Guest Post: Street “Harassment”

GenderWhile the politics around the pronoun “he” have not often spilled over into violence or lead to the sort of grinding inability to compromise that can cripple a nation, the issue does make for an elegant illustration of the Orwellianism and unconstructiveness of the feminist impulse.

“He” – a word of two simple letters – becomes sexist when used in reference to an hypothetical member of mixed-gender group. For instance, “A leader should be decisive. He should not hesitate.” Here the word ‘he’ becomes sexist because it reinforces the patriarchal notion that any leader is necessarily a man.

Fair enough, logically speaking. Practically, however, we are left with a mess. The English language has no gender-neutral third-person pronoun. “He or she” is unwieldy and “they” is grammatically incorrect. Many writers stick with “he” but seem to feel that an explanation or apology are necessary, which in turn wastes ink and contributes to the genocide of trees.

And this is your feminism, Orwellian-control language to control minds, and to destroy the status quo while offering nothing reasonable to take its place.

Because of these tendencies in feminism, I am more than a little creeped out by the Stop Street Harrassment movement. On the surface it all seems reasonable enough. Women should have equal access to public space. Crotch grabbing, groping, whistling, indecent exposure, and sexual comments are disincentives to a woman who would like to mind her own business out in the day-to-day world.

Fine. Common decency should be a common thing. And educating women about their right to stand up for themselves when they feel that they are being violated is a step toward true equality in our society. However, if the movement against “street harassment” follows the usual feminist pattern, we will end up with a more severe marginalization of the sexually happy man than we have seen so far.

A 50 y/o man, sitting with his pals, ogled a student on campus. I said “that’s harassment and it hurts women.” He said “oh, sorry””

This is a feminist telling the story, in less than 140 characters, of how she “called out a street harasser.” To a red blooded man, this line sounds like the distant rumbling of cannons. To a man who is suspicious of feminism, it is a valise overstuffed with hostility. Let’s rummage through these words and see what we can find.

  • “A 50 y/o man.” Ageist. Plain and simple. Either the behavior is acceptable or it isn’t. The age of the actor is irrelevant, unless of course you want to play up the “creepiness” of the behavior.
  • But more to the point, this is sexism. It is ordinary for a 50-year-old man to want to look at an attractive woman, just as it is ordinary for a 90-year-old man who still has most of his wits. To imply an age limit to a man’s ordinary natural behavior is arbitrary rule making – a gender specific control tactic no less sexist than saying that women should wear skirts and not pants.

    But of course, our feminist in question is only guessing at the man’s age. For all we know, he could be 30 but look 50. This hints at the possibility of looksism, but let’s move on.

  • “Sitting with his pals” Why include this detail? Probably, the implication is that men in groups are more intimidating than when they are alone. But groups of men come in countless varieties. This could have been three graduate students from the computer science department, as intimidating as a box of kittens. We don’t know. That this detail of “sitting with his pals” is tossed in so easily without further comment underlines the fact that the group’s scare factor is a foregone conclusion. It is readily assumed that any group of men is intimidating.
  • “Ogled” Use of this word is the most glaringly totalitarian part of this Tweet. A man may look at a woman and it’s generally obvious that he is doing so, but whether he is ‘ogling’ that woman is a judgement call and a matter so vague that proscriptions against it create a chilling effect on looking in general. To disallow ‘ogling’ has the same effect as disallowing the male gaze in its entirety. And that’s the point. It is a direct goal of feminism to eradicate the male gaze. This goal is part of the overall agenda of marginalizing the happily sexual man. Because of this I am adding ‘ogle’ to my list of alert words. Along with ‘creepy’ and ‘uncomfortable’ the word ‘ogle’ will now and forever trigger my subtext detectors.
  • “I said “that’s harassment and it hurts women.”” In case it isn’t clear, the object of Stop Street Harassment is to confront men who are judged to be harassing. It’s a fantastic sentiment. Our free society is at its best when people talk to each other about things, no matter how contentious the subject. I fully encourage women everywhere to tell men in public when they feel they are being violated. The sexes will never have equality so long as women accept equal privileges but dodge equal responsibility.
  • The problem here is that something is being eliminated and nothing is being offered to take its place. Just as with the pronoun ‘he,’ men will be left to create makeshift stand-ins for something that can never go away – mating behavior.

  • Finally, let’s think about this: “He said “oh, sorry””
  • Just a word to the wise, guys. Don’t do this. If you’re looking at a pretty woman and a feminist tells you to knock it off, remember that you are a man, biologically and immutably wired to evaluate a woman based on her looks. Seeing a beautiful female creates a pleasure response in your body, not unlike the smell of grilled meat. This is a biological fact and it’s nothing to apologize for.

    Rather, require the feminist to explain her reasoning. Maybe she’s right. Maybe you’re being an ass. But the burden of proof lies with her. And she’s as likely to be shaming you for the sake of it as anything else.

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