Is it right to make a woman feel unclean?

(410 Posts)
camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 09:08:25

I was saying 'thank you' to a male colleague and touched his upper arm as a reinforcement of that thanks. He recoiled in disgust, his body language, his facial expression and his yelp surprised me so much that I apologised profusely. The incident happened in front of many children, as I am a teacher at a school. And within a minute he had shook hands with a male colleague. Whether it was his intention or not, I felt that he felt I was unclean. I was/am greatly upset by this. I understand that his cultural or religious beliefs does not permit him to touch women, or vice versa. However, I have lived in many different countries and cultures, and I adhered to their cultural rules and would never have reacted in such an offensive way. What do you think?

TheCatIsUpTheDuff Sat 29-Jun-13 09:13:00

It doesn't make me feel unclean. I used to clean for an Orthodox Jewish family. If ever the husband had to pay me he would go to such lengths to avoid touching me, or even us simultaneously touching a £10 note, that the money fell on the floor. I accept that he thinks I am unclean, but that's his issue, not mine.

If you know he is uncomfortable for whatever reason with being touched why did you touch him? He recoiled as a reflex.


And yes, why feel unclean?

Tbh, if you knew that his culture/ religion or whatever meant that he is permitted to touch/ be touched by women, I'm really not sure why you did. confused Why would YOU be offended by his reaction?

A woman with the same beliefs would react the same way if a man touched her. It's not about women being unclean, it's about physical contact with "strangers".

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 29-Jun-13 09:20:09

What JustForLaughs said...why did you touch him??

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 09:20:37

You knew his beliefs and you touched him anyway?
Yes, it doesn't make sense to you, but most cultural and religious rules don't make logical sense. You were inappropriate.
If he treats your opinions and work with disrespect and indifference, then you'd have grounds for being offended.

GetStuffezd Sat 29-Jun-13 09:22:03

Another one wondering why you touched him. On the other hand, I have no respect whatsoever for any beliefs that dictate "men must" "women can't" etc.

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Sat 29-Jun-13 09:22:09

So you did it expecting him to hold in how you knew he would feel? Yabu

AdmiralData Sat 29-Jun-13 09:22:40

I absolutely shit myself if a stranger touches me, even briefly but not because I think they are unclean ... just because I really do not do physical contact with anyone I am not extremely bloody familiar with. Perhaps he is/was just as jumpy as me? I would try not to be too offended, he may not necessarily think you are unclean smile

camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 09:23:55

I didn't know and never said I did. I now know of course and it is this I understand.

I don't agree with the religious idea of women being unclean. In this case it seems you knew he adheres to the rules of no touching, and yet you touched him. Just puzzled as to why.
I think his reaction sounds rather over the top. Maybe this is a good opportunity to talk about different cultures and religions, and what is the going norm here in our culture. And make it clear that recoiling in disgust from a small gesture is rather offensive.

I don't accept that someone would think I'm unclean simply because of my gender. At any rate I despair of religious logic, in that it doesn't exist, so not sure how to talk someone out of such a belief.

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 09:25:08

'I understand that his cultural or religious beliefs does not permit him to touch women, or vice versa.'

So does that mean you understand now? Or that you were aware at the time?

x post. So you didn't know about his beliefs before hand. He should wear a big sign in that case. How on earth does he ever travel on public transport?

Jamillalliamilli Sat 29-Jun-13 09:26:11

He can't make you feel anything.

What would you say to one of the children if they said to you: 'I know X doesn't want me to touch them, but I decided to do it anyway, and now I don't like the way they publically objected?'

Roshbegosh Sat 29-Jun-13 09:26:59

I think he should apologise actually. Carrying on like that, really.
I am not touchy feely myself at all and never do touch work colleagues so maybe it is best for you to stop that all the time. Even so, he is a rude man and should apologise for behaving like that. Fucking mysogenist.

claraschu Sat 29-Jun-13 09:27:12

I have no respect for people's unreasonable religious beliefs, any more than I have respect for their unreasonable non-religious beliefs.

I would still never do anything to let people know how I feel about their unreasonable beliefs, unless they were interested in a friendly argument.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sat 29-Jun-13 09:27:31

YANBU to think he is being ludicrous - sorry, I just don't have the wherewithal to respect silliness excused as 'religious beliefs' - but surely the response is just to feel a bit sorry for someone like that? I know I would.

Roshbegosh Sat 29-Jun-13 09:27:45

Hope you weren't menstruating, he might have died.

camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 09:28:52

I think he could and should have explained nicely. There were no niceties at all. Shaking his colleagues hand whilst still talking about work with me, I also find offensive.

diddl Sat 29-Jun-13 09:29:07

I don't understand why you touched him tbh.

It's not against my religion/culture, but I would have hated it it-from a man or a woman.

Somehow it seems too intimate from a work colleague.

Maybe that makes me odd, but I'm just not into touching/being touched by people unnecessarily.

I also hate the faux hugs & air kissing of people you don't know when you first meet.

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 09:29:38

Exactly what claraschu said. What harm would it have done to keep your hands to yourself?
Why does his outdated, irrational and strange response affect you in any way? Do others in your workplace struggle with this, or do you need to be touchy-feely to feel validated and accepted by others?

Well, Rosh. I hope we get an update on Monday regarding that very thing.
How do males escape the whole unclean thing, seeing as they all have spent months swimming about in a female at the very beginning of their lives. Surely that would mark them somehow?

So you didn't know about his beliefs but now you do. How do you know? did he take the trouble to explain? In your shoes I would be apologising for making HIM feel uncomfortable. I don't like being touched by strangers/ collegues, I often back away when people come over for a hug and a kiss. I don't mean to imply that they are unclean, just that I don't like it.

burberryqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 09:37:41

personally i hate it when colleagues do that touchy thing, it is entirely inappropriate, i had to tell one guy once who was into patting and stroking of shoulders while we sat at our desks, which as far as i was concerned was low grade harrassment and downright creepy.
Once a Saudi Arabian guy refused to shake my hand, quite honestly i should have had more cultural awareness than to proffer it.
But being 'unclean' did not cross my mind.

hollyisalovelyname Sat 29-Jun-13 09:37:55

Claraschu I agree completely with you.

Hope you weren't menstruating, he might have died


camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 09:55:02

What harm would it have done to keep your hands to yourself?

Believe me that there was nothing intimate about it, like there is nothing intimate with a slap on the back. This is something that you would say to someone who had sexual intents. I certainly do not or did not. I wouldn't say I was touchy feely, or that I needed validation from anyone Eyesunder. Why do you ask these questions?

Also, I know many muslim men. Most would shake my hand. How are you to know?

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 09:58:46

Why did I ask?
Because your reaction, feeling unclean, getting very upset and feeling that his response was so offensive seems OTT. The limitations, the irrationality of the action are his problems not yours.

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 09:59:42

'This is something that you would say to someone who had sexual intents.'

No, I say it to young children who have trouble with recognising boundary issues on a regular basis.

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:02:06

I'm not sure that the man's religion is relevant

A person can choose to be touched or not touched by who ever they choose

A hand shake is reciprocal, and would give opportunity for participants to decline or object

It's quite unusual to touch someone unbidden and without warning. He didn't have time to formulate a measured objection did he. You just for his knee heri reaction.

TiredyCustards Sat 29-Jun-13 10:03:14

It is offensive to recoil in disgust when someone tries to shake hands etc.

Your excuse could be superstition, like this man, or social awkwardness, like pp. It's still rude.

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:04:55

Also, no one has to explain their reason for not wanting to be touched to anyone

I don't liked being touched by men. It is not a religious. And I would refuse to explain by reasons if challenged about it

burberryqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 10:05:56

yes but she didnt 'try to shake hands' she did some touchy feely thing on his arm -

soverylucky Sat 29-Jun-13 10:05:58

There is a woman at my work who does this all the time - touches you at the end of a conversation. I Iam sure she is as clean as anyone - BUT I HATE people touching me like that and I am not sure that I hide my instinctive reaction to wince each time she does it. She is not unclean - I just don't like being touched. Perhaps he is the same?

fuzzywuzzy Sat 29-Jun-13 10:07:14

Why are you automatically assuming he felt unclean at your touch and not just startled at the unsolicited touching, you didn't stick your hand out and invite him to shake hands, you went ahead and touched him with no prior warning, he was startled and recoiled then another colleague approached stuck his hand out and first man shook hands with him.

I always jump a mile when random colleagues touch me uninvited, the absolute worst is being randomly hugged.

I should wear a sign 'No uninvited touching' because I just do not like it regardless of sex/religious affiliation of the toucher.

camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 10:07:17

I didn't say I felt unclean. I said: ' I felt, that he felt I was unclean.' As regards 'keep your hands to yourself, I say that to children too, but when I say it to an adult, I mean something else.

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:08:36

But a person wouldn't recoil from a the gesture is offered and gives room for politeness

Touching someone unexpectedly, is not a social norm

burberryqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 10:10:47

yes well perhaps make keeping your hands to yourself whilst at work a life rule? so much simpler!

CloudsAndTrees Sat 29-Jun-13 10:11:07

I think the man was rude.

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 10:11:32

When you want to shake hands with someone, you hold out your right hand in a certain position. This signals to the other person what your intention is, and they have the opportunity to either shake your hand, look at in bewilderment if they haven't a clue what you are doing or give their stock, polite response as to why they are not shaking it.
None of which the OP did, and probably why the man in question didn't respond politely, just instinctively.

Zeenah Sat 29-Jun-13 10:11:41

I don't get this at all confused was he a colleague? and he 'recoiled' when you touched him in passing? That is very odd? what is his culture? If that strange behaviour can be 'pinned' on his culture then I'd just ignore it. Religion is a very strange business.

burberryqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 10:13:42

no she didnt touch him in passing she did some weird arm grabbing

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 10:13:49

You really aren't able to understand this, are you OP?
Or the fact that your colleague might have gone home thinking 'Oh shit'

HighInterestRat Sat 29-Jun-13 10:14:11

I also think rude and ott reaction.

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:15:35

She touched his upper arm, to reinforce her thank you confused

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 10:15:57

Well personally I think all religions are ridiculous mind controlling nonsense and generally mysoginistiic but you know now so next time keep your distance. I think he was rude though and should have apologised to you and explained his reaction.
Bit bizarre that you should know this as I wouldn't have a clue.

No one can make you feel unclean.

ArtexMonkey Sat 29-Jun-13 10:16:50

"A hand shake is reciprocal, and would give opportunity for participants to decline or object"

^^ this

Do you really go about touching people at work? Best not to, imo, for whatever reason. You say you are a teacher, do you randomly touch the children to 'reinforce your point' too? Because that might not work out too great.

Full disclosure: I can't be doing with misogynistic religious nonsense. But we have to get along with all kinds of people in this life.

hiddenhome Sat 29-Jun-13 10:17:41

He was rude.

ShadeofViolet Sat 29-Jun-13 10:19:49

Welcome to Mumsnet OP.

ArtexMonkey Sat 29-Jun-13 10:20:46

I might add that it seems a bit passive aggressive to thank someone by doing something you know they won't like.

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:20:46

No body should have to/needs to explain to another person why they don't want to be touched!!

It's that persons body ffs

ExcuseTypos Sat 29-Jun-13 10:22:08

How do you know he was thinking you were uncleanconfused

I would presume his religion may not allow him to touch strange women, but that doesn't mean he thinks you're unclean.

Also, as you know he wouldn't want to touch you, you shouldn't be surprised when he reacted like he did.

merrymouse Sat 29-Jun-13 10:22:26

Don't know what religion this person is.

However, in some religions, the point of following a rule is not so much the logic of the rule but just following the rule itself, however nutty that might seem to outsiders.

He may not have been thinking about your relative cleanliness.

Suzieismyname Sat 29-Jun-13 10:26:14

Another one with claraschu

pigletmania Sat 29-Jun-13 10:27:17

I would not touch someone who I dont know very well, really you were aware tat there might be Some religious beliefs so you should have no done that.

However, he was downright rude ad offensive and should have explained that his religious beliefs permit him not to touch women other than his wife, or that it mad him feel a bit uncomfortable. H is living in a Western country and should be aware tat not everyone will be familiar with his religious beliefs

VigourMortis Sat 29-Jun-13 10:27:43

I'm confused why many posters seem to think the OP already knew this man didn't want to be touched. From the post I understand she has now put two and two together and realised there is a religious context - not that she did it in full awareness of this fact.

His reaction sounds very over the top and rude. There are things I don't like being on the receiving end of, but I manage to control my physical gestures and words so as no to cause offence disproportionate the the deed.

camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 10:28:47

Thank you Fuzzywuzzy. Its a bit like chinese whispers this. A momentary hand to arm touch has gone to 'touchy feely'. God, some people will think I was stroking the poor bloke. I think protocol is definitely not to touch anyone. If a male colleague touched me the way I touched my colleague, I wouldn't have thought twice about it, and I certainly wouldn't haven't treated them like they were unclean, because they were a man. If I had religious or cultural beliefs that prevented me from shaking the hand of the opposite sex, and I lived in a society that has discrimination laws then I simply wouldn't shake hands with anyone.

burberryqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 10:30:00

look whoever thinks it is normal to go around touching and arm grabbing at work, of anyone, is deluded.
if a man were to do this to a woman, many people on this forum would be crying about sexual harrassment in the workplace.

