? Bad.

    Wear a thawb? Double bad.

    Hang around with friends from the same country and speak Arabic with one another? Guantanamo Bay!

    It’s exhausting to cater to the scared, uncomfortable people around you. My take is don’t, obey the law and enjoy life.

  40. August 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    consider how the construction of male sexuality is easily perceived by guys as either not talked about or dysfunctional.

    Male sexuality is not talked about? Do you mean straight male sexuality? That’s what the majority of pop culture and advertising is aimed at appealing to.

  41. August 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    It’s exhausting to cater to the scared, uncomfortable people around you. My take is don’t, obey the law and enjoy life.

    Boo hoo.

  42. August 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Also, Omar, there’s a difference between feeling creeped out because of prejudiced attitudes and being creeped out because of legitimate concern for one’s personal safety.

  43. August 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    This reminds me of my own life, both at work and at school when I was in college. Instead, it should have been renamed “Don’t want to be called a terrorist? Don’t be terrorist-y.”

    There’s a difference between someone judging you by your beard and someone judging you by your repeated sexual assaults. Just saying.

  44. SophiaBlue
    August 13, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    You’re right Omar, the two situations are quite similar. Except replace having a beard and wearing a thawb with saying inappropriate things and touching someone against their will, and replace Guantanamo Bay with being asked not to be creepy. But, you know, other than that.

  45. Sam
    August 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    zuzu,

    Doesn’t matter. If someone is creeped out by that person or their behavior, the creeped-out person is not responsible for finding some way to ignore the creepy behavior. The person with the creepy behavior is responsible for making the behavior not-creepy, or going away from people who are uncomfortable with their behavior.

    Yes, I thought that’s what I said – that the general problem should not concern the creeped out woman, but that it’s a problem that should be discussed abstractly, like… here ;)

    Yes, it might suck for the person who just wants to be loved and accepted, but that doesn’t mean that the person who is legitimately creeped out by that person’s poor social skills should be pressured into ignoring all the red flags at the cost of their own personal safety and comfort.

    Again, what I said, I think, but here you, interestingly, say: “legitimately” creeped out, which brings me to

    The standards that matter are the standards of the creepee. The creepy person doesn’t get to dictate the creeped-upon person’s definition of creepy.

    sure, the standards are the standards of the creepee, but that’s where the problem is: the creepee doesn’t say “you’re a creep *for me* (according to my standards, which may significantly differ from generally accepted behaviour)”. The assumed creep will interpret that statement according to his own standards, and possibly, compare that with what he perceives to be the social relevant social standards, and possibly nothing will help to decide him what the problem was, so we’re stuck with a situation in which behaviour was quite possibly both subjectively creepy and subjectively non-creepy.

    So “don’t be one” should really be “do your best to try to avoid being perceived as one, and here’s a couple of hints.”

  46. Sam
    August 13, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    With Love,

    Male sexuality is not talked about? Do you mean straight male sexuality? That’s what the majority of pop culture and advertising is aimed at appealing to.

    exactly, catered to, but not talked about, except when it’s problematic.

  47. Chiara
    August 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    there some of this I dont really get… why are guys so interested in touching each other up at a ‘con’? i dont really buy that any guy is confused about whether that’s appropriate… social awkwardness or not.

    i mean a ‘con’ is like a daytime group interest thing for geeks right, not a party?

  48. Chiara
    August 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    sry that should read “why are guys so interested in touching girls up at a ‘con’?”

  49. zuzu
    August 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    If you’re done nitpicking the post title, Sam, do you have anything to say about the substance?

    Because I’m not having a whole lot of patience for this today.

  50. igglanova
    August 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Sam, there are zillions of books, essays, treastises, and articles that have been written for centuries that centre male sexuality. How on Earth does that not count as ‘talking about’ male sexuality? Hell, even female-targeted magazines like Cosmo spend a lot more ink telling readers how to please a man than they spend on women’s pleasure.

  51. Sam
    August 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Zuzu,

    ;) – actually I thought I had started out doing that with my attempted creepiness taxonomy and the point about the term creep being indicative of a more general problem of social construction of male sexuality than being a problem when it’s used to describe specific behaviour, and how the two are, in my opinion, interacting in a way that doesn’t help anyone, causing men to be overly defensive in specific instances when they’re called “creepy” and later allowing them to discount the specific behaviour more as a cultural expression than a specific criticism of their displayed behavior.

  52. August 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    the general perception of male sexuality as being at least latently *inherently* creepy, dangerous, borderline sociopathic.

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I think that’s very inaccurate. It seems to me that male sexuality is perceived as being inherently defined by activity and assertiveness more than anything else. The negative perception of male sexuality you posit is probably an offspring of that.

  53. Sam
    August 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Igglanova,

    female-targeted magazines like Cosmo spend a lot more ink telling readers how to please a man than they spend on women’s pleasure.

    well, maybe I don’t get it because I don’t read Cosmo. Kidding aside, “masculinity” and “male sexuality” are, in my opinion, recent topics, and they have surfaced mostly as a reaction to feminism, to the realization that “women have a gender, men don’t”. Being “the cultural norm” has a flipside, cultural “invisibility”. That’s what I’m talking about. I haven’t looked at this scientifically though, I haven’t clustered what kind of discourse I’d consider to be “talking about” rather than merely “catering to”, this is mainly my perception, but I know a number of guys who think the same.

  54. DonnaL
    August 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    What is your objection to that phrase? Considering my great grand-parents were killed by the Nazis and my grandparents were Holocaust survivors, I kind of think that using the term Nazi as a pejorative is self explanatory.

    For God’s sake, Steve, think for a minute. To use the term that way — grammar Nazi, soup Nazi — is to trivialize it and rob it of its real meaning.

    Given your own family history, are you seriously claiming that you don’t understand why it’s inappropriate to draw any kind of comparison or analogy between being strict about rules of grammar or anything else (even excessively strict), and the deliberate genocide of Jews and Roma — men, women, and more than a million children?

    So I strongly dislkie the “grammar Nazi” kind of phrase; I think it’s disgusting; and the fact that more than one person has now asked you to stop should be more than sufficient reason for you to abandon the practice even if for some reason you still think it’s OK.

  55. SophiaBlue
    August 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Sam, I frankly see a much bigger problem of some people viewing men’s sexuality as far more important than any feelings women might have. I was just reading through some blog posts on the Elevatorgate scandal mentioned above, and almost every one was filled with men saying “If we can’t sexually proposition a woman when we’re alone with her at 4 in the morning in an elevator, how are we ever going to get laid?!”

  56. SophiaBlue
    August 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Ok, I was writing that before Sam posted 54 above.

    “women have a gender, men don’t”

    What?!

  57. August 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    I haven’t looked at this scientifically though, I haven’t clustered what kind of discourse I’d consider to be “talking about” rather than merely “catering to”, this is mainly my perception, but I know a number of guys who think the same.

    But even catering to male sexuality involves talking about it and vice versa, so it’s not easy to make any meaningful distinction between the two.

  58. zuzu
    August 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    See, Sam, now you’re starting to creep me out with the winky emoticons and the JAQing off and the “women have gender, men don’t” business.

  59. August 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Ok, I was writing that before Sam posted 54 above.

    “women have a gender, men don’t”

    What?!

    I think what Sam is saying there is that gender is emphasized for women as opposed to men. I don’t think that’s the case, though.

  60. South
    August 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    You know, a lot of people find many folks creepy just for existing (trans women, amputees and, as Omar noted, Arabs). The linked to posts don’t seem to provide any exceptions to their rule of “Creepiness is allways the problem of the creeper to fix.”

    I don’t expect they were thinking of a burn victim who creeps people out just by working a checkout. But, hey, privelige is like that.

  61. August 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    You know, a lot of people find many folks creepy just for existing (trans women, amputees and, as Omar noted, Arabs). The linked to posts don’t seem to provide any exceptions to their rule of “Creepiness is allways the problem of the creeper to fix.”

    I don’t expect they were thinking of a burn victim who creeps people out just by working a checkout. But, hey, privelige is like that.

    You can’t compare prejudice towards certain groups with being concerned about one’s safety due to someone invasively crossing one’s personal boundaries through sexual harassment and so on.

  62. Sam
    August 13, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    mxe354,

    But even catering to male sexuality involves talking about it and vice versa, so it’s not easy to make any meaningful distinction between the two.

    no, I guess it’s not, but the distinction feels very straight forward to me. As for the point about only talking negatively – has there ever been a discussion about *great examples of how men came on to women?” How a guy walked up to a girl in a club and swept her off her feet so she wanted to have lots of sweaty sex with him right there and then? And *how* he did that? I doubt it very much. Male sexual(ised)/romantic behaviour is not really talked about explicitly when it’s working, or yields appropriate results by helping people get together, it’s mostly talked about in terms of “creepiness” or even more problematic behaviour. And of course, usually being the initiating partner, men are c.p. at higher risk when it comes to being/being called creepy.

    SophiaBlue,

    “If we can’t sexually proposition a woman when we’re alone with her at 4 in the morning in an elevator, how are we ever going to get laid?!”

    yeah, I read that too, just now, although I think I had already heard about the story trough one of the blogs involved a while ago. Doing that out of the blue in the situation she mentioned is clearly pretty stupid, but I bet what guys heard when she said that was not

    “don’t come on to a woman you haven’t talked to before, who’s drunk in an elevator (thus may easily feel cornered) and has just given a speech about sexism, that’s, like, really stupid”

    , but

    “don’t talk to a woman about sex, even the implied proposition of sex is perceived as dangerous and inappropriate and you don’t get a say at all in defining what’s right and wrong, women do”

    – and the followup thought –

    “Women expect men to initiate and if they’re rejected, then they are not only rejected, they’re horrible people, creeps…”

    so, well, I’m not really surprised by the male defensiveness…

    Btw, I once drove a girl home and she was drunk and asked me to come in for coffee, and I declined. Later, when I told it to a female friend, she told me that *I* was horrible for rejecting her offer when she threw herself at me. See the difference?

  63. Sam
    August 13, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Zuzu,

    See, Sam, now you’re starting to creep me out with the winky emoticons and the JAQing off and the “women have gender, men don’t” business.

    what’s JAQ? I intended the reference as mxe354 understood it.

  64. August 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Doing that out of the blue in the situation she mentioned is clearly pretty stupid, but I bet what guys heard when she said that was [ ]

    “don’t talk to a woman about sex, even the implied proposition of sex is perceived as dangerous and inappropriate and you don’t get a say at all in defining what’s right and wrong, women do”

    – and the followup thought –

    “Women expect men to initiate and if they’re rejected, then they are not only rejected, they’re horrible people, creeps…”

    And once again, men’s fee-fees and what they THINK they MIGHT have POSSIBLY heard is more important than women being for realz stalked. Gee, thanks, Sam, haven’t heard that before.

  65. August 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    You know, a lot of people find many folks creepy just for existing (trans women, amputees and, as Omar noted, Arabs). The linked to posts don’t seem to provide any exceptions to their rule of “Creepiness is allways the problem of the creeper to fix.”

    I don’t expect they were thinking of a burn victim who creeps people out just by working a checkout. But, hey, privelige is like that.

    Except for the fact that the posts did clearly define what is meant by “creeper”, and these definitions explicitly exclude the kind of examples you give. The “creepiness” is based entirely on behaviour and not identity. And Scalzi’s post also explicitly notes that this behaviour is largely practised by a more privileged group toward a less privileged group. (Captain Awkward’s implies this as well, but Scalzi wasn’t taking any chances with his audience.)

    It’s true that “creepy” is sometimes used to describe people unjustly based on a perception of who they are that in no way reflects their actual behaviour toward the person who is applying the label. But that is explicitly not what is being referenced here. So kindly fuck off the derail.

  66. August 13, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Also:

    If someone approaches me and invades my personal space, then there’s certainly nothing inappropriate about the fact that I feel creeped out by that person; I don’t know if that person has malign intent or is just, say, socially awkward. I have a reason to be afraid.

    If I see a burn victim working at a check out and I feel creeped out because I’m personally averse to people who are clearly injured, then I’m being a prejudiced asshole. There is nothing about someone being a burn victim that is potentially threatening to me – unlike creepy, invasive behavior, which is a dangerous sign.

  67. August 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Incidentally, the reason I prefer “creeper” to “creep” is that to me the former more specifically connotes action – a “creep” may be merely “creepy” and it starts to get into identity politics, but a “creeper” is someone who is actively engaging in creepy behaviour. It’s the behaviour that is the problem, not something innate to the person (i.e., I do not care if you creeped on me because you are a manipulative jerk or just self-centered and naive – either way, don’t do it).

  68. August 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    has there ever been a discussion about *great examples of how men came on to women?” How a guy walked up to a girl in a club and swept her off her feet so she wanted to have lots of sweaty sex with him right there and then? And *how* he did that? I doubt it very much.

    Well, I’ve heard a lot of guys boast about “scoring” with women. That’s rather explicit if you ask me.

  69. Sam
    August 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    macavitykitsune,

    Gee, thanks, Sam, haven’t heard that before.

    yeah, but wouldn’t it be *great* if there was a way for her to make her point without guys becoming defensive? And my point, as per above, is, that talking differently about male sexuality *in general* would allow to make her point an opportunity for a discussion about how to improve her reality (and also the rejeted guy’s) and everyone else’s, too, instead of being a sure topic to deteriorate into a flame war because eveyone’s claiming that their points are the only ones that count.

  70. zuzu
    August 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    has there ever been a discussion about *great examples of how men came on to women?” How a guy walked up to a girl in a club and swept her off her feet so she wanted to have lots of sweaty sex with him right there and then? And *how* he did that? I doubt it very much.

    You’ve got two problems here:

    1) You’re wrong. In fact, if you look in the archives to this very site, you’ll find posts about favorite pick-up lines. However, you may not understand what makes those pick-up lines work, because of the second problem you have, which is:

    2) You think the goal is to sweep someone off her feet to have lots of sweaty sex with her. Which is exactly the kind of vibe that women can pick up and not want anything to do with.

    Oh, you have a third problem:

    3) You seem to think that there’s some kind of instruction manual or cheat code for having sex with women.

    The reason that people have favorite pick-up lines is that they’re delivered with a sense of play and humor instead of grim desperation or the conviction that BUT I SAID ALL THE RIGHT THINGS WHERE IS MY REWARD OF PUSSY. The reason that women have sex with men they just met is that they find those men attractive in some way that doesn’t involve being creepy and goal-oriented. And by “goal-oriented” I mean “has sights set on the goal of getting in my pants regardless of how I feel about it and will persist or whine or try to guilt-trip me until I give in.”

  71. TMK
    August 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I think what Sam is saying there is that gender is emphasized for women as opposed to men. I don’t think that’s the case, though.

    In some cases it’s emphasied for women, and in some for men. Notice when violent children get their gender noted, for example. I think it happens if something falls outside gender norms in the eyes of the author.

  72. Sam
    August 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Zuzu,

    sorry, but I think your comment #71 is saying more about your assumptions about me than about what I’ve written in the part of my comment that you quoted, because I don’t think anything in that quote is incompatible with your closing remarks in #71.

    As for 1), good, I like being wrong, when being wrong means there’s a problem less.So great, I’ll try to find them. 2 & 3 ) No, I don’t.

    Actually, I couldn’t agree more with your closing remarks.

  73. South
    August 13, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    @Jadey
    They define certain things which they themselves find creepy, making sure to point out that “creep” is in the eye of the creepee. Had they come out against using “creep” as a label to harass people you find to be “others” as a qualifier to their posts, my objection would be void. But they didn’t, and as “creep” is so often used as a label to harass and stigmtize the less priveliged, I stand by my objection.

    (FYI, derail =/= dissent)

    @mxe354 Re your last paragraph.

    That’s rather my point, and the reason that I find the idea that “If someone creeps you out then that is their problem” to be problematic. It is being put forward as an absolute and it really isn’t. Sometimes if someone creeps you out then as you said, the problem is that “[You’re] being a prejudiced asshole.”
    I also agree wih your first paragraph.

  74. pheenobarbidoll
    August 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    His 4th problem- Not recognizing that all women are individual and what works for one does not mean it will work for all, or even more than that one woman. At that time. And while some line may have worked on that one specific woman on Saturday does not mean it would work on Tuesday.

    Because women are people. And people respond to different things at different times in different ways for all sorts of different reasons.

  75. August 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    It is being put forward as an absolute and it really isn’t.

    In regards to creepy behavior? Yes, it is an absolute. In regards to prejudice against someone because of their skin color, visible signs of injury, ethnicity, etc.? No, the rule doesn’t apply. There’s a difference between being creeped out by one’s identity and being creeped out by one’s behavior.

  76. August 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Oops: The last sentence should be “There’s a difference between being creeped out by someone’s identity and being creeped out by someone’s behavior.”

  77. South
    August 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    @Jadey #68, I can get on board with that. I think that creeper is largely non-problematic, and as a relativly origional term does not carry the past baggage of bigotted use.

  78. LC
    August 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    has there ever been a discussion about *great examples of how men came on to women?” How a guy walked up to a girl in a club and swept her off her feet so she wanted to have lots of sweaty sex with him right there and then? And *how* he did that? I doubt it very much.

    Wait, what? I hear women talk about that all the time. Hell, one of my favourites was a discussion between two women I knew where one turned to the other and said, “Hey, when did X become hot? How did that happen?” and the first said “See! I told you! His hotness sneaks up on you!” And yes, that hotness was all about him being interesting, talking to them like they were the real people they were, and genuinely liking hanging out with them.

    But even the, “damn, he just walked in and was wicked smooth as china silk and that was the hottest damn thing I’ve seen” comes up.

    Of course this gets talked about.

  79. South
    August 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    @mxe354, Yes, but my point is that behaviour is not the only reason for which folks are labelled creeps.

    Honestly I don’t think we have very much to argue over. Creepy behaviour is absolutly the responsibility of the “creep.” Creepy identity is not. I find the fact that identity is such a common reason for the application of the creep label that people making statements on the responsibilities of “creeps” need to be careful. THat’s the sum total of my objection.

  80. LC
    August 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Btw, I once drove a girl home and she was drunk and asked me to come in for coffee, and I declined. Later, when I told it to a female friend, she told me that *I* was horrible for rejecting her offer when she threw herself at me. See the difference?

    Yes, people sometimes have bad communication, often due to tacit assumptions about what is understood subtext. Sucks. You grow up and move on and people learn to use their words. In the past, there have been women who, having a different view of what they considered an obvious invitation, were upset I snubbed them. Yup, sucks when communication is botched. Welcome to the Planet Earth, where Humans miscommunicate all the time, and then they hopefully fix it.

    Anyone can transgress a boundary or misread a situation. We all do it all the damn time. When it’s pointed out to you, what do you do? That’s the point where you see who is being a creeper. Non-creepers back off, because damn, they made a mistake and they would like to fix it. You want to be creepy? Keep pushing.

  81. Alara Rogers
    August 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I actually think Sam is correct that “women have a gender, men don’t.” I have seen this, over and over — “gender studies” means women’s studies, “gender issues” means issues of interest to women. It is, in fact, the flip side of being the default humans. Men don’t have a gender because men are the default human beings; gender is the thing women have that makes them different from men.

    So discussions about men from the perspective of men seem to suggest, “ok, we’re people, and we’re talking about these mysterious aliens that no one understands, women.” Discussions about men from the perspective of women do not tend to erase men’s humanity in the same way, though they can sometimes fall hard on the side of “no man can be trusted to respect women’s humanity”. Any discussion of gender as a thing is seen as inherently the province of and interest of women, because women have gender. Men only have gender when you’re forced to acknowledge that, ok, women are human too… which generally happens in the context of feminism, which is seen as special interest to women.

    As a result, the male *gender* is not studied in nearly the same way that the female gender is. Men, as a group, are studied much more often than women, but often with no referent to the fact that women were excluded, so it’s basically a study of human beings that just managed to forget that women are human. Men per se men, men as different from the Platonic default ideal human, are rarely studied; studies of men and women still often come at it as “here are people, and then here are women and how they’re different from people.”

    We spend reams and reams of ink and pixels studying women as mothers, but men are pretty much the only primates who father… when was the last time you heard of a study talking about how unusual this specifically male human behavior is in the animal kingdom? No, no, that’s not unusual at all, because of course the species would die out if people didn’t love their children… again, no recognition that the categories of “men” and “people” aren’t in full overlap. If men, per se men, engage in a behavior that women do not, it’s not worthy of study as a thing *men* do… it’s a thing people do. If men, per se men, engage in a behavior that women *do* do but which is unusual in the animal kingdom to find in male animals… well, why wouldn’t men do it? It’s a human behavior! Never mind how much ink we’ve spent on women’s behaviors that are distinct from how most female animals act.

    So I gotta agree with Sam on that subject. Our society does not think men have a gender unless we’re already talking about gender, in which case we’ve already lost a good bit of the audience because talking about gender is only of interest to women. (Just to be certain everyone realizes this, as sarcasm doesn’t come across well on the internet — I’m not actually saying talking about gender is only of interest to women, but a large number of men seem to think so.) Men are the default humans, and so a lot of stuff where we studied men was in fact not intended to be a study of men at all, it was supposed to be a study of humans and they just overlooked the fact that women are human.

    Most of the time, the fact that the categories of “men” and “human” are conflated is not problematic for men. It’s a lot more problematic for us. But it can actually be an issue on occasion that we are not specifically studying men as men, or talking about men as men, rather than studying or talking about people and conflating “men” with “people,” or studying and talking about women and using men as a comparison set rather than actually looking specifically at men.

  82. LC
    August 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    I appear to have completely screwed up a block quote.

  83. August 13, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    @ South

    I’m going to go ahead with assuming you are arguing in good faith.

    (The reason why I have to make a judgement on that, incidentally, is how often people *don’t* engage in these conversations in good faith. And I don’t know you from a hole in the wall, just like you don’t know me from a hole in the wall.)

    I do understand that “creepy” has been used inappropriately as a derogatory term for many groups. What I want you to understand is that “creepy” (and “creeper”) also has a long history of being used to define and identify a particular type of insidious harassing behaviour, largely used against women (including women of colour, women with disabilities, etc. – because the more marginalized you are, the more vulnerable you are to this kind of harassment). I described your comments as derailing because, whether you meant it or not, you are playing into one of the classic strategies for shutting down women who are trying to point out a way in which they have been systematically pushed out of important spaces – by telling us that we are being bigoted and prejudiced for calling out bullshit oppressive behaviour.

    I think you are still mis-reading the original posts. They are completely focused on actions and behaviours. The idea is that the creepiness of the behaviour is in the eye of the beholder, and this is pretty clear through-out. The reason that this is being emphasized is because so often women who try to point out this behaviour are told that it’s all in their heads, that the person didn’t mean it, therefore the inappropriate and invasive behaviour never happened. You don’t seem to get this.

    I was particularly pissed that you decided to position yourself as the “non-privileged” person speaking to “privileged” people given that this is clearly an intersectional issue. I think you have some unrecognized privilege of your own to sort through, frankly. (Especially if you are male-identified, though I’m not sure if you are.) I would not be surprised if you did not actually understand the psychological effect of being subjected to this kind of behaviour. (Which does not erase or trump the psychological effects of being subjected to racism, ableism, etc. of course – but trust me when I say that this is no picnic either. I have former harassers I can’t even imagine being around without starting to panic or go into a blind rage.)

    So maybe before you charge in here, check your assumptions. I think you would have found people pretty amenable to recognizing that “creep” should never be used to describe someone’s identity, especially given that this never, ever occurred in the original posts (you seemed to have back-tracked on this in your last comment, now only stating that this should have been acknowledged instead of accusing the original posters of doing it themselves). Instead you decided to show your own ignorance and privilege and take up air in a space where some people are already gasping for breath.

  84. August 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Given your own family history, are you seriously claiming that you don’t understand why it’s inappropriate to draw any kind of comparison or analogy between being strict about rules of grammar or anything else (even excessively strict), and the deliberate genocide of Jews and Roma — men, women, and more than a million children?

    So I strongly dislkie the “grammar Nazi” kind of phrase; I think it’s disgusting; and the fact that more than one person has now asked you to stop should be more than sufficient reason for you to abandon the practice even if for some reason you still think it’s OK.

    Donna,

    Since you asked me, and told how you feel about it, I will gladly never use it around you. For me it feels liberating to ridicule that mindset, but seeing how upset it makes you, that you find it disgusting, and knowing how similar our family histories are, I promise to never use it again around here.

  85. Bloix
    August 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    another piece of advice:
    If a man is in any sort of position of power over a woman, no matter how attenuated, he should not assume that ordinary riendliness on her part is anything other than an acknowledgement of the power relationship. That doesn’t mean it’s not “genuine” in some superficial sense; it means that the dominant reason for it is social roleplaying and the man should accept it for what it is and not try to take it any further.

    This applies to waitresses, bartenders, store clerks, babysitters, women subordinates at the office, anyone whose paycheck depends to any degree at all on the man’s approval.

  86. Chiara
    August 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    If a man is in any sort of position of power over a woman, no matter how attenuated, he should not assume that ordinary riendliness on her part is anything other than an acknowledgement of the power relationship. That doesn’t mean it’s not “genuine” in some superficial sense; it means that the dominant reason for it is social roleplaying and the man should accept it for what it is and not try to take it any further.

    in like the 50s maybe. can we have a more nuanced discussion without trotting out this tired “power” and “dynamics” stuff.

    while it may be generally true that women are more likely to act in a friendly manner maybe they do so because they dont want to be so blunt and hurt peoples feelings? also having concern for other peoples feelings as a man is seen as a sign of weakness.

    I think we kinda forget here that theres a sort of double bind or whatever its called: we say we want these nice qualities out of guys — being concerned for other peoples feelings, trying to be attentive to whether the woman theyre talking to actually wants to talk to them… but at the same time the qualities we find sexually attractive in a guy are the polar opposite of that; guys are supposed to be pushy, but not too pushy, they’re not supposed to take no for an answer (not in a rapey way), they’re supposed to be kinda aggressive and getting up in your space. so i can imagine it would be difficult for less socially adept guys to find the right balance between these two ends of the spectrum to be non-creepy but also be at least a little attractive.

  87. August 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    For a bunch of people with no gender, men can sure get creepy. But only sometimes. And not all of them.

  88. August 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I actually think Sam is correct that “women have a gender, men don’t.” I have seen this, over and over — “gender studies” means women’s studies, “gender issues” means issues of interest to women. It is, in fact, the flip side of being the default humans. Men don’t have a gender because men are the default human beings; gender is the thing women have that makes them different from men.

    Good point. However, gender seems to be emphasized for men as well; just think about the exhortation to “be a man” and femininity being an insult to men. Men are regarded as the default human beings, but gender seems to be emphasized for them in equal measure – if I’m not mistaken.

  89. EG
    August 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I find the fact that identity is such a common reason for the application of the creep label that people making statements on the responsibilities of “creeps” need to be careful. THat’s the sum total of my objection.

    Except that not only in Scalzi’s and Captain Awkward’s posts, but in the context of the ongoing conversation in which Scalzi is intervening, it is very, very clear that “creep” and “creeper” refer to men who violate women’s boundaries and harass them, sometimes under the guise of friendliness, and sometimes under the guise of hitting on them, so that carefulness standard had already been met, and there was no need for your comment whatsoever.

  90. August 13, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I’m another autistic woman (PDD-NOS, diagnosed as a small child, don’t quite pass for normal), and I totally endorse what both John Scalzi and Captain Awkward have written.

    I actually would very much benefit from a social environment in which everyone followed those rules, because my own confusion, mental slowness and inconsistent ability to speak in social situations (not just in social situations, but obviously if I am by myself it doesn’t matter if I’m having an “off” day with spoken language, or if I’m feeling unusually disoriented) make it hard for me to enforce my own boundaries sometimes.

    So rather than marginalize me, these proposed rules would actually make it easier for me to socialize. How about that?

  91. South
    August 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    @Jadey,

    I am arguing in good faith and sincerly believe that you are also.

    I understand what the linked posts are trying for just fine, and wholly support their intentions. However, the good in this case comes with bad, and here the bad is that irrespective of their definitions and focus, the absolutism they engage in serves to (unintentionally) legitimise the harassment of people with “creepy” identities.

    Obviously you disagree that this is a likely outcome of their writings.

    One hole in the wall to another, I don’t think this is a reconcilable issue and am perfectly happy to drop it before I really do create a derail.

  92. August 14, 2012 at 12:03 am

    One hole in the wall to another, I don’t think this is a reconcilable issue and am perfectly happy to drop it before I really do create a derail.

    ‘Creeper’ is a word used in a particular subculture (Nerd/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Con) to describe a person guilty of behaviors that make women feel threatened or harassed, and both of the linked posts from Scalzi and Captain Awkward were in response to incidents and questions from within that subculture. So, yeah, you already derailed. Why stop now?

  93. Omar
    August 14, 2012 at 3:10 am

    People discuss “creepiness” as if it’s a measurable quality, when in reality, it’s a subjective analysis based on people’s own personal emotions.

    The anecdotal examples in the comments section (from the two links) range from blatant sexism to innocent miscommunication. And it’s precisely why this so-called problem will not be “fixed” because it’s attempting to regulate human behaviour, however benign.

    Me being thought of as a potential terrorist applies in this case. I have American colleagues, co-workers and a few years ago, fellow college students. You may believe their discomfort with me is irrational or extreme, but they may have had relatives, co-workers or friends who died in a terrorist attack. They are constantly bombarded with images of terrorism from around the world, and the media portrays terrorism and sleeper cells as a very serious threat to every American’s existence. Obviously, not all Muslims are terrorists. But some of them are. In other words, their paranoia is based on some level of truth.

    Now, obviously, it’s wise of me not to make any jokes related to terrorism or make any incendiary political statements supporting terrorist attacks. But for many, just the simple fact that I’m with them in the same elevator or I pick up my cell phone and start speaking in Pashto gets them “creeped” out. Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer would say they are quite rightly weary of me. After all, I come from a society that treats women as second class citizens, kill adulterers and gays, and strap bombs to themselves in crowded market places. Obviously, not every single Muslim does it, but enough to create a climate of legitimate fear. The only thing I can do is just continue my day.

  94. Partial Human
    August 14, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Omar – what sexism, where? I must have missed that.

    Sam – Rebecca Watson gave a talk at a conference about inappropriate sexual behaviour, respecting boundaries, and backing off if someone says “No”. She then talked further, with con-goers (including me) and other speakers, until 4am, in the hotel bar, as that was the only place to get coffee. She announced loudly that she was exhausted, and going to bed.

    Elevator Creep then FOLLOWED HER to the lift. Waited until it had started, and then propositioned her, despite everything she’d said about creepy, inappropriate behaviour. He’d been at the talk, and in the bar, yet assumed that the rules did not apply to him.

    She didn’t make a fuss, imply that men are all creeps, that male sexuality is bad, that nobody should ever flirt, or talk to strangers. She simply made a video that related the incident, and said “Guys – don’t do that”.

    That was well over a year ago, and the fallout is still happening. Rebecca, and other female. bloggers who supported her, have been getting rape and death threats ever since. They’ve been accused of destroying the (atheist/sceptic) movement for asking that cons have harassment policies. Two trans women who blog under pseuds are currently being blackmailed, given threats that their real ID will be released, after illegal access was gained to their platform’s backchannel. That carries a very real risk of rape and death.

    All because Rebecca said “Guys – don’t do that”.

    And you want me to feel sad for the poor, misunderstood, creeper men who think that women are pussy dispensers, and that putting coins (attention, compliments, drinks etc) in, means the woman “puts out”?

    Gross. Creepy and gross.

  95. Marksman2010
    August 14, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Take it easy, Zuzu.

    It was nice having you back.

  96. mary
    August 14, 2012 at 8:34 am

    People discuss “creepiness” as if it’s a measurable quality, when in reality, it’s a subjective analysis based on people’s own personal emotions.

    Right. So that time when I felt creeped out by a guy’s advances and said no, and then he promptly threatened me with a very graphic rape, was just my ~subjective feelings~.

    After all, I was only 10. Probably just needed to grow up and learn some objectivity.

    Fuck off with this gaslighting bullshit.

  97. Q Grrl
    August 14, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Omar: your analogy really only works *if* the vast majority of Muslims were terrorists or were directly benefiting from the terrorism of other Muslims.

    I’m not discounting what you have experienced; I just don’t think it is the analogy that you think it is.

    A woman’s sense that a man is creepy isn’t based on her entitlement/bigotry. It’s based on her being raised in a rape culture, as the sex-class. She knows that any given man is testing her boundaries, but may not have better language to describe it, or feel safe in expressing it. As a result, we get “creep”, “creepy” and “creeper.” Your argument about how damaging “creep” can be is just another layer of guilt and responsibility that women have to negotiate in order to describe very real threats to their safety and happiness.

  98. August 14, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Omar:

    As a woman of color who has been racially profiled and as someone who has a run-in with creepers…

    Back the fuck off.

    They’re not the same thing. Quit derailing.

  99. matlun
    August 14, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Omar: your analogy really only works *if* the vast majority of Muslims were terrorists or were directly benefiting from the terrorism of other Muslims.

    What are you saying here? The implication sound really bad to me, but perhaps I am misunderstanding you?

    A woman’s sense that a man is creepy isn’t based on her entitlement/bigotry.

    It may be or may not be. That depends on the specific woman and situation.

  100. EG
    August 14, 2012 at 8:56 am

    There is nothing subjective about having one’s physical and emotional boundaries violated, about being followed and/or touched without consent, about being harassed. That is bullshit.

  101. Revolver
    August 14, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Along with the link EG provided from the mother of an Aspie, this article really helps drive home the point that people are not their diagnosis; they have the agency to feel whatever the fuck they want to feel. That means people with Asperger’s can be creepers and people with Down’s Syndrome can be manipulative…the commonality is that they’re PEOPLE.

  102. Rhoanna
    August 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

    There is nothing subjective about having one’s physical and emotional boundaries violated, about being followed and/or touched without consent, about being harassed. That is bullshit.

    The only subjective part is the boundaries, which vary from person to person, and situation to situation. Which doesn’t make violating them any less wrong, just that more care is required to make sure one doesn’t violate someone else’s boundaries. (Obviously some things are almost universally violate people’s boundaries, and should be really easy to discern.)

  103. Sam
    August 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Partial Human,

    He’d been at the talk, and in the bar, yet assumed that the rules did not apply to him.

    as I said above, given the circumstances, particularly given that he apparenly hadn’t even spoken to her before, his behaviour certainly was supremely stupid and inappropriate.

    She didn’t make a fuss, imply that men are all creeps, that male sexuality is bad, that nobody should ever flirt, or talk to strangers.

    Well, that’s kind of my point: I believe that, given the way male sexuality is generally talked about in public disourse, every specific accusation – justified as it may be – will likely be interpreted by many men as another all-out attack on their sexuality, and thus taken rather personally. Just like guys complaing about specific things women have done will likely be greeted with a note about their privilege on a feminist blog. In my experience, it takes an enormous amount of time and effort in trust-building on everyone’s part to no longer take specific incidents as all-out attacks on one’s identity. It’s easier in real life than online.

    That was well over a year ago, and the fallout is still happening. Rebecca, and other female. bloggers who supported her, have been getting rape and death threats ever since. They’ve been accused of destroying the (atheist/sceptic) movement for asking that cons have harassment policies. Two trans women who blog under pseuds are currently being blackmailed, given threats that their real ID will be released, after illegal access was gained to their platform’s backchannel. That carries a very real risk of rape and death.

    I’m very sorry to hear that.

    All because Rebecca said “Guys – don’t do that”. And you want me to feel sad for the poor, misunderstood, creeper men who think that women are pussy dispensers, and that putting coins (attention, compliments, drinks etc) in, means the woman “puts out”?

    No, not really. My point was that discussions about specific problematic behaviour would be a lot easier to have when people, in this case men, would not be inclined to see such specific complaints as all out attacks on their identity. And, in my opinion, the reason they are inclined to do so, is that they have internalized a very negative view of male sexuality (by way of social discourse) and as such feel compelled to defend it (themselves) even when it would be appropriate to not do that and learn how to behave more appropriately.

  104. August 14, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Omar, again, there is a difference between some racist hating you just for being who you are (speaking in Pashto, having a beard, neither of which directly affect them) and someone calling a creep a creep for things they actually, really, truly, for realz DO (inappropriate touching, or sexually assaulting women, or isolating and propositioning them). Honestly, I think the fact that you can’t seem to tell the difference between being a victim of racism and a perpetrator of abuse is disturbing as fuck.

  105. Donna L
    August 14, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Two trans women who blog under pseuds are currently being blackmailed, given threats that their real ID will be released, after illegal access was gained to their platform’s backchannel.

    I suppose I should be shocked, but nothing like this shocks me anymore. Misogyny + transphobia is always a lovely combination.

  106. August 14, 2012 at 10:50 am

    How hard is it for people to understand that prejudice against someone because of their identity and being creeped out by creepy behavior aren’t the same?

    The former is purely based on bigotry against someone because of their identity, and it is wrong because there is nothing about someone’s race, sex, ethnicity, etc. that is potentially dangerous to someone.

    The latter, however, which is based on a fear of having one’s personal boundaries violated, isn’t wrong at all because such creepy behavior is a dangerous sign. There is a reason to be afraid if you feel that someone isn’t respecting your autonomy and personal space because of their behavior. Maybe it’s a sign that that person wants to sexually violate you.

  107. Partial Human
    August 14, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Sorry Sam, marginalised populations have no duty to consider the feelings of oppressor classes who are drunk on privilege.

    Instead of asking women to be nicer, and more considerate of male feelings when discussing their boundaries, maybe men should be policing each other so that women don’t have to do all of the work.

    Schroedinger’s Rapist is a problem that men need to work on fixing, rather than asking that women ignore their own fears in order to make men feel better about themselves.

    Women are taught from birth to “Be nice”. We’re taught to suppress our feelings and instincts, to make people happy, to not rock the boat. We’re socialised into passivity, submission, and pliability. We’re conditioned to put everyone else first.

    Men know all of that. That’s why they plead “But our feeeeelings”. They know it trips us right back into our programming.

  108. zuzu
    August 14, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Omar, RTMFA.

    You’re massively derailing with this, because none of the linked articles are at all germane to what you’re describing.

  109. Past my expiration date
    August 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

    And, in my opinion, the reason they are inclined to do so, is that they have internalized a very negative view of male sexuality (by way of social discourse) and as such feel compelled to defend it (themselves) even when it would be appropriate to not do that and learn how to behave more appropriately.

    I think that I have missed something here. What very negative view of male sexuality have men internalized, by way of social discourse, and feel compelled to defend?

