More ranting

 

When women say “don’t be a creeper” a surprising number of people – men mostly -object.  Who could object to decent behavior right?

Here are a few things that men should do when the subject of creepiness comes up:

  • don’t derail
  • listen
  • change your behavior if applicable

First, stop trying to derail. The subject of conversation is “Don’t be a creeper!” This stuff comes up boringly often.

Second, now that you’re not attempting to derail, listen.

Listen to what people say. When we say Behavior X is creepy, believe it. If you’ve done behavior X, stop. Don’t hunt down the poor victims of your X-ing and force an apology on them. That’s only about you. Just stop doing the creepy stuff.

Third, don’t do it again. Take it upon yourself to be an adult. Behave like an adult.

 

Here are some examples of derailing:

– Behavior X, is it creepy?
The answer is: If someone told you they find it creepy, yes, it is creepy. It doesn’t matter that your intentions were sweet, stop doing it.

– Good looking boys get to do X, why can’t I? (Aka “It’s only creepy from normal boys, Brad Pitt gets to do it!” and also “But Aspergers!” )
The answer is twofold: 1) what attractive people do actually isn’t behavior X; 2) good looking boys who do behavior X also get shot down, and the subject is creepy behavior and don’t do it. Again, if someone told you it’s creepy, stop doing it. And to derail myself: why oh why is autism brought up as an explanation for bad behavior on boys’ part, but not scared behavior from girls? That was rhetorical, I know why: actual autistic people – if they are nice – want to learn, and do learn polite social behavior.

Creepy behavior comes from people who know they are being creepy.

– But popular media say Try Try Try, the girl will eventually realize how wonderful the boy is!
At some point  we will have a long discussion about how popular media is sometimes wrong – but not right now – right now please accept that if someone tells you no, they meant it. If they change their mind, they will tell you
– But men experience behavior X too, so it can’t be gendered.
That’s simply wrong, but even if it were correct, it is an attempt to derail. The point here is that groping, staring, sexual comments, propositioning people in elevators at 4am, etc are behaviors that women are telling men they don’t like. So stop it.

– I know a lady who likes behavior X so why can’t I do behavior X all the time?
Because women are not a monolith, and you don’t lose anything by not doing lousy thing X.

– How can I possibly know that behavior X is creepy? How how how?!
You can interrogate your own behavior. Would you do behavior X to a higher ranking person at work? Would you do it to someone in whom you have no sexual interest? Do you want an unattractive person to do behavior X to you? Ah ha! you noticed that you wouldn’t offer massages to someone at work. You noticed you certainly wouldn’t walk up to your boss and start rubbing their shoulders. Good. Don’t do it to anyone else who doesn’t want it.

– But behavior X is part of my social group! my culture! my nature!
If that were true, all that that means is your social group, culture, and nature are all lousy and you shouldn’t be out in public until you have this under control. (But it isn’t true. Behavior X happens in your social group, because you perform behavior X, but no one likes it. As for your culture and nature? I won’t even comment further.) It’s an attempt to derail, yet again.

– But if behavior X is creepy, that means I’m a creeper, and that makes me feel lousy!
As it should. Now stop behavior X and you won’t have to feel lousy again. Notice that this too is an attempt to derail. The issue isn’t your feelings, but someone else’s feelings.
– Why can’t we talk about all the bad things men go through?
Because they aren’t this discussion. There is a whole world of discussion of the bad things men go through. This conversation is don’t be a creeper.

Please note only two things from above are really part of the don’t be a creeper discussion:
– Is behavior X creepy?
– If behavior X is creepy, and you’ve done behavior X, you’ve been a creeper.

The rest of the topics are either boil down to those two, or they are attempts to change the subject and turn it into a disquisition on something else. It’s not appropriate.

 

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I wish we could talk

I used to know a great kid.

She was apparently open.  She thought a lot.  Many people perceived her as just cute.  She was cute.  She was a very beautiful child.

I miss her.

Her parents are were divorced.  She loved them both.  She was brave.

I helped her walk in a play ground when she was barely eighteen months.

She rode bicycles and horses.

She fell down and sometimes cried.

She didn’t love books.

She had elegant handwriting and good taste in clothes.

She was kind.

I miss that child.

I didn’t say good bye especially well.  She probably won’t forgive me.  She shouldn’t, because I didn’t put her first.

She deserves people who put her first.

I miss that child.

 

The girl was right

There’s an apocryphal story about Einstein.  He was said to object to teaching co-ed seminars, on the grounds that the boys would be too busy with the girls to pay attention to the subject.  “But Professor Einstein, surely they would pay attention to you!”  “Such boys are not worth teaching.”

This story shows something of what’s wrong with our assumptions about sexuality.

Like that poor kid who was sent home.