LessMissAbs Sat 29-Jun-13 10:30:08

He sounds like a drama queen.

ExcuseTypos Sat 29-Jun-13 10:30:36

Well that's all very good camel, but you do realise that not everyone is the same as you don't you?

camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 10:30:51

Thank you VigorMortis for reading properly

Pinkflipflop Sat 29-Jun-13 10:31:39

What was wrong with just saying "thanks?"

You sound creepy!

I detest colleagues who are all touchy feely.

Get a grip!

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 10:32:04

You're a teacher? Complain to your line manager.

cees Sat 29-Jun-13 10:33:40

He was rude, don't feel bad for his odd hang ups or religious beliefs they are his problem not yours.

I agree with claraschu.

Triumphoveradversity Sat 29-Jun-13 10:34:22

I have heard of women going to a bath house when menstruating as deemed unclean but am now fascinated as to what the belief system is as I haven't heard of this before.

camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 10:34:42

Yes, ExcuseTypos I do. Sorry that I offended you by putting forward my views in the personal 'I' way. It was merely a rhetorical device.

pigletmania Sat 29-Jun-13 10:35:35

Pinkflipflop she tapped his arm like many people do not blooming fondeled his bum hmm. He was very rude and whilst I might not make a complaint I would try to avoid him

pigletmania Sat 29-Jun-13 10:36:18

Yes it's his problem not yours

Pinkflipflop Sat 29-Jun-13 10:37:09

Yes, I know! But, I think she's getting her knickers in a twist slightly!

Why is she allowing him to make her feel unclean? Wo said he should have that level of power?

I remember a while back on the Big Questions they had a debate about women and religion, Nicky Campbell asked a Rabbi why he wouldn't shake hands with a woman and he said it was because, 'he wouldn't touch someone else's property.' Then he made a massive song and dance about being misrepresented and that that wasn't sexist, not sure how that's even possible.

Anyway, I do disagree with the idea that men shouldn't touch women they don't know, as taught by some religions, it's rooted in sexism and the stupid belief that it leads to 'temptation', handshakes is a gateway to adultery and so on. However it really is his body, it is his religious beliefs and it is his right to act that way, regardless of whether it hurts your feelings.

Pinkflipflop Sat 29-Jun-13 10:38:28

There must be more to this or I am really missing something!

What would she say to her line manager if complaining? confused

*handshakes are

pigletmania Sat 29-Jun-13 10:38:59

Op is over thinking it and should really try to forget about it and move on from it

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 10:39:35
Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:40:16

Like many people piglet??

I have never touched a colleagues arm by way of a thank you. Nor, them me

pigletmania Sat 29-Jun-13 10:41:05

I know craps but he did not have to be rude he could have apologised and explained that he's such and such and cannot have ohysical contact with another woman

Pinkflipflop Sat 29-Jun-13 10:42:19

But op knew that physical contact with a woman is not allowed and she touched him anyway.

pigletmania Sat 29-Jun-13 10:42:26

Yes booma, when talking with people sometimes they tap my arm, especially if heir my friends, have you never seen this!

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 10:42:28

'What would she say to her line manager if complaining?'

That she was greatly upset by the response of her colleague and found it offensive. The LM could then discuss the incident with the colleague, and her and mediate between them to reach an understanding as to what happened and why and what the procedure should be in the future.
Or OP could just think ' I made a mistake, I won't do it again' and move on.

pigletmania Sat 29-Jun-13 10:43:47

Some eople are very touchy some like me are not, I woul not do what op did, bu I would no have acted like her collegue

ninani Sat 29-Jun-13 10:43:51

Why is everyone being so harsh??

I know many women who would not shake hands with men but if a man touched them the same way that the OP touched the man they would just turn shy and blush. It's not about being unclean but about embarrassment.

OP, you didn't know and even if you did you probably acted out of impulse so his behaviour was EXTREMELY rude. Other cultures like to stress how "cold" English or other Northern European people are but when they are met with warmth they still don't like it.

OP don't worry, I am sure he embarrassed himself enough.

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:45:29

Friends, yes. Unknowns or just colleagues, definitely no

With a friend...the boundaries are already known. You know what level of physical contact is appropriate for them

ZZZenagain Sat 29-Jun-13 10:46:34

His reaction was too extreme and public to be polite. He should not have embarrassed you in front of children and other staff members. The polite thing to do IMO would be to gently explain in a quiet voice that it is uncomfortable for him to be touched and you would not do it again and no one need feel offended or embarrassed. It is a situation which he needs to find a calmer, more polite way of responding to, in particular in a work setting.

I don't think you should have apologised, although if he had responded as I set out, naturally you would apologise. A little bit of courtesy goes a long way

TheSecondComing Sat 29-Jun-13 10:48:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gruntfuttock Sat 29-Jun-13 10:50:43

How did he respond to your profuse apologies, OP?

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 10:50:59

'His reaction was too extreme and public to be polite'

Others have made the point that it was probably an instinctive response, as the OP startled him. Rather like screaming when a spider drops on your arm unexpectedly.
Not me, I love spiders.

pigletmania Sat 29-Jun-13 10:53:35

Unless its a colleague you know well and you know would feel comfortable with that

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:54:52

Good question grunt

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:56:11

Yy piglet exactly. This is not the scenario here

pigletmania Sat 29-Jun-13 10:56:13

He was rude and impolite, you apologised yet it seemed that he did not accept your apology and offer an explanationas would be the norm.

ReginaPhilangie Sat 29-Jun-13 11:00:24

You know what, I don't think YABU at all! I think he's rude man actually. I fucking hate all this religious nonsense about can't touch the opposite sex here, covering up there, oh no there's a blue person over there. It's a load of fucking bollocks made up by men thousands of years ago to keep women down and make them know their place. How is it okay for him to recoil from your touch yet shake hands with another man seconds later? All that says is "woman, unclean, temptation must stay away from this harridan". Honestly this is the 21st century yet it's somehow still ok for women to be treated like a piece of shit because of fucking outdated misogynist "religious beliefs". hmm I would have asked if meant to be so rude actually, how offensive can you be.

ReginaPhilangie Sat 29-Jun-13 11:01:05

he meant to be

camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 11:01:22

Oh yes there would secondcoming. The issue with me is treating people equally regardless of race, creed, colour and in this case gender!!!

sonu678 Sat 29-Jun-13 11:04:22

I think the man was rude, and offensive and all sorts of other words like that, and should apologise to you, in writing, and urgh.... what a horrible horrible horrible man.

I used to live in a society where it was quite usual for some men not to look at a womans face when talking to her, they would look at the ground, or to the side of her face at the wall, or whatever, but never at her face. I understood that it was just an extrapolation of how men who want to look at breasts, but keep their eyse firmly on the face because talking to a womans breasts is rude, and in the culture of these men it the face was the breast equivalent, so they were actually being polite, as they saw it by looking at the wall. But it drove me bonkers. However, as the conversation itself was respectful, I would suck it up, and get on with it. The op's incident isnt acceptable

burberryqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 11:04:43

but touching at work is inappropriate whatever the religion/culture of toucher or touchee, and as someone else so rightly pointed out, if this man was not of a different nationality/culture to the OP, there would be no thread right?
this whole 'unclean' idea she is promulgating is purely from her own mind, reflecting her own assumptions, nothing else.

hackmum Sat 29-Jun-13 11:06:31

Stuff like this is all about context - the OP was touching this guy's arm in the context of saying "thank you". When you thank someone, you are putting yourself in a humbler position than them. You're not being aggressive or jokey or flirtatious. There is a polite way to respond to a "thank you" which is to say "not at all" or "you're welcome". If he really objected to being touched, he could then have added, "I'm sorry, but please don't do that again - my religion doesn't permit contact between the sexes". Instead what he did was rebuff the OP's gesture and the meaning behind it (ie thank you). Rude and unpleasant, in my view.

lustybusty Sat 29-Jun-13 11:08:42

I'm with a few other posters... I am non religious and female, and unless I knew you extremely well, I'd react in a similar way I'm afraid. I just don't like people invading my personal space without invitation (or at least preparation). If someone extended their hand for a handshake, I think "ok, handshake" and all is fine. Of they just grabbed my hand and shook it I'd think "OMG WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING", probably jump away and wince. It's MY body and I alone can choose who touches it and where. I do, however apologise profusely to the unwelcome toucher, along the lines of "oh, sorry, you startled me" to an unknown person, or "I'm sorry, I don't like being touched" to someone I know well. And no, it doesn't have to sexual in the slightest - there's an openly gay bloke at work who will stroke my upper arm when asking if I'm ok... He's lovely, he's kind, he's being reassuring and caring, but I still don't like it!! OP, maybe you ought to work on the principle of not touching unless you KNOW it won't upset someone?

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 11:09:35

How did he respond to your profuse apology OP?

SoupDragon Sat 29-Jun-13 11:11:35

Mountain out of a molehill IMO.

You touched him instinctively. He reacted instinctively. You think he was rude and offensive. He probably thinks the same of you.

Yika Sat 29-Jun-13 11:12:07

OP I would be very hurt and offended. It happened to me once with an orthodox rabbi. We were introduced and I offered my hand to shake his hand. He stood there like a stone and I felt mortified. I was young and ignorant of the idea that some religions consider women to be (potentually) ritually unclean. I find it an insulting and outdated belief, but ok, if this is your colleagues firm belief, then so be it. But he was very rude to humiliate you by shaking the other person's hand in front of you.

camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 11:13:43

He waved his hand in pardon, and discussed what he was being thanked about, stopping of course to shake hands with a male colleague walking by.

pigletmania Sat 29-Jun-13 11:14:09

Regina you are right, it's about the inferior position of women, and that he shook the other mans hand and onthe ops really confirms tat I think

RevoltingPeasant Sat 29-Jun-13 11:16:44

OP I think he was rude.

I do not like being touched - I have a thing about it. I'm also very ticklish so I sometimes jump if someone touches me unexpectedly. And I'd never touch a colleague unless they were also a good friend.

But. People do. Laying a hand briefly on someone's arm as you say thanks is totally normal workplace behaviour, even if not that common. Someone did it to me the other week (she was from Texas and very friendly).

In that situation, you control your reaction. If he didn't see you coming and jumped, then he could have controlled himself better. The point is, he treated you as though you were dirty in front of students, embarrassing you.

And if he didn't have the self-control to do that, then later he should have had a quiet word. It is very obvious that reacting to you that way could make you feel bad and he should have smoothed things over.

Since it's work, I'd keep my distance, keep my hands very much to myself, be cool and polite with him, and see what happens.

culturemulcher Sat 29-Jun-13 11:17:29

No matter what his cultural sensitivities, he was being a bit impolite in over-reacting to what was, after all, a reflex gesture of friendly thanks.

culturemulcher Sat 29-Jun-13 11:18:50

In other words, exactly what Revolting said smile

gordyslovesheep Sat 29-Jun-13 11:19:02

welcome to MN OP - interesting first ever post grin

anyway they way to KNOW if somebody wants to be touched is to assume they DON'T and either ask or take your cue from them - let them offer their hand to you

I can't abide touchy feely stuff so I would recoil from it as well - I am a humanist female if that helps

jacks365 Sat 29-Jun-13 11:20:02

Piglet camel didn't try to shake his hand and thats the difference. I'm happy to shake hands but can't abide people touching me, I do recoil from them if they did what camel did.

Camel you don't know why he recoiled you are still assuming. Why not just ask him.

RevoltingPeasant Sat 29-Jun-13 11:20:10

I also agree with hackmum.

OP actually I think a crucial thing here is, did he see you coming?

Cos if he was turning away and suddenly felt a tap on his shoulder, he might've just jumped. But if he saw you coming towards him and then recoiled in disgust, I think that is ruder, as he had chance to respond appropriately.

ZZZenagain Sat 29-Jun-13 11:23:37

she was saying thank you to him so presumably he was looking at her and then she touched his arm. Doesn't sound as if she tapped him on the arm from behind tbh

Gruntfuttock Sat 29-Jun-13 11:26:03

camel1 your OP said that "I understand that his cultural or religious beliefs does not permit him to touch women, or vice versa." and you have since clarified that you did not know this at the time you touched him. So how is it you know now?
Is it because someone told you - because it doesn't sound as if the man himself has explained his reaction? What I'm getting at is, maybe he just dislikes being touched, apart from shaking hands which is a more mutual and formal thing unless you know for sure that it is cultural/religious, in which case who told you?

Apols for rambling. I hope you managed to fathom what I'm asking.

Purple2012 Sat 29-Jun-13 11:31:30

Just because we don't understand other people's religion/culture it doesn't mean we shouldn't respect it.

Im my job I deal with a lot of Muslim families and women that wear face coverings. Whenever I am doing something that involves the woman the husband will always do the talking. Now to me a woman being subservient is something that I wouldn't put up with for me. However this is how they live and if I was to insist on speaking only to the woman I would probably make her feel very uncomfortable. I even had a row with a colleague as she tried to do this and I felt it was disrespectful.

I don't understand why/how this is a part of a particular religion/culture but I totally respect peoples right to live their life how they want to.

Lovecat Sat 29-Jun-13 11:32:29

I think his reaction was astonishingly rude and I would have taken him up on it, rather than apologise. By apologising you have let him know that his ridiculous reaction (rather than just to say - please don't touch me, my religion/whatever doesn't allow it) is acceptable and he'll carry on with such OTT madness.