  110. August 14, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Women are taught from birth to “Be nice”. We’re taught to suppress our feelings and instincts, to make people happy, to not rock the boat. We’re socialised into passivity, submission, and pliability. We’re conditioned to put everyone else first.

    Men know all of that. That’s why they plead “But our feeeeelings”. They know it trips us right back into our programming.

    QFT.

  111. August 14, 2012 at 11:03 am

    The anecdotal examples in the comments section (from the two links) range from blatant sexism to innocent miscommunication. And it’s precisely why this so-called problem will not be “fixed” because it’s attempting to regulate human behaviour, however benign.

    I have yet to see a commenter post an example that is sexist. Also, it doesn’t matter if someone’s creepy behavior is the result of innocent miscommunication. The problem is that, regardless of intent, such behavior is invasive and violates personal boundaries. Scalzi acknowledges that many people who get labeled as creepers are actually benign, but he still talks about ways to avoid creepy behavior because, well, it’s still a problem.

    Also, don’t you dare call this creepy behavior a “so-called problem”. You’re an asshat for marginalizing something that countless people suffer from.

  112. Donna L
    August 14, 2012 at 11:04 am

    It seems to me that the view of male sexuality that “men are beasts who can’t control themselves” is something that feminist discourse very much fights against, not something it propagates.

  113. Partial Human
    August 14, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Donna – the whole thing has me sick.

    One of the writers
    (Natalie Reed) has several factors that make her incredibly vulnerable. She’s been honest about her addiction, abuse, and the horrific transmisogyny that is thrown her way.

    Her reward for this is “Haha I know who you are! I read your emails!” It’s revenge on her, based on something she wasn’t involved in, and made no comment on.

    Why? The man in question hates feminism. He thinks it has “tainted” his precious boy’s club. He blames Rebecca Watson for a lot of this, again for daring to say “Guys – don’t do that”. So now he’s targeting anyone who agrees that sexual harassment should be cracked down on, because HIS FEEEEELINGS! MEN’S FUN! SHY GUYS!

    Words can’t do justice to how much these men just repulse me.

  114. zuzu
    August 14, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Well, that’s kind of my point: I believe that, given the way male sexuality is generally talked about in public disourse, every specific accusation – justified as it may be – will likely be interpreted by many men as another all-out attack on their sexuality, and thus taken rather personally.

    The solution for that is for men to take women seriously when they say someone creeps them out instead of making excuses or telling the woman she’s being divisive/hurting group morale/imagining things.

    Really, if men don’t like the way their sexuality is talked about, maybe they should work on the way their sexuality is perceived and how they support that.

  115. August 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

    It seems to me that the view of male sexuality that “men are beasts who can’t control themselves” is something that feminist discourse very much fights against, not something it propagates.

    Indeed. Which is what makes that excuse a very convenient thing for these creep-apologists to pin on feminism, so they can say “Well, we ARE uncontrollable! YOU said so!”

    Honestly, the level of discourse from the average dipshit kyribot on this is something that reminds me irresistibly of the time my stepkid refused to do her laundry because she could just shower in her clothes instead. That’s about how practical or reasonable it seems.

  116. Sam
    August 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Zuzu,

    Really, if men don’t like the way their sexuality is talked about, maybe they should work on the way their sexuality is perceived and how they support that.

    yes. That’s the rational, social perspective. Usually, though, people who feel attacked react not by considering the rational, social perspective. I mean, it’s kind of what you’re saying with respect to women: Accept their feeling *as real* when they claim “creep” and don’t say “but rationally, that was totally acceptable behaviour”. Here you’re doing kind of the same thing with respect to men, you’re not accepting the possible feeling attacked *as real* and you’re asking them to consider the rational, social perspective when they feel attacked.

    I’m not saying it’s a productive way to react, it’s the opposite. But it’s how people, not just men, tend to react, and I believe that it would be less of a problem in this particular matter if there was a generally more favorable discourse of male sexuality.

    Partially Human,

    Sorry Sam, marginalised populations have no duty to consider the feelings of oppressor classes who are drunk on privilege.

    well, I guess that depends on your philosophical position. But my point wasn’t duty as much as effectiveness.

    Schroedinger’s Rapist is a problem that men need to work on fixing, rather than asking that women ignore their own fears in order to make men feel better about themselves.

    Schrödinger’s Rapist is an excellent example of how that discourse is not helping but causing problems, because it’s totally missing the target audience. It was well intentioned, and I liked it mostly because of that. But it’s making guys who already worry about consent more apprehensive about saying hello, it will totally miss the inconsiderate guys who need to read it, and it generally makes men angry and defensive because of the assumption. Good intentions > flame war.

    Men know all of that. That’s why they plead “But our feeeeelings”. They know it trips us right back into our programming.

    You know, maybe they actually do have feelings, too, and that it is possible they feel attacked and that they’re not only pretending to feel attacked to “trip women back into their programming”… it’s a different paradigm, of course.

    Donna L, Macavitykitsune,

    It seems to me that the view of male sexuality that “men are beasts who can’t control themselves” is something that feminist discourse very much fights against, not something it propagates.

    that’s true and sort of not true, both at the same time, in my opinion. Yes, as feminism is generally questioning essentialism, while not making claims about the essential nature of men, it certainly claims that men *in patriarchy* are socialized in a way that resembles the beastly essentialist assumptions about male behaviour. And *that* is a discourse that is very much maintained by feminism, and to a lot of guys, there is a feeling that it is a bit disingenous to claim both at the same time even though it’s logically correct within the ideological thought structure.

    The difference, it seems to me, is often not perceptible in the practical inter-gender discourse.

  117. August 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    @macavitykitsune:

    I’m sorry to derail for a sec, but hahahahaha at your stepkid. I could have sworn I considered doing that when I started doing my own laundry.

  118. August 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Sam, you seem to have a lot that you want to communicate about this issue and about how feminists should start these conversations. If women are going about this the wrong way and putting men on the defensive, do you have specific examples of what we should be doing instead?

    I’m reading a lot of “you’re doing it wrong!” but not a lot of concrete, specific alternatives.

    If you’re not happy with Zuzu’s post, maybe write your own.

  119. EG
    August 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    You know what? Fuck putting men on the defensive. Men are putting me on the defensive by harassing me and touching me without permission. I’m not tiptoeing around their precious feelings.

  120. August 14, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I remember back in my old apartment, struggling in the elevator with a large, heavy flat-pack bookcase. I’d just moved in recently and didn’t know my neighbors, and when a guy got on the elevator with me and then offered to help me with my bookcase, I was torn. On the one hand, I needed help. On the other hand, I didn’t know this guy and didn’t want a strange man following me to my apartment. Back on the first hand, I’ve been socialized to be nice and polite, and I didn’t want to insult this guy by implying that he might be a rapist. Back on the other hand, if he actually was a rapist, I’d get as much blame for it as he would, because how stupid was I to let a strange man follow me to my apartment?

    In the end, I compromised by letting him help me get the bookcase out into the hallway and then not dragging it to my apartment until he was closed up in the elevator again, and then I spent the next two days nervous. Seriously, these were the emotional gymnastics I had to go through just to get a bookcase to my apartment–so Sam doesn’t feel his male sexuality is under attack.

    Whether you’re legitimately feeling feelings or just having feeelings to be manipulative, it can’t matter to me. Because I’m the one who gets raped if I guess wrong. Am I worried because all men are beastly rapists? No, I’m worried because the minority of men who are beastly rapists aren’t polite enough to wear “I’M A BEASTLY RAPIST” t-shirts when they share an elevator with me. I simply cannot allow myself to sacrifice my safety for the purpose of friendly masculine gender discourse. If that’s the requirement, then fuck it.

  121. Kristen J.
    August 14, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    You know, maybe they actually do have feelings, too, and that it is possible they feel attacked and that they’re not only pretending to feel attacked to “trip women back into their programming”… it’s a different paradigm, of course.

    Maybe they are feeling attacked because the evil feminists are suggesting that men aren’t entitled to women’s bodies. May be they feel attacked because their default position is that they should have access to women’s bodies., Maybe they feel attacked because they are doing something WRONG and they are being told they need to knock that shit off.

    Being attacked for your behavior is not *always* bad. If you’re causing someone harm they are permitted to tell you to knock that shit off. And it doesn’t matter if that makes you feel bad.

  122. Partial Human
    August 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    OK Sam, more bluntly , I do not give an actual fuck about men.

    Not their feeeeelings, their anxieties, their fear of approaching women, their need for validation. Nothing. Don’t care.

    Patriarchy caused all of this shit. Patriarchy is hurting men too, so instead of whining about meanie feminists spoiling your fun, complain to your brothers in patriarchy. Work to dismantle it.

    Until then, there will be those of us who see you as a threat. Complaining and saying how unfair that is will deepen our resolve, make. us trust you less.

    Fix the problems in your own house instead of trying to point out the flaws in other peoples’.

  123. August 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I don’t even want to read specific alternatives, largely because I find it incredibly annoying for some dude to swan on in and tell us how we should be writing articles in order to Protect The Men’s Feels. It’s straight out of a derailing handbook: “If yall were just more polite, men would listen!”

    Funny how that (a) reinforces how women are socialised and (b) doesn’t work. (Like feminists haven’t considered tailoring their messages for men, or something.)

    I have to cater to men’s feels all the damn time. Men can learn to suck it up and deal, too.

  124. Past my expiration date
    August 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    No, I’m worried because the minority of men who are beastly rapists aren’t polite enough to wear “I’M A BEASTLY RAPIST” t-shirts when they share an elevator with me.

    That would be so handy, if they were, though.

  125. matlun
    August 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    @Caperton: Do you really think that type of reaction is a good way to live? It is your life, so it is your choice, but to me that seems a very self destructive attitude.

  126. August 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    One mo’ ‘gin:

    …marginalised populations have no duty to consider the feelings of oppressor classes who are drunk on privilege.

    Now, with feeling:

    …marginalised populations have no duty to consider the feelings of oppressor classes who are drunk on privilege.

  127. Sam
    August 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    With Love,

    I’m reading a lot of “you’re doing it wrong!” but not a lot of concrete, specific alternatives.

    If you’re not happy with Zuzu’s post, maybe write your own.

    well, I actually tried to blog about this a while ago, but let’s say that it’s been a disappointing experience, and one that made me realizse that this conversation is one that will have to start from feminist turf. I understand that many feminists do not think that it should because that concept of gender is different from theirs, but I believe it has to if that gender relations discourse is supposed to progress in any way.

    Kristen J,

    Being attacked for your behavior is not *always* bad. If you’re causing someone harm they are permitted to tell you to knock that shit off. And it doesn’t matter if that makes you feel bad.

    yeah, exactly. But my point was that what I believe the cited online reaction to, say, the elevator incidence, demonstrates, is that guys don’t feel they’re attacked for what they *have done* (because they weren’t there) and they don’t see it as a useful hint about what to avoid in a similar situation, they see it as an attack on *what they are*. So, yeah, you’re right, being attacked for what someone has done is usually completely ok. But when guys feel the need to defend problematic behaviour they usually would not employ (see a post by Thomas Millar called “Talking past each other” on the yesmeansyesblog” for a good example of this, if you like) my best guess is that they do it because they mistake it for an attack on their sexual identity. And that’s because viewing male sexuality in problematic terms has become the norm, in my opinion.

    Partial human,

    OK Sam, more bluntly , I do not give an actual fuck about men.

    I had a hunch…

    Fix the problems in your own house instead of trying to point out the flaws in other peoples’.

    That’s the difference between our points of view – I view gender relations as ‘our house’. It’s a relational concept, it doesn’t work in isolation.

    Xtina,

    It’s straight out of a derailing handbook: “If yall were just more polite, men would listen!”

    it’s not about being polite. It’s about changing a narrative. And I’m merely stating what I believe would help the discourse.

    (Like feminists haven’t considered tailoring their messages for men, or something.)

    well, they certainly haven’t done that particularly successfully.

  128. Chiara
    August 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    …marginalised populations have no duty to consider the feelings of oppressor classes who are drunk on privilege.

    maybe ideally not. but then how is any change going to happen? here’s the reality, sucky as it may be: when men hear any talk from women about privilege or theory or social discourse or any of these words they just switch off yeah?

    theres a kind of double standard here where guys are just expected to take any comments and criticisms and like ‘not take it personally’ and like ‘realise it’s not about you’ and all this kind of stuff. we make comments, which are true, like ‘sexual harassment/creeping is largely a guy thing’ or like ‘guys should take responsibility and police other guys behaviour’ however if a guy were to come on here and make similar true statements about behaviour of women (e.g. ‘women are more likely to date aggressive abusive guys’, ‘women are very likely to gender police and slut-shame other women’) then he would be told to stop generalizing or fuck off and think about his privilege or whatever.

    in the end we expect guys to be able to take it and take criticism in a way that we think women should be exempt from.

  129. zuzu
    August 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    yes. That’s the rational, social perspective. Usually, though, people who feel attacked react not by considering the rational, social perspective.

    Funny, I thought men were the ones who like to claim rationality.

    I mean, it’s kind of what you’re saying with respect to women: Accept their feeling *as real* when they claim “creep” and don’t say “but rationally, that was totally acceptable behaviour”. Here you’re doing kind of the same thing with respect to men, you’re not accepting the possible feeling attacked *as real* and you’re asking them to consider the rational, social perspective when they feel attacked.

    Oh, no. See, even if I accept the feeling of being attacked as real, it still doesn’t mean you can violate anyone’s boundaries.

    Yes, your feelings may be hurt if a woman pulls away from you or gives you the hairy eyeball or gets off an elevator when you get on. But when it comes down to her safety vs. your feelings, you can probably guess who wins.

    But let’s talk about these feelings. What are their basis? Someone asked you that earlier, but you haven’t answered.

    Moreover, what is your proposed solution here? Are you asking women to stop enforcing their boundaries so you don’t have to feel bad?

  130. SunlessNick
    August 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    @Omar,

    Look at it this way; you say this:

    Now, obviously, it’s wise of me not to make any jokes related to terrorism or make any incendiary political statements supporting terrorist attacks.

    From your phrasing, I presume you don’t do these things. That’s why you’re not analogous to the creepy guys being described in this thread – when people judge you, they’re doing so because you share a language, skin tone, level of facial hair, and religious beliefs with a particularly infamous group of terrorists – the creepy guys are being judged according to boundary-violations that they themselves have committed, or rape jokes that they themselves have told or laughed at. In order to be equivalent to them, you would have to be supporting terrorist attacks, telling terrorist jokes, or idly musing where you would put the bomb to bring down whichever building you’re in – and if someone did those things, then I would be on board with people who then found them creepy.

  131. August 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I’m sorry to derail for a sec, but hahahahaha at your stepkid. I could have sworn I considered doing that when I started doing my own laundry.

    *grin* I think we’ve all been there.

    it certainly claims that men *in patriarchy* are socialized in a way that resembles the beastly essentialist assumptions about male behaviour

    What feminism claims is that men are rewarded by the patriarchy for buying into and propagating beastly essentialist assumptions (even when and even though the results of propagating that do not benefit men).

    Essentially, we’re being screwed over by being held guilty for tempting uncontrollablemanbeasts, you’re screwed over when you refuse to believe that men aren’t uncontrollablemanbeasts, because you’re implicitly refusing your privilege and the system breaks down when the privileged abandon their privilege. The patriarchy is not a good system for men by any means.

  132. Partial Human
    August 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    It seems like that’s what they all want. To have their feelings privileged over our safety. Same song, different tune

    One of them recently tried to insult me by calling me a radfem. That is apparently manspeak for “Stands up for herself”.

  133. August 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Sam – Rebecca Watson gave a talk at a conference about inappropriate sexual behaviour, respecting boundaries, and backing off if someone says “No”. She then talked further, with con-goers (including me) and other speakers, until 4am, in the hotel bar, as that was the only place to get coffee. She announced loudly that she was exhausted, and going to bed.

    Elevator Creep then FOLLOWED HER to the lift. Waited until it had started, and then propositioned her, despite everything she’d said about creepy, inappropriate behaviour. He’d been at the talk, and in the bar, yet assumed that the rules did not apply to him.

    She didn’t make a fuss, imply that men are all creeps, that male sexuality is bad, that nobody should ever flirt, or talk to strangers. She simply made a video that related the incident, and said “Guys – don’t do that”.

    That was well over a year ago, and the fallout is still happening. Rebecca, and other female. bloggers who supported her, have been getting rape and death threats ever since. They’ve been accused of destroying the (atheist/sceptic) movement for asking that cons have harassment policies. Two trans women who blog under pseuds are currently being blackmailed, given threats that their real ID will be released, after illegal access was gained to their platform’s backchannel. That carries a very real risk of rape and death.

    All because Rebecca said “Guys – don’t do that”.

    Y’know. she didn’t even say ‘don’t do that.’ What she said was, (i’m paraphrasing) don’t expect that to be an effective method for bedding a member of the opposite sex. She was giving actual helpful advice to potential elevator creeps not giving orders.

    I hated the way people defended to elevator creep by saying he couldn’t have known she’s not interested if he didn’t ask. She’s a married woman for christ’s sake, you can assume she’s not interested unless she clearly tells you she is!

  134. Sam
    August 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Zuzu,

    there’s another comment in moderation…

    But when it comes down to her safety vs. your feelings, you can probably guess who wins.

    Yeah, but that’s really not what I’m talking about – right from the start of the discussion I tried to say that the problem, often, seems to be that it’s hard for guys not to take specific complaints (say about elevator guy) as an attack of their own sexuality, because that’s kind of the standard when it comes to talking about male sexuality.

    But let’s talk about these feelings. What are their basis? Someone asked you that earlier, but you haven’t answered.

    In my case it’s been, above all, a feminist mother and a Catholic school that did a lot of damage that I needed a long time to work through, but as I said above – there’s a general problem in the way male sexuality is pathologized in social discourse in ways that female sexuality is really not. Female touch is considered valuable, male touch is at least potentially toxic. That’s, I believe, one of the most fundamental problems underlying current gender dynamics. At one point of that perception, you’ll get guys like Robert Jensen, who publicly claim to be asexual because that, for them, is apparently the only way of dealing with their potentially dangerous sexuality, and at the other end you get people who completely disregard whatever women say, and in the middle, you get most guys, who will listen, but will also often feel attacked by specific examples, and consider them attacks on their sexuality and identity, because that’s how they’re, at least on some level, accustomed to think of male sexuality. And that cognitive dissonance is released in defensive behaviour.

    Moreover, what is your proposed solution here? Are you asking women to stop enforcing their boundaries so you don’t have to feel bad?

    Not at all. But I’d say that one of the best ways to reduce potentially problematic male behaviour would be to improve the social narrative about male sexuality. Male sexual pathology is a rather old narrative, and nothing that feminism has invented, but it’s sort of happily hooked into it instead of realizing the potential of actually changing it.

    You wrote yesterday that there were even examples of *positive* male behaviour and flirtation in this blog, but, alas, I couldn’t find any so far.

  135. Donna L
    August 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Female touch is considered valuable, male touch is at least potentially toxic.

    You do understand why that is, right?

  136. August 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    You wrote yesterday that there were even examples of *positive* male behaviour and flirtation in this blog, but, alas, I couldn’t find any so far.

    How about the flirtation between myself and William on the guncontrol thread?

    Seriously though, just go back and look at my comments (I am a man). When I am guilty of jerky behavior I am called out on it. When I say the rare insightful thing I am commended. 9 times out of 10 if someone’s having a go at me on here it’s a guy.

  137. LMM
    August 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    @102:

    That means people with Asperger’s can be creepers and people with Down’s Syndrome can be manipulative…the commonality is that they’re PEOPLE.

    Going back a bit, but thank you. *Far* too many of the comments I’ve seen dismissing the connection between social awkwardness and creepiness have asserted that all the people with ASDs they’ve met are nice and not even remotely creepy. Not only is this useless (Agassi, another man banned from Readercon, was AFAIK actually diagnosed), it’s also essentialist. Ableism works both ways — if you plan on dismissing negative stereotypes about personality traits, you have to dismiss the positive stereotypes, too.

    Both are entrapping in their own way. And, ultimately, if you accept one, you have to accept the possibility of the other.

  138. Donna L
    August 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Agassi, another man banned from Readercon, was AFAIK actually diagnosed

    Only according to his own claimed self-diagnosis, I believe. Not that it makes a difference.

  139. SophiaBlue
    August 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Yeah, but that’s really not what I’m talking about – right from the start of the discussion I tried to say that the problem, often, seems to be that it’s hard for guys not to take specific complaints (say about elevator guy) as an attack of their own sexuality, because that’s kind of the standard when it comes to talking about male sexuality.

    I think the problem here is the opposite, that attacking men’s sexuality is absolutely not the standard. Girls are trained from a young age to appeal to men’s sexuality. Almost every movie in existence with a male protagonist sees him rewarded. Men are celebrated for having a lot of sex, whereas women who have more sex than society thinks they should are called whores.

    Now, I can certainly see that men might perceive widespread attacks on their sexuality, but it seems to me what’s happening is that men are so used to men’s sexuality being seen as valuable that it becomes default, and it is only statements that don’t celebrate men’s sexuality that are notable. But that doesn’t actually mean that attacks on men’s sexuality is the standard.

  140. LMM
    August 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    @135: Ok. I’ve definitely seen the “diagnosably mentally ill” statement thrown around a few times. The point still stands, though — yes, it is *completely* possible to have an ASD and be creepy; the two phenomena are completely orthogonal to each other.

  141. Partial Human
    August 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    male sexuality is pathologized in social discourse in ways that female sexuality is really not

    Women aren’t allowed a sexuality independent of their owners.

    No sex = frigid prude

    Sex = wh*re

    Sex that isn’t with you = bitch.

    If you want to change narratives around male sexuality then DO IT.

    What’s stopping you? Start a blog write a book, just stop demanding that WE fix YOUR problem.

    Blaming your mommy is super-cliched by the way. You’re an adult, you are responsible for where you go from here. I’d suggest therapy to help untangle religion, mother issues, and apparent resentment of feminism because it allows women to set boundaries that exclude you. You’re veering into MRA territory. If you don’t want te go there then be proactive and help yourself.

  142. Sam
    August 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Donna L,

    You do understand why that is, right?

    sure. Thing is, though, in my opinion, a whole lot depends on the answer to the question whether that’s a consequence of patriarchy, or one of the more important reasons for the existence of patriarchy. What’s your take? In the latter case, I’d say there’s not a lot that can change about human gender relations. In the former, that’s possible. But, I believe, one important aspect would be to change that social value attribution, and one of the more important things that would help achieve that, would be a changed social narrative about male sexuality.

  143. Matt
    August 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I have a question. When something is said to the effect of: “The onus is on the creepy person to correct their behavior, not the creeped out person.”, does that mean that the creepy person is morally required to correct that behavior; or is that simply in contrast to creepee; so that if the creeper wants to continue engaging the creepee, there is no requirement that creepee accept that behavior?

    I feel like the people critiquing the article might be generally saying: “One cannot create a situation in which moral imperatives are based on nothing but the subjective experiences of others.” because then we could have clearly impossible, self-contradictory situations.

    And the people defending the article are then perceiving that claim to be “One cannot require the creeper to change their behavior, therefore the creepee must deal with it.”, which is quite a bit different, and I don’t think is what is being claimed.

  144. August 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Have we, as feminists, considered changing everything about how we address this issue? Because what’s really important, let’s be frank, is how we talk about male sexuality. Our safety can only be assured by addressing male sexuality. Men will stop being creepy once we solve how society frames male sexuality. So let’s drop everything and talk, right now, in the middle of a post about men being creepers, about male sexuality!

    I think that phrase has lost meaning with repetition. I am very sadface about this.

  145. August 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Yeah, but that’s really not what I’m talking about – right from the start of the discussion I tried to say that the problem, often, seems to be that it’s hard for guys not to take specific complaints (say about elevator guy) as an attack of their own sexuality, because that’s kind of the standard when it comes to talking about male sexuality.

    That’s something that we, as men, need to deal with and work with other men about, then. The solution is not “women, don’t be critical of shitty behavior because, even if it’s not about me, it makes me feel bad.” The solution is “Hey, guys, stop getting defensive and listen to what is being said here.” If a guy is getting defensive about the elevator story, for example, it’s up to other guys to say “Woah, hold on, friend. What is it that you’re getting upset about?” and to help that guy work through it so that he can understand why a woman might feel uncomfortable in that situation. Part of being a minimally decent human being is empathy. If some guy can’t take a minute to see things from a woman’s perspective when she says “this situation sucked for me and here’s why” then the problem isn’t with the woman or the story, the problem is with the guy not willing to try to understand where she was coming from.

    Female touch is considered valuable, male touch is at least potentially toxic. That’s, I believe, one of the most fundamental problems underlying current gender dynamics.

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but I think that you and I take issue with the opposite things. All touch is potentially toxic. The toxicity of touch is based on a lot of factors, gender not being one of them. If someone touches me and I don’t want them to, that’s a toxic touch, right? I strongly dislike people touching my back–that should be respected in as much as it’s possible (on a crowded train, I have to suck it up and accept that people will accidentally touch my back).

    and in the middle, you get most guys, who will listen, but will also often feel attacked by specific examples, and consider them attacks on their sexuality and identity, because that’s how they’re, at least on some level, accustomed to think of male sexuality. And that cognitive dissonance is released in defensive behaviour.

    Everyone gets defensive about things they shouldn’t sometimes, but when that happens, it’s not anyone else’s responsibility or obligation to back off so that you don’t get defensive. If my partner asks me a question and I’ve had a rough day and have a headache and I get defensive or snap at her, it’s not on her to back off and put on kid gloves to deal with me, it’s on me to grow up and apologize for being defensive.

    Not at all. But I’d say that one of the best ways to reduce potentially problematic male behaviour would be to improve the social narrative about male sexuality. Male sexual pathology is a rather old narrative, and nothing that feminism has invented, but it’s sort of happily hooked into it instead of realizing the potential of actually changing it.

    You wrote yesterday that there were even examples of *positive* male behaviour and flirtation in this blog, but, alas, I couldn’t find any so far.

    I don’t know about the flirting part, but Thomas Macaulay Millar is fantastic, and has guest blogged on here numerous times. I would imagine that they wouldn’t keep inviting him back if he wasn’t exhibiting positive behavior.

  146. August 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I have a question. When something is said to the effect of: “The onus is on the creepy person to correct their behavior, not the creeped out person.”, does that mean that the creepy person is morally required to correct that behavior; or is that simply in contrast to creepee; so that if the creeper wants to continue engaging the creepee, there is no requirement that creepee accept that behavior?

    I feel like the people critiquing the article might be generally saying: “One cannot create a situation in which moral imperatives are based on nothing but the subjective experiences of others.” because then we could have clearly impossible, self-contradictory situations.

    In the situations that are being talked about based on the articles in the OP, the creeper absolutely has a moral obligation to knock the shit off, because it’s not just about a bunch of subjective stuff, it’s about invading people’s personal space and engaging in behaviors that deliberately violate other’s people’s rights. If you’re following someone around, touching them inappropriately, asking them invasive questions, etc, even after they’ve made it clear that they’re not interested, then you’re being a creeper and you’re engaging in harassment (in the general, if not legal, sense). If you’re minding your own business and someone thinks you’re creepy because they don’t like the clothes you’re wearing or the color of your hair? That’s not on you, but it’s not the sort of thing that the original articles were talking about either.

    I mean, if you were sitting on the train, minding your own business, and someone came over and started bothering you, asking you personal questions, touching your leg, etc, you’d be entirely justified to be annoyed. If you walk away or tell them to leave you alone or otherwise indicate that you’re not interested in continuing the interaction, then, yes, the other person, I think, has a moral obligation to leave you the fuck alone. They don’t have a right to your personal space or to your attention or to an interaction with you.

    And the people defending the article are then perceiving that claim to be “One cannot require the creeper to change their behavior, therefore the creepee must deal with it.”, which is quite a bit different, and I don’t think is what is being claimed.

    What do you think is being claimed?

  147. zuzu
    August 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Yeah, but that’s really not what I’m talking about – right from the start of the discussion I tried to say that the problem, often, seems to be that it’s hard for guys not to take specific complaints (say about elevator guy) as an attack of their own sexuality, because that’s kind of the standard when it comes to talking about male sexuality.

    And around we go again, because I’m asking you for proof that this is the “standard when it comes to talking about male sexuality.”

    Actually, it would help if you provided some explicit examples of what would be meant by “this” in that sentence, as well.

    In any event, you know how sometimes things aren’t about you? If they’re not about you, then don’t make them about you. If you don’t treat women like this, then don’t personalize when someone leaves the elevator.

  148. August 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    @Matt

    “One cannot create a situation in which moral imperatives are based on nothing but the subjective experiences of others.”

    No. These are general a priori rules for not creeping. They aren’t based on subjective experiences. And, in any case, as EG said earlier,

    There is nothing subjective about having one’s physical and emotional boundaries violated, about being followed and/or touched without consent, about being harassed. That is bullshit.

  149. zuzu
    August 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I have a question. When something is said to the effect of: “The onus is on the creepy person to correct their behavior, not the creeped out person.”, does that mean that the creepy person is morally required to correct that behavior; or is that simply in contrast to creepee; so that if the creeper wants to continue engaging the creepee, there is no requirement that creepee accept that behavior?

    When the creepee indicates that the behavior is unwelcome, the creeper needs to stop the behavior. Period.

    And the creeper needs to accept that “no” comes in many forms, even nonverbal ones. Stop trying to engage someone who’s not interested until you hear a form of “no” you’re willing to accept.

  150. Sam
    August 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Zuzu,

    And around we go again, because I’m asking you for proof that this is the “standard when it comes to talking about male sexuality.”

    well, historically, it apparently became more common in the late 17th century to view men as “beasts” who are “all rapists” (called universal prostitution by John Millar), others like Hegel, Kant and Fichte, in particular, who started promoting the idea of the sexual beast that needed to be tamed by rationality, society, and, later, of course, in the military, where sexual urges were supposed to become transformed into patriotic energy (Spengler).

    Men needed to be wild and aggressive and only Church, science, education, state, and, most of all, women could tame them and restore them to the state of proper civilised humanity. Of course, most of the philosophers making those statements didn’t consider themselves to be part of the problematic male dwellers, but they created the thought structure in the West that took hold and, I’d say, is still very much in place 200 years later.

    As an example, consider the different ways society discusses abusive teachers when they’re male and female. Of course, legally they’re treated similarly, but even the abusive female teacher’s touch is interpreted by many as valuable, many would joke about “the lucky male student”.

    I’m not sure which examples you’d accept as “proof”, so let me just state again, that it is my perception, but that my perception is shared by not just a few others, including women.

    In any event, you know how sometimes things aren’t about you? If they’re not about you, then don’t make them about you. If you don’t treat women like this, then don’t personalize when someone leaves the elevator.

    Right. Exactly. And changing the *general* discourse about masculinity would, in my opinion, allow more men to not personalize when it’s not about them. Which would make a better discussion. That’s all I’m saying.

  151. zuzu
    August 14, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    well, historically, it apparently became more common in the late 17th century to view men as “beasts” who are “all rapists” (called universal prostitution by John Millar), others like Hegel, Kant and Fichte, in particular, who started promoting the idea of the sexual beast that needed to be tamed by rationality, society, and, later, of course, in the military, where sexual urges were supposed to become transformed into patriotic energy (Spengler).

    Men needed to be wild and aggressive and only Church, science, education, state, and, most of all, women could tame them and restore them to the state of proper civilised humanity. Of course, most of the philosophers making those statements didn’t consider themselves to be part of the problematic male dwellers, but they created the thought structure in the West that took hold and, I’d say, is still very much in place 200 years later.

    Leaving aside the issue of how women’s bodies and sexuality are viewed historically as well (because it’s not all unicorns farting butterflies over here, Sunshine), I’d say that if this is the source of the view of male sexuality that you have, you aren’t going to get that to change by demanding that women stop being mean to men whom they view as a threat.

    So you’re looking for solutions in all the wrong places. Instead of challenging patriarchy and the idea that men are beasts which has been generated by the patriarchy (you don’t get much more patriarchal than the Church, after all), you want women to just ignore their safety and protect your feelings. Instead of challenging the rape culture that encourages men to protect predators by marginalizing women who speak up, you want to perpetuate it by telling women to shut up and not step on your tender feelings.

    Or, you’d just like to blame it on your feminist mother and Catholic school.

  152. zuzu
    August 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Right. Exactly. And changing the *general* discourse about masculinity would, in my opinion, allow more men to not personalize when it’s not about them. Which would make a better discussion. That’s all I’m saying.

    You don’t get to ask that of people who have fears for their safety.

    You can ask that of anyone else, but not them.

    Deal.

  153. Sam
    August 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Zuzu,

    So you’re looking for solutions in all the wrong places. Instead of challenging patriarchy and the idea that men are beasts which has been generated by the patriarchy (you don’t get much more patriarchal than the Church, after all), you want women to just ignore their safety and protect your feelings. Instead of challenging the rape culture that encourages men to protect predators by marginalizing women who speak up, you want to perpetuate it by telling women to shut up and not step on your tender feelings.

    honestly, I don’t understand how you’re getting that from my comments…

    You don’t get to ask that of people who have fears for their safety.

    You can ask that of anyone else, but not them.

    Deal.

    Good thing then that that’s exactly what I’m saying… quoting myself from my first comment above…

    That shoudn’t concern a woman who wants to call a guy creepy, but it’s a general point of concern with respect to the term that I believe is not really considered in the discussion.

  154. zuzu
    August 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    What is your point, then?

    Because so far I’ve seen a lot of whining about how hurt men’s feelings are about the way we talk about them, which has zero relevance to anything that’s been said in this post, or in Captain Awkward’s, or John Scalzi’s. Except that such whining is often used to silence women who speak up about creepers.

    I’ve also seen a lot of whining that women aren’t fixing men’s PR problem around sexuality. And I’m saying it’s not our job. So go whine elsewhere, would you?

  155. Sam
    August 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Zuzu,

    I’m mentioning a *general problem* that is, I believe, a major contributing factor to the *specific problem* you are concerned with. As such, I believe, that the general way society (and that includes women) are talking about men/male sexuality has significant relevance to what’s been said in this post. And, again, as much as I’d like you and others to consider the *general* issue, like, here, in an abstract discussion, no woman should be concerned with this in a specific situation.

    Anyway, I think I cannot make myself clearer than I have already done.

  156. Faithless
    August 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    I don’t see how debating these edge cases is really going to affect anything anyway, from what i’ve seen, most women don’t really give 2 shits about how they affect people when they talk any more than men.

    I’ve been told I’m “obviously a really creepy guy” for going out side in a big dark hoodie, late at night by random women in a well lit grocery store before. I’m not even talking about in prompted conversation, I’m talking about just standing in line and a woman tapps me on the shoulder and says “you know you’re a real creepy asshole for walking out of the house like that at 3am”. If standing in line, not talking to somebody is grounds for them to call you a creep, why bother altering your behavior, you already lost the game.

  157. librarygoose
    August 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    …so Creeper isn’t a new and revolutionary kind of hat?

  158. August 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    If standing in line, not talking to somebody is grounds for them to call you a creep, why bother altering your behavior, you already lost the game.

    I’m not judging you, but given the examples you just gave, I think you’re being disingenuous in saying that it was merely quietly standing in line that creeped them out.

  159. August 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    By “I’m not judging you” I mean that I’m not presuming that you necessarily had malign intentions, wanted to assault someone, etc.

  160. August 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I also think it’s disingenuous to complain that women feeling unsafe when they’re alone in an elevator with someone they don’t know or women who don’t like being molested at conventions are “edge cases” but that a complete stranger tapping you on the shoulder and saying “you know you’re a real creepy asshole for walking out of the house like that at 3am” is somehow indicative of “most women.”

  161. August 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Also, given that large dark hoodies tend to give the impression that you’re trying to conceal something (perhaps something dangerous) and that being outside at 3:00 AM or so is relatively unusual and hence will make people suspicious of you (crime happens most often at night, after all), I’m not surprised that people have been creeped out by your behavior.

  162. Donna L
    August 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Also, given that large dark hoodies tend to give the impression that you’re trying to conceal something (perhaps something dangerous) and that being outside at 3:00 AM or so is relatively unusual and hence will make people suspicious of you (crime happens most often at night, after all

    Careful; you’re leaving yourself a little bit open to somebody coming back with some sort of George Zimmerman analogy.

  163. igglanova
    August 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Faithless, if you’re only concerned about ‘losing the game’, which you define as being told by even one person that you are creepy, then you’re not going to get much out of these discussions. It is not possible to avoid being called a creep in every social interaction for the rest of your life, even if you do everything right. Some people are going to be wrong about you. Shit happens. You win some, you lose some.

    This doesn’t mean that you should just give up and stop trying to develop basic social skills, such as acting un-creepily. I mean, is there any other arena of social life where you just throw up your hands and quit if you experience even one fuckup?

    ‘Oh, this person just told me to go to hell for wishing them a nice day. I guess I’ll NEVER TRY TO BE NICE AGAIN because you can never please this capricious dickbutt species.’

    ‘I just got crushed when I asked this person out on a date. The situation is unsalvageable – I WILL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN.’

    ‘Shit, this dog just bit my hand because I put my hand on it without warning. Petting dogs is an enterprise that is DOOMED TO FAILURE.’

    If a few people over the course of your entire life have called you creepy, that might not mean anything particularly significant. They could be wrong about you. If it’s happening a lot, though, it means that you are doing something that is wigging people out, and the onus is on you to figure out what it is if you want to continue living as a social being.

  164. zuzu
    August 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I’m mentioning a *general problem* that is, I believe, a major contributing factor to the *specific problem* you are concerned with. As such, I believe, that the general way society (and that includes women) are talking about men/male sexuality has significant relevance to what’s been said in this post. And, again, as much as I’d like you and others to consider the *general* issue, like, here, in an abstract discussion, no woman should be concerned with this in a specific situation.

    And I believe you’re just trying to make this all about men and thus derailing massively.

    Anyway, I think I cannot make myself clearer than I have already done.

    Good. Then you’ll stop trying.

  165. August 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Careful; you’re leaving yourself a little bit open to somebody coming back with some sort of George Zimmerman analogy.

    Heh, that’s true. But I think I’m being clear enough for people to understand that such an analogy can’t work in response to that comment.

  166. August 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Faithless, have you considered the possibility that the woman who tapped you on the shoulder (thus initiating a conversation you weren’t starting) is just an asshole? She’s not necessarily representative of all women.

    Trust me when I tell you that women who are feeling genuinely threatened by a guy rarely initiate a conversation and even more rarely initiate it by touching him.

    Don’t get me wrong, that’s a truly sucky thing to happen, but I’m guessing it’s not something that happens to you often.

