I once wrote a post when I was with Ilyka Damen (where oh where did you go, Ilyka?) about street harassment. It got some attention, and naturally we also attracted That Guy. That Guy argued that it was complimentary. We, the women, said no, it is not. You are not complimenting us, we do not feel complimented. That Guy continued to argue that he meant it as such, and had a “female friend” who liked it. That Guy continued to become more and more (predictably) incendiary, and progressed to those standards of male privilege and sexism wherein we were “shrill” (take a drink for each time someone calls a women shrill, you will develop a problem), “humorless” (perhaps we should smile more) and finally that we must be ugly and just jealous of the good-looking women who warrant his shouted-on-the-street commentary.
According to this diagram, he *might* have had a point in terms of his “friend” if the conditions below had been met:
The simple exchange I, and my commenters, had with That Guy, met all requirements for Mansplaining, Rape Culture, and General Sexism.
Woman: I find catcalling to be a threatening form of harassment and I don’t like it.
That Guy: I’m complimenting you. [this is Mansplaining, invalidating your opinion because you are a woman and can’t know what you think or understand]
Woman: No, I think it is aggressive, suggests ownership of my body and objectification that I find uncomfortable. [this is an accurate description of Rape Culture’s perception of women’s bodies existing only for the male gaze/use]
That Guy: I have friend who likes it. [Straw man, anyone? This is irrelevant. Also, women, too, are products of rape culture and have formed complex relationships/responses to the phenomenon. This is too intellectual for our friend,That Guy, and I don’t recommend going there]
Woman: Many, if not most, women don’t like it and find it scary and threatening. This is why when I go for a walk, I do so with a Pit Bull and pepper spray.
That Guy: You’re probably some ugly lesbian who can’t get any and is just jealous of the women who are pretty enough to get some attention. Are you fat? I bet you’re a fat lard ass that no one would fuck. [teetering towards the whole reason women feel uncomfortable with this behavior because…..]
Woman: This is actually *just* a conversation about the fact that I and my friends don’t like being catcalled.
That Guy: How about I come over and fuck you until you can’t walk? Huh? Would you be less of an uptight bitch about it? […..RAPE CULTURE]
The fact that anytime women make reasonable requests there is a large segment of the internet that will start to threaten them with immense bodily harm is proof of why we feel uncomfortable in the first place. It’s why Donald Trump’s recent comments that being rich means you can grab a woman by her pussy is so disturbing. My pussy is part of my body, it is an intimate part, and it, like my body, belongs solely and entirely to me. No man should think that there is ever a time when he can grab my pussy unless and until I have said to him, enthusiastically, “Hey, I would like for YOU to grab MY pussy.” Its presence just isn’t enough, except that thanks to Rape Culture and the dynamics of power, apparently in the eyes of a presidential candidate, it is. Donald Trump is just another one of That Guy. We already know his defense to me would be exactly the transcript of the conversation with That Guy.
So, if you are That Guy, and you are thinking of commenting, understand that you will be deleted promptly. If there’s one thing the internet has taught us, it’s to avoid engaging. And I can’t pepper spray you through the internet.