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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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493 Responses

  1. matlun
    matlun January 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm |

    As someone the autistic spectrum (just Aspergers actually) I think much of the whole “it is unjust to point out I am creepy” rhetoric is just bullshit.

    Since I have a hard time recognizing this on my own, then if no one actually points it out how I am going to realize that this is the case? How, if I do not realize that there is a problem on my own, am I ever going to to be able to change my behavior to something more acceptable?

    Being non-neurotypical should not be seen as an excuse to be a creep, it should be seen as a need for more detailed instruction in how not to behave as a creep.

    Even more when I was I a teenager and more insecure, I would really have welcomed clear information as to when my behavior was “creepy”. So that I could have better learned how to behave.

  2. mh
    mh January 9, 2013 at 6:00 pm |

    SO GLAD somebody FINALLY wrote about this! I see these kinds of “don’t be creepy” posts on feminist forums all the time, and I’ve struggled with how to respond.

    Autism runs in our family (“runs” is a polite way of saying all of us are on the spectrum to some degree or other; some are more disabled than others.) It is very, very true that sometimes we don’t know when we are being “creepy.” It is also true that, once told to back off, it is completely our responsibility to follow through.

    I once read a charge for “creepy” men to take responsibility and “just not be creepy.” The writer felt that she shouldn’t have to explain or rebuff them, that they should somehow know they were doing something wrong. While I can understand how difficult it can be to assert yourself, the truth is that not everybody understands social boundaries the same way.

    People on the spectrum may need specific instructions or a specific explanation; body language is usually insufficient. “Leave me alone” is clear enough for anyone, but it does have to be said explicitly.

    1. EG
      EG January 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm |

      Women have been socialized not to respond explicitly, directly, and verbally; a woman who did was just attacked with a knife in SF. If you don’t intuitively read body language, you need to consciously learn it, as a friend of mine had to do. Body language is a legitimate method of communication, and a woman who is being intimidated by you can’t tell from your body language if you are the guy who’s going to pull a knife if she’s “rude,” or if you just can’t that she’s intimidated.

      1. mh
        mh January 10, 2013 at 8:53 am |

        What if you can’t learn it, or what if you are still in the process of learning it?

        I understand your dilemma, but the reality is that there are people who don’t read social cues like body language, period. Note that many people with this disability have it so extremely as to be face-blind (they cannot recognize facial features and must rely on people telling them who they are.)

        1. EG
          EG January 10, 2013 at 1:07 pm |

          Yes, I am aware of those facts. And the reality is that I’m not going to prioritize the possibility that somebody ignoring my body language and transgressing my boundaries is incapable or in the process of learning over the possibility that he’s a harasser or rapist. One of rapists’ main tactics in selecting a victim is to repeatedly violate her boundaries in order to confirm that she’ll accept the behavior.

          If you know that you are one of the people who can’t read body language and needs to be told things explicitly, and then it is on you to say that, explicitly, to the person you’re interacting with: “Just wanted to let you know that I’m on the spectrum and while I do my best, I’m just at a loss when it comes to body language and subtle cues; please tell me directly if something I’m doing is discomfitting you or if you want to go do something else. I won’t be upset; I’ll be grateful for the clear direction.”

          People on the spectrum cannot read my body language. That’s difficult for them. But that does not put the onus on me to read their minds.

          Interestingly, I have interacted with women on the spectrum, and not one of them ever touched me, for example. One woman did follow me after I had given signals that I wanted the interaction to be over. As she was smaller than me and a woman, I had the luxury of not being threatened, and so taking the time to figure out what was going on. That’s not a luxury I have with a man.

        2. mh
          mh January 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm |

          For some reason, it won’t allow me to reply directly to your comment, but I would say this:

          “People on the spectrum cannot read my body language. That’s difficult for them. But that does not put the onus on me to read their minds.”

          This is EXACTLY what it is like for a person on the spectrum. Many of us feel that the world expects us to read their minds. However, if you said “Don’t touch me and leave me alone” it solves that problem.

          You asking that a person on the spectrum announce their disability at the onset of every single social interaction is not a reasonable or just request. You wouldn’t ask this of someone who was legally (meaning, not totally) blind and might bump into you without being aware of it, would you?

        3. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm |

          Cut it out. I’m serious. It isn’t just neurotypical women who get harassed. And trying to parse out if someone is safe or not, if they’re on the up-and-up, is REALLY FUCKING STRESSFUL for women on the spectrum and women like me who have NLD (because problems with social cues aren’t always due to autism). Not to mention trying to extricate yourself from the situation in a socially acceptable way when hello, you’re not good at that sort of thing. And then getting threatened, or followed/harassed further, or assaulted because you were such a bitch. Telling some guy “Don’t touch me” or “Leave me alone” actually MADE THINGS WORSE. And no one said, “Hey, maybe she has a right-brain disorder.” They said, “Well, you should have been nicer” or “The poor guy probably has problems.”

          FUCK THAT.

          MY safety counts, too. MY well-being counts, too. I do NOT have the fucking spoons to play mommy to a dude who has these issues when I have them and other women have them as well.

          FUCK that erasing bullshit.

        4. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm |

          MH, my comment is stuck in mod, for whatever reason. But I will say that I think you’re being dismissive, erasing, and hurtful to women and girls like me who have to deal with harassment and who have disorders that make it hard for us to read social cues. To expect me to extend a what if to a guy when he’s not doing the same to me–and to expect me to be blunt when I learned the hard way (thanks to the disorder) that saying my boundaries would actually put me in more danger sometimes is beyond nasty on your part. People like you–people who ignored and erased women like me in favor of the dudes–actually made my life a lot worse.

        5. EG
          EG January 10, 2013 at 4:58 pm |

          You wouldn’t ask this of someone who was legally (meaning, not totally) blind and might bump into you without being aware of it, would you?

          If they repeatedly bump into me and don’t want me to respond as if they’re hostile and trying to grope me, harass me, or pick my pocket, I think it would be a good idea.

          Many of us feel that the world expects us to read their minds. However, if you said “Don’t touch me and leave me alone” it solves that problem.

          It doesn’t solve my problem, of knowing whether somebody is a danger to me, and that’s the problem I’m going to prioritize, thanks very much. I’m not structuring my life around making it easy for random men to interact with me.

        6. Clytemnestra's Sister
          Clytemnestra's Sister January 10, 2013 at 11:34 pm |

          What if you can’t learn it, or what if you are still in the process of learning it?

          Have you read, “You need to get off my foot?”

          http://racebending.tumblr.com/post/29362478976/if-you-step-on-my-foot-you-need-to-get-off-my

          If you step on my foot, you need to get off my foot.
          If you step on my foot without meaning to, you need to get off my foot.
          If you step on my foot without realizing it, you need to get off my foot.
          If everyone in your culture steps on feet, your culture is horrible, and you need to get off my foot.
          If you have foot-stepping disease, and it makes you unaware you are stepping on feet, you need to get off my foot. If an event has rules designed to keep people from stepping on feet, you need to follow them. If you think that even with the rules, you won’t be able to avoid stepping on people’s feet, absent yourself from the event until you work something out.
          If you’re a serial foot-stepper, and you feel you’re entitled to step on people’s feet because you’re just that awesome and they’re not really people anyway, you’re a bad person and you don’t get to use any of those excuses, limited as they are. And moreover, you need to get off my foot.

          I had an unfortunate problem with this very recently, with a young immigrant man of colour whose first language is not english. He was a very pleasant gentleman up until the point where he decided to ignore my repeated “I’m Not Interested” and “No” after he asked me out on a date. The pattern of harassment escalated very quickly after each no, to the point where I called in a male relative to tell him to go soak his head and my next step was calling the police.

          I could have sat there wondering if I should educate him about culture and appropriate behaviour in this country, or wonder if I should have made an effort to communicate with him in his native language, or sat him down and explained to him carefully that he was being creepy and rude…..but since this person had already demonstrated that he was dangerous, I went for the big scary hairy younger brother telling him to go soak his head option.

          I look at dealing with creepers like I would crossing a pasture with a bull in it. Some bulls are like Ferdinand and all they want to do is smell flowers, some will watch you carefully and be on guard but not be aggressive, and some bulls want nothing more than to put two holes in your abdomen. But I don’t know that before I approach the field. Since I cannot determine the bull’s intentions, I must make my decisions about my safety based on the bull’s abilities and the bull’s behaviour. If somebody is displaying creepy/dangerous behaviour and has the ability to harm me, then I must assume that that person is dangerous until proven otherwise, regardless of whether that person is clueless, non-neurotypical, predatory, or just awkward.

        7. jennygadget
          jennygadget January 11, 2013 at 6:24 am |

          “You asking that a person on the spectrum announce their disability at the onset of every single social interaction is not a reasonable or just request.”

          No. No one here is doing that. We are saying that just because it is true that there ought to be more resources and overall understanding of people who are not neurotypical, this does not mean that the person you are creeping out has the responsibility to be that resource for you.

          What is being pointed out is that if you do want people to help you, if you feel you know them well enough or are in a situation where it makes sense to ask that favor of them, then yeah…you should be clear about what it is you are actually asking of them. Otherwise you are just being an asshole and expecting them to read your mind. At the risk of their own physical safety and emotional well-being.

          “It isn’t just neurotypical women who get harassed.”

          And yes, THIS. A million times this. All of this talk about how the creepers may be socially awkward or non-neurotypical does nothing to help people being creeped on who this may also be true of. So, it’s really just helping the creepers, some of whom may not be neurotypical – many of whom are, and not at all helping non-neurotypical people overall, some of whom may be creepers, but many of whom, I suspect, are actually creeped on fairly often.

          The question should be: how does the common assumption that everyone is neurotypical color how we talk about unwanted and socially unacceptable behavior? or: How can recognizing people’s differences help us keep more people happy and safe?

          The question should not be: But how many of the people being called creeps have Asperger’s, etc.? This limits the conversation to just one part of the problem, props up the myth that most creepers have good intentions, contributes to the assumption that it’s men’s experiences that deserve to be heard and focused on, and completely erases a whole lot of people who do have Asperger’s, have problems learning social cues, etc.

      2. mh
        mh January 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm |

        Wait a minute, here. I have this particular disorder, myself. I’m sorry, but I learned the hard way that it is better to say “Leave me alone” than it is to parse out someone’s intentions.

        I do not get how that is erasing anyone. We all have a responsibility to make sure there is no confusion by communicating as clearly as we are able. We can’t ask that of other people if we won’t do it ourselves.

        For the record, I have also been taken advantage of because I didn’t catch the cues in time. The guys who did that to me were not AS, but creeps.

        1. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm |

          And when I’ve done that, or other women have done that, the guys sometimes got violent or more threatening.

          Yes, you’ve self-identified as a woman and as someone on the spectrum. You’re still erasing those of us who’ve gotten the business end of harassment and you’re acting like if we just communicated more clearly this shit wouldn’t happen. You’re also erasing those of us who’ve dealt with that shit and who have disorders where we can’t read interpersonal cues or facial expressions that well. Even though we’ve actually gotten assaulted, threatened, followed, etc. for doing exactly that.

          And for your information, I’m not here to school any man on how to fucking behave. Coping with NLD, I don’t have the spoons. I’m not his goddamn mommy. I have my own well-being to worry about. It’s incredibly abelist of you to assume that women who deal with this shit have the spoons to educate the poor widdle menz. Fuck that noise. My safety and well-being counts, too.

          Also–it’s not just spectrum disorders that color this. A woman with PTSD isn’t necessarily going to feel comfortable telling some dude she doesn’t know to leave her alone because the interaction might have tripped her triggers. And since I have no way of knowing if a guy is on the spectrum (and have the NLD to really make things hairy) AND since it’s abelist for anyone to expect a person to announce their issues, it’s really fucking rich of you to blithely tell us that we should just tell someone to stop.

          I mean, that always works well, doesn’t it.

        2. Lindsay
          Lindsay January 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm |

          I’m also autistic, and also cannot read most people’s body language most of the time. I think Sheelzebub has the right of it here, and I also think that, maybe if you know you can’t tell if you’re making someone uncomfortable, and you’re not sure you can ever learn how, you could just err on the side of not approaching people, of giving them a lot of space. That’s what I do.

    2. LC
      LC January 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm |

      EG, not just women. (Although the pressure is greater.) Language analysis shows that in general people of all genders don’t say “no” directly in most cases.

    3. kersplat
      kersplat January 10, 2013 at 7:23 am |

      Body language is a legitimate method of communication

      Body language is ill defined, hard to read, and totally impossible to objectively interpret. The idea that as a passive bystander you are required to try and get in somebody’s head who isn’t enough of a grown up to tell you what is on their mind strikes me as mind numbingly childish.

      1. EG
        EG January 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm |

        Body language is not objectively impossible to interpret, and given that it’s a major mode of communication, it can’t possibly be that ill-defined. I have a friend on the spectrum who taught herself body language and facial expressions specifically because she did not want to make others uncomfortable.

        We are not talking about passive bystanders. We are talking about people actively engaging with others. The idea that you feel entitled to interact with other people while dismissing a major component of that interaction as unimportant and not worth your while strikes me as mind-blowingly narcissistic.

        1. mh
          mh January 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm |

          Are you seriously calling autistic people narcissistic?

          OK, so for the record: just because some autistic people can learn some social cues, it doesn’t follow that all autistic people can learn them, nor does it follow that all the cues will be learned even if they try.

          It also means the cues have to be taught, and one of the few ways that adults have at their disposal to do so is screwing up and having their screwups pointed out to them.

        2. matlun
          matlun January 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm |

          The idea that you feel entitled to interact with other people while dismissing a major component of that interaction as unimportant and not worth your while strikes me as mind-blowingly narcissistic.

          A bit unfair. If you do not have the skill to actually interpret this component, then can you really say that you are “dismissing” it by not acting on it?

          I do think that as an adult you should be able to communicate this in a more direct manner. I also believe that as an adult the other person should respect this information once communicated. Unfortunately I am wrong on both these points all too often.

        3. kersplat
          kersplat January 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm |

          Body language is not objectively impossible to interpret

          There is no such thing as an objective observation, all observations come from an individual’s perspective and one person’s opinion on the body language signals of another person is just that, an opinion.

          and given that it’s a major mode of communication, it can’t possibly be that ill-defined.

          people using it is fine, people using it in place of a communication’s standard that works better to communicate something serious like safety is fucking stupid IMHO.

          I have a friend on the spectrum who taught herself body language and facial expressions specifically because she did not want to make others uncomfortable.

          great for them. I expect others that feel uncomfortable and expect me to do something about it to tell me so like an adult. Not cry in a corner and make me play some game of charades like were in preschool.

          The idea that you feel entitled to interact with other people while dismissing a major component of that interaction as unimportant and not worth your while strikes me as mind-blowingly narcissistic.

          I feel entitled to be treated like an adult and told to stop doing something that makes someone else uncomfortable so I can rationally respond and make adjustments or stop talking to them just how I would expect to do myself If I felt uncomfortable.

        4. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm |

          I feel entitled to be treated like an adult and told to stop doing something that makes someone else uncomfortable so I can rationally respond and make adjustments or stop talking to them just how I would expect to do myself If I felt uncomfortable.

          Yeah, ’cause, you know, I didn’t actually get further harassed, threatened, and followed when I actually told a guy to stop doing something.

          How’s that view from privilege mountain?

        5. Briznecko
          Briznecko January 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm |

          I feel entitled to be treated like an adult and told to stop doing something that makes someone else uncomfortable so I can rationally respond and make adjustments or stop talking to them just how I would expect to do myself If I felt uncomfortable.

          Women don’t have the magical ability to read your mind and tell that you are a rational adult and will make the necessary adjustments. Not all men respond that way, some yell expletives, some assault, some stalk, etc. So when it comes to “treating you as an adult” vs. my personal safety, my safety wins hands down.

        6. kersplat
          kersplat January 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm |

          Yeah, ’cause, you know, I didn’t actually get further harassed, threatened, and followed when I actually told a guy to stop doing something.

          ya know it’s really too bad that you’ve had to deal with people like that, it also really is not my problem. you don’t get a free pass to disrespect people just because you’ve had bad experiences in the past. It is not my responsibility to deal with the fallout of offenses against you I did not commit, just like it is not the job of minorities to go out of their way to “not fit the stereotype” to avoid profiling. If you don’t speak to me like an adult I’m not going to treat you like one. I’ve had women do some horrifically disrespectful things to me that were totally irrational and unprovoked, that does not give me the right to treat every woman like an irrational loose cannon.

        7. roro80
          roro80 January 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm |

          kersplat, perhaps you’re missing the part of the story where it’s not just that one time in the past it happened to that one individual. Telling someone up-front to leave you alone, and then having that situation turn real ugly in one way or another, is a nearly universal experience for women. It’s not a one-off. Your feelings about direct communication are quite a bit down the list of stuff I care about from my own personal safety.

        8. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 4:38 pm |

          ya know it’s really too bad that you’ve had to deal with people like that, it also really is not my problem.

          Exactly. It’s my problem so you don’t get to dictate how I solve it. I have no idea who you are, what your intentions are, if you’re going to flip out on me for speaking up or what. And my safety isn’t your social lesson o’ the day.

          You can find it immature all you like, at least I’m alive and not found chopped up and stuffed in a duffel bag. Given that it’s my life, your opinion on it is worth less to me that the shit my dog just took.

        9. kersplat
          kersplat January 10, 2013 at 4:42 pm |

          Telling someone up-front to leave you alone, and then having that situation turn real ugly in one way or another, is a nearly universal experience for women

          It’s a nearly universal experience for people in general, it also totally irrelevant. I am not responsible for the asshattery of other people.

        10. kersplat
          kersplat January 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm |

          if you’re going to flip out on me for speaking up or what…

          my point was that you should speak up and not expect me to play some jr high school game where I try to decode your “body language”. You clearly did not read what I wrote.

          If I walk into a room and you turn to me and say “excuse me your freaking me out standing so close” ill back up. If you wiggle uncomfortably and start to shake, I’m going to think you have to go to the bathroom and keep standing there.

          Your an adult, if you want something, say so.

        11. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 4:48 pm |

          Avoiding assault isn’t asshattery. Asshattery is what leads me to have to avoid assault.

        12. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm |

          my point was that you should speak up and not expect me to play some jr high school game where I try to decode your “body language”. You clearly did not read what I wrote.

          And my point is the only thing I should do is whatever I feel is necessary to lower my risk of you being a stalking, murdering serial rapist. That’s it. That’s all. My obligation is to my safety and my body is not for your use. I don’t care what you want to learn. Go learn about standing too close or decoding body language from someone else, on your own time.

        13. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm |

          Your an adult

          As are you. There are people out there who are paid to help you figure this shit out. Go pay one of them and stop demanding my safety as your free tutor.

        14. EG
          EG January 10, 2013 at 5:08 pm |

          Are you seriously calling autistic people narcissistic?

          I’m seriously calling this dude, who refers to understanding to body language, which comprises a large part of communication, and to the responses of women who have been socialized to be nice and polite to men and who have to worry about men reacting violently, as “childish,” narcissistic.

          just because some autistic people can learn some social cues, it doesn’t follow that all autistic people can learn them, nor does it follow that all the cues will be learned even if they try.

          Then I guess those people who can’t tell whether or not their actions are wanted had better make sure to err on the side of assuming they are not, if they don’t want to intimidate people.

          one of the few ways that adults have at their disposal to do so is screwing up and having their screwups pointed out to them.

          I am not a free service for every passer-by. It is incredibly entitled to expect me to place some stranger’s “learning experiences” before my own safety. If I wish to set up a practice teaching social skills, I will expect to be paid.

      2. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm |

        Yes! Telling the guy who wouldn’t leave me alone to leave me alone and that I wasn’t interested went swimmingly. If, by swimmingly, you mean “got followed and threatened and further harassed.”

        Signed, a NNT woman who apparently doesn’t exit or matter to people like you or MH.

        1. mh
          mh January 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm |

          First of all, I’m not neurotypical myself and spend most of my time right now working on disability rights for members of my family in particular. I do care about the rights of everyone, women and people with disabilities in particular.

          If you’ve spoken up for yourself and the perpetrator responds aggressively, you’ve probably got a rapist or sociopath on your hands rather than a garden-variety asshat. I don’t think anything you could do or say would change the situation at that point, in the same way that nothing you did or said made the situation your fault.

        2. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm |

          My point is, you have no right to go telling anyone what they should be doing on the off-chance that maybe the dude is on the spectrum. There are reasons why I interact (or refuse to interact) with men the way I do and you have NO RIGHT to lecture me or anyone else on how we should be schooling them or just “doing” X because then they’ll back off.

          I mean, wonderful, I speak up and the dude gets aggressive and bystanders tell me it’s because I’m such a bitch but it’s all okay because “it’s not really my fault.” Oh, thank you! That’s a great comfort when I’m actually scared that I’m about to get assaulted by some entitled dudely shitheel.

          Here’s the deal: I have no idea if the dude who’s getting into my space and will not take no for an answer and will not leave me the fuck alone is NT or not. (They don’t ask themselves if I am, and I see a lot of assumptions from folks here that women who would rather be left alone are all NT. Fuck that noise.) I don’t care if he’s on the spectrum or not, if he has NLD or not, if he’s mentally ill or not. (It’s actually quite possible to be those things and harass or hurt someone.) I care about my well-being. And I’m sick to fucking death of people acting like violence against women isn’t a thing with this advice that we “just” have to do or say X or Y.

          You’re part of the problem because you’re putting us in a position where we cannot win. If you care so goddamn much about other women who deal with this shit, stop acting like any woman who is tired of creepy fucking behavior is being abelist and that we’re all NT, and stop acting like violence isn’t actually a thing women–including women like me–have to deal with. While you’re at it, stop acting like it’s our goddamn job to school the dudes. I don’t have the fucking spoons, if you give a shit about abelism you’d know better than to exhort me to do that or to assume that everyone’s NT. That’s so much bullshit right there.

        3. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 4:32 pm |

          If you’ve spoken up for yourself and the perpetrator responds aggressively, you’ve probably got a rapist or sociopath on your hands rather than a garden-variety asshat.

          But why I am supposed to take that risk? So he knows better next time?

          No. No thanks. My safety isn’t anyone’s social communication lesson.

        4. Natalia
          Natalia January 14, 2013 at 4:21 am |

          Yeah, direct engagement of people acting creepy towards me has not worked out in the past for me either. When I was 17, I politely told a man on the street that I was not interested after he tried to block my path – so then of course he followed me for two city blocks, screaming about how his cousin is in the police and that I would now be “hunted down” for “being disrespectful.”

          My personal safety trumps other people’s feelings. If I’m not comfortable engaging, I’m not going to go against my better judgment because miscommunication could be at play.

      3. annalouise
        annalouise January 10, 2013 at 2:04 pm |

        If it is truly challenging for a guy to figure out whether or not he’s creeping a woman out, maybe he should just not socially interact with women until he gets a better handle on it, instead of asking women to put up with it because it’s not intentional, or because it’s related to a brain chemistry issue .
        I mean, that’s kind of a subtext in this creep shaming whining: that “talking to women” is some kind of basic human right. And let’s be real as to how much this has to do with how we put this pressure on women to be understanding, or compassionate, or nurturing to people.

        1. jennygadget
          jennygadget January 11, 2013 at 6:33 am |

          “I mean, that’s kind of a subtext in this creep shaming whining: that “talking to women” is some kind of basic human right.”

          Yup. Which is why there is soooo much caring for men on the spectrum who are trying to talk to women, but so little concern for women on the spectrum who may have a much harder time saying extracting themselves safely, assessing risk, etc.

        2. matlun
          matlun January 11, 2013 at 7:12 am |

          To “not interact socially” with 50% of the world’s population? Are you really being serious here?

          That is clearly not a reasonable choice unless you live in prison or some other gender segregated environment. Most of us do live in a mixed gender social environment.

          These types of communication problems are real and probably unavoidable. They are also not limited to just autistic people. The man claiming that his wife “wants him to read her mind” is a well established cliche for a reason.

          The person creeping you out may very well not be aware of this. From a moral perspective, the situation is much clearer when his behavior is unacceptable regardless of this information (ie he is acting in fundamentally inappropriate or even abusive ways), but when this is not the case the situation really is not that clear.

        3. EG
          EG January 11, 2013 at 9:27 pm |

          The man claiming that his wife “wants him to read her mind” is a well established cliche for a reason.

          Right. The same reason that other sexist stereotypes are cliches. Misogyny.

        4. matlun
          matlun January 12, 2013 at 7:08 am |

          @EG: No, because many men recognize themselves in the cliche. It is an exaggerated way of expressing a real phenomenon.

          I do apologize for my poor phrasing, since there are the classical sexist tropes of the unreasonable woman and the clueless man. I could have expressed what I wanted without going there.

          Which was that honest miscommunication where one party incorrectly believes that their social cues have been correctly understood is not uncommon. It happens quite often even in normal social interaction.

        5. TomSims
          TomSims January 15, 2013 at 5:23 am |

          <blockquoteIf it is truly challenging for a guy to figure out whether or not he’s creeping a woman out, maybe he should just not socially interact with women until he gets a better handle on it, instead of asking women to put up with it because it’s not intentional, or because it’s related to a brain chemistry issue .
          I mean, that’s kind of a subtext in this creep shaming whining: that “talking to women” is some kind of basic human right. And let’s be real as to how much this has to do with how we put this pressure on women to be understanding, or compassionate, or nurturing to people.

          I agree completely. One of the first things all parents should teach ALL boys is to respect all girls'/women's space.

        6. Dave
          Dave January 16, 2013 at 3:27 am |

          @Tom

          “that “talking to women” is some kind of basic human right”

          Actually, it is. Freedom of speech.

        7. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 16, 2013 at 8:21 am |

          @Tom

          “that “talking to women” is some kind of basic human right”

          Actually, it is. Freedom of speech.

          Freedom of speech means you have the right to express your opinion without fear of government censorship. It does not mean that I am a piece of public property. These conversations all too often go down that path–it’s someone’s “right” to harass me because they’re just hitting on me clumsily or they’re socially awkward or whatever (while erasing the fact that I have NLD). I am not a piece of property. I am not a resource. I am not a thing that anyone has a “right” to. Maybe if folks dropped that dehumanizing bullshit a lot of the problem would diminish, but that would mean dropping your entitlement to women’s bodies, time, and space. I don’t see that happening any time soon.

        8. Dave
          Dave January 16, 2013 at 9:09 am |

          No one has a right to your time, body, or space. But everyone does have the right to talk. You also have the right to not listen.

        9. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 16, 2013 at 9:23 am |

          I also have the right to my own space, Dave. Oddly enough, this “freedom” and these “rights” are only mentioned when it comes to men’s sense of entitlement to women.

          And actually? You don’t have the “right” to talk to me if I make it clear I don’t want that. (And if the only strangers you ever choose to approach are women, you may want to look at why that is.) That’s not freedom of speech. Words mean things. FFS.

      4. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm |

        Oh, you poor baby! Your fee-fees were hurt. I was physically hurt. Guess whose well-being I give two shits about? Mine. Not some entitled doucheclown who thinks his hurt fee-fees are my problem to address but institutionalized sexism and male entitlement and violence against women isn’t his problem to consider.