  167. Azalea
    August 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    There are many straight people who find it creepy when a homosexual person hits on them, but if the person were straight the method of flirting/hitting on wouldnb’t be deemed offensive.

    There are many shallow people who would find it creepy if an overweight or “unattractive” person sparked a conversation with them.

    There are many times where what is creepy says more about the creepee than the creeper.

    IMO there is nothing creepy about saying hello to someone you dont know in passing, but there are lots of people who will be creeped out and offended by that, call it harassment even.

  168. August 14, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    There are many straight people who find it creepy when a homosexual person hits on them, but if the person were straight the method of flirting/hitting on wouldnb’t be deemed offensive.

    There are many shallow people who would find it creepy if an overweight or “unattractive” person sparked a conversation with them.

    But the fear of being hit on by a homosexual person is based on unfounded prejudice. Of course homosexual people can be creepers as well, but there is nothing about the fact that that person is homosexual that is potentially dangerous to you.

    Similar reasoning applies to your other example.

  169. August 14, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    There are many shallow people who would find it creepy if an overweight or “unattractive” person sparked a conversation with them. There are many times where what is creepy says more about the creepee than the creeper.

    Principally, if what I find creepy says a lot about me, I’m a decent, caring person. Sounds good. I get what you’re thinking of, Azalea, but I reckon that unfounded prejudice (ugly/fat/gay/trans/disabled/whatever-ethnic/what-have-you people are creepy) is a judgment on identity, calling someone creepy for things they DO is a judgment on action. The line isn’t even that fine.

  170. matlun
    August 15, 2012 at 1:55 am

    There are many times where what is creepy says more about the creepee than the creeper.

    IMO there is nothing creepy about saying hello to someone you dont know in passing, but there are lots of people who will be creeped out and offended by that, call it harassment even.

    Yes, some judgments of “creepy” are justified, some unjustified, and some are borderline cases where reasonable people may disagree.

    This is not just a question about prejudice about identity vs actions either. What level of intimacy that is acceptable from strangers varies quite a bit between different cultures. As an anecdotal example, Swedes will often see Americans as “creepy” or dishonest due to perceiving them as “suspiciously friendly” (since the cultural norms are different).

    Finding edge cases where we would disagree about whether it is a justified judgement would not be that hard. However, finding cases where the situation is clear enough that everyone can agree would not be hard either.

  171. August 15, 2012 at 3:13 am

    @Caperton: Do you really think that type of reaction is a good way to live? It is your life, so it is your choice, but to me that seems a very self destructive attitude.

    She’s not talking about choosing whether to get vanilla or chocolate ice cream. She’s not talking about deciding whether or not to get a tattoo. She’s talking about negotiating the rules and consequences of living in a patriarchy. Your phrasing makes it sound as if she’s whimsically making foolish choices as opposed to trying to cope with a shitty situation.

  172. matlun
    August 15, 2012 at 4:21 am

    @With Love: That did perhaps come off a bit unclear and/or overly critical. To clarify: I was just referring to the issue of risk management.

    We can never fully eliminate risk, so it becomes a balancing act of deciding what we are prepared to pay in effort and missed opportunities to decrease the risk we do face. On the one hand you should not take foolish risks, on the other hand you can not live your life in fear.

    Because of patriarchy and rape culture, the environment we live in is in some ways more dangerous than it should be, but how to cope with this environment is still a choice we have to make.

    I read Caperton’s post as showing an IMO overly defensive and risk averse attitude. But as I said: Her life, her choice.

  173. August 15, 2012 at 7:17 am

    There are many straight people who find it creepy when a homosexual person hits on them, but if the person were straight the method of flirting/hitting on wouldnb’t be deemed offensive.

    There are many shallow people who would find it creepy if an overweight or “unattractive” person sparked a conversation with them.

    There are many times where what is creepy says more about the creepee than the creeper.

    So?

    It doesn’t matter why someone finds what you’re doing creepy. All of us are entitled to set our boundaries, even if other people find those boundaries morally repugnant. You don’t get to choose how other people react to or feel about you. If I’m talking to someone and they realize that I’m a librarian, and they’re really creeped out by librarians, and they indicate that they don’t want to be around me or talk to me or have anything to do with me, I don’t get to follow them around and explain why they shouldn’t be creeped out by me. I leave them alone.

    Just because we don’t like the reason why someone doesn’t like us doesn’t mean we get to violate that person.

    The things someone finds creepy might absolutely say a lot about that person, but if you ignore that they find you creepy and start harassing that person and violating their space, then you’re being creepy, and that says something about you.

    IMO there is nothing creepy about saying hello to someone you dont know in passing, but there are lots of people who will be creeped out and offended by that, call it harassment even.

    It’s creepy or harassment if you continue to do so even after the person has made it clear that they would rather you didn’t (and that can mean that they give nonverbal indication–they don’t return your hello, for example).

  174. August 15, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Wow. Huge formatting fail on my comment in mod.

  175. LC
    August 15, 2012 at 9:21 am

    @roymacIII – Formatting fail yes, but the point is a good one. For me, where someone becomes creepy, or rather proves themselves creepy, is the pushing after a boundary has been drawn.

    You will cross someone’s boundaries at some point, and it is what you do in response that makes the whole thing creepy in the end. As someone pointed out above, different cultural norms alone will be off-putting in some cases.

    We do use the same word around all these things, and that can be a problem, but polysemy is here to stay and always will be.

  176. August 15, 2012 at 10:55 am

    I read Caperton’s post as showing an IMO overly defensive and risk averse attitude. But as I said: Her life, her choice.

    It’s all subjective, I suppose, and based on risk mitigation. For instance, my scooter is basically my only mode of transportation during the week. I acknowledge the risk of a horrible splattery death at the hands of a driver on a cell phone, I wear armor and a full-face helmet, and I hope for the best. When I go backpacking, I pack a badass water filter and figure that anything that gets through probably won’t actually kill me, because my enjoyment of backpacking outweighs the potential consequence of the trots.

    In terms of being single and letting a strange man come to my apartment where I live alone, possibilities for risk mitigation are slim to none, the penalty for failure is severe, and society will fall all over themselves declaring that it was all my own fault. Apparently you and I disagree on the degree to which that’s the case.

  177. matlun
    August 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

    There are many times where what is creepy says more about the creepee than the creeper.

    As I have already written, I agree with this, but I should clarify that I do not think making subjective judgements is necessarily wrong.

    Everyone subjectively judge peoples subtle mannerisms such as body language, whether and how they make eye contact, tone of voice etc. Saying that it is unacceptable for someone to use this type of information to decide who is creepy or trustworthy is not only totally unrealistic – it may also be a bad idea. These cues may be the only available warning signals about someone who is a genuine threat.

    While non-typical people such as myself may easily be misjudged, that is just a fact of life that we have to deal with.

    That being said, we should all continually analyse on what basis we are making these types of judgements. It is very easy to be caught by internalised prejudice or otherwise misinterpret the situation.

  178. Meik
    August 15, 2012 at 11:21 am

    On initiating physical contact, is it gender based, like the guy should wait for the girl to initiate contact, or prettiness based, like the ugly should wait for the pretty to initiate contact?

  179. zuzu
    August 15, 2012 at 11:23 am

    How about you ask if you can touch if you want to touch?

  180. Meik
    August 15, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Wouldn’t the asker still be initiating?

  181. August 15, 2012 at 11:27 am

    How about you ask if you can touch if you want to touch?

    But that’s going to ruin the mooooooood!1

  182. Meik
    August 15, 2012 at 11:28 am

    There are many shallow people who would find it creepy if an overweight or “unattractive” person sparked a conversation with them. There are many times where what is creepy says more about the creepee than the creeper.

    Only because somebody does not enjoy sexing you, does not mean he has to enjoy doing something else with you. She is free to not enjoy even talking to you.

  183. zuzu
    August 15, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Wouldn’t the asker still be initiating?

    Why would you be asking to touch someone you’ve just met?

    Why not ask the person to coffee and see what happens?

  184. Meik
    August 15, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I think it all boils down to common sense. In the course of an conversation you get to realize what her realtionship status is and how she reacts to you and you can take a pretty good guess how she would react to you getting touchy feely. If you are an ugly guy or a fat chick, then you probably should go easy on the sextalk and the touching and lets face it, if girls go to some con, they dont go there to shop for the nerd of their dreams.

    Admittedly there are exceptions, like girls being touchyfeely in general, despite not having intentions, maybe because they are that way with their family or siblings, but they are very few.

  185. August 15, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Wouldn’t the asker still be initiating?

    So what? It’s a civilized way of initiating at the very least.

  186. matlun
    August 15, 2012 at 11:44 am

    @Caperton: I do not think that we disagree about the possible impact of an actual assault any more than we disagree about the actual impact of getting splattered in traffic. What we disagree about is the outcome of the cost/benefit calculation. Ie the choice between

    1. Low probability, high cost risk
    Examples: Risk of being assaulted or being in a serious traffic accident

    2. Certain but much lower cost risk mitigation
    Examples: Buying and using a helmet, not daring to invite men into your apartment (which limits your options and opportunities)

    Some risk mitigation is certainly good, but there is a balance point where trying to decrease the risks is simply no longer worth it. In the end, I think you have to just accept your own mortality and lack of control.

    Perhaps it was just the huge contrast with my own rather fatalistic attitude that made me react to your post. Take it for what it is worth.

  187. Sam
    August 15, 2012 at 11:47 am

    mxe354,

    So what? It’s a civilized way of initiating at the very least.

    intererstingly, at Antioch College, where a policy of explicit verbal initiation for each progressive step of an interaction (yeah, that failed spectacularly because, for example, no one even knew how to define what a “step” was) was in place in the 1990s, people complained about being harrassed by being asked (including guys, apparently, in particular straight guys, who were a particularly scarce resource at that “feminist college”).

  188. Meik
    August 15, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Well a College is a place for learning and socializing. It depends where those girls did the asking. In class, the library or at parties? People who choose to socialize can meet at parties, if you are in class it does not mean you are looking to get laid.

  189. zuzu
    August 15, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Why are you touching people in class or at the library?

  190. August 15, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    @matlun, you do realize that the man I was not-inviting into my apartment was a complete stranger in the elevator of my building, right? And not a guy with whom I’d just shared a lovely dinner and discussion of Russian cinema over fair-trade cappuccino? (Not that I wouldn’t have been blamed for getting m’self raped by my dinner-date anyway, had it come to that.)

  191. EG
    August 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    What we disagree about is the outcome of the cost/benefit calculation. Ie the choice between

    …possibly hurting some random dude’s feelings and possibly being sexually assaulted?

    You think that Caperton made the wrong call, there?

  192. matlun
    August 15, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    @Caperton: Yes, but admittedly I do not have more information than what you wrote above. Perhaps you got some vibe from him that made you more nervous than normally or there were other details of which I am unaware?

    We should probably just end this derail now anyway.

  193. Meik
    August 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Why are you touching people in class or at the library?

    I think you misunderstood. I replied to Sam. Here is what she said.

    intererstingly, at Antioch College, where a policy of explicit verbal initiation for each progressive step of an interaction (yeah, that failed spectacularly because, for example, no one even knew how to define what a “step” was) was in place in the 1990s, people complained about being harrassed by being asked (including guys, apparently, in particular straight guys, who were a particularly scarce resource at that “feminist college”).

    So I meant to say that it depends where those girls did the asking. If they asked guys out in class or the library I can see how some thought thats inappropriate. There are appropriate places in college to socialize and ask people out, like parties, because somebody who is in class or the library isnt necessary looking to socialize, while somone who attends a party obviously is looking to socialize. In that case it would have been over the top for the guys to complain about girls approaching them, if it happend during a party, while they had reasonable ground if it happend in class or at the library.

  194. Chiara
    August 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    i dont think guys should have to ask if it’s OK for them to ‘touch’ or do whatever. it should be a totally natural thing that both parties just fall in to, you know? if you have to ask, you’re not there yet.

    also what kind of touching are we talking about here? sexual touching? friendly hugs? do the geek guys at cons have some burning need to pet the geek girls or what?

  195. matlun
    August 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    …possibly hurting some random dude’s feelings and possibly being sexually assaulted?

    No, that part I agree with. His possibly hurt feelings seem a very marginal and speculative thing, so that is not much of an argument.

    It was more that this type of trivial incident apparently caused Caperton a lot of emotional stress, and I also thought that not letting a neighbour helping you carry a bookcase into your apartment was overly risk averse.

  196. EG
    August 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I also thought that not letting a neighbour helping you carry a bookcase into your apartment was overly risk averse.

    Not letting a total stranger who has demonstrated that he is much stronger than you into your apartment is overly risk averse? When many experiences of rape begin exactly that way? I think your judgment is way, way off on this one.

  197. August 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    On initiating physical contact, is it gender based, like the guy should wait for the girl to initiate contact, or prettiness based, like the ugly should wait for the pretty to initiate contact?

    Neither.

    I feel like this is really a distraction from the issue. If you’re honestly not sure if physical contact would be welcome, you can ask the other person or, you know, just not touch them. Which is actually what I would do.

    You shouldn’t be initiating physical contact beyond, say, offering a hand for handshake unless you’ve been given cues that the other person would welcome it. It’s not about whether you’re “ugly” or male or whatever, it’s about whether the other person is indicating that they would welcome physical contact. I have very close friends who I still don’t iniate physical contact with, because they have boundaries that I respect, and one of those boundaries is that they’re not really fond of physical affection. I really like sharing physical affection with my friends and loved ones–I like giving and receiving hugs, but when it comes to other people, it’s more important to know what they like. My friend doesn’t like hugs, so I don’t hug him. It’s not actually complicated at all. You know how I learned this? I paid attention to the fact that he didn’t hug people when they left his home, even when other people were hugging. And, another time, I said to him “I would hug you, but I don’t think you like hugs, right?” and he said “Not really, but thanks” (paraphrasing, but that was the basic conversation as I remember it).

    Of course, I don’t ask strangers if I can touch them, because… you know… they’re strangers and I don’t see as I have any business touching them. I would imagine most people would find it… off-putting to have a stranger ask to touch them.

  198. Sam
    August 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Meik,

    In that case it would have been over the top for the guys to complain about girls approaching them, if it happend during a party, while they had reasonable ground if it happend in class or at the library.

    there’s a bit of a logical probem here with respect to “reasonable ground”. You’re assuming some common, accepted knowledge about what’s appropriate in what situation. Zuzu, among others, is, if I interpret her correctly, saying that assumptions about shared reality don’t matter, and that the subjective experience of the recipient of a specific approach is the only criterion that matters when it comes to determining whether it was creepy or not.

    The only way to solve this is to allow for socially appropriate behaviour (that was based on reasonable assumptions) to be *also* (subjectively) creepy. Which is perfectly possible, of course, but begs the question what can be done about it (not much, in my opinion) and what, other than appropriate social behaviour based on reasonable assumptions, could be asked of someone trying to begin a conversation.

    I mostly mentioned the Antioch case to demonstrate that only verbal initiation isn’t necessarily better than the mixture of verbal and physical signals that people usually rely on. Forcing people to be verbal seemed to translate into an opportunity to disregard body language before initiation.

  199. zuzu
    August 15, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    The only way to solve this is to allow for socially appropriate behaviour (that was based on reasonable assumptions) to be *also* (subjectively) creepy.

    No, it means that if you do something that you think is socially appropriate and someone finds it creepy, you back the fuck off that person.

    You don’t try to explain why it’s not creepy, you don’t get all butthurt, you don’t persist, you just go away.

  200. August 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    It was more that this type of trivial incident apparently caused Caperton a lot of emotional stress, and I also thought that not letting a neighbour helping you carry a bookcase into your apartment was overly risk averse.

    You’re wrong. Caperton’s instinct told her that it was risky, and we, as human beings, have those instincts for a reason. They help us protect ourselves, and they ought to be respected and heeded. The idea that that’s ‘overly risk averse’ is right in line with how society tries to defame women’s instincts and feelings. Society tells us we’re just being ‘paranoid’ and ‘overreacting’. Of course, when the fellas base their actions on “their gut”, they don’t usually face the same scrutiny.

  201. August 15, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Hell, as long as you leave the creeped out person alone, you can feel free to be as butthurt as you want.

    Go complain to your friends about it. Roll your eyes as you walk away. Whatever. Just leave the person alone.

    Yes, it is absolutely true that there are people who will react poorly to even the most innocent, socially accepted interactions. Some people are jerks. Some people are tired. Some people are having a bad day/lost a loved one/got in a car accident/just lost their job/are in the middle of a breakup/had a fight with their spouse/just ate a bad meal/don’t like the color of your hair/have bad gas/whatever.

    It doesn’t matter why they don’t want to engage with you. It doesn’t matter what subjective reason they have for being creeped out by you. The end result is still the same: you stop trying to interact with them.

    You’re free to feel however you want about that.

  202. Sam
    August 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Roymac,

    If you’re honestly not sure if physical contact would be welcome, you can ask the other person or, you know, just not touch them.

    Probably, yes, but words can also make things awkward by adding a layer of gravity to an otherwise playful interaction. I remember a girl asking if she could hug me, and rest her head on my shoulder on a couch, stating that she had to warn me how she always becomes touchy feely when drunk, and while I was aware that it was a come-on from her, I felt it was her *asking* that made it a bit uncomfortable for me – while I didn’t mind her head on my shoulder or her light caresses at all. I guess that was mostly because her asking implied to me that I could *not* rely on a mutual understanding of what’s appropriate and common assumptions in my interaction with her, because no other girl had ever asked before whether they could hug me or rest their heads on my shoulder in a club lounge, or even run their hands over or even inside my shirt.

    Actually, thinking about “creepy girls” I have to say that the few times I actually thought that were inappropriately demanding come-ons from usually very drunk girls I wasn’t interested in. And I suppose the “I wasn’t interested in” was almost as important as the “very drunk” and the “demanding” bit (“I’m a girl, so buy me a another drink!”) in my thinking about the term.

  203. August 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    do the geek guys at cons have some burning need to pet the geek girls or what?

    Unfortunately, the answer is Yes. Not all geek guys, but there are the ones. “OMG! GIRL!!!” ::pet,drool,pet::

    i dont think guys should have to ask if it’s OK for them to ‘touch’ or do whatever.

    But it’s so damn HOT when they do.

  204. Sam
    August 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Zuzu,

    No, it means that if you do something that you think is socially appropriate and someone finds it creepy, you back the fuck off that person.

    I was talking about the classification of behaviour you’re talking about r what someone should do when being called creepy. That’s entirely compatible. I think there are some instances in which explaining can be helpful, though – like when it is an apparent cultural misunderstanding, say, in a foreign country, in which the recipient had no way of understanding what a gesture meant, and interpreting it according to home-culture-standards wouldn’t make any sense. Of course, in that case, it is likely that the initiator was aware of the problem before, but still, if you travel a lot, those things can happen and explanations usually help a lot.

  205. zuzu
    August 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I think there are some instances in which explaining can be helpful, though – like when it is an apparent cultural misunderstanding, say, in a foreign country, in which the recipient had no way of understanding what a gesture meant, and interpreting it according to home-culture-standards wouldn’t make any sense.

    Then you apologize for the offense, and back off.

    This is not difficult.

  206. Sam
    August 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Zuzu,

    well, yeah, you apologize, but not all interactions in which this can happen are about people coming on to each other, some of them are about different things – like Caperton’s example of the guy who offered to carry something for her – and sometimes it will be difficult to entirely back off because the people involved are in some sort of social or professional relationship. When no longer talking to the person is not really an option, talking about what happened is important. Of cours, I’m talking about communication accidents happening to well-intentioned people.

  207. Chiara
    August 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Probably, yes, but words can also make things awkward by adding a layer of gravity to an otherwise playful interaction.

    well I think in normal interactions people are never going to be totally sure whether their physical contact or whatever will be welcome. we make a bet that it might work out well or the other person is going to shrink away (or laugh or puke or whatever) and that’s no big deal, it’s just how it goes.

    I think part of the reason why verbal communication is being requested in this situation, of socially anxious geek guys trying to hit on girls, is because most of the time the physical advances are unwanted. yes it would be most optimal if everyone could just get by on natural body language and non-verbal communication but for that to be possible it would require that the geek guys realize that girls at the ‘con’ might not want to get all huggy with them.

    in short if you want your non-verbal communication going on then both sides need to be adept at non-verbal communication. and since girls at cons do seem to be getting creeped out more regularly, it would seem one side is failing at the moment in that respect.

  208. EG
    August 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I guess that was mostly because her asking implied to me that I could *not* rely on a mutual understanding of what’s appropriate and common assumptions in my interaction with her

    Welcome to the world women live in. I cannot rely on a mutual understanding of what’s appropriate in my interactions with men, because all too many men take advantage of social notions of propriety to harass and/or attack women. When people Use Their Words, then they can’t claim that they “didn’t understand” or “thought it was OK.”

    You know what the difference is? You didn’t really have to worry that the drunk girl was a threat to you.

  209. zuzu
    August 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Probably, yes, but words can also make things awkward by adding a layer of gravity to an otherwise playful interaction.

    Do you know for sure the person you’re interacting with sees the interaction as playful?

    Also, if you can’t figure out a way to make a request to touch someone playful and hot, then you have work to do on your playful-interaction skills.

  210. Meik
    August 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    there’s a bit of a logical probem here with respect to “reasonable ground”. You’re assuming some common, accepted knowledge about what’s appropriate in what situation.

    People go to parties to socialize. If some guy has a problem with being approached at a party maybe he shouldn’t go someplace where people socialize. Now if a girl behaved inappropriate after having been turned down, then thats a different issue.

    Also yes, there is common accepted knowledge about whats appropriate in what situation.

  211. Sam
    August 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Zuzu,

    well I just gave you an example of an interaction in which I thought she added gravity by asking. I don’t think it changed anything in our interaction, apart from me wondering about that, though.

    Also, if you can’t figure out a way to make a request to touch someone playful and hot, then you have work to do on your playful-interaction skills.

    Yeah, that’s precisely why 92,3% of people have to work on their (not-just-playful) interaction skills…

  212. matlun
    August 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    You’re wrong. Caperton’s instinct told her that it was risky, and we, as human beings, have those instincts for a reason. They help us protect ourselves, and they ought to be respected and heeded.

    In general, that is not necessarily true. Human instincts are pretty bad at risk evaluation. Especially the availability heuristic and affect heuristic powerfully bias our natural handling of risk.

    Compare the primal fear reaction to the risk discussed above with the instinctual reaction we have to the risk of travelling by car.

    For a good (and long) take on these issues, I would recommend this essay by Bruce Schneier.

  213. zuzu
    August 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Matlun, it’s a really, really bad idea to attempt to pressure women into ignoring their creeped-out feelings or assessment of risks.

    Just FYI.

  214. EG
    August 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Way to avoid dealing with the actual risk a woman has to assess when actually dealing with the prospect of having a stronger unknown man in her apartment with her, matlun.

  215. igglanova
    August 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Matlun, it is true that our risk assessments are often very crappy and prone to error. But when the penalty for misreading a situation as safe is as severe as rape, assault, robbery, or even murder, it makes sense to err on the side of caution.

    In Caperton’s elevator scenario, whatever risk there could have been from ‘excessive’ vigilance was so miniscule compared to the potential risk to her safety that the merit in her decision to err on the side of caution was obvious.

    This is not a difficult concept to understand.

  216. August 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    And even though our perception of risk can be pretty inaccurate, it’s not like we’re in some kind of Bizarro world in which everything we think is risky isn’t and everything we think isn’t risky actually is.

  217. August 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Compare the primal fear reaction to the risk discussed above with the instinctual reaction we have to the risk of travelling by car.

    You can make this correlation again if and when one in six people are attacked by their cars.

  218. matlun
    August 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    @Caperton, please let us know if you would prefer us (or just me) to stop discussing your personal incident. I am starting to regret this discussion, because I feel that I am a bit personally intrusive here…

    @Everyone:
    Do you really think that this type of cautious attitude has no cost? What about the emotional stress from the long term fear and vigilance? What about the self imposed limitations and missed options? What of all the myriad little sacrifices made to avoid any risky situation? Each incident in isolation is small, but the aggregate effect is IMO significant.

    And as for the “risky” situation: Was this really risky? The stranger rape danger is very often overestimated, and the relative risk of acquaintance rape underestimated. How big a risk was there really that the man was trying to trick his way into the apartment to commit assault?

    The magnitude of the consequence by itself can not be an argument without also considering the probability of the danger. Consider going out in traffic: The potential consequence is death or maiming.

  219. August 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    well, yeah, you apologize, but not all interactions in which this can happen are about people coming on to each other, some of them are about different things – like Caperton’s example of the guy who offered to carry something for her – and sometimes it will be difficult to entirely back off because the people involved are in some sort of social or professional relationship. When no longer talking to the person is not really an option, talking about what happened is important. Of cours, I’m talking about communication accidents happening to well-intentioned people.

    I don’t really understand the problem. If you know that a behavior bothers someone and they tell you that they’re creeped out by it… you don’t do it. How, exactly, is that complicated? My friend doesn’t like hugs, so I don’t hug him. It literally doesn’t matter if you intend the behavior to be sexual. It doesn’t matter if the person thinks it’s sexual. It matters that you’re doing something that creeps someone else out. If someone is creeping you out, do you care if they’re hitting on you? Or do you care more that they’re making you feel unsafe or, you know, creeped out?

    Honestly, what’s the problem here?

  220. August 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    matlun:

    Do you really think that this type of cautious attitude has no cost? What about the emotional stress from the long term fear and vigilance? What about the self imposed limitations and missed options? What of all the myriad little sacrifices made to avoid any risky situation? Each incident in isolation is small, but the aggregate effect is IMO significant.

    …no shit! I never knew! Thank you for ‘splaining this to us. How about that! Thank goodness for science!

  221. zuzu
    August 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Do you really think that this type of cautious attitude has no cost? What about the emotional stress from the long term fear and vigilance? What about the self imposed limitations and missed options? What of all the myriad little sacrifices made to avoid any risky situation? Each incident in isolation is small, but the aggregate effect is IMO significant.

    You’re a guy, aren’t you?

    And as for the “risky” situation: Was this really risky? The stranger rape danger is very often overestimated, and the relative risk of acquaintance rape underestimated. How big a risk was there really that the man was trying to trick his way into the apartment to commit assault?

    Here’s the problem: Caperton didn’t know. All she had to do was guess wrong once and she would have been in trouble.

  222. SophiaBlue
    August 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    And as for the “risky” situation: Was this really risky? The stranger rape danger is very often overestimated, and the relative risk of acquaintance rape underestimated. How big a risk was there really that the man was trying to trick his way into the apartment to commit assault?

    How much risk does there have to be before it’s OK for us to start being cautious. The chance of being hit by lightning is minuscule, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go stand under the biggest tree I can find during a thunderstorm without a second thought.

  223. August 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    In situations in which one can’t afford to sit around and think about all of the possible consequences of some action before making a decision – surely Caperton didn’t have the chance to think long and hard about whether that man could be dangerous – there is nothing else to trust but intuition. It’s true that the risk of stranger rape is overestimated, but it’s not like it doesn’t happen. Also, she was alone and the man was evidently strong. I don’t see how that wasn’t a risky situation.

    I remember meeting a man at a light rail station who was extremely creepy in that he asked some rather invasive questions about my sexuality, begged me for money he didn’t actually need (I gave it to him out of fear), and had totally unpredictable behavior in general. He even kept asking me about where I was going to stop at – and I lied to him about where I was going. My brother told me that perhaps he was just joking around and was actually a totally nice and benign person, but how could I tell? I didn’t have the luxury of giving the benefit of doubt to someone who, for all I know, could have either been someone good at acting or a stalker who wanted to harm me.

  224. igglanova
    August 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Do you really think that this type of cautious attitude has no cost? What about the emotional stress from the long term fear and vigilance? What about the self imposed limitations and missed options? What of all the myriad little sacrifices made to avoid any risky situation? Each incident in isolation is small, but the aggregate effect is IMO significant.

    Do you realize that you basically just mansplained patriarchy to a group of feminists? Besides which, you cannot necessarily extrapolate an entire pattern of timid, risk-aversive behaviour from that single elevator incident. Speaking personally – I am someone who undertakes what many would consider to be ‘risks’ in my daily life, like (for example) walking alone at night through secluded areas with my headphones in if it suits me, because I know that the risk of a stranger jumping out of the bushes at me is not enough to outweigh the cost of curtailing my freedom and convenience. But, I would still make the same call as Caperton in her elevator scenario. I would not have suffered for this decision in any significant way. It is possible to maximize both safety and freedom, even though there is inevitably some tradeoff.

    All the same, though, I would personally prefer to incur some of those accumulated costs of caution when the alternative is an increased likelihood of brutal assault. A single rape will do the kind of permanent damage to your life that is difficult to overstate. (Though it is admittedly quite easy to understate when you’re comfortably secure in your own male privilege.)

  225. matlun
    August 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Caperton didn’t know. All she had to do was guess wrong once and she would have been in trouble.

    Nobody ever knows. It is not just around her rapists are not wearing “I’M A BEASTLY RAPIST” t-shirts. Perhaps the next stranger I meet will be a spree killer and I will die tomorrow? Nonetheless, we still must relate to the strangers we meet which means making a judgement call on the risks and probabilities. There is no certainty in life.

    In situations in which one can’t afford to sit around and think about all of the possible consequences of some action before making a decision – surely Caperton didn’t have the chance to think long and hard about whether that man could be dangerous – there is nothing else to trust but intuition.

    This is true. The deep self critical thinking and second guessing will have to happen at some other time, because in the situation there is simply not time. Also if Caperton actually had some vibe about this specific person she is the best judge on how dependable her instincts are in that type of situations.

    But just as people are not perfectly rational super computers, we are not 100% ruled by emotions. If we want to change our risk taking strategies we can choose to do so. Not perhaps easily or very quickly, but it is a choice.

  226. matlun
    August 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    All the same, though, I would personally prefer to incur some of those accumulated costs of caution when the alternative is an increased likelihood of brutal assault.

    This type of reasoning kind of illustrates my point. This must depend on exactly how much cost and how much increased likelihood and not only on how horrendous the potential brutal assault is. If you drive you could decrease your risk of dying in an accident by just decreasing the speed you drive at. You do not do this, because you have already chosen the driving speed that seems right to you. Ie you have chosen your level of acceptable risk.

    Traffic safety is easier to reason about because it is less emotionally loaded, but the basic principle is the same.

    And in the same way that I am not arguing for not using a seat belt I am not arguing for throwing all caution to the winds. It is still a judgement call in a specific situation, but there is no advantage to not trying to make the best and most well informed decision possible.

  227. EG
    August 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Perhaps the next stranger I meet will be a spree killer and I will die tomorrow?

    Are you seriously comparing the likelihood of meeting a spree killer with the likelihood of a man raping a woman?

  228. matlun
    August 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Are you seriously comparing the likelihood of meeting a spree killer with the likelihood of a man raping a woman?

    No

  229. August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Matlun, please be quiet. Walk away, for the love of God.

    You are officially NOT. HELPING. In fact, you are hindering.

  230. moviemaedchen
    August 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    @matlun:

    No, the analogy is deeply flawed, in several ways. A big one: people also have the option of not ever getting in a car, and thus can reduce the risk of being in a car crash to virtually zero. Neither Caperton nor any other woman (or any other person, for that matter) has the option of not living within the goddamned patriarchy, a world in which women are considered public property, in which at least 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted, and in which the default is to blame the woman for getting raped. The impact of all those little choices, the little or not-so-little sacrifices made because rapists don’t wear helpful t-shirts? That’s not some unfortunate and preventable outcome of bad choices on women’s parts that they could undo by being better risk managers. It’s one more hurtful impact of the fucking patriarchy on women.

    You do NOT get stand back secure in your privilege and critique the trade-offs real women have to make to protect their actual safety as if there were some reachable ideal state women could reach by just following your ideas. It’s not a game, it’s not abstract, and it’s not your fucking mental toy to theorize about just so you can tell women “UR DOIN IT RONG.” Try having an ounce of goddamned empathy, or go away.

  231. August 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Can someone explain to me how being thought of as creepy ever hurt anyone?

  232. formersexworker
    August 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Matlun – offering to help a woman with her heavy bags (or furniture I suppose) is a really common tactic rapists use. It happened to me, a few years ago after I had just moved to the big city. So kindly fuck off about Caperton’s judgment.

  233. Henry
    August 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    It hurts their feelings Fat Steve…but hurt feelings are a small price to pay for “hey you are acting creepy and making people feel uncomfortable/unsafe around you so stop doing creepy stuff and if you’re doing it on purpose fuck off” You can’t keep letting people line step…you end up with “habitual line steppers”.

    I’ll give you a for instance..had a friend who liked to play with loaded guns when he was high, never pointed them at anyone..but still, many of us thought it was creepy (in a different way from the OP)…so much so we stopped hanging out at his place where he was able to act creepy…until it was just down to him and one other person…well you can guess where this is going…loud bang and big ass hole in a cinder block wall with his one friend standing literally a foot from the blast radius. Imagine if we had all been there…you get the point. He eventually understood that he needed to modify his behavior. You never truly know what a creepy person is gonna do or if they are gonna cross the next line from creepy to illegal.

  234. zuzu
    August 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Let me guess, matlun — you’re not just a guy, you’re in grad school, too.

  235. IrishUp
    August 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    “Can someone explain to me how being thought of as creepy ever hurt anyone?”

    Haven’t you been reading the internetz? One d00d getting wrongly! thought of as creepy puts EVERY d00d’z boner at risk.

    NO ONE WILL EVER GET LAID AGAIN!!!! OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!!!

    (and yet somehow it’s teh wimmenz whose risk/benefit analysis is off….

  236. Faithless
    August 15, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    @Raincitygirl

    It happens to me fucking constantly, im a 6 foot plus 200 lb black dude in “loose fitting clothing” walking around at 3 am cus I work from home and work very strange hours. who lives in a predominantly white area full of 19 – 25 year old college girls and step ford wives.

    I get “hay creep” shouted at me from SUV’s and mini vans when I walk to the store from my house, women in bar’s constantly approach me only to ask “how it feels being the creepy guy in the corner” and when I get in an elevator in town past 7 pm anything female within a 2 foot radius of me starts looking at me like im charles mansion.

    I even had a woman walking in front of me one evening stop walking, start crying, and pull out her purse and attempt to hand it to me muttering “please don’t rape me”.

    and before anybody jumps on that stupid fucking “well you should shuffle your feet when you walk and wear different clothes so the poor ladies don’t get spooked” FUCK THAT. I live on this planet too, and if you can’t deal with me walking down the same street as you without having a panic attack then stay the fuck home. If a bar full of angry looks and a lifetime of celibacy is the price I have to pay for holding on to my self respect than so fucking be it. “backing off” dosen’t work at all in my experience, especially since I don’t “come on” to women in the fist place. My rule is “speak to women only when they speak to you first unless you all ready know them, PERIOD, even at work” and even THAT only stops most of the damage.

    the answer to this thread is “don’t wanna be called a creeper? Tough, there is nothing you can do about it”. Frankly all these dudes trying to contort themselves into something “non threatening” just to chase tale are wasting their time, calling people creeps for any damn reason they please and having it matter socially is the consolation prise women get for dealing with “rape culture”. They can and WILL use it however the fuck they want so don’t try to appease them, thats impossible.

    And rest assured, thousands of years from now when slapping a woman on the ass in public gets your hand chopped off, none of that social power is going away, there will always be an “excuse” for why “actively calling men creeps is a good thing”

  237. August 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Faithless, I’m sorry that keeps happening to you. That really, really sucks.

  238. Omar
    August 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    This stupid conversation is still going on? Dear Lord.

  239. Henry
    August 15, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    That’s really really racist is what it is. Racists will use whatever power they can get their hands on to be racist. The ability to classify a man publicly as a creep (subtext rapist) is a power, doing it to a black man opens another whole box of stereotypes. People should never ever publicly call out someone to an entire neighborhood who isn’t an actual threat – you are labeling someone with no rational basis – it’s defamation period – you don’t get to be judge and jury on stuff like that – then you are the one causing harm. You don’t get to publicly spray paint a tag on people just because they made you feel uncomfortable once. But no one on this thread has suggested that that is appropriate, we’re talking about people who line step…they were told where the line was and they step over it anyway…the huggers who hug when told no thanks, and the people who say it’s rude to refuse possibly misguided help from strangers to your doorstep. And my reply to the SUV shouters would be one word – “racist”.

  240. August 15, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Faithless,

    the answer to this thread is “don’t wanna be called a creeper? Tough, there is nothing you can do about it”. Frankly all these dudes trying to contort themselves into something “non threatening” just to chase tale are wasting their time, calling people creeps for any damn reason they please and having it matter socially is the consolation prise women get for dealing with “rape culture”. They can and WILL use it however the fuck they want so don’t try to appease them, thats impossible.

    1. In general, it’s not impossible to not creep others out with your behavior. People do so it all the time.

    2. This is not for the sake of men adopting non-threatening attitudes in order to get laid. This is about not engaging in creepy behavior.

    3. Don’t act like rape culture is not a problem. You’re an asshat for putting that term in scare quotes. And it’s not for any reason they want. This is SPECIFICALLY about behavior that violates people’s boundaries and makes them feel totally unsafe, such as sexual harassment. This is NOT about the jerks who just want to insult you and aren’t really creeped out by your behavior. Don’t you dare try to paint all women’s reactions to creepy behavior as capricious. You don’t understand what it means to be a woman in a rape culture.

    And rest assured, thousands of years from now when slapping a woman on the ass in public gets your hand chopped off, none of that social power is going away, there will always be an “excuse” for why “actively calling men creeps is a good thing”

    Are you another anti-feminist? Because you’re sounding like one now. Fuck off with that feminists-want-to-subordinate-men bullshit.

  241. August 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Also, Faithless, the fact that you’re black and all of these women are white is pretty crucial to know. It’s very likely that you’re being targeted because you’re black as well. And FYI, none of us are saying that it’s okay for a woman to judge someone as a creep merely because of their skin color, ethnicity, etc.

  242. August 15, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    And rest assured, thousands of years from now when slapping a woman on the ass in public gets your hand chopped off..

    If you even tried to slap Mrs. Fat Steve’s ass in public, I can guarantee you you’d get more than your hand chopped off…and I would laugh while she did it.

  243. Sam
    August 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Roymac,

    I don’t really understand the problem. If you know that a behavior bothers someone and they tell you that they’re creeped out by it… you don’t do it.

    Exactly – if you know. Until you know someone may inadvertendly engage in unwanted behaviour. They won’t do again since they know now. Are they a bad person because they happened to unknowingly behave in a way that someone else found uncomfortable? Would you be a bad person/a creep had you tried to hug your friend prior to knowing he doesn’t like hugs?