The kid was wearing an essentially respectable outfit, and was told to go home because she looked like a whore.

She wrote about it saying that it was an example of the patriarchy.

She is correct and here is some of why.

– Policing only the clothing of girls for modesty is inherently sexist (think hijab folks).
– So what if boys get aroused looking up her skirt. Why were they doing that? Who teaches them manners? The school should tell them not to act like predatory louts.
– Girls get aroused too. Where is the care for that in her school? Maybe girls aren’t aroused (usually) by pants hanging down (except, who knows? maybe they are), but by boys, if they’re straight, yeah. I can remember how the turn of a boy’s neck affected me then, and the way some of them stood: loose jointed, arrogant.
– Girls aren’t in charge of boys responses. Boys are in charge of their own responses.
– Teaching girls to monitor themselves on the assumption that boys can’t is saying that girls’ learning isn’t important
I’d like to talk about what children hear when they are told “Girl go home, your clothing affects Boy sexually”

– The sexuality of a boy is not his responsibility. He is a boy (and later, a man) and they just can’t help themselves when faced with a girl (or woman)
– Girls (and women) must police their own behavior and that of other women, because boys (and men) don’t, won’t, can’t control their responses to girls (and women)
– When boys act out sexually it is the fault of some girl or woman who didn’t display (the right kind of) modesty
– Girls (and women) are sexual objects, not sexual subjects. Girls (and women) don’t have sexual desires let alone desires that they can’t control. If girls (or women) feel desire, it’s certainly internal, and nothing there are no actions taken by boys (or men) which affect female desire (if there even were such a thing).
– Girls are not intellectual beings. Their intellectual or artistic or creative development will be thrown to the wayside if boys act out. Because it’s the fault of the girls that the boys acted out.

If all of this doesn’t strike a person as utterly outrageous —

Clearly all of this doesn’t strike a lot of people as outrageous, that’s why they’ll permit it in their schools, they’ll blame rape on the victim.

We don’t blame burglary on the victim.
We don’t assume that the victim must have done something wrong.
We don’t make the victim the watchdog over the criminal’s conscience and behavior.
We don’t blame the victim.
We don’t blame the victim.
We don’t blame the victim.

When we speak of sexually motivated bad behavior of boys and men, we operate from a model where male desire is naturally uncontrolled.

This is true even when we speak of harassment of gay boys and men. We allow it, because somehow the gay boys and men didn’t manage their own behavior in a way that would moderate that of the aggressors.

The model of male uncontrolled (and uncontrollable) desire and rage is taught young. It is completely false. It locks boys and men out of adult behavior, and forces girls and women into the odd role of sexual object with no sexuality.

Girls and women are sexual and we are taught not to incite male aggression (sexual or otherwise) so we tell ourselves “maybe it was my fault”. It wasn’t my fault. It just plain wasn’t.

That girl in her perfectly respectable outfit (dowdy if anything) wasn’t the reason for boyish bad behavior. Sadly her life will show her that it doesn’t matter what she wears, some male person will perceive it as an invitation.

How rotten that we don’t teach our boys that other people are not living incitements to violence or general bad behavior. How horrifying that we don’t teach boys that women are people.

Cat calls

Ah yes, the idiots who say “Then why did you wear that?” Those people are firm believers that women don’t have autonomy. Also they are firm cowards.

You see there are three reasons to comment on women, and not men.
1- Women aren’t people, they’re property
2- Men (real men, not homosexual men, not transmen, not not not any of those fake things that aren’t real men) are people.
3- And also, men are violent, and might hurt the commenter.

The justifications they use!

– Why did you wear that?

Because it’s cold out and this is a coat. (No, really, I’ve cursed back, or stopped and told them to drop dead, and it’s been winter and I was dressed for the weather.)

– Women dress to attract

This one gets me. In one sense, it’s true. Much of the clothing women wear is ostensibly “attractive”. In every other sense it’s completely false. Women wear clothes for reasons: work clothes; clothes it’s ok if something spills on; clothes suitable for exercise; clothes that are clean; clothes that are suitable for the weather (warm or cool); clothes that look pretty; clothes that their friends will like; clothes that their parents will hate

I can’t think of all the reasons that women wear clothes. Women wear clothes because humans in their societies wear clothes.

Prostitutes’ clothing might indicate availability — that is, street walkers in the US often wear clothes showing a lot of leg and torso. But fashion or weather dictate the same.

And with the possible exception of streetwalkers (I’ll get back to that in a minute), women don’t dress to attract strangers. Even when women look attractive — and want to attract — we want to attract the people to whom we are attracted. Not random men. We didn’t dress for random men. We dressed for ourselves and people (specific people) we know or want to know.

As for streetwalkers, they aren’t dressing to attract either. They’re in work clothes that act as sign of their job. They aren’t interested in that random man. They want to make money.

