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[personal profile] anathemad
What the fuck is wrong with us?
By Josh Coslar
Original at

I wrote this a while back and decided not to post it. Something happened today, and now I feel compelled to share it. The langauge is strong, so my younger cousins and more conservative aunts, uncles, and grandparents may want to skip this. Please share this, with whoever will read it. Thank you for your time and your attention.

I have a question for the men of the world. What the fuck is wrong with us? Wait a moment before you respond; please allow me to specify. Recently a female friend of mine- not a romantic friend, but someone I know fairly well- posted a picture of herself on Facebook. Those of you familiar with the way the internet seems to work probably know where this is going. She did look incredibly attractive in the photograph, but she was clothed and the picture in question was in no way overtly provocative. A man began commenting on the picture, essentially propositioning my friend over the internet. It was, to put it in colloquial terminology, pretty damn creepy. I sent my friend a message, asking her who the man in question was and if she was aware of his comments. She shrugged it off. “Some guy. Guys post creepy comments all the time.”

Hold the fucking the phone. I thought “There’s no way in hell that this is normal.”. This couldn’t be normal. This had to be one or two incidents perpetrated by a small minority of individuals. So I asked around. I talked to female friends, family members, and even a couple of exes. Sure enough, not only is this behavior common online, it’s common in everyday life. It’s expected. The average woman expects to be propositioned, hit on, and approached in an unwanted manner. I listened to dozens of stories about people I care about being subjected to borderline sexual assault. Actually, scratch that. It’s not fucking borderline. If you interrupt a person’s existence with unwanted and unwarranted advances that are offensive and even frightening, you have assaulted them. Not physically- though one often leads to another- but you have made the implication that you are worth more than they are and that they owe you something because of it.

I heard stories about women on busses and trains, at work, in fast food places, at grocery stores, walking down the goddamned street. Women minding their own business who were approached by men who made advances, and when the women tried to ignore, defuse, or walk away from the situation they were insulted. Ridiculed. Called “bitch”, “stuck up cunt”, and worse. These men seem to feel that they have the right to insert themselves into someone’s life, and then they expect women to engage in conversation, flirtation, and other pursuits with them. Then some other things dawned on me. I walk women to their car, or their home, or wherever they’re going if it’s dark out. Partially due to common courtesy, and partially for safety. It’s the safety part that really sunk in. See, the same behavior and thought process that leads to this verbal assault eventually leads to physical assault. I thought that this misogynistic mindset was uncommon. Now I realize it’s so fucking common that we don’t even recognize it. If a woman goes somewhere after dark by herself- she worries for her well being. It might be a little, it might be a lot, but she worries. Women expect- and even shrug off- verbal sexual assault. They view it as something that happens. They don’t talk about it with men, just other women. I can’t fucking blame them.

Back to my question. Men, what the fuck is wrong with us? What does it say about our society that a majority of men still think they have some sexual superiority over women? I can see the wheels turning, the counter arguments being cranked out. “It’s just few assholes, most of us are polite and respectful.” Bullshit. If it were a minority of us, then it would be a minority of women that experience it. But it’s not. One third of women in America have been raped. Pretty much every woman on the planet is rudely and gruffly approached once a week, unless they actively take steps to avoid it. You shouldn’t have to actively avoid assault. Men, just stop fucking assaulting women. Problem solved. Women are our equals. They are human beings, and deserve as much respect as any man. The fact that ours dangles and produces a different hormone does not make us superior. Men, more often than not, are physically stronger than women. This does not make us superior to them. It makes us responsible for what we do with that strength. Open doors, pull out chairs, and walk with them in the dark. I weep that is is necessary to make sure a woman gets safely to her destination without being raped, but it is. Men, until every single woman can say that they feel safe going about their lives, that they never have to worry about unwanted advances, or rape, or being treated as inferiors simply because they’re not male- until those concerns no longer exist, the question still stands. What the fuck is wrong with us?

Date: 2012-09-13 11:48 pm (UTC)
ptpgrad: (stupina)
From: [personal profile] ptpgrad he coming to this faire this year? Because I want to hug him!