  244. August 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    …anything female within a 2 foot radius of me starts looking at me like im charles mansion.

    “anything female”? That’s telling.

    Gee, I wonder why women think you’re creepy? /sarcasm

  245. Kristen J.
    August 15, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    @matlun,

    Please go look at the theoretical underpinnings of theories of negligence. They are never applied to intentional crime situations for a very good reason. Negligence is about negotiating the duties we owe to one another and assigning responsibility on that basis. That analysis doesn’t work if one person is intentionally inflicting harm rather than simplying failing in a duty of care.

    @Sam,

    Two things. First, most men who engage in this behavior know what they are doing and they are doing it on purpose. There’s even a whole “movement” devoted to it.

    Second, on an institutional level masculinity is constructed in the US in part on the notion of combative sexual gratification. The majority of men are judged by others and themselves for their ability to acquire sex from women. Its not mutual. It is combative.

    That institutional construct harmful to both men and women and it needs to stop. Many men feel threatened by that idea. They think women are being meeaaaaannn. Because yes, deconstructing that concept of masculinity means changing the way you perceive yourselves and others. It may mean that you look in the mirror and say “Hmm…in retrospect I’ve been a complete asshat.” That’s life. People fuck up, then they fix it and they live with the consequences.

    Needing someone to constantly validate that the things you did are okay even when you know your behavior was wrong shows that you care more about your own ego than about the feelings of others. Needing the very people you harmed to validate your actions shows that you are a fucking asshat.

  246. August 15, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Would you be a bad person/a creep had you tried to hug your friend prior to knowing he doesn’t like hugs?

    Sam, I think that question displays the problem perfectly. We live in a society which is so hostile to consent – anyone’s consent – that we think hugging people without asking is a cool thing to do. (This is one of the few creepy things that women, in my experience, are more likely to do with women than any other gender combination.) Ideally, “Do you like hugs?” would be a nice blanket question to ask of people you (all general you from now on) consider friends. (For example, my wife and I both have issues with sudden/unexpected touch, and if one of us is looking anxious or upset, the other tends to ask permission before giving a backrub/hug/hair scritches/what have you, and we’re married ffs, I think you can ask permission of someone you don’t know well yet without feeling terribly put-out.) I think that establishing levels of touch immediately, and respecting someone’s answer if it’s “Generally yes, just not today/alternate Wednesdays/when I’m upset/when I’m anxious/until I know you better”, would cut down significantly both on how creepy well-intentioned people are perceived, and how unsafe women feel in social interactions.

    Of course, the flip side of this coin is women speaking up when people ask them to define their preferences, but it’s been my experience that any woman who’s specifically, and neutrally, asked about what touch/presence/speech she’s comfortable with will a) immediately provide that information, and b) classify you much more quickly as Good Person in her books. I certainly feel that way. Women only tend to shut up about their boundaries when they feel they might be transgressed, or when they feel that setting a boundary might provoke a bully into creeping at them.

  247. EG
    August 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    And rest assured, thousands of years from now when slapping a woman on the ass in public gets your hand chopped off

    Are radical feminists bringing Sharia law to your community? On the next Bill O’Reilly.

    I’m OK with anybody who smacks a woman’s ass without her permission pulling back a bloody stump. Keep your goddamn hands to yourself. Why is this such a difficult concept for so many men?

  248. August 15, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Can someone explain to me how being thought of as creepy ever hurt anyone?

    Exactly, Steve.
    Seriously, not everyone is going to like you. Period. Full stop. I’m sure that some people like me, but I’m just as sure that some people don’t. I try not to be an asshole, but I’m sure that I fail sometimes, and that there are people who think I’m a jerk. It happens. If I’ve wronged someone, I feel bad about it, but if someone thinks I’m a jerk for something that I don’t think is wrong? Well, that sucks, but there’s nothing I can do but leave them alone.

    Exactly – if you know. Until you know someone may inadvertendly engage in unwanted behaviour. They won’t do again since they know now. Are they a bad person because they happened to unknowingly behave in a way that someone else found uncomfortable? Would you be a bad person/a creep had you tried to hug your friend prior to knowing he doesn’t like hugs?

    Look–if you’re doing your best, and you make an honest mistake? I don’t think you’re a bad person for that. Everyone makes mistakes. If you honestly misread a situation? It happens. You apologize if appropriate (and you mean it), and move on. If you’ve creeped someone out, and they don’t want anything to do with you, you accept that as their right, and you don’t try to force your apology on them. I don’t think anyone here is saying that you’re a bad person just because you’ve done something that creeped someone out. Although, honestly, who cares if I think it makes you a bad person? You haven’t creeped me out, and I’m hardly the arbiter of creepiness.

    If I had tried to hug my friend before realizing that he didn’t like to be touched? I’d feel bad about it. I don’t think it would automatically make a bad person, but I would feel bad for overstepping his comfort zone and I’d have apologized and made sure not to let it happen again. And if my doing so had impacted our friendship and he was distant or didn’t want to hang out again, I’d have to accept that.

  249. August 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Why is this such a difficult concept for so many men?

    Because it’s easier to say “We’re gonna live under [blah blah racist anti-feminism how efficient] system!!! You’re gonna castrate us, engineer the rise of the matriarchy, and force us to drink tea!!” than to, say, consider that perhaps your friend who just so happens to make all the women in a social group uncomfortable Might Be Creepy.

    Clearly, we should instead be learning how to properly assess risk from a man who is straight-up telling a woman that her gut instincts and risk assessment algorithms are wrong. This is the only way.

  250. August 15, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I’m OK with anybody who smacks a woman’s ass without her permission pulling back a bloody stump.

    EG, are YOU bringing Sharia law to our community? ;)

  251. Sam
    August 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Kristen J,

    Needing someone to constantly validate that the things you did are okay even when you know your behavior was wrong shows that you care more about your own ego than about the feelings of others. Needing the very people you harmed to validate your actions shows that you are a fucking asshat.

    I assume that’s a general ‘you’ but even so I can’t really connect it to anything I have said.

    That institutional construct harmful to both men and women and it needs to stop. Many men feel threatened by that idea.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I believe the fundamental problem, for many men, is this: they don’t like themselves very much, and they are taught and believe that women do not desire them in the way they desire women. They cannot fathom a world in which they’re truly *wanted*, so they cling, hopelessly, occasionally, to a world in which they’re needed. A lot of men feel threatened by the idea you mention because they don’t believe they are, particularly sexually, worthy. Of course, that lack is often compensated by problematic behaviour. I can only reiterate what I said above: I believe lasting change in that area is dependend on a changing narrative of male sexuality. I believe, firmly, that if I guys start believing they’re sexually as valuable as a woman, if they start believing their touch is as valuable as a woman’s, this kind of discussion will no longer be needed.
    But getting there is, of course, very tricky.

    Macavitykitsune,

    Sam, I think that question displays the problem perfectly. We live in a society which is so hostile to consent – anyone’s consent – that we think hugging people without asking is a cool thing to do.

    I don’t think “cool” is the right category. And I don’t think this has about being hostile to consent at all, people don’t want to hug without consent, they may just not think that asking would be appropriate – which may be an expression of people’s adversity to make things explicit, because explicit means “no wiggle room”. People generally like wiggle room in their social interactions.

    but it’s been my experience that any woman who’s specifically, and neutrally, asked about what touch/presence/speech she’s comfortable with will a) immediately provide that information, and b) classify you much more quickly as Good Person in her books.

    Well, I for one would consider such a question rather creepy… “hi, what level of touch are you comfortable with”, because that seems to imply the asker’s intention to go up to that point regardless of how my comfort-level might change. Which seems like a pretty good reason to me to be very reserved about disclosing anything truthful to such a question.

    Plus, it would indicate pretty clearly that the person is not able to read me even on that basic level which is, at least, an indicator of a certain lack of social awareness and empathy. So, I’d kind of consider it semi-equivalent to saying “sorry, I’m really clueless around people, there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to make you inadvertendly uncomfortable”. Courageous, maybe, but seriously stupid. I would have been creeped out already.

  252. August 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    If you even tried to slap Mrs. Fat Steve’s ass in public, I can guarantee you you’d get more than your hand chopped off…and I would laugh while she did it.

    I’m OK with anybody who smacks a woman’s ass without her permission pulling back a bloody stump.

    I personally think that’s rather repulsive, even for something not intended to be entirely serious. Though that isn’t to say that I think we should be nice to people who sexually assault others.

  253. Kristen J.
    August 15, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I believe, firmly, that if I guys start believing they’re sexually as valuable as a woman, if they start believing their touch is as valuable as a woman’s, this kind of discussion will no longer be needed.

    On the contrary. Men need to learn that their sexuality and their access to women does not define them. Your way puts the burden on women to validate men as valuable rather than on men to validate themselves. Do you see how that perpetuates the inequality women currently experience?

  254. Bagelsan
    August 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    My only objection to the bloody stump thing is that it’s unrealistic, not that it’s overkill… :p

  255. Bagelsan
    August 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Re. explicitly asking for a hug: what happened to just opening your arms and waiting, and/or asking “hug?” It doesn’t have to be a legalize-y worded 10-page treatise on boundaries. You don’t have to establish what is an acceptable level of touch for all occasions immediately upon meeting someone, you can kinda go on a case-by-case basis. :p

  256. Azalea
    August 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    But the fear of being hit on by a homosexual person is based on unfounded prejudice. Of course homosexual people can be creepers as well, but there is nothing about the fact that that person is homosexual that is potentially dangerous to you.

    Similar reasoning applies to your other example.

    It isn’t the fear of being hit on, it’s the fear of what the person hitting on you is going to do- that applies regardles sof the sexuality of the person. A man who rapes a woman can be bisexual but that’s besides the point. Will they be aggressive? Will they touch you in a sexual way? If you are getting unwanted attention that makes you feel uncomfortable you’re being creeped out. Nobody has a right to hit on another person regardless of who you are and how hot the person you want to hit on is to you. Prejudice or no, the fix to that is to not hit on a complete stranger.

  257. Sam
    August 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Kristen J,

    Men need to learn that their sexuality and their access to women does not define them.

    Well, I go along with the second part of that statement, as it is, kind of, what I have argued. But the first part doesn’t work, not just not for men, it doesn’t work for humans – sexuality is far too important an aspect of our identiy.

  258. PrettyAmiable
    August 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    “…WAHHHH,” said [some of] the men.

    1. Fear of getting raped > feelings hurt because you’re an entitled, privileged jerk who thinks you should be able to do and say whatever you want to whomever you want without consequence. Deal, if you’re finding there’s a substantial subset of us who cannot find a fuck to give.
    2. Pretending the solution to 1 is to focus on the MEN by way of some ridiculous conversation about men’s sexuality (or, if you live in a patriarchal society, I think they just call it “sexuality”) is an extension of that entitled, privileged narrative. It is not all about you. Sometimes it’s about us. This is one of those times. You want to figure out a positive way to deal with your sexuality, do it on your own time. In the mean time, listen to the “sex class” when we are telling you to stop.

    Stop:
    – Openly staring at me on the elevator when I’m at work. WTF are you doing?
    – Following me back on the elevator just to talk to me. It is a 36 sq ft box that I cannot easily escape from. If you thought I wanted to talk to you, why the fuck couldn’t you talk to me in the lobby where you knew I had an escape route? Oh, that’s right – you’re a ball of creep.
    – Stop standing half a foot away from me on a big old corner in NYC. WHEN I MOVE AWAY FROM YOU, DO NOT FOLLOW ME. I understand that you are really sad that I do not want to listen to you sexually harrass me. I do not care. Not even one fuck was given that day.

    This was all in the last week. Can we stop pretending like these events are outliers? THIS IS THE SHIT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. Not being black while in public. Not being fat while in public. Not being xyz marginalized population while in public. But being a fucking shitbag while in public. (And not that it matters, but these guys were all white and thin and passed as straight and cis. One was hella fucking old – the guy from the corner – and I seriously thought about decking that asshole, but to be fair, less so because he was old an more so because he wasn’t in my fucking office).

    And you think the issue is what – the way WOMEN talk about men’s sexuality? Bro, go talk to your guy friends. When they say stupid shit like, “I followed a woman into an enclosed space because she had the opportunity to run like fuck while we were downstairs,” tell them, “that’s cool, dude, but I like it when they actually want to talk to me, and chicks are pretty awesome when they aren’t hyperventilating.” There’s your fucking step towards positive discussions around men’s sexuality.

  259. August 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I don’t think “cool” is the right category. And I don’t think this has about being hostile to consent at all, people don’t want to hug without consent, they may just not think that asking would be appropriate

    I meant cool as in okay, not cool as in hip. And how, how, HOW is grabbing someone in a hug the second you meet them, without even asking, MORE appropriate than smiling and saying ‘feel like a hug?’ I mean, what the actual fuck? Is it just my social circle that’s meticulous about checking in about hugs at least the first time? Or have I stumbled into BizarroWorld?

    Well, I for one would consider such a question rather creepy… “hi, what level of touch are you comfortable with”, because that seems to imply the asker’s intention to go up to that point

    Have you…maybe…tried not just hugging people the second you meet them?

    And, if you really, really HAVE to hug people as part of an introduction, “Hi! So pleased to meet you. *waves* I’m a huggy person, but just tell me if you’re not cool with that.” There you go. That sentence provides exactly the same information about you, adds substantial evidence of being a Good Person, and oh, hey! You’re not assuming consent from the huggee! That’s always a bonus. It’s a script whose efficacy I can personally vouch for, as pretty much all my friends/my wife’s family use variations on it, and it’s made this survivor feel really relaxed and comfortable.

  260. August 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    My much longer response went into mod, but basically this:

    what happened to just opening your arms and waiting, and/or asking “hug?” It doesn’t have to be a legalize-y worded 10-page treatise on boundaries. You don’t have to establish what is an acceptable level of touch for all occasions immediately upon meeting someone

    QFT and all.

  261. August 15, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I mean. You’re asking for a hug, not negotiating a D/s relationship or an MNC merger. Christfuck. This is not a complex social interaction to master.

  262. Kristen J.
    August 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Well, I go along with the second part of that statement, as it is, kind of, what I have argued. But the first part doesn’t work, not just not for men, it doesn’t work for humans – sexuality is far too important an aspect of our identiy.

    I misspoke. I meant sexual prowess and access to women.

  263. Faithless
    August 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    This is NOT about the jerks who just want to insult you and aren’t really creeped out by your behavior.

    who cares, act like an asshat, women call you a creepoid, social isolation. Totally keep to yourself to avoid that problem, asshole women call you a creepoid anyway, social isolation. Either way, it’s a crapshoot, you just get to pick between the 20% chance and the 100% chance of getting called a creep.

    Either way, same things happens, just a matter of time.

    Are you another anti-feminist?

    No, bunch of my sarcasm got miss interpreted but It’s not really relavant to the point so I won’t waste your time.

  264. Sam
    August 15, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Macavitykitsune,

    And how, how, HOW is grabbing someone in a hug the second you meet them, without even asking, MORE appropriate than smiling and saying ‘feel like a hug?’

    that’s a lot of assumptions. I was talking about *the first hug”, and it usually doesn’t happen “the second one meets”, but at the end of a first interaction. Depending on the interaction, asking can easily feel inappropriate.

  265. Faithless
    August 15, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    @Raincitygirl sadly its pretty common among my larger male friends of any race, thnx tho.

    @mxe354 this shit happens to pretty much every male friend I have over 5’9 being black CERTAINLY dosent help but it clearly isn’t the problem, my penis and apparent “scary demeanor” are.

    @EG You can chop off all the hands you want, obviously it dosen’t affect me since I don’t approach women and they obviously don’t approach me (well, not for any pleasurable reason anyway).

  266. Esti
    August 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    @ Faithless

    who cares, act like an asshat, women call you a creepoid, social isolation. Totally keep to yourself to avoid that problem, asshole women call you a creepoid anyway, social isolation. Either way, it’s a crapshoot, you just get to pick between the 20% chance and the 100% chance of getting called a creep.

    Either way, same things happens, just a matter of time.

    Maybe you think the same thing will happen to you. But even if that was true, in the second scenario you are not actively making women feel uncomfortable and unsafe. If you don’t think that causing women to feel those things is something worth avoiding even if it doesn’t directly benefit you, then maybe try working on your empathy before you get to the social skills issue?

    @ Sam

    I was talking about *the first hug”, and it usually doesn’t happen “the second one meets”, but at the end of a first interaction. Depending on the interaction, asking can easily feel inappropriate.

    If asking can feel inappropriate, then why on earth would doing it feel less inappropriate??

    I think what you actually mean when you say “inappropriate” is “uncomfortable for me”. Because when you ask if you can hug someone, there’s a chance they could say no, and that might be awkward or make you feel bad. But while just going ahead and doing it without asking might make you feel less uncomfortable because you aren’t giving them a chance to reject you, I can guarantee you that it makes the hug-ee feel a whole lot more uncomfortable.

  267. Sam
    August 15, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Kristen J,

    I misspoke. I meant sexual prowess and access to women.

    why doesn’t anyone ever wonder about the women’s access to men? It’s socially assumed (even though it’s, of course, a big issue for (not just a few) individual women). That’s the discoursive imbalance that needs to change, in my opinion. The question, thus, really, for me comes down to: do we believe that changing the narrative will yield the hoped for result? Or/to which extent, is that discouse the consequence of inherent differences of female and male desire? If our structures of desire are too different from each other, the resulting imbalance will create tension and likely cause social patterns to cope with it. What if that’s how we got here in the first place? But there’s really only one way to find out…

  268. Kristen J.
    August 15, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    …because female sexual desire is impermissible…I know you think these ideas you have are new and awesome…but they aren’t new to us. Changing the narrative.is what most of us are actively working on. But that new narrative cannot be based on the notion that women are responsible for maintaining the male ego by remaining sexually available/accessible.

  269. shfree
    August 15, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    I think what you actually mean when you say “inappropriate” is “uncomfortable for me”. Because when you ask if you can hug someone, there’s a chance they could say no, and that might be awkward or make you feel bad. But while just going ahead and doing it without asking might make you feel less uncomfortable because you aren’t giving them a chance to reject you, I can guarantee you that it makes the hug-ee feel a whole lot more uncomfortable.

    I’ve been lurking, but THIS is awesome. It feels far worse to be forcibly hugged than it does to ask for a hug and have that hug be declined. The only time I don’t mind spontaneous displays of affections are from small children who are still figuring out boundaries and my daughter, who seems to enjoy being snuggly and huggy with me. (And given how stingy she was with hugs when she was 7-12, I’m not going to say no.)

    And hell, I even think the opened arm thing is often too much pressure to hug, because even though I do hug my dear friends, I’ve moved around in enough geeky LARPY circles that I’ve hugged a lot more people than I’ve ever really wanted to, (and I would imagine people have hugged me that haven’t wanted to, in truth) just because when someone came at you with open arms, there was this expectation of a hug. After all, you KNEW these people, and I am speaking of people that I am, at the minimum, casually acquainted with, not just the random geek-on-the-street.

  270. August 15, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    that’s a lot of assumptions. I was talking about *the first hug”, and it usually doesn’t happen “the second one meets”, but at the end of a first interaction. Depending on the interaction, asking can easily feel inappropriate.

    Jesus. Okay, once more, in small words: If you don’t know a woman well enough to feel comfortable ASKING them to hug, YOU DO NOT KNOW THEM WELL ENOUGH TO JUST UP AND HUG THEM.

    Whose discomfort are you addressing and concerned about, here, really? Theirs at being subjected to possibly non-consensual cuddles? Or yours, at the possibility of being rejected? I’m really getting the feeling that it’s the latter.

  271. librarygoose
    August 16, 2012 at 1:14 am

    I like the idea of being asked for a hug. It saves me the hurt look when I yelp “please don’t touch me,” I always feel ridiculous and kinda asshole-ish.

  272. TMK
    August 16, 2012 at 1:14 am

    I believe, firmly, that if I guys start believing they’re sexually as valuable as a woman, if they start believing their touch is as valuable as a woman’s, this kind of discussion will no longer be needed.

    Men need to learn that their sexuality and their access to women does not define them.

    This is almost one thing, really.

  273. August 16, 2012 at 1:21 am

    I mean. You’re asking for a hug, not negotiating a D/s relationship or an MNC merger. Christfuck. This is not a complex social interaction to master.

    Hero status achieved!!!

    Side note, my method for averting unwanted hugs – When someone comes at me with their arms and body in the ‘I’m going to hug you’ posture, and I don’t want to hug them, I emphatically put up my index finger between us (as if to say ‘this is really importnat’) and energetically say “Hey!” and then follow that with “Fist bump?” Then I change my finger to a fist and offer it to them. This confuses the hell of a lot of people, startles them about as much as their unwanted hug startles me, and they usually just go with it. It takes a lot of practice to not just freeze and take the hug. Only once did it not work. That person is definitely a creeper.

    Really, none of this should ever be necessary. But there are a lot more people that want to hug me than I want hugging me.

  274. Meik
    August 16, 2012 at 6:59 am

    There are guys who are good looking and get away with things you would not get away with. Become aware of where you stand in the pecking order and act accordingly, it does not take a guide.

  275. Li
    August 16, 2012 at 7:05 am

    There are guys who are good looking and get away with things you would not get away with. Become aware of where you stand in the pecking order and act accordingly, it does not take a guide.

    Oh fuck offfffffff. Good looking creepers are still creepers. It’s still harassment when someone I want(ed) to bone repeatedly violates my boundaries. There is no point in the pecking order where it becomes ok for you to harass or assault people.

  276. Sam
    August 16, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Kristen J,

    …because female sexual desire is impermissible…I know you think these ideas you have are new and awesome…but they aren’t new to us. Changing the narrative.is what most of us are actively working on. But that new narrative cannot be based on the notion that women are responsible for maintaining the male ego by remaining sexually available/accessible.

    Well, I’m not sure what you mean exactly by “being available/accssible.” I’m assuming that you’re talking about what some call “sex class”. If so, then I believe we’re talking about the same thing. I don’t think female desire is nearly as imperssible as you believe it to be, but yes, that’s certainly another aspect that needs to change. But again, I believe that helping men feel *wanted* would be the best way to get there. I mean, again, I believe that the structure you’re referring to is a consequence of men not feeling wanted, and their resistance to change is a consequence of their not being able to believe they even can be wanted. “Maintaining the male ego by remaining sexually available/accessible” and “wanting men” is definitely not the same. A social narrative about men that’s based on the latter contradicts the former.

  277. Meik
    August 16, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Oh fuck offfffffff. Good looking creepers are still creepers. It’s still harassment when someone I want(ed) to bone repeatedly violates my boundaries. There is no point in the pecking order where it becomes ok for you to harass or assault people.

    Being intimate early on early verbally or physically with women I sparked with worked out well for me so far. Id like to think those women do not grant that privilege to any guy and I am sure they do not.

    So yeah there is a pecking order, if you are an ugly nerd recognize the signs when you are not wanted and take a hike.

  278. August 16, 2012 at 7:35 am

    that’s a lot of assumptions. I was talking about *the first hug”, and it usually doesn’t happen “the second one meets”, but at the end of a first interaction. Depending on the interaction, asking can easily feel inappropriate.

    Then don’t hug the person. It’s not hard. If you’re not sure if someone likes being hugged, and you’d feel weird asking?

    Don’t do it.

    If you don’t know someone well enough to know if they like being hugged, and you don’t know them well enough to ask without it being awkward, then maybe you don’t know them well enough to hug them.

  279. Li
    August 16, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Being intimate early on early verbally or physically with women I sparked with worked out well for me so far. Id like to think those women do not grant that privilege to any guy and I am sure they do not.

    So yeah there is a pecking order, if you are an ugly nerd recognize the signs when you are not wanted and take a hike.

    If you’re an arrogant, duckfaced tosspot recognise the signs of when you’re acting like a misogynist douchebag on a feminist site and chill your ego the fuck out.

  280. Li
    August 16, 2012 at 7:59 am

    I’ve started reading Meik’s comments in the voice of Derek Zoolander and now I can’t stop.

  281. August 16, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I’ve started reading Meik’s comments in the voice of Derek Zoolander and now I can’t stop.

    *dying of giggles*

  282. August 16, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Being intimate early on early verbally or physically with women I sparked with worked out well for me so far. Id like to think those women do not grant that privilege to any guy and I am sure they do not.

    So yeah there is a pecking order, if you are an ugly nerd recognize the signs when you are not wanted and take a hike.

    It’s not about pecking order. It’s about the particular situation. I don’t care if you’re Brad Pitt, you’re still a creep if you ignore that someone doesn’t want to interact with you. Making this about something as subjective as attractiveness misses the point, which is that it’s not about you. It’s about the other person’s feelings. It’s not about whether you are attractive, or funny, or an “ugly nerd” (which, really?). It doesn’t matter if you’re charming and funny and attractive if the other person doesn’t want to interact with you. If you’re the most attractive, witty person on the planet and you’re following someone around staring at them and violating their personal space and ignoring the signs that they’re not interested? You’re still a fucking creeper.

  283. Meik
    August 16, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Of course it isnt just about looks but how you interact with people, or your game as some people like to call it. One should be able to recognize the signs when its a good idea to make a move and when it is creepy.

    Some people connect better with the other gender than others, admittably not only because of looks, but because of the whole package while others constantly get the cold shoulder, maybe mainly because of their looks and they do not make the situation better by being imposing.

    So yeah it does not really take a guide, people realize when they are not wanted without a damn guide, its just that some people choose to ignore it, because right or wrongly they feel being imposing and intrusing is the only shot they have.

  284. Kristen J.
    August 16, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I don’t think female desire is nearly as imperssible as you believe it to be, but yes, that’s certainly another aspect that needs to change.

    We live in a society where female desire is entirely optional. Men are permitted to access women’s bodies unless women expressly object. Not “when women express desire” but “when women fail to object.”

    But again, I believe that helping men feel *wanted* would be the best way to get there. I mean, again, I believe that the structure you’re referring to is a consequence of men not feeling wanted, and their resistance to change is a consequence of their not being able to believe they even can be wanted.

    Let’s break this down:

    1) Men sexually harrass me in public by touching my breasts without my consent.

    2) Your solution is that I tell men that their touch is desirable.

    3) ???

    4) Social equality

    No. Men who inappropriately touch women do not need those women to tell them that their touch is desirable. That will just increase the likelihood that those men will *continue* to sexually violate women. And is a further victimization of women because it is making them (1) deny how they feel about a strange dude’s touch – which by the way is bad, and (2) responsible for making their attackers feel better.

  285. August 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Yeah, I’m skeptical of this whole “men just want to be wanted” narrative. If there’s some study that has shown that men generally feel unwanted, I’d be interested to read it, because it hasn’t generally been my experience. I mean, I don’t feel like everyone wants me, but I’ve never felt like my partners didn’t want me. I’ve always been pretty clear that the people I’m with find me sexually attractive, or they wouldn’t want to be with me.

  286. Esti
    August 16, 2012 at 9:34 am

    So yeah it does not really take a guide, people realize when they are not wanted without a damn guide, its just that some people choose to ignore it, because right or wrongly they feel being imposing and intrusing is the only shot they have.

    I agree 100% with this much of what Meik has said. Somehow the men who claim to be totally clueless about social signals when it comes to approaching potential dates are completely capable of understanding social signals when it comes to their boss or their (male) friends or the (male) strangers they bump into in everyday life.

    I think the reason some men struggle with hearing and accepting no from women is a combination of (a) thinking that there are special signals or rules in the dating context that override normal social cues (“Sure, she said she was busy the last three times I asked her out, but women always play hard to get!” or “I can’t just start a conversation with this women I’m interested in the way I would with any other person, I need to treat her like an alien being and adopt weirdly specific rules about Complimenting Women and Using An Opening Line.”) and (b) ignoring (consciously or unconsciously) the I’m Not Interested signs they are getting from women because they don’t want to accept rejection.

  287. Meik
    August 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

    But again, I believe that helping men feel *wanted* would be the best way to get there. I mean, again, I believe that the structure you’re referring to is a consequence of men not feeling wanted, and their resistance to change is a consequence of their not being able to believe they even can be wanted.

    But some men are not wanted.

    Guys like these

    https://www.google.de/search?um=1&hl=de&client=opera&rls=de&channel=suggest&biw=1015&bih=809&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=please+lady+containt+your+orgasms&oq=please+lady+containt+your+orgasms&gs_l=img.3…777544.784421.0.785119.37.18.0.0.0.0.608.1138.8j5-1.9.0…0.0…1c.RY_Ov1PDyVs

    Will get a different reaction than guys like these

    https://www.google.de/search?um=1&hl=de&client=opera&rls=de&channel=suggest&biw=1015&bih=809&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=hot+guy&oq=hot+guy&gs_l=img.3…5246.6379.0.6544.7.7.0.0.0.0.102.563.6j1.7.0…0.0…1c.6BWm99zCh7M

    The former are probably NOT wanted and even if you think you are funny and witty, chances are girls do not want to talk to them. Not being wanted and not feeling wanted, because you are not that pretty, socially akward either or both does not mean you get to ignore signs your touch is not wanted or even your presence.

  288. August 16, 2012 at 9:53 am

    The former are probably NOT wanted and even if you think you are funny and witty, chances are girls do not want to talk to them. Not being wanted and not feeling wanted, because you are not that pretty, socially akward either or both does not mean you get to ignore signs your touch is not wanted or even your presence.

    That’s actually probably not true. Being conventionally attractive very likely increases the number of potential partners who will find you physically attractive, but the fact of the matter is that even people who aren’t conventionally attractive still find partners who want them. Just because I don’t find someone attractive doesn’t mean that nobody does. Just because you think someone is ugly doesn’t mean that everyone else does.

    And that sort of thing happens to everyone. The truth is that anyone who falls significantly outside of conventional beauty standards will tend to have a harder time finding a partner than someone who is very conventionally attractive. Doesn’t mean that they’re unwanted, it means that they may have a harder time finding a partner.

    All of which really seems like it falls outside of the scope of the original conversation, since even if someone is “unwanted”, they’re still a creeper if they ignore the fact that someone else doesn’t want to interact with them and/or start violating someone’s personal space, etc.

  289. Schala
    August 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

    The former are probably NOT wanted and even if you think you are funny and witty, chances are girls do not want to talk to them. Not being wanted and not feeling wanted, because you are not that pretty, socially akward either or both does not mean you get to ignore signs your touch is not wanted or even your presence.

    Many men, barring Brad Pitt and George Clooney (ie rare men that are considered very attractive anyways) don’t seem to consider themselves attractive to most women, at least physically, on first sight. As opposite as most men seem to consider most women attractive, at least physically, on first sight.

    Ergo: Many men think they desire women because women are (objectively) hot…but men are really (objectively) meh-looking (and since they’re not personally attracted to men, they have to look at how their female friends, sisters, peers, medias, consider average men sexually good-looking: rarely). So they have to convince women to settle for them…or think they’re god’s gift to women (incredible arrogance) by pretending its true.

    Those people above don’t even need to be socially awkward or ugly. They just need to not be exceptionally charming or good-looking. The opposite. If they date a girl or woman, they perceive it as him scoring with her often – because why would SHE want to be with HIM? He just won the lottery, he has nothing to offer looks-wise, he thinks, while she obviously does.

    “Wanting to be THAT mistake” (be the guy she has sex with while drunk and unable to discern correctly (because then she wouldn’t pick him, right?), while consenting anyways) shows how pathologically low self-esteem is present in young boys and men, regarding their attractiveness to women. Dove loves to say this affects women and girls mostly though.

    I’ve heard this a lot. Personally my sexuality doesn’t work by looks much, so I never understood this either way. I’m a pansexual transwoman who was virgin pre-transition, both by choice (I didn’t even try) and circumstances (I didn’t know HOW to try, and wasn’t able to try – Ultimately I did good to wait).

    I can understand their position because I had very very low self-esteem due to being (too) different.

  290. Meik
    August 16, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Trust me men who take care of themselves and know curls are not only found on somones head have a realistic view of the impact of their looks on a person they interact with.

  291. Meik
    August 16, 2012 at 10:07 am

    “Wanting to be THAT mistake” (be the guy she has sex with while drunk and unable to discern correctly (because then she wouldn’t pick him, right?), while consenting anyways) shows how pathologically low self-esteem is present in young boys and men, regarding their attractiveness to women. Dove loves to say this affects women and girls mostly though.

    It isnt about him feeling insecure but about no string sex.

  292. Meik
    August 16, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Being conventionally attractive very likely increases the number of potential partners who will find you physically attractive, but the fact of the matter is that even people who aren’t conventionally attractive still find partners who want them.

    Maybe as soon as they learn to settle for women who are in the same league as themselves, but of course many refuse to.

  293. zuzu
    August 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Meik, have you confused this with a PUA blog?

  294. Meik
    August 16, 2012 at 10:27 am

    What would motivate you to ask that question? Pick up artist blogs are detailed accounts where guys tell how they go about getting action in nightclubs and such, arent they?

  295. August 16, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Many men, barring Brad Pitt and George Clooney (ie rare men that are considered very attractive anyways) don’t seem to consider themselves attractive to most women, at least physically, on first sight. As opposite as most men seem to consider most women attractive, at least physically, on first sight.

    The first part of this–that many men might not consider themselves particularly attractive–seems possible, but seems like it’s not a problem specific to men. As far as I can tell, a lot of women also have this particular problem. People often have an issue seeing themselves as attractive. I’m not convinced that the second part is true in any strong sense.

    Ergo: Many men think they desire women because women are (objectively) hot…but men are really (objectively) meh-looking (and since they’re not personally attracted to men, they have to look at how their female friends, sisters, peers, medias, consider average men sexually good-looking: rarely).

    And this is patently untrue. Average looking men are routinely portrayed as sexually good-looking. Anyone from Seth Rogan to Sean Connery, to Taye Diggs, to Brad Pitt, to Jet Li, to name an actor are presented as being Hot Guys. The range of men who we’re told “these guys are hot!” is actually pretty damn big. A lot bigger than it is for women, who have to be generally young and thin for society to cast them as the attractive woman.

    Also, and maybe this is controversial, but I don’t think you have to be sexually attracted to men to recognize that someone is attractive. I identify as straight, but I recognize that Taye Diggs is hot as hell. If I woke up looking like Taye? Well, I don’t think I’m ugly, but I’d still feel like I’d traded up.

    So they have to convince women to settle for them…or think they’re god’s gift to women (incredible arrogance) by pretending its true.

    That makes me very sad. I’ve never felt like I had to convince someone to settle for me.

  296. EG
    August 16, 2012 at 10:47 am

    This is all very tragic, how men don’t feel that they’re very attractive, blah blah blah, but utterly irrelevant to a discussion how they need to not violate women’s boundaries nonetheless. Even if they have low self-esteem. Even if they think it’s their only shot with women. Even even even.

  297. Meik
    August 16, 2012 at 10:51 am

    This is all very tragic, how men don’t feel that they’re very attractive, blah blah blah, but utterly irrelevant to a discussion how they need to not violate women’s boundaries nonetheless. Even if they have low self-esteem. Even if they think it’s their only shot with women. Even even even.

    When did I say anything else ??

  298. zuzu
    August 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

    What would motivate you to ask that question?

    Gosh, I don’t know. Maybe because you’re talking about “game” and leagues and using a lot of their buzzwords.

    You know, for all your whining (and Sam’s too) about men not feeling attractive because you can’t catch women openly looking at you, you seem to be missing a big piece of the puzzle. Which is that women are punished for openly desiring men and sex. Oh, sure, you may want to discount it, but let’s think about the women who get the “slut” label attached to them, shall we? It’s not the women who are sexy and signal their sexual availability to men, it’s the women who make no bones about the fact that they want something out of the deal as well.

    I’m also going to go out on a limb here as well and guess that the women you want to attract are the women that you see as hot and are also considered hot by conventional beauty standards. What about the women who aren’t hot, guys? Don’t they deserve to feel attractive just as you do?

  299. petpluto
    August 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I like the idea of being asked for a hug. It saves me the hurt look when I yelp “please don’t touch me,” I always feel ridiculous and kinda asshole-ish.

    You’re more polite than me. I leave the “please” out of it entirely. Because I don’t want to be touched. Even by people I usually like getting touched, sometimes I don’t want to be touched. And if other people think I’m an asshole for telling them “Don’t touch me”, well, asshole doesn’t even BEGIN to cover how I feel about those random people who want to touch me.

    Asking before doing is a great way to go. It isn’t inappropriate. It isn’t uncomfortable. It isn’t even formal! It can be fun, flirty, or just plain friendly.

    But again, I believe that helping men feel *wanted* would be the best way to get there.

    I believe that getting men to understand they also have to respect boundaries may be a better way of getting there.

    Seriously, I can understand how wanting to change the paradigm surrounding the issue of men and desire and men and sex is helpful – but not in this instance. Because inappropriate touching has nothing to do with men and desire or men and sex; it has to do with men and consent (and women and consent!). And the best way to get people to acknowledge that creepers are doing something inappropriate is to make men (and women!) acknowledge the need for consent before action.

    My fiance understands that I’m randomly going to tell him not to touch me if I’m having a bad day or if I’m upset or if I am hot. I don’t have to make him understand that I *want* him. I don’t have to tell him that 80% of the time, him hugging me is great, but this 20% of the time I need him to back off. I don’t have to tell him that I desire him, and that he’s the bee’s knees. I don’t have to do anything other than tell him my boundary (aka, “Don’t touch me right now”), and he doesn’t have to do anything other than respect it.

    Seriously, respecting a person’s boundaries shouldn’t be predicated on men knowing they’re wanted.

  300. zuzu
    August 16, 2012 at 11:04 am

    why doesn’t anyone ever wonder about the women’s access to men? It’s socially assumed (even though it’s, of course, a big issue for (not just a few) individual women).

    You sound creepy here. You “access” a commodity. But the reason we don’t worry about women’s access to men is that a) women are set up as the commodity to be accessed and are put in the role of gatekeeper; b) women are not supposed to seek out men to fuck. Or else they’re sluts, whores and otherwise undesirable.

    That’s the discoursive imbalance that needs to change, in my opinion. The question, thus, really, for me comes down to: do we believe that changing the narrative will yield the hoped for result?

    Well, welcome to feminism, bucko. We’ve been trying to change the discourse for decades.

    Unfortunately, you seem to be under the misapprehension that changing the discourse will yield you up a flood of pussy because all those pesky gatekeeping women keeping you from access to the Pussy Oversoul will abandon their posts once you use the right magic words to convince them your creepy ambush hugging is really perfectly grand.