I say that as someone who hates being touched and used to work with a woman who would walk up behind you at your desk and put her arms around your shoulders as she bent down to talk to you in an 'intimate' fashion and then do the same as she departed. It made me want to claw my skin off, but I didn't react to it as - guess what? I'm not a crazer, I'm polite and I didn't want her to feel bad about what for her was a 'normal' (she did it to everybody) way of being friendly.

He was out of order and YANBU.

camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 12:00:45

Thank you for all your comments. It has been very interesting to hear so many points of view, and incredibly helpful. It is clear that not everyone likes to be touched/tapped in appreciation, and I will be very mindful of this. Obviously, avoidance is out of the question, but I will keep an arms length distance when I need to request a task. Thank you again smile

diddl Sat 29-Jun-13 12:01:55

I think that the OP was astonishingly rude to touch him tbh.

catslave Sat 29-Jun-13 12:03:45

We have had this thread before... I can't search well because I am on my phone and it is a PITA. Something about refusing to shake her hand then shaking a male colleague's hand... Nope, got it:

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Sat 29-Jun-13 12:08:03

Mumsnet is crammed with threads from women who don't like uninvited male attention of any sort. Men can also feel offended about uninvited female attention of any sort, for whatever reason. Yabu

FreudiansSlipper Sat 29-Jun-13 12:11:00

no of course he should not have reacted in such a way. if you were working with people who all shared the same belief then you would be more aware

there was no reason for him to display such a reaction

Latara Sat 29-Jun-13 12:16:53

I think it was a rude reaction whatever his beliefs - he should have either politely backed away slightly with a smile or shrugged it off but maybe explained to you later that he prefers women not to touch him due to his beliefs.

I find it surprising though because i have male colleagues who are very religious Muslims and when i've touched them ie. tapped them on the shoulder to get their attention they don't mind at all.

But if i knew a man minded then i wouldn't even tap them on the shoulder, and if i accidentally did then i would apologise. I wouldn't expect a rude reaction like that though.

Also some people just don't like being touched by the opposite sex; my Mum has a bad reaction to men touching her due to her bad childhood; and she would be likely to respond to some men like the man did to the OP.

Latara Sat 29-Jun-13 12:17:46

So both YANBU and YABU!!

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 29-Jun-13 12:28:38

<sigh> at how this thread has allowed some to happily rant about "foreigners" and their outdated ways.

Not touching the opposite sex has nothing to do with women being unclean. Nothing.

It is just viewed as politeness and appropriate boundaries. Much as all cultures have concepts of what this entails.

It does sound like the man's reaction was a bit OTT, but you'd obviously crossed a boundary for him.

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 12:30:13

Who, over the age of 7, taps people on the shoulder to get their attention?!

Gruntfuttock Sat 29-Jun-13 12:33:09

It is unusual, Boomba. Going up to them and using their name is sufficient I would've thought.

ZZZenagain Sat 29-Jun-13 12:34:53

working wirh ear phones

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Sat 29-Jun-13 12:36:30

Man touches woman uninvited - outrage

Woman touches man uninvited - man is rude

only on mumsnet grin

burberryqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 12:40:32


edam Sat 29-Jun-13 12:44:21

I think he was a bit rude but probably couldn't control his reaction. Shouldn't have gone on to shake hands with someone else within a minute though, that really is making an aggressive point.

I do get that some people don't like to be touched by people they haven't invited to touch them - I don't, particularly. But his reaction was extreme and I think many people would have said something to acknowledge that you didn't mean any harm. It's just polite. Expressing disgust at someone touching you is rude. Saying 'sorry, I don't like to be touched' is an appropriate response to being touched.

I would talk to your manager but only to try to negotiate a resolution that allows both parties to express their feelings and make sure there's no lasting ill-feeling.

UptheChimney Sat 29-Jun-13 12:48:14


I find the whole attitude of some religions to women to be offensive. This an presumably lives in this country, and wants to remain doing so. If so, he needs to understand certain notions of equality.

And that women are actually human beings. Not unclean, corrupt, or corrupting.

ZZZenagain Sat 29-Jun-13 12:50:23

I have no idea which religious or cultural background this man has. Some people have mentioned experiences with Muslim men at the workplace so I think they are assuming he is Muslim. From my own experience of living and working in a Muslim country, I would be a bit surprised if this man was a Muslim. Mind you the Muslim world is large so my experiences in Morocco might not be similar in this regard to experiences made in perhaps Pakistan or Kuala Lumpur.

In any case where people from different cultures work together, cross-cultural misunderstandings are of course possible but IME it is usually not very difficult for colleagues to sort these out between themselves with friendliness and courtesy. This is what most people do naturally IME. I expect that at the time this event happened, OP was not aware that in his culture her touching his arm would be inappropriate and has since googled it and found out.

These things happen, you can cause offence and be offended but they are not huge matters usually. I nthe end if you are kind, people recognise it and that is the main thing in dealing with other people IMO. We cannot expect the whole world to know all about our faiths or cultures but we can expect friendliness and kindness between colleagues

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Sat 29-Jun-13 12:50:51

OP absolutely do not involve your line manager in this. Tis extreme to say the least.

Just don't touch the guy in future, verbally express your feelings and be assured that will be enough. Job done.

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Sat 29-Jun-13 12:52:09

Yes Upthechimney. hes a forriner in our country so should abide by our rules innit

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Sat 29-Jun-13 12:54:28

I still do t understand why you touched him thb, there really is no reason to touch anyone at work

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 13:00:25

I too hate being touched by acquaintances/colleagues. Reading this thread it's obvious this is not that unusual. Why on earth are you touching people like this if you know a significant proportion of them hate it?

Disgusting behaviour.

ChunkyPickle Sat 29-Jun-13 13:00:30

Really? - when thanking a colleague does no-one shake hands and pat the upper arm? I know that when people have been very grateful they've done that to me, and I know I've felt the urge when I've been very grateful (and may well have done it, I don't remember)

Religious or not I think it's rude - I mistakenly shook the hand of the father of the bride at a Malaysian wedding, and whilst he was a bit shocked, and stopped the handshake very quickly he still was very polite and thanked me for coming.

I think Cultures need to respect each other, and in the UK culture (whatever you take that to mean) people sometimes touch each other. If you don't want that, you need to explain - anything else is rude (as would be explaining, and someone still touching you)

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Sat 29-Jun-13 13:08:08

Chunky - would you expect a woman to have to explain to a man why she doesnt want to be touched by him?

diddl Sat 29-Jun-13 13:13:24

Shaking hands-fine.

Patting the arm-isn't that well, a little patronising?

burberryqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 13:15:38

creepy and patronising yes

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 29-Jun-13 13:17:50

Upthechimney "if he wants to carry on doing so"

You think people should be deported for not following John Bull "British norms"?!

Do you know how depressing and disturbing it is on every single thread of this sort, there are always people implying that being from a different culture or religion means you are basically "on notice" and it is perfectly acceptable to kick you out of the country.

Even if you were born here and/or have citizenship.

PuppyMonkey Sat 29-Jun-13 13:25:58

OMG you PATTED HIS UPPER ARM how could you???? That's the most outrageous invasion of privacy I've ever heard shock

Would sooner a pat on the arm than a limp sweaty handshake any day, myself.

Fakebook Sat 29-Jun-13 13:33:51

I think any kind of physical contact apart from hand shaking in a work place should be banned.
I remember a girl I used to work with who used to stroke my upper arms, my hair whilst talking to me and used to give massages out of the blue. First few times I did flinch in shock, not's not normal for a colleague to touch you like this. Why couldn't you give a high five? If he didnt reciprocate, you could've left it.

ZZZenagain Sat 29-Jun-13 13:35:39

if someone doesn't want you to touch them, surely they also don't want their hand shaken?

Morloth Sat 29-Jun-13 13:35:52

It doesnt actually matter why the man did not like to be touched. He did not wish to be and reacted to an unwelcome touch. He may well have over reacted but as someone who does not like to be touched by anyone outside of a very select group of people I can sympathize.

I do shake hands, but as was mentioned at the start of the thread that is an offer not an assumption and it is an offer I have declined on occasion.

RinseAndRepeat Sat 29-Jun-13 13:40:02

When I was in Oman men would go out of their way to avoid brushing against me in crowds etc. it was great, I could cut a swathe through a crowded souk and stroll around easily.

I sort if think it'd be good if the same thing applied over here. Then I wouldn't have to have my face smashed into some Brooke's armpit on the morning commute, or have elbow wars with someone over the armrest.

RinseAndRepeat Sat 29-Jun-13 13:40:29

Brooke? Bloke!

RevoltingPeasant Sat 29-Jun-13 13:41:25

You think people should be deported for not following John Bull "British norms"?!

Gosh, you know you seem to be assuming the OP is British. (I know you're not replying to her there.) Perhaps she comes from a culture where touching people is more normal?

I lived and worked in Switzerland a few years back, where men kiss female colleagues regularly - a handshake and peck on the cheek was quite normal when saying good-bye for the weekend etc, or when meeting someone you might work closely with.

The first time it happened to me and this man lunged for my face I was totally taken aback! I never got comfortable with it. But, you know, that was what they did. I learnt to get on with it, or to hold my hand firmly to signal that I'd only shake hands, whilst being very polite.

I don't know if this chap was Muslim or not, but I did know a Muslim guy once who didn't want to shake women's hands and handled it brilliantly. He used to smile, put up one hand deprecatingly, and then make a charming little bow. It was respectful and amusing and didn't get anyone's back up.

There are ways to handle this kind of thing. Recoiling in revulsion from a colleague who is thanking you in public is not one of them.

RevoltingPeasant Sat 29-Jun-13 13:42:33

Fakebook, a high five? Have you been teleported in from an early naughties management consultancy firm? grin

Zipitydooda Sat 29-Jun-13 13:51:43

He was rude not to explain his reaction. Maybe he was hoping you hadn't noticed??

I don't think it's an unclean thing more of a modesty reason but if he'd explained apologetically then I bet you would have been understanding and not posted here. He was rude.

diddl Sat 29-Jun-13 13:52:57

"if someone doesn't want you to touch them, surely they also don't want their hand shaken?"

No, but as a pp put, a proffered hand can be refused & an explanation given.

People don't tend to grab unoutstretched hands to shake, do they?

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 29-Jun-13 13:56:04

Someone's ridiculous beliefs should not be allowed to be a cover for sheer rudeness. And yes, I'll be picked up on the use of the word ridiculous, but believing one sector of society is inferior is ridiculous.

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Sat 29-Jun-13 13:59:49

To be fair he probably wasn't expecting it hence his reaction. Think how you'd react if say, someone grabbed your tit, this was probably his 'tit' equivalent.

gordyslovesheep Sat 29-Jun-13 14:01:38

Onesleep it's nothing to do with feeling people are inferior

I'm still puzzled as to how you got to the "unclean" conclusion. Are you sure that the religion avoids touching because of women being unclean or is it about the risk of being irresistibly attractive? I would have jumped to the second conclusion, which is much less insulting grin.

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 29-Jun-13 14:20:29

Gordy, it actually sometimes is. And in some religions it's an interpretation of their teachings, not a rigid rule. So in some religions some people are choosing this belief.

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 29-Jun-13 14:20:29

Gordy, it actually sometimes is. And in some religions it's an interpretation of their teachings, not a rigid rule. So in some religions some people are choosing this belief.

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 14:29:03

I wonder what the children thought? That you had pinched his arm probably.

He sounds an idiot to be honest, religious beliefs are not a licence to be pig ignorant and rude.

Still if I were you I would tell him how you feel and why did you apologise. If it was me I would be asking him why he yelpt? Have a debate with him if you want to or just ignore him. Up to you.

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Sat 29-Jun-13 14:35:07

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ZZZenagain Sat 29-Jun-13 14:43:46

I think the OP has wound up the thread with her last post a while back so I am not sure that she is still reading this.

ZZZenagain Sat 29-Jun-13 14:46:11

I mean this post:
"Thank you for all your comments. It has been very interesting to hear so many points of view, and incredibly helpful. It is clear that not everyone likes to be touched/tapped in appreciation, and I will be very mindful of this. Obviously, avoidance is out of the question, but I will keep an arms length distance when I need to request a task. Thank you again smile"

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 14:46:53

Well who cares if she is or isn't, still a fair debate.

If its considered pig ignorant and rude to lightly touch a colleague on the arm then I just despair really.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 29-Jun-13 14:59:17

RP - regardless of the rights and wrongs of the situation, I think my point about it being very depressing how quickly people are to say "go back to your own country" stands.

Certainly people are reading the OP as being in the UK, interacting with a man not from "mainstream" UK culture, hence the confidence they feel in saying, "if you don't like it, leave."

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 15:09:10

It is pig ignorant and rude to touch anyone IF THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO.

TheSecondComing Sat 29-Jun-13 15:09:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SilverOldie Sat 29-Jun-13 15:11:40


I don't like anyone coming into my personal space. It has nothing whatsoever to do with religion as I'm an atheist, nor the person being 'unclean'.

I don't think touching people in a work situation is appropriate whether female to male or vice versa.

Quangle Sat 29-Jun-13 15:23:04

Weird reaction to the OP on this thread. And plenty of cultural relativism too.

