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Rant Part II: How Not To Be a Dick To Women

terminator
With all the pushback on (and off) the Internet to any suggestion that perhaps men could maybe refrain from treating women poorly, one might get the impression that we were talking about, say, taking all the money the NFL normally makes in a year and investing it in fusion power research or something equally unreasonable. How, the thinking seems to be, can men reasonably be expected to act like decent human beings toward women when we have all these throbbing biological urges? I mean, what if we see a woman, who's, like, totally hot? Surely acting like a decent human being doesn't have to apply to women who are totally hot, does it? If we treat a totally hot woman like a human being, how will she know we want to put our pee-pee in her sex burrow? And what about women who don't make Mister Happy happy...if we treat them like human beings, how will they know we don't find them attractive?

It's madness! I mean, really. Treat women as people? All of them? Without constantly getting all up in their faces about whether we want to sex them or not? That's just...it's just...it...

...well, it turns out it's really not that hard to do.

Listen, guys, here it is. You just...think of her like she's a person. Someone who's a friend, even. And then you act accordingly.

Listen, I know it sounds totes whack. It goes against everything we're taught to believe about maximizing our chances of getting to do that thing with our pee-pees. But bear with me. All it takes is a little practice, and then you, too, might be a guy who's a decent human being and totally not a complete shitcamel.

Let me walk you through some scenarios, so you can get a feel for how this works.

Scenario 1: You're approaching a door. There are people behind you.

If you hold the door open for people, congratulations! You're a decent person.

If you hold the door open for women, but not for men, danger! You're probably a misogynist.

If you hold the door only for women you want to put your pee-pee on, guess what? You're a shitcamel.


Scenario 2: You're on an online dating site. You spend six hours pouring your heart out in a carefully crafted message to this cute little something something whose soulful eyes make you think she could be the light of your life, and whose big bazoongas make you want to do that thing with your pee-pee. After you send it, she doesn't email you back.

If you just go about the rest of your life, go you! You're a decent person.

If you write her a follow-up email telling her that she owes you a response, uh-oh. Misogyny ho!

If you send her a follow-up email filled with (a) every swear word at your disposal, (b) vivid descriptions of what a bitch she is for wounding you so grievously, (3) angry rants about what unpleasant fate should befall her, or (4) pictures of your junk, I'm afraid the prognosis is: shitcamel.


Scenario 3: You see a woman talking about how creepy it is to hit on women in elevators.

If you listen respectfully and adjust your behavior and expectations accordingly, woohoo! You're a decent person.

If you respond with a defensive lecture about how you're totally not one of those guys and she's just trying to say that all men are rapists, I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but that that's your misogyny.

If you go on a rant about how she's totally saying all men are rapists and she deserves to be raped for it...well, there's only one mathematical equation that accurately models your reaction. You = shit + camel.


Scenario 4: Women are talking about how linking birth control to employment insurance policies basically means their boss gets to tell them how to have sex. You:

...listen to what they're saying, think about it, and realize that, actually, it is pretty messed up that the person who hires you gets to tell you how the insurance benefits you earn as part of your labor should be used, and having an employer making your decisions in the bedroom is kind of creepy. Go you! Decent person!

...say "well, you know, the employer is paying for this insurance, so the employer controls how it's used." Wait, what? The employer is paying a salary too, does that mean the employer gets a vote on what you buy on Amazon.com? Bzzt. Your misogyny is showing.

...say "well, you know, that slut can just pay for it herself if she wants to go slutting around." Hello, shitcamel! One hump or two?


Scenario 5: You're out chilling with the boys, and someone tells this absolutely hysterical rape joke. It's funny because she is violated against her will! Get it? Get it?

You put on your best blank "no, I don't get it" face, turn to your friend, and say "No, I don't get it. What's funny about women being violated again?" Score one for being a decent person! Extra special decent person points if you deliberately construct a social group of people who already get why that shit ain't funny.

