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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:55 pm 
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Desdemona wrote:
Ariann wrote:
About the wigs, some people are pretty intensely committed to making sure everyone around them knows what gender their kid is - this doesn't sound like it's made for those of us who don't care what other people think about our babies/toddlers.
So that makes it okay?
Ariann wrote:
I don't see this as much different from the ubiquitous head bands that infant girls get. And I don't think it's sexually objectifying of babies, but it's making sure gender "differences" are enforced and publicly viewable (so that those baby girls will make sure to grow up to be appropriately sexually objectified). Part of the same spectrum, but not exactly the same as 7-year-olds in thongs.
Maybe it's a matter of degree, but any degree of bullshiitake is still bullshiitake, and it should be called as much. Where does it start? Is it ever too early? Apparently not, since we now live in a society where people think it's appropriate to put an infant in faux stillettos and a wig. This is the stuff of farce; it would be hilariously funny if it wasn't true.

GAAAH. Stuff like this makes me glad I didn't have daughters, because I think I would just be punching stuff all the time!


I was not saying I thought it was okay! But in the realm of stuff to get you punchy, this ranks pretty low for me. And I do have a daughter, so I have to save my outrage for stuff that is slightly more worthy. If I got pissed off (which I do, a little) every time I saw a little bald girl in a stupid headband screaming her gender I wouldn't be able to get through the day.


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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:08 pm 
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annabazoo wrote:
I wish i could go to the pool without being hit on. Really, i wish i could go everywhere without being hit on. NOt that i get hit on everywhere i go, but really i wish no one hit on me, ever.
I finished swimming before my dad today, so i decided to do some yoga and stretches. I walked over to the grassy area, and there was this maybe 40 year old dude i could tell was looking at me, so i made a wide circle around him. And of course he was staring the whole time. It made me uncomfortable, but i wasn't going to let him ruin my workout so i tried not to think about it. Then when i was finished and was walking back, he was all like "Hey baby how you doing." Ugh. I couldn't think of anything appropriate to say in the vicinity of children, so i just didn't say anything. Then of course i thought of a million good responses on the bike ride home.
The worst part is that things like this remind me how much other people go through. I have it pretty easy, mostly just older dudes calling me baby and whistling or whatever. But it still makes me feel unsafe and uncomfortable and just plain gross to know that some disrespectful crasshole was looking at my body as a sexual object. And then i read stories here, and hear about cases so much more violent and terrible than anything i've ever gone through, and it just pains me to think of all the women who have to deal with it. I send good vibes out to all of you.

Ugh. One day i'll gain superpowers and bring justice to the world, with my un-shaven pubic area and cricket bat of doom. If you'll excuse the vulgarity, there is plenty of ball-smashing to be done.
Whoa, Nellie. I don't know how old you are, so apologies (but not really) if I'm schooling a teenager, but there are a few things about your post I find extremely disturbing. A. It seems particularly bothersome to you to be objectified by "older dudes" ("this maybe 40 year old dude" - OMG, amazing he can still walk, much less ogle you while you're stretching, amirite?!); B. you're also at seemingly disingenuous pains to express how "just plain gross [it is] to know that some disrespectful crasshole was looking at [your] body as a sexual object," as if this is a foreign (albeit admittedly nasty) concept with which you have been hitherto unfamiliar; and C. your reference to the "cricket bat of doom" with which you'd like to do some "ball-smashing" makes me super uncomfortable. Not cool; not feminist.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:56 pm 
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Desdemona wrote:
Ariann wrote:
About the wigs, some people are pretty intensely committed to making sure everyone around them knows what gender their kid is - this doesn't sound like it's made for those of us who don't care what other people think about our babies/toddlers.
So that makes it okay?
Ariann wrote:
I don't see this as much different from the ubiquitous head bands that infant girls get. And I don't think it's sexually objectifying of babies, but it's making sure gender "differences" are enforced and publicly viewable (so that those baby girls will make sure to grow up to be appropriately sexually objectified). Part of the same spectrum, but not exactly the same as 7-year-olds in thongs.
Maybe it's a matter of degree, but any degree of bullshiitake is still bullshiitake, and it should be called as much. Where does it start? Is it ever too early? Apparently not, since we now live in a society where people think it's appropriate to put an infant in faux stillettos and a wig. This is the stuff of farce; it would be hilariously funny if it wasn't true.

GAAAH. Stuff like this makes me glad I didn't have daughters, because I think I would just be punching stuff all the time!

I don't understand why other acts of gender policing as it relates to young girls get ranted about here but starting to sexualize infants and enforcing standards of feminine beauty from the start gets a "meh." Baby boys can be bald but never a little princess!

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Baby Bangs are an innovative new hair accessory/enhancement.

A unique ready-to-wear combination hair/headband miniature hairpiece, made size appropriate for infants and baby girls only.