        But thank you for establishing that you’re an inbred troll. Now roll around in glitter and dance for me, sparky.

        1. Marni
          Marni January 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm |

          Hear, hear Sheezlebub. Amazing isn’t it. Any other question of gender, race, classism, sexuality, ableism etc and few here would ever say that ‘you’ have the responsibility to act as if you are ‘normal’ just because ‘normal’ people don’t like having their feelings hurt, even when it puts you at physical risk. PRIVILEGE MOUNTAIN, indeed.

      5. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm |

        It’s a nearly universal experience for people in general, it also totally irrelevant. I am not responsible for the asshattery of other people.

        And they aren’t responsible to school you on how to act. Believe it or not, the experiences of women will outweigh their consideration of your hurt manfeels. Shocking, I know.

        Now roll around in glitter and dance, sparky.

      6. Past my expiration date
        Past my expiration date January 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm |

        Body language is ill defined, hard to read, and totally impossible to objectively interpret.

        And yet lots and lots of people manage to communicate using body language, lots and lots of times, every day! Astonishing, but true!

        1. EG
          EG January 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm |

          Right? This is my problem with this dude in particular. He thinks that because he is not adept at something, that thing is worthless, like some teenager who’s bad at trig or something, and says that therefore math is “stupid.”

          No. The problem is not with body language. It’s with his abilities.

          I am a terrible visual artist. I can’t draw, paint, sculpt for shit. I can’t even wrap a present competently. That does not mean that drawing, painting, sculpture, or even present-wrapping are childish bullshit. It means that I’m not good at everything that matters, and I have to fucking deal with it.

        2. kersplat
          kersplat January 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm |

          I can read body language just fine, I do it as part of my job very regularly, I simply refuse to do it without a pay check. The bar of communication between people has no need to be lowered to a less accurate system that relies on subjective observation.

          when your a child your parents teach you to “use your words to explain what you want”, why people feel entitled to communicate like 7 year olds I have no idea

        3. tigtog
          tigtog January 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm | *

          I can read body language just fine, I do it as part of my job very regularly, I simply refuse to do it without a pay check. The bar of communication between people has no need to be lowered to a less accurate system that relies on subjective observation.

          The ability to read body language is not something you can just switch off, once you know how to do it.

          So what you’re actually saying is that you can tell very well when someone is frightened by your intrusive behaviours and you choose to ignore it.

          Why exactly is your self-confessed choice to wilfully ignore someone else’s perceptible fear supposed to make anybody here feel that you are the one who is being hard done by?

        4. Briznecko
          Briznecko January 10, 2013 at 6:47 pm |

          I can read body language just fine, I do it as part of my job very regularly, I simply refuse to do it without a pay check.

          Really? You need to be paid to not stand too close to someone? To not touch someone without consent? To not make inappropriate sexual comments? To not stare? Wow…just, wow.

        5. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm |

          why people feel entitled to communicate like 7 year olds I have no idea

          Given you’re the one who’s acting and communicating like a 7 year old, that’s odd.

        6. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 6:52 pm |

          “use your words to explain what you want”, why people feel entitled to communicate like 7 year olds I have no idea

          And again- we’re telling you with words right fucking now.

          I have no doubt that if I told you to back the fuck off, you’d argue. You already are. So, nope. No respect for you. You’ll just have to discover how unpleasant some of us can actually get when we feel threatened.

        7. Briznecko
          Briznecko January 10, 2013 at 6:52 pm |

          Oh wait…you need to be paid in order to interpret your creepy behavior as creepy. Off the clock, it’s the woman’s job to teach you how to not be creepy.

          Again, wow.

        8. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 6:56 pm |

          Really? You need to be paid to not stand too close to someone? To not touch someone without consent? To not make inappropriate sexual comments? To not stare? Wow…just, wow.

          Yes. I don’t piss on people’s shoes when I’m on the clock, but once my workday is done you need to Use Your Words if you don’t want to me to pee on your shoes. I DEMAND RESPECT.

          (I’m being sarcastic, by the way.)

        9. kersplat
          kersplat January 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm |

          So what you’re actually saying is that you can tell very well when someone is frightened by your intrusive behaviours and you choose to ignore it.

          No, what I’m actually saying is exactly what I said.

          If somebody finds something I do intrusive or frighting, they can say something like an adult or they can send some stupid signal like a grade school child. I only give credence to the adult response from adults.

          I have no doubt that if I told you to back the fuck off, you’d argue.

          and you would be wrong.

          You’ll just have to discover how unpleasant some of us can actually get when we feel threatened.

          People who feel threatened for no reason are a threat to MY safety, which I take as serious as you take yours.

          [mod note : borked blockquotes fixed for second time to aid comprehension. Take a moment longer to preview your comment and check that you've done it properly next time.]

        10. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm |

          People who feel threatened for no reason are a threat to MY safety, which I take as serious as you take yours.

          If you’re trying for Top Troll, you’re going to have to do better than this. I mean, the effort is there what with the stolen ID or racefail, mansplaining, and trying to twist our words. But the thing is, we’re seasoned troll-kickers, son. This shit is not new or novel to us. You’ve reached into your ass and pulled out a nugget you consider gold, but really, it’s just poop, boyo.

          And the Internet Tough Guy Act? Is, well, cute but not that new, either. I mean come on. Do you think we haven’t heard this before?

          You have to try harder. You obviously want it, sparky. But wanting it isn’t enough. Can you deliver? Well, can you??

        11. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca January 10, 2013 at 7:33 pm |

          Actually, kersplat, most adults use body language to communicate things with each other. I’m aware that you only do this at work, but for most of us, communicating with body language is a common after hours activity. In fact, adults generally have a more sophisticated ability to express themselves with body language than grade school children do, as well as a more sophisticated ability to interpret it. Just FYI.

        12. EG
          EG January 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm |

          Oh, I get it! This kersplat dude is one of those guys who sees no problem with fucking a partner who is just lying there counting ceiling tiles, wishing it was over, giving him no positive encouragement at all–and then saying it couldn’t be rape because “she didn’t say no.” What a douchebag.

          Kersplat, you keep claiming that nonverbal communication is childish, even though adults the world over use it to communicate. What other forms of communication are you unwilling to participate in? Do you understand tone of voice? Has it ever occurred to you that it’s only surly teenagers who whine about how nobody directly told them they had to refill the gas tank when they took the car, how are they supposed to know, what are they supposed to do, think about other people’s feelings? That’s…not a thing adults do. Adults actually exercise their capacity for empathy and pay attention to what other people need.

          You tell a kid to “use her/his words” when the kids is pointing at something and grunting. When the kid is clearly communicating through body language that you are frightening and intimidating him/her, you back the fuck off instead of being an asshole. Try it sometime. It’ll open up a whole new world of people not thinking you’re a lying douche.

        13. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 7:59 pm |

          People who feel threatened for no reason are a threat to MY safety, which I take as serious as you take yours.

          One would think you’d pay a little more attention then instead of assuming they’re not threatened and just need to pee.

          Whoever you are. [name redacted by moderator] or [name redacted by moderator] identity thief.

        14. Natalia
          Natalia January 14, 2013 at 4:25 am |

          I can read body language just fine, I do it as part of my job very regularly, I simply refuse to do it without a pay check.

          Then you’re an entitled shit, m’love.

        15. Dave
          Dave January 16, 2013 at 3:38 am |

          Well this has been an interesting discussion. What I’m a bit confused about: what is this argument actually about?

          As far as I can tell it’s about responsibility when it comes to being “creepy.” In a conversation, if someone is not responding to non-verbal cues, how do you terminate the encounter? Is that what we are talking about here?

      7. umami
        umami January 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm |

        Thanks for being such a great object lesson.

        If anyone is ever in any doubt that some men use being on the autistic spectrum as an excuse for complete fucking assholes and deliberately disregarding the feelings of the women they interact with, your comments on this thread are a useful example of the phenomenon.

      8. kersplat
        kersplat January 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm |

        Go pay one of them and stop demanding my safety as your free tutor.

        what I demand is respect, and if you choose not to show it to me, I will not show it to you. expecting me to constantly be on the look out for YOUR well being is not respect. If I’m creeping you out, go run and hide for all I care, you COULD choose to ask me to stop doing whatever it is that’s creeping you out like a grown up but if you wanna cower and hide and hope I “pick up on the signals” that your frightened then your going to be waiting for a very long time.

        1. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm |

          what I demand is respect,

          HAHAHAHAHA.

          You get what you give, sparky.

          Now dance.

        2. kersplat
          kersplat January 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm |

          Ok. Then you don’t get to complain when you have no friends

          well since that isn’t the case, obviously my demands aren’t that hard to meet.

          Part of being a grown-up and Owning Your Shit is realizing that if you are the one with a problem that is making lots of other people feel frightened, it is on you to decide what you do with that information.

          correct and since I give not 2 shits about how people who are too immature to speak to me when they have a problem view me I won’t worry about catering to those people’s whims.

          Just how I don’t make an effort to not wear loose fit clothing at night “cus im a big scary black guy who might scare people”. People who think I’m “so scary” can run and hide for all I care, their safety is NOT my responsibility.

        3. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 6:47 pm |

          what I demand is respect,

          Keep on demanding it. See how far that gets you when you stand too close, creep me out and I call a cop over. You can explain it to him while I make a safe get away. I’m not obligated to show a total stranger respect for a damn thing. Fucking earn it and then we’ll talk.

        4. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 6:52 pm |

          Just how I don’t make an effort to not wear loose fit clothing at night “cus im a big scary black guy who might scare people”. People who think I’m “so scary” can run and hide for all I care, their safety is NOT my responsibility.

          So, either you’re taking someone else’s image and information as your Gravitar or you’re lying about your race. Either way, you don’t deserve respect. Mockery, yes. But not respect.

        5. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm |

          Just how I don’t make an effort to not wear loose fit clothing at night “cus im a big scary black guy who might scare people”. People who think I’m “so scary” can run and hide for all I care, their safety is NOT my responsibility.

          You realize we can see your gravatar pic, right? Don’t appropriate a POC’s experience, please. They aren’t yours to fucking use either.

        6. kersplat
          kersplat January 10, 2013 at 7:19 pm |

          You realize we can see your gravatar pic, right?

          You realize this is the internet and people some times don’t put their actual information or images on their profiles to remain anonymous right?

        7. Donna L
          Donna L January 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm |

          When you click on kersplat’s gravatar pic, it says:

          [identifying terms redacted by moderator]

          My wife and I chose [identifying terms redacted by moderator] as an ideal community to raise our growing family. I am the owner of [identifying terms redacted by moderator], a local Real Estate firm and earned my MBA from [identifying terms redacted by moderator]. I believe my leadership experience and business background will help me assist the [identifying terms redacted by moderator] residents in watching over our tax payer dollars, help improve property values, and provide a voice for our residents.

          I get the feeling that kersplat stole this guy’s picture. (Even more reason to ban him.) Either that, or he’s a fool to say things like he’s been saying here, with his real name a click away.

        8. Donna L
          Donna L January 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm |

          OK, so you admit you stole this guy’s picture. What a fucking pig.

        9. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 7:26 pm |

          You realize this is the internet and people some times don’t put their actual information or images on their profiles to remain anonymous right?

          You realize the guy whose image you’re using and contact info you’re linking to can take legal action against you, right?

        10. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 7:28 pm |

          He didn’t just steal the picture. You can look up [redacted] and see the same pic with almost the same profile information.

          So, he’s a lying shitbag either way you want to look at it.

          He’s either lying about his race or stole a mans entire identity.

          I think I’ll shoot an email to [redacted] and let the owner know.

        11. EG
          EG January 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm |

          Just how I don’t make an effort to not wear loose fit clothing at night “cus im a big scary black guy who might scare people”.

          Ding ding ding! I was waiting when we’d get back to the whole “Schrodinger’s rapist is just like racial profiling” thing! Aw, poor men! Having to respect women’s boundaries is just like being the victim of racism!

        12. EG
          EG January 10, 2013 at 7:40 pm |

          since I give not 2 shits about how people who are too immature to speak to me when they have a problem view me I won’t worry about catering to those people’s whims.

          Right back atcha, kiddo. I’ll just go on calling you a creep whose boundary-transgressing and entitlement complex make you a danger, then.

        13. Niall
          Niall January 11, 2013 at 9:16 am |

          @kersplat:

          I find your use of the word ‘demand’ in explaining what you want from others to be very telling and speaks volumes about your character. Demands are what terrorists and other criminals ask for in kidnapping hostage situations. These people don’t give two shits about getting what they want, even if it’s at the expense of other people

        14. TomSims
          TomSims January 16, 2013 at 11:50 am |

          “what I demand is respect,”

          You don’t demand respect, it’s earned!

      9. kersplat
        kersplat January 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm |

        sry bout that, posted in the wrong place.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L January 10, 2013 at 7:30 pm |

          I don’t think there’s a right place for you here. Lying shitbag is a good description; thanks, pheeno.

        2. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 7:34 pm |

          Email including link sent.

    4. Jackie
      Jackie January 15, 2013 at 11:53 am |

      I have been reading this thread, and wanted to contribute an experience of my own. First some info, I am a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome, I can interpret body language decently.

      I was at this meetup group for people who are shy and wanted to learn to talk to each other. The minute I mentioned I had Asperger’s Syndrome this guy who had it practically jumped over next to me like an excited child, and started on about how he had it too. I found his behavior to be inappropriate and disturbing, and left the group and never returned to it.

      As someone who has been involved with some Asperger’s Syndrome support groups, I have learned a few unspoken rules when it comes to dealng with people on the Autism spectrum.

      One, is that if you tell a person who has an ASD they’re acting inapproprately, you’re an ass who does not want to understand how they are behaving that way because of their syndrome. It is virtually impossible to tell someone with an ASD they have a problem without them victim playing, and as many netizens who know me, know this is true. I am working on not doing that. No one wants to be the person who made the peron with ASD cried while everyone shames them, like they yelled at a 2 year old. This does happen, and it’s one of the reasons people think those with ASDs are jerks.

      Two, you will be seen as a complete and unrepentant ass if you bring any attention to the fact a person with an ASD is behaving in a disturbing manner, because “They can’t help it!” I don’t mean things like meltdowns or stimming, I mean violent unpredictable behavior. Like the time around high school I was invited to a special needs dance, and this guy nearly assaulted me. I was afraid to tell his parents what happened because they would most likely have twisted it into being my fault, or me not being understanding enough.

      Three, you’re so mmeeeeaaannn if you reject someone with an ASD, they have no friends. Parents who want to live their fantasy that their child is neurotypical will manipulate people with tales of pity and woe that their child has no friends. They will act like you’re a complete monster for rejecting their poor baby. This is another reason people are ambivalent about befriending or interacting with ASD people. It’s like having a tsundre boyfriend girlfriend.

      If your kid has no friends there’s probably a reason outside their diagnoses they don’t. Maybe they prefer being alone, or they’re missing some subtle social cue. It is not the job of the “friends” you’ve manipulated into playing babysitter to your child to teach them social skills. In fact what these parents are doing is emotionally abusing people and using them to fulfill their fantasies of having a neurotypical child.

      My mom fell for the my poor baby act hard, I never told anyone this, I felt if my life was meant to be a caretaker for ASD kids I’d rather not live. This was when I was seriously depressed and before I took SSRIs, but it shows how abusive and selfish parents of ASD kids can be. You cannot say no, without a hyperbolic dramatic production of how their child suffers, and you’re such a terrible person to not see how much they need you, you complete monster you. That is abusive behavior 101, those parents are going to guarentee nobody will want to be involved with them or their child, if saying no means they will act as if you sentenced their child to a life of complete isolation in a room with no light.

      This is why people have no tolerance for, “But I have Asperger’s Syndrome, I didn’t understaaannddd!” Then teach yourself, download a copy of Social Skills for Dummies, go to a therapist, but do not think anyone owes you their time to explain to you what you should already know. You act like a manchild, well no woman aside from those who might be overly maternal, will want to marry a child.

      It also is manipulative to make a woman look bad because she didn’t take your ASD feelings into consideration. You are trapping her in a social situation where either she leaves you, and everyone acts like she hurt the pooorrr ASD person’s feelings, or she agrees to be your girlfriend to get you to stop acting like a toddler who wants a candy bar in the checkout aisle.

      You might have notice I used several infantilizing terms in this post. I want to remind you, I myself have Asperger’s Syndrome, meaning I am not speaking from an outside perspective of knowing what it’s like. I am being frank because, men have no right to come to a feminist site, and cry male tears. Also, women do not know your intentions, this is made worse by the fact they don’t know if you have a knife, or you’re going to fall to your knees crying because they treated you badly. Either reaction is not and should not become their issue.

      I personally find the whole notion that everyone should drop everything because an ASD person is in the room thing despicable. It puts everyone else in an awkward position of having to walk on eggshells so they don’t set off the Aspie. Like I read about a suit against Whole Foods for not being sensitive and understanding that the person who is suing Whole Food’s brother had an ASD and wanders. Whole Foods shouldn’t have to ask if the person who may be a theif if they have an ASD first, the sister should have held her brother’s hand to see he didn’t wander away.

      People don’t want people with ASDs to be seen like children, yet expect everyone to just know that their child/sibling/relative has it. They expect everyone to treat their child as if they have a heart of glass, and act as if anyone who hurts their child is a horrible person. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE PERSON WITH THE ASD, AND NO ONE ELSE. That is the major problem here. You have an ASD and don’t like being called a creep, don’t act creepy. Can’t figure out how, nobody’s going to hold your precious little hand like mommy and explain it all to you. Women deal with enough crap from society, without the expectation that they ought to babysit the manchildren as well.

  3. elfabla
    elfabla January 9, 2013 at 6:12 pm |

    I just read the whole interview and I have to say I love the metaphors that guy uses, really his whole way of responding to life, his obsevations, everything, made for lovely reading.

    1. Alexandra
      Alexandra January 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm |

      Yes, it’s a lovely interview and he has a beautiful, eloquent way of describing his internal life.

      He reminds me a great deal of a friend I dated briefly after a few years of platonic friendship and escalating flirtation. We were incompatible for reasons that had little to do with the fact that he had a diagnosis of Asperger’s, and a lot more to do with religious disagreements. It was kind of nice to be in the position of “tutor” about sexuality and romance.

  4. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin January 9, 2013 at 6:12 pm |

    Are we defining “creep” by inability to show remorse or have a willingness to change problem behaviors?

    I honestly think that there aren’t nearly as many creeps as we think, yet everyone knows one. I’m not offended by application of the term, but the ones who cause problems wear it as a badge of honor. That’s what needs to change–the attitude that being a creep is proof that you’re the world’s best badass.

    1. tigtog
      tigtog January 9, 2013 at 6:28 pm | *

      Creepy behaviour describes a vast array of behaviours which other people find intrusive/alarming. The person’s intent is not the defining attribute – it’s the effect of the behaviour on others.

      Like so many behaviours, it’s problematic to turn an adjective labeling actions into a noun labeling a person.

      1. SomeGuy
        SomeGuy January 9, 2013 at 6:51 pm |

        The person’s intent is not the defining attribute – it’s the effect of the behaviour on others.

        I don’t necessarily disagree, but I do find it a bit odd that “the effect of the behaviour on others” is considered the defining aspect in this case (also mentioned by Jill in the OP), but is usually not considered to be an appropriate subject for discussion by feminists when it’s about, say, the potentially unintentional effect reveiling clothes tend to have on others (men). Feels like a bit of a double standard to me.

        That said – totally agree with this:

        Like so many behaviours, it’s problematic to turn an adjective labeling actions into a noun labeling a person.

        1. cherrybomb
          cherrybomb January 9, 2013 at 7:05 pm |

          the potentially unintentional effect reveiling clothes tend to have on others (men).

          Someone directing creepy behavior at you is completely different than what someone chose to leave the house in– which is an action not at all directed at you.

          Now, If someone chose to leave the house without undergarments and was intentionally exposing themself to you, they would have crossed over into the
          realm of creepy behavior, directed at you.

        2. SomeGuy
          SomeGuy January 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm |

          @Jill,

          I’m not saying they’re exactly the same, yet I think this is a bit of a double standard. If a person’s intent is irrevelant with respect to deciding what her or his actions mean because *only the effect counts* there is a certain similarty between these two examples. Guys get labeled as creepy for all sorts of things, including sitting quietly in the corner with a weird haircut – no intent, but effect, and hardly different than a women wearing specific clothes.

          You’re right that it’s less similar once there is direct interaction: Yet in my experience, guys who are called creepy (to their face) usually aren’t considered safety issues by the girls/women calling them creepy. And for good reason: if you think someone’s a safety risk, you probably shouldn’t provoke him while he’s around.

          Men who see women as walking sex-dolls are the ones who have the problem, and if they cannot stand to be in public with women’s bodies because those bodies have “unintentional effects,” they need to stay home because they have serious problems.

          I agree with that. Modesty are a horrible idea, and horribly sexist to both genders. But there’s still a bit of a double standard when it’s only about the effect when women decide about what men do/are while the effect of their own behaviour on men is considered off limits for discussion.

        3. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve January 9, 2013 at 8:47 pm |

          Is it just me or does the phrase ‘double-standard’ seem particularly meaningless on a feminist website? Surely a double standard only can exist on a level playing field.

        4. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm |

          When has a man been called creepy for having a particular haircut? And you’re still not seeing the difference between clothing/appearance and behaviour directed at another person. Wearing clothes (apart from the inappropriate situation Jill mentioned) is not the same thing.

          Creepy is not a gendered insult, but it’s mostly discussed as things done by men toward women because most sexual predation is of that variety. Clothing styles are not hitting on someone who doesn’t want it. Clothing styles are not pestering someone for their phone number. Clothing styles are not making comments and passing judgement on another person’s body, sexual attractiveness, activities, or anything else.

          Also, you’re contradicting yourself: complaining about women wearing revealing clothing (revealing what? Cleavage? Knees? Ankles?) and in the next breath saying the idea of modesty is bad. Make up your mind. You’re buying into the real double standard, which is that women’s appearance is something we do at men and must be policed.

        5. Dante
          Dante January 9, 2013 at 9:11 pm |

          I’m not saying they’re exactly the same, yet I think this is a bit of a double standard.

          Do you really not see the difference between a woman wearing a low-cut shirt and a man behaving in a way that makes someone feel threatened? One behavior is not directed at you; the other one is. One behavior, at worst, gets someone turned on; the other one, at worst, makes someone feel literally unsafe, as though that person’s right to live without fear is being violated.

          These are completely different, and similar in no way. I find it hard to believe that you can’t see that.

          Yet in my experience, guys who are called creepy (to their face) usually aren’t considered safety issues by the girls/women calling them creepy.

          First, I feel like you might be conflating two different concepts, one being the “creeping” behavior that this post addresses, and the other being a more generalized and less specific common-usage term. A guy sitting in a corner, minding his own business, with a strange haircut is not creepy. If he’s staring weirdly at women or other guys in the room, that is creepy, and he’s not minding his own business.

          I recognize that many people use the word “creepy” as a synonym for “undesirable” with no safety connotation. This is why context matters, and I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out which meaning applies by the context.

          Second, how can you be certain that these individuals aren’t considered safety issues by the persons who call them creepy? Did you ask the persons who applied the label? If you did, how can you be certain you were told the truth, and not just whatever it took to make you go away? If you are friends with a guy who is making another person feel unsafe, then you may easily be seen as equally unsafe and told anything necessary to make you stop inquiring.

        6. hotpot
          hotpot January 9, 2013 at 9:25 pm |

          Guys get labeled as creepy for all sorts of things, including sitting quietly in the corner with a weird haircut – no intent, but effect, and hardly different than a women wearing specific clothes.

          Right. And the effect of that behavior on others is harmless. As I read tigtog, it’s not that you’re a creep just because someone calls you one. It’s that just because you don’t intend to act like a creepy, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t.

          And even if we’re only talking about being aroused, someone wearing revealing clothes can only incite the reaction through you. At the end of the day it’s all in your head. On the other hand, someone who is being making you feel physically unsafe could kill you. The two are completely incomparable.

        7. SomeGuy
          SomeGuy January 9, 2013 at 9:28 pm |

          @The Kittehs’ Unpaid Help,

          When has a man been called creepy for having a particular haircut?

          well, because of their look, a number of them have.

          And you’re still not seeing the difference between clothing/appearance and behaviour directed at another person.

          I quote myself from my reply to Jill above: You’re right that it’s less similar once there is direct interaction.

          Creepy is not a gendered insult,

          True. I’ve seen a creepy woman or two. And I actually wouldn’t say it’s an insult in the cases you describe, it would be an insult in the cases I decribe, because in those cases it would be an unfair label. Thing is, I don’t see women call guys creepy because they think they’re dangerous (because, again, it would be stupid to call someone names if you think that person is dangerous), but because they feel they’re annoying (and will feel bad and leave after the word precisely because they’re sufficiently socially adjusted to understand at least that).
          I don’t really mind the term, although I think it could need a clearer definition. Some people are creepy at times.

          Clothing styles are not pestering someone for their phone number. Clothing styles are not making comments and passing judgement on another person’s body, sexual attractiveness, activities, or anything else.

          No, but again, I’ve hardly ever seen guys being called creepy who do that kind of thing.

          Clothing styles are not hitting on someone who doesn’t want it.

          Here is where the problem begins, because clothes *can be* code within contexts, and that means there can be miscommunication about the context. While not particularly often given common contexts, but sure, it’s easy to come up with situations in which clothes *can* hit on someone who doesn’t want it, at least to the extent that a person feels provoked similar to the communication of a socially maladjusted “creepy” person. It would probaly be reasonableto consider it “creepy” for a woman to walk into a Catholic monastery wearing only red hot pants.

        8. mxe354
          mxe354 January 9, 2013 at 9:47 pm |

          I do find it a bit odd that “the effect of the behaviour on others” is considered the defining aspect in this case (also mentioned by Jill in the OP), but is usually not considered to be an appropriate subject for discussion by feminists when it’s about, say, the potentially unintentional effect reveiling clothes tend to have on others (men). Feels like a bit of a double standard to me.

          The difference is that objectifying women with revealing clothes is unacceptable.

        9. EG
          EG January 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm |

          Here is where the problem begins, because clothes *can be* code within contexts, and that means there can be miscommunication about the context.

          Bullshit. Clothes do not hit on people. You can tell, because nobody hits on everybody in a room.

          Your supposed parallel is bullshit, because you are leaving out the element of threat and domination. A man intimidating a woman is doing so in a rape culture; the woman has to fear rape and sexual violence. A woman wearing sexy clothing in the presence of a man is doing so in…what, precisely? What does the man have to fear? Nothing. The man’s own thoughts might bother him, but controlling them is on him. He’s not in any danger.

        10. William
          William January 9, 2013 at 10:20 pm |

          Bullshit. Clothes do not hit on people. You can tell, because nobody hits on everybody in a room.

          Your supposed parallel is bullshit, because you are leaving out the element of threat and domination. A man intimidating a woman is doing so in a rape culture; the woman has to fear rape and sexual violence. A woman wearing sexy clothing in the presence of a man is doing so in…what, precisely? What does the man have to fear? Nothing. The man’s own thoughts might bother him, but controlling them is on him. He’s not in any danger.

          Long story short: QFmotherfuckingT.

