And Now For Some Mansplaining

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I don’t get it. Is it so fuckign difficult for some of

It started out innocently enough. Last week, on my way to the locker room at my gym, I passed a peach-faced trainer of about …

I know I’m opening myself up here, but I was really struck by this post and wanted to pitch in.

No, you were not harassed. (Ah, here comes the mansplaining.) The trainer told you that you look nice; maybe he was drumming up business, maybe he was noticing how often you’ve been coming and that the results are showing, maybe he was hitting on you. There is no way to know. Lets assume it was the later and he was hitting on you…that’s OK. (No, it’s not okay. That’s a place of business and I’m a customer.) It is a gym, not the office. (It’s still a business.) It is not harassment until you tell him to knock it off/thanks but you’re not interested/I don’t date at the gym/whatever. (That’s not how it works. If you’re not socially adept enough to read the cues a woman sends, that’s you’re problem. Not hers He’d addressed me in that manner before and I did not reciprocate.) Now that you’ve said something to the guy and told him that you don’t like his attention, if he persists, you are being harassed. (Wrong again. When women receive emails on OKCupid from guys they don’t know and those men make sexual comments to them or share unsolicited opinions on the woman’s body/looks, that’s harassment.)

Guys are not psychic, and until you tell him you are not interested, how could he know? (The way all the men with any real experience with women know: they read the signs.) Lets assume he was attracted to you, for the sake of argument. He knew you well enough to use your first name, so he was familiar with you. He said hi and you look nice…complimenting you respectfully…that really isn’t the same thing as a bunch of construction workers loudly discussing your anatomy on the street. (It’s an unsolicited comment on my looks/outer person/body. So…yes, it is the same thing.) It is not harassment until you tell him you don’t want/don’t appreciate the attention. It is really just that simple. (Thank you so much for enlightening me, Mansplainer.)

A few days ago, David Schwimmer released a campaign he helped produce called, “That’s Harassment.” Watch the videos and you’ll see that sexual harassment is no longer just pubic hairs on Coke cans anymore. Sexual harassment can be insidious in how it presents itself.  It’s not always overt. As one of the video depicts, a female journalist is interviewing a politician, who asks her to turn her tape recorder off. He then proceeds to compliment her, first commenting on her intelligence, then working up to mentioning her looks.

That’s harassment.

The doctor who makes an inappropriate sexual joke?

That’s harassment.

The co-worker who tells a woman how attractive she is?

That’s harassment.

Here’s what’s simple, Mansplainer: Unsolicited comments about a person’s looks or body (that includes men, btw) can be construed as harassment. You’re welcome.

I don’t get it. Is it so fucking difficult to let a woman exist in a space without commenting on her body or looks? Like, do you have such a lack of impulse control that you can’t just say hello and leave it at that? Do you really believe that the Babyfaced trainer makes the same kind of passing comments to the male members? Let’s try to imagine how that would go over.

Babyfaced Trainer: Hello Gym Guy. You like nice today

Gym Guy: *Side-eyes Babyfaced Trainer and ignores him.*

This scenario would never play out in real life because cis straight men don’t pay attention to other men’s looks. That’s all we want, too. We want to be able to walk freely among you without feeling on display.

Is that too much to ask?

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6 comments

  1. Oh, this gem from the original comment: ” A woman should absolutely come out and tell a man(perhaps gently) what she wants or doesn’t want. Isn’t that what feminism is all about? Equality, respect, etc? You have agency, you have the ability to determine your reality. You have the right to tell people what you want or don’t want. You also have that responsibility. You take care of what you want, people don’t walk around taking care of things for you…that would be the opposite of agency.”