Apparently, unless everyone knows your baby is girl, there will be no magical memories.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:14 pm 
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I can't speak for annabazoo, but I remember feeling more vulnerable in my teens/early 20s when a man 20+ years my senior ogled me than when someone my own age did it. I'm not saying it's fair or not agist, but it definitely seemed more predatory. I mean, it all felt predatory, but I did not like feeling like jailbait.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:30 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
I can't speak for annabazoo, but I remember feeling more vulnerable in my teens/early 20s when a man 20+ years my senior ogled me than when someone my own age did it. I'm not saying it's fair or not agist, but it definitely seemed more predatory. I mean, it all felt predatory, but I did not like feeling like jailbait.
I hear that, and I vividly recall the creepy unfamiliarity of sexual objectification when I first became aware of being looked at that way. Please don't imagine that I am in any way, shape, or form implying that that sort of thing is ever okay; no one has a right to make another person feel unsafe. That said, to pretend to be surprised/shocked/offended/impelled to violence (??) by the fact that someone is looking at you in a public place strikes me as pretty disingenuous. Whenever we go outside, we put ourselves in the public gaze - a cat can look at a queen, etc. When someone crosses the line into threatening behavior (comments, pursuit, or worse) there is something else going on, but to pretend that being looked at is some sort of crime is naive. If you don't want to be the object of the random passerby's gaze, you pretty much can't leave the house. If you want to leave the house, you need to understand that you will be looked at by a wide variety of people in a wide variety of ways (by women as well as men; just sayin').

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:05 am 
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I don't really understand what the issue here is. As I read it, annabazoo was just expressing her frustration at being continually viewed as a sexual object instead of as a human being and then having men take it a step further by whistling at her, making comments and generally making her feel unsafe and uncomfortable. As far as the comment about ball smashing goes, I highly doubt anyone here is saying that we should go around actually smashing balls, it was just a way of expressing frustration and a wish to do something about it to get them to stop. Maybe not the best way to say it but the intentions aren't literal. But I don't know, maybe it's just me because I can relate. I'm constantly getting hit on all of the time and men stare at me in ways that make me feel so awful, they make me want to hide myself and my body and it's unfair. I should be able to exist without being viewed like a piece of meat. Then a lot of men will take it further and yell to me and say gross things to me which only further makes me the center of the room and embarrasses me. Sometimes I'd like to say things to them but sometimes I feel like I want to punch them in the face (obviously not actually going to) because it frustrates me so much and I feel helpless. I feel more embarrassed and less angry, but I do know that there have been times when there have been men who would not leave me alone and let it go and it's made me so angry.

However, I don't understand why you keep accusing people of "pretending to be surprised" by someone else's actions. It is surprising to me even though it happens quite regularly. It amazes me every time someone does it because I can't believe someone would behave like that towards another human being, let alone in public and so obnoxiously. Furthermore, it seems like you're saying that we're not allowed to have these feelings because we should just expect it. That if we don't want to be looked at then we shouldn't leave the house. That's complete crepe. I understand that it happens but I should be able to leave my house and not be treated like garbage and that's what the issue of frustration here is and that's what she was expressing. If you don't feel anger about that, that's fine, but some people have different reactions to events and anger happens to be hers.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:35 am 
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We are going to be looked at by all kinds of people, but we shouldn't expect to receive any sort of harassment or abuse as a result of simply being and going about our own business. It's not unreasonable to be surprised by treatment you don't expect to receive.


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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:40 am 
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Is the act of looking "treatment?" I think that is an interesting question. There certainly is a point at which attention can become harassment but I don't think that any attention from anyone we are not interested in is harassment in and of itself. Do we ever look at other people and think they are attractive? Is that a sort of "treatment" that we are subjecting other people to? Should they be called out on it when they talk about their "Hot co-worker?"

There are certainly examples I could pull from what people have posted on these boards of individuals talking about someone they saw as "hot" and describing them as a sexual object.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:55 am 
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Mr. Shankly wrote:
I don't really understand what the issue here is. As I read it, annabazoo was just expressing her frustration at being continually viewed as a sexual object instead of as a human being and then having men take it a step further by whistling at her, making comments and generally making her feel unsafe and uncomfortable. As far as the comment about ball smashing goes, I highly doubt anyone here is saying that we should go around actually smashing balls, it was just a way of expressing frustration and a wish to do something about it to get them to stop. Maybe not the best way to say it but the intentions aren't literal. But I don't know, maybe it's just me because I can relate. I'm constantly getting hit on all of the time and men stare at me in ways that make me feel so awful, they make me want to hide myself and my body and it's unfair. I should be able to exist without being viewed like a piece of meat. Then a lot of men will take it further and yell to me and say gross things to me which only further makes me the center of the room and embarrasses me. Sometimes I'd like to say things to them but sometimes I feel like I want to punch them in the face (obviously not actually going to) because it frustrates me so much and I feel helpless. I feel more embarrassed and less angry, but I do know that there have been times when there have been men who would not leave me alone and let it go and it's made me so angry.