        11. SomeGuy
          SomeGuy January 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm |

          @EG

          yeah, well. There’s really no point in arguing with that. If you live with the premise that there nothing is comparable because of patriarchy, then there’s really nothing to talk about. Good that you have an answer so you don’t have to ask questions, right?

        12. tomek
          tomek January 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm |

          someguy’s comparison is not much convincing.
          woman finding guy creepy is not enjoyable experiance for her. guy finding woman clothes hot is enjoyable experiance for him. the affect is opposite.

          The difference is that objectifying women with revealing clothes is unacceptable.

          eh. for why are they wearing these clothes then?

        13. EG
          EG January 9, 2013 at 10:42 pm |

          If you are trying to claim that being finding a woman attractive is somehow like living with the hovering threat of sexual assault and/or stalking and/or subsequent victim-blaming, you are so out of touch with reality that I have no idea what to say to you.

          It sure is convenient when you ignore real-life power dynamics in an attempt to make women culpable for men’s actions, isn’t it?

        14. Esti
          Esti January 9, 2013 at 11:11 pm |

          @SomeGuy

          If you can’t understand there is a major, important difference between how a person looks and actions that they do to someone else, then I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know anyone, male or female, who has called someone creepy because they had a bad haircut. Here are some things that HAVE caused me to call someone creepy (and no, usually not to their face — but you can absolutely feel threatened by or unsafe around someone and think to yourself “ugh, creepy” or wait until they are gone and call them creepy to someone else):

          -staring at me intently for an extended period, particularly when it is a stranger I am not having a conversation with (someone sitting across from me on the subway, for example)
          -catcalling me on the street
          -asking questions about my sexual history in an inappropriate context (at work, when we barely know each other, etc.)
          -a stranger on the street walking up behind me and running his hand up my leg (yes, this happened)
          -continuing to try to talk to me after I’ve made it clear I don’t want to have a conversation (by responding with one-word answers, looking away, going back to my book, saying I’m not interested, etc.)
          -pestering me for my number or my email address even after I’ve said I’d rather not give it to them
          -repeatedly brushing up against me in a confined space (the subway, trying to get a drink at a bar, etc.)
          -calling me four times in one day after we had one coffee date, including at my work number even though I specifically said not to call me at work
          -propositioning me even though I know his wife

          Notice a pattern? Those are all behaviors men directed at me. The fact that they (well, some of them) probably didn’t intend to be creepy doesn’t mean they weren’t, because that was the effect they had on me.

          That doesn’t mean, however, that EVERYTHING that makes me feel weird about someone else is creepy. I rarely feel more uncomfortable than when I run into my ex on the street, but that doesn’t mean he’s acting creepy — he’s not, because he doesn’t direct any behaviors to me on those occasions that are objectionable, it’s just uncomfortable because of circumstance. Similarly, a guy I went out on a few dates with now works at my company. It was hella awkward when he started there, but I never thought he was creepy because he never did anything to me that was creepy.

          If someone is wearing clothing that makes you hot in the pants, they didn’t do anything to you. If they then keep brushing up against you on the subway, THAT is behavior directed at you that is creepy.

          Things that are creepy, by the way: insisting that how women dress is a) necesarily directed at men, b) part of some “code” that means they are hitting on men around them, c) saying that women are responsible for the feelings men have about how they are dressed, and d) not understanding that there is a fundamental difference between a woman who is wearing a short skirt and a person of either gender who stares intently at you while making kissy faces.

        15. Donna L
          Donna L January 9, 2013 at 11:19 pm |

          I had an incredibly strong feeling of deja vu reading Some Guy’s willfully obtuse comments. I could swear that either he or someone just like him was raising exactly the same arguments on one of the comment threads about ReaderCon.

        16. EG
          EG January 10, 2013 at 12:49 am |

          for why are they wearing these clothes then?

          For her girlfriend. For her boyfriend. For her spouse. For the cute bartender she has a crush on. What makes you think she wore them for you?

        17. SlipperyWombat
          SlipperyWombat January 10, 2013 at 4:02 am |

          I don’t necessarily disagree, but I do find it a bit odd that “the effect of the behaviour on others” is considered the defining aspect in this case (also mentioned by Jill in the OP), but is usually not considered to be an appropriate subject for discussion by feminists when it’s about, say, the potentially unintentional effect reveiling clothes tend to have on others (men). Feels like a bit of a double standard to me.

          Here’s an idea:

          Why don’t you start a blog about the horrible things men suffer, like being subjected to the sight of a woman in revealing clothes, so you and other guys can commiserate about the unfairness of it all?

          I’m sorry you can’t understand how your concern doesn’t apply to a discussion of how to deal with behaviors which make women feel unsafe.

        18. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 8:30 am |

          I see hot guys all the time, some in tight, revealing T-shirts, or small swimsuits at the beach. I do not feel entitled to invade their space or keep at them when they’ve made their disinterest clear.

          If we’re going to talk about double-standards, I suggest you look at your own.

        19. Julia
          Julia January 10, 2013 at 10:15 am |

          It’s not a double-standard, though I see how it could seem like one.

          Rather, it’s a recognition of the fact that a group with less power is likely to feel THREATENED by a behavior, and that street doesn’t run both ways. So we need to recognize behavior with the potential to hurt a group.

        20. William
          William January 10, 2013 at 10:40 am |

          For her girlfriend. For her boyfriend. For her spouse. For the cute bartender she has a crush on. What makes you think she wore them for you?

          What is Primary Narcissism? I’ll take Obvious Answers for $1000, Alex…

        21. hellkell
          hellkell January 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm |

          That’s not a double standard, it’s a false equivalency.

        22. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 2:34 am |

          If you are trying to claim that being finding a woman attractive is somehow like living with the hovering threat of sexual assault and/or stalking and/or subsequent victim-blaming, you are so out of touch with reality that I have no idea what to say to you.

          It sure is convenient when you ignore real-life power dynamics in an attempt to make women culpable for men’s actions, isn’t it?

          It doesn’t have the frothing rage, but Some Guy’s nonsense sounds like it came from the same school of *cough* thought *cough* as NWOslave’s – a name any regulars on Man Boobz will recognise (hi hellkell!).

        23. jennygadget
          jennygadget January 11, 2013 at 6:58 am |

          First I would like to point out that this:

          “Guys get labeled as creepy for all sorts of things, including sitting quietly in the corner with a weird haircut”

          Is describing primarily a social choice, not someone’s clothing choices. Fashion comes into play and prejudices about fashion can exacerbate the situation (and be used to as part of the insults once it is decided the person “deserves” them), but really when this happens it’s pretty much all about our expectations that extroversion is normal and introversion is suspect.

          What Some Guy is most confused about seems to be the revolutionary concept that clothing choices, while in part an expression of self to others, are primarily something one subjects oneself to, while how (or even, to a lesser extent, if) one engages directly with others is something else entirely.

          It’s bad logic that’s been ripened by a whole lot of sexism about who owes time to whom, and whether or not women’s choices about their own lives are all about what men want from them or not.

          Speaking of….

          “eh. for why are they wearing these clothes then?”

          I’m always amused (by which I mean infurated) when men assume that I sit around choosing what to wear based on their opinions, not my own.

          I wear clothes because culture and my own feelings about my body require it. Which clothes I wear has to do with what I want to wear for me. Sure, culture influences my tastes but…I mean, I use file folders with flowers all over them and choose storage boxes based on how pretty they are. Is tomek under the impression that I do that for people other than myself? Why would my clothes be any different?

          To the extent that concern about how some guy may view my clothes comes into play at all, I can promise you that it’s more often in a “but will assholes like tomek take it as an excuse to be an even bigger asshole?” (and: “crap, I which my comfy jeans and t-shirt met the dress code for work”) sort of way than a “but will tomek find me sexy! sexy! like this?!?!?” way.

          Also, “thinking someone looks sexy” =/= “objectifying” It’s the part where you assume she exist for you rather than has her own agenda that makes it objectifying

        24. Dave
          Dave January 16, 2013 at 4:03 am |

          Well, I would agree with the poster that judging an action in terms of “effect on others” is problematic as many have pointed at. So the thing seems to be this notion of “directed intentionality” Which can be a bit vague. @ Jill I think in a lot of situations, the perception of threat can then flip around quickly to where the one whose perceived as threatening becomes threatened.. Talking general principles here.

      2. Donna L
        Donna L January 10, 2013 at 1:26 am |

        Or perhaps even more likely, she’s doing it for herself, because she feels good when she’s happy with how she looks.

        1. cherrybomb
          cherrybomb January 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm |

          That’s my primary motivation for getting dressed in the morning, Donna!
          (Secondary motivation is not getting arrested for indecent exposure. )

        2. Bonn
          Bonn January 10, 2013 at 4:41 pm |

          Seriously.

          Past the “I don’t want to offend other people by dressing like a slob,” I generally don’t think about other folks when choosing what to wear. I wear what I want to, what I like, and what makes me comfortable.

          And to be honest, I cover pretty much my entire body. I don’t even wear things that show skin and would traditionally qualify as “sexy by default.” But people still find it sexy. Imagine that …

        3. mxe354
          mxe354 January 11, 2013 at 2:55 am |

          Yes. Never in my life have I dressed for the sake of attracting someone. My clothing preferences are regarded as super bland by pretty much everyone I know, but I prefer to dress that way simply because I think it suits me.

        4. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 3:54 am |

          That’s how I dress, Donna!

        5. AMM
          AMM January 11, 2013 at 12:37 pm |

          Or perhaps even more likely, she’s doing it for herself,

          And even if he/she is dressing to be looked at, it’s still not the same. Even if (s)he dresses so “outrageously” that one can’t help staring, it’s still not anything like the behavior that this thread is talking about.

          It’s not apples and oranges, it’s apples and AK-47s.

          (Exception: clothing that usually signals a violence-prone way of life, e.g., if someone dresses like a neo-nazi. But then we’re back in “creepy” territory.)

        6. Dave
          Dave January 16, 2013 at 4:10 am |

          BUT AMM, that becomes problematic too. I understand what you mean, and agree to some extent. But perceptions of what clothing styles signify a “violent way of life” differ.

          Some do by definition (police uniforms for example). But too often it is the “other” culture who is prone to violence.

          Example: I dress like a punk. So if I were to go into some bars, I might be perceived as threatening by certain types of people. On the other hand, if a crew of drunk frat boys come to a show, they might be perceived as threatening.

  5. Wiley Reading
    Wiley Reading January 9, 2013 at 6:25 pm |

    Omg what a sweetheart. I loved the veins in marble too.

  6. DonnaFaye
    DonnaFaye January 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm |

    Given the large number of creeps out there, I find it hard to believe most of them have cognitive disabilities of some sort. Amanda Marcotte has blogged about research showing that most men do understand non-verbal cues women give off to indicate they’re not interested. Creeps simply ignore them.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L January 9, 2013 at 6:42 pm |

      Exactly. Look at that whole ReaderCon thing that happened not long ago, and all the people who were trying to make excuses for the disgusting, serial offending creep in question by speculating that he had Asperger’s and talking about “mixed signals” — even though the woman he harassed told him very loudly, clearly, and repeatedly to leave her alone and go away. No ambiguity whatsoever.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L January 9, 2013 at 6:45 pm |

        More specifically, in terms of non-verbal cues, it seems that many of these guys who harass women and excuse themselves by saying they can’t read non-verbal cues somehow manage to read them successfully in other areas of their lives.

        1. Li
          Li January 9, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
        2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 9, 2013 at 9:00 pm |

          What’s the bet they’re the same ones who push the idea that they don’t understanding any verbal forms of NO other than the word itself (and then only in specific forms) and the “you say X action is rape, but what about Y? What about Z?” – the whole “how can I rape someone but keep my plausible deniability/avoid being charged” stuff.

        3. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 9, 2013 at 9:00 pm |

          Akk. “they don’t understand”. Typing, I haz it.

      2. EG
        EG January 9, 2013 at 10:10 pm |

        And even though he was socially adept enough to have major roles in various fan positions. It’s amazing how these creeps manage to read signals correctly when those signals come from men, isn’t it?

      3. A4
        A4 January 10, 2013 at 8:59 am |

        I believe that often “mixed signals” really means “She was a women, and everything she did or said was in an attempt to get this person to leave her alone” because many people view just being a woman as an invitation for social interaction and harassment.

      4. mh
        mh January 10, 2013 at 9:03 am |

        I would generally agree with this – even though there are a huge number of people on the autism spectrum who are as yet undiagnosed (I myself am one) and I think the numbers are considerably higher than they are.

        However, I would note that people on the autism spectrum have difficulty with ALL social interaction. Approaching a person in a romantic way is a particularly tricky interaction involving a lot of unstated rules and body language; it’s particularly difficult if you don’t have the ability to see those cues. A person being “creepy” because of autism is likely to flag themselves by being “odd,” “weird,” or “annoying” in other ways or situations. It might take some observation before you see it, but it is probably there.

        That being said, an awful lot of people are creepy for all kinds of reasons, most of which seem to be some kind of power trip.

        1. EG
          EG January 10, 2013 at 9:22 am |

          I completely agree–which is why it’s so mind-boggling to see “He couldn’t have been harassing you–it must be a misunderstanding–he’s always been such a great, charming guy to me!” and “What if he has Asperger’s and couldn’t understand your cues!” being said about the same person.

        2. Alara Rogers
          Alara Rogers January 10, 2013 at 9:29 am |

          This.

          If the person is on the spectrum, but a nice person who does not want to be an asshat, then firstly, you’re going to see them behaving just as oddly toward men as toward women, and secondly, if you point out that there is a rule they are breaking, they will generally be quick to try to change their behavior. They may get defensive *first*, but anyone on the spectrum is totally used to the relentless drumbeat of “social – ur doin it rong”, and many are kind of paranoid that they’re already doing it wrong and don’t know it in many situations. They *know* the NTs don’t understand them and they do not understand the NTs.

          A guy who is on the spectrum, but is not behaving in a misogynistic “I am entitled to a woman’s time” way, and yet not taking a polite, not-saying-no refusal from a woman, will do the exact same thing to his male friends, inviting himself to parties he was not invited to, coming to visit or calling when it was strongly suggested that he shouldn’t, intruding on his buddies’ couple time with *their* girlfriends without taking the hint that they would really prefer he hit the road so they can get some snuggling done. He’s going to be just as clueless toward male friends as toward women.

          If the guy in question understands his buddies when they politely suggest he get lost, but doesn’t understand women saying the same thing, then he’s not being creepy accidentally because he’s on the spectrum, he’s being creepy because he is a creep who feels entitled to women’s time.

          Being on the spectrum does not make you either a good person or a bad one. You can be a creep, an asshole, or a general jerkwad and still be on the spectrum. You can also be a wonderful person who comes across badly because you are on the spectrum. A single social interaction with you may not reveal which one you are, but people who know you are likely to be able to tell.

          BTW, this suggests something interesting. If a woman complains about a man, and his guy friends shoot her down because what is she talking about, he’s a great guy, he never does anything that bugs them, she’s overreacting… he’s a creep. Only if his guy friends agree with her that he is kind of weird and clueless is he actually probably *not* a creep. Because if he behaves toward women as if he’s totally ignoring their social boundaries, but he respects the boundaries of his male friends (and even his platonic female friends), then his male friends (and maybe platonic female friends) will think he’s wonderful and there’s nothing wrong with him… which tells you not that he really is a great guy but that he is deliberately behaving differently toward women he has a sexual interest in than toward people he doesn’t. Whereas if he disrespects everyone’s social boundaries and yet still *has* friends, he’s probably not being creepy, just clueless.

        3. tigtog
          tigtog January 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm | *

          BTW, this suggests something interesting. If a woman complains about a man, and his guy friends shoot her down because what is she talking about, he’s a great guy, he never does anything that bugs them, she’s overreacting… he’s a creep. Only if his guy friends agree with her that he is kind of weird and clueless is he actually probably *not* a creep. Because if he behaves toward women as if he’s totally ignoring their social boundaries, but he respects the boundaries of his male friends (and even his platonic female friends), then his male friends (and maybe platonic female friends) will think he’s wonderful and there’s nothing wrong with him… which tells you not that he really is a great guy but that he is deliberately behaving differently toward women he has a sexual interest in than toward people he doesn’t. Whereas if he disrespects everyone’s social boundaries and yet still *has* friends, he’s probably not being creepy, just clueless.

          Alara, this is a fascinating insight, and coming from a family where ASD pops up all over the family tree, rings utterly true. I know exactly which of my cousins and second-cousins are the socially awkward clueless ones who sometimes make other people uncomfortable (or at least can make for somewhat tedious interludes at family reunions), and I know which ones are socially normal most of the time who can engage in mutually agreeable nostalgic chitchat fairly reliably, and I know exactly which ones are more socially skilled operators who always have an angle of some sort when they decide to engage in pleasantries. The first group I would strongly defend against somebody labelling them as creepy, the second group I would be surprised to find others perceiving them as creepy (but wouldn’t necessarily think it was impossible), and the third group I would be totally unsurprised that it was part of their behavioural suite.

          If one’s friends and family never complain about one being clueless around them, but it’s only others who find ones interactions with them to be creepy, then it’s not the strangers who are misunderstanding one’s behaviour. It means one actually is interacting with those other people differently – one is ignoring their boundaries by persisting with unwelcome intrusions that one does not allow oneself to do with friends and family – and one needs to recognise that this different behaviour is disrespectful and alarming and stop doing it.

        4. William
          William January 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm |

          If the person is on the spectrum, but a nice person who does not want to be an asshat, then firstly, you’re going to see them behaving just as oddly toward men as toward women,

          Thats not entirely true. Adding attraction will increase anxiety and cause behaviors that are relatively more odd sometimes. More importantly, you don’t necessarily know who was trying to “train” someone on the spectrum in the past. If you’ve got a boy with Asperger’s and dad is a raging misogynist then there is a good chance his odd behavior is going to be colored by dad being an asshole.

        5. EG
          EG January 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm |

          He could be on the spectrum and a misogynist, particularly if he has a misogynist father.

        6. mh
          mh January 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm |

          As I wrote earlier, a romantic encounter is mostly non-verbal – something particularly difficult if you are approaching it with the fluency equivalent to that of a tourist with a phrasebook (this is where that “learned the cues” thing falls apart.)

          That being said, even though romance/gender differences might exacerbate social difficulties, the difficulties are not specific to certain situations. They might be less in other situations, but they wouldn’t be nonexistent.

        7. William
          William January 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm |

          He could be on the spectrum and a misogynist, particularly if he has a misogynist father.

          Absolutely true. But theres also the chance that we’re seeing a correctable miscommunication. Isn’t the responsibility of every woman he encounters to correct it, or even to look for it, but its something someone like me needs to be aware of.

    2. Treebeard
      Treebeard January 9, 2013 at 9:13 pm |

      Re: the SMBC comic.

      I’m torn. I like the idea of “assburger’s syndrome” but I don’t like the example he picked to illustrate it. I frequently scowl at guys who tell me I’m attractive (since they’re usually random dudes on street corners), and I don’t think that makes me an ass.

      1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm |

        Yeah, that example seems to have it arse-about-face. Not wanting random (?) compliments, or not being all smiley-happy about them =/= assburger.

        And turn it around: I bet there’d be much more “Don’t be a bitch/It was a COMPLIMENT” if the recipient had been a woman than if it had been a man. Do guys really get told they’re assholes if they don’t respond well to compliments?

        1. Donna L
          Donna L January 10, 2013 at 12:14 am |

          No

        2. PM
          PM January 10, 2013 at 1:45 am |

          I’m a guy who’s pretty bad at taking compliments (blame lingering Catholic shame/humility) and no, I’ve never been called an asshole for it.

        3. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 3:59 am |

          Didn’t think so!

        4. DouglasG
          DouglasG January 11, 2013 at 8:52 am |

          Conversion therapy made me very suspicious of compliments, but, even though the personal compliments I probably didn’t take as well as the provider might have wished came from men, I still never got that response.

      2. A.W.
        A.W. January 10, 2013 at 12:08 am |

        “I’m torn. I like the idea of “assburger’s syndrome” but I don’t like the example he picked to illustrate it.”

        I don’t like the idea of coining that ‘ironic’ new syndrome, because that’s how we’re already seen, even when we’re not being considered creepy. By and large, we’re considered assholes. The play on words with regards to Assburgers Syndrome is Ablist.

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm |

          The play on words with regards to Assburgers Syndrome is Ableist (sic.)

          Holy Hell is it ableist! I can’t even believe this commentary is going on here at Feministe without much pushback.

          Yes, it is absolutely true that a diagnosis like Autism or Asperger’s is an excuse to behave badly. But FFS, mocking it, ironicly or not, is completely offensive and disgusting.

          Stop it, really, stop it.

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm |

          Gah, that should read NOT and excuse.

          Sorry for the typo, I got so fired up I missed it before I hit post.

        3. Treebeard
          Treebeard January 10, 2013 at 7:33 pm |

          I read it as making fun of people who are not at all disabled but try to appropriate disabilities as an excuse for being a jerk (or to defend other people being jerks), not as making fun of anyone who does have a disability. YMMV.

        4. Treebeard
          Treebeard January 10, 2013 at 7:35 pm |

          ““is aware of social cues but chooses to ignore them =/= person on the spectrum””

          Yes, this is also the part I meant when I said I liked the idea. Though I still don’t think the example makes much sense.

        5. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 4:03 am |

          Treebeard – that’s how I read it – as having a shot at some mannerless-at-best, deliberately-creepy-at-worst types trying to lay claim to Asperger’s as an excuse for their behaviour. But it’s not for me to say, given I’m NT and have never had to deal with ableism of any sort.

        6. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 11, 2013 at 11:47 am |

          I read it as making fun of people who are not at all disabled but try to appropriate disabilities as an excuse for being a jerk (or to defend other people being jerks), not as making fun of anyone who does have a disability.

          That may be the intention behind the terminology used, but that still doesn’t erase the fact that the terminology is ableist. How can one tell that it’s ableist? Because it appropriates a term used for an actual medical/psychiatric diagnosis, twists it around, and then uses it to mock another person. It’s no different from calling someone bipolar or joke that a person is off their meds in order to insult him or her in a derogatory manner.

          YMMV

          No. No it really does not.

      3. Li
        Li January 10, 2013 at 12:25 am |

        Random dudes on street corners harassing women =/= the example in that SMBC comic. Men don’t generally experience compliments in the same way women do, because they’re overwhelmingly not used as part of a harassment strategy by women. If the protagonist had been a women, I’d be joining you in the side-eye.

        1. thinksnake
          thinksnake January 10, 2013 at 8:43 am |

          Am white here – I saw a fair bit of pushback from POCs on the autism spectrum among some tumblrblogs I follow. Since POCs are significantly less likely to have their mental health/neuroatypicality concerns taken seriously by white-dominated Western medicine.

          Just a note I thought worth sharing, and definitely not something that would have ever occurred to me (as a white person).

        2. Li
          Li January 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm |

          Yeah, that’s fair. The diagnosis thing icked me a bit as well. I mainly picked out the “is aware of social cues but chooses to ignore them =/= person on the spectrum” part of the comic and that meant I missed a lot of the surrounding messages.

    3. TomSims
      TomSims January 10, 2013 at 10:41 am |

      Given the large number of creeps out there, I find it hard to believe most of them have cognitive disabilities of some sort. Amanda Marcotte has blogged about research showing that most men do understand non-verbal cues women give off to indicate they’re not interested. Creeps simply ignore them.”

      You make a great point and I’ve seen Asberger’s mentioned on other sites as an excuse for sexual assault used by rape apologists. Just like Joe Biden says “Rape is rape is rape” And you can also add that a creep is a creep is a creep.

  7. William
    William January 9, 2013 at 6:37 pm |

    Dealing with a bunch of Bens is a daily part of my job: intervening when you see a social interaction going downhill in the lunchroom, monitoring conversations to make sure no one is freaking anyone else out with oversharing or inadvertent triggers, giving pre-negotiated cues to kids when they start to exhaust peers with their narrow interest, getting feedback from staff or other therapists about one creepy behavior or another, giving the same kind of feedback to my coworkers about their caseload. We’re a little school, highly specialized with seven full-time shrinks and every teacher either endorsed for special ed or on their way to it, and its a constant struggle to teach and maintain social skills.

    That said, a pattern quickly emerges when you start to see these kinds of problems in the aggregate. You have kids like Ben who struggle with social situations and can make a real mess but want to do better and often end up completing shutting others out for fear of making a mistake, and then you have kids who struggle with social situations and don’t really care that they’ve bothered other people. Sure, kids on the spectrum are more likely to creep someone out, but their range of responses to that knowledge aren’t actually all that different from regular kids. Once in awhile you run into a kid whose idiosyncrasies really predispose them to being creepy, but at the end of the day they either care about the boundaries of others or they don’t. They might start with less insight, they might need more coaching and scripts, they might need more work to keep them healthy as they come to terms with their challenges, but lacking empathy isn’t exactly part of the spectrum experience.

    1. Radiant Sophia
      Radiant Sophia January 9, 2013 at 6:48 pm |

      I wish something like this had been available to me as a child. I chose the completely shutting out others route. It didn’t work so well.

      1. William
        William January 9, 2013 at 9:05 pm |

        Sadly its not that available. We’ve got 60 or so students and we’re almost the only game in town if you’ve got serious emotional problems/spectrum issues, high IQ, and aren’t a serious behavioral issue. By the time most of our kids get to us things have generally gotten pretty bad as your average school district isn’t exactly eager to pay for outplacement.

    2. A4
      A4 January 10, 2013 at 9:06 am |

      This makes a lot of sense to me. We all start with not understanding social cues very well, and we all learn them in different situations at different rates.

      It makes me think of reading ability. I have two friends who have dyslexia, one was more affected than the other, and they both had to work hard on reading, but at this point they both have excellent reading skills. It makes sense that learning has more to do with the desire to learn than the innate ability to do so.

      My uncle has brain damage from a hit and run when he was 3, but he still learned how to type and use email after the age of 60 so he could write letters to loved ones and his many acquaintances. His thing is remembering everyone’s exact birthday.

  8. Andre
    Andre January 9, 2013 at 7:31 pm |

    That really is a great interview.

    I remember being another Ben, more or less, only I didn’t have anyone take me aside and tell me I was being creepy. So I was creepy for a lot longer, and the only reason I wasn’t even more creepy was that I was also painfully shy, so I hardly ever interacted with anyone. (And boy, was that ever some kind of feedback loop!)

    It took a long time, and a lot of education, and more than a few embarrassing episodes, before I finally got it. I don’t think I’m the only guy who wishes that lessons about this sort of thing were included in sex ed classes as a kid-because honestly, if you don’t have the kinds of role models for appropriate behaviour that you need as a child, you don’t have many opportunities to learn this stuff until you’ve already started being creepy.

    1. tomek
      tomek January 9, 2013 at 11:02 pm |

      andre in your picture you are look like gil grissom from the television CSI. very cool

  9. Joeff
    Joeff January 9, 2013 at 7:36 pm |

    I’m really confused (and past the age where this is relevant, but mostly just curious. Is it now a violation of “social norms” for an 8th grade boy to cold-call a girl whom he knows from school and has casually chatted with? Is a proper introduction now required? Or a “is it OK if I call you some time?” What am I missing?