  301. Meik
    August 16, 2012 at 11:05 am

    You know, for all your whining (and Sam’s too) about men not feeling attractive because you can’t catch women openly looking at you, you seem to be missing a big piece of the puzzle.

    I think now you are just playin confusing me with what somebody else said. And I used game in the context that of course it isnt just about looks but how somebody interacts with a person as well. An I think you can talk about leagues to a degree. Somebody who works out and looks after herself usually wants somebody who does the same and is not interested in how witty and funny that guy is who shaped his body with lots of xbox and computer games either.

  302. Meik
    August 16, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Also pua does not talk about leagues in that context. PUA makes guys think if they act a certain way they can get any girl, when they are not exactly a price catch themselves.

  303. Razzby
    August 16, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Faithless, I know it’s hard to figure out how to deal with how people respond to you concerning things you don’t have control over i.e. pigmentation, size, gender presentation, etc. (Which is exactly what we’re talking about, btw.) I’m sorry you have that reaction to you.

    My husband is 6’8″ and around 250 lbs. He’s black. He has the type of face that unless he deliberately keeps a pleasant smile on his face can look severe or cold, even though he is really a man shaped marshmallow. I’m pretty nearly the opposite, being small, blonde, and white. (My brothers upon meeting him: “That’s kick ass, sis. You guys look like Cloak and Dagger!” Marvel geek objectification, sigh.)

    It took a long time for my husband to come to terms with, that despite his INTENT, people were wary of him, due to the physical parts of his appearance he didn’t choose. It took, not coincidentally, about that long of watching the precautions I take, the amount of time I spend avoiding negative male attention, for him to realize that intent (no matter the point of origin) doesn’t mean much compared to what is coming across.

    We were in the same boat, you see, just sitting on opposite sides.

    In the end, if someone is intimidated by him, his bodily safety isn’t really threatened. (No, I’m not going to engage on historical physical punishments for men who suffered terribly for interacting outside the accepted female population. Yes, UGLY. Yes, TRUE. No, not generally a part of his social dialogue NOW.)

    But for me, if someone decided to respond negatively to me, the chances I will physically be involved are much higher in especially specific ways. This isn’t hypothetical; I’ve been sexually assaulted before.

    It sucks and isn’t “fair” when people smile at me then look up at him and blink, true. It sucks and isn’t “fair” that he can walk in places and around groups of people I have to avoid when I can.

    He’s found ways that don’t inconvenience him to mitigate that, like being careful not to loom over people, keeping a smile on his face, being careful to not talk too loudly in his deep, rumbling voice. But look at that list: that’s Basic Social 101 rules. We compare that against what I have to be aware of and there isn’t much contest.

    That’s what this conversation is about. It’s what Sam doesn’t seem to get. That inconvenience never trumps physical safety. That fear for survival is on the opposite side of the boat from fear of being insulted.

  304. Schala
    August 16, 2012 at 11:15 am

    And this is patently untrue. Average looking men are routinely portrayed as sexually good-looking. Anyone from Seth Rogan to Sean Connery, to Taye Diggs, to Brad Pitt, to Jet Li, to name an actor are presented as being Hot Guys. The range of men who we’re told “these guys are hot!” is actually pretty damn big. A lot bigger than it is for women, who have to be generally young and thin for society to cast them as the attractive woman.

    Don’t go to the cinema. Go to the mall, go to a playground, go to a busy street, go to a stadium.

    Look at the men and boys there, then look at the women and girls there. Tell me they’re all considered equivalent in looks (including by themselves).

    These guys are hot applying to celebrities is nothing special. They’re also incredibly rare, like olympic athletes. The celebrity status also adds to attractiveness, by itself alone. David Tennant might not have been known or liked as much, before he became a Doctor Who. They don’t objectively look better because of this, but they’re popular. Popularity often makes someone more attractive, people might see it as a choice others would also make, and be more secure, or something.

    Also, tangentially: Look at the amount of male vs female models, save for clothing catalogues where the companies usually need to show off all they got. Female models are more numerous. Male models are popular in part because they’re few. Heck, my big local newspaper (for Montreal) has yearly model-for-a-day contests, for young kids (1-8 or so) and for adults…kids is open to boys and girls, adult is only open to women. Imagine that.

    Either no one wants to see men model clothing, or they think men won’t apply even if they did it – both of those pointing to a societal attitude that most men are not that attractive physically (they are for other things, to society). Or do you have a third hypothesis?

  305. August 16, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Because inappropriate touching has nothing to do with men and desire or men and sex; it has to do with men and consent (and women and consent!).

    QFT

    It’s super simple.
    Everything else is a distraction from taht point, really.

  306. zuzu
    August 16, 2012 at 11:17 am

    And I used game in the context that of course it isnt just about looks but how somebody interacts with a person as well.

    Of course it isnt just about looks but how you interact with people, or your game as some people like to call it. One should be able to recognize the signs when its a good idea to make a move and when it is creepy.

    Maybe you need to stop thinking about interactions with women as a game in which you need to make a move. How about you get to know them as people rather than game pieces? How about you find out what makes them, as individuals, tick?

    There’s no cheat code for pussy, dear.

  307. zuzu
    August 16, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Either no one wants to see men model clothing, or they think men won’t apply even if they did it – both of those pointing to a societal attitude that most men are not that attractive physically (they are for other things, to society). Or do you have a third hypothesis?

    Or maybe men don’t buy that much clothing because they don’t have entire industries devoted to convincing them that if they don’t conform to beauty standards and fashion standards (which are constantly changing, and thus require a steady outlay of time, effort and money, all of which these industries are happy to take from them), they won’t get a man, and if they don’t continue to conform, they won’t keep the man they’ve got.

    Really, all most men have to do is shower and put on a clean shirt to be socially acceptable and be considered a good catch. They don’t even have to shave these days.

    As for the discrepancy in the numbers of models: it’s long been an axiom in advertising that sex sells. Given that women’s bodies symbolize sex, is it really a surprise that female models are used in ads to sell products to both men and women?

  308. August 16, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Don’t go to the cinema. Go to the mall, go to a playground, go to a busy street, go to a stadium.

    Look at the men and boys there, then look at the women and girls there. Tell me they’re all considered equivalent in looks (including by themselves).

    In my experience, men worry a lot less about having to attain mythical beauty standards than women do, because what constitutes “attractive” for men is a lot broader. What is a conventionally attractive man? He can be buff or thin or have a few extra pounds. He can be average height or tall (shortness not being conventionally an attractive trait for men). He can have a lot of facial hair or be clean shaven. I’m not saying that every average guy is going to be seen as the Brad Pitt of his friend group, but, for guys, the message we receive from society is definitely not “you’ll never be attractive” it’s “it mostly doesn’t matter what you physically look like, someone will probably find you attractive.” I’m not saying that there’s no pressure to be physically conventionally attractive, but I absolutely do not believe that there’s this cultural belief that men are inherently unattractive and unwanted but women are, by default, attractive. That doesn’t fit in remotely with my lived experience.

    Either no one wants to see men model clothing, or they think men won’t apply even if they did it – both of those pointing to a societal attitude that most men are not that attractive physically (they are for other things, to society). Or do you have a third hypothesis?

    Or there’s enormous pressure on women to conform to unrealistic beauty standards and the use of models reinforces that. Women modeling clothes aren’t there for the sexual enticement of men, they’re there to show women what they ought to look like. Men aren’t, by and large, buying magazines like Cosmo and Glamour–women are. So the women modeling for those sorts of magazines are there for women’s viewing… what does that say?

    You see fewer males models not because people wouldn’t look at them, but because there’s so much less pressure on men to look a certain way that it doesn’t even matter if the clothes being sold are seen on a model. There’s very little pressure on men to try to look like a model to be attractive.

  309. petpluto
    August 16, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Don’t go to the cinema. Go to the mall, go to a playground, go to a busy street, go to a stadium.

    Look at the men and boys there, then look at the women and girls there. Tell me they’re all considered equivalent in looks (including by themselves).

    The fiance and I play this game all the time (we’re people watchers). Typically, the ratio of people we find attractive (which is different than people who are attracted to), is pretty equal among men and women, and boys and girls.

    Now, if you want to know if those people in particular think they’re attractive – well, I’d say that on the whole, all of those people probably don’t walk around thinking they’re hotness on a stick. Some of them may, but most of them have moments where they feel like they don’t measure up or they’re not cute, and that guy or girl they like is soooo much more attractive than they are. And on other days, or in other moments, they’re going to think they’re kickass and rocking the hat or the hair or the outfit or the body and that they’re in the zone.

    But no, I don’t believe that boys walk around thinking that a majority of girls are more attractive than they are, all the time, and therefore totally out of their league. And I don’t believe that men are doing the same thing either. What men and boys may believe is that being attractive isn’t the most important trait for them – and that many of them may think it is an important for women. Because there are cultural narratives that say a dorky looking guy can get a babe of a girl if he’s funny or smart or rich or what-have-you. And that girls get guys by being cute.

    Now, that doesn’t work in practice as much – the girl who’s with the guy you think is dorky is probably hot for him and his bow tie, and the dork probably discusses things like 16th century German folk songs with the girl you think is physically out of his league and that he’s with her for arm candy. That’s life. The boxes and narratives we like to assign people by looking at them rarely encompass the whole truth.

    Either no one wants to see men model clothing, or they think men won’t apply even if they did it – both of those pointing to a societal attitude that most men are not that attractive physically (they are for other things, to society). Or do you have a third hypothesis?

    Personally, I love men modeling clothing – but I think it’s probably down to the fact that being pretty is seen as a career choice really attractive women can make – and for men, being pretty (or handsome) is just an attribute while they go off and do other things. It’s the difference between having being beautiful be a defining characteristic and having it be one in a list of qualities.

  310. Schala
    August 16, 2012 at 11:39 am

    they won’t get a man, and if they don’t continue to conform, they won’t keep the man they’ve got.

    Come on, most men I’ve ever known don’t care ONE BIT what brand name you wear, or if you change clothing every year. Heck, if you do, they’ll consider you high maintenance, thus costly if they ever have to pay for it.

    Women mostly dress for other women (possibly mostly or only their friends). Men wouldn’t even tell the difference between natural make-up and wearing none…which means you could get away with none, not that you NEED to wear natural make-up.

    I wear make-up once per month or two, because my boyfriend likes it. I consider it almost a favor to him, because I don’t personally find it good looking. My clothing is 5 years old. Sometimes more. I transitioned 6 years ago, and a lot of it was given to me (the majority of it). I don’t feel like a pariah attraction-wise because I’m not “à la page” fashion wise. In fact, I feel a lot richer. And I can be “one of the guys”, because I don’t have such restrictions on how I can present to people (ie, without make-up, without brushed hair). I’m low maintenance because I don’t see the point in becoming a slave to fashion “just because”.

    It’s certainly not mandatory to be attractive to most men, so why do it?

  311. Schala
    August 16, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Because there are cultural narratives that say a dorky looking guy can get a babe of a girl if he’s funny or smart or rich or what-have-you. And that girls get guys by being cute.

    Which is what I said, he has to perform, prove his worth. He has none to start with. He can “buy some” attractiveness with money, fame, status, a car, a mansion, being popular, being Johnny Depp. But his looks are plain enough.

  312. Donna L
    August 16, 2012 at 11:45 am

    there’s so much less pressure on men to look a certain way that it doesn’t even matter if the clothes being sold are seen on a model. There’s very little pressure on men to try to look like a model to be attractive.

    True for straight men. Not so much for gay men, unfortunately. I see my son struggle with this.

  313. petpluto
    August 16, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I wear make-up once per month or two, because my boyfriend likes it. I consider it almost a favor to him, because I don’t personally find it good looking.

    Doesn’t this contradict your first point, being that men don’t notice these things?

    Which is what I said, he has to perform, prove his worth.

    Ok, not what I meant, though I can see where I wasn’t clear.

    Here’s what I mean: It isn’t that a dorky guy with a hot girl has proved to her that he is deserving of her, by being smart or funny or what-have-you. YOU may think that, looking at a couple from the outside and wondering what that guy did to get that girl. But that girl? I’m pretty sure 9 times out of 10, he just gets her motor running. She probably finds him hot. She probably is happy if he is smart/funny/cool/watches Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I’ll bet that she is independently attracted to him as well. Those other factors may up his attractiveness. But she wouldn’t be there if she wasn’t attracted to him in the first place.

    Also, having been a teenage girl, I can tell you that I very rarely felt attractive. I felt awkward. I felt not as fit and not as pretty as the girl standing next to me. I felt like not all my parts were doing what my parts should be doing, and that the best thing I could do for myself was basically hide. And every girl I had gym class with seemed to feel the same way, since we had to keep on having conversations that went like, “no, you’re not ugly and you DO have great eyes and you’re so cute, how come you can’t see that?” And every single one of us who said that to our friends and girls who weren’t even our friends couldn’t seem to turn it around and acknowledge that it might also be true about us. Because practically everyone I know has some level of insecurity regarding these things, boys or girls.

  314. Schala
    August 16, 2012 at 11:58 am

    My 312 comment applies to a guy wanting any girl, not just a “babe of a girl”.

    The Chuck Bartowski + Sarah Walker couple involves a “dorky, geeky guy”…who just happens to be 6’4” tall (yes Zackary Levi makes everyone seen small, Morgan isn’t tiny, he’s just a bit below average, while Sarah is tall for a woman). Like the majority of geeky guys.

    and in my 311 comment, this might be misinterpreted:

    “It’s certainly not mandatory to be attractive to most men, so why do it?”

    I mean:

    This is not mandatory (following fashion to the dot) to be attractive to most men, so why do it? Unless you deliberately prefer men who want high-maintenance women (I guess mostly middle-class and rich men, given poor men can’t afford that), this is completely unnecessary.

    And it’s not “letting yourself go”. It’s living, being a person. You’re not a number, act like a person. Persons have preferences of their own. Being genuine is extremely attractive to me, and to many others. Those who push a facade in order to be more popular get my scorn.

    I mainly developed my self-esteem during my present relationship. Being genuine is making your choices based on your personal desires, not the stereotypical desires you’re “supposed to have”.

  315. petpluto
    August 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    My 312 comment applies to a guy wanting any girl, not just a “babe of a girl”.

    Ok, but you said this in comment 290:

    So they have to convince women to settle for them…or think they’re god’s gift to women (incredible arrogance) by pretending its true.

    Leading me to think that any girl could be considered a babe… Maybe I was wrong.

    And it doesn’t change the fundamental nature of the discussion which is: people are generally with people they are attracted to, full stop. And there are aspects of someone’s personality that may make the attraction stronger or may negate that attraction, but sexual attraction is typically a response to someone’s physical appearance. Not always, obviously. Long time friends who suddenly start dating may have found themselves becoming more and more attracted to the individual than they were at first blush.

    The idea that men are attracted to women from moment one, but men have to perform in order to be perceived as attractive by women is wrong. The men I’ve found attractive, I’ve found physically attractive without them having to perform any sort of feat. The attraction is amped up when other things I find sexy are also a part of the package (much like I assume it to work the other way around), but the idea that, as a whole, women are not attracted to a man’s physical appearance is just ludicrous.

  316. zuzu
    August 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    This is not mandatory (following fashion to the dot) to be attractive to most men, so why do it? Unless you deliberately prefer men who want high-maintenance women (I guess mostly middle-class and rich men, given poor men can’t afford that), this is completely unnecessary.

    You have a few assumptions here that are wrong:

    1) That I said anything about following fashion to the dot;

    2) That women aren’t using their own income for this (I mean, please, men have to buy stuff for women?);

    3) That it doesn’t matter at all to men what women look like or dress like;

    4) That poor women don’t feel pressured to conform to beauty or fashion standards, nor do they attempt to do so within their means (hello, knockoffs and drugstore makeup);

    5) That I laid the blame for all of this at the feet of men, rather than at the feet of the patriarchy, working through industries devoted to exploiting patriarchally-influenced female insecurities and programming.

  317. August 16, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    who cares, act like an asshat, women call you a creepoid, social isolation. Totally keep to yourself to avoid that problem, asshole women call you a creepoid anyway, social isolation. Either way, it’s a crapshoot, you just get to pick between the 20% chance and the 100% chance of getting called a creep.

    Either way, same things happens, just a matter of time.

    Your problem is still only with prejudiced assholes, not people who actually feel uncomfortable and scared around you because of invasive and creepy behavior.

  318. August 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    As someone who had to deal with a fucking creep *yesterday*, the comments from the dudes whining about how difficult it is for them to respect women’s boundaries because “WAAH!! My boner!!” is really pissing me the fuck off.

    Since there are some who seem to want to their little fucking hands held and guided through every single possible interaction with a woman, here’s a scenario: If a woman is alone in a dark parking lot at a hotel struggling with several, heavy-looking bags, do not approach her. Do not ask if she is married. Do not invite her to your room. I don’t care how fine you are. Leave her the fuck alone. She may be tired after a hard day at work ending with a long night at the laundromat. She may be cramping and just not up to dealing with your bullshit. Or, she just may not be interested. (Shocking, I know!) In any case, back the fuck off. Leave her the fuck alone. And get on with your fucking life!

  319. Bagelsan
    August 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Good looking creepers are still creepers.

    Good looking creepers are often worse than “ugly*” creepers, because they tend to be extra entitled and douchey. Being incredibly good looking doesn’t mean you can’t not die in a freak gasoline fi– be a creep.

    *whatever that means

  320. August 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Why on earth can’t people understand how a sexual approach from someone you find sexually attractive would be a substantially less threatening situation than a sexual approach from someone you don’t? It doesn’t make you prejudiced against ugly or fat people whatever those labels may even define. That’s the whole point of consent for christ’s sake.

    Different situations have different contexts! Context figures into creepy. How is this so difficult?

    If my doctor tells me I need a prostate exam because I’m over 40 I will let him give me one. If some random person in an elevator offers to give me one, I’m gonna find it creepy.

  321. DouglasG
    August 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    [Women mostly dress for other women (possibly mostly or only their friends).]

    Somewhere Miss Austen is smiling. (“…for man only can be aware of the insensibility of man towards a new gown.”)

    **********************************************************************************

    [True for straight men. Not so much for gay men, unfortunately. I see my son struggle with this.]

    Oof. I’m sorry that standard is still in place. Your son has all my sympathy. I can still (though dimly) recall that time, and it would be the biggest reason against being able to go back and relive that period if one could.

  322. Schala
    August 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    2) That women aren’t using their own income for this (I mean, please, men have to buy stuff for women?);

    If the woman is wearing 1000$ clothing, and he’s wearing a 50$ outfit, she’ll consider him cheap, or too poor, or clashing obviously. So either she’ll buy him clothing, or he’ll have to up his own personal standards just to match yours (ie cost him more).

    In any case, he ends up spending more.

    “3) That it doesn’t matter at all to men what women look like or dress like;”

    I can wear a 20$ skirt, 30$ sneakers and a gifted top (maybe worth 20-30$ originally), with no make-up. I’ll wear that on any given day if I have to walk more than very little. My small non-stiletto heels are reserved for times where I’ll pretty much sit all night.

    It might matter what I look like, but not wether its trendy, “in”, or has been on a walk-way recently. Just how visually appealing it might be.

    Most men don’t read the fashion magazines that women who follow fashion do, so they don’t even know what’s “trendy”. They won’t care you have a Gucci bag, or a Versacce dress. Only what it looks like. I only know those names because of chick flicks btw, or I probably’d never heard in my life.

  323. Schala
    August 16, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    [Women mostly dress for other women (possibly mostly or only their friends).]

    Somewhere Miss Austen is smiling. (“…for man only can be aware of the insensibility of man towards a new gown.”)

    I don’t get what you mean.

    I can buy a 20$ dress that’ll be just as interesting to a man than a 4000$ red carpet dress they wear in Hollywood. Just have to find it, probably on sale.

    Getting the brand name is to impress women, not men. And who comments the red carpet fashion stuff? Not most heterosexual men. They couldn’t care less.

  324. August 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    And now we’re in a fashion derail?

  325. Esti
    August 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Schala, have you considered that your experiences and assumptions are not actually universally true? I mean really considered it?

    Because yes, some heterosexual men know and care about fashion. And some men notice and care if women wear makeup. And not all women who wear expensive clothing expect their boyfriend to pay for it or expect that their boyfriend will also wear expensive clothing. And some women care about fashion, even trendy fashion, because they like it, and not because they are “push[ing] a facade in order to be more popular.” And even women who wear makeup and heels and an expensive dress can also be accepted as “one of the guys.”

    It’s great that you like to wear no makeup and inexpensive, comfortable clothing (that’s not sarcasm, if that’s what works for you then that’s great). But stop telling everyone else that your experiences are universal truth.

  326. zuzu
    August 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    If the woman is wearing 1000$ clothing, and he’s wearing a 50$ outfit, she’ll consider him cheap, or too poor, or clashing obviously. So either she’ll buy him clothing, or he’ll have to up his own personal standards just to match yours (ie cost him more).

    Getting the brand name is to impress women, not men. And who comments the red carpet fashion stuff? Not most heterosexual men. They couldn’t care less.

    Why do you assume that women who feel pressured to dress well/dress sexy/keep up with trends so they don’t look dated are buying only the most expensive clothes and brands?

    Are you unaware of the existence of bargain bins and discount stores and runway knockoffs? Or the fact that you can re-create a runway look on a budget?

  327. Schala
    August 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    And now we’re in a fashion derail?

    It started off with zuzu in 308:

    “Really, all most men have to do is shower and put on a clean shirt to be socially acceptable and be considered a good catch. They don’t even have to shave these days.”

    and roymacIII in 309:

    “In my experience, men worry a lot less about having to attain mythical beauty standards than women do, because what constitutes “attractive” for men is a lot broader. What is a conventionally attractive man? He can be buff or thin or have a few extra pounds. He can be average height or tall (shortness not being conventionally an attractive trait for men). He can have a lot of facial hair or be clean shaven. I’m not saying that every average guy is going to be seen as the Brad Pitt of his friend group, but, for guys, the message we receive from society is definitely not “you’ll never be attractive” it’s “it mostly doesn’t matter what you physically look like, someone will probably find you attractive.””

    In response to my saying that men are considered by default physically unattractive, unless they detach from the lot (as in, the default position is unattractive, and you need a number of traits to put you in the physically attractive pile). Which I said women are perceived by society as going the other way: attractive until proven otherwise by enough unattractive traits.

    It’s certainly been my case. I was wearing male-typical clothing (loose non-fitting, bland, mostly black, some grey) and was pretty much ignored all my male-presenting life. Then I transitioned. No surgery of any kind, not even electrolysis. I wear female-typical clothing (much more fitting, less bland, more colorful, I still wear black a lot, just not only – I tend to wear pants slightly more than not). The rest’s the same. I’m looked at, considered attractive, told I am.

    Didn’t happen ever before. Not even from family.

    So you’ll have trouble convincing me that I was just as physically attractive. By society’s standards, I never was.

    I can’t say if I’m considered as creepy as before, if I was. I did give unwanted attention to people (indiscriminately) who were willing to listen to my long ramblings. I couldn’t read their signs of disinterest. They didn’t voice it. I only retroactively know they were bored to death. It sure makes my real life social life empty. I prefer not to “inflict” my presence on people, if they’re going to be bored or annoyed. I stay home most of the time.

    I take you recommend other people with lack of social skills, aspie or not (I’m undiagnosed but highly suspect it, regardless: I socially suck), to also stay home and avoid social contact right? This would prevent them being creepy.

  328. Schala
    August 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    And some women care about fashion, even trendy fashion, because they like it, and not because they are “push[ing] a facade in order to be more popular.” And even women who wear makeup and heels and an expensive dress can also be accepted as “one of the guys.”

    Look at this in zuzu’s 308 comment:

    “Or maybe men don’t buy that much clothing because they don’t have entire industries devoted to convincing them that if they don’t conform to beauty standards and fashion standards (which are constantly changing, and thus require a steady outlay of time, effort and money, all of which these industries are happy to take from them), they won’t get a man, and if they don’t continue to conform, they won’t keep the man they’ve got.”

    Sounds like she’s saying most women cannot avoid being slaves to fashion, because they’ve been told too many times that’s the only way to be attractive.

    It doesn’t sound like it concerns people who genuinely like it out of their desires and tastes.

  329. zuzu
    August 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Actually, it started when you brought up models.

    You know, just because men openly look at women does not mean that women are objectively more attractive as men. It means that men openly look at women and let the women know they’re looking.

    Have you heard of the male gaze?

  330. Revolver
    August 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I take you recommend other people with lack of social skills, aspie or not (I’m undiagnosed but highly suspect it, regardless: I socially suck), to also stay home and avoid social contact right? This would prevent them being creepy.

    Have you not read the thread? Social awkwardness =/= creepy. Even if that IS true for SOME women, you get no say in how she feels. That doesn’t mean you have to go back to your hidey-hole and hate women forever, it just means that keep an eye out for boundaries you may have inadvertantly crossed.

    Aspies and all sorts of other socially awkward people can pick up basic boundary manners; some women are going to be able to say “Hey, look, that’s making me feel uncomfortable. Please stop.” And then everyone (Aspies, clueless people, whathaveyou) can get a clue. Really that simple. Sometimes women aren’t able to say out loud that you’re making them uncomfortable, and luckily, John Scalzi has a lot of good advice on signs to watch out for.

    He also has a great update.

  331. petpluto
    August 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    It’s certainly been my case. I was wearing male-typical clothing (loose non-fitting, bland, mostly black, some grey) and was pretty much ignored all my male-presenting life. Then I transitioned. No surgery of any kind, not even electrolysis. I wear female-typical clothing (much more fitting, less bland, more colorful, I still wear black a lot, just not only – I tend to wear pants slightly more than not). The rest’s the same. I’m looked at, considered attractive, told I am.

    And you don’t think that could be because one of the dominant traits a woman is supposed to have and place value on is her looks, and it isn’t that way for men?

    When people see my niece, they talk about what a pretty little girl she is. And she is. But my nephew is cute as the day is long and people talk to him and tell him what a tough little man he is. It has nothing to do with him being tougher than her – she’s a kid who impaled her cheek on a stick and didn’t even cry – or her being cuter than him (they’re both equally adorbs). It is what we value. She is told she’s cute because we place more value on girls being cute; he is informed he is tough because we place more value on boys being tough.

  332. Donna L
    August 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    But stop telling everyone else that your experiences are universal truth.

    As I suddenly remember who Schala is.

  333. Schala
    August 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    And you don’t think that could be because one of the dominant traits a woman is supposed to have and place value on is her looks, and it isn’t that way for men?

    So you say we socialize kids, pretty universally, to devalue male looks while overvaluing female looks?

    I think this could realistically explain why men don’t feel they’re physically attractive then. Most of them have never been told so. Regardless of the fact.

    Maybe we’re socializing kids wrong? Not that I have kids.

    Some justify keeping the status quo by saying it might hurt their kid right now (ie have them bullied by others) if they’re not exactly normal (ie no skirts for males in public, ever, even for Halloween – or they get bullied).

    But if no one changes, because it might hurt…no one changes, and patriarchy wins.

  334. zuzu
    August 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    So you say we socialize kids, pretty universally, to devalue male looks while overvaluing female looks?

    I think this could realistically explain why men don’t feel they’re physically attractive then. Most of them have never been told so. Regardless of the fact.

    Maybe we’re socializing kids wrong?

    :::::headdesk:::::::

  335. Bagelsan
    August 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    :::::headdesk:::::::

    Thank you. I was trying to find words, but there are none.

  336. August 16, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I take you recommend other people with lack of social skills, aspie or not (I’m undiagnosed but highly suspect it, regardless: I socially suck), to also stay home and avoid social contact right?

    I recommend that when I tell someone I’m not interested that they get a fucking clue and back the fuck off. In other words, what people have been saying for the last 300 comments or so.

    Donna L.

    As I suddenly remember who Schala is.

    I’ve been doing my damndest to find that thread.

  337. August 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Question: is one of the symptoms of Asperger’s, autism, social anxiety disorder, depression, non-devastatingly-good-lookingness, awkwardness, etc a chronic inability to hear, comprehend or accept the words “no”, “knock it off” or “that makes me really uncomfortable” when women say them? I mean, seriously, is that a symptom, like inability to lock gazes or tendency to repeat phrases or rashes or fevers or muscle spasms? Is this symptom consistent, is this person also unable to take no for an answer from men?

    Oh, that’s not the case?

    Well fuck you, then, you’re a creeper who just happens to have a mental illness, not some tragically misunderstood PWD.

    Signed,
    Someone who has intense social anxiety but has managed not to sexually assault anyone by some miracle.

  338. Media
    August 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Guys.

    Guys.

    I am really enjoying this discussion on creepers, and I am finding it both validating and heartening. But I think there is something we haven’t considered enough.

    Have you thought about the feelings of THE MEN.

    No, really.

    HAVE you considered their poor feelings? Have you thought about how hard their lives are? Have you thought about how difficult it is to be a straight white cis manly man and not have access to wimmenz on tap?

    I bet you haven’t.

    I JUST DON’T THINK WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THE MEN ENOUGH YET.

  339. August 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    So you say we socialize kids, pretty universally, to devalue male looks while overvaluing female looks?

    No.
    No, that’s not actually what is being said.
    We socialize children, pretty universal, to be hypercritical of women’s looks. That’s not the same thing. Nobody is devaluing men’s appearances just because they aren’t treated to the same level of hyper-scrutiny that women are.

    Men are basically taught that they don’t have to do as much work to be attractive, not that they aren’t attractive.

    I think this could realistically explain why men don’t feel they’re physically attractive then. Most of them have never been told so. Regardless of the fact.

    Again, that’s ridiculously far from my lived experience. I have a hard time believing that most men are never told that they’re a “handsome young man” or “a very good looking boy.”

    Who are these people?

  340. August 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    @Angel H.

    I’ve been doing my damndest to find that thread.

    Here you go.

  341. August 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Question: is one of the symptoms of Asperger’s, autism, social anxiety disorder, depression, non-devastatingly-good-lookingness, awkwardness, etc a chronic inability to hear, comprehend or accept the words “no”, “knock it off” or “that makes me really uncomfortable” when women say them? I mean, seriously, is that a symptom, like inability to lock gazes or tendency to repeat phrases or rashes or fevers or muscle spasms? Is this symptom consistent, is this person also unable to take no for an answer from men?

    That last question is the kicker. My friends son with autism has difficulty with being told ‘no’, not that it throws him into a rage, he always wants to know ‘why’, and the conversations can last an extremely long time, like excruciatingly long to the point my friend would be in tears. But it’s consistent over sexes, he does it to his father as well and he’s in high school 3 years now, and there has never been any reports of issues regarding harassment.

  342. Schala
    August 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Signed,
    Someone who has intense social anxiety but has managed not to sexually assault anyone by some miracle.

    I don’t assault people, I bore people. I’ve never done any appropriate touching because I’m scared about it with people I don’t know (conditioned reflex when the first contact people have with you is a fist with your face, even when you don’t fight back).

    Also don’t get what this has to do with being awkward around women. I’m awkward around everyone. I never assaulted anyone, physically or sexually. I’m still awkward, possibly creepy, because say, I don’t make eye contact.

  343. Donna L
    August 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Really, Macavity, how do you expect those poor guys to understand what women mean when they say “don’t touch me, don’t talk to me, and get the f**k away from me”? It’s all so ambiguous and dependent on cultural nuance, after all!

  344. Schala
    August 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Again, that’s ridiculously far from my lived experience. I have a hard time believing that most men are never told that they’re a “handsome young man” or “a very good looking boy.”

    My brothers haven’t been told that. At least not that I can remember. I got three brothers.

    Funny enough, I also wouldn’t have thought to do so on a sister, had I got one.

    “Men are basically taught that they don’t have to do as much work to be attractive, not that they aren’t attractive. ”

    Yes, just be rich, no need to be thin, be rich instead. That’s what they hear. That’s no work if you’re born into it I guess.

  345. zuzu
    August 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I bore people.

    Indeed.

    My brothers haven’t been told that. At least not that I can remember. I got three brothers.

    Maybe you have terrible parents, then.

  346. LotusBecca
    August 16, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Once a while back I was presenting as a man and in a bar. I’d gone to the bar multiple times before, and I was standing with a woman at the jukebox helping her pick out songs. We had talked on several occasions in the past. I knew she was married, and I was not sexually attracted to her. But I was pretty drunk and touched her on the shoulder without asking first. It was an attempt to be friendly and not intended to be invasive or a come on. She said “don’t touch me.” I said “oh sorry” and removed my hand. I never touched her on the shoulder again. We continued to have friendly interactions that night as well as on subsequent evenings.

    So, it seems to me respecting people’s boundaries is pretty simple. I certainly hadn’t been trying to be creepy that night, but I made a miscalculation and then corrected it. Sometimes you will inadvertently overstep someone’s boundaries; modify your behavior without getting defensive and it’s normally not going to be a big deal. So I’m not sure why Sam and commenters who share his viewpoint are making this so complicated.

  347. August 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I don’t assault people, I bore people. I’ve never done any appropriate touching because I’m scared about it with people I don’t know (conditioned reflex when the first contact people have with you is a fist with your face, even when you don’t fight back).

    Then this topic’s not about you, is it? So stop taking it personally and go away, you tiresome person.

    But it’s consistent over sexes, he does it to his father as well and he’s in high school 3 years now, and there has never been any reports of issues regarding harassment.

    Yes, that’s the real issue, isn’t it? Someone who is equally unable to comprehend logistics, from either sex, doesn’t ping as creepy. Someone who specifically refuses to respect boundaries from their “target” gender is creepy as fuck.

    Really, Macavity, how do you expect those poor guys to understand what women mean when they say “don’t touch me, don’t talk to me, and get the f**k away from me”? It’s all so ambiguous and dependent on cultural nuance, after all!

    I know! I mean, that’s something else we haven’t given the poor men consideration about!

    The offenses we feminists commit against are just piling up on this thread, aren’t they?

    As a general note: According to the ‘splainers on this thread, men are helpless to restrain their impulses, too simple and emotional to really understand “no”, too afraid of rejection to give others the opportunity to consent, blah de weep de blah… someone please tell me how these illogical, helpless, animalistic beings came to be known as the RATIONAL sex under our cruel matriarchy?

    Or, you know, it could all be a load of crock and creepers could be ignoring social cues because to do otherwise would be, you know, not creepy, but might end in their getting rapelaid a little less often. The poor babies.

  348. August 16, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I think this could realistically explain why men don’t feel they’re physically attractive then. Most of them have never been told so. Regardless of the fact.

    From this Indian: AHAHAHAHAHOHOHOHAHAHEHEHEHAHAHAHAHA. HA. HA.

    ha.

  349. Sam
    August 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Kristen J,

    #285

    No. Men who inappropriately touch women do not need those women to tell them that their touch is desirable. That will just increase the likelihood that those men will *continue* to sexually violate women. And is a further victimization of women because it is making them (1) deny how they feel about a strange dude’s touch – which by the way is bad, and (2) responsible for making their attackers feel better.

    I’m not sure what’s not working here, but I don’t know how you’re getting that from the part of my comment that you quoted. Of course men who inappropriately touch women do not need women to tell them their touch is desirable. To the contrary.

    My point is that such situations would be less frequent if more men believed they can be/are wanted, that their touch is as valuable as a woman’s in the first place. That’s, however, related to a general social disourse (which I’d like to change), and certainly not the responsibility of individual women who are feeling creeped out. I have said that a couple of times, including in my first comment above.

    Zuzu,

    #299

    You know, for all your whining (and Sam’s too) about men not feeling attractive because you can’t catch women openly looking at you, you seem to be missing a big piece of the puzzle.

    I didn’t say “attractive”, I said “wanted”, as opposed to (socially) needed. That’s an important difference.

    I’m also going to go out on a limb here as well and guess that the women you want to attract are the women that you see as hot and are also considered hot by conventional beauty standards. What about the women who aren’t hot, guys? Don’t they deserve to feel attractive just as you do?

    I’m not sure what that has to do with what I’m saying in any way. Individual differences will persist for both women and men, but social discourses about male and female sexuality affect everyone regardless of their position on the “conventional beauty” scale.

    Petpluto,

    #300

    Seriously, respecting a person’s boundaries shouldn’t be predicated on men knowing they’re wanted.

    It’s not (morally). I just believe that it would change gender interaction and reduce such instances (statistically).

    Zuzu,

    #301

    Unfortunately, you seem to be under the misapprehension that changing the discourse will yield you up a flood of pussy because all those pesky gatekeeping women keeping you from access to the Pussy Oversoul will abandon their posts once you use the right magic words to convince them your creepy ambush hugging is really perfectly grand.

    Well, I believe that it would make a better world for everyone, including sexually. And to be honest, you reading what you wrote into my comment, is, I’d say, mostly interesting with respect to the assumptions of your world view and why we keep talking past each other.

  350. zuzu
    August 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    My point is that such situations would be less frequent if more men believed they can be/are wanted, that their touch is as valuable as a woman’s in the first place.

    Why do you keep pushing this, when the ENTIRE ISSUE IS THAT YOU DON’T TOUCH SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T WANT YOU TO TOUCH THEM.

    Fuck’s sake, I’m losing my patience with your dumb-ass act. Either you are a complete dumbass, or you’re just continuing your JAQ-ing off from the many other threads where you’ve pulled this shit.

    Even if men learned their touch was fucking magic and cured cancer, it would still not give them the right to go around touching people who didn’t want to be touched, whether by them or by anyone else. Yes, even if you can’t get the spine together to ASK FIRST because of some idiotic ideas you have about spoiling a moment. Why can’t you get that?

  351. Sam
    August 16, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Zuzu,

    Even if men learned their touch was fucking magic and cured cancer, it would still not give them the right to go around touching people who didn’t want to be touched, whether by them or by anyone else.

    Well, good thing then I’ve said so *TWICE* in the comment right before yours.

    I guess there’s really no point in continuing this conversation when you take everything I say with respect to a *general discourse* and apply it to *specific problematic instances* for which it doesn’t make sense. It’s the mother of all straw men.

  352. August 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Thank you, Zuzu!

  353. Kristen J.
    August 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    My point is that such situations would be less frequent if more men believed they can be/are wanted, that their touch is as valuable as a woman’s in the first place. That’s, however, related to a general social disourse (which I’d like to change), and certainly not the responsibility of individual women who are feeling creeped out. I have said that a couple of times, including in my first comment above.

    Okay how do you propose to communicate to men that their touch is valuable without communicating the idea that women want men to touch them.

  354. petpluto
    August 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    My point is that such situations would be less frequent if more men believed they can be/are wanted, that their touch is as valuable as a woman’s in the first place.

    In your opinion, why are men touching women now? Is it because they get a kick out of touching people who don’t want to be touched? Is it some sort of weird punishment because they’re not feeling wanted enough? Is it a cry for being told they are wanted and their touch is special?