However, I don't understand why you keep accusing people of "pretending to be surprised" by someone else's actions. It is surprising to me even though it happens quite regularly. It amazes me every time someone does it because I can't believe someone would behave like that towards another human being, let alone in public and so obnoxiously. Furthermore, it seems like you're saying that we're not allowed to have these feelings because we should just expect it. That if we don't want to be looked at then we shouldn't leave the house. That's complete crepe. I understand that it happens but I should be able to leave my house and not be treated like garbage and that's what the issue of frustration here is and that's what she was expressing. If you don't feel anger about that, that's fine, but some people have different reactions to events and anger happens to be hers.
You are mixing things up. At no point did I imply that it's acceptable for anyone to make rude comments or gestures, or to treat someone like a "piece of meat" or "garbage" (although the hyperbole seems a bit over the top; I'm assuming that's a stylistic choice). That behavior is unacceptable, but if it's true (as you say yourself) that you literally cannot walk out the door without receiving unwanted attention, it can't really be "surprising," per se. Nasty, yes; unsolicited, yes; rude and gross and skeevy and all sorts of no good, very bad things, yes. But if it happens all day, every day - "I'm constantly getting hit on all of the time" - you can hardly use the word "surprising" (and I'm bound to admit I wouldn't want to live in your neighborhood). At no time did I suggest that anyone should "hide [their]self and [their] body" - what I did say is that we cannot realistically police what people look at in public places. We all look at each other all the time, and no one knows how someone else is viewing them unless the viewer externalizes their thoughts through speech or action. If and when that occurs, and if and when that speech and/or action is perceived as unwelcome, unsolicited, intrusive, or discomfort-causing in any way, etc., that is unacceptable and needs to stop. Sometimes we can do or say something to stop it, and sometimes we may not feel safe or capable enough to do so, at which point it strikes me as wisest move to remove ourselves from that situation rather than continue in it to the point where we want to punch someone in the face or smash their balls with a cricket bat, whether literally or figuratively.

But I wasn't talking about people doing or saying things, unwelcome or otherwise: I was talking about looking. Being offended by unwanted comments, etc. is very different than saying that no one (or only certain people) should be allowed to look at you in a public space. Even if you were covered in a sack from head to foot, people would look at you -"Hey, that person is wearing a sack!" The more populous a place you live, the more people will look at you, and vice-versa. It may be that your experience that you are sexually accosted by everyone who sees you; if so, I'm sorry, because that must be a difficult way to live. But most people look at others and are looked at in a wide variety of ways and contexts (many of which we never know about) in the course of an ordinary day, and it's simply not realistic to imagine that's something you can control.

ETA: Vantine got in there before me and was, as ever, more concise! Whether (or not) the act of looking is indeed "treatment" strikes me as the most interesting part of this conversation.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:03 am 
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j-dub wrote:
allularpunk wrote:
I'm going to post this with spoiler tags, in case it is triggering for anyone who has experienced sexual assault. (Also, this may or may not really deal with feminism, but I couldn't think of any other place to post it and didn't want to start a new thread, and this seems like a safe place.)

Spoiler: show
So, when I was a senior in high school, I semi-dated this guy, Joe, who was a defensive linebacker on our football team. It was really only about the sex. We would go to his house 3 or 4 afternoons out of the week, because we both went to school half days (me for college classes, him for work). One day, I was on my period and didn't want to have sex. He suggested I give him a blow job, but I didn't want to do that either. I don't even know why I was there. Maybe I thought it could be about more than sex. He ended up tying my hands behind my back with a belt, held me down, and jerked off onto my face. He was much bigger than me, so there wasn't a lot I could do in terms of fighting back. I had bruises all over my arms. I never went there again, and he kept bugging me about it, and seriously did not seem to understand when I told him that he had put bruises on me (aside from the other stuff) and that was not acceptable. I then proceeded to go through life in a fairly normal way, although I did tend to have emotionally abusive relationships. I think about it sometimes, but not often anymore. Anyway, he commented on something a friend of mine posted on Facebook. I never thought about him having a Facebook before, and that being a way for him to filter into my life. So of course, I look at his page. It's filled with reposted pictures of seriously crazy shiitake. A lot of anti Obama stuff, offensive shiitake about women, lots of guns, scantily clad women with guns, pictures of Slipknot (apologies to anyone that still listens to them?), anyway, the overall impression I get of adult Joe is that he's psycho. I wonder if he has done what he did to me (or worse) to anyone else. I wish I would have said something back then. I wish I wouldn't have been at his house in the first place, because it ended up making me basically afraid of men, although really only mostly men with a powerful build, and especially football players. It's crazy to me that the guy I'm with now is a former football player...who played the same position. I didn't know that about him until after we started dating. And he is so gentle and kind and respectful to women. And he's the only guy I've ever been with that was like that. I wonder how much of me is permanently damaged, what things I allowed in my past relationships, because of that one thing that happened to me, but I try not to blame my faults on it. Anyway, I was just thinking about it and needed to get my thoughts out. I know much worse things have happened to others, and I'm grateful that this is the worst that has happened to me. I also know that I'm probably going to drink too much tonight and tell my boyfriend about this, which is probably a terrible idea. Fingers crossed that that doesn't happen.