    1. Kasabian
      Kasabian January 10, 2013 at 2:19 am |

      Cold calls are generally bad form when someone doesn’t give you their number. Or is that just what cold call means?

    2. mh
      mh January 10, 2013 at 9:08 am |

      This is so much of a common behavior issue for kids on the spectrum that most self-help books devote a chapter to it.

      1. Marni
        Marni January 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm |

        If we’re only talking about kids, then OK. But most ASD adults grew up without a diagnosis, or any kind of support. Not everyone is under 25. Now of course most of those adults have learned how to behave regarding phone calls. But if they have been avoiding the phone for most of their lives, for instance, well, it is possible that they really don’t have a clue.

  10. karak
    karak January 9, 2013 at 7:40 pm |

    Ben’s story gives me hope. I used to work with a teenager who had PDD, as well as a slew of other social issues from growing up in and out of the foster care system.

    What killed me about this kid is how badly he wanted to fit in, and how very little malice there was in him–he didn’t want to hurt people, but he had such serious trouble understanding the perspective of other people that he could be really rude and, well, creepy.

    I spent so much time with this kid, walking him through the same social scripts over and over, training myself not to become annoyed or upset, just calm and informative. But if I wasn’t a paid staff member, with access to his file, this kid would have creeped the hell out of me.

  11. thefish
    thefish January 9, 2013 at 7:45 pm |

    I’m not sure why, but this writing set off serious danger flags in my head, and left me majorly creeped out. The friends I showed it too felt the same way. :(

    1. Radiant Sophia
      Radiant Sophia January 9, 2013 at 11:22 pm |

      Jill’s writing, or the original phone interview?

    2. Donna L
      Donna L January 9, 2013 at 11:23 pm |

      What was it about it that made you feel that way? I’m curious.

      1. thefish
        thefish January 10, 2013 at 11:01 pm |

        For starters this

        the exact reaction that any decent human being would have — “I am doing something that scares people, I don’t want to scare people, I would like to stop doing this”

        That just struck me as a scary attitude for someone to have.

        This too

        it was his responsibility going forward to try not to totally freak people out.

        She thinks I’m responsible for if someone gets freaked out or not? Or Jill thinks that she is responsible for freaking me out?

        Just… creepy.

        1. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia January 10, 2013 at 11:52 pm |

          I get where you are coming from (assuming you are talking in the first block about Jill’s attitude, and not his, as being scary), but it also conveys that you think you have a right to socialize with whoever without their consent. If you are attempting socialization, then yes, you have a duty to not be creepy. Jill, in fact does have that duty. Being that she has now creeped you, you need to remove yourself from that situation in whatever manner is safest. You are under no obligation to associate with her until she rectifies her behavior.

        2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 4:13 am |

          Jill was paraphrasing Ben’s reaction to his own behaviour and its effect on other people. He’s the one who realised that what he was doing was frightening.

          I don’t understand why thinking “I don’t know the cues, I realise my actions toward X disturbed/frightened her, I don’t want to do it again” is scary. I’d say it’s exactly as Jill described – the response of a decent person.

          Nobody has the right to go around frightening other people, learning they’ve done so, and then shrugging it off with “it’s not my responsibility,” which is what I’m reading from your comments. If I’ve misunderstood you, I apologise.

        3. thefish
          thefish January 11, 2013 at 5:22 pm |

          Nobody has the right to go around frightening other people, learning they’ve done so, and then shrugging it off with “it’s not my responsibility,” which is what I’m reading from your comments. If I’ve misunderstood you, I apologise.

          How do you possibly get that from my comments? I’m saying that Jill is creepy and scary. I think that she should not write creepy and scary things. Its sort of the exact opposite?

          Being that she has now creeped you, you need to remove yourself from that situation in whatever manner is safest.

          Its my duty to remove myself from the situation with the creep? WTF? Is that what you just said? Did you read Jill’s post? (Serious question, its a creepy post I can see why you wouldn’t want to read it.) People who creep others out need to change their ways.

        4. SophiaBlue
          SophiaBlue January 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm |

          So what’s going on is:

          1. Jill said that if you’re creeping someone out, you should change your behavior.

          2. You find that belief creepy.

          3. In order for you not to be creeped out, you want Jill to change her behavior… by not saying you should change your behavior if you’re creeping someone out anymore?

          Are you trying to do a parody I’m just not getting? Because otherwise I’m not sure I understand.

        5. Donna L
          Donna L January 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm |

          I find it extremely creepy that thefish thinks Jill is being creepy by telling people not to be creepy.

        6. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 11, 2013 at 5:54 pm |

          I think thefish must go to the same coffee shop as kersplat/faithless/godknows who.

          I find that creepy.

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm |

          I think comment nesting is creepy.

        8. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia January 11, 2013 at 7:53 pm |

          thefish,
          Since you are still here, anything that now happens to you is your own fault…

          -or-

          People being creepy need to change their behavior.

          Which is it?

        9. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 9:48 pm |

          thefish, what I don’t get is what you find creepy about Jill’s comments. What is creepy about saying “don’t be a creep”?

  12. amblingalong
    amblingalong January 9, 2013 at 7:57 pm |

    Great interview.

    One point of disagreement; what is ‘creepy’ is subjective. It is defined by other people’s feelings about your behavior, varying social norms, etc. What this means is that while it’s important not to be creepy, it’s also not useful to label everyone who comes of as creepy, ‘creeps;’ turning the adjective into a noun is problematic.

    Ben creeped someone out. He acted creepily. I don’t believe it’s fair to call him a creep. In fact, while calling his behavior creepy is not ableist, and I absolutely agree that line of argument needs to die in a fire, labeling him a creep does come off that way- to me at least.

    1. dc
      dc January 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm |

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/creepy

      actually, this seems pretty simple & clear……

    2. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan January 9, 2013 at 9:13 pm |

      “Bob may have raped, and acted rape-ily, but calling him a rapist is really too harsh!”

      1. Dominique
        Dominique January 9, 2013 at 10:13 pm |

        Too accurate. Scary!

      2. amblingalong
        amblingalong January 10, 2013 at 5:06 am |

        Yeah, totally the same thing.

    3. Sheelzebub
      Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm |

      Actually, WRT social norms–a lot of things I find really fucking creepy are social norms. They are perfectly acceptable. Yelling shit at me when I was a teenager as he passed by in his car was perfectly “normal” for a dude to do. Not accepting the no is perfectly “normal” for men to do, especially when the “no” is given by a woman or girl.

      Social “norms” have made women’s lives hell because the society that calls the shots on “normal” is incredibly misogynist.

  13. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan January 9, 2013 at 8:49 pm |

    I’m fine with labeling both the people and the behavior as creeps/creepy. If you’re acting creepy you are a creep. Ben apparently stopped being a creep once he found out what he was doing; many people don’t.

    Women are constantly told not to talk about their experiences and are admonished not to “ruin” the reputations of men by labeling them, a courtesy that is never afforded to ourselves. Frankly, the guys who are all-so-suddenly concerned about labeling people in this thread need a dose of sit down and shut up.

    1. cherrybomb
      cherrybomb January 9, 2013 at 9:13 pm |

      Good point. I can’t remember ever hearing someone call a woman a “bitch” or “slut” and someone responding with “don’t say that, you’ll hurt the poor gal’s reputation!”

    2. amblingalong
      amblingalong January 10, 2013 at 5:16 am |

      I guess I see the distinction as being the source of the behavior. Person A acts creepily because they’re a creep; person B acts creepily because they have PDD. I’m still thinking this one through, though. It doesn’t make the behavior more right in B’s case, but for me it changes the socially acceptable response by a third party; I’m totally comfortable mocking creeps for their creepy behavior, but if someone acted creepily due to their PDD, I’d think those jokes suddenly were inappropriate.

      I agree case B is way more rare and a lot of case A use it as an excuse (which is ALSO ableist). I really am not arguing against the word creep being ever used, I just don’t think it applies here. Am I horribly off base?

      1. EG
        EG January 10, 2013 at 8:01 am |

        I have two responses to this. One is that it’s rarely a matter of mockery. I don’t call men creeps in order to mock them; I call them that in order to identify to myself and other women men who violate my sense of safety. Because of that, I don’t care what the source of the behavior is, or whether or not it’s fair to the man in question.

        The other is that I have been harassed by a man who was almost certainly mentally ill–he had some rather unusual delusions, including delusions of persecution–and it was as frightening and threatening as harassment by a non-mentally-ill person. The man was certainly a creep. His incapacity did not make me any safer.

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong January 10, 2013 at 2:50 pm |

          I have two responses to this. One is that it’s rarely a matter of mockery. I don’t call men creeps in order to mock them; I call them that in order to identify to myself and other women men who violate my sense of safety. Because of that, I don’t care what the source of the behavior is, or whether or not it’s fair to the man in question. The other is that I have been harassed by a man who was almost certainly mentally ill–he had some rather unusual delusions, including delusions of persecution–and it was as frightening and threatening as harassment by a non-mentally-ill person. The man was certainly a creep. His incapacity did not make me any safer.

          Ok, this makes sense to me. Is it legitimate to simultaneously enable people to label other people ‘creeps,’ and have that be a valid expression of their experience, while also recognizing that from other perspectives there’s something else going on?

          I really am not trying to engage in creep-apologetics, and I’m sorry if it’s coming across that way. I just am thinking about people I care about who exhibit behaviors that would make me call other people ‘assholes’ (for example), but who- because I know they have a disability- I think of as unintentionally exhibiting asshole-ish behavior. Maybe it’s a bad analogy?

        2. EG
          EG January 10, 2013 at 8:01 pm |

          Is it legitimate to simultaneously enable people to label other people ‘creeps,’ and have that be a valid expression of their experience, while also recognizing that from other perspectives there’s something else going on?

          Sure, I’ve got no problem with that, as long as I’m not expected to prioritize that something else over my own sense of safety. It would certainly help those men who don’t want to be assholes, so that they can know how to address their behavior.

      2. mh
        mh January 10, 2013 at 9:11 am |

        Another point – wouldn’t YOUR behavior change if you knew? Meaning, if it was a case of an autism spectrum disorder, wouldn’t you be more likely to be comfortable saying “Hey, back off – I’m not interested.” and not feel threatened?

        1. EG
          EG January 10, 2013 at 9:24 am |

          Not necessarily. Being on the spectrum and responding badly to rejection are not mutually exclusive. I don’t need to know whether or not somebody has Asberger’s. I need to know whether or not they’re going to behave worse if I confront them.

  14. Stories about virgins – Cate Root
    Stories about virgins – Cate Root January 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm |

    [...] — and difficulty in terms of socializing and communicating.” Jill Filipovic of Feministe linked to the piece to highlight Ben’s reaction to his first crush and how he perceived his own [...]

  15. evil fizz
    evil fizz January 9, 2013 at 10:10 pm | *

    Like so many behaviours, it’s problematic to turn an adjective labeling actions into a noun labeling a person.

    I agree that this is an issue, but my experience has been that this is often a distinction without a difference. See also: ability of people to distinguish between “You said something racist.” “You’re such a racist you’d make George Wallace look like a mild-mannered sales clerk!”

    Just as there are actual racists, there are also people who are creeps.

    1. Chataya
      Chataya January 10, 2013 at 9:39 am |

      This.

      Someone making eye contact with you through your window and waving? Creepy.
      Someone who gets their jollies from wandering the neighborhood peering in people’s windows? Creeper.

  16. Sillyme
    Sillyme January 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm |

    Problem is ugly fat guys watch the way popular guys behave in public and try to emulate that behaviour. However when they are not as welcome as the jock or the guy who plays in a band what works for one guy does not work for another guy and that is ooo so unfair to them.

    1. EG
      EG January 9, 2013 at 10:34 pm |

      No. That’s not the problem at all.

      1. Sillyme
        Sillyme January 10, 2013 at 9:39 am |

        Well it was my experience. Some creepy guy got ooo so offended, because he did what some other guy did and I was creeped out because it was him and not the guy I liked.

        Guys have girls they would like to see in revealing clothes and just walk up to them and kiss and girls where they would not like that at all.

        Its the same for us. Know what effect you have on people. If I am avoiding eye contact and replying to you, you escalating things is probably not as welcome as when I engage you.

      2. A4
        A4 January 10, 2013 at 10:05 am |

        haha THIS

    2. evil fizz
      evil fizz January 9, 2013 at 10:47 pm | *

      Yeah, boundary violations, leering, inappropriate sexualized remarks, and refusal to honor personal space are only a problem when they’re coming from someone who’s not hot.

      WTF, dude?

      1. Alexandra
        Alexandra January 9, 2013 at 10:53 pm |

        This really feeds into the toxic notion that women should be “grateful” for attention from supposedly desirable (read: attractive, powerful, privileged) men. That to be assaulted or stalked or raped by a desirable man is really a kind of compliment. Ugghghghgh

        1. Cactus Wren
          Cactus Wren January 10, 2013 at 3:25 am |

          With a side order of “But whyyyyyyy are all the cute hot chicks with perfect teeth and perky tits and long blonde hair and long tanned legs so hung up on the way guys look?”

        2. jennygadget
          jennygadget January 11, 2013 at 7:25 am |

          It also feeds into the idea that women don’t have opinions of their own and are merely passive fuck toys for men.

          Because seriously, what part of “yes, I like fucking this man but have no desire to fuck that other man” actually comes across as unfair to anyone who sees women as people?

          If it’s wanted, it’s not a boundary violation peoples. Women are not video games that you put the right cheat codes into and that’s how you get them to fuck you.

          I mean, I’m not saying that men that look the way a certain woman likes won’t sometimes get a pass on behaviors she does not like because she thinks he’s hot, I’m saying that when this does happen that this is her choice. It’s not a matter of it being ok for only certain people to do that behavior period, instead sometimes people see overlooking certain behaviors as a trade-off for the make-out session or witty conversation they want to enjoy – and that’s normal and acceptable. It can be downright healthy even.

          Also, that more often the things hot guys are seen as “getting away with” aren’t behaviors that needed to be overlooked or seen as a trade-off at all because the behavior was welcome because she thought he was hot.

      2. Sillyme
        Sillyme January 10, 2013 at 11:31 am |

        The whole point is, I might enjoy all that, if it is the right guy. And I might hate it, if it is some fat nerd. Learn to read the signs and accept it when his touch is welcome, but yours aint.

        1. Briznecko
          Briznecko January 10, 2013 at 2:32 pm |

          I might enjoy all that, if it is the right guy. And I might hate it, if it is some fat nerd.

          What is your hang-up with fat nerds? If they don’t float your boat, fine, but don’t paint them with a broad “creepy” brush. This is an example of incorrectly applying the creep label. Creep labels are based on actions not looks.

        2. Sillyme
          Sillyme January 10, 2013 at 6:53 pm |

          What I wanted to say is I decide whom is creepy how to me.

        3. Donna L
          Donna L January 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm |

          Please stop with the fat-hatred. It’s unacceptable. You don’t have to be attracted to, or interact with, anyone you don’t want to, but no, you don’t get to label someone as “creepy” just because they’re existing while fat and not actually engaging in creepy behavior. (See also my point above about trans women who get labeled as being “creepy” merely for existing while trans, especially in a bathroom.) At least, you don’t get to do it without everyone labeling you as an “asshole.”

        4. yes
          yes January 11, 2013 at 4:26 am |

          Silly is demonstrating what is shitty and stupid about the creep label. In a magic social Utopia, it’s about inappropriate behavior and disrespect of boundaries. And sometimes, in the real world, it is too. But it’s also a really convenient way to attack/shame men who are unattractive, socially awkward, or fail to preform traditional male gender roles adequately. That you personally don’t use it like that in a feminist space doesn’t really relate much to how society uses it.

    3. Esti
      Esti January 9, 2013 at 11:21 pm |

      It’s almost like they need to learn that if someone is okay with one person doing something to them, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are okay with a totally different person doing the same thing. Something that they would probably have no trouble understanding if they woke up one night to find that their doctor had let himself into the house and snuggled up in bed and then defended himself by saying “but you let your wife do it!”

      1. Sillyme
        Sillyme January 10, 2013 at 9:41 am |

        Exactly my point !!! Thank you !

    4. Donna L
      Donna L January 9, 2013 at 11:25 pm |

      So in other words, you believe in the theory of “good-looking guys get away with being creepy assholes! Why can’t I get away with being a creepy asshole? It isn’t faaaair!!”

      1. Sillyme
        Sillyme January 10, 2013 at 9:46 am |

        No I believe in the theory that other guys believe in that theory. I do not want all the guys to keep their distance. Maybe I like certain guys to show some initiative and others not so much. Is it fair? No but live is not fair, just like girls who happen to put on weight more easily get a different response if they behave like girls whom are regarded as hotties.

        Same for the not so popular guys, wether because of their looks or social skills or charisma. We shouldnt have to tell guys we like to keep their distance, to not offend guys whom we do not like so much. I think its reasonable to demand of guys to become aware of how people react to them, learn to read signs and not ignore them. Most guys arent stupid. They know where they are on the totem pole and they know what it means when a girl avoids eye contact or does not reply to him. They just choose to ignore all they know.

        1. Briznecko
          Briznecko January 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm |

          I do not want all the guys to keep their distance. Maybe I like certain guys to show some initiative and others not so much. Is it fair?

          Asking men to magically develop the ability to read your mind? Not fair.

          Also, this in no way relates to weight. Sexist responses to women who are overweight is a symptom of the patriarchy. You, on the other hand, are demanding that guys *magically* see you like them and therefore have the green light to engage in creepy behavior. Any guy worth his salt would walk, if not run, away from you. This thinking leaves them with the option of potentially assaulting you…or assaulting you but it’s ok because you thinks they’re hot. This is really dangerous and toxic thinking. Usually it’s just better in the long run to use your words.

        2. kersplat
          kersplat January 10, 2013 at 4:05 pm |

          +1

        3. josielemonpie
          josielemonpie January 10, 2013 at 7:05 pm |

          stop it, just stop it!
          life isn’t a high school movie. “popular” isn’t a fucking thing. Women are not interchangeable highschool cheerleaders who decide to pay attention to a guy based on his place on the “totem pole”, and men aren’t on any sort of totem pole in the first place, for goodness’ sake.
          stop being a gross Cher Horowitz already.

        4. KittySnide
          KittySnide January 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm |

          also I should have changed “totem pole” to “hierarchy” since they’re not the same thing for fuck’s sake.

    5. Colin
      Colin January 10, 2013 at 2:04 am |

      Some guys do get away with being creepy assholes or worse. But the problem is with how society puts the ‘jocks’ on a pedestal, not how it holds the other guys to higher (but still not very high) standards.

    6. Kasabian
      Kasabian January 10, 2013 at 2:20 am |

      Woah. You’re a looong way from right.

    7. Thomas MacAulay Millar
      Thomas MacAulay Millar January 10, 2013 at 10:25 am |

      Newsflash: young women often have to tolerate a whole lot of unwanted shit from men who are in positions of power, because they lack the wherewithal to change it or do anything about it. If they smile and laugh it off, it’s often because protesting will only make it worse and more traumatic for her.

      So that popular guy, whether it’s the boss or the captain of the football team, who gropes and harasses women and they laugh it off? If you’re on the outside, you may think that those women are having fun and they’re in on the humor. That’s often not so. Often, they’re victims just trying to minimize the victimization as best they can.

      Once you understand that, if you’re a decent human, you stop wanting to be that guy. If you understand that and you still want to be that guy, you have decided to be part of the problem.

      1. miga
        miga January 10, 2013 at 11:10 am |

        This. I was email harassed by a potential employer who was physically very attractive. It didn’t make it any easier or more pleasant that he was constantly texting me and sending me dick-pics and inappropriate emails after I specifically asked him to stop.

    8. Radiant Sophia
      Radiant Sophia January 11, 2013 at 3:00 am |

      I don’t think you understand how incredibly misogynistic your comment is. You are giving a blank ticket for “Hot” men to creep and potentially sexually assault women. Yeah “fat nerds” are creepy when they attempt to do the thing “hot” men do. NO, they are both creepy, and they are both quite capable of sexual assault. If someone tries to kiss me without my permission, IT IS ASSAULT. His “hotness” doesn’t matter, at all. I don’t understand how you can claim to speak for all male/female interactions, because you certainly don’t speak for mine.

    9. Natalia
      Natalia January 14, 2013 at 4:44 am |

      Nah, looks are really not the issue.

      Creepy is not – “ZOMG he’s ugly.”

      Creepy is “ZOMG he does not respect boundaries, is making me uncomfortable, and doesn’t seem to care.”

  17. evil fizz
    evil fizz January 9, 2013 at 10:42 pm | *

    I think creep is an extremely useful term for someone who egregiously violates boundaries and/or social norms. And while there are a subset of people for whom understanding boundaries and social norms does not come easily, but I think they’re in the minority relative to the number of people who do it deliberately and/or maliciously.

    The over the top reaction some guys have to the term reminds of the reaction that some guys have to the word rapist, as though it’s a grave, grave insult that must be deployed cautiously and only when painstaking evidence of the accused’s guilt has been fully assembled and the victim meets all necessary criteria for being an actual victim. Of course, looking back at my definition of creep, it seems that proto-rapist would also meet that definition, so I suppose it’s just an extension of the same outrage.

    1. tomek
      tomek January 9, 2013 at 11:00 pm |

      I think they’re in the minority relative to the number of people who do it deliberately and/or maliciously.

      and you have figure this from what. just guess?

      i know personal many guys. some of them is called creeps often. they do not go out to say “hey i will go out and creep some women today!” they are just go out to be themself. why a guy cannot just be his own guy without having constant mold his behaviour to how woman want it to be. he have to be charming guy otherwise CREEP!

      yes im sure some guy is intentional creepy on woman to be asshole. but HE is minority not other way round.

      1. EG
        EG January 10, 2013 at 12:45 am |

        why a guy cannot just be his own guy without having constant mold his behaviour to how woman want it to be.

        He can, as long as he doesn’t inflict his behavior on some innocent woman who just happens to have the ill fortune to be in the same room with him. If he decides to interact with us, though, then, yes, he has to be civil and socially appropriate.

      2. Miriam
        Miriam January 10, 2013 at 1:38 am |

        If these guys you know are being called creeps often, perhaps you should consider that they are actually being creepy. And you should consider that since you are not the one they are directing their behavior at, you are not the best judge of their intentions.

        No one has to mold their behavior for anyone. But if you want a positive social interaction with someone, you have to behave in a way that’s enjoyable for them. This is basic human interaction 101.

      3. evil fizz
        evil fizz January 10, 2013 at 8:40 am | *

        You don’t need to affirmatively have an internal monologue that says “I will be a creep today!” in order to be deliberately creepy. You can deliberately stand to close to someone, deliberately make remarks about their body, deliberately violate social norms without thinking of yourself as a creep.

        The extent to which you “have to” mold your behavior to certain standards is in many ways a matter of choice. There are some certainly some legal limitations (e.g., no running around with your dick out on the subway) and some social ones (e.g., how close you stand to someone, what kinds of comments your make, etc). No one is obligated to give you their attention or interest and making someone uncomfortable and/or being creepy is a fairly surefire way to get them to leave or reorient their attention elsewhere.

    2. Colin
      Colin January 10, 2013 at 1:56 am |

      Uh, calling someone a rapist is an unambiguous and serious accusation. It should be upsetting to be called this. I’d be more worried if someone shrugged it off or took it as a badge of honour.

      With ‘creep’ though, it might be more useful to spell out what the person has done wrong, particularly when you’re using it to warn other people. If you just say “X is a creep”, different people will have very different interpretations of what you mean by that.

      1. Kasabian
        Kasabian January 10, 2013 at 2:23 am |

        Yeah, calling someone a rapist is a serious accusation and should be handled with some gravity.

        Which isn’t to say that women shouldn’t call ‘em like they see ‘em. If you think you were raped, you were raped.

      2. evil fizz
        evil fizz January 10, 2013 at 8:56 am | *

        I don’t disagree that it’s serious, but there are plenty of people who think that someone being called a rapist is so beyond the pale that women can’t or shouldn’t accurately describe what happened to them for fear of someone’s feelings. There’s a tendency to get very formalistic (does it meet a specific legal definition) and ask if there’s been an actual conviction. It also becomes a way in which women are mistrusted and talked out of their lived experiences.

        I’m a prosecutor. There are plenty of things that people would call rape that don’t meet the legal definition of rape in my jurisdiction. (Example: it’s not legally labeled rape to have sex with someone who is unconscious unless the accused actually rendered them unconscious. It’s called aggravated sexual assault instead.) I think that someone who has experienced that has every right to describe what happened to them as rape and to call their assailant a rapist even if the law doesn’t label it that way.

        1. Kasabian
          Kasabian January 10, 2013 at 11:07 am |

          Yeah, there’s definitely a trend to interrogating accusations of rape, at least in the mainstream. People who say they were raped are often asked to provide ‘evidence’ out side of a legal setting that their rape was somehow ‘legitimate.’

          It’s fucked up and comes from an almost pathological distrust of women/antiquated mores about sex in our society, but I really don’t think lessening the stigma of words like ‘rape’ or ‘rapist’ is the right way to go about changing it.

          For my own experience, I think ‘rape’ gets thrown around too often; you’ll hear it in online video games, comedy, etc etc.

        2. Tinkdnuos
          Tinkdnuos January 11, 2013 at 12:34 am |

          One of many, many reasons I am getting the fuck out of law.

          We CAN’T change it from the inside. That’s abuse culture speaking.

      3. A4
        A4 January 10, 2013 at 10:11 am |

        Maybe people confronted with creepy behavior are not particularly interested in being “useful” to the creepy person? Maybe they just want them to go the fuck away?

        1. TomSims
          TomSims January 10, 2013 at 10:54 am |

          Maybe people confronted with creepy behavior are not particularly interested in being “useful” to the creepy person? Maybe they just want them to go the fuck away?”

          I agree completely. If a woman or girl calls you a creep, you are a creep! Period! And you need to work on your social skills or become a hermit.

        2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 4:24 am |

          And once again Tom Sims demonstrates willfull stupidity. What part of “confronted with creepy behaviour” do you not understand?

          Person A is making person B feel uncomfortable, or scared, or actively threatened by their behaviour. Doing that sort of thing is creepy and person A just wants it to stop, to get away or for B to go away and leave them alone.

          But oh no, Mr Sims is worried about person B’s fee-fees, not person A’s safety … as long as person B is a man.

  18. tomek
    tomek January 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm |

    i am curious if you think that creepy feeling woman have feel is come from biology or from society?

    if it is from society maybe it is an idea to change societal view of creepy behaviour in guy? if there was a thing which society viewed bad in woman feminist would look to change society view of that thing that woman did (like be coming on to guys and be sexual). NOT ask woman to stop doing that thing yes?

    also leave aside cultural definition of creep i think it is not aceptable to say creep to guy who just is minding his busines by himself. ok maybe some guy have appearance which woman just find very off putting but guy cant help that. if hes not active doing creeping on you, just leave be. you know?

    1. Anon21
      Anon21 January 10, 2013 at 12:21 am |

      also leave aside cultural definition of creep i think it is not aceptable to say creep to guy who just is minding his busines by himself. ok maybe some guy have appearance which woman just find very off putting but guy cant help that. if hes not active doing creeping on you, just leave be. you know?

