This is now eons old in internet time, but I love it anyway. It’s from one of the massive threads over at Shapely Prose where women spoke about why shouldn’t be guilted into “just being nice” to men who intrusively ignore their widely understood social signals of being busy/involved/uninterested as they are going about their day commuting, walking in a park, sitting in a cafe/bar or whatever.
But why on earth would you keep following a woman who’s turned you down twice, when, according to you, you don’t want to be seen as a harasser?
I can only assume it’s because that’s the key point — they don’t want to be perceived as harassers, but that doesn’t mean they’re willing to give up their god-given right to completely ignore women’s boundaries. So they somehow convince themselves that Bad Harasser Guy and Self-Proclaimed Good Guy Who Simply Won’t Take No For An Answer are two very different entities. Which just… gah. The mind boggles.
I can only assume it’s because that’s the key point — they don’t want to be perceived as harassers, but that doesn’t mean they’re willing to give up their god-given right to completely ignore women’s boundaries.
Of course! Just like it’s so much worse to be called a racist than it is to be subject to racism.
Dudes assuming that their need to intrude is more important than a woman’s need to be left alone is a constant feature of Breathing While Female. Those men who feel it’s more important that they get some attention than that women feel safe and respected are reinforcing the rape culture‘s message that what women want doesn’t matter, and the fact that they perhaps may not intend to make women feel unsafe and disrespected is irrelevant – that is the effect.
I’ve seen some reactions around the net about how the “Schrödinger’s Rapist” concept of respecting women’s boundaries means prioritising women’s wants over men’s wants and how that proves that feminists really are feminazis etc etc. These complaints miss a crucial aspect of any human interaction, not just a male/female interaction – when there are two people, and one of them WANTS [X] with the other person, but the second person DOES NOT WANT [X], then the person who DOES NOT WANT [X] is the one whose wants prevail.
You want your best buddy to go to the pub with you? But he’s got other stuff to do without you? Guess what – his want not to go outweighs your want to go there with him. You want him to go to the cinema with you? The laundromat? Next-door where those attractive women live? A road trip? HE DOESN’T OWE YOU HIS COMPANY ON THINGS THAT ONLY YOU WANT TO DO. If you refuse to take no for an answer, you are being creepy, and if you get aggressive you are being a bully.
In any other social situation, especially with friends and relatives, most people can see that refusing to take no for an answer is rude, selfish and very much some degree of coercion, force, intimidation, bullying etc etc. When it’s man/man and woman/woman social situations, most people would surely agree that acting that way with a stranger would be even more rude and selfish.
But when a woman dares to be unresponsive to a strange man wanting to talk to her when she just wants to be left alone? If she ignores him or (the horror) verbalises her wish to be left alone? Apparently she couldn’t possibly have a good enough reason, the stuck-up bitch, and for him to refuse to take her no for an answer is nothing more than standing up for his rights to female attention.
The other trope rejecting the “Schrödinger’s Rapist” concept is that how dare these uppity feminazis make it all about sex when it’s probably just a lonely guy who wants to talk? FAIL. Many social habits reinforce rape culture without being directly about sex. Basically any of the bewilderingly many cultural traditions which treat women’s time/needs as less valuable/important than men’s time/needs supports the idea that women’s purpose is to support/sustain/entertain men, and that is the foundational assumption that underlies rape culture.