    Or is it possibly because a lot of men don’t stop to consider that their touch could possibly be anything other than wanted? And then react poorly to the idea that, no, actually, not everyone wants to be touched by you (general you)?

    The problem I have with your “men have to be made to feel wanted” position is that it seems at odds with the idea that men would be touching women *at all* now. If there were a sudden dearth of men touching women, I’d be more likely to give your hypothesis some credence. But there’s not. There’s a hella lot of the opposite.

    It’s not (morally). I just believe that it would change gender interaction and reduce such instances (statistically)

    I don’t even understand this. If men don’t understand consent, then how are we supposed to show them that they’re wanted? If men don’t respect consent, how can we want them?

    But for serious, these are two separate issues. It cannot be predicated on making men wanted, because that has nothing to do with the problem.

  355. shfree
    August 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Okay how do you propose to communicate to men that their touch is valuable without communicating the idea that women want men to touch them.

    Well, duh, Kristen J., you wear a sandwich board saying “DON’T TOUCH ME, but mantouch is the awesome anyway!” Also, be sure to gaze raptly at any man who passes by, perhaps drooling a little, to make sure he knows you find him attractive.

  356. Sam
    August 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Kristen J.,

    Okay how do you propose to communicate to men that their touch is valuable without communicating the idea that women want men to touch them.

    well, women *do* want men to touch them – consensually. So that emphasis shift seems rather simple to me in theory, and, well, basically its also what’s also implied in “yes means yes”, I’d say, although, if you go that website now and click on masculinity you’ll get a motley collection of blogposts about male transgressions.

    Such a positive discourse would focus on *wanted* touch, on the positive experiences with men and male sexuality, and as such would also identify problematic transgressions without making them the centre of male sexual identiy.

    In the words of Naomi Wolf – “there is an elaborate vocabulary in which to describe sexual harm done by men, but almost no vocabulary in which a woman can celebrate sex with men.”

    I can’t invent *that* vocabulary for women, of course. It’s their desire (or not) and their words. All I can do is explain why I believe Ms Wolf is right about the lack of such vocabulary and that I believe having it and using it would be tremendously helpful to everyone, including those who are mostly worried about male transgressions (although I do understand that it may seem counter-intuitive to them). And I can speak out against slut shaming and other problematic behaviour to make it a little easier.

  357. zuzu
    August 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    well, women *do* want men to touch them – consensually. So that emphasis shift seems rather simple to me in theory, and, well, basically its also what’s also implied in “yes means yes”, I’d say, although, if you go that website now and click on masculinity you’ll get a motley collection of blogposts about male transgressions.

    Those transgressions are transgressions of CONSENT.

    Do you even understand what CONSENT means? “Women” don’t want “men” to touch them — an individual woman may want a particular man to touch her with her consent. For that woman, that man’s touch is valuable. Any other man’s touch is unwelcome and unwanted and not valuable. Any touch by a man she’s allowed to touch her which is given against her consent is not valuable.

    Changing the vocabulary around touch does not change any of this.

  358. Sam
    August 16, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Petpluto,

    The problem I have with your “men have to be made to feel wanted” position is that it seems at odds with the idea that men would be touching women *at all* now.

    it’s not at all at odds, in my opinion. Female touch is (socially) valuable, male touch is less valuable. Socially, men are considered to gain value by being sexual, women are considered to lose value by being sexual. If men didn’t believe that, since they understand their being wanted independently of simple “scoring”, and since changed gender behaviour in light of a more balanced socio-sexul value attribution would make it less imperative for them to chase women, transgressions would become less frequent. But, of course, that’s only what I think, and I evidently can’t prove my hypothesis.

  359. Kristen J.
    August 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    well, women *do* want men to touch them – consensually.

    That’s your problem. You don’t get that we don’t live in a world where anyone gives a shit about women’s consent. So your solution of “valuing” men’s touch means women’s consent is still going to be violated only more so because now men get to believe that they are not only entitled to a woman’s body but that women really want to be touched. (Hmmm….where have I heard that before? Oh yeah…from one of these creepers when I threatened to break his fingers…his response, “Oh, you know you like it, bitch. In that outfit, you’re basically panting for it.”)

  360. August 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    My brothers haven’t been told that. At least not that I can remember. I got three brothers.

    That sounds unfortunate. it’s a very common thing to tell children that they’re cute, handsome, adorable, or otherwise attractive. My condolences that you missed out on this.

    Yes, just be rich, no need to be thin, be rich instead. That’s what they hear. That’s no work if you’re born into it I guess.

    Bullshit. Men are basically taught that there are any number of ways to be attractive to women–you can be physically attractive, good at sports, smart, funny, rich, charming, artistic, musically inclined, etc.

    This whole pity party for men is ridiculous. I just don’t see any evidence that men, as a class, are taught “you are unattractive by default.” I honestly have no idea where this idea is coming from.

    And, really, I don’t see what it has to do with being creepy.

  361. LotusBecca
    August 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    As far as I can tell. . .Sam’s basic position is something along the lines of “there’s too much negative talk about men happening in our society. If we all made an effort to say more nice things about men (in general) then fewer men would wig out and do abusive things.” I think this is exactly the wrong approach. Criticizing someone is important to having them change. There needs to be more highlighting of the dangerous and problematic aspects of men and masculinity, not less. Men and their sexuality–at least when of the right kind (straight, cis, white, etc.)–already receive plenty of positive focus and valorization in our society. So also pointing out the ways in which men can be selfish, insensitive, dominating, threatening, and abusive is important and needs to continue to happen–not just when specific instances of it arise but also in a general and theoretical sort of way.

    But Sam seems to subscribe to a Norman Vincent Peale-esque view of the problem around men violating women’s boundaries. He believes the source of the problem is the fact that we are focusing so much on the problem! If we only stopped talking about the problem this much it would go away! I’m sorry Sam. . .ignoring problems is a horrible way to go about fixing them, and a political blog focused on social criticism probably isn’t the best place to push this kind of Power of Positive Thinking drivel.

  362. Sam
    August 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Kristen J,

    That’s your problem. You don’t get that we don’t live in a world where anyone gives a shit about women’s consent.

    you’re right, I do believe that people are generally concerned about consent.

  363. August 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Concerned about making sure they have it?
    Or concerned about ways to circumvent it?

  364. unyun
    August 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    I find it incredible that this thread has become a discussion about men’s feelings needing rubbed. To be honest probably 90% of the women I meet every day put men’s feelings before their own. I’ve spent 25 years of my life totally dickminded, constantly catering to the oh-so-fragile egos of dudes. And I still got groped/assaulted/raped (not surprisingly, since I wasn’t firmly setting boundaries BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO HURT DUDES’ FEELINGS). So now the onus is on MEN to fix whatever identity problems may develop from a lack of women’s touch, not women. This is the wrong fucking place to have this conversation, and it’s pissing me off. Talk to your bros, man.

  365. EG
    August 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Seriously. Ever since I’ve been 13, I’ve heard about how I need to be careful not to hurt a boy’s/man’s “delicate male ego” when making my preferences known. No, I don’t want to go out with you. No, I don’t want you to follow me home. No, I don’t want to talk to you, I want to read my book, which is why I told you not to follow me home, but my mother is making me. I DO NOT WANT TO DATE YOU. Accept it and move on with your life, just like I have when men have turned me down.

  366. Faithless
    August 16, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    In the end, if someone is intimidated by him, his bodily safety isn’t really threatened.

    calling total 100% bullshit on this, when you look like me and some woman off the street starts beating you in a public park with a cane because “she thought you were going to hurt her baby” (yes this has actually fucking happend to me, I fucking hate Louisiana), you are constantly aware of 2 things. a) absolutely NOBODY is going to help you, her perhaps, but not you b) if somebody DOES call the cops or you are seen defending yourself in any way, your going to jail, and when the cops tell your cell mates for the night about how you beat up some poor woman, your getting the shit kicked out of you, or worse…

    But for me, if someone decided to respond negatively to me, the chances I will physically be involved are much higher.

    Um no, not really, I’m pretty sure if you add up the times ive been maced for sitting next to a woman on a train or buss because there was no other seat strictly due to fear, had dudes in bars pick fights with me cus “he dosen’t care if a dude bigger than him looks at his girl, hes going to town (and before you genderize THAT one onlookers, know that every SINGLE time this has happend to me, the wom(e)an behind him are cheering him on like im standing in a fucking MMA octagon)”, or physically removed from a resturant, bar, or club for “making some of the women in the establishment “uncomfortable” (by of course sitting in the corner minding my own fucking business), then id say I’m probly about as high up on the “straight violence meeter” as you are on the “touch my ass agand and I’m keeping that hand” gauge.

    “I’ve been sexually assaulted before.”

    that sucks but unless your telling me you feel you could have prevented your assault by calling the assaulter they were a creep, im not seeing the correlation here. I never said “creeps” don’t exist, I’m saying its a gendered term that women throw around when they want to hurt somebody socially regardless of the reason. Yes, some use it with good reason, most don’t

    He’s found ways that don’t inconvenience him to mitigate that, like being careful not to loom over people, keeping a smile on his face, being careful to not talk too loudly in his deep, rumbling voice. But look at that list: that’s Basic Social 101 rules.

    That statement is a giant contradiction, if everything he did is “Social 101” then wasn’t he ALREADY doing those things before he “mitigated his problem”? Or are you trying to say he was a socially oblivious asshole before he met you?

    We compare that against what I have to be aware of and there isn’t much contest.

    thats great that YOU think that, I don’t

    you thinking that you’re winning the oppresion olympics dosen’t make me empathize with you to the point where I feel motivated to walk around in a suit at 3am so “you poor little things aren’t so scaaared”

    Learning to judge what threats are real and which ones are you being scared and nieve is part of adult life, if the mere proximity to guys like me is enough to send you running back to your apartment regardless of our behavior (as my experience and the experience of other men sugests) then I feel bad for you, but thats your problem.

    That inconvenience never trumps physical safety. That fear for survival is on the opposite side of the boat from fear of being insulted.

    If thats true then the next time some woman freaks out in a bus because I sat across the isle from her and takes out her taser or pepper spray, i should beat her unconcious to nutralise the threat right?

    This is my point, reducing complext social interactions to prison rules and justifying totally irational reactions to people with (well I was scared so its ok) is fucking stupid. Because if you get scared and point a taser at me, im going to get scared and beat you death with it, not offer you a dissertation in how I “didnt mean to make you uncomfortable”

  367. Faithless
    August 16, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    @sam and the others

    You know how you know if your attractive or not? If nobody hits on you, your probably not, welcome to the club, deal.

    You know how you avoid creeping a chick out? You DON’T TALK TO HER!

    You know how you GUARANTEE you don’t creep a chick out? YOU CANT!

    welcome to adult hood, yes, it sucks for us ugly dudes who aren’t willing to be assholes to get laid, life sucks and then ya die, get used to it.

  368. Kristen J.
    August 16, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    you’re right, I do believe that people are generally concerned about consent.

    That’s probably because you don’t have your consent or lack there of ignored regularly. How could you possibly gain an understanding….hmmm….well, you could look at the statistics on rape and see that a large percentage of women have experienced someone disregarding their lack of consent. You could look at the surveys of men that indicate that about a third would commit rape if they thought they could get away with it. You could look at institutional markers like how our laws are set up so that women have to prove that they didn’t consent. Or you could note that there is an entire movement of men devoting to pushing the boundries of consent (or getting away with ignoring it all together). Or…maybe…just maybe…you could listen to the women who are discussing this very topic. You know…men violating women’s consent so regularly that there is a NAME for it.

  369. August 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    welcome to adult hood, yes, it sucks for us ugly dudes who aren’t willing to be assholes to get laid, life sucks and then ya die, get used to it.

    Oh look, it’s another one of those “nice guys” who thinks that women only want to have sex with jerks. How charming.

  370. Annaleigh
    August 17, 2012 at 4:19 am

    Not letting a total stranger who has demonstrated that he is much stronger than you into your apartment is overly risk averse? When many experiences of rape begin exactly that way? I think your judgment is way, way off on this one.

    This. Matlun, get a clue.

    I had one experience in my early 20’s where a UPS driver was creeping me out. Then he asked for some water. I left the door pretty open (which I think might have been a bad idea but I wanted to keep an eye on him because I was home alone) and walked back into the trailer to the water cooler and got him some. That was when he asked for a hug. I am kind of socially awkward and even plenty of harmless social situations can be difficult as a result of abuse at home and bullying at school. I don’t remember what I did (other than I didn’t hug him), I think he backed off that and left. I was encouraged to file a complaint. I did, and I later found out that he had also scared many other women in my neighborhood and I never saw him again.

    I honestly think I narrowly avoided yet another incident of sexual assault in my life. Caperton was absolutely right to make the decision she did.

  371. Annaleigh
    August 17, 2012 at 4:30 am

    Do you really think that this type of cautious attitude has no cost? What about the emotional stress from the long term fear and vigilance? What about the self imposed limitations and missed options? What of all the myriad little sacrifices made to avoid any risky situation? Each incident in isolation is small, but the aggregate effect is IMO significant.

    Yes, it’s fucking exhausting! It’s also exhausting to have to deal with men who want to tell women like me who have been sexually assaulted in contexts as private as a granduncle in the relative privacy of family gathers and as public as an assault by multiple men in broad daylight on a busy street that the statistics indicate that nothing will happen, that I should let go of worries and fear because it’s just that easy and I’ll be so much happier, etc. etc.

    God, Matlun, I’m sorry but so many men can be so dense and clueless about these issues, and unfortunately you are frequently one of them…

  372. Annaleigh
    August 17, 2012 at 5:23 am

    I think that the people here who want to emphasize scenarios where a creeper lacks some privilege that a creepee who is a woman has fail to think about intersection, and they also fail to realize that if some is creeped out or scared by another person’s behavior, the intent especially does not matter as the incident is happening. I’ve been in one situation that frightened me pretty badly as it was happening, and it was only until later, after I knew I was safe, that I was able to think about the fact the men probably hadn’t meant to frighten anyone and they did what they did because of extreme lack of economic privilege.

    To try and make the anecdote short, it was a couple of Augusts ago when I went out at about 11 PM or 12 AM to get the mail. August in the San Joaquin Valley tends to be extremely hot, can get into the 110s, so there are many times where I will only get the mail every few days, and always late at night (because even as it gets close to midnight it will be in the upper 90s). Anyway, doing something like this is a source of anxiety for myself. I live right beside the highway/freeway. Abduction, rape, etc. are real fears for me and my mother will beg me to take my cell phone if I am going out that late to collect the mail or do anything else, because bad things have happened to women in that context.

    So, one night a couple of Augusts ago, I walked out of my trailer towards the gate of my backyard so I could go collect the mail. But I had the living daylights scared out of me because I discovered a van full of men parked where family members normally park when they visit. Some were sleeping the van, others were sleeping on cardboard that had been laid on the concrete beside our fence. You see, these men were in town to try and get some work picking the grapes, and they were so poor on their arrival that they couldn’t even afford a crappy motel room. Lots and lots of men live together in groups here in town, because they are temporarily picking crops and hope to go home, whether here in the USA or Mexico. You see them doing their grocery shopping and laundromat visits in groups. In that context they are not threatening. But to randomly find a bunch of men in my backyard for all intents and purposes was frightening. They didn’t mean to scare anyone, they needed a place to stay. But I have been sexually assaulted by a group of men. Sometimes I am afraid of men in groups, and rightfully so. It was only once the men had left, I was back in my trailer, only once I got my breath back and my heart stopped racing out of control that I was able to settle down and appreciate and fully feel empathy for their awful economic situation.

    So yeah, sometimes people don’t mean to do something creepy, scary, or threatening, and if you eventually find out that their motives weren’t the intent to hurt and threaten, it’s good to have empathy for why they might have done what they did. But intent isn’t magic, and if you’re causing someone to feel creeped out or threatened, it’s best to back off.

  373. Faithless
    August 17, 2012 at 6:05 am

    Oh look, it’s another one of those “nice guys” who thinks that women only want to have sex with jerks. How charming.

    sure, that is totally exactly what i said :roll eyes:

  374. DouglasG
    August 17, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Mr Meik, your posts all seem to have taking the Broadway Damage “Hierarchy of Beauty” and given it steroids. I’m sure we all get your main point; your looks attract many people. But your insistence in various posts that other, “inferiour” people learn, know and memorize by heart their “places” is coming across as if it emanated from the mouth of a Queen Bee (or perhaps a WannaBee).

    I’ll grant that a favourable appearance may be a bit of a foot in the door, or might perhaps give one the benefit of the doubt in the case of a close call. (Personally, I’ll admit that, were I approached by a dead ringer for any of a select group of figure skaters, I’d probably give him the equivalent of an extra strike before terminating contact.) But you seem to have taken seriously that line from the Gondoliers: “If everybody’s Somebody, then noone’s Anybody.” I can’t see such investiture in a Permanent Underclass flying well here.

  375. DouglasG
    August 17, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Oh, bother. Sorry about the botched italics.

  376. August 17, 2012 at 8:46 am

    That sounds unfortunate. it’s a very common thing to tell children that they’re cute, handsome, adorable, or otherwise attractive. My condolences that you missed out on this.

    There are unfortunately a good deal of parents who don’t this, but
    it would be ridiculous to say it’s based on gender (or any actual bell-wether of attractiveness.)

  377. zuzu
    August 17, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Funny how we “Jerks” just happen to look fit from gym or sports, or play the guitar XD . Oh no, not looking like the Michelin Man turns you into a Jerk :0

    Well I would consider that good advice. If you are fit and take good care of yourself or just happen to have good genetics you dont want a fat chicks,

    Pro tip if women talk out of the blue to you they are hitting on you. If a stranger dressed in a hoody would have been a nono to her, she wouldnt have talked to you in the first place.

    Bye, Meik!

  378. August 17, 2012 at 10:02 am

    welcome to adult hood, yes, it sucks for us ugly dudes who aren’t willing to be assholes to get laid, life sucks and then ya die, get used to it.

    Oh look, it’s another one of those “nice guys” who thinks that women only want to have sex with jerks. How charming.

    Unless by ‘assholes’ he means guys who are running some kind of game or pick up thing. I hadn’t actually thought about it but in some sense it’s actually good that women can identify someone with creepy intentions, so I wouldn’t encourage anyone to ‘act’ less creepy, merely to ‘be’ less creepy, if you see the distinction.

  379. August 17, 2012 at 10:42 am

    1. Here’s the deal: You are not entitled to any woman you want. All this “hot girls only want hot guys!” whining ignores the fact that you’re being just as superficial as you claim they are. If you really did care about what’s on the inside, you’d be chatting up the non-hot woman in the Metallica: Escape from the Studio tour t-shirt and guitar calluses on her fingertips, instead of joining the crowd of men clamoring to buy a drink for the hot chick next to her and then complaining that non-hot guys can’t get laid. Any given woman is not required to give you time just because you want her to. If she doesn’t respond to you, just pick a different woman.

    2. This complaint that if a man can’t be attractive or rich, he has to be funny or charming or have some talent or interest… and? What you’re saying is that he has to have at least one appealing quality? Whereas there are a bunch of poor, boring, surly, uggo women sitting around with men falling all over them? Yes, to attract someone to you, you have to have an attractive quality. That’s not shallowness, that’s just… biology, or something.

    3. “I’m a hugger. Do you hug? … No? Cool.” [offers handshake/fist bump/high five/finger guns] Look! I did rocket science!

  380. August 17, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Oh look, it’s another one of those “nice guys” who thinks that women only want to have sex with jerks. How charming.

    sure, that is totally exactly what i said :roll eyes:

    Okay. You might want to be clearer in your posts, then, because it’s rather easy to misread parts of them.

  381. August 17, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Faithless, I am really sorry about what you’ve had to deal with. I can only imagine what it’s like to be treated basically like a monster in hiding because of no actions of your own, and that’s even before getting to the racism in those attitudes. I do think your situation is different from men who perform creepy behaviors and disrespect women’s personal comfort and security, and then ignore clear cues to stop. But it has to be hard to be treated like someone who performs violent actions just because you appear that you could be physically capable of performing violent actions.

  382. Razzby
    August 17, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Faithless, what Caperton said. I’m sorry if it seemed I was minimizing how you were treated. Because it’s wrong. No, from what you described of your situation, does the creepy factor apply.

    I mentioned my husband because he falls into the same category. It’s never cool to be judged on physical manifestation without any actions to give better context.

    The discussion is trying to illustrate that very thing. However you present physically (whether through gender, sociologically, or something as simple as fashion choices , etc) it’s never okay for people to mistreat you based on that. It’s not okay to be mistreated ever. For whatever reason. It’s way not okay to think it’s normal to hurt people or should be excused because of x, y, z.

    Even if losing the ability to mistreat people offends some who choose to.

  383. unyun
    August 17, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Yeah Faithless, I second what Caperton said. That sounds like a shit situation that you are constantly finding yourself in, and it sounds like race plays a part in it as well. If you’ve been physically assaulted by a woman that felt threatened, that then turns the tables and you’re the one left feeling creeped out by random people.

    If thats true then the next time some woman freaks out in a bus because I sat across the isle from her and takes out her taser or pepper spray, i should beat her unconcious to nutralise the threat right?

    Seriously? You think that beating a woman unconscious because she pulled out pepper spray is somewhat justified? A lot of times if I’m walking alone at night and I see a man down the way a bit coming toward me I’ll pull out my pepper spray and hold it to my side. What if the man happened to see it? Would he be justified physically assaulting me because he feels threatened by the sight of my pepper spray? Also… can you not empathize at ALL with women who do this?

  384. petpluto
    August 17, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Female touch is (socially) valuable, male touch is less valuable. Socially, men are considered to gain value by being sexual, women are considered to lose value by being sexual. If men didn’t believe that, since they understand their being wanted independently of simple “scoring”, and since changed gender behaviour in light of a more balanced socio-sexul value attribution would make it less imperative for them to chase women, transgressions would become less frequent.

    Or, you know, if they respected women and respected the boundaries women put forth…

    The problem with your solution for this issue is that it ignores the fundamental issue here – it isn’t about men and men’s feelings. Men and men’s feelings may need addressing. This isn’t the situation. This is about not recognizing women as individuals who have the right to consent.

    If men don’t think your touch is valuable, why are they touching? If men gain value by behaving sexually, then touching is of value. It gives them value to touch women, whether or not the woman has consented.

    If I’ve misunderstood your point, I apologize. But your logic is circular, in that you seem to believe that men’s touch is not valued, so they must touch in order to gain value. The cut off point is men learning that they are not given automatic rights to other human beings, because other human being are autonomous creatures who have the right to dictate who can and cannot touch them.

    Instead of making it about men’s feelings, about their self-worth, conversations about inappropriate touching needs to be centered around men’s awareness that their desires do not take precedence. If a man desires to touch a woman, that does not negate a woman’s right to not be touched. Full stop.

    If you want to build a movement that makes men’s touching ok, more power to you. If it includes allowing men to hug and touch other men so we don’t end up with those weird half-hugs, great. But unless men respect boundaries and understand consent, you’re not fixing the problem.

  385. Esti
    August 17, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Why are you assuming that men’s touch is inherently valuable? I don’t think it (or women’s touch) is. Touching someone else is not necessarily good or bad — its worth is always dependent on the specifics of the two people and the situation. Telling men that their touch is valuable as a general matter contributes to the exact problem we have right now: a failure to consider and respect whether this person, in this situation, is okay with being touched by you.

    I don’t understand why such basic ideas are so hard to grasp. The problem is not whether some groups of people feel awkward or excluded or unattractive. The real issue is how those feelings are acted on. The best way to stop people from acting badly is to make those actions unacceptable. Taking wild guesses at the feelings that might be underlying the bad behavior, and then even wilder guesses at what might make those feelings go away, is not effective or helpful.

  386. Schala
    August 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    2. This complaint that if a man can’t be attractive or rich, he has to be funny or charming or have some talent or interest… and? What you’re saying is that he has to have at least one appealing quality? Whereas there are a bunch of poor, boring, surly, uggo women sitting around with men falling all over them? Yes, to attract someone to you, you have to have an attractive quality. That’s not shallowness, that’s just… biology, or something.

    I said above: I’m the same level of attractiveness as pre-transition…and I get hit on actually. Never happened before.

    It’s: Same looks, different results.

    Meaning it’s also: Double standard whereas my body is actually desirable now, and wasn’t at all before.

    I’m saying the quality I already had, gained value just because of femaleness. I’m not a model, a superstar, popular, rich, funny, or THAT smart…but I still apparently have enough qualities to get hit on, and imagine that; even as a trans woman, more than as someone seen as a cis man. I don’t even use make-up or have cleavage. My fashion sense is iffy sometimes, according to some (sneakers with a skirt). And I’m very frugal with stuff I feel are obligations (I won’t spend 50$ a year in shampoo).

    Still attractive enough to get told about it…and I hardly go out.

  387. Faithless
    August 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Okay. You might want to be clearer in your posts, then, because it’s rather easy to misread parts of them.

    Absolutely nothing I said contained the phrase “to get laid” or had anything to do with sexual attraction. I do not initiate contact of any kind with women I don’t already know to a) protect myself and b) because I am unlikely to scare a woman into reacting negatively if I simply don’t talk to her. no part of that even remotely indicates “only jerks get laid”. I have no clue how you got that out of what I said, that topic got brought up as a derail anyway.

  388. zuzu
    August 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I said above: I’m the same level of attractiveness as pre-transition…and I get hit on actually. Never happened before.

    It’s: Same looks, different results.

    Meaning it’s also: Double standard whereas my body is actually desirable now, and wasn’t at all before.

    OMFG.

    You’re attracting a different population now, one that — and stay with me here, this is important — IS FAR MORE LIKELY TO OPENLY HIT ON THE GENDER YOU PRESENT NOW THAN THE POPULATION YOU WERE ATTRACTING BEFORE.

    It has absolutely ZERO to do with your objective level of attractiveness and EVERYTHING to do with the way that men are socialized to voice their desire for women and women are socialized NOT to voice their desire for men.

    But I wouldn’t expect an MRA to give that any credit. Instead, you’re just going to keep whining that the pooooooor men have it so baaaaad because no one tells them they’re pretty. Christ.

  389. August 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Absolutely nothing I said contained the phrase “to get laid” or had anything to do with sexual attraction. I do not initiate contact of any kind with women I don’t already know to a) protect myself and b) because I am unlikely to scare a woman into reacting negatively if I simply don’t talk to her. no part of that even remotely indicates “only jerks get laid”. I have no clue how you got that out of what I said, that topic got brought up as a derail anyway.

    I apologize for misreading it. I still think that your post wasn’t clear enough, though.

  390. Faithless
    August 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Seriously? You think that beating a woman unconscious because she pulled out pepper spray is somewhat justified?

    I was exaggerating to make a point, I thought that was obvious, apparently not <_<.

    A lot of times if I’m walking alone at night and I see a man down the way a bit coming toward me I’ll pull out my pepper spray and hold it to my side.

    Intent is not magic, walking down the street is not by default a threatening action, pulling out a weapon in response to the mear sight of another human being most CERTAINLY is. That makes YOU the aggressor, not the other person, is this really that extreem of a concept?

    What if the man happened to see it? Would he be justified physically assaulting me because he feels threatened by the sight of my pepper spray?

    Is this really such an alien concept to you? Do you seriously not see pulling out a concealed weapon as an act of aggression?! Weather its a taser or pepper spray or a 45, you are responding to someone walking down the street by unholstering a concealed weapon. WHY in the world would you expect the other person to blindly trust you to only use it in “appropriate circumstances”? If walking down the street prompts you to expose a weapon, how the hell do I know that a glance in your direction or a sneeze and a quick hand gesture to cover my mouth wont prompt you to pull the trigger? YOU are the agressor in this situation not the person walking down the street.

    Also… can you not empathize at ALL with women who do this?

    Do I empathize with people who experience fear in public places due how society views aspects of them they can not control? Certainly, I experience that myself on a consistant basis, what I’m talking about has nothing to do with empathy. Your need to feel safe does not trump my need to feel safe. As many feminists say, “Intent is not magic”

  391. Bagelsan
    August 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Meaning it’s also: Double standard whereas my body is actually desirable now, and wasn’t at all before.

    The fact that men usually don’t get catcalled in the streets doesn’t mean that they aren’t attractive, it means that most women aren’t entitled gaping assholes.

  392. Schala
    August 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    “The fact that men usually don’t get catcalled in the streets doesn’t mean that they aren’t attractive, it means that most women aren’t entitled gaping assholes.”

    I never got catcalled, ever. I’m talking about genuinely voicing attraction and interest.

    It has absolutely ZERO to do with your objective level of attractiveness and EVERYTHING to do with the way that men are socialized to voice their desire for women and women are socialized NOT to voice their desire for men.

    But I wouldn’t expect an MRA to give that any credit. Instead, you’re just going to keep whining that the pooooooor men have it so baaaaad because no one tells them they’re pretty. Christ.

    I know it’s not objective. But the fact men aren’t told they’re handsome or good looking, unless they approach very-hot levels, implies (to them and many others, teen movies included) that women are objectively hotter.

    Being valued for their wallet, their popularity or their wit, only adds insults to injury – being valued only for doing, not being (ie other people could do whatever it is you do, but you’re the only you).

    And secondly, I’m not a MRA. I don’t identify as such, and don’t visit sites that identify as such.

    Does disagreeing with feminist orthodoxy on the unidirectionality of privilege and social assumptions of society make someone a MRA? Didn’t think so. Or 70% of the population are MRAs (plenty of people who believe equality is awesome, but don’t believe that women necessarily have it worse on all levels, who don’t even come to blogs, or talk about it unless asked).

    Disagreeing doesn’t mean I’m for the status quo, or that I want 1950s gender roles (you think I’d do well in the 1950s as a trans woman? Didn’t think so). It means I don’t agree, period, the end. I want equality. In my book, this includes for all, not just some.

  393. zuzu
    August 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I know it’s not objective. But the fact men aren’t told they’re handsome or good looking, unless they approach very-hot levels, implies (to them and many others, teen movies included) that women are objectively hotter.

    No, you infer that.

    Being valued for their wallet, their popularity or their wit, only adds insults to injury – being valued only for doing, not being (ie other people could do whatever it is you do, but you’re the only you).

    Oh, heaven forfend someone should be valued for their wit! Insult to injury!

    How do you think girls who aren’t considered attractive feel? Hey, at least ugly guys are valued. But ugly girls?

  394. Chiara
    August 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    schala i understand what yr saying with respect to men having a much higher bar for attractiveness. its definitely true that the on average women are judged more attractive than men — theres studies that show this.

    Being valued for their wallet, their popularity or their wit, only adds insults to injury – being valued only for doing, not being (ie other people could do whatever it is you do, but you’re the only you).

    but regarding this statement theres an unpleasant flipside of this for women, where people wont take them seriously in what they do because of how they look. id much rather be judged on what i do rather than how i look

  395. petpluto
    August 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I’m talking about genuinely voicing attraction and interest.

    And it’s far more likely for men to voice their attraction and interest in women than it is vice versa. Because, in part, women are taught to be passive and men are taught to be active. Men are read as pursuers, and women as the pursued. It can be a hard role to break out of, for any number of reasons. The fact that you get hit on more now than you did previously probably means nothing except that men are generally more forward about their interest.

    Being valued for their wallet, their popularity or their wit, only adds insults to injury – being valued only for doing, not being (ie other people could do whatever it is you do, but you’re the only you).

    Ok, that’s true for every single relationship – except there is no insult to injury. No relationship lasts if the only thing in it is someone being attractive. A certain level of appreciating what the person does is necessary for it to progress beyond just animal attraction and sex.

  396. Henry
    August 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe you people are actually attacking Faithless for his post. WOW. And his post was pretty damn clear. It was about the abuse of the “creep” label in situations where the “behavior” is the mere existence/appearance of the person and all the shit he has to put up with because of it. You’re asking him to be clearer in his posts? You know this shit happens all the time to big black guys, I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes (and it happens to normal sized black guys too in mixed company – I’ve witnessed that too), and I only semi-occasionally hang out w/ black people so if I’m seeing it…. It’s because we live in a society that uses sterotypes and profiling to classify and control people. And shocker that sterotyping and profiling can come into this discourse to when you start to give advice to people on how to avoid being considered a creep. You’re trying to define a status, and when you create a status you better make damn sure it’s based on actual behavior that causes harm to others, not perceived harm based on some racist or body-size based fear. Because it’s perfectly ok to be a big person and black, and if you see such a person who has done nothing to you and are immediately getting a fear vibe you need to reassess whether that vibe is due to some action on their part or whether its based on the racism our society ingrains in us. Otherwise you are just perpetuating a viewpoint that was used to support segregation for generations (must protect white women from giant black rapist cock at all costs) and I further argue effectively socially segregating people like Faithless. Black men still can’t stop and get gas in parts of New York City in 2012 because of this exact type of profiling.

  397. Esti
    August 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I really thought I’d heard everything, but now I come to find that being valued for what you do is demeaning while being valued for your appearance is the ideal. That’s just — I can’t even.

  398. August 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe you people are actually attacking Faithless for his post. WOW. And his post was pretty damn clear. It was about the abuse of the “creep” label in situations where the “behavior” is the mere existence/appearance of the person and all the shit he has to put up with because of it. You’re asking him to be clearer in his posts? You know this shit happens all the time to big black guys, I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes (and it happens to normal sized black guys too in mixed company – I’ve witnessed that too), and I only semi-occasionally hang out w/ black people so if I’m seeing it…. It’s because we live in a society that uses sterotypes and profiling to classify and control people. And shocker that sterotyping and profiling can come into this discourse to when you start to give advice to people on how to avoid being considered a creep. You’re trying to define a status, and when you create a status you better make damn sure it’s based on actual behavior that causes harm to others, not perceived harm based on some racist or body-size based fear. Because it’s perfectly ok to be a big person and black, and if you see such a person who has done nothing to you and are immediately getting a fear vibe you need to reassess whether that vibe is due to some action on their part or whether its based on the racism our society ingrains in us. Otherwise you are just perpetuating a viewpoint that was used to support segregation for generations (must protect white women from giant black rapist cock at all costs) and I further argue effectively socially segregating people like Faithless. Black men still can’t stop and get gas in parts of New York City in 2012 because of this exact type of profiling.

    Nobody was criticizing that aspect of his post. It was however completely irrelevant to the original post. The OP referenced two articles which referred to ‘creeping’ in the specific sense of making people (women) uncomfortable with unwanted attention. Faithless referred to women giving him unwanted attention (i.e. yelling ‘creep’ at him from their cars._ If anything, he should therefore empathize with the women who have to deal with guys who immediately make assumptions about them.

  399. Sam
    August 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Petpluto,

    If I’ve misunderstood your point, I apologize. But your logic is circular, in that you seem to believe that men’s touch is not valued, so they must touch in order to gain value.

    yup, in some sense, that’s the current set up, in my opinion. But how is my conclusion circular? If more men felt their touch was valued on par with women’s touch/sexuality, (if the value socially perceived value differential to women were smaller), I think the dynamic you describe would be much less behaviourally imperative, and as such the problems caused by that behavioural imperative would (to a significant extent) disappear. The question really is: do we believe that this behaviour is *actually caused by a cultural narrative – the patriarchy – and as such *can be changed*? Or is there a certain assumption that such behaviour is actually sort of essential in men and that changing the narrative would thus merely serve to justify problematic behaviour. I think, in the end, that’s the question this comes down to, in my opinion.

  400. Ruchama
    August 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Being valued for their wallet, their popularity or their wit, only adds insults to injury – being valued only for doing, not being (ie other people could do whatever it is you do, but you’re the only you).

    This kind of reminds me of when I was a little kid. I was a very literal-minded child. My mother often had to convince me to go along with some social rule or other “because it’s what you do,” even though I could clearly see that it made no sense at all. Anyway, until I was at least 10 or 11, I refused to say “thank you” if someone said that I was pretty. Absolutely refused, because saying “thank you” to a compliment meant that I was saying, “Yes, I did do whatever you think I did well, and I’m glad that you appreciate it,” and I couldn’t see the logic in saying “thank you” to someone who told me I was pretty, since I had nothing whatsoever to do with how I looked. How I looked was just the way my features arranged themselves — nothing to do with me and my brain and my decisions at all. (I have no idea why I was able to go along with “Shake hands and say ‘Nice to meet you’ even if you don’t think it’s nice to meet that person at all” when I was six or seven, but it took me several years longer until I reluctantly said “thank you” in response to “you look pretty.”)

  401. Esti
    August 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    @Sam

    The question really is: do we believe that this behaviour is *actually caused by a cultural narrative – the patriarchy – and as such *can be changed*? Or is there a certain assumption that such behaviour is actually sort of essential in men and that changing the narrative would thus merely serve to justify problematic behaviour. I think, in the end, that’s the question this comes down to, in my opinion.

    If that’s what you think this comes down to, you are missing the point. People (usually women) who are being creeped on don’t care what the root of the creepy behavior is. What matters is that it STOPS. And every time you and every other “I’m just trying to be helpful! How can we make creepers stop being creepy unless we understand and accommodate all their creepy motivations!” person try to focus the conversation on the feelings of creepers, you derail the discussion away from the actual issue: This behavior is not acceptable. Regardless of what causes it, it needs to stop.

    If everyone focused on making that a consistent, clear message whenever the topic came up, that would go way fucking farther toward stoping creepy behavior than all of your amateur-sociologist shtick.

  402. Faithless
    August 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    @Fat Steve

    the post was about how to not be a creep, my point was you can’t, women will call you one regardless of what you do.

    Only way to minimise the occurrence is to minimise one’s interaction with women.

  403. Chiara
    August 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Or is there a certain assumption that such behaviour is actually sort of essential in men and that changing the narrative would thus merely serve to justify problematic behaviour. I think, in the end, that’s the question this comes down to, in my opinion.

    whether the behaviour is ‘essential in men’ or not doesnt matter… men violating the boundaries of women and harassing them isnt OK.

    also I can’t really make sense of what you’re saying… if men’s touch is not considered valuable and is considered ‘toxic’ as you say, then why are men engaging in this unwanted touching? surely the logical conclusion would be the opposite; if men feel that their touch is toxic then they would be fearful of imparting that toxicity and theyd act in the exact opposite of this invasive harassing behaviour described.

  404. petpluto
    August 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    If more men felt their touch was valued on par with women’s touch/sexuality, (if the value socially perceived value differential to women were smaller), I think the dynamic you describe would be much less behaviourally imperative, and as such the problems caused by that behavioural imperative would (to a significant extent) disappear.