      Who’s even talking about that? Everyone’s talking about creepy behaviors, not creepy appearance. I think probably everyone in this thread would agree that calling someone a creep solely for falling outside some appearance norm is nonsense. But you’re failing to engage with the actual situations people are referring to when they say that the creep terminology can be appropriate under some circumstances.

      1. Anon21
        Anon21 January 10, 2013 at 12:23 am |

        And just to be clear: creepy behaviors needn’t involve invasion of personal space or other gross violations of social norms. Staring or leering can of course be creepy, and those are conscious choices. But I think and hope no one here would approve of labeling someone a creep solely because of the way they looked, unconnected to any behaviors.

        1. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve January 10, 2013 at 1:01 am |

          And just to be clear: creepy behaviors needn’t involve invasion of personal space or other gross violations of social norms. Staring or leering can of course be creepy, and those are conscious choices. But I think and hope no one here would approve of labeling someone a creep solely because of the way they looked, unconnected to any behaviors.

          There are some physical cues, certainly. I remember one Sunday this summer I went to the bakery and as I was leaving my building, I noticed that outside the gym across the street this guy was doing this circuit involving pushups, then running, then weights. Immediately I start seeing this as the solution to burning off the beignets I was about to purchase and consume, so I watch the next guy do the circuit, then a woman, then when a 2nd woman lines up I realize they’re both wearing pretty skimpy items and I should probably move along before being mistaken for a pervert as opposed to an aspirational yet ultimately weak fat-ass.

          I head over to the bakery. (No beignets! WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT? I had to get Mrs. Fat a pain au chocolat, and a financier for my good self. #firstworldproblems.) Upon return I’m walking up a side street and I see this guy standing there and I immediately thought ‘He looks creepy.’ It wasn’t till I rounded the corner that he was staring at the women in leotards. Even from a block away I could tell the guy was creepy, and I immediately got the sense he didn’t belong on the block, though rather ironically, he was dressed similarly to me and resembled me, and I live on the block, obviously.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L January 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm |

          I think yes we are mostly on the same page that appearance alone doesn’t make one creepy. Unless one’s appearance is an intentional violation of social norms, chosen to make other people uncomfortable and scared. In which case, we are back to behavior.

          In a general sense not having to do with sexual harassment, I don’t think “intentional violation of social norms” with respect to appearance necessarily constitutes “behavior” justifying labeling someone as “creepy,” when those social norms are ciscentric and heterocentric to begin with. Because that would mean it’s OK — for example — to label a trans woman who’s visibly trans as “creepy,” especially if she dares to venture into a women’s bathroom. A negative reaction that happens way too much, and is justified way too much with adjectives like scary and creepy.

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong January 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm |

          Because that would mean it’s OK — for example — to label a trans woman who’s visibly trans as “creepy,” especially if she dares to venture into a women’s bathroom. A negative reaction that happens way too much, and is justified way too much with adjectives like scary and creepy.

          +1

          I’m really grappling with this idea of subjectively vs. objectively creepy behavior/people. If someone thinks a trans* woman using the women’s bathroom is creepy, my immediate reaction is that this is transphobia (literally) and unacceptable. I’m not changing my mind about that.

          At the same time people are writing things like ‘what women find creepy, is creepy’ or ‘violation of social norms is creepy,’ that is, creepy is subjective. And while this makes sense, I’m also really uncomfortable with reifying social norms that are (as you pointed out) often deeply problematic.

          If someone thinks me smiling at them is creepy because I have dark skin, that’s racist. Is it also possible I’m being creepy despite the fact the creepiness is based in racism? If my flirting would be welcome in a white person, but not me, is it creepy- assuming I always stop when I get signals its not welcome? I’m having a tough time with this.

        4. kersplat
          kersplat January 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm |

          Unless one’s appearance is an intentional violation of social norms, chosen to make other people uncomfortable and scared. In which case, we are back to behavior.

          This is total crap, A woman dressed in revealing clothing does not mean shes asking for a sexual encounter, just like a man wearing a t shirt that says look at my cock does not make him a rapist.

          You don’t know why somebody is wearing something unless you ask them, you can try to assess weather or not they are “breaking social norms on purpose” but all you end up with is your opinion, its still ultimately just a blind guess.

        5. Anon21
          Anon21 January 10, 2013 at 4:58 pm |

          This is total crap, A woman dressed in revealing clothing does not mean shes asking for a sexual encounter, just like a man wearing a t shirt that says look at my cock does not make him a rapist.

          I guess it’s a good thing no one said wearing a shirt makes a person a rapist, then. You do know there’s a substantial difference between “creep” and “rapist,” right?

        6. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 5:13 pm |

          This is total crap

          And here you are, being taught exactly what the problem behaviors are (just like you want to be) and this is your response.

          Tell me again why I should bother risking my safety to school someone who clearly doesn’t want to learn?

        7. FashionablyEvil
          FashionablyEvil January 11, 2013 at 10:01 pm |

          This is total crap, A woman dressed in revealing clothing does not mean shes asking for a sexual encounter, just like a man wearing a t shirt that says look at my cock does not make him a rapist.

          Aww, thanks for the laugh. The guy I saw recently at the airport with the t-shirt that said, “It’s not my fault your boobs keep looking at my eyes,” wasn’t wearing that t-shirt for me! There was some other random person he hoped to offend!

        8. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve January 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm |

          This is total crap, A woman dressed in revealing clothing does not mean shes asking for a sexual encounter, just like a man wearing a t shirt that says look at my cock does not make him a rapist.

          A woman who is asking for a sexual encounter still does not deserved to be raped.

          Just saying…

    2. Rebecca
      Rebecca January 10, 2013 at 2:20 am |

      Can this troll just be banned already? Comments like “if women don’t want to be creeped on, why do they wear sexy clothing?” should really not be tolerated.

    3. A4
      A4 January 10, 2013 at 10:13 am |

      i am curious if you think that creepy feeling woman have feel is come from biology or from society?

      Yes.

    4. TomSims
      TomSims January 10, 2013 at 10:58 am |

      also leave aside cultural definition of creep i think it is not aceptable to say creep to guy who just is minding his busines by himself. ok maybe some guy have appearance which woman just find very off putting but guy cant help that. if hes not active doing creeping on you, just leave be. you know?”

      I strongly disagree. A woman or girl has every right to form her opinion of any guy based on his looks. If he looks creepy , even if he has said nothing, he is still a creep in the eyes of that woman or girl. All people make judgements on people based on their looks all the time.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong January 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm |

        I strongly disagree. A woman or girl has every right to form her opinion of any guy based on his looks. If he looks creepy , even if he has said nothing, he is still a creep in the eyes of that woman or girl. All people make judgements on people based on their looks all the time.

        Sure, but we don’t need to accept those judgement as automatically accurate or useful. I know people (unfortunately) who find any homeless person automatically creepy, regardless of their behavior. I don’t have to validate that.

        1. Anon21
          Anon21 January 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm |

          Sure, but we don’t need to accept those judgement as automatically accurate or useful. I know people (unfortunately) who find any homeless person automatically creepy, regardless of their behavior. I don’t have to validate that.

          I agree. I think where all the cites to the Gift of Fear get us in the context of a person who exhibits no boundary-crossing or otherwise “creepy” behaviors, but who nonetheless creeps someone out, is this: trust your instincts and don’t do anything that makes you feel unsafe (like being alone with someone who creeps you out). But maybe don’t go around labeling someone as a “creep” to others if your only justification is that you don’t like the way they look.

        2. TomSims
          TomSims January 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm |

          “Sure, but we don’t need to accept those judgement as automatically accurate or useful. I know people (unfortunately) who find any homeless person automatically creepy, regardless of their behavior. I don’t have to validate that.”

          You don’t have to validate anything. You can disagree with that woman or girl’s judgement, but it is still their right to judge any way they choose. Remember, it is their safety they have to put first.

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong January 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm |

          You don’t have to validate anything. You can disagree with that woman or girl’s judgement, but it is still their right to judge any way they choose. Remember, it is their safety they have to put first.

          Sure, just like it’s my ‘right’ to hate [insert minority identity]. Doesn’t make it ok.

  19. thebewilderness
    thebewilderness January 10, 2013 at 12:11 am |

    Most of the creepy behavior I have observed and experienced has taken the form of a public display of dominance. It is intentional, intense, and meant to be intimidating.
    Six phone calls in a row is likely the act of a person who is confused and upset. That person needs some help, and so does the person he called and frightened.

    1. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable January 10, 2013 at 12:21 am |

      “Confused and upset” does not preclude “dangerous.”

    2. Miriam
      Miriam January 10, 2013 at 1:46 am |

      The six phone calls in the row came at the end of stalking behavior (staring at her, hanging around her in hallways). Ben didn’t intend it to be that way and he didn’t know it came across that way, but E– didn’t know Ben’s intentions. That’s what so mature about Ben’s response. He understands that it is his responsibility to learn and follow social norms rather than the responsibility of strangers to know about his PPD-related issues.

  20. Kasabian
    Kasabian January 10, 2013 at 2:30 am |

    Excluding Ben’s interesting interview for a moment, it boggles my mind how much push back there is when people make an effort to make geek spaces safe for women. Seriously, what the fuckity-fuck!?

    1. Revolver
      Revolver January 10, 2013 at 9:29 am |

      Agreed. You’d think that people would make an effort to be inclusive and try to make others feel safe particularly when they themselves are part of a group that is traditionally excluded or made to feel unsafe (like geeks and atheists). The atheist communities that are pushing back against Atheism+ are really disappointing.

      1. EG
        EG January 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm |

        Oh, no. You see, they’re not privileged! How could you say they’re privileged? They’re geeks! Being a geek is like being a PoC (true thing I have seen). And now those big bad feminists are trying to take away the space in which they get to be dominant! Feminists ruin everything.

      2. kersplat
        kersplat January 10, 2013 at 4:58 pm |

        eh, its messed up but it makes sense to me. Most geeks are sensitive to oppression by patriarchal women more so than men, it seems only natural they would desire a space where they are dominant against whom they view as their oppressors.

        Their error is mistaking that their oppressors are “women” and not “patriarchs irregardless of gender”

        1. Donna L
          Donna L January 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm |

          I have no idea what this troll thinks constitutes “oppression by patriarchal women,” but have little doubt that his definition is reprehensible. Probably something like “women who are confronted by angry, menacing men who set all their alarm bells ringing — kind of like kersplat himself on this thread, especially with his admission that he understands non-verbal cues perfectly well but deliberately ignores them — and are reluctant to get too explicit for fear of enraging them and being physically endangered.”

        2. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca January 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm |

          Most geeks are sensitive to oppression by patriarchal women? I’m not sure if I follow. Do you mean that geeks are oppressed by the likes of Phyllis Schlafly and are acutely aware of it? Would you care to elaborate at all?

        3. kersplat
          kersplat January 10, 2013 at 7:29 pm |

          oppression by patriarchal women:

          as in nerds told by women they are unmanly for being nerds
          women who encourage men to commit physical assault on nerds on their behalf
          women who enforce gender roles on the types of content male nerds are allowed to enjoy

          you know.. oppression, by women patriarchs, its not like being a man is a prerequisite for being a patriarch

        4. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca January 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm |

          OK. In that case, I don’t agree, at all, that the reason so many male geeks try to dominate women is because they got pissed after some woman told them they were “unmanly.” It seems more likely that the male geeks simply are sexist and patriarchal themselves.

        5. mxe354
          mxe354 January 10, 2013 at 10:06 pm |

          oppression by patriarchal women:

          as in nerds told by women they are unmanly for being nerds
          women who encourage men to commit physical assault on nerds on their behalf
          women who enforce gender roles on the types of content male nerds are allowed to enjoy

          you know.. oppression, by women patriarchs, its not like being a man is a prerequisite for being a patriarch

          Dude, are you fucking high?

          Because I’m blazed right now, and you sound a lot like someone I know when she is blazed. In other words, you sound weird and awful. Very unpleasant for my ears and eyes.

          Take a chill pill, and coolio.

        6. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia January 10, 2013 at 10:17 pm |

          Ooooohhhhh boy!

        7. mxe354
          mxe354 January 11, 2013 at 3:26 am |

          Dude, are you fucking high?

          Because I’m blazed right now, and you sound a lot like someone I know when she is blazed. In other words, you sound weird and awful. Very unpleasant for my ears and eyes.

          Take a chill pill, and coolio.

          Sober now. Oh dear, I’m sorry for being like that, folks.

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 11, 2013 at 3:49 am |

          Haha, mxe, I thought it was cute.

    2. kersplat
      kersplat January 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm |

      I picked a name and an email address to refer to me at random, I didn’t know it belonged to anybody else.

      1. tigtog
        tigtog January 10, 2013 at 11:16 pm | *

        Sure. You picked a random email address that showed a gravatar photo when published attached to a blog comment and you “didn’t know it belonged to anybody else”.

        That is not remotely credible, [ETA >> and a quick look at the current email address you're using looks like you might have glommed on to somebody else's actual email address as well, because there's a gravatar profile attached to that one, too - and the gravatar-username doesn't match the email-nym.

        It's very easy to sign up for your very own pseudonymous webmail account with gmail or yahoo or various other services. It's also easy to create a very clearly fake email address that couldn't possibly belong to a real person by avoiding any nym at gmail.com or yahoo.com etc. Of course, you wouldn't be trying to make it look like you weren't totally faking the email address you're using, now would you?]

      2. Donna L
        Donna L January 11, 2013 at 12:35 am |

        Kersplat, you’re a very unconvincing liar.

        1. kersplat
          kersplat January 11, 2013 at 12:41 am |

          if only I were lying, seriously, random name, random email, it was a pretty simple one, seems only likely that somebody would guess an email used by somebody else.

          also why would i make a real email account just to comment on a blog? Nobody here wants to email me ;)

        2. tigtog
          tigtog January 11, 2013 at 1:27 am | *

          So, you are now confessing that you have indeed also lied about the email account you are now entering in the comment submission field? That you don’t see anything wrong with this?

          It’s plonking time.

  21. kersplat
    kersplat January 10, 2013 at 7:37 am |

    simple answer, let her call you. She probably won’t, but at least you wont be “that guy”

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan January 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm |

      This is maybe the only intelligent thing you’ve said on this thread?

  22. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 8:41 am |

    I’m glad that Ben actually sat and parsed this stuff out and doesn’t give other guys a pass. The thing about those of us (yes, US) who have these disorders, be they mild or pronounced, is that the majority of us don’t want to freak people out. And most of us tend to withdraw, not continue to push ourselves on people.

    Having said that, these conversations make me tired. You’d think that men were the only ones who were on the spectrum, or who had other disorders that made reading social cues difficult (it ain’t always autism).

    I have NLD (non-verbal learning disorder). Diagnosed recently (a couple of months ago), as an adult, and it actually explained a lot. One of the hallmarks of the disorder is not reading social cues/facial expressions, etc. After about 30 years, I finally figured social cues out. Or, I should say more accurately, I developed work arounds.

    Do you know how much slack was extended to me as a girl and as a woman for not getting social cues? Exactly NONE. Do you know how much slack was extended to me for either trusting what people said (to my great detriment) or treating men I didn’t know as the enemy and constructing mile-high boundaries? Exactly NONE.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, does anyone say, if a girl or woman is being “naive” and get attacked “Well, she might have a right brain disorder”? NO. They go on to judge her for being stupid or naive and say that she asked for it. If a woman builds mile-high boundaries and is exceedingly blunt to the point of being rude to a guy who approaches her, does anyone say, “Hey, maybe she’s on the spectrum/maybe she has a right brain disorder/maybe she has PTSD?” NO. She’s a horrible bitch, unfriendly, stuck up, and mean to a guy who might be on the spectrum.

    Do you have ANY idea what it’s like to deal with someone who’s coming into your space, not leaving you the fuck alone, when you have a hell of a time trying to parse out if they are a friend or foe?

    When women have these types of disorders, we have more at stake WRT safety than men do. We have a shitton more crap to deal with. And the erasure does NOT help.

    These dudes who barge into these discussions about harassment to cry crocodile tears over abelism are so fucking full of shit. They erase women like me because at the end of the day, it isn’t about abelism. It’s about the entitlement to impose yourself on any girl or woman whenever you want (many of whom actually are struggling with these issues themselves). Well fuck that noise and fuck those dudes.

    1. Radiant Sophia
      Radiant Sophia January 10, 2013 at 9:02 am |

      This exactly.

    2. mh
      mh January 10, 2013 at 9:24 am |

      I’ll give you that, but I do remember engaging in EXACTLY the same behavior as Ben describes with a boy in middle school, except the phone call – and, I think because of my gender alone, I totally was given a pass. (That is, other than the general bullying by both teachers and students that happened regularly to kids with undiagnosed social issues in those days.)

      1. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 9:47 am |

        The thing is, though, what the school did in Ben’s case was notable. When shit like that happened *to* me, the school didn’t give to shits. I was supposed to be flattered and like it. When I was sexually harassed by another student–in front of the teacher–well, he was just a 13-year-old! No matter that I too was a 13-year-old (a socially awkward one to boot) who actually threw up before class because she was getting felt up in front of the teacher who shrugged it off. When boys acted inappropriately or even violently, I was told “Awwww, it just means he liiiiiikes you.”

        1. Sillyme
          Sillyme January 10, 2013 at 10:23 am |

          Sounds like public schools and entitled teachers going ike “I am not paid enough to do something about it” .

        2. Kxx
          Kxx January 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm |

          Yeah, reminds me of being 15 or so, and a boy in my class kept getting really close to me and blowing into my ears and on my neck. Eventually I told a teacher about it, who shrugged and replied “most girls would like that”. That was all. An implication that I ought to take it as a compliment, and an implication that there was something wrong with me for not enjoying it.

          I’m sick and tired of girls and women being told they should take harrassing behaviour as a compliment.

    3. EG
      EG January 10, 2013 at 9:33 am |

      Well said. Why is the concern always for non-neurotypical men violating women’s boundaries, and not for the non-neurotypical women whose boundaries get violated, and are then blamed for sending the wrong signals?

    4. Alara Rogers
      Alara Rogers January 10, 2013 at 9:51 am |

      Yeah, this.

      I finally figured out, as an adult, that I am most likely on the spectrum. I’m female and I was really really really good at school, so people took my tendency to talk too loud and monopolize conversations/shut people down who attempted to make social approaches when I was not interested/failure to observe proper eating etiquette or even grasp why I should, like not chewing with my mouth open/speak in a monotone/fail to understand why anyone would ever want a hug/break down in hysterics at birthday parties because I’d get so emotionally overloaded/inability to recognize when people were trying to fuck with me — all that was because I was socially inept, stuck up, arrogant, emotionally crippled… None of it was ever because I might possibly have a disorder, oh no.

      Dudes, if I am totally cold in shutting you down because I have no interest in dealing with your shit, and you think I am bitchy because of it, then why do I have the slightest interest in cutting you slack for *your* non-NT issues? Society is perfectly happy to judge *me* because I am not a perky social butterfly like women “should” be, and you and your MRA dudebro friends are probably among the people judging me, so why do I not get to judge you? Maybe you are on the spectrum and maybe you’re not, but if you’re an asshat, I calls ‘em likes I sees ‘em, because *I’m* not NT enough to give a shit that you think I’m a bitch. I am very empathetic in my own weird way — I will drive around the block rather than hold other people up while I try to back into a parking space, because I know how frustrated I get when I’m stuck behind someone doing that — but I cannot imagine having empathy for people who believe they are totally entitled to another person’s time and attention, because I’ve known my whole life that I am not, and if I am not, why are you?

      When weird guys want to have a conversation with me about Star Trek, bring it on. You want to tell me that you like to go to cons dressed as a hobbit because of your big hairy feet? And we’re at a con right now, and you’re barefoot and dressed as a hobbit? No problem. *Most* of my RL friends are male, and frankly, I am not myself socially appropriate enough to notice that you’re being inappropriate if you come up to me and talk to me about something I’m already obsessed with. We can have a conversation about how many times Magneto has gone crazy, sure, and odds are I will bore the shit out of you before you bore me.

      But when weird guys want to hit on me? No. You don’t get to be in my personal space, you don’t get to touch me, if you compliment my looks I will ignore what you just said in favor of talking about geek things, if you try to neg me I will become extremely condescending to you and start acting like Me Supergenius, You Dumb Guy, and if you make me sufficiently uncomfortable I have been known to do things like slam my bookbag down on a guy’s hand because it was on my leg and then claim that Ms. Bookbag really wants to sit next to me. Society has never cut me any slack for being a socially inappropriate weirdo, why should I give you a pass?

      1. Kankurette
        Kankurette January 11, 2013 at 6:14 am |

        Thank you so, so much for writing this. I have Asperger’s Syndrome and I can come across as very cold precisely because of creepers.

        As an aside, I was a female Ben, but I realised my behaviour was inappropriate and really am trying to change. It’s made me ultra-cautious, admittedly, cos I always worry if I’m being inappropriate. I definitely am able to recognise some signs when I should back off, though.

    5. Punchdrunk
      Punchdrunk January 10, 2013 at 10:13 am |

      Thank you.

    6. Jane
      Jane January 10, 2013 at 4:38 pm |

      I mean, for fuck’s sake, does anyone say, if a girl or woman is being “naive” and get attacked “Well, she might have a right brain disorder”? NO. They go on to judge her for being stupid or naive and say that she asked for it. If a woman builds mile-high boundaries and is exceedingly blunt to the point of being rude to a guy who approaches her, does anyone say, “Hey, maybe she’s on the spectrum/maybe she has a right brain disorder/maybe she has PTSD?” NO. She’s a horrible bitch, unfriendly, stuck up, and mean to a guy who might be on the spectrum.

      This. Thanks for spelling it out.

    7. Marni
      Marni January 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm |

      Thank you, Sheezlebub and Alara, for saying this clearly.

    8. mxe354
      mxe354 January 11, 2013 at 1:57 am |

      Well said.

  23. Darth Conans
    Darth Conans January 10, 2013 at 8:54 am |

    This strikes a chord with me because I see so much of myself in the story. I spent most of 11th grade borderline stalking one of my teachers (mapping out her schedule, visiting her whenever I knew she’d be in her office, installing soundproofing on her door without her permission in response to something she’d said about hearing noise in the hall, etc.) I did it partially because my asperger’s (now autism) made it very difficult for me to tell the difference between a friendly teacher taking an interest in a talented student and a person who was flirting with me, partially because I was trying to model my behavior on the way people act in high concept romantic comedies (the idea that the reason these movies are funny is because the guy is acting in an absurd movie never occurred to me), and partially because I was a dumb ass teenager. Things got very badly out of hand. It turned out she was a lesbian, which made a romance impossible for 4 reasons (the other three were that she was my teacher, that she wasn’t interested, and that I was underage). I ended up trying to slit my own throat in a school bathroom. The school got me into therapy, and the counselor started explaining things to me, taught me to generally assume that people aren’t interested in you (better to under-detect and miss out on something than over-detect and make someone uncomfortable) and that, although the idea of modeling my behavior on someone in movies wasn’t terrible, I needed to understand the difference between fiction and real-life a bit better and get better role-models.
    I feel incredibly bad about it now. She was just starting a new job, and dealing with some of the most idiotic and extreme shit a self-pitying teenager can do must have made it worse for her. The worst part is that I can never apologize, since I’d have to track her down to do that, which would obviously be creepy and wrong and self-defeating (“Sorry I invaded your privacy to find out personal information about you” “How’d you get this e-mail address?” etc.) I hope that she realizes that I was just a dumb kid with stupid ideas and bad models, and that that’s something you outgrow.

    1. Punchdrunk
      Punchdrunk January 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm |

      Most of us on the spectrum have one of those stories. The important thing is, when someone told us how to do better, we did.
      I wish people could be kinder, gentler about it, but I eventually understood why they weren’t.
      And I don’t know how one gets to adulthood without learning that.

  24. Darth Conans
    Darth Conans January 10, 2013 at 9:07 am |

    As far as using autism to justify or excuse continuing creepy behavior, though, that’s completely unacceptable. You get a couple of passes on that when you’re a teenager, because odds are you haven’t been counseled or figured out that there’s something wrong with you yet. You can only make that argument a few times, though. After that, the fact that you’re making people uncomfortable is on you. Yeah, you have some trouble reading faces and understanding what’s going on in someone’s head. So what? You can learn to do all those things. It’s hard, but it’s possible. Yeah, your body language is a bit out-of-whack. You can change that. If you choose not to put the effort in to make yourself comfortable to be around but still choose to force your company on people who don’t want it, you’re just a [redacted].

    And people who can read faces and do have proper empathy, but who choose to not use this ability are both contemptible and infuriating. The idea that there are people out there who can socialize normally and don’t have to do all the training and work and rules and guessing and worrying I have to, but choose not to, out of some misguided sense of entitlement or masculinity is… maddening? I don’t think there’s a word for the combination of jealousy, hate, and anger this provokes in me.

  25. Sillyme
    Sillyme January 10, 2013 at 9:52 am |

    The story was about a guy whom hit puberty and seems to be rectifying his behavior.

    Most older guys are not stupid. They know at some point how high they rank on the attractiveness score, they know what it means when a girl avoids eye contact, does not reply to any of what he says or flinches when he gets too close. They just choose to ignore all the signs they can read. They know how to not be a creep, problem is they choose to be creeps, because why shouldnt somebody whom shaped his body with Tacos, videogames and takeout pizza land a good looking girl?

    1. Sheelzebub
      Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 9:58 am |

      I have had conventionally good looking guys get really fucking creepy with me, who refused to take the no, who decided that “I am not interested in married dudes” meant “Ignore me and continue to try to corner me that will get me to want to bed you down.”

      Sometimes, I’m not into someone. Maybe I’m not attracted to them physically, maybe I don’t feel chemistry, maybe I find them kind of annoying, maybe I just can’t put my finger on it but it’s not there. If they keep pushing, no matter if they look like Ernest Borgnine or Brad Pitt, it’s going to piss me off.

      1. Sillyme
        Sillyme January 10, 2013 at 9:59 am |

        Yeah like I said, they chose to ignore the signs.

        1. Briznecko
          Briznecko January 10, 2013 at 3:57 pm |

          The problem is you keep equating attractiveness with behavior, and it’s getting to the point of being insulting.

          Yes, guys need to be adults and learn how to recognize non-verbal ques that signal non-interest. This part is ok. But then you add:

          They know at some point how high they rank on the attractiveness score

          somebody whom shaped his body with Tacos, videogames and takeout pizza

          See how this is fucked up? You’re adding attractiveness, which is inherently subjective, to the universal understanding of how not to be a creeper. One does not equal the other.

        2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 4:34 am |

          Good grief. SillyMe, you’re coming across like you buy into all that MRM bullshit about people being alphas, betas and so on.

          Creepy, entitled behaviour is not about looks. Is that really so hard to figure out?

          Let’s try an example. I don’t want attention pressed on me by any man. Any. Man. I don’t care if he’s Johnny Depp’s twin brother. Hitting on me, ignoring (and ignoring is the word here) my uninterest, discomfort, distaste, fear – it’s just as fucking creepy coming from someone I might think beautiful as from someone I find physically unattractive. It’s about ignoring boundaries and potential threat, not a sudden bloody whirlwind romance.