Date: 2012-09-13 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2012-09-14 02:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This virtually never happens to me. And never really has, like, ever. I'm not trying to invalidate other women's experience, I fully believe it happens, but I can't remember the last time I was even hit on by someone unwelcome, much less rudely approached and I've never been assaulted or molested. I am either the single ugliest girl on Earth, or this isn't something that happens to every woman all the time. I think if you asked my mom, you'd find the same thing, even when she was in her youth and quite beautiful. I don't IN ANY WAY victim blame, the responsibility for men's bad behavior is solidly theirs, but I do think that I carry myself in such a way that I don't invite strangers to converse with me, much less assault me. They teach you in self-defense classes that one of the best things you can do is carry yourself with confidence and purpose, something I learned from my mom, and I think my feminist upbringing also made me someone who isn't afraid of trusting my instincts, offending men or jollying them along to be nice, which I think a lot of women are conditioned to do, unfortunately. I'm kind of a bitch and I choose my company fairly carefully.

Anyway, good writing and I'm glad there are good guys out there, but so far, I haven't needed protection much in my life, which makes me wonder why if all the other women are experiencing this stream of harassment. Maybe I AM just butt ugly, lol, but there must be more than that...

Date: 2012-09-14 02:20 am (UTC)
ext_60005: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I experience it so much that we joke there must be a giant V for victim on my head that all the creeps can see.

Date: 2012-09-14 02:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have a good friend at work who it happens to a lot too, but even when I'm out with her, in the same environment, it literally does not happen to me. She is pretty comparable in attractiveness to me, but they zero in on her every time. But I do notice that she is a lot more open to men speaking to her, and smiling, and giving them the benefit of the doubt until it turns inappropriate. I think I give men a skeptical look even before they get started and they think I'm just not going to be receptive to whatever it is. I may be missing out on some good friendships that way, but I don't really expect I am. And among the men I already know, I simply wouldn't have them in my social circle if they were creepy and I would expect the other men in my life to support that.

Gosh, I really am a ball-busting bitch, lol. Maybe they can tell. I can't say it's a better way to be, but it will keep the creeps at bay a bit, I guess.

Date: 2012-09-14 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Though this happens to me damned near every time I leave the house (which you know) the one thing I want Josh to know is that this:

and walk with them in the dark. I weep that is is necessary to make sure a woman gets safely to her destination without being raped, but it is. is problematic.

I know what he means, and he means well- but all this does is create a culture by which women are expected to have an escort everywhere they go. It still places them at the convenience of men, and is frankly not much different than the arrangement that exists in places like Saudi Arabia. It *inhibits* the behavior and lives of women, and it creates an environment where if a woman goes out alone and IS assaulted she is blamed for not being under the protection of someone with a penis. "Well if you hadn't gone out alone..." "Well you should have had a man with you..."

No. Not acceptable. Period.

Date: 2012-09-17 03:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't think he's advocating such a culture, so much as trying to do his part to make sure those he cares about are safe.

Date: 2012-09-17 04:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Advocating or not, that is the eventual result. That's the problem with it. It's well meaning, and then comes back around to bite you on the ass later.

The only solution to this is the most direct: The only person responsible for rape is the rapist. 100% of the time, every time. Anything else leads to "well (victim) shouldn't have done x" up to and including, "not gone out alone."

Date: 2012-09-17 04:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So in the mean time, those of us who do not rape should not also do our part to protect those we care about?

Date: 2012-09-17 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
there's a fine line between protection, and creating another problem, though. All the effort is focused on "protecting women" rather than "stopping men." it's addressing a symptom, not a cause. It's a band-aid fix that causes other problems.

This changes when men call other men on their actions. They call them out on sexist behaviors, even when other women aren't around to hear it(this is a big deal- it's easy to do it when there's a woman around one can point to and say "don't say/do shit like that, there's women here." and a lot harder to do when it's a bunch of guys just hanging around by themselves.) When it becomes unacceptable for men to behave like this *around other men*- when they can no longer rely on the tacit acceptance of this kind of thing (and I don't just mean rape, I mean an entire spectrum of behavior which includes it), then things will begin to change. As long as that doesn't happen (and outside of individual instances, frankly it *doesn't* happen- not culturally or societally), it won't.

Again, I understand his point is well meaning (so is yours.) Im pointing out to you though that in the end it causes a continuation of the same problematic culture, but in a different direction.

Road to hell, good intentions, etc.

But the answer is not to continue to limit the behaviors and lives of women and place them at the convenience of men, even "for our own protection".

Date: 2012-09-17 05:52 pm (UTC)
ext_60005: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I think that calling them out, especially guys his own age, is exactly what Josh was trying to do. THAT is what I am so proud of him for, not the walking women to their cars.

Date: 2012-09-17 06:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree, but that one point in his statement was problematic, so I called it out. Im proud of him too- you see I applauded first. But even after several hours that one point kept sticking me.


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