Let Me Spell It Out For You: I DON’T CARE.

22 May

<rant> Honestly… Is there any debate anywhere where there’s not at least one random dude popping up, simply having to add his extremely important opinion? No matter the topic, no matter if it’s an explicitly feminist or whatever blog, some men* just can’t help but add their voice to the conversation, nevermind if they know what people are talking about or if what they’re about to say has been said 10 times before. Two of the latest, beautiful “But what about the menz’ opinions?” examples would be Caperton‘s post about men’s reactions to feminist body image discussions here on Feministe, and Helga’s post on sexual harassment here on Mädchenmannschaft.

Both of them basically boil down to the fact that most women* don’t actually care about whether some random dude finds them fuckable, and don’t want to hear a random dude’s opinion on their looks and various body parts while Being Female* In Public. Whether it is some random guy declaring that he actually likes small breasts when women* discuss mainstream body images on a feminist blog, or some dude being very upset and sees prison time in his near future for saying “Hello” to someone he deems attractive because women* discuss how offensive and annoying it can be to be constantly contacted by strangers by simply going outside, there never seems to be the possibility to have these discussions without some men* getting all flustered by the implication of taking away some of their privilege of dominance in public space.

But – wait for it – here’s the breaking news: I . Don’t. Care.

Let me repeat that: I DON’T CARE what you think about my looks when I’m going grocery shopping or meeting friends or riding my bike or reading a book on a park bench. I don’t care that you want to meet someone today and think it is appropriate to randomly approach people and persist in your contact efforts, no matter how pointedly one looks away or bids you farewell. I don’t care that you want to say Hello to someone you find attractive – Being Female In Public does not mean I’m here for your entertainment, and it does not mean that I want to meet you.

As Captain Awkward has phrased it: I don’t care about Notes From Your Boner. Leave me the fuck alone when I dare walk down the street or have the audacity to stand at a bus stop. You can fantasize all you like, and no one is saying that you cannot ever talk to someone in public. There are perfectly nice ways to interact with other people, to ask a stranger what time it is, or to give a little smile and see what happens. But all the butt-hurt desperation about how men* won’t ever find True Love if they don’t chat up every woman* on the street as they like, and men* whining that women* are totally mean and overreacting when they actually physically react to being slapped on the butt or having a boob grabbed? Disgusting. Horrifying. Exemplary of why you don’t meet anyone.

And all the whining on feminist blogs about all the mean women* who don’t allow boys to be boys anymore, all the commenting on inter/intra-feminist discussions about these topics without knowing what the fuck you’re talking about but still think your male* point of view is extremely important, eye-opening, completely undervalued and has never been heard before when actually dudes like you just won’t goddamn shut up about it, is just the digital sign of what posts like Caperton’s or Helga’s criticize about experiences in real life.

Most women* are generally very familiar with what is presented as the (hegemonically) male* view on basically everything. Most women* generally know when a “Hi…” is actually a “Hi…” and not a note from your boner (and if people were a bit more honest about it, they’d probably be able to admit that this sentence by a random stranger on the street while you’re actively looking away is *not* just a “Hi…”, but carries very specific implications and is blurted out in very specific constellations). Most women* don’t have a problem with being politely approached for help and not be seen as the default go-to person for every personal need because Vagina. And most men* actually know how to adequately behave in public and what is considered polite and respectful behavior towards other human beings – and even more of them would, if they counted women* among those human beings.

So: the staged indignation and outrage at feminist discussions about sexual harassment or body images and identities, the constant and unavoidable need to give your opinion on why women* are oversensitive or why women* actually secretly want or need to be talked to and, thus, declared sexually attractive at every turn, and the fear of women* not taking your boner seriously anymore is extremely exhausting. Again: I’ve heard it before. I’m hearing it constantly. I don’t need you to interject your male* point of view in any and every feminist discussion of whatever topic, I don’t need you to explain why communication theory tells me about the 4 levels of interactive revelation that lie in every whistle or “Hi”.

Being Female* does not equal being publicly accessible to whomever whenever, it does not mean I have to dignify every “Hellooooo…” because otherwise your penis will get the sadz, and it does not mean that you have any right to grab someone’s butt without getting sucker-punched for it.

