<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>