He sounds OTT. How about just observing basic niceties and not freaking out if a fellow human being touches you? It's what a handshake is based on. Unless this happened in the Yemen in which case, depressing but fair enough. Amazing how misogyny gets explained away as "culture doncha know" but a racist reaction would be an abomination.

Next time try a fist bump.

Never ever try a chest bump though. That would be awkward

Quangle Sat 29-Jun-13 15:25:45

Revolting peasant I lived in Switzerland too and still have Swiss colleagues. Still get caught out by that triple kiss! No yelping/recoiling though. Just bemusement

RevoltingPeasant Sat 29-Jun-13 15:33:40

Quangle yes! I had been in France previously and had just accustomed myself to the double, when....bam!

Gosh yes, and I do agree. I suppose my point (clumsily made) was more that people are assuming this man has a 'culture' which makes it okay for him to not be touched, ever. The OP make come from a culture where it's normal.

I don't think we're disagreeing, really!

SirChenjin Sat 29-Jun-13 15:38:39

I am shock that a brief touch on the arm from someone would elicit such drama - only on MN.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 29-Jun-13 15:44:07

Quadrangle - numerous people on here, myself included, have explained that it is not misogyny, but is seen as a form of respect.

Is cultural relativism the new "PC born mad"?

SirChenjin Sat 29-Jun-13 15:45:36

What is respectful about it?

Quangle Sat 29-Jun-13 15:50:25

Lots of things are dressed up as respect and empowerment that are quite the reverse.

HoppinMad Sat 29-Jun-13 15:55:43

Yabu to reach the 'unclean' conclusion, when you also mention that his religion does not permit touching/hand shaking with the opposite sex. Unnecessary touching is not allowed in his religion, if he is Muslim, and his reaction was most likely due to your unexpected touch..Though I agree a bit OTT however people react differently when something unexpected happens right?
I really dont think it has anything to do with cleanliness.

Also I am confused towards the cries about women being inferior or considered unclean etc, you do know the same applies for women too? Fwiw my male colleagues understood I (and my non-religious English friend/colleague) wont do the touching/kissing cheek thing so they never did and respected that. I also dislike  women doing the kissing on cheeks and arm linking with me, and that has nothing to do with Religion, just my personal space!

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 29-Jun-13 16:03:19

Quadrangle - I am Muslim. That you think you know the "real meaning" of my religious practices, is incredibly patronising and frankly demeaning.

Abra1d Sat 29-Jun-13 16:07:13

'Once a Saudi Arabian guy refused to shake my hand, quite honestly i should have had more cultural awareness than to proffer it'

If this happened in the UK, he should have had more cultural awareness. In the UK the culturally acceptable way of greeting strangers is to shake hands.

SirChenjin Sat 29-Jun-13 16:13:25

Agree Abra1d

nkf Sat 29-Jun-13 16:21:20

He didn't make you feel unclean. You felt unclean and ascribed that feeling to his behaviour. His reaction was way over the top. So, your religion forbids something that the country you live in takes for granted. There is no need to yelp if it happens.

Wossname Sat 29-Jun-13 16:23:04

Wtf? I have read this exact same op , to the word, a few months ago or more.

HoppinMad Sat 29-Jun-13 16:24:15

There is a difference between a cultural practice and a religious requirement, the non-shaking of hands with the opposite sex is the latter and people of that faith/belief system are not willing to compromise regarding that. However culturally a Saudi/arab man does the kiss on cheeks with other men, but will not practise that here with English/non arab men as its not culturally acceptable.

WorraLiberty Sat 29-Jun-13 16:34:57

I think it's rude, but then I was brought up to respect and allow for the culture of the country I'm in at any given time.

Perhaps he was raised to feel his culture is more important, no matter where he is?

Either way, I would've just rolled my eyes and forgotten about it a few minutes later.

Don't brood over it OP.

Abra1d Sat 29-Jun-13 16:50:00

Wossname, I thought I had a sense of deja vu on this thread!

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 17:25:00

I carry my culture where ever I go.

So I was brought up not to undress in public. I could not and would not go topless on a beach, nor use a toilet with anyone but a very needy toddler in the room.

I have lived in many different countries, visited more and am married to a man of a very different cultural/religious background to my own. I am still me and I still would never touch someone who didn't want me to, and I do not have to change who I am to live in this country.

UptheChimney Sat 29-Jun-13 17:28:46

Someone's ridiculous beliefs should not be allowed to be a cover for sheer rudeness. And yes, I'll be picked up on the use of the word ridiculous, but believing one sector of society is inferior is ridiculous


Women's rights to be considered fully and wholly human trump religious practices any time.

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 17:33:31

It is not any man woman or child's right to touch you if you do not wish to be touched.

SirChenjin Sat 29-Jun-13 17:37:34

No, it's no-one's right to touch you if you don't want to be touched, but honestly, if it disturbs you so much that when someone touches you lightly on the arm as part of normal everyday social interaction you yelp and recoil in disgust, then maybe it's time to think about whether you might benefit from CBT or some other intervention.

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 17:42:18

Possibly, but would you suggest that if the individual was yelping at a spider or a rat?

Enough people have said they hate this casual touching, that frankly I find it odd expressing it is seen as so awful.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 29-Jun-13 17:45:19

I do not like unsolicited touching at all. If you do not want people to recoil from your touches because it makes you feel bad, do not touch them.

My right to decide where, when and by whom I am touched is absolute. Your right to touch someone and not feel bad about their reaction doesn't exist.

SirChenjin Sat 29-Jun-13 17:47:30

Yes, CBT and other forms of therapy are brilliant at overcoming all sorts of fears and phobias - let's face it, it must be awful to be terrified of something that it makes you yelp and recoil in disgust. Who on earth would want to live that like when you can do something positive about it?

themaltesecat Sat 29-Jun-13 17:48:21

I hate to be touched by anyone (apart from husband and daughter) and this is especially true of my colleagues, who are generally appalling.

It may have had nothing to do with your being a woman or unclean. He may just despise you.

Feel better?

fuzzywuzzy Sat 29-Jun-13 17:53:19

I don't like being touched by anyone uninvited, I don't need CBT, people need to respect my personal space frankly.

We don't live in a touchy feely culture at work in England, I don't see anyone touching each other at work bar handshakes & those are conducted with warning.

People who think they have the right to randomly touch/tap/make physical contact with other people uninvited need to learn not to, it's not culturally acceptable to touch people at work in England or stand really close when speaking. Get over yourselves, you're wrong.

Jeoffrey Sat 29-Jun-13 17:57:24

'yelping' and 'recoiling in disgust' is totally on interpretation, by the OP.

They may have been startled and jumped.

No one needs therapy so that other people, who they don't want to touch them, can touch them hmm

nooka Sat 29-Jun-13 17:57:29

It's the degree of reaction that's the point here. I really would not be bothered about being briefly touched on the arm in conversation when it is obviously instinctual and clearly means 'thank you'. To me this is a fairly frequent occurrence and a part of normal every day life.

dh doesn't really like any body contact at all, and would probably step back from such a gesture. That's usually sufficient for the other person to twig that he is not comfortable.

Now none of us were there to witness this conversation, but it would seem that the man over reacted, and gave the OP the impression that her touch wasn't just unwelcome but a source of disgust, ergo that she was disgusting. Which is very rude. It sounds to me that in response to the OP's apology she was told that it was a religious interdiction. To then happily shake hands with a passing man does seem to reinforce the women are unclean or at the very least different line to me. I'd not be happy at all.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 18:00:57

I know OP but just ignore it, it's his problem not yours. People who want to keep antiquated beliefs going need to realise there's an alternative culture of not making women feel stupid, small and bad.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 18:03:08

"Someone's ridiculous beliefs should not be allowed to be a cover for sheer rudeness. And yes, I'll be picked up on the use of the word ridiculous, but believing one sector of society is inferior is ridiculous"

I see someone already said this, so that's good, I agree with this comment. Sorry I can't credit you properly! Is it upthechimney or did you just quote it?

theodorakisses Sat 29-Jun-13 18:05:16

I live and work in Qatar as a senior manager. All of my equals and most of my staff are Muslim and most of them men. Most of my equals are women who touch their heart if I put out my hand and some men do, so some don't. Whichever, I always, as a western person offer a handshake and if they touch their heart then I do the same, if they offer their hand I shake it.

pompeii Sat 29-Jun-13 18:10:15

I do enjoy these threads, watching politically correct 'liberals' work themselves up with processing the cognitive dissonance of being tolerant of other cultures, where said cultures display outrageous intolerant bigotry.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 18:11:01

Pompeii, that's just bang on the nose. Very clever.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 18:12:29

By the way Theodora : how interesting - you're fitting in with the local culture. How very admirable of you.

EmmelineGoulden Sat 29-Jun-13 18:33:44

I agree it's rude OP - even if it wasn't based on the fact you were a different sex to him it would be rude to react to someone like that without an uncontrollable condition behind it. To treat one class of people that way but not another is discrimination. Which is exactly how sexism and other forms of discrimination root themsleves in cultures, to the detriment of humankind. Acceptance of this sort of behaviour generally is tolerance of intolerance.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 29-Jun-13 18:38:56

You mean like the ridiculous belief that if someone touches you, without your permission, you have to be ok with that?confused

theodorakisses Sat 29-Jun-13 18:39:48

Crumbled, are you being sarcastic or nice? Sorry not sure

UptheChimney Sat 29-Jun-13 18:40:33

I do enjoy these threads, watching politically correct 'liberals' work themselves up with processing the cognitive dissonance of being tolerant of other cultures, where said cultures display outrageous intolerant bigotry

Yes, I find that too ...

But to be serious for a thought or two: it is the biggest challenge of true liberalism to balance and negotiate between competing tolerances and freedoms.

For me, the base line is that women are human beings.

So any religious observance of any religion which demonstrates that the practices, ideologies & beliefs of the religion regard women as less than fully human is trumped by the baseline that women are fully human.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 18:42:23

Theodora: I think you're doing the right thing. I think that should happen in this country too. We have, or aspire to, a culture of equality between men and women. We also have a culture of being polite and not upsetting people. That should be acknowledged and respected.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 18:44:13

It's the ridiculous belief that women are unclean, which is what this springs from, according to the OP.

theodorakisses Sat 29-Jun-13 18:45:15

Just read this boringness-and thanks for patronising me. Lived in India, Africa, America and the ME and I guess I should defer to a provincial middle aged woman's opinion rather than the actual worlds order

nooka Sat 29-Jun-13 18:46:14

I don't think that is 'ridiculous' though, I think it is deeply unpleasant and disturbing.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 18:46:59

What?! Blimey that's a bit aggressive. Think you're the only person that ever lived abroad in a radically different culture and tried to acknowledge and respect it? Think again.

theodorakisses Sat 29-Jun-13 18:47:05

sorry now saw reply and so sorry for being defensive.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 18:49:25

oh mwah mwah no problem I think it sounds like you do manage things very sensitively and that isn't being patronising honestly

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 29-Jun-13 18:49:43

There is no cognitive dissonance in not wanting unsolicited touching, regardless of the reason.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 18:51:06

But this isn't about some people not wanting to be touched anyway - that's twisting this into something different in order to defend a view of women that's completely indefensible.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 18:52:11

Can't believe women are happy to defend this view of women, really can't. Is it the classic, most feminists=left-wing, left-wing=sensitive to other cultures, sensitivity=tolerance of anti-feminist views.

SirChenjin Sat 29-Jun-13 19:01:53

Surely if the OP's colleague disliked physical contact he would have reacted the same way to the offered handshake ie recoiled? hmm

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 29-Jun-13 19:02:21

The OP surmised that this was why he reacted how he did. We don't know that it is true.

What we know is that she touched him. He didn't want to be touched by her and reacted strongly to the encounter. His reasons do not matter. Unsolicited touching is unsolicited touching.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 19:11:51

Yes, it really sounds like he just had a massive phobia about being touched on his arm and she totally shocked him with an unprovoked assault so recoiled, looked horrified and waved dismissively when she apologised. Yes it really sounds exactly like that. Not like he was rude and bumptious like some old fashioned duffer from the 30s in spats huffing and puffing because a woman darkened the door of his golf club.

SirChenjin Sat 29-Jun-13 19:12:06

He yelped - presumably she heard that. He recoiled - presumably she saw that. I would imagine that if he had that much of a problem with any form of physical contact (as has been suggested on this thread) then the offer of a handshake would have elicited the same response - in much the same way as a large spider would elicit the same reaction as a small spider to someone who strongly disliked spiders.

SirChenjin Sat 29-Jun-13 19:12:55

in someone

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 19:14:50

No belief system that encourages men to regard women as ' unclean' or 'second class' is right or controls how women dress or act should be defended regardless if its dressed up as a religious belief or not.

It's just wrong.

MaBumble Sat 29-Jun-13 19:16:42

I'm a team manager and once I interviewed a chap who, very politely, refused to shake hands at the start of the interview. I was a bit taken aback, but thought ok, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs - shouldn't make any difference, so long as he can do the job.

In the slight confusion I don't think he heard my job title.

during the interview he directed his questions and answers to my tech lead (a man) who was there to take notes and as a second opinion.. Even when I was the one asking the questions.

Then he asked how many women where on the team.