About what your boner thinks? I . DON’T. CARE . </rant>

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11 Responses to “Let Me Spell It Out For You: I DON’T CARE.”

  1. Samia May 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    Thank you!!! Now we just need a good translation for “notes from your boner”! :D

    Just one thing: Asking me what time it is just to “get to know me” – i don’t know.. Those guys asking for a light and then just standing there with a confused / disappointed look after I tell them no, I don’t smoke – those make me fuckin angry. It feels like being tricked. I always think they should have said something honest like “Can I talk to you?” instead.

    Your article made me think of that James Brown song, so I googled the lyrics.. Ugh. Sums the trolls’ concerns up nicely, though:

    I don’t care about your wants
    I just wanna tell ya about the do’s and don’ts

    • accalmie May 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

      Hi Samia, that’s a good point! It’s freaking irritating when someone asks me for the time as a pick-up line (…does that *ever* work for anyone?!) and then stands there all sad-faced because all I said was “2:30″… ;) I personally don’t feel tricked, I feel it’s very lazy and self-entitled to presume that I will put in the effort of starting a decent conversation and just magically think you’re awesome because you don’t wear a watch… what happened to human interactions?! update: also, as to the “what about the menz” ridiculousness, i think Caperton’s illustration of feminist discussions about XYZ and peculiar male* commenting habits was spot on (and extremely funny :)).

    • zweisatz May 22, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

      Oh, I thought we were speaking about honestly asking for the time. That’s what’s okay in my opinion. I don’t think it’s a very clever move to ask for the time when you actually do not want to know the time (or smoke)…

  2. Samia May 22, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    @zweisatz That’s how I understood your wording, too.
    @accalmie Okay, maybe it’s different, because you just have to check your watch. When I happen to carry a lighter and find it to be worth my while, giving someone a light means rummaging through my makeup for about a minute :D

  3. ninjanurse May 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    Most of these guys would go into hysterics if you asked them how they like it when a man hits on them.

  4. Wirbelwind May 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    If you don’t care, then don’t expect men to give a shit about your experiences.

    • accalmie May 27, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

      @ninjanurse: yes, sexism and heterosexism really are a frequent couple…
      @Wirbelwind: aaaw, how cute – there it is, exactly what I was writing about; thank you for the illustration of not being able to have a single post about women’s experiences without someone’s penis getting upset that it’s not all about him… :( It is a little peculiar, however, what you define as male* “experiences” ( = active street harassment?)… And not caring about random men*’s boner notes = self-inflicted, all-men*-encompassing misogyny? Damn it :(…

  5. Debbi May 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    Absolutely fantastic post. I have to agree that there are good and bad ways to get a girl’s attention, ways that make us feel less threatened, and ways that are just creepy. I ended up dating a guy who came up to me and asked for the time, but I’ve definitely walked past the more egregious, “Hey, give us a smile!” yellers. Very well written.

    • accalmie May 27, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

      Hi Debbie, many thanks :)! Yes, I really think that most men* actually know what is considered a decent way to approach people; the problem are those who just don’t care.

  6. Die Linkshänderin May 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    Thank you!!!

    I’m actually happy that I’m over 30 now with two kids and a ring on my finger because some years ago I was desperately trying to find the best way to get rid of those guys.

    They were ignoring my looking away, my reading a book. “Hi, I would like to get to know you.” “No thanks. I’m not interested.” “Ah come on, let’s have a drink!”
    “I have a boyfriend.” “When you got to know me you will leave him!”
    I even tried “I’m gay.” “You just haven’t met the right male!”
    When I answered without a smile I was called “unfriendly”.
    When I smiled he didn’t take me seriously and kept coming on to me.
    There is no right way. They are just too ignorant/stupid/desperate.

  7. Peter May 30, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    Wow, Geschlechtsrassismus.

    [LOL – that was too good to not share it… Thank you, Peter, that was just the laugh I needed today :D! By the way: your butt is showing, and I’m afraid it’s a sexist and racist one.]

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