    This pisses me off so much, I literally dropped everything to respond to it. Where’s men’s responsibility in this, exactly? I’ll even give you an example: A few days ago I was at the grocery store, loading up the car, and some douche rolls up to me to tell me I’m “just gorgeous”. It was pouring rain, I was tired, I have a boyfriend and I really was in no mood to be bothered. Mind you, this guy is standing right next to the driver’s side door of my car, so if it had been a dangerous situation, I would have been blocked from getting in the car and leaving. Yes, I have the right to say I’m not interested, but I also have a right to go about my day without being made uncomfortable.

    If the author of this stupidity actually EXPERIENCED what it was to live as an attractive woman, he’d be in for a real eye-opening experience. Women with good self-esteem don’t need random compliments from strangers to feel good about themselves and, for most attractive women, 98% of the men bothering us aren’t someone we’d want to date. Sorry if this makes me sound like a jerk, but it’s the truth. It IS possible to approach a woman without being an idiot, as it turns out. I met my boyfriend waiting for my cousin at a restaurant bar. He sat down next to me and asked what I was drinking and if he should try it too. Then he introduced himself and we started chatting. He wasn’t in my personal space, staring at my tits, or making remarks about my looks. It was two adults having a f*cking conversation, which is how this is supposed to go.

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    1. “actually EXPERIENCED what it was to live as an attractive woman”

      Is there a telethon for this? If not there should be.

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  2. Yeah, you’re not getting it. I’d love to see how much you’d enjoy socially inept/creepy men bothering you every time you left the house. It’s so awesome, truly.

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  3. Cue the men: “But where/how am I supposed to talk to women?!?!”
    Read books by women.
    Watch movies and tv by, for, and about women.
    Make *genuine* friends with women.
    Spend time with your female relatives.
    —this is to get to know women–how they think, what they really want, and how to avoid angering them and freaking them out.

    Get hobbies that attract mixed groups of men and women.
    Hang out in downtown bars and clubs.
    Start playing MMPOG’s that are female friendly and make friends there.
    Attend events where women flock: cultural events, art shows, festivals, “taste of the town” etc etc.
    –this is to meet women who are likely open for socialization.

    Do speed dating, matchmaking, and online dating—three circumstances where women have explicitly said “men, please approach me for dating.”

    Take the time to see how women think and feel *in general*. Women aren’t a monolith and every woman is different (witness the sad case of the woman who claimed she would “love to be groped” on a TV interview, during the election in response to the “grab her by the ___” controversy. Sigh.), so it’s not a 100% solution.

    But how about instead of telling women how to feel and how to act you go to women, and listen. Listen to what they want and how they feel and what is cool with them and makes them feel happy and gives them a lift in their spirits and what doesn’t. How about if you think the trainer was “okay” on hitting on Moxie you *ask Moxie* to go into more detail about why it was a gaffe and under what circumstances being approached by an employee of a business you frequent for the purpose of flirtation is okay?

    …or is that too much work?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seeing here today in Morocco, it’s evident that women here don’t have this problem. Women socialize with other women, never with a man. They wear clothes that hide their all their secondary sexual characteristics — hair, chest, legs. No one bothers them, no one treats them with excessive courtesy, they do not turn a man’s head. They inhabit space but no part of the imagination.

      There are women here who do not cover their hair, expose their arms and legs. These women are approachable. Their dress signals that they are single and open to the attention of single males. Married males also notice the women, but the culture inhibits them from doing more than look. I see no catcalling or whistling (though I’m sure it exists).

      These clues you speak of are too vague and ephemeral to be of much use for men. There is a reason your grandmothers covered their hair and dressed conservatively, and it has nothing to do with patriarchal society. They wanted to be treated with dignity and respect. What today’s society looks at past dress as inhibiting; women of those days looked as their “don’t fuck with me” outfit.

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      1. **There is a reason your grandmothers covered their hair and dressed conservatively, and it has nothing to do with patriarchal society. They wanted to be treated with dignity and respect.**

        Sooo…if you don’t dress conservatively and/or are single, you don’t want to be treated with dignity and respect? Approaching a woman with romantic intent is synonymous with not treating her with dignity and respect?

        Like

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