Hey lady, you survived something really forked up and you came out the other side. AND you set boundaries with a misogynistic fuckwheasel so you wouldn't be in a vulnerable position with him again. That should be celebrated. And I think that, if it feels safe, telling T might be a good idea. I think it can give our partners some more insight into who we are and what things might trigger us.

Also, fork Joe. I hope he rots in a personal hell for the next forty years.


Thank you. I spent my morning sobbing in my car and then feeling guilty about it. I haven't told T yet. I'm embarrassed. I will eventually, but... That's a big thing for me to share and I hate how vulnerable I feel.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:17 am 
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AP, I'm sorry that happened to you. I just wanted to say that, and to echo jdub's thought of bringing it up with your bf if you feel safe and when you feel the time is right for you to bring it up in the relationship. Reading your post brought back a lot of my own stuff, and the relationship with my now-husband was the first good relationship I had since everything that had happened. I understand how it is to go through something tramautic and then find yourself with someone who is unlike everyone before. It brings its own emotional challenges, in a way. Once I felt safe, I did talk to then bf/now husband and he was shocked but supportive. I felt like I let him into a part of what makes me me and our relationship was better for it.
Anyway, I remember being in a relationship place similar to the one it sounds you are in now, and my door is always open if you feel like you need to "talk" to someone.


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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:18 am 
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allularpunk wrote:
Thank you. I spent my morning sobbing in my car and then feeling guilty about it. I haven't told T yet. I'm embarrassed. I will eventually, but... That's a big thing for me to share and I hate how vulnerable I feel.
Wow, allularpunk - I'm so sorry that happened to you. That was a really horrible thing Joe did, and the fact that he apparently saw nothing wrong with it (and doesn't appear to have evolved much since those days) just makes it more disturbing to imagine what other lousy stuff he's done and gotten away with over the years. You already know this, but it bears repeating that none of his bullshiitake reflects on you in any way, shape, or form: he took advantage of you and abused your trust. If you feel like you can talk to your partner about this, I think that would be a good idea; it will (hopefully) make you feel safer with him and in your relationship for him to know something so important about your past, and make him more sensitive to stuff that might weird you out. I also think that if you haven't already done so, you should immediately block Joe on FB so that you can no longer see anything about him (and vice-versa). There can be nothing healthy about having any sort of access to him, and you don't want there to be any potential channels through which he can seep back into your life. Hang in there, and let us know how it goes with T if you feel like sharing.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:24 am 
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annabazoo wrote:
Ugh. One day i'll gain superpowers and bring justice to the world, with my un-shaven pubic area and cricket bat of doom. If you'll excuse the vulgarity, there is plenty of ball-smashing to be done.

I'm not interested in the semantics debate, but have you ever read any Hothead Paisan?

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:34 am 
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Vantine wrote:
Is the act of looking "treatment?" I think that is an interesting question. There certainly is a point at which attention can become harassment but I don't think that any attention from anyone we are not interested in is harassment in and of itself. Do we ever look at other people and think they are attractive? Is that a sort of "treatment" that we are subjecting other people to? Should they be called out on it when they talk about their "Hot co-worker?"

There are certainly examples I could pull from what people have posted on these boards of individuals talking about someone they saw as "hot" and describing them as a sexual object.

I would argue that it can be. I have had looks from men that didn't go past a look but told me immediately that I wasn't safe where I was. There is a difference between "oh that person is attractive, I'll carry on my merry way" and "I'm going to aggressively and lasciviously stare at that woman until she feels uncomfortable enough to leave".

I feel like I'm going to immediately regret this, but I will forge ahead. I know that Vantine and Des are around the same age and that Annabazoo and Mr Shankly are quite a bit younger and I'm wondering if that is accounting for the difference in experiences. I have heard from several women around Vantine and Des's age that the level of street harassment young women get now is astronomically higher than when they were 20. Hell, the level of street harassment I get at 26 is almost nil, while the level I got at 18 was enough to make it feel like I was constantly wading through crassholes.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:26 pm 
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The treatment of Rachel Jeantel by the press as well as George Zimmerman's attorney's is beyond the pale. There are so many layers of racism and sexism there...

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:27 pm 
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j-dub wrote:
Vantine wrote:
Is the act of looking "treatment?" I think that is an interesting question. There certainly is a point at which attention can become harassment but I don't think that any attention from anyone we are not interested in is harassment in and of itself. Do we ever look at other people and think they are attractive? Is that a sort of "treatment" that we are subjecting other people to? Should they be called out on it when they talk about their "Hot co-worker?"

There are certainly examples I could pull from what people have posted on these boards of individuals talking about someone they saw as "hot" and describing them as a sexual object.

I would argue that it can be. I have had looks from men that didn't go past a look but told me immediately that I wasn't safe where I was. There is a difference between "oh that person is attractive, I'll carry on my merry way" and "I'm going to aggressively and lasciviously stare at that woman until she feels uncomfortable enough to leave".
Again, I'd categorize what you're describing more as "action."