    Well, I agree with Esti here:

    Why are you assuming that men’s touch is inherently valuable? I don’t think it (or women’s touch) is. Touching someone else is not necessarily good or bad — its worth is always dependent on the specifics of the two people and the situation. Telling men that their touch is valuable as a general matter contributes to the exact problem we have right now: a failure to consider and respect whether this person, in this situation, is okay with being touched by you.

    But beyond just that, I find it odd that you think if men thought their touch were valued, they would do it less. From what I can tell, when people think they have something of value to do or share, they don’t not do it.

    For example: I think I bring something of value to this conversation, so I post a comment. If I didn’t think my voice had any value, I would just lurk. So, if I thought my voice always had value, I would comment about things I had no business commenting on. I would, then, fuck up. Probably badly. And someone would have to tell me that I was (a) wrong and (b) was not contributing. If I were of the opinion that my voice intrinsically had value, because it is mine and I’m awesome, I wouldn’t stop. I would be a creeper, because I would not only be holding an overinflated view of my own worth to the community, but I would also be harming others by not recognizing their needs.

    Now, I generally apply that same rubric to touching. If you touch me, you probably either think your desire for touching me is more important than the idea I don’t want you touching me, or it has never occurred to you that your touch may not be wanted. It could be either/or. But I can’t think of a situation where feeling as if my touch were unwanted and unvalued by a person would make me want to touch that person more.

    Therefore, telling men that their touch is valued doesn’t put the breaks on them touching people. It just cements the idea that they’re awesome. Men thinking they’re not awesome is probably not why they’re touching. Men thinking nothing of touching – or thinking that they are so awesome they deserve the touching – is probably more in vein with why this happens.

    I’m going to bring it back to the Rebecca Watson incident. She was approached in an elevator. She told men that wasn’t a good idea. Some men were like, “Duh, already got that memo, but thanks”. But some men were STUNNED to learn that this wasn’t welcome behavior. Why, these men asked, would there be places and incidences where they couldn’t ask women out? How, these men asked, could they figure out if someone would have sex with them if they couldn’t ask women out in places like elevators? Where could they ask women out, if not in places like elevators?

    That isn’t the reaction of a group of people who think their touch is not valued, or that their sexuality is toxic. That is the reaction of a group of people who have rarely, if ever, contemplated the idea that their desires and wants are not always a good idea to express – for whatever the reason. Which means the problem isn’t that men gain some internal value from touching women; it’s that these men have a problem recognizing boundaries, and consent. Making men’s touch more valued, if you don’t focus as much or more on making men understand that women are people who have body-autonomy and integrity outside of the desires of men, will probably not make the problem any better.

  405. Donna L
    August 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    the post was about how to not be a creep, my point was you can’t, women will call you one regardless of what you do.

    Only way to minimise the occurrence is to minimise one’s interaction with women.

    Just stop already. I lived as a man for quite some time, and had lots of interactions of various kinds with women, and I’m sure that many of them thought I was rather strange in some ways, but I’d be quite surprised to find out that any of them thought or said that I was “creepy.” And there are lots of men — who actually are men — for whom that’s true.

  406. zuzu
    August 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    You know, Sam, we value what is rare.

    So if your theory is that men’s touch is not as valued as women’s, what does that tell you about the frequency with which men touch women vs. women touch men?

    Ipso facto, stop touching women so much and maybe they’d find your touch more valuable.

  407. August 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    the post was about how to not be a creep, my point was you can’t, women will call you one regardless of what you do.

    Only way to minimise the occurrence is to minimise one’s interaction with women.

    Maybe this attitude is why women think you’re creepy. You might be surprised at what kind of energy is palpable to people who are aware of other people’s body language.

  408. August 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    If more men felt their touch was valued on par with women’s touch/sexuality, (if the value socially perceived value differential to women were smaller), I think the dynamic you describe would be much less behaviourally imperative, and as such the problems caused by that behavioural imperative would (to a significant extent) disappear.

    If more men felt their touch was valued (I’m not buying into your theory at all, but I’ll humor you) it still would not mean that every woman would want to be touched by any man who wants to touch them. Shockingly, women actually have sexual desires and attractions of their own, and usually each of us is attracted to a very small percentage of the population, and really only wants to be touched by a very small number of people. And the percentage of people who are mutually attracted and want to touch each other is yet smaller.

    So, regardless of whether men’s touch is valued, viewed negatively or neutrally, we’re right back to the same exact place, where it is totally possible to be considered a creeper, and if you don’t want to be called a creeper, don’t go touching people unless you know they want you to touch them, if you can’t tell that from non-verbal cues, then ask, and if you’re afraid to ask, then keep your hands to yourself.

    And if you have to go around and around and around trying to find a way to make being creepy not your fault, that means you’re probably totally creepy.

    So creep off.

  409. August 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Hey, Faithless.

    Go fuck yourself.

    And yes, Henry, I am criticizing him for his posts because they’re nothing but an attempt to play “gotcha” with what he believes is a board full of white women justifying using “creep” in their interactions with Men of Color. I say bullshit.

    Not only does he ignore the what everyone has been saying in over 300 comments – that being called a “creep” or “creeper” is because of a person’s unwanted behavior towards another person even after consent has been explicitly revoked, not because MissyAnn is having a tizzy because a Black man is in her presence – he forgets about the Women of Color like me who have deal with this creeper bullshit. It’s sweet that people have been trying to apologize to him because they don’t to seem as if they’re discounting the lived experience of a Man of Color. But this Black woman is having none of his shit.

    So, Henry, you can go hold Faithless’s hand while he cries a fucking river somewhere else.

    As long as it’s consensual, of course.

  410. Faithless
    August 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I lived as a man for quite some time, and had lots of interactions of various kinds with women, and I’m sure that many of them thought I was rather strange in some ways, but I’d be quite surprised to find out that any of them thought or said that I was “creepy.”

    If you think nobody has ever found you creepy by default as dude your probably not perfect, just arrogant, also wrong.

    You might be surprised at what kind of energy is palpable to people who are aware of other people’s body language.

    onoz, a man who seems totally indifferent to my presence, that body language sugests he’s a potential rapist!

    … people assume shit about other people all the time, that dosen’t make them right <_<

    and as for all that "sense your palpable energy" stuff, sorry, I don't believe in ESP.

  411. zuzu
    August 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Well.

    This has sure been a productive discussion.

    What are you looking for from us here, Faithless?

  412. August 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    and as for all that “sense your palpable energy” stuff, sorry, I don’t believe in ESP.

    We’re not talking ESP, we’re talking “oozes massive amounts of hostility, constantly looks like his last six meals were lemon juice concentrate and glares at women as if he’s expecting them to Mace him for breathing”. You don’t have to be psychic to sense that, you just have to have eyes. Or ears, or whatever.

  413. August 17, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    onoz, a man who seems totally indifferent

    You’re pretty hostile for someone who’s ‘totally indifferent.’

  414. August 17, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Which is not to say that that’s what you, personally, are exuding, I wouldn’t know without meeting you, but it’s a possibility. It’s certainly why my uncle, who’s the safest guy you’ll ever meet, stopped pinging as creepy to strangers once he wiped the >_< off his expression.

  415. Faithless
    August 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Not only does he ignore the what everyone has been saying in over 300 comments – that being called a “creep” or “creeper” is because of a person’s unwanted behavior towards another person even after consent has been explicitly revoked

    No, some times its for that. A giant chunk of women just think dudes are scary and call anybody not making an effort to specifically seem un threatening to them a creep. Both exist, dono why you feel the need to act like the latter dosen’t.

    My point is it dosen’t matter, if your a dude your gonna get called a creep no matter what you do, it’s a fact of life.

    Also everybody else said it was a black thing, I’m saying its a GUY thing, it happens to all the guys I know, of all races.

  416. pheenobarbidoll
    August 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    the post was about how to not be a creep, my point was you can’t, women will call you one regardless of what you do.

    Or maybe they’re picking up on you sitting there thinking about how all women are bitches.

    They’re sooooo terrified of you, yet feel secure enough to stroll up to you in your corner of the bar and inform you? Yeah.

    Women are taught to be afraid of you, but god forbid you mention the teachers. That would mean you’d have to talk about men instead of meanie women who think you’re a creep. Yanno, because we’re all just b* tches, and not picking up on any resentment radiating from you like a neon sign.

  417. Esti
    August 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    onoz, a man who seems totally indifferent to my presence, that body language sugests he’s a potential rapist!

    onoz, a woman I don’t know thinks I’m creepy!

    Seriously, what, exactly, do you think is the harm to you when women find you creepy? Everyone here agrees that it’s not okay for a woman to hit you or mace you if you haven’t actually done something to threaten her safety, but she’s totally within her rights to think “uhhh, creeper” and move away if she’s getting a bad vibe from you.

    Unless, of course, you think that you are entitled to have random women regard you positively — in which case, hello, that’s sort of the problem we’ve been discussing.

  418. pheenobarbidoll
    August 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Also everybody else said it was a black thing, I’m saying its a GUY thing, it happens to all the guys I know, of all races.

    Uh huh.

    Every man in my family is over 6’4 (and not white either) and have never have this happen. They don’t radiate hostility towards women though. Imagine that.

  419. Li
    August 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Also everybody else said it was a black thing, I’m saying its a GUY thing, it happens to all the guys I know, of all races.

    Congratulations! You now know a guy who is not called a creep as a random fact of life. In fact, on top of myself, the vast majority of men I know have either not been called creeps or have thoroughly deserved it when they have. Being called a creep is, surprisingly enough, not a universal aspect of being a man.

  420. Henry
    August 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Sorry Faithless, but it doesn’t happen to all guys. It happens to guys who fit a stereotype. I get your anger, but being pissed at women in general is not helping, nor is that OK either – that’s called mysogeny…you should concentrate your pissed at racists/body-image-ists. Just because people misuse power doesn’t mean that power shouldn’t exist. It does need to exist to deal with acts as opposed to statuses and you’ll see that in the earlier comments people were calling out acts.

    You brought up a valid point and it was backed up by people here, including some of the moderators – that status based usage of “creep” was being ignored. That said I’m cutting you alot of slack (not that that matters in any way) because of where you’re coming from having been actually physically assualted over this shit. So please don’t come here claiming women generically hate men.

  421. zuzu
    August 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Well, Faithless, all I can say is that some women are afraid of men for very legitimate reasons.

    Usually having to do with how other men have treated them. It sucks for those who haven’t treated those women badly, but if they don’t know you, they don’t have enough information to know whether you too will be a threat.

  422. JC
    August 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I find it strange that you would rather play the fatalist and whine about having to sit in a corner and not interact with women rather than examining the culture which perpetuates women feeling it necessary to carry pepper spray, put keys between their fingers, watch who is approaching them from over their shoulder.

  423. LotusBecca
    August 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Yeah faithless. . .your misogyny is creepy. And I just don’t buy all of what you’re telling us. I’m not saying you’re lying. But I just don’t trust your obvious bias here. I’m not buying that not only you, but almost all your male friends, both black and white, are constantly being harassed by women–when none of you have been doing anything more offensive than walking down the street and minding your own business. If all your friends are as hostile to women as you are. . .I find it difficult to believe that none of them would be violating women’s boundaries in ways that are legitimately creepy. You believe that the majority of times women use the word “creep” it is not justified. You attempt to minimize your interactions with women (what about men? They’ve never harassed you to the same extent? Despite the fact men are statistically ten times more likely than women to commit murder, and also more likely to rape, assault, rob, stalk, etc.?) You talk about the fact that women are harassed by men as “edge cases.” You’ve managed to show up to are a feminist blog somehow.

    I’ll be blunt. . .I’m not always right, but to me your posts ooze disingenuous, gaslighting, abusive MRA asshole. And I think there’s a lot of stuff you’re leaving out.

  424. Henry
    August 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    +1 Li. To my knowledge I’ve also never caused flocks of women to run from me as if I were a zombie from night of the living dead…

  425. Schala
    August 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    if men feel that their touch is toxic then they would be fearful of imparting that toxicity and theyd act in the exact opposite of this invasive harassing behaviour described.

    Unless they feel that they have to impart their toxicity, because that’s their role as men (to initiate touch, conversation, kissing, sex acts).

    If they feel their touch is welcomed by their consenting partner, they might be less reluctant. Feel that what they’re doing with normal, consenting sex, is actually a good thing, not something soiling the woman.

    If you consider what you have to do to be evil, you either don’t do it (become a nice guy, and don’t signal interest, in the possibility it could be seen as creepy or harassing), or you consider that “evil stuff is no big deal”, which makes you more likely to transgress more limits, since you’re corrupting your whole life outlook to not feel horrible whenever you “inflict yourself” on others. Basically, you have to tone down your conscience and empathy, a LOT, because they’re preventing you from doing harm (initiating sex is seen as doing harm if your touch is toxic).

    If men’s touch are not seen as toxic, they don’t need to corrupt their mindset or feel that initiating anything is a horrible don’t-do-this move. They don’t have to destroy their conscience and empathy. Their company isn’t just a burden, their sex acts don’t just “take”, like a parasite.

    Women’s touch is seen as more valuable and less dangerous, in the sense that women and men are used to women being in contact with children they don’t even know, or initiating hugs and more, without much reproach. It’s got something to do with presuming male consent (always up for it stereotype) and better nurturing qualities when it comes to children (she couldn’t possibly be a predator).

    Women’s touch is seen as a bit TOO valuable for this very reason too: Even when they do evil, it’s discounted as not her fault.

    Men’s touch would need to become a bit more valuable, but not override completely instincts about consent and children protection. Should be on par with women’s.

  426. August 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Both exist, dono why you feel the need to act like the latter dosen’t.

    So fucking what? What possible need do you have to interact with someone who thinks that you’re creepy? And what the fuck are *we* supposed to do about it? And most importantly, why should we care?

    Also everybody else said it was a black thing, I’m saying its a GUY thing, it happens to all the guys I know, of all races.

    Yet, in your 2nd comment you say:

    It happens to me fucking constantly, im a 6 foot plus 200 lb black dude in “loose fitting clothing” walking around at 3 am cus I work from home and work very strange hours. who lives in a predominantly white area full of 19 – 25 year old college girls and step ford wives.

    If you didn’t mean to infer it was a racial issue, why bring it up?

  427. zuzu
    August 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Unless they feel that they have to impart their toxicity, because that’s their role as men (to initiate touch, conversation, kissing, sex acts).

    If they feel their touch is welcomed by their consenting partner, they might be less reluctant. Feel that what they’re doing with normal, consenting sex, is actually a good thing, not something soiling the woman.

    Hey, you know how men could know if their touch was welcome?

    THEY COULD FUCKING ASK.

  428. Jenna
    August 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    What is it with the people who need everyone to like them? That is what they are looking for, right? If some person that you are near thinks and indicates to you that you are acting in a creepy fashion, then apologize and move away from them. Why do you NEED them to like you? Move on with your life. Some stranger doesn’t like you….so?

    If it is some person judging you because your appearance alone scares them, then that is NOT WHAT CREEPING IS. That is profiling, or bigotry, or a bad experience someone might once have had that you know nothing about… It’s still not creeping as defined in the articles linked.

    Creepy behavior is ignoring or crossing boundaries that THEN make some person feel unsafe. If that cop car is following you? You feel unsafe. If a woman is being followed by or stared at by someone she doesn’t know? That can make her feel unsafe.

    No one else gets to say that you shouldn’t feel worried about that cop car following you. You alone know how you have measured that risk.

    No one else gets to say that I shouldn’t feel worried if some person is staring at or following me, or has me boxed into a corner or an elevator. If you are following me, or staring at me or boxing me in and it was an accident? Apologize and move on! That’s how you get me to relax again. If you grin like you know you are making me uncomfortable and like it? That. Is. Creepy!

    This isn’t hard!

  429. JC
    August 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Schala, I have been reading these conversations, and from everything I have read so far, I have absolutely no clue what you are looking for. If you find your touch toxic and unwanted, it sounds like you or whoever or whatever men your are talking about have some deep, personal assessment to do on what the causes are and how you and you alone can make those changes. You can not change how others feel nor how they will feel about you. You have no control over that. What you have control of is how you interact with people, regardless of their gender. If a women not wanting another’s touch and is not consenting to that and you or that person then interprets that their touch is toxic? Well, the person not wanting nor consenting is not responsible for your feelings. Part of being an adult in understanding your boundries and respecting the boundries of others. Poor self-esteem is not the responsiblity of others, it is something that only the individual can work through.

  430. JC
    August 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I had some massive typing fail there.

  431. August 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    @Fat Steve

    the post was about how to not be a creep, my point was you can’t, women will call you one regardless of what you do.

    Only way to minimise the occurrence is to minimise one’s interaction with women.

    Well, that’s just…silly…

    I’m not one for Bible quotes, especially since believe in God and all that, but…

    “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

  432. Esti
    August 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Schala, it is not my job to teach men that their touch is generally valuable and awesome in the hope that creepy men will stop touching me against my will if they have higher self-esteem. It is the job of men not to touch women without consent. I don’t care what is causing them to act like creepy creepers. Do. Not. Care.

  433. August 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Unless they feel that they have to impart their toxicity, because that’s their role as men (to initiate touch, conversation, kissing, sex acts).

    Dude, if I sincerely felt like I was a Rapey McCreepyDude, I’d probably do what Faithless recommends and sit in a corner, or better yet work to dismantle the culture that led me to feel that way. You’re actually creeping me out harder than he is, by suggesting that a) men feel like they’re toxic and b) they logically extrapolate from that that they have to actively BE toxic to others. Just…ew.

  434. Ruchama
    August 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Unless they feel that they have to impart their toxicity, because that’s their role as men (to initiate touch, conversation, kissing, sex acts).

    If they feel their touch is welcomed by their consenting partner, they might be less reluctant. Feel that what they’re doing with normal, consenting sex, is actually a good thing, not something soiling the woman.

    Anyone operating under these assumptions is going to come across as weird, at the very least. If you’re only doing it because it’s your role as a man, and you think that the other person doesn’t want it, then why do it at all? Why not go do something else that you actually want to do, rather than something that you feel like you’re expected to do?

  435. August 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Hey, you know how men could know if their touch was welcome?

    THEY COULD FUCKING ASK.

    No, no, zuzu, asking is creepy. Not asking and just pawing at women is totally not creepy and an expression of their sincere need to have their touch be liked. That women don’t like being randomly pawed is just evidence that men are persecuted, don’t you see?

  436. August 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Also everybody else said it was a black thing, I’m saying its a GUY thing, it happens to all the guys I know, of all races.

    Well, I posted a link with a picture of myself in the very first comment of this thread. I am a GUY, and yet 400 plusscomments later, not a single woman who has posted on here gave me the unsolicited comment that I looked creepy. Why? Not because I’m gorgeous, because being considered a creep is not about how you look, it’s how you behave.

  437. Faithless
    August 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Every man in my family is over 6’4 (and not white either) and have never have this happen. They don’t radiate hostility towards women though. Imagine that.

    Wow you mean some times people who look the same have totally different life experiences? what a concept!
    wtf do you want me to tell you? im happy you don’t have this problem, a fuck ton of us do.

    Everyone here agrees that it’s not okay for a woman to hit you or mace you if you haven’t actually done something to threaten her safety,

    Uh, they do? cus that sure as hell ain’t the vibe i’ve gotten thus far. The vibe i’ve gotten thus far is “if somebody says you creeped them out, they can respond however they want and you should respect that”. To which I say no the fuck they don’t, I have zero problem with people thinking im creepy, I do have a problem with random people using the excuse “hes creepy” to attack me on the street.

    @zuzu, what I want is for the message about “being a creep” to include “some times people are assholes respect others boundaries but ALSO SET YOUR OWN!” just because you creeped somebody out dosen’t make you the “bad guy”

  438. August 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    @Faithless

    My point is it dosen’t matter, if your a dude your gonna get called a creep no matter what you do, it’s a fact of life.

    For the last time, your situation is not ubiquitous. And no one is saying that it’s okay for people to judge you based on your fashion choices and physique. What we are saying is that people should engaging in creeping behavior. That’s it.

    Also everybody else said it was a black thing, I’m saying its a GUY thing, it happens to all the guys I know, of all races.

    I don’t think anyone has said that it’s purely a product of racism. People are just saying that it’s most likely a major factor. And I for one can’t imagine racism not playing at least a minor role.

    @LotusBecca
    I’m with you; I’m getting some rather bad vibes from him as well. Hopefully I’m wrong.

  439. August 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    What we are saying is that people should engaging in creeping behavior.

    That should be “What we are saying is that people should avoid engaging in creeping behavior.”

  440. Donna L
    August 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    If you think nobody has ever found you creepy by default as dude your probably not perfect, just arrogant, also wrong.

    You don’t know me. I was neither perfect nor arrogant, I assure you. What I was, was perceived as non-threatening. In words, in conduct, and (by sheer good fortune, in that respect), in being significantly smaller than almost all men and many women. Which is probably why women used to come up to me on the street and ask me for directions on a very regular basis, at least a few times a week for most of my adult life.

  441. Schala
    August 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Schala, I have been reading these conversations, and from everything I have read so far, I have absolutely no clue what you are looking for. If you find your touch toxic and unwanted, it sounds like you or whoever or whatever men your are talking about have some deep, personal assessment to do on what the causes are and how you and you alone can make those changes.

    My touch is not male. I’m not with women sexually. It’s not about me.

    I don’t care what is causing them to act like creepy creepers. Do. Not. Care.

    I’m not asking you to fix this problem at the individual this-person-is-creepy deal. This is a general “Let’s Fix Society” proposition. How we raise kids. Dove did their girls self-esteem deal. We should do some kind of large-scale education about male touch the same way – large scale, not specially targeted at known abusers.

    If you say no to that to, then I guess you’re for the status quo.

    Dude, if I sincerely felt like I was a Rapey McCreepyDude, I’d probably do what Faithless recommends and sit in a corner, or better yet work to dismantle the culture that led me to feel that way. You’re actually creeping me out harder than he is, by suggesting that a) men feel like they’re toxic and b) they logically extrapolate from that that they have to actively BE toxic to others. Just…ew.

    Yes, because you’re a nice guy. That’s what RocketFrog did too: completely opted out of the dating game, knowing he was going to lose regardless.

    Dismantling the culture is what I’m proposing. I’m showing you a potential root to the problem.

    If you have to be evil anyway, you either try to opt out in whatever way you can…or truly become evil…or become insane from the contradiction of wanting to be a good person and doing evil things anyways. People generally rationalize their actions as not-quite-evil rather than become insane. Just ask soldiers asked to do stuff against their conscience, and how they might rationalize it as “their duty”.

    If many men opted out, we might obtain the more egalitarian Swedish dating scene, or not (more women make the first move, everyone goes dutch, men don’t approach like PUAs, women approach like its nothing special – not making them slutty). I’m not sure how they came to this culture, but I can see why more shy guys would envy this one to the North American involuntary celibate life.

    And women also benefit from it, going dutch means nothing there, no expectation to put out, and not lack of interest on his part. It just means you’re both adults, and can pay your way.

  442. Esti
    August 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    The vibe i’ve gotten thus far is “if somebody says you creeped them out, they can respond however they want and you should respect that”.

    This seems like a fundamental misunderstanding that has underpinned everything you’ve written here. There is a difference between thinking someone is creepy or avoiding someone who creeps you out and physically assaulting someone. It’s the same difference that exists between thinking women don’t find you desireable or not wanting to approach women and touching women without their permission. One set involves your thoughts and your decision distance yourself from other people. THAT’S the set of thoughts/actions you need to respect. The other set involves assaulting someone else. NO ONE is saying that anyone needs to put up with that — in fact, we are all saying the opposite. Which is why a lot of people sympathized with you and apologized to you with regard to you being assaulted by women.

    It should not be a difficult distinction. In fact, it’s really simple: no one should assault anyone else!

  443. igglanova
    August 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Faithless, have you ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

  444. cherrybomb
    August 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    re: valuing men’s touches

    I have to say, as a parent I have taught my son that sometimes it’s okay to touch people, and sometimes it’s not, and you need to respect other people’s personal space. I DON’T believe I am the only parent imparting these lessons on their son(s), so to me this whole idea that “men don’t know when it’s okay/not okay to touch” or that “all men grow up thinking no woman anywhere wants the mantouch ever and that manhugs/touches are totally not valuable– so men need extra hugs to feel special” is just ludicrous.

    I don’t think that smiling and feigning delight at catcalls or creepy come-ons from strange men when I’m out and about with my son in tow would really send him the right message about acceptable attentions towards women. If he sees me get pissed off at catcalls, however, compared to the friendly interactions I have with respectful men I meet while out, he will learn what gets a friendly response from women. (Hint: “nice tits” and “just think, if you’d have swallowed instead you wouldn’t have that cute kid” are not welcome convo starters)

  445. Faithless
    August 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    @mxe354 in the interest of reaching SOME kind of consensus, yes, I will concede that “all people should try to not be creepy”. I will ALSO inject that you should maintain the definition creepy for your self and not let others dictate it to you because some people well use their definition of creepy to be total assholes.

  446. August 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Uh, they do? cus that sure as hell ain’t the vibe i’ve gotten thus far. The vibe i’ve gotten thus far is “if somebody says you creeped them out, they can respond however they want and you should respect that”. To which I say no the fuck they don’t, I have zero problem with people thinking im creepy, I do have a problem with random people using the excuse “hes creepy” to attack me on the street.

    Where has someone said that someone can respond however they want because they’re creeped out? Nobody that I’ve seen has said that being creeped out means you get to commit assault.

    @zuzu, what I want is for the message about “being a creep” to include “some times people are assholes respect others boundaries but ALSO SET YOUR OWN!” just because you creeped somebody out dosen’t make you the “bad guy”

    Again: who claimed this? It’s been explicitly said that there will be times that people are creeped out for shitty reasons or for things that aren’t your fault. And? *Everyone* will probably creep someone out unintentionally at some point. It happens. The thread was about pretty clear instances where someone is violating another person’s personal space and intentionally ignoring boundaries.

  447. August 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I will concede that “all people should try to not be creepy”.

    Well don’t go out of your way to be gracious or anything. That isn’t something you have to concede, like you’re patting us on the head.

  448. Bagelsan
    August 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Oh, heaven forfend someone should be valued for their wit! Insult to injury!

    As I tell my boyfriend, I’m just callously using him for his hot body, his witty mind and his charming personality. I’m a shameless user like that.

  449. zuzu
    August 17, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Wow you mean some times people who look the same have totally different life experiences? what a concept!
    wtf do you want me to tell you? im happy you don’t have this problem, a fuck ton of us do.

    This seems to contradict your earlier statement that all women treat men like creeps.

    @zuzu, what I want is for the message about “being a creep” to include “some times people are assholes respect others boundaries but ALSO SET YOUR OWN!” just because you creeped somebody out dosen’t make you the “bad guy”

    No one said it did. What makes you the bad guy is being intentionally a creeper; in other words, violating others’ boundaries when you know they’re not interested in interacting with you. Which goes both ways, btw: your boundaries have clearly been violated in the circumstances you describe.

    But sometimes someone has a strong reaction to you for reasons you can’t fathom, and the solution is to realize that not everyone has to like you. It’s hard not to take that kind of thing personally, but for all you know that person has more Issues than National Geographic, and you’re just better off not getting to know them further.

    Maybe you’re making the mistake of thinking this is a purely gendered phenomenon because most of the discussion has focused on male creeping of women. It’s not, though. Captain Awkward actually has another letter up from a woman who is engaging in creepy, boundary-violating behavior because a musician she considered a friend asked her to limit her contact to once a month, official business only (she manages his website), and only through his manager. He told her his wife had asked him to limit contact. So what does she do? She continues to contact him directly by email (turns out it was a shared account with his wife), shows up at concerts his wife is attending because she’s sure that if only his wife met her in person, she’d change her mind, and puts personal messages in sealed envelopes with the official correspondence to the manager. She’s convinced that he’s being controlled an abused by his wife and wants to rescue him, but more likely, she considers herself a friend and he considers her a fan who crossed a line and used the wife as an excuse to cut her off.

    Boundaries are good and wonderful things, and everyone should have them. And if more people respected them (the guy who followed Rebecca Watson, the woman who assaulted you, the stalkery fan), we’d have a lot fewer problems in the world.

  450. pheenobarbidoll
    August 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    wtf do you want me to tell you? im happy you don’t have this problem, a fuck ton of us do.

    8i

    And? A fuck ton more women have a problem with assholes being creepy. And rapey. And stalky. And abusive. So I don’t actually give a rats ass if some woman hurts your fee fee’s by calling you a creep. And I don’t buy for one second you’re just sitting in a corner minding your own business, as innocent as 3 little lambs.

    That misogyny chip on your shoulder is as clear as day. Stop acting shocked that women have eyes.

  451. August 17, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    But sometimes someone has a strong reaction to you for reasons you can’t fathom, and the solution is to realize that not everyone has to like you.

    I’m a bit uncomfortable with the way you phrased that. It sounds like an excuse for disregarding other kinds of prejudice. You’re talking about personal aversion to others that’s not based on racism, sexism, cissexism, ableism, etc., right?

  452. zuzu
    August 17, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I’m a bit uncomfortable with the way you phrased that. It sounds like an excuse for disregarding other kinds of prejudice. You’re talking about personal aversion to others that’s not based on racism, sexism, cissexism, ableism, etc., right?

    Well, those would be reasons you can fathom, right?

  453. Faithless
    August 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    And? A fuck ton more women have a problem with assholes being creepy. And rapey. And stalky. And abusive.

    that ought to put you up for medal contention in the oppression olympics.

    And I don’t buy for one second you’re just sitting in a corner minding your own business, as innocent as 3 little lambs.

    You know what that makes you? Wrong.

    That misogyny chip on your shoulder is as clear as day.

    Then might I sugest laying off the drugs so as not to hallucinate things that don’t exist.

  454. Annaleigh
    August 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Then might I sugest laying off the drugs so as not to hallucinate things that don’t exist.

    It must be a bit of a mass hallucination then, because pheeno has not been the only person to express the conclusion that you have issues with women.

  455. Li
    August 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Look, I know it’s fashionable to use the term “oppression olympics” to shut people down, but seriously, comparing men and women? The women actually do win them. If that’s uncomfortable for you a feminist site isn’t probably a great place to hang around.

  456. pheenobarbidoll
    August 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    that ought to put you up for medal contention in the oppression olympics.

    Translation- You’re right and I don’t like it so I’m going to use words I’ve read on feminist sites but have no clue what they actually mean.

    You know what that makes you? Wrong.

    Mmhm. Sure I am. You terrify women so much that they break down into tears and shove money at you, yet boldly stroll up and confront you in dark bars. Riiiight.

    Then might I sugest laying off the drugs so as not to hallucinate things that don’t exist.

    I might suggest you take your bullshit and peddle it to someone else.

  457. PrettyAmiable
    August 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    that ought to put you up for medal contention in the oppression olympics.

    ..Are you serious? This is a post about a serious problem women face and you turned around and made it about a completely different problem. What the fuck is wrong with you?

  458. unyun
    August 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Henry,

    You’re trying to define a status, and when you create a status you better make damn sure it’s based on actual behavior that causes harm to others, not perceived harm based on some racist or body-size based fear. Because it’s perfectly ok to be a big person and black, and if you see such a person who has done nothing to you and are immediately getting a fear vibe you need to reassess whether that vibe is due to some action on their part or whether its based on the racism our society ingrains in us.

    I’m assuming you might be talking to me? Well… I have only been raped and assaulted and threatened by MEN. So if someone that looks like a dude is walking down a street toward me when I’m alone, I have every goddamn right in the world to brace myself, keep my key between my fingers, and possibly cross the street. And yes, I have kept my pepper spray tucked in between my hand and hip/leg, and pulled it out as I saw a man’s silhouette in the distance drawing nearer. And ya know what? That man didn’t do anything to me. And I didn’t do anything to him back. Pretty simple.

    @LotusBecca:

    I’m not buying that not only you, but almost all your male friends, both black and white, are constantly being harassed by women–when none of you have been doing anything more offensive than walking down the street and minding your own business. If all your friends are as hostile to women as you are. . .I find it difficult to believe that none of them would be violating women’s boundaries in ways that are legitimately creepy.

    I agree with you here. When I see a man that scares me (and yes, unfortunately a lot of men scare me BECAUSE THEY ARE MALE. Unfair? Maybe. Can’t help it really though) the first thing I do is put distance between me and him. I don’t walk up to him and tell him I’m scared of him because he looks like a creepy rapist.

  459. August 17, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Sam, just out of a desire for clarity, what precisely do you mean by a man’s touch being “valuable”? What would that look like? How would you expect a man who perceived his touch as “valuable” to behave, and how would you expect a woman to respond to that? If a parent said, “I want to raise a son who feels like his touch is valuable,” what advice would you give that parent? Please define it from the center and not the edges, if you can.

  460. Henry
    August 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    unyun – not addressing you at all in any way whatsoever – what you are doing is totally cool (not that you need my ok on it)…I was addressing Faithless and his inability to understand the difference btwn actions and status and being called out publicly as a creep for having a status which is wrong vs. being told publicly or privately to stop a certain action because its creepy which is correct. You can think in your head whatever you like about someone (though if your thoughts are race based or status based I would say examine them pls because its hardly progressive to think like this). It’s the public branding in his neighborhood that’s the issue he was supposedly facing…Faithless’s original hypotheticals (or real events – before he went off on the all women = evil man-hater tangent) are all occurring in well populated public places, being called out from moving vehicles etc. all based on racism. And maybe likely he’s trolling to try and get someone here to say it’s ok to use prejudice as a guide in the way you publicly treat others, if so it won’t be found here :)

    And yes I believe you can respond any way you wish so long as it does not harm random dude walking down the street, which you are not. (and I never said you didn’t have such a right so not sure where this is coming from). I don’t like being approached by a solitary person on the street at night either and I haven’t been mugged/assaulted on my way home since grade school and I cross to the damn other side too sometimes – and I know 95% + the other guy is probably just coming home from work late like my sorry ass is.

    And the sarcastic refrain from some of the people here about “poor boy got his feelings hurt” is bullshit. Oh I forgot, the Cure said Boys Don’t Cry right? Cause males aren’t supposed to have feelings…ever. Just tired of seeing people ostracized by a largely white society for being not white via some race-based prejudice about their sexual criminality. And yes that does hurt feelings. And yes its wrong.

  461. unyun
    August 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    @Henry,

    Apologies for misunderstanding your post or possibly getting knee-jerky defensive.

  462. Annaleigh
    August 17, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    And the sarcastic refrain from some of the people here about “poor boy got his feelings hurt” is bullshit. Oh I forgot, the Cure said Boys Don’t Cry right? Cause males aren’t supposed to have feelings…ever. Just tired of seeing people ostracized by a largely white society for being not white via some race-based prejudice about their sexual criminality. And yes that does hurt feelings. And yes its wrong.

    Good God, you don’t think it frustrates and pissed women off when *yet another* thread about what it’s like to be a woman in society and to have to be on the wrong end of creepy and/or unwanted attention from someone who won’t back off is *yet again* derailed on a feminist by men who think what we should really being doing is talking about THEIR problems because ours obviously don’t and and shouldn’t matter even at a goddamn feminist blog????

    Also, there are several non-white women in this thread who disagree with letting Faithless, Sam, Matlun, you, and countless others derail the read. We are also quite capable of and do empathize with Black men’s shitty experiences in a racist society that portrays them all as sexual predators while at the same time being fucking annoyed by yet another derail and also disturbed at some of the increasing hostility towards women on a feminist blog.

  463. Henry
    August 17, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    no worries unyun

  464. Annaleigh
    August 17, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Speaking of Matlun, he’s probably bowed out of the thread, and I don’t mean to pick on him, but I think that the cluelessness about Caperton being wary of who she lets help her with things in her home requires the posting of some Gavin de Becker, I just didn’t think of that until I was running errands this afternoon…

    Here’s what he has to say about people who can’t understand why women are wary when it comes to scenarios like Caperton’s:

    I want to clarify that many men offer help without any sinister or self-serving intent, with no more in mind than kindness and chivalry, but I have been addressing those times that men refuse to hear the word “No,” and that is not chivalrous—it is dangerous.

    When someone ignores that word, ask yourself: Why is this person seeking to control me? What does he want? It is best to get away from the person altogether, but if that’s not practical, the response that serves safety is to dramatically raise your insistence, skipping several levels of politeness. “I said NO!”

    When I encounter people hung up on the seeming rudeness of this response (and there are many), I imagine this conversation after a stranger is told No by a woman he has approached:

    MAN: What a bitch. What’s your problem, lady? I was just trying to offer a little help to a pretty woman. What are you so paranoid about?

    WOMAN: You’re right. I shouldn’t be wary. I’m overreacting about nothing. I mean, just because a man makes an unsolicited and persistent approach in an underground parking lot in a society where crimes against women have risen four times faster than the general crime rate, and three out of four women will suffer a violent crime; and just because I’ve personally heard horror stories from every female friend I’ve ever had; and just because I have to consider where I park, where I walk, whom I talk to, and whom I date in the context of whether someone will kill me or rape me or scare me half to death; and just because several times a week someone makes an inappropriate remark, stares at me, harasses me, follows me, or drives alongside my car pacing me; and just because I have to deal with the apartment manager who gives me the creeps for reasons I haven’t figured out, yet I can tell by the way he looks at me that given an opportunity he’d do something that would get us both on the evening news; and just because these are life-and-death issues most men know nothing about so that I’m made to feel foolish for being cautious even though I live at the center of a swirl of possible hazards DOESN’T MEAN A WOMAN SHOULD BE WARY OF A STRANGER WHO IGNORES THE WORD ‘NO’.”

    Whether or not men can relate to it or believe it or accept it, that is the way it is. Women, particularly in big cities, live with a constant wariness. Their lives are literally on the line in ways men just don’t experience. Ask some man you know, “When is the last time you were concerned or afraid that another person would harm you?” Many men cannot recall an incident within years. Ask a woman the same question and most will give you a recent example or say, “Last night,” “Today,” or even “Every day.”

    Still, women’s concerns about safety are frequently the subject of critical comments from the men in their lives. One woman told me of constant ridicule and sarcasm from her boyfriend whenever she discussed fear or safety. He called her precautions silly and asked, “How can you live like that?” To which she replied, “How could I not?”

    The next two paragraphs of de Becker’s after these are just as epic, but I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble with my copy pastes…

  465. Faithless
    August 18, 2012 at 12:13 am

    It must be a bit of a mass hallucination then, because pheeno has not been the only person to express the conclusion that you have issues with women.

    well I’m telling you I don’t, If you don’t believe me then that’s fine I told you the truth, I can’t make you believe it.
    ..Are you serious? This is a post about a serious problem women face and you turned around and made it about a completely different problem. What the fuck is wrong with you?