Me: Only one I'm afraid,
Him (smiling): well, it's not really an area for women, is it? What level is she?
my tech lead: Manager.
Him (laughing): No, seriously.
Me: I'm the manager.
Him (not smiling) : Oh. I thought you where from HR.

Yeah. THAT was the bit that didn't go down well.

SirChenjin Sat 29-Jun-13 19:16:46

Agree thebody. I'm saddened that more women within these religions don't challenge this thinking.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 29-Jun-13 19:17:24

Crumbledwalnuts, are you saying that it's ok to touch someone who doesn't want to be touched by you, as long as their objection has a religious or cultural source?

SirChenjin Sat 29-Jun-13 19:19:07

Again - if he was so distressed by physical contact, why did he not recoil and yelp from the offer of a handshake?

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 19:20:34

I expect because they are too conditioned or too scared SirChenjin.

You cry religious intolerance or ethnic beliefs and any criticism is effectively stifled.

SirChenjin Sat 29-Jun-13 19:23:45

Very true thebody sad

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 19:30:10

I'm saying it's perfectly normal to pat someone on the arm and if you have some kind of phobia about it, that is the unusual thing. If you yelp and recoil there is something wrong with you. It's not normal. If you yelp and recoil because your culture means you think women are unclean then you're being rude, and you bloody well should learn they aren't.

HoppinMad Sat 29-Jun-13 19:37:19

Well sirchenjin, firstly as a pp mentioned we only have op's version of events which may well have been spiced up a little for a good ol Aibu debate, who knows

Secondly, there are numerous reasons why he may have reacted the way he did, (if he did) but was fine with the bloke whose hand he shook - he may not like OP, perhaps she does have hygiene problems - well we dont know her personally do we! He may not like unexpected touching, or lastly he may not touch women due to religious reasons and can I please point out again, it is muslim women too, who can refuse to touch men - the men being unclean or otherwise so lets not throw a pity party for those poor oppressive women shall we. I am one of them, and I can assure you I am not under my DH's or anyone's thumb!

Just caught up with the end of the thread, and it seems clear from the op that he did not want to be touched, lightly even, in a friendly, non-sexual way, by her because she is a woman. That is the bit that is wrong. I do understand if he does not like touch, and that in itself is valid enough reason to request no touching in the future.
But apparently it became clear afterwards that the reason he would not tolerate a woman to touch him was his religious beliefs. Which makes him a tosser, and his reaction is not defensible.
I'm all liberal, but certain things are just wrong regardless of culture/religion or any such things. The examples are many and not always related to gender, though in this case it seems it is.

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 19:38:48

Agree crumbled and Sir.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 19:39:18

Sorry hoppin whatever your beliefs it is NOT ok to be rude to people who are being perfectly nice, and to have unpleasant, visible, active reactions, discriminating between the sexes, to what is perfectly normal behaviour.

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 19:42:08

So Hoppin if we believe its how the op says, and why would we think she lied? Do you think his reaction was bloody rude or not then?

And sorry please explain how all women or all men are 'unclean' what does that even mean and if you believe it as a muslim woman can you explain.

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 19:42:29

But the man didn't say it was because OP was unclean. He looked embarrassed, brushed the incedent aside, talked of other things and shook hands with the first passing teacher possibly to try and bring someone else in to relieve the embarrassment.

OP thinks it is because of his religion/culture (which is absolutely fine anyway because we don't all have to have the same ideas about what is or isn't appropriate behaviour), but she doesn't know why he recoiled. He may just find being pawed by her particularly unpleasant. I have had one male boss who always stood too close and liked to usher you through doors with his hand on your back. It was horrid.

Don't touch people who don't like it.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 19:46:28

"pawing"? you're just making it out to be something it isn't - it was a pat on the arm

if it's not because of religious beliefs then there's something weird about an extreme reaction to the pat on the arm - really, really weird

edam Sat 29-Jun-13 19:47:35

Agree, crumbled.

However, may I enter two qualifications to the whole reacting-to-uninvited-touch thing? Dh is seriously jumpy about being touched on his side, where his waist is. If someone prods him there, he does yelp and he does jump. It's an automatic reaction - I get it, ds gets it, anyone who prods him gets it. (We try to avoid it but occasionally happens by accident.) IIRC he doesn't look disgusted but he does look shocked and affronted. It's just a personal quirk.

Have just remembered I have a bad reaction to being touched on my palm. I think it's almost a phobia - I find it really horrid and upsetting even thinking about it, let alone it happening. Not holding hands, but anyone prodding my palm. I would possibly yelp if someone prodded my palm but I would explain, not act as if I was in the right and the other person had done something wrong. Same for dh. We wouldn't walk off leaving the prodder confused and worried.

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 19:48:29

Not as bloody weird as thinking you have the right to touch anyone you like and they should modify their reactions so you don't feel awkward.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 19:49:57

Yes that's the thing. You might react but then you say - I'm afraid I just can't bear that, you explain and make things ok. Especially in a professional environment. A handshake with a pat on the arm is quite normal, a small touch on the arm is normal, these are arms not inner thighs.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 19:51:03

Sorry zzz completely disagree.

Viviennemary Sat 29-Jun-13 19:53:39

Well I don't think it's a particularly good idea to touch people of either sex in any way if you don't know them very well. Shaking hands is different as that is acceptable in our culture.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 19:55:00

You'd know a colleague well enough for a pat on the arm.

edam Sat 29-Jun-13 19:56:11

I vaguely recall being on a course many years ago where they actually suggested touching people on the arm as a non-threatening way of making contact.

I thought the course leader was barking. grin

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 19:58:04

It's quite an American thing I think.

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 19:59:37

That's fine crumble we can disagree.

Loads of people have expressed how much they dislike being touched in this way. So a proportion of the people you feel fine patting on the arm in the workplace are really hating it and finding it intrusive/upsetting. Do you still want to do it?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 20:01:06

Oh my gosh - I didn't realise this thread was about me patting people on the arm at work. UUUUUUMMMM I don't. But if someone did it to me I wouldn't jump a foot in the air and make them feel like shit. I still disagree with you.

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 20:09:30

camel1. I dont think you will be coming back onto the thread, but you will probably carry on reading it.
He wasnt being personal to you. He would have done that to any woman. And you knew that his religion wouldnt allow it.
So I dont get why you did it.

I dont know what religion you are.
Perhaps none.

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 20:09:40

Sorry crumble I worded that badly, I meant we could disagree, but the "you" was really aimed at all the people saying its normal behaviour here in the UK. I wonder if all these people think it's fine even knowing how many people really dislike it.

As I said up thread, I've worked with a "toucher" and hated it.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 29-Jun-13 20:12:11

My body, my choice of who touches me where and how. Gender, germphobia, colour, religion, personal quirks, culture, history of abuse and nationality do not come into it.

My body, my choice. If you do not want people to react unfavorably, do not touch them without their permission.

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 20:16:21

Yam, why would the op know his religion or that he objected so much to a tap on the arm that he yelped.

I had no idea of this 'unclean idea' until I read it here today.

He sounds a prat who needs to alter his mysygonistic ideas actually.

Zzzzx, there are certain parts of a body that agree its strange to touch or sexual, an arm pat isn't this Is it?

If a person dislike human contact that much you may need to seek help with this in case someone collapses at work and needs help or simply trips and falls into another person.

Thinking people are unclean is nasty. Irreligious is not an excuse or reason, its just nasty.

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 20:21:46

But I don't like being patted on the arm. Neither do a lot of people who've responded to this thread. Repeatedly saying it's fine and nobody minds doesn't make it true.

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 20:22:43

I had never heard the "unclean" thing either.

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 20:25:16

Of course I don't particularly like it either but wouldn't yelp and jump.

That's mental.

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 20:28:15

Is this what OP means about being "unclean"?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 20:31:34

"If a person dislikes human contact that much you may need to seek help"


Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 20:33:15

What I see zzzz is a lot of attempts to normalise misogynistic behaviour.

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 20:35:50

the body, and I think Dione.
The op says in her op about his cultural or religious beliefs about touching women.

HoppinMad Sat 29-Jun-13 20:36:13

Thebody, I did mention in my first post that his reaction was a bit OTT, but hardly anything to get into a flap about. Also I really have no idea if the op is lying or not no, but is a first time poster.. Plus I have a nagging feeling it could well be a wind up, or slightly exaggerated at the least.

I was being sarcastic about the men being unclean comment after reading the few comments on here, women considered unclean by presumably muslim or whatever rubbish it was. Perhaps I should have put it in inverted commas, sorry for the confusion. So let me be clear - men and women neither of them are considered 'unclean' unless they lack serious hygiene.

EmmelineGoulden Sat 29-Jun-13 20:37:10

Interesting to see people asserting a right to never be touched without there expresses mission. You do realize this right doesn't actually exist don't you? Ordinary contact without causing or intending any sort of harm is not battery. There is no right to have people not touch you as they squash into the carriage on the tube or push past you in the street. While we have a right (occasionally restricted) to bodily autonomy and freedom from assault or battery, we do not have a right to simply not be touched.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 20:40:48

Yes Emmeline, and I fear these attempts to make a reaction like this seem perfectly normal. It is NOT normal, and it is simply unacceptable in the workplace or a regular social situation, if it's as a result of religious beliefs.

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 20:43:24

Zzz thanks for the link, sad but interesting.

It's not normal and its wrong imo.

EmmelineGoulden Sat 29-Jun-13 20:43:46

There express mission = their expresses permission blush

BridgetBidet Sat 29-Jun-13 20:45:06

I wonder how many of the people who think this is fine would think it okay for people to object to a touchon the basis of any other physical characteristic than genitals?

If someone in work environment objected to someones touch on the grounds of the colour of their skin, a disability or even sexuality they'd be out of a job the same day.

It's not acceptable, it shouldn't be any more acceptable to us than a bikini is in Saudi Arabia.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 20:46:48

Pretty bloody awful that some woman feels like crap because a bloke with what were almost certainly antiquated misogynistic beliefs over-reacted in a really unpleasant way simply because she's a woman - and there are women here defending that. Like segregation at university talks - how DARE this country go back to that, how dare it be taken there.

Jeoffrey Sat 29-Jun-13 20:50:41

emmeline neither is there a right to go around touching people and have every body be really pleased about it

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 20:51:16

Am thinking that many women on this thread would not feel remotely comfortable in a lot of countries of the world.
Yet the op says she has lived in different countries and cultures hmm

lustybusty Sat 29-Jun-13 20:51:40

Sorry, only just come back to this... sirChenjin and crumbled to mix your posts up from about 19:20, may I try to explain? I'm scared of spiders. If one lands on me, say I'm asleep, wake up and see one on my shoulder, I yelp, jump up and end up shaking for half an hour, having a cigarette and changing the bed. This is for a spider the size of a 2p. I have however, been able to use a glass and piece of card to remove a spider whose legs struggled to fit under a pint pot. I wince and recoil if someone pats my shoulder, grabs my hand or strokes my arm. But I am perfectly able to shake someone's hand. It's all about preparation. (Even if that's only a fraction of a second in the case of a handshake or 20 minutes building up to spider removal.) it's also, as I said before, about choice. I choose to remove the spider, I choose to shake someone's hand. I don't choose to wake up next to a spider (I can think of a million things/people I'd rather wake up next to!!) and I don't choose to have someone invade my personal space without giving two hoots about how I feel about it. And that's not religious/cultural or sexist, it's just me. And if you don't like it, I'm sorry but that's tough.

lustybusty Sat 29-Jun-13 20:53:13

Sorry, posted too soon...
One of us will end up upset, and in all honesty I care more about my feelings than (typically) a strangers.
I hope I haven't come across arsey, I am just trying to explain. smile

Jeoffrey Sat 29-Jun-13 20:55:06

crumbled OP has not said that this man is disrespectful or unprofessional towards her or other women. He doesn't want to be touched. The reason he doesn't want to be touched is irrelevant. It's not open for debate is it.

Men do not have to allow women to touch them unconditionally to prove they aren't misogynists. Imagine the scenario the other way round

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 20:56:35

It is distinctly disrespectful and unprofessional to yelp and recoil to a touch on the upper arm and then to wave the woman away when she tries to apologise. It's rude.

lustybusty Sat 29-Jun-13 20:57:08

And with regard to cheek kissing/hugs goodbye/even a grope of the boobs, if that's the culture where I happen to be, or even the culture of the person I'm with, i know about it in advance and so can be ready for it!!

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 20:58:11

I've LIVED in other cultures yammy and when I'm there I respect the normal way to go about things. I didn't yelp and recoil about the place.

BridgetBidet Sat 29-Jun-13 20:59:37

Incidentally, my mother was an anti-apartheid campaigner and has often pointed out how much it really fucking grinds her gears that people will salivate over Nelson Mandela and bang on about what a hero he is and how terrible apartheid was but absolutely ignore the fact that there are countries all over the world where women have almost zero civil rights - far less than the blacks in South Africa had in the 90s but this is completely acceptable to them.

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 21:01:18

Crumbled, do you have a religion?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 21:03:54

Are you going to try to justify this on the grounds of religion? If you are, don't bother on my behalf.

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 21:05:51

So you disregard peoples' religious beliefs?

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 21:07:50

The op said "I understand that his cultural or religious beliefs does not permit him to touch women, or vice versa".
So the religious/cultural belief thing is relevant.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 21:09:35

Yes, it's disgusting that people think they can get away with mysogynistic behaviour on the grounds of religion. Don't you agree?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 21:10:14

Yes - if they disregard sexual equality, I absolutely do disregard them with relish.