Image

A "lascivious stare" goes beyond simply seeing or looking. In my reading of annabazoo's complaint, I didn't get the impression that the man who provoked her murderous rage did anything but look at her. Since she was apparently exercising in a well-populated, public space, it's hardly reasonable to expect to be unnoticed by other people in the vicinity. And since the space was a public pool, with children and parents around, including her own father, it seems doubtful she was in any actual danger. Again, apologies if I missed the part where the dude was like "hey, baby" or something, but her reaction struck me as extreme.

j-dub wrote:
[I feel like I'm going to immediately regret this, but I will forge ahead. I know that Vantine and Des are around the same age and that Annabazoo and Mr Shankly are quite a bit younger and I'm wondering if that is accounting for the difference in experiences. I have heard from several women around Vantine and Des's age that the level of street harassment young women get now is astronomically higher than when they were 20. Hell, the level of street harassment I get at 26 is almost nil, while the level I got at 18 was enough to make it feel like I was constantly wading through crassholes.
It may come as a shock, but I still get honked at by random doofuses while walking my dog in broad daylight (even in my landscaped, suburban neighborhood), and get chatted up in bars, elevators, etc. on a pretty regular basis (apparently some people find my walker and my ear trumpet HOTT). Do I like this sort of thing? No. And is it hella weird to honk your horn at complete strangers? Yes. (What do these people expect to accomplish when they do that? Am I supposed to feel flattered? "Hey, come back here and honk some more, you seem really nice!" Threatened? "Ooooh, I'll never walk my dog again because some moron beeped at me while passing at 35 mph!" If so, they are doomed to disappointment, since neither of these things has ever happened.) But neither does it make me clutch my pearls and reach for the smelling salts - or a cricket bat. And maybe it has to do with being an unreconstructed hippie, but merely being looked at has never (even in my dewy youth) felt an urge to punch someone in the face or smash their testicles with a blunt instrument.

Then again, I've also never had much trouble looking after/speaking up for my best interests, so in my experience, if non-responsiveness doesn't work, I can always use my words to express disapproval or discomfort. I can also leave, or take the matter to some third party, if I feel threatened or unsafe. But one thing I cannot do is forbid people to look at me. Like it or not, we're all sharing the planet, and if being looked at is so unbearable that it provokes the urge to maim and beat people, life anywhere but a desert island is going to be very difficult.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:09 pm 
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Desdemona wrote:
j-dub wrote:
Vantine wrote:
Is the act of looking "treatment?" I think that is an interesting question. There certainly is a point at which attention can become harassment but I don't think that any attention from anyone we are not interested in is harassment in and of itself. Do we ever look at other people and think they are attractive? Is that a sort of "treatment" that we are subjecting other people to? Should they be called out on it when they talk about their "Hot co-worker?"

There are certainly examples I could pull from what people have posted on these boards of individuals talking about someone they saw as "hot" and describing them as a sexual object.

I would argue that it can be. I have had looks from men that didn't go past a look but told me immediately that I wasn't safe where I was. There is a difference between "oh that person is attractive, I'll carry on my merry way" and "I'm going to aggressively and lasciviously stare at that woman until she feels uncomfortable enough to leave".
Again, I'd categorize what you're describing more as "action."

Image

A "lascivious stare" goes beyond simply seeing or looking. In my reading of annabazoo's complaint, I didn't get the impression that the man who provoked her murderous rage did anything but look at her. Since she was apparently exercising in a well-populated, public space, it's hardly reasonable to expect to be unnoticed by other people in the vicinity. And since the space was a public pool, with children and parents around, including her own father, it seems doubtful she was in any actual danger. Again, apologies if I missed the part where the dude was like "hey, baby" or something, but her reaction struck me as extreme.

Annabazoo wrote:
And of course he was staring the whole time. It made me uncomfortable, but i wasn't going to let him ruin my workout so i tried not to think about it. Then when i was finished and was walking back, he was all like "Hey baby how you doing.


Quote:
j-dub wrote:
[I feel like I'm going to immediately regret this, but I will forge ahead. I know that Vantine and Des are around the same age and that Annabazoo and Mr Shankly are quite a bit younger and I'm wondering if that is accounting for the difference in experiences. I have heard from several women around Vantine and Des's age that the level of street harassment young women get now is astronomically higher than when they were 20. Hell, the level of street harassment I get at 26 is almost nil, while the level I got at 18 was enough to make it feel like I was constantly wading through crassholes.
It may come as a shock, but I still get honked at by random doofuses while walking my dog in broad daylight (even in my landscaped, suburban neighborhood), and get chatted up in bars, elevators, etc. on a pretty regular basis (apparently some people find my walker and my ear trumpet HOTT). Do I like this sort of thing? No. And is it hella weird to honk your horn at complete strangers? Yes. (What do these people expect to accomplish when they do that? Am I supposed to feel flattered? "Hey, come back here and honk some more, you seem really nice!" Threatened? "Ooooh, I'll never walk my dog again because some moron beeped at me while passing at 35 mph!" If so, they are doomed to disappointment, since neither of these things has ever happened.) But neither does it make me clutch my pearls and reach for the smelling salts - or a cricket bat. And maybe it has to do with being an unreconstructed hippie, but merely being looked at has never (even in my dewy youth) felt an urge to punch someone in the face or smash their testicles with a blunt instrument.