    2. Tinkdnuos
      Tinkdnuos January 11, 2013 at 12:50 am |

      I like tacos and pizza. I have even occasionally played video games. And I’m from Philadelphia so I can DESTROY a cheesesteak. And I won’t deny that my body shows these things (along with plenty of other interesting signs of my socio-cultural existence).

      And I have lots of great interactions, often (though not exclusively or necessarily) sexual, with lots of attractive women. Sometimes I even go start legitimate conversations with them in public places! And all of these women are WAY more attractive than you are.

      You know how I know that, without a clue what you look like?

      Because they’re not obnoxious… shallow… judgmental… entitled… toxic… abusive…

      I’d love go on but I don’t want to be outright banned after only two comments ever. However, it might be pretty awesome if you just voluntarily took this fucked up attitude elsewhere.

      1. Richard/RVW
        Richard/RVW January 11, 2013 at 5:26 am |

        …And all of these women are WAY more attractive than you are.

        You know how I know that, without a clue what you look like?

        Because they’re not obnoxious… shallow… judgmental… entitled… toxic… abusive…

        I’m not familiar with Sillyme’s posting history, but here she seems like someone who is sincerely trying to contribute but who is prone to problematic phrasing. Your comment is much harsher than anything Sillyme has said here, and arguably inappropriate for a feminist space (not that I have any authority here or anywhere else).

        1. Tinkdnuos
          Tinkdnuos January 11, 2013 at 7:09 am |

          It sat in mod for a while before appearing…I guess somebody thought it wasn’t TOO bad.

          But really, how is calling an INDIVIDUAL these things worse than that individual stating that anyone she doesn’t find particularly attractive is a creep for looking at her?

        2. seisy
          seisy January 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm |

          really more seems to me like a MRA (and his sockpuppets?) roleplaying their idea of women and women’s thought processes.

        3. Richard/RVW
          Richard/RVW January 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

          To be clear on my “inappropriate” remark, I wasn’t trying to question the discretion of Feministe moderators. They know their job better than I do. I just sort of fail to see how this:

          I’d love go on but I don’t want to be outright banned after only two comments ever.

          can be read as anything except an implied misogynistic rant. My mind just starts filling in the ban-worthy blanks, and it’s lots of slurs and slut-shaming.

          really more seems to me like a MRA (and his sockpuppets?) roleplaying their idea of women and women’s thought processes.

          That actually makes more sense, thank you.

        4. Tinkdnuos
          Tinkdnuos January 11, 2013 at 7:39 pm |

          To be clear on my “inappropriate” remark, I wasn’t trying to question the discretion of Feministe moderators. They know their job better than I do. I just sort of fail to see how this:

          I’d love go on but I don’t want to be outright banned after only two comments ever.

          can be read as anything except an implied misogynistic rant. My mind just starts filling in the ban-worthy blanks, and it’s lots of slurs and slut-shaming.

          Well, that’s where YOUR mind goes, I guess. I just meant I could say other things about this person’s BEHAVIOR.

          Basically, any misogyny you perceived here was entirely in your imagination. I didn’t want to get banned because I didn’t want to cross the line from calling out obnoxious, judgmental, abusive behavior for what it is (you know, like half this discussion has covered in re: “creep” or “creepy”) to being outright verbally abusive myself.

          Now, perhaps you feel I crossed that line already. We would have to disagree there. I suggest you compare my comments ABOUT SillyMe’s behavior with SillyMe’s comments about anyone nerdy and overweight. Which set of comments is REALLY more out of place in a feminist (or otherwise not sad, cruel and intolerant) discussion?

        5. thefish
          thefish January 12, 2013 at 10:25 am |

          really more seems to me like a MRA (and his sockpuppets?) roleplaying their idea of women and women’s thought processes.

          Telling people they aren’t actually a woman? Do I need to tell you why that’s incredibly bigoted?

        6. Tinkdnuos
          Tinkdnuos January 12, 2013 at 10:50 am |

          @thefish,

          Richard/RVW’s comment in response to mine was not really accurate, but it was TOTALLY legitimate and founded in rational experience. And before I could point out that SillyMe was tying hir own noose with hir various comments, seisy beat me to the simple explanation (I was at work and this site is IMPOSSIBLE to access on my mobile sometimes). So this whole thread here has actually been wrapped with a fairly neat bow already.

          You, on the other hand, are just a really, really ineffectual troll. Thank you, however, for helping remind me that my disagreements with someone like Richard are mere misunderstandings, and not conflicts between basic decency and toxic abuse.

          I envy the patience of the comment moderators here. If this were my space I’d have slapped the “troll” avatar and description on you and a few others by now.

        7. Tinkdnuos
          Tinkdnuos January 12, 2013 at 11:13 am |

          And @Richard/RVW

          I got a wee bit defensive there.

          I assure you though, it was mostly because I was stewing over feeling like I couldn’t defend myself properly while stuck behind an internet firewall in an area with horrid mobile coverage…

        8. Richard/RVW
          Richard/RVW January 13, 2013 at 3:59 am |

          Telling people they aren’t actually a woman? Do I need to tell you why that’s incredibly bigoted?

          That’s not what happened though.

          My desire to assume good faith (and, frankly, more than a little mental exhaustion) led to a declaration of Sillyme’s sincerity. Once I explicitly affirmed a belief in Sillyme’s sincerity, it’s legitimate for someone to question that opinion as seisy did. Sillyme’s womanhood was not denied, an affirmation of hir* sincerity was challenged.

          I don’t argue that Sillyme is not a woman, but seisy is correct that Sillyme’s comments have obvious elements of MRA-belief and troll-intent.

          *I shouldn’t have used the pronouns “she” and “her” in the first place, as I didn’t know Sillyme’s preference.

          I got a wee bit defensive there.

          I assure you though, it was mostly because I was stewing over feeling like I couldn’t defend myself properly while stuck behind an internet firewall in an area with horrid mobile coverage…

          I shouldn’t have played feminist-space-police** anyway, but I’m glad to see that you saw where I was coming from.

          **”feminist-space-police” sounds like it be turned into a good sci-fi story.

        9. Richard/RVW
          Richard/RVW January 13, 2013 at 4:17 am |

          I don’t argue that Sillyme is not a woman

          Or, you know, whatever xe might identify as. Xe hasn’t actually identified as anything except (implicitly) “girl”.

          How many adult feminists do you know who identify as a “girl”?

        10. Tinkdnuos
          Tinkdnuos January 13, 2013 at 9:32 am |

          **”feminist-space-police” sounds like it be turned into a good sci-fi story.

          WANT

    3. Richard/RVW
      Richard/RVW January 11, 2013 at 5:13 am |

      You made this some comment up thread.

      because why shouldnt somebody whom shaped his body with Tacos, videogames and takeout pizza land a good looking girl?

      just like girls who happen to put on weight more easily get a different response if they behave like girls whom are regarded as hotties.

      Do you see what you did in both those comments? You’re writing in a way that reads as you declaring what is and what is not attractive on behalf of all humanity. You’re not even in a position to declare what is and isn’t attractive on behalf of the conventionally attractive. I’m fairly conventionally attractive, eat better than anyone I know, and love exercise. I’m attracted to lots of people, and the only consistent themes are intelligent, humor, and artistic ability. That’s it. Your personal preferences aren’t universally accepted truths.

      Aside from that, you’re being needlessly insulting (as if conventionally attractive people don’t have entitlement complexes). Your comment about women (the one with the useless euphemistic phrase for “fat”) seems doubly inappropriate given the present context.

      1. Richard/RVW
        Richard/RVW January 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm |

        I can’t seem to not fuck up my comments at Feministe.

        Skimming through the thread again, I note that my comment above shares some structural similarity to Briznecko’s comment at [1.10.2013 at 3:57 pm]. Honestly, I did not do that on purpose, though I feel like a major asshole regardless. The similarity is either a coincidence or I skimmed past Briznecko’s comment too quickly to realize (or I was too fatigued to realize) that I borrowed from it. If the latter, then I’m very sorry Briznecko.

        Sorry to everyone for this off-topic interruption. The similarity, however innocent, was just too glaring for me to let go unremarked. Plagiarism is Serious Business.

        1. Briznecko
          Briznecko January 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm |

          No worries!

    4. Kankurette
      Kankurette January 11, 2013 at 6:20 am |

      Jesus Christ, you really don’t like fat people, do you? Thanks for reminding me that I’m less of a person for not being skinny. I’ve had problems with bulimia for a long time and shit like this is actually triggering to me. I’m not a man, but I constantly see people talking about how fat girls are disgusting and how we should be grateful to get any attention from men.

      A creeper could be a male model and still be a creeper. Looks have nothing to do with it.

      1. miga
        miga January 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm |

        I actually had a creeper who was a male model. Didn’t make him less of a creeper. Sillyme’s theory is invalid fo sho.

  26. Athenia
    Athenia January 10, 2013 at 10:10 am |

    Timely article. I was standing at the bus stop last weekend and this dude would not stop talking to me. He did not pick up my social cues that I no longer wanted to speak to him or he refused to acknowledge them. While it was annoying, I wasn’t creeped out cuz I realized that he clearly just was not getting it. It probably also helped that he was just yammering on about his health.

    Anyway, I think there’s a huge difference between being a creep and not understanding social cues. I mean, I highly doubt not understanding social cues magically happen when you are pursuing a romantic relationship. If you don’t get social cues, they are going to happen with the mundane stuff too.

    1. Sillyme
      Sillyme January 10, 2013 at 10:21 am |

      Creep means he is creeping you out. It can be anything. The way he behaves or just the way he looks and carries himself. If you do not take care of yourself and have that “I must have sex” stare with your mouth half open, like some nerd at a convention whom just spotted a “hottie” you are creepy just by standing there.

      1. Athenia
        Athenia January 10, 2013 at 11:09 am |

        I’ve been to a lot of nerd conventions and also in sexy attire. The socially awkward are capable of not being douche bags.

      2. Miriam
        Miriam January 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm |

        Staring is a behavior. It’s not a look or a way of carrying oneself.

      3. Punchdrunk
        Punchdrunk January 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm |

        A long time ago, I worked as a temp in the office of an oil company. One of the geologists on the floor was on the spectrum. He mostly stayed in his office, with his door closed, rarely having conversations with coworkers. When he did come out, he avoided eye contact, and obviously had trouble with his words, and trouble knowing how to be with other people.
        The women I worked with would just die every time after he left. Laughing and going on about how weird and creepy he was and all sorts of nastiness. The man never did anything to make anyone feel threatened or intimidated, never touched anyone inappropriately or hovered or even stood too close. I had to be the one to say something, I had to have a mini-meltdown and tell them that there was nothing wrong with him, but there was certainly something desperately wrong with them. (it worked, at least I didn’t have to hear it any more)
        That was ableism.
        So, no, just because someone decides you’re ‘creepy’ doesn’t mean you are.
        I’m saying this, not to let anyone off the hook for being a creepy harasser, but as a point of intersectionality on this topic.
        And please be aware that a lot of people on the spectrum are misunderstood as staring when we’re really blanking.

        1. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm |

          Jesus, that was disgusting. (Of them.)

        2. Marni
          Marni January 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm |

          Something like this usually happens in patriarchal society when someone is an outsider, while physically being around. It’s as if a compulsory component of conversation is to talk about a common acquaintance who is not present in a negative manner. This is why I don’t get how ASD people can seem creepy, because we are not prone to such inconsiderate behaviour.

        3. Athenia
          Athenia January 11, 2013 at 9:45 am |

          That is so horrible. I’m glad you said something!

  27. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar January 10, 2013 at 10:29 am |

    The rapists were creeps first. I’m reading (for a project) a book-length account of the Glen Ridge gang rape of 1989. One of the rapists had a history of exposing himself and masturbating in his sweatpants in high school, and many of them had a pattern of sexualized humiliation of girls, like pinning them to lockers and forcibly simulating fucking. Teachers saw that shit, and because of the dynamics of the school and town and the boys’ prominent places on all the key teams, nobody had the will to seriously address it.

    The guy that thinks it is consistently fun or funny as a teen or preteen to violate women’s boundaries is beginning a career of violating women’s boundaries.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L January 10, 2013 at 11:00 am |

      Ah, the Glen Ridge case. I remember it well. The lovely Scherzer twins et al. I lived in Glen Ridge at the time, and for many years thereafter. The whole thing made me sick.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L January 10, 2013 at 11:30 am |

        And I should add that by the time my son entered 7th grade there 14 or 15 years later, the culture had changed considerably, bullying was no longer tolerated to remotely the same extent, and athletes were no longer glorified (and their bad behavior routinely excused) the way they had been. I don’t think that he could have survived high school as well as he did if things had not changed, as a “visibly” gay child who was able, because things had changed, to be out as gay by the time he was 12. (Never mind the fact that he had a father who publicly changed genders when he was 15.)

      2. tinfoil hattie
        tinfoil hattie January 10, 2013 at 5:02 pm |

        OMG, DonnaL, I lived in New Providence for 6 years.

        The Glen Ridge rape was long after I had moved away, and I felt so sick when I heard about it. But, based on my middle and high school experiences in NP, I was not surprised.

    2. TomSims
      TomSims January 10, 2013 at 11:19 am |

      The guy that thinks it is consistently fun or funny as a teen or preteen to violate women’s boundaries is beginning a career of violating women’s boundaries.”

      I agree and it seems that is the new normal in todays’ young men.

      1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 4:44 am |

        Come off it. That sort of thing is not new.

        1. TomSims
          TomSims January 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm |

          <Come off it. That sort of thing is not new.

          It's new to me. I'm an old guy (66)

        2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 7:41 pm |

          It’s centuries old at least, [redacted].

    3. Rhoanna
      Rhoanna January 10, 2013 at 11:43 am |

      many of them had a pattern of sexualized humiliation of girls, like pinning them to lockers and forcibly simulating fucking.

      That’s not creepy behaviour, that’s battery (or some other similar offense).

      1. Donna L
        Donna L January 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm |

        Yes, I would have to agree that from what I recall, the previous unchecked behavior of several of the “Glen Ridge rapists” went way beyond “creepy,” and involved physically assaulting other kids, both female and male.

  28. Lor
    Lor January 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm |

    Thanks for linking the interview, Jill. I teared up, as I have a son with PDD. I worry about his future all the time. This Ben does seem lovely.

  29. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 2:48 pm |

    So this is what I’ve learned today:

    Ablelism is important when it affects the dudes. Women who have trouble reading social cues aren’t harassed or creeped out, and certainly aren’t stressed out by unwanted interactions. It’s still our job to school the menz.

    Also, women with these disorders don’t exist. All women who deal with harassment are NT. I apparently don’t exist, nor do other women like me exist.

    It is my job to school a grown-ass man on how to behave, and certainly I’ve never (and no woman has ever) been further threatened or harassed when we’ve bluntly told a guy to stop.

    It’s also really abelist to assume a man who will not leave you alone is neurotypical. It’s not at all abelist to assume that the woman you expect to extend this energy and “what ifs” is NT and doesn’t have any processing disorders herself. It’s also not abelist at all to expect a woman who may have ASD, NLD, PDD, or even psychological disorders like oh, PTSD to instruct a stranger on how to behave. It’s also not at all dangerous since we’ve already established that of course women are never assaulted or threatened or further harassed for explicitly stating their boundaries.

    Well, alrighty then.

    1. Punchdrunk
      Punchdrunk January 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm |

      You just learned this today?
      You should also know that awkward men are humiliated and rejected by women, who are never, ever rejected or humiliated or awkward.

      1. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm |

        THIS IS SO TRUE!

        Also, women are always conventionally attractive. The ones who aren’t don’t actually exist or feel things. They also don’t get harassed and mocked by dudes for being fat, or awkward, or not fitting standards of attractiveness.

        Ohhh! THE THINGS WE ARE LEARNING TODAY. ;)

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan January 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm |

          So much learning! Y’see, mansplaining can be educational!

        2. karak
          karak January 11, 2013 at 2:30 am |

          Also, if you are conventionally attractive or participate in feminine beauty culture, you’re doing it only because you desperately want male attention, and rejecting any male shows what a picky, lying shrew you are.

        3. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 7:40 pm |

          Also women who aren’t heterosexual don’t exist, because MENS.

          (Might not be specifically mentioned but boy is it a subtext, especially in the whole “women dress to turn men on!” BS.)

      2. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm |

        Also, it’s our problem if we’ve dealt with violent shitheels when we were clear about our boundaries in the past. That’s not a dudely dude’s problem, who is perfectly entitled to fluffy pillows and special rights because of his feels or some such shit.

        Such an educational day.

        I really should start another pool to bet on what these sacks of roach dung will come up with next.

        1. tinfoil hattie
          tinfoil hattie January 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm |

          Also, fat, “ugly,” etc. women don’t need love. They have “really nice personalities” to make up for their lifelong fate of being alone.

        2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm |

          “sacks of roach dung”

          I am totally stealing that.

      3. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm |

        Oh, and apparently, women of color don’t get harassed.

        WELL ALRIGHTY THEN.

        Membership in the Confederation of Unicorns is growing apace.

        1. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm |

          Ima cherry pegasus! Unicorns, psh. Booooring

          :) :)

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune January 10, 2013 at 9:16 pm |

      Oh, and women who don’t want attentions from ANY male (for reasons of incompatible orientation) don’t exist. At all. I in no way am indicating my lack of interest in being approached by random dipfucks by being out in public with my wife and stepchild.

    3. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 11, 2013 at 4:50 am |

      Plus the important info that only men who are not conventionally handsome are ever creepy. All hot dudes have carte blanche to behave however they want.

      1. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub January 11, 2013 at 7:44 am |

        YES. Also: Since men who are conventionally attractive NEVER creep on women, which means I’m a unicorn in that sense as well. As are other women on this thread.

  30. Marni
    Marni January 10, 2013 at 5:18 pm |

    Women with these disorders don’t exist. All women who deal with harassment are NT. I apparently don’t exist, nor do other women like me exist.

    Yes, I for one can assure you that I don’t exist. When you pass your use by date, you actually become invisible. This is better then dealing with dangerous creeps, but becomes somewhat confusing when people accidentally acknowledge your existence by telling you how to behave. Since you don’t exist, no other kind of conversation is possible.

    1. Sheelzebub
      Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm |

      It is strange to be a unicorn. Strange, I tell you!

      UNICORNS UNITE.

      1. Marni
        Marni January 10, 2013 at 7:42 pm |

        Oh, so it’s the horn sticking out my head that’s the problem! Pity it’s attached to my brain, or I could have it removed! Oh wait, some people are advocating just that. Ah, the wonders of eugenics 20th century Western medicine.

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan January 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm |

          *loves her drugs, couldn’t live without them*

  31. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub January 10, 2013 at 7:40 pm |

    Jill, not to get all STALIN STALIN STALIN but you may want to take down the IP address(es) of Kersplat’s comments and screenshots and then delete his comments. He may be using someone else’s identity as his Gravitar, and if that’s the case, the man whose ID he stole and whose reputation he’s damaging may be interested in the info you’ve got so he can pursue legal options.

    1. tomek
      tomek January 10, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

      so guy feels like his opinions are so unwelcome that he is forced to take some one else name. and then you want to help the some one else guy to take the legal action? wow. would you do same if it was woman i think not

      1. tigtog
        tigtog January 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm | *

        Listen to yourself, Tomek: who is forcing him to take someone else’s name? He could even more easily have used an obvious pseudonym like Purple People Eater.

        You are adding nothing to the conversation except kneejerk contrarianism.

        1. tigtog
          tigtog January 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm | *

          P.S. a bit of checking shows that the same IP number has been used previously to comment here by somebody who understands pseudonyms for the purposes of morphing very well indeed. Moving up to identity theft now is a total arsehole move. The comments using that email address are about to be edited to add the Mark Of The Troll and remove links to the stolen identity, and all further comments using that email address and IP number will be permamodded.

          No doubt “kersplat” will morph again, and feel mighty mighty when xe does. Pitiful, isn’t it?

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm |

          Hee, Purple People Eater! My stepkid drew a totally adorable Purple People Eater in class the other day… I have it tacked to the wall next to my desk because I Laid CLaim to it before the wife did, lol. It’s even got a little speech bubble that says “Mmm…Human.”

          *total derail*

  32. Hattie
    Hattie January 10, 2013 at 7:40 pm |

    I have had to deal lately with a couple of creeps. They were trying to exploit old people. People in old age sometimes miss the cues that cause alert people to feel alarmed at behaviors that indicate a person could be painful to know.
    It does not bother me a bit to avoid creepy people, and I don’t feel any need to try to understand them. The safety of me, mine and others I am responsible for comes first.

  33. trees
    trees January 10, 2013 at 8:57 pm |

    Does “kersplat” = “Faithless”?

    Kersplat on this creep post very much reminds me of Faithless on this other creep post: Don’t want to be called a creeper? Don’t be creepy.

    1. pheenobarbidoll
      pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 9:12 pm |

      Me too. I thought the exact same thing. Faithless.

      1. tigtog
        tigtog January 10, 2013 at 9:22 pm | *

        It is indeed the very same IP number.

        1. kersplat
          kersplat January 10, 2013 at 10:39 pm |

          this ip address belongs to a coffee shop, I’m sure many people use it to browse places like this given its location

        2. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable January 11, 2013 at 12:02 am |

          You and another guy with the same chip on his shoulder frequent the same coffee shop? Y’all should start a club.

        3. hotpot
          hotpot January 11, 2013 at 12:12 am |

          This coffee shop has thousands of people, PrettyAmiable. I see some other Feministe commenters waving to me right now!

        4. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll January 11, 2013 at 3:20 am |

          this ip address belongs to a coffee shop, I’m sure many people use it to browse places like this given its location

          hahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaa

          You’re still talking?

          hahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaa

          aaahhhh haahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaa!!

          *wipes a tear* Hilarity!

    2. A4
      A4 January 10, 2013 at 10:04 pm |

      Good call. The old commenting system had a very different feel

    3. Esti
      Esti January 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm |

      Comment from Kersplat on this thread:

      Just how I don’t make an effort to not wear loose fit clothing at night “cus im a big scary black guy who might scare people”. People who think I’m “so scary” can run and hide for all I care, their safety is NOT my responsibility.

      Comment from Faithless on the other thread:

      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.

      Comment from sadpanda on his thread:

      I’m taller than 6 foot and black, I have become accustomed to women being horridly fearful of me by simply walking in the room. I regularly take public transit late at night and it is not uncommon for women to simply remove pepper spray and tasers from their bags and place them on the seat next to them.

      Perhaps you could all solve your problem of racist women being scared by your appearances by just sitting next to one another in this very special coffee shop you all frequent?

  34. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 9:16 pm |

    Many of the comments on this thread make me want to hug Ben.

    1. A4
      A4 January 10, 2013 at 10:07 pm |

      Can I express admiration for how you kicked ass and took names on this thread? The former figuratively, and the latter literally to boot.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll January 10, 2013 at 10:41 pm |

        *preens* I am the Cherry Pegasus.

  35. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 10, 2013 at 9:25 pm |

    This whole thread has made me try to imagine super anxiety ridden me in a (one sided) conversation with someone who was non-NT but still more social. What a cluster fuck it would be. I pretty much rely on non-verbal social cues to tell people to leave me alone.

  36. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune January 10, 2013 at 10:17 pm |

    This thread is just making me incredibly fucking sad.

    I’m not neurotypical. I’m not sure what the fuck is up with me, but I can’t read physical cues or facial expressions. I register Happy and Angry, but those are literally the only two I can reliably grab. (This has led to hilarious results, such as being absolutely unable to tell good actors from bad except with their voice, and awful ones, such as being absolutely convinced my wife was mad at me when she was actually sad about something completely unrelated, and having an anxiety attack because WHY DOES SHE HATE ME WHY IS SHE GIVING ME THE EYE OF DEATH. ) I basically get around this by studying physical cues that aren’t facial – I seem to be decent enough at this – and actually asking embarrassing questions like “I believe from your expression that you’re mad, but it doesn’t sound like it, so are you mad?”

    I hope like hell I’ve never creeped anybody out (though I have unpleasant gut-feelings about several memories of the past where I’ve ignored non-verbal cues to be left alone, or misinterpreted expressions with disastrous results). But I don’t know how to arrange my face to express emotions correctly either, and I don’t know how to get myself out of uncomfortable situations easily. I would easily estimate that for every time I can even extrapolate to my having made a man I didn’t know uncomfortable, there’s been ten of men not recognising I don’t want to interact and just invading my space. And I’m NOT SHY about telling them to fuck off.

    Oh, and by the way, I’ve had men take the following as not a clear no and keep touching/talking to me: Telling them to go away, telling them I’m busy, telling them to fuck off, shoving them back, kicking their leg, edging away uncomfortably, changing seats in a bus, getting down before my stop and getting into another bus(!), turning away, putting my bag between us after they start talking, slapping them in the face, punching them in the shoulder.

    Number of non-neurotypical men I’ve known who have done anything remotely creepy to me: 0. FWIW.

    Fuck “men don’t understand”. Men understand. Men understand all the goddamn time, thank you very much. And if we’re all going to get together and have a WAHHHHfest about the non-NT men, think about the non-NT women first.

    1. karak
      karak January 11, 2013 at 2:40 am |

      I want to reassure you: everyone creeps someone else out sometimes. This is not a NT or non-NT thing. This is life. What makes you a creep is this: do I try to creep people out? Do I accept it when people tell me I’m bothering them? Do I make a reasonable effort to ascertain whether or not I am upsetting someone?

      And, also, I’m interested in the face thing, because I know a couple of neurological conditions (that are not harmful or dangerous, just idiosyncratic!) that cause facial recognition interpretation issues without being autism–it’s literally just trouble with faces, with none of the interactive/social issues that people with autism grapple with,

      I’m going to list a bunch of questions I think would be meaningful to consider to see if you have something else going on.

      Do you have trouble telling people apart by their faces? Do all people look alike to you? Do you identify people by attributes like hairstyle, smell, or height over their face? Do you have trouble recognizing people when you see them in very different clothes or if they change their hair? Do you not see it when others claim two people look alike? Do others not see it when you claim two people look alike?

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune January 11, 2013 at 3:13 am |

        *very sheepish* Thank you, karak. I do try not to creep people out, it’s just not always successful, I think. I hope to FUCK it’s never creepy in a sexual way – it’d be hilarious in a sick sort of way if that were the case, since I rarely have the pantsfeelings to begin with.

        Re the face thing: yep to every last one of those, except maybe the telling if people look alike thing. I can usually tell if people look alike in pictures, and I’m decent at it in real life. Valoniel concurs that there’s some neurological stuff going on, though she’s not sure what…I wish to fuck I knew, because it gets me in uncomfortable/scary/upsetting situations a fair bit, and if I at least had a diagnosis to wave in people’s faces I’d feel better.

        1. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 11, 2013 at 8:01 am |

          There are a whole bunch of things it could be. Karak is right–it isn’t always autism.

          I have NLD. Not so pronounced that I needed someone with me during my school day (in fact, I went undiagnosed until recently) but pronounced enough that my social interactions were hell for a long, long time. Trouble reading cues, trouble getting unspoken rules, etc. That coupled with a fuckload of clumsiness/balance problems, issues with depth perception and spatial reasoning, and an FSM-awful math deficit.