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 21:16:15

If a person is in another country, then I think that the person should observe the culture, and vice versa.

As regards religion, I think people should be respectful. But I dont expect a person of one religion to be in a anothe country , and swap religions.

There are many things frowned upon/ not permitted due to religious beliefs. Some are directly tied to gender, and when it is I don't respect it. It's the women can't be preachers/priests, women can't talk in public, women can't be popes. I don't respect it because it builds on antiquated views on gender and in effect renders women subhuman. I have a problem with that. Same with FGM, no right to vote, being owned by their father/brother/husband, and the list goes on.
People may well have religious beliefs, they are free to knock themselves out. Luckily, in this part of the world I'm free to disregard it. However, I would not be rude and do go to great lengths to not offend or humiliate people who are religious. If they behave in a disrespectful manner I reserve the right to call them on it.

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 21:22:06

I didnt take it that he was being rude.
I took it that he was horrified that his religion/culture had been violated, albeit not by himself.

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 21:24:23
SplitHeadGirl Sat 29-Jun-13 21:26:51

He's an arse. My parents are utterly religious (Jesus everywhere you look in their house) but they would die if they felt they made someone uncomfortable. Too many men hide behind their religion to treat women like second class citizens and women are meant to accept that and put up with it? HELL NO!!!!

I think it's rude. I read this as he would also not shake a female by the hand, but was happy to shake a male by the hand after having reacted very strongly to being touched by a female. I know that for some orthodox jews being touched by a female is taboo as women may be unclean. I've gathered it is to do with menstruation being not clean, but however it is construed I find it offensive. It hinges on one half of the human race being not quite human then. It has taken a lot of work to counter that attitude and achieve equality in a small part of the world. I'm not buying the religious belief thing, and I am horrified that our culture has been violated thus.

good grief, that sounded rather pompous. But I still think he was rude.

SplitHeadGirl Sat 29-Jun-13 21:36:00

Turbo you didn't sound pompous - you sounded correct and insightful!!! I have no time for people who make others feel like shite just because of religious beliefs. Surely God would put compassion and care for humans (and other creatures) before religious customs and laws??

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 21:56:18

Yam, how was the op to know the bloke was a rude twat/ religious mysogynist?

Agree with all of crumbled posts .

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 29-Jun-13 21:56:22

I must have got it wrong.sad

For decades I have been telling people that nothing, nothing, not colour, gender, clothes, mental state gives anyone the right to touch someone without consent.

I was unaware that there were exemptions to this rule.sad

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 21:59:42

"It has taken a lot of work to counter that attitude and achieve equality in a small part of the world. I'm not buying the religious belief thing, and I am horrified that our culture has been violated thus."

Well amen to that (see what I did there)

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 22:02:46

As regards religion, I think people should be respectful. But I dont expect a person of one religion to be in a anothe country , and swap religions one's been asked to swap religion not ask me to respect a religious belief that treats me as less than equal because I'm a woman. Don't ask for it, don't expect it, don't try to guilt trip me in to it and don't try to make me feel sorry for a horrified bloke who thinks I violated him by touching his arm. I DON'T RESPECT HIS BELIEF THAT I AM NOT HIS EQUAL.

SplitHeadGirl Sat 29-Jun-13 22:03:07

Dione, are you serious?? There is a WORLD of difference between touching someone sexually and touching someone on the arm as a sign of friendship/affection.

Plus some people are just more tactile and demonstrative than others...should they be made to feel like unclean pariahs every time they try to show comradeship??

Little children who are never touched or held have been shown to demonstrate severe emotional disturbance. It is something that makes us human when we can reach out and hug someone, or offer a reassuring pat on the arm.

SplitHeadGirl Sat 29-Jun-13 22:05:19

Well said, Crumbled. I will NEVER respect ANY religious beliefs that upholds the ridiculous and revolting notion that women are inferior to men. And anyone who is deluded enough to believe that can get stuffed!!

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 29-Jun-13 22:14:14

I never said anything about being touched sexually.shock

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 22:17:53

Dione: do you just want to give your view on a religious belief that women are not equal - that is what seems to have gone on here, rather than what you are talking about.

SplitHeadGirl Sat 29-Jun-13 22:18:14

I know you didn't, but when people talk about no one has the right to touch you without your consent, that is the implication. Otherwise, some people would be mightily pissed off every day as people DO touch you and it is all well meaning.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 22:18:42

thanks would appreciate it

tungthai Sat 29-Jun-13 22:23:48

I don't like people touching me, it's worse when it's a touch from a male but I don't like women touching me either. Someone asked me why I recoil when touched, I didn't realise it was so obvious it's just my reaction.

Nothing bad as happened to me I just don't like physical contact from anyone who is not immediate family.

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 22:33:26

If you recoil from someone touching your arm then lets hope you don't have a major accident/ heart attack/ choke it require hospital treatment!!

Break it to you gently dear... You may need to be TOUCHED!!!

Grip have one,,,

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 22:33:48

I dont see how people think they are going to change all the religions of the world to suit themselves.
Perhaps they do?

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 22:34:48

I was going to say I will give you 1000 years. But I think it will take a lot longer than that.

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 22:35:57

I dont think for a minute that the mam's religion is Chistian.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 22:36:23

What yammy? I don't respect any such religion. I will vocalise against any attempt to make normalise these kind of behaviours or reintroduce them to a culture which left them behind a long time ago.

Do you respect a religion which treats women as inferior? Please tell me.

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 22:36:35

If a woman has a religion, I assume that can be violated too?

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 22:37:06

man's not mam's

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 22:38:46

Sorry yammy I don't know what you're talking about now, 1000 years and mams and stuff.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 22:39:46

Do you respect a religion that treats women as inferior to men?

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 22:40:05

Crumbled. I meant do you think you are going to change, actually, any religion? Even if you had 1000 years to do it in?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 22:41:19

What are you talking about?

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 22:42:18

I am a Christian Crumbled.
I believe in the bible
When in heaven, it seems that women and men are equal.
While on earth, I think the bible says that women are the weaker sex.
I try and do what the bible says.
I post sometimes on the philosphy board if you want to look at some of the things I say.

tungthai Sat 29-Jun-13 22:46:22

thebody, I'm perfectly happy to be touched when it is necessary. I'm even happy to be massaged by a beauty therapist.

I just don't like being hugged, patted on the arm or people massaging me because I "look stressed". It is unwelcome contact, I try not to show that I find it distasteful I just can't help how I feel.

I don't need to get a grip because I try to keep my feelings on the issue to myself.

pompeii Sat 29-Jun-13 22:48:53

The bible also says gay men should be put to death.

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 22:51:02

Not in the New Testament pompeii.

SplitHeadGirl Sat 29-Jun-13 22:59:09

Yams, as a Christian, you will know that Jesus is the ultimate Revelation. No one who comes after Him, including misogynists such as Mohammed and St Paul, can hold a candle to Him. NOWHERE did Jesus say, or even imply, that women are inferior to men. In fact, He chose women to be with Him as He died on the cross, and to witness His resurrection. Jesus was a rebel, and a crusader for women's rights (remember how He saved the life of the adulteress??)

I WISH people would follow the remarkable example of Jesus, instead of stupid religion.

MacaYoniandCheese Sat 29-Jun-13 23:00:39

How absolutely bizarre. I've never heard of the cultural/religious practice of recoiling in disgust at human touch nor the belief that women are 'unclean' but whatever that is, I pity the fact that people live in such a way. What about spontaneous gestures of affection, concern and care that occur in civilized human society every day? The touch of a friendly hand on yours to show support, the unexpected hug from an acquaintance, the gentle touch on the arm to say Thanks, the teacher who hugs a distraught child...

LandaMc Sat 29-Jun-13 23:06:42

I don't think you're unreasonable. This is the UK, where thank god it's perfectly normal to touch someone on the arm briefly when speaking to them. If he's so 'touchy' about it then he should keep an arms length away from women at all times. It's not your job to try to anticipate and police his religious feelings, it's his issue. I think his deliberate reaction was much more offensive than your accidental faux pas and I think he should have apologised to you rather than the other way around, particularly as he made you feel uncomfortable in front of others.

That said ,can't do anything about it now so I'd try to forget about it. Hopefully he is still frantically scrubbing himself somewhere...

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 29-Jun-13 23:07:57

It tickles me greatly that thesethreads always are full of posts railing against misogyny and the poor women oppressed by their religion, yet any Muslim women who do speak on here are ignored or accused or being brainwashed.

How can you claim to want to "help" people when you don't even respect them enough to listen to them?

This may be a shock to some here, there has been a lot written by Muslim woman on the pitfalls of colonial feminism and "white people oppressing brown men to "save" brown women"

There is a lot of frustration with groups of well intentioned (I'm being kind) non-Muslim women who want to "save" Muslim women without ever bothering to listen to them.

How is someone claiming, as they did on the linked thread, that Muslim women have "Stockholm Syndrome" helpful? Even worse on another thread was someone claiming that Muslim women shouldn't be allowed on threads about Muslim issues on Mumsnet as we were all brainwashed, so our contributions were pointless.

I don't believe any of you crowing about misogyny actually care about Muslim or Jewish women, this is all just about your own sense of superiority and sticking the boot into a soft target as any religious man (especially one a bit "foreign") is obviously dodgy. hmm

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 23:08:25

There are verses in Timothy and Corinthians on this matter, Split.
I can pm you them if you want me to.

yamsareyammy Sat 29-Jun-13 23:10:19

Very good post Gosh.

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 23:14:01

Tung, then your reaction isn't the same as the ops bloke was iso not really not relevant.

As for those ops who can't be touched??? Sad sad sad.

The op said the bloke in question Is a teacher? He needs to be sacked ASAP. My dd and her friends were badly injured on a school trip,male teachers saved their lives.

Our dds are unclean??? Are they?? Would this teacher have held back? TWAT/ bastard.

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 23:17:08

Oh and argue as an adult if you like, please don't quote crap on her, ie The Bibke , Koran Torah etc. it's a lazy reply

Grow up.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 23:19:40

Gosh - some women collude with FGM. Should we listen to them too and respect their beliefs? Does it tickle you to know that I don't?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 23:22:03

By the way Gosh it may also tickle you to know that I do think myself better than anyone who believes that women are lesser because they are women. I don't want my daughters to live in a country where I need to respect a view that they aren't.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 29-Jun-13 23:24:44

Did you know there are many woman working in communities afflicted by FGM that are working to stop it?

Throwing FGM out as a "gotcha" to shut me up proves my point exactly. You don't want to listen to Muslim women.

cardamomginger Sat 29-Jun-13 23:26:43

The cat - it's not that the husband of the Orthodox Jewish family you cleaned for thought you were unclean. It's that in this community, interaction between the sexes is strictly regulated and he will only have physical contact with his wife or immediate female relatives (mother, daughters). (Haven't read the whole thread, so apologies if this point has already been made.)

SplitHeadGirl Sat 29-Jun-13 23:27:57

Yams, that is STILL from Paul, a known misogynist!! And as Jesus was and IS the ultimate Revelation, you should maybe think more about HIS message (seeing as you are a CHRISTian and all)!!

SplitHeadGirl Sat 29-Jun-13 23:29:42

Don't worry about pm-ing me...I grew up within the most Catholic household you can imagine...I know more about religion and Jesus than most people put together. Plus I am a qualified RE teacher. So I think I know my theology, thanks all the same.

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 23:30:28


So would a male Muslim teacher have saved my dds life then?

He would have had to hold her as her bone was stuck through her thigh, reassure her with a massive head injury and hold her head as she was unconscious to ensure she could breathe!

You see you are 'tickled' great good for you. Take a reality check and answer my question.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 23:30:57

Good on them. So which Muslim women should we listen to? The ones defending discriminatory practices or the ones colluding with them? We have to ignore one group. Which group shall we decide to ignore? Shall we use our own judgement on what is right, in making that decision?

I'm afraid I wouldn't use a serious issue like FGM as a "gotcha" moment. I'm surprised you do.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 23:32:21

If my third sentence is confusing - try this - The one's fighting discriminatory practices or the ones colluding with them?

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 29-Jun-13 23:33:00

I'm not saying that anyone has to respect anyone's religion. They should respect another person's right to not wanted to be touched by you.

SplitHeadGirl Sat 29-Jun-13 23:35:33

Then Dione, WHY did he shake the man's hand???

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 23:36:37

If it's because of religion and a religious based view that a woman is inferior then it represents discrimination. Imagine not wanting to be touched by a disabled person because they are disabled. Actually I agree with the call for a reality check. Some people don't live in the real world.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 29-Jun-13 23:49:04

Thebody - I don't need a reality check thanks. The high number of Muslim healthcare workers (male and female) may give you a clue and also that teachers are duty bound to give first aid, regardless of faith ot gender may also answer your question.

Crumbled - someone calling you out doesn't mean they don't live in the same world as you.

Also you do know that FGM is cultural practice, not sanctioned by any religion and thus effects women who are Christian, Muslim and of other faiths. Hence my bafflement that you automatically assume that it' s a Muslim issue that most Muslim women defend.