Then again, I've also never had much trouble looking after/speaking up for my best interests, so in my experience, if non-responsiveness doesn't work, I can always use my words to express disapproval or discomfort. I can also leave, or take the matter to some third party, if I feel threatened or unsafe. But one thing I cannot do is forbid people to look at me. Like it or not, we're all sharing the planet, and if being looked at is so unbearable that it provokes the urge to maim and beat people, life anywhere but a desert island is going to be very difficult.

I feel like it isn't a particularly controversial point that our culture treats 20 year old women differently than 40 year old women. That wasn't a comment on how attractive you are or anything else. Nor was it a "you're old" jab. Because I couldn't give a fork about age or the social baggage we have around it.

And I, along with Mr Shankly, did not get from Annabazoo's post that she is angry that people look in her direction. She is angry that she has to be constantly on guard because men feel like they have a license to look at her body with a sense of sexual possession. It's really forking tiresome and, as I mentioned above, I get a hell of lot less of it at 26 than I did at 20. Plus, a lot of 20 year old women simply don't feel like they can speak up for their own interests or set the boundaries that would make them feel safer.

People can look at me all they want. They can look at me and find me pleasing or look at me and find me wanting. I couldn't care less. What I cannot abide, however, is the creepy dude staring at me and looking up and down my body my entire commute home.

And Annabazoo never actually said she was surprised. She is disgusted and made uncomfortable by it no matter how much it happens. Which...seems like a pretty reasonable response.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:19 pm 
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Gotta agree with what j-dub said above.

How people perceive my existence in public has changed a great deal since 1) growing older, and 2) becoming fat. And truly, I am happy for both of those things happening, because I have been the 20-year-old being ogled by men my father's age and it's really a terrible feeling.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:23 pm 
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I guess it's not worth saying anything when someone is just going to talk down to you and tell you that you're not allowed to feel the way you do because they don't feel similar. I also wasn't aware that anyone needed to check with Head Of Harassment to make sure that the look this person is giving me is allowed to make me feel unsafe or not okay- I need to make sure it's appropriately harassment first and I'm in no way shape or form allowed or could possibly determine that for myself.[/sarcasm] You're being extremely judgmental and assuming that all of the harassment interactions you experience are the same as what I, or annabazoo, experience. You can't tell other people they're not allowed to react and feel the way they do just because you don't feel that way. You also cannot tell people what they can and can't do about it, because you happen to be able to transcend certain situations and keep your power.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:35 pm 
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Annabazoo wrote:
And of course he was staring the whole time. It made me uncomfortable, but i wasn't going to let him ruin my workout so i tried not to think about it. Then when i was finished and was walking back, he was all like "Hey baby how you doing.
Whoops - I stand corrected! And as I've said (and said and said and said), I've never implied that saying or doing things that make other people of any gender feel unsafe or uncomfortable is in any way acceptable. BUT I feel that if you become murderously enraged if someone looks at you "as a sexual object" while you're exercising in a bathing suit in a public place, you may need to rethink where you exercise. Not because you are responsible for someone else's response, or because you should "hide yourself," but because you cannot control when or how other people look at you when you are in their sightline. I feel like the very important and useful distinction between people actually violating your personal boundaries vs. trying to police how the world sees you at a distance is being elided here. And it's also rather troubling that everyone was horrified when someone posted about wanting to smash a homeless person with a baseball bat for sitting on a bench and looking at her, and yet apparently I'm the only person who has an issue with the same rhetoric being applied to another man who committed the same "crime." What's the difference? That one guy was homeless and therefore a subject worthy of consideration, while the other was apparently hanging out in a public space being - GASP - 40? This honestly perplexes me.