You don't say anything. After all, if you don't laugh, that means you're not like those guys, right? Bzzt! Wrong. If you just sit there, they might assume you're a little slow, but hey, you're still just like they are. Sorry, your misogyny (and privilege) are showing.

You laugh, because nothing is as absolutely hysterical as talking about women getting violated! Plus, when those feminist harpies start shrieking about how uncool it is, you get exasperated because clearly they just don't get it. For God's sake, it's only a joke! Free speech! Free speech! Heigh-ho, shitcamel! What's your camel-made-of-shit encore, putting on blackface and joking about Negroes wanting the vote or something? They're all just jokes, right? Free speech!

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
zellion
Nov. 3rd, 2013 08:21 pm (UTC)
God, I love you.
browngirl
Nov. 3rd, 2013 11:28 pm (UTC)
Surfed across this and found myself cheering aloud. THANK YOU.
mellyjc
Nov. 4th, 2013 06:02 am (UTC)
Thank you.
roguebaby
Nov. 4th, 2013 09:35 pm (UTC)
Brilliant!
belgatherial
Nov. 4th, 2013 10:41 pm (UTC)
*stands up*

*applauds*
avibunny
Nov. 5th, 2013 04:06 am (UTC)
I've just found this new Indiegogo project for clothes that makes is harder for women to get raped (especially when drunk or unconscious) and I wanted to share it... One of my first thoughts was to share it here because I figured there would be people receptive to that kind of project.

Turns out the first post is actually pretty fitting. So hopefully it's fine if I share this here: http://igg.me/at/AR-Wear

One note though: I think staying quiet might not mean you're misogynistic. It might just mean you're a coward. And to be fair, seeing how the people who object are treated, I understand shutting up when around a bunch of people, and later talking in a one-to-one scenario. I'm female so it might make the whole thing different (if I speak up, I'm not a guy trying to show other guys how they have it backward. I am, from their point of view, an over-reacting, probably PSMing female with no sense of humour, and possibly "deserve to be raped" so that I can "learn the different between a joke and actual rape".
Still, there are rape jokes with males as victims, too.
gaeasson
Nov. 6th, 2013 02:29 am (UTC)
Well composed... Except for #4
Your explanation would make sense if employer-provided health insurance were a token for "1 free health care" and they were trying to tell you how to spend it. But employers negotiate a package of benefits with the insurer. That negotiation includes what gets covered, and how much it costs.

If you work at a vegan restaurant that offers to pay for your lunch, don't expect them to provide bacon. Bring your own bacon or work somewhere else.

If you work at a fundy company that offers to pay for your health insurance, don't expect them to insure benefits that offend their invisible friend. Buy your own birth control, or work somewhere else.

I don't think this has nearly as much to do with gender equity as it does personal responsibility.
tacit
Nov. 6th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC)
And that's part of where things in this country are profoundly messed up: health care is linked to employment, with the employer and not the employees (or the employees' medical professionals) making choices about what healthcare options should be available.

We seem to have forgotten that health benefits are not charity provided by a generous employer; they are earned as part of pay by the employee. Imagine if we DID live in a world where an employer negotiated with companies over where an employee could spend their money: "Well, you can buy Reebok shoes but not Nike shoes, we haven't negotiated with Nike to accept your paycheck." That's profoundly messed up.

And yes, religious organizations that refuse to provide health care for women, including contraception, is misogynistic. It may be institutionalized misogyny with a long history behind it, but it's still misogyny.
gaeasson
Nov. 6th, 2013 05:18 am (UTC)
I agree firmly that we would all be well served by dis-enshrining the employer as the vehicle of insurance. That would beautifully nullify this whole disagreement... But as it stands...

Benefits are neither charity nor pay. They are an incentive. The difference between pay and incentive is exactly what we are discussing. Pay is liquid just as you describe. As far as I know, no employers are trying to forbid employees from purchasing any medical product or service. Nor are insurers. Employers are simply choosing what coverage to purchase and offer, sometimes out of cultural bias that you or I would call misogyny. Then insurers are fulfilling their contracts by paying for the specified services under the specified conditions. I'm going to fall back on the vegan analogy. If a vegan pays you he can't complain if you buy a BLT, but don't ask him to buy you the BLT himself unless he's already contracted to do so.