SplitHeadGirl Sat 29-Jun-13 23:49:23

Crumbled, your posts are spot on. Well done!! Thanks for bringing common sense to a topic about religion!! smile

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 23:56:35

Calling me out? What are you talking about? I didn't assume FGM was a Muslim thing. YOU started talking about Muslim women. I don't think I even assumed the bloke in the OP is a Muslim. I'm not surprised you're baffled - I'm pretty baffled myself as I didn't say it. You did.

Yes, plenty of anti-feminist script in Christianity, plenty of anti-feminist (to say the least) issues in Hindu culture. Do you defend any of those anti-equality scripts or practices? Do you defend them in a Muslim culture? Do you defend a Muslim man recoiling in horror when a woman touches him, because she is a woman? Do you defend that? Do you defend it in a culture based on Hinduism or a culture based on Christianity?

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 29-Jun-13 23:57:14

aw thank you [flower] split, same to you as well

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 23:59:09

Gosh, no that's want the question though was it?

I asked you if you thought the man I'm the the ops thread, a teacher by the way, recoiling at a woman's touch would have 'manned up' enough to have saved my dds life.

Again what do you think?

Sorry cant feel I could trust him with my dd.

foreverondiet Sun 30-Jun-13 00:01:34

I think an Orthodox Jew who was so uncomfortable touching a women that he recoiled in disgust would be ultra orthodox and his clothing would make it obvious.... Further my understanding of the law was that it was even more forbidden to embarrass someone...

That all being said - a handshake is mutual whereas touching someone's arm isn't and best to avoid touching other people unless its mutual.

HoppinMad Sun 30-Jun-13 00:10:46

Thebody - sorry to hear about what your child went through but of course any muslim teacher from any sect or background would be obligated to save a life, be it a girl or a woman or a transgender!! The circumstances are totally different to the op's.
Islam teaches that to save one life is like saving humanity, it isn't such a rigid religion as most would like you to believe, and i am not preaching before i am accused, simply explaining.

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 30-Jun-13 00:13:09

Thebody - I think he would save her life as it is permitted religiously that you can touch the opposite sex when required e.g as a healthcare worker, or to provide first aid. You seem to have decided on the basis of the OP's one and only post that he wouldn't.

Crumbled - we only have the op's word that his reaction was so fervent. If the OP is right, I think the man's reaction was excessive and possibly he may have other issues with touch aside from religious/cultural rulings. Plenty of people on the thread have described their own aversion to unwanted touch.

thebody Sun 30-Jun-13 00:14:21

Hoppin, thank you for that reassurance.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 00:15:53

Are you suggesting the OP is lying?
Would you like to answer my questions about whether you defend discrimination based on religion?

jeanvaljean Sun 30-Jun-13 00:17:56

Gosh - sorry but you shouldn't be allowed to get away with implying that FGM is a common feature of Christian communities. A quick google will tell you otherwise...

In Islam FGM is widespread across both Sunni and Shia traditions. In Christianity there is absolutely no mainstream church or denomination would support such barbarism. Islamic theologians claim to find support for the practice in the Qur'an ('sunna' circumcision), but no Christian theologian claims biblical provenance. If FGM is practised by any Christian communities, it is undoubtedly obscure and heretical. That is plainly not the case within Islam, which alone in the West is advocating the practice.

HoppinMad Sun 30-Jun-13 00:21:08

Exactly gosh - how do we know he wasn't abused as a child and may react that way when touched unexpectedly. Ffs we could sit here and speculate til the cows come home but still not get any closer to.the real story behind it.

I doubt op will be back, but if she is stil reading this my suggestions would be to approach him, if it really has bothered her that much to speak to him about it and find out the real reason then come back and update thread

HoppinMad Sun 30-Jun-13 00:22:26

Jean - its mainly practiced in africa amongst the muslim and christian followers.

HoppinMad Sun 30-Jun-13 00:26:00

I am muslim and do not know of a single scholar well known or otherwise, who condones or encourages female circumcision. Maybe in Africa there are local imams etc but there is nothing authentic in the Quran or Ahadith which supports it.

cheerfulweather Sun 30-Jun-13 00:27:37

I wouldn't have liked it either, and I have no religious beliefs. I don't know if I'd have recoiled (I wouldn't), but I may have involuntarily flinched or shown surprise.

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 30-Jun-13 00:33:50

To add to Hoppin's post here is a quick overview on FGM and it's erroneous links to Islam:

It's from Forward, who are a v good UK based charity combating FGM.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 00:43:16

Gosh do you want to answer my questions? Do you defend discrimination based on religion? And do you seriously expect me to respect it if you do?

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 00:44:25

And you haven't answered my other question, about which Muslim women to listen to. You accuse people of not listening to "muslim women" but I'm afraid they're a disparate group. We have to ignore some Muslim women. How do we decide which to ignore? By using our own sense of right and wrong. Don't you agree?

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 00:47:55

Who is assuming this man is a Muslim? It looks very much like a religious-cultural recoil from a woman, in a professional environment. And Muslim women are here defending that, even to go so far as suggesting it's because he was abused as a child - when really it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and probably is a duck, in all likelihood ie a religious-cultural recoil from a woman in a professional environment. To use child abuse to defend discrimination, that's not really a great argument.

Wuldric Sun 30-Jun-13 00:48:51

The older I get, the more I think that most forms of religion exist purely and simply to oppress women.

HoppinMad Sun 30-Jun-13 01:13:04

Crumbled, sorry if I'm sounding naive but why should you ignore these women you are speaking of, who you disagree with? These women may be amongst the 'poor oppressed, brainwashed' party that so many women seem to pity on here. Perhaps you should listen to them, and if you still disagree then engage in a fruitful discussion/debate, educate them, bring them out of the depths of darkness and all that, instead of just ignoring and dismissing what they have to say. You really do think you are so superior.

Also no i didn't say he was abused, I said he may have been. Just speculating, same as everyone else really. Including you.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 01:24:50

Gosh wants me to "listen" to them, by which I did assume she meant respect their point of view. Well I can't respect the point of view of all of them. For example, as Gosh is happy to point up, some women collude with FGM, some women fight it. Which do you want to listen to and which to ignore? You can't agree with both views. Unless you think that all Muslim women have the same views about everything all the time? Btw I don't think that NOT assuming the OP is lying or wrong (me) is the same kind of speculation as using child abuse to defend discrimination (others).

Yes, I do, I just said, I think my belief in sexual equality is superior to a belief that women are lesser or unclean. Obviously. Who doesn't? Not you I hope.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 01:29:52

Hang on, with one breath you seem very critical that "I really do think I'm so superior" and ignoring women - yet with another you are urging me to "educate them and bring them out of the depths of darkness"? Your post doesn't make any sense. What are these depths of darkness to which you refer? A religious based discrimination perhaps? What do you think I'm saying here? I'm condemning it. Are you really saying you want me to go and find some Muslim women and educate them in this way and bring them out of the depths of darkness? But the two women on this thread who are Muslim seem to be arguing with me. Which does lead me to think it wouldn't be a very welcome "education" or "bringing out of the depths".

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 01:31:13

And who introduced Islam anyway? I didn't even assume this man was Muslim in the first place. There are plenty of cultures, and religious based cultures, where women are seen as second class citizens.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 01:34:53

That is the most anti-Muslim thing I think I've ever read, apart from a lot of old rubbish in a certain newspaper. "Educate them and bring them out of the depths of darkness". Hoppin, look, I'm sure you didn't mean it to come out the way it did. Do explain what you really meant to say, I will read it.

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 30-Jun-13 01:41:41

Crumbled - the part about educating them was sarcasm.

As for discriminatory practice's, it depends what you consider discriminatory. Not shaking hands with someone of the opposite sex is no big deal to me, but you seem to see it as some kind of outrage.

As for who mentioned Islam, AFAIK Islam and Judaism are the two religions with rules about touch and gender relations, so this is relevant to the thread.

I'm sure you would like keep this as a vaguely anti religions thread and you seem to be rather cross at being disagreed with. I'm not sure what is quite so baffling about Muslim feminists and/or Muslim human rights activists existing, crumbs a Muslim woman won the Nobel Peace Prize last year. There is a lot going on out there in the "real world" if you'd only care to look.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 01:50:12

"Perhaps you should listen to them, and if you still disagree then engage in a fruitful discussion/debate, educate them, bring them out of the depths of darkness and all that, instead of just ignoring and dismissing what they have to say."
This is not sarcasm.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 01:52:06

I must say Gosh I really need to know if you defend discriminatory practice on the grounds of religion. I need to know because if you do, I think that's so wrong that I wouldn't want to discuss it any more.

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 30-Jun-13 02:01:00

What do you consider to be discriminatory practices? Examples please.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 02:23:01

Er - we're discussing one. A man yelping and recoiling from a woman in a professional environment.

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 30-Jun-13 02:30:55

I've given my thoughts on that man's reaction - excessive and unnecessary, twice upthread!!

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 02:37:14

He did not want to touch her, or vice versa, because she's a woman. Do you defend that?

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 30-Jun-13 02:42:11

I have no problem with that. I have explained (endlessly) not touching the opposite sex does not come from thinking the opposite sex is unclean or inferior. It's just what is considered good manners and correct boundaries.

It is interesting how many people on this thread have spoken about their own thoughts on touching, so I feel it is right that people are entitled to their boundaries.

Buuut, you are convinced that there is a sinister intent to the "not touching the opposite gender practice" so I'm sure my words will have no effect.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 02:48:02

"Correct" boundaries? according to... whom? Correct boundaries to Muslims?

Plainly this man's reaction was not about good manners or "correct" boundaries. It was based on something different. What do you think yelping and recoiling are based on?

I do not want to see a culture of informal contact replaced by a culture of boundaries judged correct only according to a certain religious code.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 02:51:28

And will you please answer my question about which group we are to listen to - and how we decide who to listen to? Do we not make that decision according to our own moral principles?

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 30-Jun-13 02:58:13

I've discussed the yelping and such 3 times now!!! Are you a robot? I am answering your questions and you are not listening, just repeating the same questions at me.

Which "groups" do you think are out there? Do you think religious women can be neatly categorised into teams, or do you think you might have to do some reading and listening and take it from there.

mirry2 Sun 30-Jun-13 03:02:26

I touched a colleague on the upper arm as an impulsive and spontaneous expression of delight when we shared a particular success at work. I was very surprised and embarrassed when he recoiled at my touch and I'm quite wary of him now as I clearly misunderstood how close we'd been (not in a sexual way, but as colleagues with a very close working relationship)

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 03:05:22

What do you think it was based on? A view of women as inferior? I do. Why does he have that view? Do you think it is anything to do with his religion, or rather his upbringing and culture. That would mean the non-touching is part of his religion, but the yelping part of his upbringing. Do you agree?

No I don't think that. I made the point that "Muslim women", who you said we should listen, are disparate with disparate views. We have talked about two groups, for example. Women who fight FGM and women who collude. You say we should listen to Muslim women (your words). So who do we listen to and who do we ignore?

FFS - Jedi, Catholic, Scientologist, Muslim, Hindu, Humanist, Agnostic, Atheist.


If anyone recoiled from my touch I would wonder what the fuck was going on in their head.

& then I'd feel a bit sad for them.

lustybusty Sun 30-Jun-13 06:17:04

crumbled maybe you'll listen to someone else... I think what gosh is trying to say is that we should listen to both fighters and colluders of FGM, as who knows, when listening to someone support it, you might find someone who needs help. Ignoring them won't just make it go away. (Gosh hope ive got that right, if not i apologise)
And as for "correct boundaries", not correct boundaries decided by Muslims, or Jews, or blacks, whites or sky-blue-pinks, boundaries decided by ME. MY body, my rules. I decide that, as I've known you a while, and like you, that a hug on meeting is fine. I approach you with arms outstretched. You reciprocate. All is lovely. Or you look horror struck and back away. I don't assume you think I'm "unclean" I assume that I'm invading/about to invade YOUR boundaries. Not the ones set by your parents/religion/culture/aliens that abducted you, but YOU!!

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 06:54:05

There is too much self-contradiction. This is from Goth.

Any Muslim women who do speak on here are ignored or accused or being brainwashed. How can you claim to want to "help" people when you don't even respect them enough to listen to them?

Firstly, I have not, "not listened" to Muslim women. Gosh is talking about listening, however, as according respect. I do not respect a view that women are lesser than men, wherever it comes from - even a Muslim woman. I am not going to respect that view. It doesn't mean I don't hear it. Of course I hear it: I know about it: but you can't use "listen" as "hear", and "listen" as "respect", and flip back and forth between the two. If you mean hear, yes, I hear the voice, I read the view: if you talk about listen as "respect", no I don't respect that view. I've said that, and you can't then turn that around and say I'm not listening to the view, just because you used the word in two different ways.

Goth also wrote this:

This may be a shock to some here, there has been a lot written by Muslim woman on the pitfalls of colonial feminism and "white people oppressing brown men to "save" brown women".

If you are talking about "colonial feminism" in this country, it's not colonial feminism at all. It's feminism and equality under the law. Women have worked (extremely) hard for it and I don't want to see it undermined.

There is a lot of frustration with groups of well intentioned (I'm being kind) non-Muslim women who want to "save" Muslim women without ever bothering to listen to them.