          We’ve all freaked people out. Even “normal” folks have done it. And honestly, someone who’s a little weird doesn’t freak me out. COME SIT BY ME I AM A FELLOW WEIRDO THOUGH I MANAGE TO PASS THESE DAYS THROUGH HOSTILITY AND BITCHERY AND LOTS OF HOMECOOKED FOOD.

          I’ve met guys who were very socially awkward and I didn’t feel threatened. I could tell right off the bat that they were some flavor of me, and even if I wasn’t into talking with them, I didn’t feel threatened.

          The vast majority of men who have violated my boundaries and acted like creeps, who’ve been threatening and sometimes downright fucking scary, were neuro-typical. They certainly knew all about social cues and appropriate behavior with other dudes, and (in some cases) with women they didn’t see as targets (for whatever reason they had for picking me out as a target). They would make sure there was just enough plausible deniability to get away with shit, and other people enabled them.

        2. jennygadget
          jennygadget January 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm |

          “The vast majority of men who have violated my boundaries and acted like creeps, who’ve been threatening and sometimes downright fucking scary, were neuro-typical.”

          Right. That’s the thing, being creepy can be accidental, as in Ben’s case, but more often than not repeated creepiness requires the kind of skillset that people who are socially awkward lack. Actual creeps tend to make an art of knowing just how far they can push things without being called on their shit.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 11, 2013 at 1:56 pm |

          COME SIT BY ME I AM A FELLOW WEIRDO THOUGH I MANAGE TO PASS THESE DAYS THROUGH HOSTILITY AND BITCHERY AND LOTS OF HOMECOOKED FOOD.

          LOL! Offer accepted.

      2. TomSims
        TomSims January 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm |

        “I want to reassure you: everyone creeps someone else out sometimes. This is not a NT or non-NT thing. This is life.”

        Spot on.

  37. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan January 11, 2013 at 1:34 am |

    I think it was said upthread, but it bears repeating; “creepy” behavior is very often (usually?) grooming a potential victim for further assaults on their space and person. It is absolutely purposeful and calculated to make the victim feel helpless and scared so they won’t fight back, and to ascertain exactly how far the scared person’s boundaries can be pushed.

    I had a landlord who did exactly that to me; he started out mildly creepy (talking negatively about an ex, trying to create drama between me and my roommates) then escalated to really creepy when he felt that I would just take it (mentioning he owned a gun, coming into my room at night drunk, screaming that I must have been raped by my father to be such a bitch when I finally closed the door on him…)

    I had to move out, because literally nothing else would stop him, including a call to the police. If I hadn’t taken the steps I did, locking the door and avoiding him and moving out asap, I truly don’t know what the fuck that creep would have done. He was clearly working his way up to something he knew would violate me, just like the other oh-so-innocent creeps do.

    1. mxe354
      mxe354 January 11, 2013 at 1:53 am |

      mentioning he owned a gun, coming into my room at night drunk, screaming that I must have been raped by my father to be such a bitch when I finally closed the door on him…

      How frightening. I’m so sorry to hear you dealt with that.

    2. karak
      karak January 11, 2013 at 2:43 am |

      That is totally a scenario right out of the “The Gift of Fear”. The guy pushes your boundaries, little by little, ramping up the pressure and trying to control/frighten you.

      I am sorry you had to deal with that but I’m glad you had the self-trust to call the authorities (even if they were useless) and then get the fuck out.

      1. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan January 11, 2013 at 2:56 pm |

        I had actually skimmed that book a few years previous, so when I started getting creeped out I listened to my gut feelings and trusted them a lot more. That book should be mandatory reading!

    3. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune January 11, 2013 at 3:14 am |

      Ugh, Bagelsan, that sounds horrible! I’m so glad you’re elsewhere now.

    4. Sheelzebub
      Sheelzebub January 11, 2013 at 8:14 am |

      Oh my GOD. I’m glad you’re out of that. Ugh.

    5. Sillyme
      Sillyme January 11, 2013 at 11:34 am |

      At least he gave ample warning and did not assault you right away.

      1. A4
        A4 January 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm |

        Huh?

      2. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan January 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm |

        Yay? :p

    6. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve January 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm |

      then escalated to really creepy when he felt that I would just take it (mentioning he owned a gun, coming into my room at night drunk, screaming that I must have been raped by my father to be such a bitch when I finally closed the door on him…)

      When he mentioned he owned a gun, surely you felt safer?

      (NRA-based sarcasm)

  38. Scissors
    Scissors January 11, 2013 at 3:57 am |

    Sad but true, some guys just can’t help being creeps. So what do you do? Tolerate it? No ways. I wasn’t put on this earth to tolerate creeps!The trick is to identify who is doing it on purpose and who cannot help themselves and deal with it accordingly.The ones who do it on purpose but pretend not to know can turn out to be dangerous latter on. They are manipulative and need to be told off immediately.

  39. Sam
    Sam January 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm |

    I work with and advocate for people who have disabilities like Ben’s, and for me advocacy includes helping people grasp the reality that however painful or unfair their situation may be, they’re responsible for it. Legal issues regarding employment and education aside, they can ask for personal consideration, but no one is obligated to provide it. In my experience this approach best prepares people who are different for a community that often times marginalizes people who are different.

    It seems like Ben got a similar message, and I’m happy for him. The interview and Jill’s comments are sympathetic to Ben the person and respectful of the struggle he’s had. The girl he frightened, her family, and the school administration’s response to his behavior were supportive of him by setting a clear boundary. I understand and agree that the girl’s physical and emotional safety was their priority, but the approach that looked out for the girl’s welfare also looked out for Ben’s, which is a classic win-win in a situation that could have been a whole lot of lose.

    It would seem to me that part of what helped Ben get through this is him being a fundamentally decent person. I know people who have disabilities who are not fundamentally decent. They wouldn’t be where Ben is now. The decency train runs on a different track from the one carrying their disability, and just like with people who don’t have a disability, the decency train is sometimes empty.

    I say all that to make it clear that my sympathy lies with Ben the person, and not at all with the behavior he engaged in. I have no sympathy for people with neurological or cognitive disabilities who are also assholes, and of course none for garden variety assholes. Label Ben’s behavior and those people all you want. It won’t change those people’s hearts, but it may help identify them to their potential victims.

    Some comments here seem to encourage the use of the word creep somewhat indiscriminately. I know MRAs have crapped all over this topic recently by trying to equate the word slut with the word creep. I want to stay miles away from that effort. I also agree that this thing about men’s reputations being sacrosanct is corrupt and in this case irrelavent, not the least of which because the true creeps could give a flying fuck about their reputation and wear women’s animosity as a badge of honor. But my question is whether there’s any benefit to casting the creep net so widely that Ben or Sillyme’s “fat nerds” (I mean, they are blocking her view of the men she considers hot) get caught in it?

    If Ben was labeled a creep as a 13 yr old, do you think that aided in his progress, or did anything to make the girl he frightened safer? the next girl he interacted with? If he wasn’t labeled a creep, do you think he would have learned better or faster if he had been?

    If your personal history or ethic leaves no room for sympathy for Ben the person, the Ben’s of the world still aren’t going away. As a practical matter, calling him a creep won’t accomplish much beyond some momentary vengence. Maybe that’s worth it?

    1. Sheelzebub
      Sheelzebub January 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm |

      Sam, I am a woman who has trouble reading social cues and who’s been harassed. People here have expressed plenty of sympathy for Ben. What we don’t have sympathy for is the idea that most people who do this are non NT and that women who have to cope with it are NT. (BTW, you have all this compassion for the non-NT men and boys? How about the non-NT girls and women who have to deal with this shit? Or will you join the others in deciding we just plain don’t count?)

      How about you stop putting words in our mouths? It’s not vengeful to say that someone’s acting like a fucking creep. And for all of the bellyaching about how unfaaaiiir and vengeful it is to use that TERRIBLE WORD, it’s pretty rare for schools or workplaces or people to take this shit seriously at all.

      Also. I await the same hand-wringing from the dudes about unfairly labeling women as sluts, bitches, whores, skanks, etc. I mean, if we’re going to talk about how unfair it is to label people. Unless that’s something that ONLY applies to boys and men.

    2. jennygadget
      jennygadget January 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm |

      “If Ben was labeled a creep as a 13 yr old, do you think that aided in his progress, or did anything to make the girl he frightened safer?”

      I’m pretty sure your concern is already addressed in Jill’s statements about labeling the behavior, not the person. But, to clarify my own thoughts on the question:

      I think there are times when it’s appropriate to label the person as well, but I I also think that is much less likely to be true when the person in question is too young to vote, drive, or even to get a library card by themselves – which is the age that Ben was at in his story.

      However, the 9/10 year old that violated my privacy for reasons of sexual interest should still have had his behavior labeled as creepy. The fact that it was instead explained to 12/13 year old me that he was merely “curious” did not aid in my own recovery, however well-meaning the intent of the people who did so.

      So yes, I think that victims not being shut down or silenced makes them safer – and part of that is acknowledging when behavior is creepy.

      I also believe that when we are dealing with children/youth that it’s extremely important to use our words around both parties; part of helping them learn to change their behavior or feel confident in addressing such behavior if it happens to them again involves reacting appropriately and visibly to what has happened.

      This isn’t something that children find easy to discuss either, adults need to model for children that it’s ok to talk about it.

      This may not always involve using the word “creepy” but it will almost always involve words that convey that very same idea. And while victims who label the person not the behavior should sometimes be corrected, they should never be told that words like “creepy” are off limits.

    3. jennygadget
      jennygadget January 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm |

      Or, more succinctly:

      “As a practical matter, calling him a creep won’t accomplish much beyond some momentary vengence.”

      Bullshit. As a practical matter, labeling behavior as creepy helps victims. The only way that it makes sense to assume that this changes when the perpetrator is underage is to assume that the underage victim’s thoughts on the matter are irrelevant to the situation. Which you know, was Ben’s problem in the first place.

    4. EG
      EG January 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm |

      As a practical matter, calling him a creep won’t accomplish much beyond some momentary vengence. Maybe that’s worth it?

      As I explained above, calling somebody a creep allows me to identify and communicate to other women which men/boys violate our boundaries in a succinct way. It also underscores the validity of our experiences and judgments. I consider that important.

  40. Donna L
    Donna L January 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm |

    When I objected to Sillyme’s comments, it was the way she was labeling people as “creeps” not for their behavior, but, it seems, simply because they were fat. That’s not what most people in the thread have been doing. The line between appearance and behavior is sometimes murky, but not usually.

    1. Sillyme
      Sillyme January 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm |

      I just wanted to express that it is up to the person what is creepy to her. Like if it is not creepy to me if one guy behaves a certain way with me, it might be creepy if some other guy does. You dont get to say its okay because he did it, or its unfair because he can and I cant. I get to decide when what is creepy and when it isnt.

      1. Briznecko
        Briznecko January 11, 2013 at 6:27 pm |

        No, not really. Throughout this entire thread you’ve been calling fat people creepy just because they happen to be fat, which is ignorant and fucked up. Women get the right to decide individually what is and is not creepy based on, let me say it again, BEHAVIOR. Stop digging, or at the very least recognize how fucked up your comments about fat/unattractive people.

        1. thefish
          thefish January 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm |

          So now there are only certain valid reasons to be creeped out?

          Yeah, you’re being creepy.

        2. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia January 12, 2013 at 8:27 pm |

          thefish,
          Let’s try this again…
          Creeped out by anything + Burden on creep to change behavior = You get to tell anybody what to do. You already said that upthread when you said Jill was being creepy by telling creepy people to edit their behavior, and she needed to stop (thus editing her behavior). You are simply looking for an excuse to control people. Go back to your coffee shop.

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong January 12, 2013 at 8:42 pm |

          So now there are only certain valid reasons to be creeped out?

          Obviously?

        4. thefish
          thefish January 13, 2013 at 1:14 am |

          @Radiant Sophia: From the top

          the exact reaction that any decent human being would have — “I am doing something that scares people, I don’t want to scare people, I would like to stop doing this”

          This is not a hard concept if you are scaring someone you should stop.

          Look if you want to disagree with the above that’s fine and we can talk about that. However, you cannot possibly be telling me I don’t have a right to be creeped out or scared by something.

          Also, I wasn’t aware I owned a coffee shop.

        5. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia January 13, 2013 at 1:59 am |

          That’s funny. You said:

          “That just struck me as a scary attitude for someone to have. ”

          and

          “I’m saying that Jill is creepy and scary.”

          about that exact passage. So….

          telling someone they are being creepy, and to change their behavior is creepy.

        6. Sillyme
          Sillyme January 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm |

          I just wanted to point out that if one guy behaves a certain way with me it does not make it okay if some other does. I said fat nerd. Its the whole package. A 30 something overweight person living still with mommy is not that hot to me personally.

          Other people might have other preferences, likes and dislikes. Maybe you are fine with one guy becoming physical with you, maybe with some other guy you do not even want a conversation.

          Bottom line is, what is creepy or not to somebody is up to that somebody and if I allow one guy to go this far and to you I dont even want to talk, you will just have to accept it.

        7. tigtog
          tigtog January 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm | *

          I’m several decades away from my dating years now, so I’ve reached the age of female invisibility to most of society which means I no longer get hit upon, but I think there is an important distinction that you’re missing, Sillyme.

          Obviously nobody should feel obliged to interact with anybody they find unattractive or uninteresting, but those attributes alone are not normally considered “creepy” so long as the person with whom you do not want to interact does not ignore your lack of interest. If they initiate, are rebuffed, and back off? Meh.

          To most people, “creepy” only comes into the equation when the person persists in attempting to engage the uninterested person, ignoring their cues to disengage – it’s the lack of respect for other people’s wishes and boundaries which makes behaviour “creepy”.

          Of course nobody can stop you labelling people “creepy” based solely on appearance/superficialities, but that level of judgmentalism is terribly unappealing. If you want to be equally judgmental about these men in whom you’re not interested but have people here stop arguing with you, perhaps you could start distinguishing between men you regard as “losers” vs men who are actually being “creepy”.

        8. tigtog
          tigtog January 13, 2013 at 3:51 pm | *

          P.S. I do agree that if somebody assumes that you will be happy to interact with them in the exact same way that they’ve just seen you interact with somebody else, then that is an entitled presumption on their part that takes no account of personal tastes and history of interactions, and that particular presumption would definitely appear to be creepy to me.

      2. Synna
        Synna January 12, 2013 at 4:43 am |

        fat is not a behaviour!

      3. Radiant Sophia
        Radiant Sophia January 12, 2013 at 5:47 am |

        “Creep means he is creeping you out. It can be anything. …just the way he looks and carries himself. ..you are creepy just by standing there.”

        You have made it very clear that “creeps” are that way simply by being in a public space. So are you saying all men (or all people?) you could potentially find creepy should never be in public? It appears to me that’s what you are saying. Having been attacked for simply being “creepy”, I can say that people like you are just as bad as the men who would sexually violate me.

        1. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve January 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm |

          You have made it very clear that “creeps” are that way simply by being in a public space. So are you saying all men (or all people?) you could potentially find creepy should never be in public? It appears to me that’s what you are saying. Having been attacked for simply being “creepy”, I can say that people like you are just as bad as the men who would sexually violate me.

          I don’t see the connection…where does she say people who creep her out should be disallowed from doing anything? It sounds much more like you are saying that she doesn’t have a right to be creeped out by people if she doesn’t provide you with a good enough reason.

          SillyMe’s initial comment may have seemed mean spirited, but calling her as “just as bad as the men who would sexually violate me.” Are you fucking kidding me? I just don’t even know what to say to that.

        2. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia January 12, 2013 at 7:54 pm |

          Strangely, yes. It doesn’t really matter to me the reason for being physically attacked. One type of physical harm isn’t “worse” than another.

          Being labeled creepy (skinny, glasses, zoned out or shaking due to non neurotypical brain) has caused people to physically attack me (their given reason).

          Labeling someone to your peers can cause group action. If it can’t than why are any of us here? Why bother combating the use of misogynistic insults by men against women? Do you think it would have been o.k. for her to say “I’ll decide who, and who isn’t a b*t*h or a c**t?”

        3. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve January 13, 2013 at 6:48 am |

          Being labeled creepy (skinny, glasses, zoned out or shaking due to non neurotypical brain) has caused people to physically attack me (their given reason).

          Can you give a more concrete example?Specifically:
          1 What makes you think ‘being labeled creepy’ ’caused people to physically attack’ you?
          2 How do you know, that if you are labeled ‘creepy,’ it’s due to being skinny, wearing glasses, zoning out or shaking due to non neurotypical brain?
          3 If people are prejudiced against you for being skinny, wearing glasses, zoning out or shaking, and consider that reason enough to physically attack you, aren’t you just as likely to get attacked if you are labelled ‘creepy’ as if you were labelled ‘the least creepy person in the universe’?

        4. A.W.
          A.W. January 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm |

          I’m going to go ahead and answer you because you’re really stretching it here.

          @FatSteve,

          “Can you give a more concrete example?Specifically:
          1 What makes you think ‘being labeled creepy’ ’caused people to physically attack’ you?

          Because people mock, fear and hate what they don’t understand.

          2 How do you know, that if you are labeled ‘creepy,’ it’s due to being skinny, wearing glasses, zoning out or shaking due to non neurotypical brain?

          When someone is different/outcast from their peers, they usually make lists as to how.

          3 If people are prejudiced against you for being skinny, wearing glasses, zoning out or shaking, and consider that reason enough to physically attack you, aren’t you just as likely to get attacked if you are labelled ‘creepy’ as if you were labelled ‘the least creepy person in the universe’?”

          If you were labelled ‘The least creepy person in the universe’ you wouldn’t have those ‘creepy’ markers, like zoning out or shaking.

        5. A.W.
          A.W. January 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm |

          @FatSteve,

          “Can you give a more concrete example?Specifically:
          1 What makes you think ‘being labeled creepy’ ’caused people to physically attack’ you?”

          Also, when people attack you like that, they absolutely love to state their reasons because they consider your existance – wrong -. As Sophia said earlier, her attackers told her why they were harassing her.

        6. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve January 13, 2013 at 10:57 pm |

          I’m going to go ahead and answer you because you’re really stretching it here.

          @FatSteve,

          “Can you give a more concrete example?Specifically:
          1 What makes you think ‘being labeled creepy’ ’caused people to physically attack’ you?

          Because people mock, fear and hate what they don’t understand.

          2 How do you know, that if you are labeled ‘creepy,’ it’s due to being skinny, wearing glasses, zoning out or shaking due to non neurotypical brain?

          When someone is different/outcast from their peers, they usually make lists as to how.

          3 If people are prejudiced against you for being skinny, wearing glasses, zoning out or shaking, and consider that reason enough to physically attack you, aren’t you just as likely to get attacked if you are labelled ‘creepy’ as if you were labelled ‘the least creepy person in the universe’?”

          If you were labelled ‘The least creepy person in the universe’ you wouldn’t have those ‘creepy’ markers, like zoning out or shaking.

          @AW,

          I don’t think you actually understood my request. I asked Sophia for more concrete answers. What you’ve done is give me less concrete answers.

      4. hellkell
        hellkell January 12, 2013 at 10:15 am |

        Jesus, life is not “Mean Girls.” Your views on this are so stunningly immature that I have to wonder if your mother knows you’re on the computer without adult supervision.

      5. TomSims
        TomSims January 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm |

        <blockquoteI get to decide when what is creepy and when it isn't

        Agree 100%!

        1. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia January 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm |

          Fine, and I get to decide what is and what isn’t a threat to me.

        2. TomSims
          TomSims January 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm |

          Fine, and I get to decide what is and what isn’t a threat to me.”

          Absolutely! You are the only one that can make that determination

    2. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve January 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm |

      When I objected to Sillyme’s comments, it was the way she was labeling people as “creeps” not for their behavior, but, it seems, simply because they were fat. That’s not what most people in the thread have been doing. The line between appearance and behavior is sometimes murky, but not usually.

      With respect, I don’t think that’s what she’s saying. While I don’t approve of her offhanded insults of fat people, I don’t read her comment of “why shouldnt somebody whom shaped his body with Tacos, videogames and takeout pizza land a good looking girl?” as saying all fat people are creeps because of how they look. Within the insults to fat people is a valid point about mens’ entitlement. There is a school of thought that says it’s okay for a man to be fat whereas for a woman it’s awful.

      Donna, you may be right in your analysis, (I suspect the real answer may lie somewhere in between,) but I definitely see a valid complaint in the double standards which say that a man can stuff his face full of tacos and then only choose to hit on women who look as they subsist on carrots and celery.

  41. Sam
    Sam January 11, 2013 at 3:43 pm |

    In my earlier comments I wasn’t clear about who may have been calling anyone a creep. That’s on me, and I apologize. I have no illusion that I have any say in how the girl responded to Ben, or how anyone responds who is personally affected by someone else’s behavior.

    I was writing about the sentiment expressed in many comments that we, people who discuss these things, define “creep” broadly. Since Ben’s story was the topic starter here, I referneced it without making it clear that I was commenting on the general way we label behavior and by extension people by using his case as an example.

    1. jennygadget
      jennygadget January 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm |

      …?

      That’s not actually better. It also makes no sense. We should not use the word creep because it might…what, exactly?

  42. Sam
    Sam January 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm |

    Sheelzebub,

    I’m new and my comments go to moderation, so I hope this comment is more timely than the last.

    Of course you “count”. Of course language is often used as a weapon against women and of course that’s wrong. Those things are axiomatic for me. Is my defense of a 13 yr old boy, or men guilty of no more than being judged physically unappealing, really testimony that I don’t have sympathy for non-NT women or for anyone being called a slut?

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan January 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm |

      If you think anyone here but Silly is judging people for their looks, you have terrible reading comprehension.

    2. EG
      EG January 11, 2013 at 7:14 pm |

      men guilty of no more than being judged physically unappealing

      I’m not sure what thread you’ve been reading, because it sure hasn’t been this one.

    3. Sheelzebub
      Sheelzebub January 14, 2013 at 9:19 am |

      SillyMe was the only one here judging men’s worthiness by their looks. You’re being disingenuous.

      And never fear. My 13-year-old self learned the hard way that 13-year-old boys will be defended no matter what the fuck they do, and I would be dismissed at best, or sometimes blamed, or told that his harassment of me just meant he liiiiiiked me.

      Oh, but of course it’s a given that calling girls and women sluts and whores, etc. is bad and that harassment is bad and that of course there are girls and women who have aren’t NT. Yet. . .we get drowned out. In defense of boys and men who have made our lives hell. We’re supposed to understand that of course you are with us yet the oxygen and energy is taken up in service of the d00ds and fuck the bitches who get erased.

      So you’ll have to excuse me if I side-eye this platter of bullshit you’re serving. (And I don’t think you’re actually that new here, Sam. You’ve posted here before and derailed conversations here before.) Ben didn’t just say fuck you all and do whatever he wanted, he felt badly about making this girl feel unsafe. The school’s reaction is actually quite rare. Most of the time they react the way they did when I had to deal with that shit. Even now.

      If the 13-year-old girl felt like he was being creepy, she had every goddamn right to. Every goddamn time we name what is done to us, we express our discomfort or anger or reaction to someone, other people try to silence us and shame us. We’re supposed to teach the menz and boys! We’re supposed to mother them! It’s not fair to them, they didn’t know any better and they won’t want to change if we don’t say things in just the right way with the nicest tone at the correct phase of the moon. No such consideration is shown to us, ever.

      If I sound angry, it’s because I am. It’s because in these conversations, even if they’re about a guy who realized what he was doing and felt badly about it and acknowledged how scary it must have been for the girl, even though his original point was actually not ZOMG CREEPSHAMING, the d00ds and a few women come in here and insist that it’s all about how these poor dudes are oppressed. And that women and girls like me don’t seem to exist.

      Well, fuck that. Do you think I’m going to be particularly sympathetic when you engage in the silencing and shaming that I’ve had to deal with all of my fucking life? Do you think it’s going to be helpful to continue to erase me and women and girls like me? Do you think that by centering the feelings of boys and men that it will actually help women and girls be/feel safer? ‘Cause I’ve gotta tell you, that shit already goes on all over the place and the only thing it does is entitle boys and men to do whatever and tells us bitches we have to put up with it.

      1. Sam
        Sam January 15, 2013 at 2:46 pm |

        Sheelzebub,

        I’ve never posted here before. I was drawn to the topic because it rang familiar to me and because there seemed to be a lot of support for the idea that the only consideration, ever, is whether someone feels uncomfortable. There were other things expressed, but my experience drew me to what I encounter constantly, and that’s the concerns of people with disabilities being dismissed and them being mocked.

        As I made clear I have no problem with people with disabilities being held accountable. I have a problem with them being mocked or with their needs being dismissed. Even when they do transgress in some fashion, I still work with and advocate for the person who transgressed. There’s plenty of power advocating against “them”.

        1. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 16, 2013 at 8:34 am |

          I have a problem with them being mocked or with their needs being dismissed.

          Then kindly keep in mind that some of those people with disabilities who are being mocked, whose needs are being dismissed–are women and girls with disabilities who are harassed. And who are shamed for naming what is done to us, who are told we are being mean and vengeful in naming how someone is coming off, who are berated and shamed for being unfriendly and unkind when we set up boundaries, who are told we were asking for it when we take someone’s words as genuine and get hurt, who are sneered at for acting like victims for saying that these interactions stress us right the fuck out.

          You’re so worried about our needs being dismissed? Stop dismissing them. Because for all of your bullshit about how of course you think harassment is bad and you know that there are women and girls with these disabilities, you’ve been quite happy to lecture us and shame us for having the nerve to talk about what the fuck was done to us.

          You’ve made it clear whose needs count, and they sure as hell aren’t mine. And in that sense, you’re actually joining the people in power, who have no problem ignoring what is actually done to girls and women, especially girls and women with disabilities.

        2. Sam
          Sam January 16, 2013 at 4:38 pm |

          I guess everyone’s needs can’t be acknowledged?

          You want to believe that my concern for a 13 year old boy with a disability who behaved inappropriately toward a 13 year old girl means that I have no regard for women. How does one necessarily relate to the other?

          About 45% of the people I work with (we do job search/placement/coaching) are women. I advocate for them every bit as vigorously as I advocate for the men we work with. I sincerely don’t care whether you believe that or not, because you seem to need for me to be a stock character from central casting calling women sluts while twirling my mustache.

        3. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm |

          Coming from a dude who just got pissy at us for supposedly being “vengeful” in calling men who harass us creeps, I find your injured innocence to be quite rich.

          Oh, you’re defending a 13-year-old boy? From whom, exactly? The commenters here who showed him (now a grown man) sympathy? The people who commended him for showing the difference between someone with an autism spectrum disorder and a sexually harassing creep? The women here who said they were also on the spectrum or had disabilities reading social cues, but that they were harassed and were dismissed? The 13-year-old classmate he scared the shit out of? Oh, later you say of course you can’t tell her how to feel but wow, you sure to love to shame anyone for having the gall to name how someone’s coming off. That girl being freaked out was not somehow oppressing Ben, FFS. But shaming bullshit like the crap you’ve been doling out here was shoveled out to me and other girls and women like me, much to our detriment.