We have the natural right to buy whatever we wish, not to have someone else pay for it. We only have the right to demand that someone else pay if we have a mutually agreed contract (like an insurance policy). And no party should be forced to enter into a contract against the dictates of their own conscience. That includes individuals, insurance companies and bigoted employers. If they aren't offering enough money, go elsewhere. If they aren't offering the right insurance, go elsewhere. If you just don't want to work for a misogynistic prick.... go elsewhere.

I'm going to be the bad-guy here and stand up for the misogynists. I find them morally repugnant. Socially, I'm with you 100%. Shun them. Browbeat them. Don't work for them. Boycot them. But for all the god's sakes don't get the idea that you have a right to force them pay directly for what THEY find morally repugnant. That is also a violation. If we do that, we are as bad as they are.
tacit
Nov. 6th, 2013 05:45 am (UTC)
The notion of employer benefits as an incentive doesn't really jive when you look at the history of how employment and insurance became so entangled.

It didn't used to be as entangled as it is now. While some employers have always offered health care of some sort, the notion that your employer picks up the tab for your health care really took hold during the Nixon administration. In a crude and clumsy attempt to control inflation, Richard Nixon imposed a wage and price freeze back in 1971. (I may be dating myself here, but I remember it happening--I'm old enough to recall hearing my parents talk about it.)

Employers sought to circumvent the freeze by offering employees increased health care benefits in lieu of wage increases. These health care benefits became, and still are, quite literally part of an employee's compensation.

The argument over employers providing access to things like contraception has been a non-issue for decades. I mean, for fuck's sake, the Catholic church helped overturn Massachusetts' ban on contraception in 1965. Catholic employers have been paying for contraception for over a decade. The supreme court has ruled with regard to state laws in California and New York that religious institutions may not use their religious teachings to restrict medical service or insurance for their employees. This is a done deal.

It was only resistance to the Affordable Care Act that brought this issue up again. It's a diversion--a sleight-of-hand maneuver by groups opposed to the ACA across the board--not a sincere and valid religious issue.

And it's still misogynistic.
lifemovingfwd
Nov. 7th, 2013 12:47 am (UTC)

As a woman,  I agree,  birth control is my decision not my employer's, I shouldn't have to be afraid of being raped when I leave my house, and I should expect generally decent treatment from others of either gender.

That said,  I must admit that I personally get a bit fed up hearing about the horrible struggles of women.  I really get tired of hearing about how awful men are to women. Why?  Maybe it's because the same women who complain so loudly about men also insist on complaining about the same men not approaching them. Or just as bad,  IMO, they dress with the openly expressed intent of getting a sexual reaction from men and then brag about how men act trying to get their attention.

No one can tell me it doesn't happen either.  The most recent example was a friend of mine who was looking for a male to date,  and actually got mad that she posted all about her sexual appetite and got responses from men wanting to have sex. It was clearly the failing of men.

As far as I can tell, a great many "oppressive" or "misogynistic" things that happen to the women who complain the most are things they get downright bipolar about.  I wasn't raised in some sheltered place either.  I grew up in the Midwest and the south.  I won't say that I never saw social views that were oppressive to women. What I did see was a great many women who didn't make a big fuss about their rights, and who lived their lives regardless.  I follow a similar approach.

I treat men like humans and individuals and find myself immensely popular with men of several generations.

Also,  Franklin,  I am surprised that you'd be one to write about men approaching women because they want sex, (especially the opening doors bit).  Of course men are different with women they want to go to bed with.  Women are also different with men they want to go to bed with. For my part,  I adore that my beau was a man who was direct in his approach to me.  He wanted to have sex with me and said so bluntly.  If he hadn't been, we wouldn't have fallen in love, established a household with me,  his wife and he.