j-dub wrote:
I feel like it isn't a particularly controversial point that our culture treats 20 year old women differently than 40 year old women. That wasn't a comment on how attractive you are or anything else. Nor was it a "you're old" jab. Because I couldn't give a fork about age or the social baggage we have around it.
Fair enough. But the fact is that women (and men, and dogs, and cats, and squirrels, and everyone else) of all ages are subject to what Lacan terms the gaze (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaze). We may be objectified for different reasons and according to different criteria at various points, but the fact remains that we are and always will be looked at. To my mind, to implicitly place being the object of some random person's gaze (or even the recipient of an unwelcome comment, unpleasant as that is) in the same category as actual violation trivializes the latter and fosters an insidious sense that we are all victims, all the time. And seriously - who wants to live in that world?
Mr. Shankly wrote:
You can't tell other people they're not allowed to react and feel the way they do just because you don't feel that way. You also cannot tell people what they can and can't do about it, because you happen to be able to transcend certain situations and keep your power.
You are absolutely right; I can't (and don't want to) mandate how you react to anything. But I can tell you with a degree of certainty that if you smash people with blunt instruments and/or punch them in the face for looking at you, you'll probably be arrested. Because that? Is called assault. So while you absolutely can do it if you want to, you might also think about whether you should.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:08 pm 
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emmalv wrote:
AP, I'm sorry that happened to you. I just wanted to say that, and to echo jdub's thought of bringing it up with your bf if you feel safe and when you feel the time is right for you to bring it up in the relationship. Reading your post brought back a lot of my own stuff, and the relationship with my now-husband was the first good relationship I had since everything that had happened. I understand how it is to go through something tramautic and then find yourself with someone who is unlike everyone before. It brings its own emotional challenges, in a way. Once I felt safe, I did talk to then bf/now husband and he was shocked but supportive. I felt like I let him into a part of what makes me me and our relationship was better for it.
Anyway, I remember being in a relationship place similar to the one it sounds you are in now, and my door is always open if you feel like you need to "talk" to someone.


That's true, about learning how to act in a non-abusive relationship. Again, all of my abuse (after Joe anyway) has been mental, but there has been a lot of it. I tend to interpret things in a certain way, now, and speaking up for myself when I'm uncomfortable with a situation is something new altogether. I've always let the guys I've dated have power over me. Thank you for your offer of talking. I'm going to be ok...I'm just having a bad mental health day, I guess. It's not helping that T just left to go out of town for the night, on short notice. I could use about a million hugs, but really I know it's good for me to be alone right now. I'm not very fit company.

Desdemona wrote:
allularpunk wrote:
Thank you. I spent my morning sobbing in my car and then feeling guilty about it. I haven't told T yet. I'm embarrassed. I will eventually, but... That's a big thing for me to share and I hate how vulnerable I feel.
Wow, allularpunk - I'm so sorry that happened to you. That was a really horrible thing Joe did, and the fact that he apparently saw nothing wrong with it (and doesn't appear to have evolved much since those days) just makes it more disturbing to imagine what other lousy stuff he's done and gotten away with over the years. You already know this, but it bears repeating that none of his bullshiitake reflects on you in any way, shape, or form: he took advantage of you and abused your trust. If you feel like you can talk to your partner about this, I think that would be a good idea; it will (hopefully) make you feel safer with him and in your relationship for him to know something so important about your past, and make him more sensitive to stuff that might weird you out. I also think that if you haven't already done so, you should immediately block Joe on FB so that you can no longer see anything about him (and vice-versa). There can be nothing healthy about having any sort of access to him, and you don't want there to be any potential channels through which he can seep back into your life. Hang in there, and let us know how it goes with T if you feel like sharing.


Thanks, Des. And you're right, it's not my fault. I just feel so ashamed and gross and embarrassed. I do need to go block Joe on Facebook, but I don't want to travel to his page to do it. I did end up telling T a little while ago. I was being extra super quiet and mopey and just a tiny bit weepy and he kept asking me what was wrong and saying that he couldn't help me if I wouldn't tell him, which is true. I didn't give him any of the details, just that something happened to me back then and that it could have been a worse thing, but it still was awful and that I ended up on that dude's Facebook page and it was just...invading my headspace. He told me that I'm not gross, but that I shouldn't look at his page because obviously it will make me feel worse and that I shouldn't let it get to me so much. I know he meant that in a 'Hey, don't let this bring you down, because you're awesome!' kind of way, but he talks in a less...emotive manner. Still, it obviously isn't as easy as that. But I'll be ok. I'm actually really kind of shocked at myself for reacting like this. I'm crying at the drop of a hat, have absolutely no appetite, no desire to talk to anyone...I mean, of course it's something that deserves that reaction, it's just been so long and I thought I had duly dealt with it already. Weird how things can be suppressed and then triggered so suddenly.

Anywho. Ya'll go back to your debate about dudes leering at us. Which, by the way, I hate... I always go the path of ignoring, or if it's extra obnoxious, I might make a cringing face at them. Something happened here recently though that makes me think there is no right way to react. A girl I know was walking home from the bar, about 4 blocks on a residential-ish street. Just 2 blocks from my apartment. A couple of guys in a car kept catcalling her, and she ignored them. They then proceeded to get out of their car and beat the living daylights out of her. So. forked. Up.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:34 pm 
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I think the interesting question is when does a look become harassment. When I was pregnant with L, we had a really hot day in July, and I went out of the house in a shortish cotton dress (over my knees bc I had a giant preggo belly), to treat myself to a Frappuchino. As I am standing in line behind an older, white, thin woman, she starts to look at me like I make her want to vomit. She looks me over, curls her lip and rolls her eyes, so noticeably, that I ask her if she is alright. She doesn't answer but keeps looking at me, sneering like I make her want to throw up, and looking away, for the whole 5 minutes it takes us to get through the Starbucks line. I interpreted her look as body-shaming - like someone as fat as me shouldn't be allowed to wear a dress like that in public (no matter how hot). And it definitely made me feel judged and less-than, which wasn't fun. But at the same time, its just a look - and the interpretations are mine, and I need to be responsible for that. And so I wouldn't feel like it was appropriate for me to say "One day, I am going to be a superhero who takes a baseball bat to nasty judgmental bodyshaming women."

j-dub wrote:
I know that Vantine and Des are around the same age and that Annabazoo and Mr Shankly are quite a bit younger and I'm wondering if that is accounting for the difference in experiences. I have heard from several women around Vantine and Des's age that the level of street harassment young women get now is astronomically higher than when they were 20.