          You’re defending men and boys who are deemed unattractive? Lovely. ONE commenter went off on men and boys she thought was unattractive, and she got her ass handed to her multiple times. It’s odd–and by “odd” I mean, completely telling–how you ignore that and lecture us on how terrible we all are for being mean to unattractive men and boys. Don’t let the facts get in the way of your lecture.

          You’re being disingenous. You’re putting words into our mouths and trying to ascribe positions to us we haven’t taken. You’re engaging in shaming bullshit–heaven forbid anyone calls actions that creep them out creepy.

          And really, am I supposed to be impressed that 45% of the people you help are women? Here’s your cookie. I hope you don’t treat them to the same finger-wagging bullshit you’ve treated us to here if they go through something similar to what we’ve been through.

          You know what? You don’t actually live in my shoes. You have no fucking idea what it is like to cope with unwanted and scary attention when you cannot read social cues, are bad with social interactions, and have a misogynist culture that entitles boys and men to do whatever while dismissing and erasing you. So your lectures and your insistence that you’re really a nice guy because you help the disabled wimmenz as you lecture disabled/NNT women on harassment is fucking laughable.

          If you care so much about people like me, how about you do this: Shut the fuck up and listen.

  43. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve January 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm |

    I think the reason this discussion is going around in circles is the word ‘creep’ perhaps seems like a permanent description, as opposed to someone who’s just being creepy at the moment. However, that’s clearly not the intention of the OP, as the title ‘how not to be a creep’ implies it’s something you can change.

    How to ‘not appear creepy’ is a totally different matter and if you’re not a creep, I wouldn’t put too much worry into whether or not you appear creepy, because you probably don’t…and vice versa.

    Nearly every group of acquaintances has one person that the others’ always refer to as ‘creepy.’ If you haven’t had this experience…it’s probably you.

  44. NBL
    NBL January 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm |

    A few people up the thread have mentioned the difference between someone seeming “creepy” for how they look vs how they act. Obviously, that’s very important, but with non-NT people it isn’t always clear-cut.

    For instance not making eye contact, slouching, “stimming” etc can cause someone to look “creepy” to a lot of people, but they are not social actions directed outward towards anyone else. Someone staring off into space may be mistaken for staring at someone else, etc.

    Obviously, being non-NT is not an excuse to harass or invade boundaries. Ben did that in 8th grade, and is on a long voyage of improving his social skills. At the same time, some behaviors are not directed at someone else at all, but are still seen as “creepy,” and at least in the short term (where short term can last for years) changing those things really is as impossible as changing your skin color. Folks in that boat aren’t entitled to great romantic lives (though I think we need to do much better with services than we are.) But they are entitled to occupy public spaces.

    1. EG
      EG January 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm |

      Someone staring off into space may be mistaken for staring at someone else

      No, not really. We all stare off blankly into space. That’s not some unusual non-neurotypical activity. That’s normal human behavior. And nobody calls some dude a creep for one misinterpreted stare. The first damn thing you do when you notice somebody staring, particularly if you’re not sure if they’re staring at you, is to move away. If they’re still staring at you, it’s not just off into space.

      When I was harassed a few years ago, a dude who gave me a creepy feeling was staring at me. I moved away. He kept staring. I left the room. When I looked up an hour or two later, there he was again, staring. One might even say, ogling. For the whole day, the only place I could go where I was sure he wouldn’t be staring was the women’s bathroom. At that point, I filed a harassment complaint. How do you think this works? A woman finds herself in a guy’s sightlines for 30 seconds and dials 911?

      It is not hard to distinguish between someone staring blankly into space and some asshole following you around staring at you.

      1. A.W.
        A.W. January 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm |

        “EG
        1.12.2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink | Reply
        Someone staring off into space may be mistaken for staring at someone else

        No, not really. ”

        Severely disagree. I’ve low vision and I’m on the autism spectrum, and I look like I’m staring into space all the damned time. Please take note that I can’t – actually – see whoever it is that thinks I’m staring at them. In my experience the great majority of people can’t tell the difference between staring into space and staring at someone, and most people are rude enough to mention it to me, up to and including denying my visual issues when they accuse me of staring because (I can only assume) they’re entitled enough to think they’re worth staring at. I had that problem particularly during school, although it’s less now that I hardly leave the house.

        Notice I said ‘less’ – the last time someone accused me of staring was a neighbor a couple of weeks ago – the same neighbor that sees me constantly with my blind and visual services cane.

        So no, in my experience most people can’t tell.

        1. EG
          EG January 12, 2013 at 11:59 pm |

          Out of curiosity, is it women who confront you about “staring,” or men, or both?

        2. A.W.
          A.W. January 13, 2013 at 12:15 am |

          Both. The most recent one was a guy.

        3. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia January 13, 2013 at 12:26 am |

          Just my two cents worth…
          When zoning or seizing hardly anybody has ever said I might have problems (be non-neurotypical), they have almost always gone straight to creep.
          It is mostly men who get physically confrontational about it. (although my definition of physical confrontation includes actions like trying to knock whatever I’m holding out of my hands, or trying to push me over).

        4. A.W.
          A.W. January 13, 2013 at 12:34 am |

          “Radiant Sophia
          1.13.2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink
          Just my two cents worth…
          When zoning or seizing hardly anybody has ever said I might have problems (be non-neurotypical), they have almost always gone straight to creep.
          It is mostly men who get physically confrontational about it. (although my definition of physical confrontation includes actions like trying to knock whatever I’m holding out of my hands, or trying to push me over).”

          The last guy followed me down the block with his friend, insisting that I was staring at him and that I really – didn’t – need my cane. Walked backwards the whole fucking time, talking at me. People don’t usually try and touch me though, as I don’t look, erm, ‘nice’.

        5. EG
          EG January 13, 2013 at 12:50 am |

          That is some fucked-up shit, A.W. My sympathies.

        6. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve January 13, 2013 at 11:03 pm |

          Severely disagree. I’ve low vision and I’m on the autism spectrum, and I look like I’m staring into space all the damned time. Please take note that I can’t – actually – see whoever it is that thinks I’m staring at them. In my experience the great majority of people can’t tell the difference between staring into space and staring at someone, and most people are rude enough to mention it to me, up to and including denying my visual issues when they accuse me of staring because (I can only assume) they’re entitled enough to think they’re worth staring at. I had that problem particularly during school, although it’s less now that I hardly leave the house.

          Notice I said ‘less’ – the last time someone accused me of staring was a neighbor a couple of weeks ago – the same neighbor that sees me constantly with my blind and visual services cane.

          So no, in my experience most people can’t tell.

          Maybe you’re staring straight into someone’s eyes and not staring off into space. How would you know?

        7. A.W.
          A.W. January 14, 2013 at 1:24 pm |

          @FatSteve,

          Do you know what you’re doing? You’re argueing that harassment of disabled people is just fine so long as they think the autistic spectrum, nvld, – visually impaired – people are staring at them. Thus making us ‘creepy’. The readily identifiably visually impaired, no less.

          I -know- I get plenty of stares because that’s what abled people do to visually-recognizable disabled people and you seem a hell of a lot more concerned for the poor abled people who are choosing to, let’s use the most recent example, following me down the block with his friend talking shit.

          Knock it off, you’re being an ableist pain in the ass.

          -As for how I would know, no one else is getting harassed when their wandering eyes meet someone elses. What they think they see is an easy target for their bad day or their ego.

        8. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve January 14, 2013 at 3:48 pm |

          I -know- I get plenty of stares because that’s what abled people do to visually-recognizable disabled people and you seem a hell of a lot more concerned for the poor abled people who are choosing to, let’s use the most recent example, following me down the block with his friend talking shit.

          How do you know the people who are staring at you aren’t just staring out in to space? You’re the only one who knows when someone actually is staring at you? How does that work? Spidey sense?

          Your recent example does little more than totally disprove your point, surely the guy did not consider you a “visually-recognizable disabled’ if he did not believe you weren’t staring at him. He was treating you as if someone with 20/20 vision was staring at him.

        9. A.W.
          A.W. January 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm |

          @FatSteve,

          …Not sure at this point how to educate your deliberately ignorant ass. Someone else can explain what using a white cane means. Again. Go read up on disability issues, I’m done with you.

        10. A.W.
          A.W. January 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm |

          “How do you know the people who are staring at you aren’t just staring out in to space?”

          Because I can hear JUST FUCKING FINE.

        11. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve January 15, 2013 at 12:53 am |

          “How do you know the people who are staring at you aren’t just staring out in to space?”

          Because I can hear JUST FUCKING FINE.

          You hear them staring? That makes as much sense as yelling at a blind person for looking at you.

        12. tigtog
          tigtog January 15, 2013 at 7:24 am | *

          A.W. has already said that these are people who are talking about ou and to ou, so it’s not that much of a stretch to presume that people talking about someone nearby are looking at them, particularly when they’re being rude/challenging/aggressive about it.

        13. Alara Rogers
          Alara Rogers January 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm |

          I am probably Aspergers (never formally diagnosed, but it fits a lot of my behaviors.) I also have no vision problems whatsoever but I do stare emptily into space sometimes.

          One time a girl accused me of staring at her. I told her I was not, I was staring at the space that contained her head. This didn’t help matters.

          It is perfectly possible for one’s glassy-eyed, zoned-out stare to fall onto a space that contains a human being, and if that happens, that human being will assume they are being stared at. I know this because I have done this and gotten that result. If the girl had checked her belief that I was staring at her by moving, she would have seen that I did not track her, but would have continued to stare at the space she used to occupy. But she didn’t.

          Humans absolutely can misunderstand and think they are being stared at when they are not. However, there is also an easy way to tell the difference between “glassy zoned-out stare that is not actually at you, you’re just in the way” and “staring at you” – move. If the stare follows you, it’s on you.

          So yes, it’s possible for people, including girls and women, to misunderstand Aspie and other non-NT behavior as including “creepy stare” when it doesn’t. However, it’s also quite possible to check for that, and if the woman in question has, in fact, checked for that, then no one has any business telling her “How do you know he was staring at you? Maybe he was just staring into space,” if in fact she *moved* and his eyes followed her.

        14. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve January 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm |

          A.W. has already said that these are people who are talking about ou and to ou, so it’s not that much of a stretch to presume that people talking about someone nearby are looking at them, particularly when they’re being rude/challenging/aggressive about it.

          Right, but the whole premise of his original point was how horrible it is to presume that someone is staring at you unless you are 100% certain that they are.

        15. SunlessNick
          SunlessNick January 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm |

          Right, but the whole premise of his original point was how horrible it is to presume that someone is staring at you unless you are 100% certain that they are.

          And if they’re following him down the street, talking shit at him, I think that’s pretty 100%. But considering that you’ve already dismissed Radiant Sophia being attacked, I can only advise you to stop digging.

        16. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm |

          Right, but the whole premise of his original point was how horrible it is to presume that someone is staring at you unless you are 100% certain that they are.

          Steve, I’m not even blind, just myopic, and I know that’s not what AW was talking about. And as someone who’s hypersensitive to being stared at, particularly while in bed (abuse triggers ahoy), I can tell you that I’m sensitive enough to know when people are staring at me while I’m ASLEEP. So is my wife. I can literally stare her out of snuffling in her sleep. I find it totally plausible that AW can tell if they’re being stared at, whether or not they’re themselves capable of staring.

        17. EG
          EG January 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm |

          One time a girl accused me of staring at her. I told her I was not, I was staring at the space that contained her head. This didn’t help matters.

          No, I imagine not. If somebody said that to me, it would sound like a weaselly way of denying my experience. If they said “Oh, sorry–I didn’t mean to. I was just spacing out,” though, I’d apologize for my mistake, because we all do that sometimes.

          OK, I was mistaken. This is a thing that happens. I apologize.

          What I don’t believe though, is that it just so happens that every time a womann notices some dude ogling her intimidatingly, that guy just so happens to be on the spectrum, and just happens to be staring blankly in her direction. I don’t run into a lot of men who experience being stared at by women in this way. Are women on the spectrum just better at controlling their stares? Or could we maybe acknowledge that the majority of the time, men staring intimidatingly at women are doing so because they’re entitled harassing douchebags, and not because they’re on the spectrum. And that women have no reason to give staring men the benefit of the doubt. And if that redounds negatively on men with ASD, the people to blame for that are the men who stare and ogle threateningly, so that women do not have the luxury of making allowances.

          Nobody seems to have addressed this, so I’ll say it again: I was actually followed around and stared at by a harasser and still people on the internet tried to make the “what if he has an ASD and was just staring off into space” excuse. I have good reason not to assume good faith when it comes to that argument.

      2. NBL
        NBL January 12, 2013 at 11:34 pm |

        The guy following you around isn’t just “creepy,” he’s stalking. Of course filing a harassment complaint is justified in that case! Is there anyone saying you shouldn’t? That wasn’t how I read the thread, nor have I come across such an attitude before. Did you catch flack from anyone for filing that complaint? If so, I’m sorry to hear it. We may just be talking past each other. That guy was a creep.

        My sense though is that a lot of “creepyness” conversations are not about incidents that rise to that level of threatening behavior. No, no one calls 911 cause someone else looked at them funny once. But people who don’t understand learning disabilities/autism/ other disorders, or who just don’t care, use “creep” to imply “threatening” when what they actually mean is “uncool” or “awkward.”

        I’ve been assaulted, physcially and sexually, due in part at least to having NLD. Granted, the latter was of the “girls shoved me around stole my stuff/ because they liiiikeeed me” variety. At the time my social awareness was weak enough that I literally couldn’t believe they didn’t just have it in for me. I’m much more aware now, but it was pretty upsetting.

        More upsetting, though, was the general message that people like me shouldn’t ever flirt or be romantically involved, that no one would do anything when people threw rocks at me or pushed me down stairs, and on and on, because I was seen as “weird” enough to be impossible to protect. Ben’s account describes in part how his coping with PDD included more or less deciding not to open up to anyone, and I think you’ll find that is pretty common among the LD community, particularly amongst young men (because they are seen as more threatening, than young women.) They shouldn’t have to do that. There *is* a right amongst single people to flirt and explore potential romantic relationships, especially when young. Everyone does it, mostly badly at first, as adolescents. LD people often take longer to get the hang of it. That’s ok.

        If anyone, NT or not, is invading someone else’s personal space, touching them inappropriately, following them, etc, they are threatening. Use creep as a synonym if you want. But if that is the word you decide on, don’t use “creep” to describe a guy who hits on someone clumsily. Don’t use it for someone whose affect is just weird, even if being around them makes you uncomfortable (as distinct from threatened, and yes, there are many people who can’t tell the difference.)

        There are plenty of people with autism/AS who I can’t stand being around due to their symptoms, and others I’m fine with and love hanging out with. But that doesn’t give me the right to imply that the latter group is dangerous, whether or not I involve the cops or another authority. Everyone has the right to be safe. No one has the right to make another section of the population disappear.

        1. EG
          EG January 12, 2013 at 11:43 pm |

          don’t use “creep” to describe a guy who hits on someone clumsily. Don’t use it for someone whose affect is just weird, even if being around them makes you uncomfortable (as distinct from threatened, and yes, there are many people who can’t tell the difference.)

          We haven’t been using it to describe those people. This entire thread is about men who violate women’s boundaries. And “uncomfortable” isn’t that distinct from “threatened” when you’ve been socialized to give men the benefit of the doubt and everybody is telling you not to overreact. “Uncomfortable” is often the first sign of “threatened.”

          There *is* a right amongst single people to flirt and explore potential romantic relationships, especially when young. Everyone does it, mostly badly at first, as adolescents. LD people often take longer to get the hang of it. That’s ok.

          It’s not OK if women are expected to give men of any type chance after chance after chance to hijack our attention and transgress our boundaries in the name of helping them “get the hang of it.”

        2. EG
          EG January 12, 2013 at 11:46 pm |

          And yeah, internet kibitzers did indeed suggest that perhaps the poor, misunderstood fellow had just been staring off into space and I had over-reacted.

        3. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 14, 2013 at 9:24 am |

          The guy following you around isn’t just “creepy,” he’s stalking. Of course filing a harassment complaint is justified in that case! Is there anyone saying you shouldn’t?

          Actually, I have NLD and yes, I’ve been told that I was “overreacting,” that I should be flattered, that it meant he liiiiiiiked me, etc.

          Believe it or not, women and girls exist on the spectrum, and there are those among us who have NLD (like me. Ahem.). We also get harassed and then berated and shamed for having the goddamn gall to say no, to be uncomfortable, or whatever.

          The erasure by you and others of women like me is just fucking breathtaking. And noted.

        4. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 14, 2013 at 7:28 pm |

          We haven’t been using it to describe those people. This entire thread is about men who violate women’s boundaries.

          I get where you’re coming from, EG, I do, but I also think there is a valid point to be made that the disabled/differently abled people out there do face a lot of prejudice and labeling as creepy or weird or whatever for no reason other than the fact that they are not neuro-typical.

          There is a 7yo boy in one of my kid’s class who is an Aspie, and there is already a small army of shitty, small-minded, ableist parents who call him weird and creepy with alarming frequency. They have also been agitating for him to get kicked out of the school and sent to the special ed school they have here in town (which is somehow perfectly legal here in IL, and I find horrible and discriminatory, but that’s another discussion for another time.) Aside from his Asperger’s behavior (none of which is actually disruptive) he is actually above average in intelligence and has done fairly well in a mainstream class. Of course, he is still a kid and learning the coping behaviors he needs to behave in socially acceptable ways with other people, but in the bigger picture I fear for his emotional well being in light of how some people already treat him simply because he isn’t “normal.”

          Granted it’s a bright line most of the time and a fine line at other times. But NT people can also be jerks and muddy that line considerably.

  45. Guls
    Guls January 12, 2013 at 9:10 pm |

    This clip arrived in my inbox yesterday from Upworthy.com and I think it provides a great five-minute lesson to anyone, guys especially, who struggle to recognise ‘creepy’ behaviour as existing on a continuum that can escalate from apparently innocent behaviour to violence – oftentimes very quickly.

    The subject matter is the Steubenville rape and the clip contains short extracts from the students’ offensive discussion of that, so a TRIGGER WARNING is appropriate:

    http://www.upworthy.com/a-horrifying-thing-happened-in-ohio-not-being-creepy-could-prevent-it-from-happe?c=upw1

    On a more general note, I think intuition is a powerful thing and if someone’s behaviour is ‘creeping you out’ then there’s probably good reason for that. Learning disabilities aside, I don’t think reading body language is hard at all – at least in the generalistic sense of whether someone is sad or happy, uncomfortable or relaxed etc – but it’s easy to ignore if you’ve not grown up relying in those kinds of cues in the interest of self-preservation, because you don’t need to. And that’s leaving aside the fact that some people – us guys, mostly – know only too well that broaching boundaries of civility makes others uncomfortable and take pleasure in it. Pulling us up on it is only right and fair.

    1. thefish
      thefish January 14, 2013 at 1:23 am |

      Yeah, that guy is creepy as all hell.

  46. Angel H.
    Angel H. January 16, 2013 at 10:44 am |

    Even though I’m quoting from someone else’s post, I decided to post it seperately since it’s more of a general comment.

    @Tom

    “that “talking to women” is some kind of basic human right”

    Actually, it is. Freedom of speech.

    I’ve been following this thread for a while now, and that pretty much sums up the issue that these deniers have.

    But lets get one thing clear: My time, my attention, my words – even my presence – are a *privilege*. Nobody has a right *to me*.

    I was thinking about this topic this morning. As I was leaving the homeless shelter, I noticed a man standing off to the side by the front door. One could describe his presence as “lurking”. Indeed, it took me a moment to recognize him as the same man who comes by every morning to pick up one of the other women. Even though he’s familiar he was still a little, well, “creepy”. So, I began to think about all of the people (mostly men) who have to Feministe arguing that “creepy” could be unfairly applied to many situations when there are only suspicions and no outwardly threatening behavior. That’s when I began to realize that even if that’s the case, no one has the right to my attention. Period. It doesn’t matter if I’m creeped out by your behavior or by your appearance, you are not entitled to my attention.

    Of course, we could go into all of the ways in which someone could be “creeped out” – a person’s race, build, sexuality, gender representation, assumed social status, etc. And I’m going to assume that we all know that that kind of thing is not cool. But if I have an issue (see that? “If I have an issue”?) with certain *types* of people who creep me out, than that’s *my issue*. That said, even if that’s the case, you are not entitled to my attention. Even if I was the most homophobic, ableist, transphobic, what-have-you person in the world and being around certain people made me “creeped out”, you are not entitled to my attention.

    The woman who clutches her purse when you walk by? Sure, she’s a bigot. But you are not entitled to her attention.

    The man in the $1000 suit who turns his nose up at you? Sure, he’s an asshole. But you are not entitled to his attention.

    HOWEVER…

    Those are not the types of people that are being discussed. The people who are being discussed are the ones who behave in a way that some people might consider threatening. Whether the behavior or the intent behind it is meant to be threatening is irrevelent because you are not entitled to my attention.

    1. Sheelzebub
      Sheelzebub January 16, 2013 at 11:23 am |

      THIS. THANK YOU. ALL OF THIS.

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune January 16, 2013 at 11:24 am |

      Angel, that’s bloody brilliant. Thank you.

    3. EG
      EG January 16, 2013 at 11:35 am |

      Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    4. Radiant Sophia
      Radiant Sophia January 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm |

      I am, however, entitled to you NOT harassing me, even if you think I’m creepy.

      1. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub January 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm |

        Angel never said she or anyone else was entitled to harass you. If anything, I’ve seen a lot of apologia for harassers using all kinds of smokescreens as long as the targets are women. And being a woman with NLD, I’m fucking sick of being erased when it comes to that.

      2. Angel H.
        Angel H. January 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm |

        You’re absolutely right. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with what I just said but yeah, you’re absolutely right.

        1. Angel H.
          Angel H. January 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm |

          That was “absolutely” meant for Radiant Sophia, by the way.

          …”Absolutely”. ^_^

      3. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub January 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm |

        I really didn’t mean for this to come off as going after you, RS. I’m just. . .beyond frustrated with some of the dudes on this thread who have refused to show a shred of empathy for any woman or girl who isn’t NT and who’s been dealing with guys who feel entitled to our bodies, time, and space.

        Naming what I’ve gone through is now “vengeful” yet it’s not erasing at all for someone to go on about advocating for the disabled while ignoring women and girls like me. And the assumption that people take this stuff seriously–”Oh of course that’s harassment, really, would anyone tell you differently?” Um, YES. Actually, they have. Not being good with social cues, and being kind of known for that as a kid, basically got me told that I didn’t know what I was talking about, I was being dramatic, I lacked empathy for a poor guy who didn’t know any better (but heaven forbid anyone showed me any empathy), that he liiiiiiked me and that was how he showed it so I should be flattered, that he was just lonely, that I needed to teach him. . .ugh.

        And I’m seeing a lot of that shit here, all over this thread.

        1. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia January 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm |

          Exactly.
          And yes, most of the harassment I’ve experienced because of NNT behavior has been at the hands of men.

    5. TomSims
      TomSims January 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm |

      But lets get one thing clear: My time, my attention, my words – even my presence – are a *privilege*. Nobody has a right *to me*.

      I was thinking about this topic this morning. As I was leaving the homeless shelter, I noticed a man standing off to the side by the front door. One could describe his presence as “lurking”. Indeed, it took me a moment to recognize him as the same man who comes by every morning to pick up one of the other women. Even though he’s familiar he was still a little, well, “creepy”. So, I began to think about all of the people (mostly men) who have to Feministe arguing that “creepy” could be unfairly applied to many situations when there are only suspicions and no outwardly threatening behavior. That’s when I began to realize that even if that’s the case, no one has the right to my attention. Period. It doesn’t matter if I’m creeped out by your behavior or by your appearance, you are not entitled to my attention.”

      Absolutely agree 100%

  47. Man
    Man January 27, 2013 at 9:49 pm |

    I strongly disagree with a lot of the posts here. First of all, there’s a huge difference between how “creep” is used in society and how it’s used in this article. This article asserts that men shouldn’t be offended by the use of the word, because people who stalk and harass women deserve to be called creeps. In that I agree, it is an appropriate word to use in such a context. But creep gets thrown about by women for a lot of reasons, more so than the one defined in the article. It gets used for men that are socially awkward but never harass anyone, it gets used for men that are unattractive and hit on a woman in a benign way, when a more attractive man who does the exact same thing is not labeled a creep (ie: “This creep tried to talk to me in the bar, it was so disgusting!”). Men have every right to get upset and protest the “creep” label in these contexts.
    I also strongly disagree with the women here who are claiming that men should always be able to pick up on non-verbal cues that the woman is not interested, and if they don’t that man is a creep, and that women should never have to verbally say they are not interested. You say that men should just “be able” to determine the non-verbal cues because it’s basic human decency. That’s wrong. Non-verbal communication is not an easy skill to master for many people, regardless of whether they are “on the spectrum” or not. While there is overlap, non-verbal cues are unique to each person, and it is not “basic” for someone to pick up on and completely understand the feelings of a person they just met and are hitting on solely through non-verbal cues. Moreover, non-verbal cues become even more complicated when it comes to the ritual of hitting on someone. Many, many men are socially isolated when growing up. Maybe they were bullied by men and/or women in their class, maybe they are inherently shy and very nervous talking to girls. Their understanding of the dynamics of hitting on someone is thus influenced by erroneous sources (as opposed to real life encounters) like the media, rumor, and communities like PUA, all of which can lead to inaccurate thoughts, tendencies, and generalizations about the female gender. This is all sprinkled with a whole lot of loneliness and yearning for female companionship and/or sex.
    Well guess what, when these men try to hit on a girl, they often don’t know what they’re doing. But it seems the response of the posters here is to ignore all of the above, and just angrily shout out “well they should all have basic human decency and know that I’m not interested even if I don’t say anything!” No, that’s absolutely ridiculous. Communication is the key to changing things both at the individual level and as a society. I think it is IRRESPONSIBLE to refuse to verbalize your lack of interest, and then go shaming all those men as creeps. I mean, what’s the point of this website then? You say women shouldn’t have to be responsible for verbally telling men they’re not interested, but then the only alternative is “men should just know.” What kind of a pointless statement is that?
    The only reasonable argument I’ve heard is that safety comes first before educating anyone who is bothering you, because some men will respond to rejection with threats or insults. First off, any man who responds to a polite rejection with anger, cursing, and threats is a total scumbag and I apologize on behalf of my gender for their existence. The fact that men can act like that speaks to a serious problem that feminist sites have every right to abhor and try to change. It’s a reason I believe women should carry some kind of defense like pepper spray. But I’m confused because, is it really any more safe to not say anything?

    As to the last post above me, the one that says “no one is entitled to my attention…” This is absolutely nuts. People have the right to glance at you. People have the right to stand in the same general area as you. If they grab your attention despite them not doing a single aggressive thing, that’s YOUR problem, not his. YOU ARE THE ONE IN CONTROL OF YOUR ATTENTION. And it is absolutely despicable to call him a creep. You’re the creep, if anyone innocent in your general vicinity is a target of your subjective and illogical judgments and fear.

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