    I never said anything about a different problem, what I said was the proposed solution to said problem causes damage from my perspective and could use some tweaks, like yes means yes vs no means no. At no point did I say “all you women are making this shit up”

    Mmhm. Sure I am. You terrify women so much that they break down into tears and shove money at you, yet boldly stroll up and confront you in dark bars. Riiiight.

    Fine you don’t believe I experienced what I said did, noted, now fuck off.
    @Li
    ignoring the fact that a solution to one problem is hurting people some place else is text book “if your not winning the oppression olympics you don’t deserve help”. Which is obviously total bullshit
    @Annaleigh
    saying the proposed solution to a problem hurts others isn’t a derail, its saying lets tweak this solution because its HURTING PEOPLE without context.

  466. Faithless
    August 18, 2012 at 12:58 am

    also i suck at block quotes, sry

  467. pheenobarbidoll
    August 18, 2012 at 1:24 am

    well I’m telling you I don’t, If you don’t believe me then that’s fine I told you the truth, I can’t make you believe it.

    You’ve spent the entire time on this thread turning an issue that affects women in ways that get them sexually assaulted and BLAMED for it into an issue about how it makes you feel to be thought of as a creep.

    THAT is having a problem with women. Your FEELINGS are more important than our LIVES.

    What happens if she’s wrong? Nothing. You feel unfairly feared. What happens if she’s right but because she’s more concerned about your feelings than her own safety (because men just like you do nothing but shame women and tell them to question that fear because it makes YOU uncomfortable) then she gets attacked and everyone, EVERYONE, tells her she should have known better.

    Why should I care about your feelings when you don’t give a rats ass about my safety? You can’t even discuss it. Nope. It’s all about you.

    Men tell us we’re supposed to prevent our own attacks, men tell us we have to take precautions or else we invite attack…men do NOT get to choose how we protect ourselves. When you leave it all up to me, then you don’t get to whine about it later. If I have to take the blame for unfairness, on top of taking the blame if I’m attacked, then fine. I’ll protect myself and you can go fuck yourself.

    Don’t like that? Then police your fellow MEN.

    Don’t blame an abuse victim for fucking flinching.

  468. August 18, 2012 at 2:07 am

    saying the proposed solution to a problem hurts others isn’t a derail, its saying lets tweak this solution because its HURTING PEOPLE without context.

    None of us are saying that it’s okay to accuse people of being creeps just because of their appearance, identity, etc. We are talking about not engaging in actively creepy behavior that invades personal boundaries, such as touching, cat-calling, etc.

    I don’t know how to make myself clearer.

  469. LC
    August 18, 2012 at 3:53 am

    I don’t know how to make myself clearer.

    OK, so “creep” has meant a despicable person for what… 80 years or so? There seems to be a push to move it more specifically to the type of creep we’re talking about in the OP – deliberate boundary-ignoring creepiness.

    So is this whole argument just over the idea that the word is still used in the broader sense, often in ways based on identity and appearance, so people don’t want the narrower sense pushed, because it adds a worse stigma to those already being discriminated against? Because these kinds of “words in transition” issues can be tricky, but we should be able to get past it, right? It seems very clear which definition is being used in the OP and what the majority of commenters in this thread are referring to.

  470. Faithless
    August 18, 2012 at 4:46 am

    @pheenobarbidoll
    what your calling “flinching” has resulted in me being physically attacked multiple times, thats not “getting my fee-fees hurt” thats fucking assault. And you obviously have made up your mind that im proclaiming a WHOLE bunch of shit i haven’t said at all. so ya know what? fine. I’m not the problem, I keep to myself to the point of remaining isolated from women to a large degree strictly so I “don’t creep you out, you poor thing”.

    … and if you “flinch” in a way that physically agresses against me, like pulling a weapon in an enclosed space? Ima “flinch” and kick your fucking teeth in.

    I keep to my self, learn to do the same or get fucked up, im done coddling to your fear.

  471. August 18, 2012 at 5:57 am

    Speaking of creepy, this whole idea of “making the male touch valuable” strikes me as it. Like, why? Plenty of women enjoy the male touch, I don’t think most men really fear touching a woman. preferably with consent, but that doesn’t stop a lot of people. Female touch does get more of a cultural elevation going on, but I mean, girls have, by and large, hella soft hands. I sort of imagine a lot of my fellow phallus-havers sitting at their computers, reading this discussion and looking down at their hands with a lost, hopeless expression. :(

  472. EG
    August 18, 2012 at 5:58 am

    Well, you know, God forbid that women take control of a word and use it to describe and define our experiences without consulting the fee-fees of every last man on the planet. That would make it seem like women have some kind of right to language or judgment or something.

    For fuck’s sake, it’s not as though “creep(er)” has a particularly racist or homophobic history, or has been routinely used in such a context any more than any other negative word in a racist society.

  473. librarygoose
    August 18, 2012 at 8:03 am

    God forbid that women take control of a word and use it to describe and define our experiences

    Here’s your problem EG, apparently women don’t have experiences. Men have experiences we all should consider and build our lives around. Women have random occurrences and one-offs (all the time).

  474. BrotherPower
    August 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Faithless, where the fuck do you live? I’m just asking (rhetorically. I don’t actually care.) because I am also a biggish black guy, and I know tons of other black people, and no one I know has ever been called out in the dead of night by frightened white women. I can pretty much tell when someone is afraid of me, and the number one clue usually is them trying to get away from me or avoid me without drawing attention to themselves, along with the sudden clutching of valuables. I don’t like to doubt people’s stories, but it kinda seems like you are skipping a step.

    Regardless, it is really offensive to conflate black men being seen as dangerous due to racism and creepers being seen as creepy due to creeping. It is offensive to me as a black man because being racially stereotyped is a real problem with real, potentially life-threatening consequences, whereas being called a creeper is essentially the softest possible punishment for what is often pretty bad behavior. And it is, in fact, super misogynistic to put women’s concerns about safety in with racism. I guess there can be a bit of overlap, but the woman who walks a bit faster when I happen to be walking on the same sidewalk as her at night is pretty much the last person I need to go after in the fight against white racial hegemony.

    So shut up. Other dudes too. What are you doing? The value of men’s touch? What? People are talking about basic quality of life issues: safety, consent, harassment avoidance. This is not boner time.

  475. Schala
    August 18, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Here’s your problem EG, apparently women don’t have experiences. Men have experiences we all should consider and build our lives around. Women have random occurrences and one-offs (all the time).

    And this whole “women have experiences” deal, means you can initiate policies, wether official or not, that hurt people (namely those categories already socially ostracized in patriarchy, butch women included) – because collateral damage doesn’t matter when it’s about helping women and children?

    Because this whole “creepy has a broader sense, but I’m not using it that way, so it’s okay”, ignores society.

    Isn’t it like saying you can use faggot for its original meaning (small fire wood, cigarette), because you don’t care how society has made it an insult for gay men?

    My boyfriend uses slut and bitch in a positive sense…but it’s my boyfriend, context matters. If a random stranger used it, I might be less inclined to see it positively, given the societal sense.

  476. zuzu
    August 18, 2012 at 10:59 am

    … and if you “flinch” in a way that physically agresses against me, like pulling a weapon in an enclosed space? Ima “flinch” and kick your fucking teeth in.

    So you’d kick someone’s teeth in for being afraid enough of you in an enclosed space that she gets ready to defend herself by pulling out her keys or her mace, but doesn’t actually use it on you?

    That’s going to do a lot to make her less afraid.

    Faithless, I’m going to ask you to leave this conversation now. You clearly aren’t listening to what anyone has to say here, and you’re simply derailing. And by “ask you to leave,” I mean, “I’m going to delete any further comments you make.”

    I’m also going to ask others not to respond to Faithless.

  477. zuzu
    August 18, 2012 at 11:00 am

    My boyfriend uses slut and bitch in a positive sense…but it’s my boyfriend, context matters.

    Men don’t get to reclaim words like slut and bitch.

  478. Bagelsan
    August 18, 2012 at 11:08 am

    And this whole “women have experiences” deal, means you can initiate policies, wether official or not, that hurt people (namely those categories already socially ostracized in patriarchy, butch women included) – because collateral damage doesn’t matter when it’s about helping women and children?

    Sooo, if it’s helping women and children, but it’s simultaneously “hurting people” who are “already socially ostracized in patriarchy”… you’re basically implying that men are the ones most harmed by patriarchy. Which just…no. So much ignorant.

  479. librarygoose
    August 18, 2012 at 11:10 am

    @ Schala

    Creeper is nothing like that fucking repulsive word. Creeper is a wholly innocuous word that makes assholes have a case of the sads. When you have been oppressed physically and psychologically for a couple hundred years by the scary label of “Creeper” that will have merit. FFS, I’ve been called creepy, and it really hasn’t made me curl up and wilt. It made work on my inability to maintain eye contact.

  480. Schala
    August 18, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Sooo, if it’s helping women and children, but it’s simultaneously “hurting people” who are “already socially ostracized in patriarchy”… you’re basically implying that men are the ones most harmed by patriarchy. Which just…no. So much ignorant.

    Stop the oppression olympics.

    Men are hurt by pedophilia profiling, and by creep profiling a bit less – but it will disproportionately affect gay men, tall and big men, trans women who are seen (or known) as trans, possibly trans men too (I don’t know enough about them).

    I never said most harmed. I said already ostracized.

  481. Schala
    August 18, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Men don’t get to reclaim words like slut and bitch.

    My boyfriend can use it specifically towards me, because I allow him to.

    I’m the only authority on his usage towards me.

    His usage on others would be frowned upon, but doesn’t happen AFAIK.

  482. zuzu
    August 18, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Stop the oppression olympics.

    Says the “what about the menz” MRA commenter.

    Men are hurt by pedophilia profiling, and by creep profiling a bit less – but it will disproportionately affect gay men, tall and big men, trans women who are seen (or known) as trans, possibly trans men too (I don’t know enough about them).

    No, it will affect boundary-pushing assholes. But by all means, let’s conflate boundary-pushing with false accusations of pedophilia(!).

  483. Bagelsan
    August 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Stop the oppression olympics.

    Says the “what about the menz” MRA commenter.

    Wow, she really is just saying phrases nearly randomly…

  484. August 18, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Sooo, if it’s helping women and children, but it’s simultaneously “hurting people” who are “already socially ostracized in patriarchy”… you’re basically implying that men are the ones most harmed by patriarchy. Which just…no. So much ignorant.

    Stop the oppression olympics.

    Nice dodge. Even if she were engaging in the oppression olympics (which isn’t the case), she was stating a fact.

  485. Sam
    August 18, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Petpluto,

    #405

    Again, I’m talking about creating a social discourse that more explicitly values *consensual* male sexuality/touch. I grew up with the understanding that women hate sex with men, that the only way to get what men want would be to buy their consent (and female sexuality) with something *other than male sexuality*, romance, money, etc. I was literally shocked when a girl once told me (when I was 20) that women actually *LIKE* sex with men.

    And yes, again, I believe such a discourse would make it easier to differentiate between instances of wanted and unwanted male touch, because the default assumption will no longer be that no male touch can be wanted because women don’t want male touch, because (heterosexual) women don’t like sex because of the male touch involved, they consent to it as a trade for something else.

    Caperton,

    #460,

    Sam, just out of a desire for clarity, what precisely do you mean by a man’s touch being “valuable”? What would that look like? How would you expect a man who perceived his touch as “valuable” to behave, and how would you expect a woman to respond to that? If a parent said, “I want to raise a son who feels like his touch is valuable,” what advice would you give that parent? Please define it from the center and not the edges, if you can.

    Thanks for that question. As I already mentioned I grew up with religious and second wave feminist indoctrination that men are all at latent rapists, which made me believe that expressing my interest in girls I was interested in was dangerous for her and for me. It took me about ten years of working through these messages before accepting that women actually can value my touch. And while I’ve been living on the sunny side of life with respect to female attention for the last five years now, and I’m still very much unable to initiate anything physical that goes beyond holding and hands or dancing. I still cannot really express my affection through initiating, say, a kiss, even when I *know* it would we very welcome. I am usually relying on women to initiate, which they, usually, don’t like to do, and often don’t do at all (luckily, some still do).

    Granted, my case was likely a bit unusual, not only with respect to the messages I received, but also in the way I reacted to them. But that said, I do believe that a message of male toxicity is the standard social discourse about male sexuality and it is *not* balanced with one about *good male touch* about women desiring *good male touch* about men appropriately expressing themselves and their desires through flirting and sexuality consensually.

    I would have wanted my parents to tell me that it’s ok to experiment with my and my girlfriend’s desire and that making mistakes is completely normal, a part of growing up, and, well, being human, that making mistakes doesn’t make one a bad person, and that they probably aren’t a big deal as long as we’re careful with each other. I would have wanted them to tell me that my girlfriend liked holding my hand as much as I liked holding hers, that she valued my touch as much as I valued hers, and that she probably wanted a bit more than handholding as much as I did. I would have wanted them to tell me that I should stop rejecting my touch as toxic (hey petpluto!) without even giving her a chance to do so.

    I wouldn’t want a feminist mother to consider her 19yo son a rapist by default, as in this story from role/reboot, for example, when he tells her about his “wonderful first time” in a “panda three-way”, in which, apparently, an experienced couple is helping an inexperienced younger guy –

    As soon as I recovered my power of speech, I was able to express my pressing concern about whether the woman involved was able to give meaningful consent since the men had her outnumbered two to one. Even if she gave consent, I wondered, was it truly enthusiastic or was she emotionally coerced?

    I believe that Schala is basically right about the consequences of the male toxicity narrative with respect to female-male-interactions: some guys will become socio-sexual dysfunctional, a lot more will accept the narrative and stop caring since they’re considered evil either way. Changingt the narrative would allow to shrink those fringes, in my opinion, and that would mean a better world for everyone.

  486. zuzu
    August 18, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Again, I’m talking about creating a social discourse that more explicitly values *consensual* male sexuality/touch. I grew up with the understanding that women hate sex with men, that the only way to get what men want would be to buy their consent (and female sexuality) with something *other than male sexuality*, romance, money, etc. I was literally shocked when a girl once told me (when I was 20) that women actually *LIKE* sex with men.

    Oh, holy fuck.

    Sam, go work out your issues with sexuality elsewhere. This is not your therapy. You’re derailing.

    I’m going to ask you, too, to leave the conversation just as I asked Faithless. You’re contributing nothing of value here, and you’re just bogging things down with your jacked-up worldview. Run along, now.

  487. Chiara
    August 18, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Men are hurt by pedophilia profiling, and by creep profiling a bit less – but it will disproportionately affect gay men, tall and big men, trans women who are seen (or known) as trans, possibly trans men too (I don’t know enough about them).

    gimme a fucking break. in the incident we’re talking about here it’s cis, straight (probably white and middle class) males who are harassing women at geek conventions. this isnt some kind of “profiling” because they’re gay or tall or trans or whatever, the creep label is based on their ACTIONS

  488. DonnaL
    August 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    it will disproportionately affect gay men, tall and big men, trans women who are seen (or known) as trans, possibly trans men too (I don’t know enough about them)

    Schala, I continue to be astounded by the things you say that bear no relation whatsoever to reality. In fact, the categories of people you mention are far *less* likely than straight cis men to be labeled as “creepers,” because they’re far *less* likely to harass women — by their words and conduct; none of this has anything to do with anything else — at sf conventions or elsewhere. This is all very simple and indisputable, and I find it very hard to believe that you’re too stupid to understand it.

    Also: Yes, you’re free to decide that it’s OK for your boyfriend to call you a “slut” or a “bitch” in an allegedly positive way. But I’m free to express my opinion that there’s something seriously dysfunctional going on there, and that you could use some consciousness-raising.

  489. DonnaL
    August 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I hate days in which every single comment I make goes into moderation, after weeks have gone by during which every one went through. Damn machine.

  490. August 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    In fact, the categories of people you mention are far *less* likely than straight cis men to be labeled as “creepers,” because they’re far *less* likely to harass women — by their words and conduct; none of this has anything to do with anything else — at sf conventions or elsewhere.

    This, thanks, seriously.

    I mean, um, for realz, how many times has anyone read in the papers about a trans person being a rapist, or a gay guy raping a straight guy in the last six months, relative to how many rapes by straight men of trans people and cis women? Yeah, Schala, you keep playing those small violins. Fuck.

  491. Schmorgluck
    August 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I started taking notes halfway through my reading of the thread, here are my thoughts in no particular order but when I found how to formulate them:

    259 PrettyAmiable

    Bro, go talk to your guy friends. When they say stupid shit like, “I followed a woman into an enclosed space because she had the opportunity to run like fuck while we were downstairs,” tell them, “that’s cool, dude, but I like it when they actually want to talk to me, and chicks are pretty awesome when they aren’t hyperventilating.” There’s your fucking step towards positive discussions around men’s sexuality.

    That would be an interesting thing to do, but the fact is that I never, ever, heard a guy say shit like that. Not even close. And I can tell you that, would it occur, my response would be waaaaay less civil than the one you suggest.

    On the question of asking first, this reminds me of something that happened to me, when I accompanied a lady I met at a night-club when she went looking for stuff in her car. On our way back to the night-club, I asked her “Mind if I hold your arm?” and she answered “Not at all.” with a gentle smile, and so it was. I was pretty sure of her answer, otherwise I wouldn’t have considered nor asked about it, and it turned out pretty sweet. (thing is, we had something going, and it’s kind of a bittersweet memory because due to circumstances out of our control, we had to part ways without sharing contact information, but that’s kinda off-topic)
    So I don’t really see a problem about asking first.

    338 macavitykitsune

    Question: is one of the symptoms of Asperger’s, autism, social anxiety disorder, depression, non-devastatingly-good-lookingness, awkwardness, etc a chronic inability to hear, comprehend or accept the words “no”, “knock it off” or “that makes me really uncomfortable” when women say them?

    I can’t say about the others, but social anxiety disorder is about assuming you’ll be doing it wrong, no matter what, so you don’t do it to begin with. So if what triggers said anxiety is being attracted to someone, well, you won’t make a move, you won’t even react when they give you hints that they feel attracted, because you’re in panic and assume, in a latter case, that it’s in your imagination and, in the former, that the answer will be “no” no matter what.
    I’ve been through this, and my way to be able to talk to ladies I would potentially find attractive was to block my ability to feel attraction.

    Signed,
    Someone who has intense social anxiety but has managed not to sexually assault anyone by some miracle.

    I wrote what’s about before reading the rest of your post (I knew your question was rethoric, though). Let’s say it’s general information for those who don’t know.
    I feel for you. It really sucks. Mine was probably not as intense as yours, because once I identified mine, all it took was one fortunate occasion to confront it in reassuring circumstances.

    429 Jenna

    What is it with the people who need everyone to like them?

    Good point. What saves me, I suppose, is that I overcame this need a long time ago.

    As for me, I consider my touch pretty valuable (especially to me, heh), but I don’t feel the need to be validated by touching as many women as possible. If my touch is unwelcome, I say to myself “her loss” and I move on.
    Oh, and I prefer my partners eager rather than just consenting. But I admit it’s nitpicking.

  492. Schmorgluck
    August 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I forgot to add that I’ve been indubitably creepy at least twice in my life.

    One of them makes me still feel shitty because I actually knew better and did it anyway.

    The other still makes me cringe a little, but the girl who lectured me, politely if sternly, about my behavior was entirely right.

    I may give more details later, I have no time right now.

  493. Bagelsan
    August 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I once wrote a multiple-page, peer-reviewed email to a guy who was being creepy to me due to his social awkwardness/inability to respond to cues appropriately. I spelled out exactly what he was doing that I didn’t like, suggested solutions, and literally had all my friends read it to make sure I wasn’t being “too mean” before I sent it. Many women do fucking backflips to accommodate “socially awkward” dudes, or even dudes who are just maybe socially awkward. The entitled dude whining about the few women who don’t do said backflips is so fucking tone deaf it boggles the mind. And it’s mostly coming from guys who actually know better anyways, and are just sad they can’t use a gender-neutral disability as their cover for creeping on women.

  494. moviemaedchen
    August 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Many women do fucking backflips to accommodate “socially awkward” dudes, or even dudes who are just maybe socially awkward.

    Thank you, Bagelsan. Though it’s been more than two years since I broke up with my last BF over his repeated boundary violations, it is literally only this week – thanks to this thread and Captain Awkward’s posts – that I’ve been able to even name them as such, because he was “socially awkward” in just that borderline way and being see as rejecting him was the ultimate sin. I did so many goddamn backflips to try and fucking educate him nicely about how to treat me as a person, pretty-please. And we aren’t even talking about things in the sexual realm. Even now my socialization is telling me that I was so meeeaan to him for asking him to please not do xyz and for cutting him off when a week of talks did zilch to change his behavior and I just couldn’t take it anymore. Because it was just “social awkwardness,” you understand, not deliberate choices to continue behavior I explicitly told him to stop. Obviously he was the real victim here – NOT. Fuck that shit.

  495. August 18, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Also everybody else said it was a black thing, I’m saying its a GUY thing, it happens to all the guys I know, of all races.

    Faithless,

    If you are geniuinely interested in learning, I can explain this for you simply. It IS a black (well, non-white) thing. If women in your predominantly white neighborhood are shouting ‘creep’ at you from cars, it would be ludicrous to insist there is no racial element.

    That is all behavior which fits into the definition of white privilege. Were you to look at the similarities between white privilege and male privilege you will see why you’re acting like the thing you claim to be against. Unless you’re just here to pick fights with feminists, in which case I can’t help you and I think most everyone else around here is already tired of your schtick.

  496. August 18, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    So if what triggers said anxiety is being attracted to someone, well, you won’t make a move, you won’t even react when they give you hints that they feel attracted, because you’re in panic and assume, in a latter case, that it’s in your imagination and, in the former, that the answer will be “no” no matter what.

    Schmorgluck, as someone who has pretty much the same problems (though that isn’t the focus of my anxiety), my response to always assuming no wasn’t to touch people who hadn’t consented, but to avoid touching others altogether, and maintain friendly relations without consciously flirting, etc. I’m not saying that you’re creepy (though you’ve pointed out that you have been) at all, I’m just saying that genuine social anxiety, combined with even a poorly functioning sense of decency, would result in LESS creepy behaviour, not more. So, to me, that says that either these chucklefucks claiming MIs as their cause of creepiness are lying about their social anxiety, or they’re lying about their sense of decency. Either way, I don’t have much patience for it.

  497. August 18, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    On our way back to the night-club, I asked her “Mind if I hold your arm?” and she answered “Not at all.” with a gentle smile, and so it was.

    Creepy guys on the thread: there, a dude asked a woman’s consent in a perfectly civil way and she gave it without apparent hesitation. Okay? So STFU already about how asking consent will never result in consent being given.

  498. August 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    There will always be awkwardness in social interactions. Male/female, female/female, male/male, and all the permutations of race religion and sexuality. Maybe if we all had a list of our boundaries tattooed on our foreheads things might be easier, but even that would pose problems for people who feel a stranger reading their forehead is an invasion of their space. Until we have figured out a way to instantly know and be sensitive to others’ boundaries there is going to be awkwardness. Life is awkward.

  499. Schala
    August 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I mean, um, for realz, how many times has anyone read in the papers about a trans person being a rapist, or a gay guy raping a straight guy in the last six months, relative to how many rapes by straight men of trans people and cis women? Yeah, Schala, you keep playing those small violins. Fuck.

    Have you read about the McDonalds trans woman being kicked to seizure for being in the woman’s bathroom, by two women?

    Creepyness was probably the accusation. The trans woman did nothing. Was still considered guilty by those two women.

    This kind of judging it bad thing happens more with those minorities. It’s UNWARRANTED labeling based on profiling. Not warranted labeling based on previous actions.

  500. Henry
    August 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Nah Fat, and we don’t need to be on post 499 for this.

    1. If someone asks you to stop an action (actions being talking or some behavior) you stop, no matter how unreasonable you think they are being. Up to you to apologize or not depending on the situation. We are not psychic and can’t know everyone’s particular boundary…and we’re not perfect either (re: elevator dude, who may just have not been thinking about “hey I should not be offering to enter the apt./doorway of a female stranger no matter how big the furniture she is carrying by herself is”).

    2. If the action you plan would scare a reasonable person given the context don’t do it. example, smiling and saying hi to someone as you approach them from the front versus sneaking up behind them and whispering hi into their ear from 6 inches away, or a more common example: randomly hugging girls you like w/o asking) You don’t have to be psychic, just reasonable. Sorry me me me people, but there are social conventions of behavior, some shit is just threatening to any woman no matter what you intend.

    If you are violating 1 or 2 you are a creeper.

  501. August 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    It’s UNWARRANTED labeling based on profiling. Not warranted labeling based on previous actions.

    Then, again, it’s off-topic for the thread, isn’t it? We’re speaking about women finding themselves isolated by abusive people, not transphobic dipshits profiling some innocent trans woman. Fuck, can you stay on topic for like three seconds or are THE MENZ seriously just that overwhelmingly important to you?

  502. August 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Excellent framing, Henry.

    A general note to the Dude People who are obsessively NOT GETTING IT on this thread: how would you treat a veteran soldier with PTSD? You wouldn’t sneak up behind him, trail him at a close distance for several blocks, crowd him into corners, yell in his ear, hug him or restrain him without asking, etc, right?

    Now consider that less than 10% of soldiers get PTSD, that soldiers usually form a single-digit percentage of the population. Now compare that to the stats that 1 in 5 women are raped, 1 in 4 girls are sexually assaulted or abused by 18, and 1 in 4 women have been in physically abusive relationships. Can you give women the same consideration as soldiers, considering they’re several times more likely to have been physically or sexually violated?

    If you can’t, or if you feel the situation is even slightly more nuanced than what I’ve laid out here, you are, indubitably, either a creep or a creep apologist. And fuck you sideways for that.

  503. August 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Have you read about the McDonalds trans woman being kicked to seizure for being in the woman’s bathroom, by two women?

    Creepyness was probably the accusation. The trans woman did nothing. Was still considered guilty by those two women.

    This kind of judging it bad thing happens more with those minorities. It’s UNWARRANTED labeling based on profiling. Not warranted labeling based on previous actions.

    It’s also not the kind of creepiness that has been largely the topic of conversation and was definitely not the kind of creepiness that was the subject of the posts linked in the OP.

    Also: Nobody has suggested that you get to beat the shit of someone because you find them creepy, so I’m not sure what you’re getting at by pointing out that, yes, some people are vicious assholes.

  504. Bagelsan
    August 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    If women in your predominantly white neighborhood are shouting ‘creep’ at you from cars, it would be ludicrous to insist there is no racial element.

    It would blow my mind if women actually did this. Racial slur? Sure, maybe, ’cause white people of any gender can be racist assholes, but “creep”? Doubt it.

  505. EG
    August 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Creepyness was probably the accusation. The trans woman did nothing. Was still considered guilty by those two women.

    [emphasis added]

    Schala, I remember you from previous threads, and you show just as limited a grasp of logical argument as ever.

    “Probably”? Probably? Do you have any evidence for that, or is this yet another time when you make assertions based on hot air? So, some women did this horrible thing, and you assume that they did so because they found the other woman “creepy” based on…what, exactly?

  506. k
    August 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Eppur si muove.

    You say that after the hemlock starts to kick in.

  507. August 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    It’s UNWARRANTED labeling based on profiling. Not warranted labeling based on previous actions.

    We’re talking about only the latter. Anything else you have to say?

  508. LotusBecca
    August 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Schala. . .I ask you please please please do not resume the tact you took in the “All Hail the Matriarchy Thread” and start comparing the oppression of trans women to the “oppression” of men. Men are not oppressed for being men. Also, trans women are not men. I’m afraid to even say this because you will probably double down and say something ridiculously offensive that further displays your internalized transphobia and patriarchal attitudes, but I figured it was worth a shot.

    And this is just me, but I have never been called a “creep,” before or after I started transitioning, and I have been called a lot of mean things (and also in retrospect there were a couple things I’ve done that were legitimately creepy and that I regret. I was never called a creep regardless). So I find zero credibility in your idea that LGBT people are more likely to be called creeps than aggressive cis, straight men. “Freaks” or “sickos” maybe. “Creeps” no.

  509. Henry
    August 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    It’s also not the kind of creepiness that has been largely the topic of conversation and was definitely not the kind of creepiness that was the subject of the posts linked in the OP.

    Also: Nobody has suggested that you get to beat the shit of someone because you find them creepy, so I’m not sure what you’re getting at by pointing out that, yes, some people are vicious assholes.

    What people are getting at is that we are trying to empower people to ask creepers to stop being creepy and telling people they should not act creepy. Power comes with limits. Discussing those limits is not off-topic, even if no one HERE would ever do such a thing. Once you release said power into the general population, there are people who definitely would take it beyond what is proposed here into the status territory. Such discussion is not a criticism of the OP, or an attempt to minimize it, it’s an attempt to frame the limits of a social rule. It’s like proposing a rule that your are entitled to kill someone in self defense, and if someone brings up the Florida stand your ground law, saying that that is off topic as it’s clearly not what was intended by the self-defense camp. However, we are on post 500+ and I think the issue was fairly well settled around post 250 or so that status is not a basis to judge creepiness and the people doing it are wrong. You had moderators come on here and agree with you, so why is this dead horse still being discussed? Some of you may be late to the party and are thus excused for kicking said dead horse, but believe us it is highly dead and if this were Italy would be on its way to making some tasty bresola by now.

  510. August 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Nah Fat, and we don’t need to be on post 499 for this.

    I was specifically referring to Schala’s comments about awkwardness around everyone, not excusing creeping as awkwardness. I should have blockquoted…

  511. moviemaedchen
    August 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Henry, the reason this “dead horse” is still being beaten is because people like Schala et al are still derailing and objecting to the post using the status argument. If you want to berate someone for not paying attention to a 500+ -comment thread reiterating the same points, try focusing on the jerks derailing with the same tired arguments instead of complaining about the people who actually want to discuss the problem of creepy boundary-violating behavior. Or, you know, step out of the discussion if it’s getting to you. You were doing good earlier, but seriously, this last comment is not helping.

  512. Henry
    August 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    no worries Fat, it’s getting harder and harder for me to follow this all and I’m becoming guilty of ignoring some of the posts (like Schala’s after reading a few words), so I’m bowing out of this one.

  513. moviemaedchen
    August 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    @Henry – rereading I may have misinterpreted who you are talking to. If you’re trying to tell the derailers to drop it, then I’m with you, and sorry. Long day.

  514. Annaleigh
    August 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Wow.

    Well, hey, you were the asshole who had to smugly quote Galileo instead of simply and (truly) respecting Zuzu’s wishes by not posting to the thread again with your constant derails.

  515. Annaleigh
    August 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    And Zuzu, I know you asked us all not to reply to Faithless or Sam, so I’m so sorry for replying to Sam just now, but I did sit on my hands when he made the Galileo remark trying to “win” this thread…but his crying foul this time was just too much. *sigh*

    Won’t reply to him again, I promise!

  516. Annaleigh
    August 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I was remembering today how my former therapist once let me know that my intense eye contact made her a little uncomfortable. I know that as someone who is socially awkward, I often don’t make any eye contact in situations that are intensely uncomfortable for me (frequently when I am dealing with a creeper), and I am aware of that as it is happening, but her comments though brought it to my attention a way in which my social awkwardness could make me a creeper in some contexts, and I was very glad that she told me. It’s helped me to remember to try and relax in cases where I would be more likely to hold eye contact for too long so that I don’t do that. I’m also very glad it was specifically glad it was her who told me because a) it’s not some relative stranger on the street’s responsibility to help me undo the risidual effects of years of traumatic experiences, and b) there’s a trust there that I have in her that I definitely don’t have in people in general.

    I agree with everyone who’s suggested that people who are so upset that creepy behavior can and will be called out mostly feel that way because they know it’s creepy behavior and they want to keep engaging in it.

  517. zuzu
    August 18, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I’ve been out all day, so I missed the two or three comments Sam left after I asked him to leave. He’s being sent to the spam filter and I’m deleting his last few comments.

    I’m asking everyone not to respond to Sam or Faithless anymore. And Schala can go away, too. I don’t even know what the fuck she’s talking about anymore, if I ever did.

  518. Annaleigh
    August 19, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Was sitting with the family watching Aqui y Ahora, which although it had some good stories about the Dreamers, and about a rapper from the San Joaquin Valley and the Fresno Mixtec community who is getting positive attention for his rapping (and the fact he raps in Mixtec, Spanish, and English, sometimes all three in the same song), but there was also a story that was a reminder about why women have the right and obligation to pay attention to everything around us and to make the right decisions for our safety. Aqui y Ahora also did a segment on a serial rapist called the Teardrop Rapist who has hurt many many women in South Central LA, most of them Latinas, a couple of them Black, and part of his MO is initiate contact and conversations by doing things like asking about the time or weather. It doesn’t guarantee that these women would or wouldn’t have been assaulted, but how many of them were accomodating of him at first when he made the small talk because society teaches them that is how they must act? It’s a cruel expectation put upon women and it’s so frustrating to see men defend it in every single thread.

  519. LotusBecca
    August 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    As much as we hated the trolls it appears they were the only force keeping the conversation going. Oh well. . .

  520. August 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    As much as we hated the trolls it appears they were the only force keeping the conversation going. Oh well. . .

    Shame how often that’s the case. Then again, I find that they help to focus the discussion sometimes….

  521. EG
    August 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Well, they’re very successful at derailing. After 500+ comments, how could anybody remember what we were talking about before they showed up?

  522. LotusBecca
    August 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Shame how often that’s the case. Then again, I find that they help to focus the discussion sometimes….

    Definitely. I really like the feeling of solidarity, actually, when a bunch of people are saying smart things that I can agree with (but may have not thought of myself) in response to a particularly obnoxious troll. So even though threads like this can be tiring, I think they can also be fun and educational!

    On the other hand, I feel a problem with a thread like this is that it makes it harder for less frequent commenters or lurkers to post good faith comments and really get noticed and heard. It seems they tend to not even post. . .or not get noticed in the heated exchanges between the trolls and 7 or 8 people who have decided to argue with the trolls for the thread. But then again there’s always the more laid back threads where more people can get involved, so that’s good.

    Well, they’re very successful at derailing. After 500+ comments, how could anybody remember what we were talking about before they showed up?

    Yeah, I scrolled up and noticed Sam posted his first comment at #37 seven days ago. That’s a successful derail! I don’t even remember what I ate for lunch or the clothes I wore seven days ago.

  523. August 21, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I’m a lady nerd and I’ve talked about this with some of my friends, both male and female, and we’ve come up with this: There are a lot of awkward people out in the world and most of us have had an embarrassing social situation where we weren’t wanted or someone we try talking to isn’t interested in talking to us (romantic prospect or not). It’s not a fun situation but it happens. It used to happen to me a lot as a kid and teenager but you live and learn and work on the social cues. It still sometimes happens to me even now that I’m more aware of this kind of stuff.

    Even if you approach someone in a low threatening way in an open space where you don’t think they’ll feel threatened, they might still not be interested in talking to you. It happens and it sucks but you walk away and try talking to someone else. If it keeps happening to you, it could be a couple different things: it could be that you’re approaching the kind of people who just don’t want to be friendly to strangers – it’s sucks but it’s their right to turn down talking to you. Maybe it’s rude, but it’s not their responsibility to talk to someone approaching them. But if this keeps happening over and over in different situations, then maybe the way you’re approaching people is in fact very disconcerting in general and if you really want to grow your group of friends (or find a nice person to date) you’re going to have to work on that. That’s on YOU, not them.

    And yeah, thanks to rape culture women are taught to assume the worst when it comes to strangers, especially men. It sucks for you, but it really does suck more for us.

  524. cherrybomb
    August 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

    And yeah, thanks to rape culture women are taught to assume the worst when it comes to strangers, especially men. It sucks for you, but it really does suck more for us.

    QFT

  525. Cara
    August 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I noticed after that woman (I forget her name, sorry) posted about the jerk hitting on her in the elevator after a conference. No one even considered SHE might have social issues. Nope. Just the poor poor creep who didn’t know any better.

    *not saying either of them did have social issues, just that no one was willing to try and excuse her rejection of the creep.

    Hundreds of people saying, “Guys, don’t hit on women you’ve never previously spoken to in elevators unless you want to freak them out” is hardly “no one”.

    Her ‘rejecting’ the guy didn’t need excusing, anyway. Giving clear, strong, unambiguous ‘no, keep your distance, back off’ signals is SOP for women trapped in a confined space with a stranger who’s hitting on them.

  526. Cara
    August 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    @Caperton: Do you really think that type of reaction is a good way to live? It is your life, so it is your choice, but to me that seems a very self destructive attitude.

    Matlun, I’m sure your concern is deeply appreciated.

    Do YOU think that butting into someone else’s risk assessment process is a good way to demonstrate your vast, superior intelligence? It’s your choice, but to me that seems extraordinarily counterproductive.

  527. dandi-randi
    August 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Well this thread was a beast to get through. Hopefully my point is still relevant.

    An important point that got lost in all the earlier male entitlement trolling is that half of this problem *IS* male insecurity. I wanted to re-explore this, not that it’s an amazingly new idea either.

    Now, I’m not talking about the bs about men and male touch being “toxic”. Guess what? We ALL live in a dangerous, physically isolating society. Let me put it this way. I live under a constant male threat. I’ve been sexually assaulted, and harassed, and all that, so I’m pretty suspicious of strange men. HOWEVER, at the same time, I’m not viewed as a non-threat by men either. And yet I manage to avoid taking male suspicion of me to heart.

    Why’s that? IMO, it’s because I am guaranteed to be secure in my feminine worth regardless of my total lack of hitting on the opposite sex. In this society, men *ARE* caught in a double bind as far as “creepiness” is concerned. Men are shamed if they’re virgins, or if they don’t hit on a woman they like, or if they get turned down by a women, and I can see how this plays into their sense of entitlement. Humans, by nature, tend to feel entitled to things that we see as social “needs”.

    So why should we, as feminists, care?

    I understand that the idea that traditional masculinity is toxic to men is certainly not new to feminism. However, at the same time, I feel that it is going to be very difficult to discuss this problem mutually with men if we only focus on the “entitlement” side of it. I cringe when I see feminists make dismissive remarks about men and their “feeeeeeeelings”. Now, I understand women’s history of being told to value men’s feelings over our security, because I’ve lived it. However, the solution isn’t to swing the pendulum the other direction either.

    Men make up half the population. If we are ever going to make any progress, we can’t just be logically right. We have to convince men, and their rational and irrational feelings, that we have their best interests at heart as well. And if we fail, we have to keep on trying until we do so.

    Not that any of this is amazingly new ideas.

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