This was inspired by some ass who wrote in entitled idiocy that of course women should expect attention from men because we dress for it. No. We don’t.

[On a tangent here: people don’t think about other people all that much. I didn’t dress with a random stranger in mind. I dressed so that I won’t offend the people I know. Maybe I’ll please the people I don’t know, but really, I don’t spend any of my valuable time hoping for the approval of strangers. Or caring what they think.

And because of that I know that other people aren’t really thinking about the dumb thing I did whenever. I am not in their thoughts at all.]

I will now discuss a specific cat call.

– Legs!

Yes. I have two of them. Some people have zero or one. Some other people have three or more. What’s the point in yelling out that I have legs?

That my dears, was rhetorical. They yell out “Legs!” or “Nice [body part]!” to prove to us that we have no rights, no autonomy. A woman out in public is a public amenity.

Men have the right to use public amenities. That’s us.

Someone, possibly in the Schrödinger’s Rapist thread, spoke of the desire to tell someone they have fabulous shoes. (This is an example of a non-sexual comment.) Then she realized that all that would happen is some stranger would now know that another stranger thinks her shoes are great. How is this worth interrupting someone?

Spoiler alert: It isn’t.

The reason I mention “Legs!” is that it’s a particularly silly thing to yell out. They don’t yell “Arms!” because arms aren’t especially sexual in this culture. Nor “Face!” because faces are public in the US. Legs are a special case. They are sexualized, just think of the expressions “leg man” and “breast man” and “ass man” — all describing body parts that are commonly subjects of a partialism. (Not that the men with the fetish would describe themselves that way. Hah!) At the same time, legs are exposed. They are innocent body parts. You walk or swim with them. So commenting on them isn’t like commenting on sexy bits (or so people might tell themselves).

This is all nonsense of course. Men comment on women because they can.

We live in a culture in which many men aspire to be Real Men (TM). Real Men (TM) are straight. They aren’t women. They aren’t gender queer. They aren’t transmen. They are privileged.

I am not a man.

I am pansexual. So what?

 

Identifying your own sexuality, and how other people nauseate you.

In the prelapsarian era of my early youth, a person could identify as straight, gay, or bi. In the circles in which I lived, the term pan-sexual didn’t exist.

Bi-sexual could mean a number of things. One thing it meant was that you had slept with, or wanted to sleep with, people of different sexes.

Two not so nice things it might mean were:
– you were a gay man who didn’t admit it
– you were a woman who would leave her girlfriend for a man

It said nothing about your propensity for monogamy. (Or not!)

So here come some gripes:

1. “I want to explore my bisexual side”

Oh for heaven’s sake! If you’re bisexual, all your sides are bisexual. What you really mean is that you’ve mostly had straight experiences and you want to explore your lesbian side. Okay, okay, you could mean you want to explore your gay side, but I tend to hear it from women, not men.

2. “I’m very bisexual”

Right, and everyone else is chopped liver. Again, what you mean by “bisexual” is “lesbian” (or “gay”, but I hear it from women).

3. “I’m straight, but my (female) partner is very bisexual”

Of course you are. Both of you. Except — it turns out your partner a) didn’t know you were looking for strange for her; b) never actually had sex with another woman.

And really, I don’t care. Your sex life is your sex life.

The whole thing comes out of nowhere. It’s not like I walked up to a strange man and announced that I was looking for a threesome. I didn’t and I’m not.

4. “Don’t you miss female energy?”

I don’t. Nor do I miss male energy. In fact I have no idea what female or male energy even is.

My experience is that people who want have sex with me, want to have sex that I and they enjoy. While it has differed from person to person, I have noticed no overarching “female” vs “male” differences.

Yeah, the external arrangements may differ, but the people who I have desired are different individuals, not representatives of the monoliths of their sex or gender.

5. “But you’re bi- (or pan-)! How could you say no?”

Because I’m picky. (And monogamous.)

6. “But you had casual sex [then]!”

Yes. I had casual sex [then] whenever that was. Right now I don’t want to. Casual sex then or now is completely unrelated to the sex of my partners.

Now, I don’t want to.

7. “But I’m a [pick a gender], and your partner is [pick a different gender]”

And I’m monogamous. And I don’t want to
Sometimes I’m polite and say “I don’t want to have sex with you.” If I say that people are marginally less offended than if I say “I don’t want you” or “I don’t want to”

That phrase “I don’t want to” is hard for other people to hear.

I can’t tell why.  I think it’s because anything outside of a very narrow range is so monstrous as to not be an individual person.  Keep that thought.

8. “So you’ll have sex with anyone! Why not me?”

Argh. Actually, no I won’t.
Look up pansexuality.

As for why not you? Because I don’t want to.
The assumption that I’m indiscriminate annoys me.