There should be less shame on men for having sex drives,  just exactly as women say they also want.

tacit
Nov. 7th, 2013 01:07 am (UTC)
Also, Franklin, I am surprised that you'd be one to write about men approaching women because they want sex, (especially the opening doors bit). Of course men are different with women they want to go to bed with. Women are also different with men they want to go to bed with. For my part, I adore that my beau was a man who was direct in his approach to me. He wanted to have sex with me and said so bluntly. If he hadn't been, we wouldn't have fallen in love, established a household with me, his wife and he.

In conversations about sexual harassment, I've often heard folks try to make the point you're making--that what's actually being talked about is men expressing sexual desire, that expressing desire is Bad And Wrong.

It's not. Expressing sexual desire (even directly) is not the same as sexual harassment...not by a long shot.

I express sexual desire to women I'm attracted to. There is no shame in men or women expressing desire; it's a normal, natural part of who we are. Sex drive is a big part of our psychological heritage, at least for those of us who are not asexual...and I say this as a man with an extraordinarily high sex drive.

But here's the thing.

Performing acts of basic courtesy only for women we want to fuck is messed up. If I open the door for a strange woman I want to rub my pee-pee on, but not for a strange woman I don't, I'm basically saying that only women I want to rub my pee-pee on deserve basic courtesy. That's fundamentally fucked.

Also, we are strongly culturally conditioned not to say "no" directly. Try an experiment some time--try actually saying the word "no" when someone asks you to do something you don't want to do. Hard, isn't it? We use indirect language instead--"oh, well, sorry, I can't, my cat is having kittens that day" or "I don't know, that's not really my thing." Both of these are clearly a "no," but they do not contain the actual word "no" anywhere in them.

Harassment is not expressing desire. Harassment is expressing desire in inappropriate ways (like groping a woman's breasts at a conference) or continuing to express desire when the answer is "no." Harassers often hide behind "she didn't say the word no!" when called on their harassment--even when it's clear to anyone with any social skills at all that the answer was in fact a "no." (There's an awesome article about this over on the Yes Means Yes blog.)

It's not the expression of desire that makes one a shitcamel. The line between expression and harassment is, to people who have normal social skills, pretty clear.
fallingupthesky
Nov. 10th, 2013 06:08 am (UTC)
I sincerely hope that this was an exaggeration for the sake of a joke, particularly towards the end. It would be really sad if people who were that much of a "shitcamel" (first time I've heard that term) were common enough that this could be a serious description.

I get that you were probably trying to be funny, but if so, it just felt too awful and too far from my personal experiences to really work as such.

Edited at 2013-11-10 06:54 am (UTC)
tacit
Nov. 14th, 2013 03:50 am (UTC)
Sadly, these examples are not hypothetical. In fact, they're depressingly common. Look, for example, at all the complaints on dating site message boards from men who say things like "I keep emailing all these women and they never write back! I DESERVE replies! It's just COMMON COURTESY!" Or look at Rush Limbaugh's comments about how women who expect coverage for contraception are "having so much sex [they] can't afford the contraception... If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I'll tell you what it is. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch." Or, if you really want to be depressed, do a Google search for "Rebecca Watson elevator," and see how the entire Internetverse flipped out when Ms. Watson suggested that hitting on her in elevators was not appropriate.

There is, alas, a great deal of awfulness in the way men relate to women. This post was, if anything, fairly tame. For example, a comment left on a pretty straightforward post about rape culture reads,

The only TRUE rape culture is what happens to men when they are imprisoned. Not this fake, point and look at something that offends your sensibilities, soft ass shit you idiots are gawking at. White women are the golden calf of the world and can do no wrong yet still find new shit to complain about. If it wasn’t for their bullshit and all the simping idiots feeding into it we would already be colonizing Mars right about now. Even religion started out with us getting fucked over by women, isn’t that right Eve?
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