I am the same vintage as V and D, and I got a forktonne of street harassment, but most of it depended on where I was. In NYC it was pretty constant and aggressive, in Hong Kong it was non-existent. The harassment in Rome was crazy (and kind of made me not want to go back to Italy again) but in France and Germany, I only got harassed by Arab men. I once left a meeting with a male partner at the law firm I worked at, and got harassed and cat-called by guys, while I was walking with him up the street - I was in a suit, with a 50+ year old man, talking about our deal, and had men hollering at me for attention. He remarked on how annoying it must be to be constantly yelled at in the street, and that he had never realized how rough it was for women, until he had his own daughters. I can't say what its like for young women now, but assume that part if it is at least geographical and cultural as well.

Allularpunk, what happened to your friend is so horrible! And what happened to you with your ex is terrible as well, thank you for sharing your story - I think that when we share our stories, we remind one another that we were not to blame, and we take our stories away from the patriarchal narrative that women who have been the victims of sexual assault, harassment and rapes hould be ashamed, isolated and silenced. And I think its not uncommon for us to slowly process feelings over time - I was raped when I was 17 and am 41 now, and I still get upset or have new insights into what happened. When it happened, I just stuffed it down and kept moving, and it affected me in a variety of ways, and as I am more able to look at those things, outside being in survival mode, the processing keeps on unfolding. Big hugs to you <3

And Vantine, OMG yes, the treatment of Rachel Jeantel was horrible.

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Last edited by Tofulish on Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:42 pm 
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allularpunk wrote:
Thanks, Des. And you're right, it's not my fault. I just feel so ashamed and gross and embarrassed. I do need to go block Joe on Facebook, but I don't want to travel to his page to do it. I did end up telling T a little while ago. I was being extra super quiet and mopey and just a tiny bit weepy and he kept asking me what was wrong and saying that he couldn't help me if I wouldn't tell him, which is true. I didn't give him any of the details, just that something happened to me back then and that it could have been a worse thing, but it still was awful and that I ended up on that dude's Facebook page and it was just...invading my headspace. He told me that I'm not gross, but that I shouldn't look at his page because obviously it will make me feel worse and that I shouldn't let it get to me so much. I know he meant that in a 'Hey, don't let this bring you down, because you're awesome!' kind of way, but he talks in a less...emotive manner. Still, it obviously isn't as easy as that. But I'll be ok. I'm actually really kind of shocked at myself for reacting like this. I'm crying at the drop of a hat, have absolutely no appetite, no desire to talk to anyone...I mean, of course it's something that deserves that reaction, it's just been so long and I thought I had duly dealt with it already. Weird how things can be suppressed and then triggered so suddenly.

Would you feel okay having T or a friend go on your facebook to block him?

And this is a completely, entirely, 100% normal way to react. I get tons of calls at work from women in similar situations--something traumatic happened a long time ago and they felt like they had processed it and essentially forgotten about it and then something happens to trigger them and they are thrown entirely for a loop. Unfortunately, this is just the way that trauma works--you don't heal in a linear fashion and there are certain things that may always trigger you. I think the real work of healing from trauma is accepting that it will always be this really shitty thing that happened that it will sometimes come out of nowhere and knock you sideways and that your best bet is to find some coping mechanisms that are healthy and safe. If you need extra support I'd encourage you to connect with a women's centre/sexual assault centre, and if you ever want book recommendations on healing from sexual trauma I'm happy to provide some.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:51 pm 
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Every time someone brings up a valid point, the "issue" and argument change. I'm done with this. But I do want to leave a last word about it. Just as j-dub mentioned, the place where you are at in your 20's is not the place you will be at in your 30's or your 40's or 50's, etc. You will react different, you will feel different, you may even be harassed different because of the way other people perceive you. The experience can be different and it's always going to be different for each individual because we are different and feel different. You can't throw yourself into someone else's life and say that they can't feel and do this way because you don't. Tofulish has brought up multiple times how it can hurt her when someone tells her that they would have reacted different in a situation she was put in and what is happening here feels very similar to that.

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 Post subject: Re: Who challenges your feminism in your life?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:51 pm 
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I don't understand why it's okay to feel "stabby" and "punching" about child wigs or sexualized onesies, but not for someone else to make a similar joke about a "cricket bat of doom."

Also, love the Hothead Paisan reference, Pandacookie. Chicken!

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