You see, many people assume that if you aren’t mono sexual you are interested in having sex with everyone in the world. Indeed, you’ll require sex with people of any possible sex or gender.

I’m sure such a person exists. That person isn’t me.

The vast majority of human beings don’t attract me physically. I don’t have sex with people who don’t attract me physically.

Of the minuscule number of people who potentially attract me physically, only a tiny few are attracted to me. I don’t have sex with people who aren’t attracted to me.

If you asked me, well you probably are attracted to me, but I’ve noticed that some people ask anyone at all.

But even if you’re attractive to me physically (you probably aren’t), and even if you’re attracted to me (I’ll take your word for it), you have to be at least slightly compatible with me. Yeah, even for casual sex, I have to like you.

If you’re cheating, I don’t like you.

If your politics are rancid, I don’t like you.
In fairness to right wing loonies, if you’re not a misogynist or a hypocrite, and if you’re funny (well, if I think you’re funny) I could like you a lot.

If you’re poly – I’m not interested. Just accept it, I’m not.

Rant over.

A rant

And now for a rant on the subjects of consent, rape culture, feminism.

Maybe other stuff too.

First, feminism.

Feminism is the radical idea that women are people. I’m going to look up who said that. Marie Shear. That’s who said that.

Ok, Feminism is the radical idea that women are people.

Let that stew for a little while.

Here’s another definition: Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes.

Before you get upset by the recognition that men and women can differ, accept that the “equality” intended is equality as citizens, not sameness.

But think for a moment about that automatic response (if you had it) – that feeling that men and women are different. Think about that, and then remember: People are not a monolith. People differ. Some of the people who differ are old, some are able bodied, some are trans*, some are …. Just think for a bit. Women and men differ because people differ.

Remember: people are not a monolith.
Women are not a monolith.
Feminists are not a monolith.

Rape culture (a term that’s already 40 years old) refers to human groups which deny and minimize and demonize the victims of sexual assault while permitting the perpetrators of assault and sexual violence to continue on their merry way.

As an example, a society that permits one spouse to force another spouse to have sex (as US society did until very recently) is minimizing and denying the experience of the victims of rape (the spouses, primarily women, who were forced to have sex) and is permitting the rapists to continue living their lives with impunity.

When multiple members of a sports team gang rape a developmentally disabled child (Glen Ridge) and then plan to do it again, and don’t get convicted of rape, then the society of which they are part is a rape culture.

Now go look at the cup of tea analogy:
http://rockstardinosaurpirateprincess.com/2015/03/02/consent-not-actually-that-complicated/

If you prefer a video, here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGoWLWS4-kU

If you are able to understand that it’s completely ludicrous to force a cup of tea on someone who doesn’t want it, and you can understand when people don’t want a cup of tea, you can understand consent to sex.

One more suggestion, Derailing for dummies: http://www.derailingfordummies.com

Read this to identify some of the annoying things people do when arguing. Hang your head in shame if you’re guilty.

Now here’s the mean part of this post.

If you do not accept these definitions of feminism, I can’t talk to you, we have nothing to talk about.
If you argue that girls are asking for it, you are a supporter of rape culture. We have nothing to talk about.
If you do not accept the cup of tea analogy, then we have nothing to talk about and you’re a rape apologist. And a supporter of rape culture. I can’t talk to you, go away.

Here’s another not nice thought that I’m happy to add. You may dislike the idea of affirmative consent, or enthusiastic consent because you’ve violated consent. Yep, that means you violated consent, and you raped someone.

I’m ok with saying that someone who violates consent is by definition   a rapist. Yep, that may include you.

Some people might be thinking But we’re in a D/S relationship (or Owner/Property), and Consensual-Non-Consent is our thing.

To you I’ll say: Yeah, non-consent is your thing. But if you don’t accept that consent can be withdrawn (even if that means ending the relationship), then yeah, you’re involved in an abusive relationship, and one of you is a rapist.

In fact, I’ll go out on a limb: one of you, the one violating consent, is a rapist, even if it’s a consensual non consent thing.  Now, the two (or however many) of you may be happy with this state of affairs. If that’s the case, I’m not jumping in and stopping you. But yeah. It’s rape.

I want to reiterate: I can’t talk to you about rape or feminism if we can’t agree on basic terminology,

If you have a problem with my axioms, go check out Feminism 101. Read Shakesville. If you’re a man, check out Dr. Nerdlove. Regardless of your sex or gender, look up Schrödinger’s Rapist. Read the comments.

These are arenas in which the basics are covered, and where they aren’t covered, they point you to 101 spaces.

Because I’m tired of people who derail, who sea lion, who just don’t get it. I don’t want to hold anyone’s hand. Grownups can hold their own hands, they don’t need me. And rape apologists can just drop dead.