Because Goth used "listen" as "respect" earlier, I took her to mean "respect" here. I have listened, and read: if the view is that women should be submissive to men, or cover themselves to save men from sexual urges, or should be segregated from men, or should marry people they don't want to, or should have their genitals cut, I don't respect it. I think you are projecting on to me the views of other, unnamed people.

We should listen to both fighters and colluders of FGM, as who knows, when listening to someone support it, you might find someone who needs help. Ignoring them won't just make it go away.

So damned if I do and damned if I don't. Damned for ignoring them and not helping, or damned for "helping"? (how?) so falling into the trap of what Gosh calls "colonial feminism".

I don't belong to a religion which holds these views. It's up to men and women who have these views to respect gender equality under the law, and if anyone needs to fight these views, the people in the best position to do so are women within the communities. What I can do, is say I don't respect those views. I can say I expect people to respect the culture and laws of equality. And that's what I've done.

lustybusty Sun 30-Jun-13 07:23:57

Now you see, I'm just reading "listen" as "listen". You can respect someone and listen to what they have to say, even if you completely disagree what they are saying. I respect people, not religions/colours/opinions. I can listen to one of my bosses say that a woman's place is in the home having babies and there is no way a woman is capable of doing a technical job. Obviously he is talking out of his arse, but I can still afford the respect of listening to him. Who knows, he might have a valid reason for his gross generalisation. (A woman doing a technical job ballsed up and lost him his job, therefore all women must not do technical jobs. In much the same way that one man who was <insert religion of choice here> and didn't like to be touched by a woman, therefore all men of <insert religion here> must think women are unclean and inferior)

lustybusty Sun 30-Jun-13 07:30:47

Oh and my use of "help" ^^ was not necessarily "remove knife and save a life" it was more of a "if you listen to that one person talk, who you do not respect because of views they have held all their life, you may find that you can offer an alternative view that they might never even have considered". I have held views all my life, because of my culture, my family and the area I grew up in. These things don't get questioned or challenged unless you move away or meet someone with radically different views who is willing to listen (hear words, process words), and someone asks "why do you do that?" Then you start to think, and maybe change your mind. But you would never have realised that there are other ways of doing something/seeing things unless someone had pointed them out. (And these "you"s are general, not specific btw)

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 07:43:08

Sorry Gosh I got your name wrong.

Again, Lusty you are using words in two different words and conflating their uses. In this case, respecting a view and respecting a person. Respect itself means a number of different things, as you know. If you think it means, listen attentively when they are spouting sexist crap at you, we disagree.

Lusty, you talked about disagreeing with a view (about women). Not only do I disagree with the view, I don't accord the view any respect. None whatsoever, not a shred. Do you respect the view that people with disabilities are inferior, or Black people? I'm sure you don't. You not only disagree with it, you don't respect it. Well, maybe you do respect it, but I wouldn't normally accuse people of respecting such a view and I don't do it here. Do you respect a person who voices those views? I doubt it. So I do not respect a view that women are inferior and I never will. If you think someone has a valid reason for thinking that no woman can do technical jobs, because one woman ballsed up a technical job, we are light years apart in our opinions here. If you think I am basing my view, by the way, on the OP of this thread - you are not correct. For example, senior Muslim is so concerned he asked five hundred mosques to preach a sermon against grooming and a distorted view of women. Should I not listen to him?

"if you listen to that one person talk, who you do not respect because of views they have held all their life, you may find that you can offer an alternative view that they might never even have considered... These things don't get questioned or challenged unless you move away" Are you not moving dangerously close to the accusation from Gosh that well-meaning outsiders believe Muslim women have been brainwashed or have Stockholm Syndrome?

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 07:43:27

Two different WAYS

lustybusty Sun 30-Jun-13 08:26:27

I suspect we have different ideas about respect (or I'm not making much sense, which is possible). What I'm about to say may come across as patronising, which it is no way how it is meant to be, but with only text, it's often difficult to convey meaning...
For me, respect is like politeness I guess. It's given until consistently proven wrong, then removed, and rarely given back. I still respect the "person" who said that women shouldn't have technical jobs. I disrespect the attitude. I disagree with that stance, he knows I disagree, we have agreed to disagree. He is still polite, well mannered and good at his job. If he was an arse to me, and was bad at his job, then i would not respect the person. Should I not respect him for one bullshit attitude? The same for disrespect towards people with disabilities, of a different colour or of a different religion. I may (and do!) tell people that being racist makes them an arse, but I don't then ignore everything they say, just because they have this one, woefully ignorant, opinion.
I don't think this man has a "valid reason" for saying that women shouldn't be in technical jobs, but I do understand why he thinks that. In much the same way that I think all men from <the home town of my stepdad> are self centred, arrogant twats, I base that view on my experience of one man. I know it's not true, but it does colour my judgement. I wish it didn't, but it does. However, it doesn't change my behaviour towards these men. I still treat them as normal human beings (unless they prove otherwise).
Finally, I do not agree with the brainwashing/Stockholm syndrome accusation, but I do believe in not knowing something is wrong unless you are told otherwise. In the 70s (? Before my time, not sure on dates) we were told that smoking was good for us. We (a population) believed it, because people we believed/trusted/respected told us so. Now, because we have been told differently, we know better. If my father/rabbi/doctor/insert person of trust here, has told me all my life that women are inferior/black people are unclean/Chinese people smell/people with disabilities have been disrespectful to god and deserve them (none of which I believe, I must add!) then how would I know any different unless someone tells me otherwise?? If someone continues to believe these things, after having had them pointed out, I would (privately) roll my eyes and think they were a lot bit crazy. If their attitude, based on their life "knowledge" (teachings of father/doctor/rabbi/immam) caused me distress I would ignore (disrespect) them. If, however, in my company, they were not racist/sexist/disablist, then I would continue to associate (respect) with them.

yamsareyammy Sun 30-Jun-13 08:48:22

Split, if you know the bible, then you will know that you are scriptually wrong.
I can quote verses at you, but you know them already.

yamsareyammy Sun 30-Jun-13 08:51:11

CrumbleWalnuts, do you think you can take a person's religion away from them?

yamsareyammy Sun 30-Jun-13 08:54:40

Crumbled. Am I reading you right.
If you dont respect what a person does or believes, you ride roughshod over it and them?
You cant have many friends or family members left you approve of, do you.

i'm butting in to the conversation again, as it's taken a turn towards what people believe and think, values they hold etc. Someone upthread said that to listen to someone does not equate nodding your head. You can still disagree and offer a point of view that differs. It may give them food for thought and turn things around. I know that's happened to me in discussions, and I know that things I've said have afforded people a new think.
My mother works in education, teaching young people from many parts of the world. It's language teachingprimarily, but she realised that to join the society successfully their are many other things they need to learn. many of the young men from muslim countries have views on women that do not sit well in a culture where women are not regarded as the weaker sex. My mother educate both the young men and young women about this.
Another big issue was that the immigrants from Nepal were low caste and had been taught by the ruling class to fear ghosts. It was discussed at great lenghts in class, and gradually this fear dropped away. They said it was a great liberation for them.
This is how I see it, not some colonial oppression thing to, but a way to liberation for people.
My mother is christian, but in her workplace religion is a private matter.
I'm not religious, and we do have discussions on the matter. For both of us the right to equality trumps religious convention.

HoppinMad Sun 30-Jun-13 09:26:54

No of course all women dont have the same views, be they Muslim or not. Women are individuals who have the right to their own pov. FGM is an extreme example to use because the majority of muslim women condemn it and the small minority who practise know it is wrong which is why it isnt spoken of publicly. I do believe when gosh said 'to listen to them' she meant on other issues, like in this thread hand shaking, or for eg headscarf,halal slaughter or whatever else has been discussed on this forum in the past. Not extreme examples which are not even debatable like FGM, because I am pretty sure nobody would admit to agreeing with that.

Gosh is right about my depths of darkness comment, I couldn't help injecting a little sarcasm into that paragraph after reading comments about the poor oppressed women/brainwashed women with their antiquated views, who are clearly in the wrong!

I really have said what i wanted on the matter and I feel the thread is going around in circles now, so to conclude - some men do not want to be touched for religious or cultural reasons, and some women do not want to be randomly touched by some man be it a colleague or not, but you seem to think this is religious discrimination, as you feel your belief of a mans/woman right to touch outweighs the right or belief of an individual not wanting to be touched. Why? Why is it hard for you to respect another persons wishes be they based on religion or personal preference? There is an air of superiority in your posts which you obviously fail to see.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 09:30:52

Yammy, I'm sorry I don't understand your posts at all. Lusty, we probably do have different ideas of respect. If someone says to me they believe someone with a disability is inferior, I don't just disagree with the view, I don't just not respect the view, I don't respect the person. And I won't listen to them with politeness. I will say - you're wrong, and leave them to it. I don't have it in me to explain the myriad of reasons why that person is wrong, it is so blatantly and obviously wrong, and I have no wish to start a conversation with someone telling me why I'm wrong and why people with disabilities are inferior. If everybody did that they might start to rethink their position. If people validate their views by listening to them and taking them seriously - well that would not have a happy ending.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 30-Jun-13 09:32:43

What is out of order, hopping, is for someone to make someone else feel bad for no reason at all except some stupid, antiquated, groundless belief they are inferior. That's wrong. All this talk around it justifies that.

yamsareyammy Sun 30-Jun-13 09:53:35

I will give you the benefit of the doubt about not understanding Crumbled, this time and last night.
If you say that lots of times, then no.

fuzzywuzzy Sun 30-Jun-13 10:37:43

At the end of the conversation, did OP offer her hand to shake? How was that received?

There's a lot of conjecture, that the man was repulsed by her uncleanliness or sex or regligion or skin colour or whatever, I know I'd be startled if in the middle of conversation someono took it upon themselves to touch me, my invluntary reaction would be to flinch. I have worked all my life in the UK, people don't go round randomly touching other people even in thanks, you proffer your hand to shake then it's up to the receiver to accept the hand and shake it.

BTW the man could have been eithe Muslim or Jewish both do not touch unrelated females and the women are the same they do not touch unrelated males.

The slight is all in OP's head, he never told her he considered her unclean he went on speaking to her, the poor man had actually helped OP out, I hope he steers well clear of the crazy OP in future who see personal insults in every inflection.

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 30-Jun-13 10:52:20

Crumbled are you seriously saying that if someone invades your personal space and touches you unexpectedly you have to be ok with that?

I, and plenty of others here are certainly not ok with unsolicited touching for many reasons. Paws off people.

Boomba Sun 30-Jun-13 12:03:16

crumbled I am interested to hear what you think would be a satisfactory solution here?

I understand that ideally the man in question would have no objections to OP touching him. He does have objections;

so next best is to moderate his response to being unexpectedly touched. Im as certain as I can be that jumping and yelping, was not his premeditated response of preference and it was his knee jerk response of suprise.... you think he should apologise to OP? How do you think this should play out?

FWIW I think a hand waving gesture in response to OPs apology was a 'no apology needed' type gesture. I would have interpreted as an acknowledgement that he had overreacted/jump in response to the 'touching'.

Moominsarehippos Sun 30-Jun-13 12:13:44

Its more likely a personal intepretation of religion maybe?

I used to be on a committee at work where we had a group of islamic mullahs, scholars and experts in sharia law (we were creating an islamic financial product). We were not sure how the women in the team would be treated and is was absolutely fine. They shook our hands and spoke to us as equals.

There was just the one we didn't want to shaoe hands with but used to sit picking the wax out of his ears with his fingernails and for obvious reasons, we didn't really want to shake his hand.

The most 'hands off' I've heard of have been from Jewish men.

I really don't like all the kissy kissy stuff though. DS has a lot of french pals and I really don't like being smackerooed by blokes (and women) I barely know!

fwiw I second moomins view re french smackerooing. It does my head in, and how do you know if it's 2,3 or 4 kisses?
I'll do a very scandinavian stand offish type thing from now on, and proffer my hand at least 5 steps away to avoid it.
Apart from that I'm good with the touching upper arms business.
I also have no problem if anyone simply do not do touching as a personal choice, but as has been pointed out, then it should suffice to just explain it nicely afterwards. If the toucher then were to insist on arm patting or back holding or what have you ,they would be in the wrong imo.
If it has to do with religious convictions of uncleanliness which have nothing what so ever to do with the actual situation, then I think it's ridiculous.

crashdoll Sun 30-Jun-13 14:21:26

Typical MN making this about misogyny. hmm It's actually about men and women not becoming attracted to each other a.) out of marriage and b.) to remove temptation once they are married. People can ease off with the anti-Muslim diatribe too - orthodox Jews won't touch people of the opposite gender either.

I also don't need anyone's pity because I don't wish to be touched nor I do need therapy. My body is my own and not to be touched without my permission.

The "We Believe You" campaign was not so long ago. Is it beyond comprehension that many women and men have had very bad experiences of unwanted touching and wish to establish very clear boundaries?

EmmelineGoulden Sun 30-Jun-13 14:33:00

So crashdoll - if I recoiled when a lesbian touched me but happily turned round and shook the hand of a straight woman, would that be OK? Sounds damn rude to me.

Not wanting to be touched by anyone is a bit socially awkward in our current culture, but it isn't rude in the way discriminating between two people is.

crashdoll Sun 30-Jun-13 14:44:11

Why can't you just respect another person's culture is the bottom line?! Are you that arrogant to think that your feelings trump someone's religion?

EmmelineGoulden Sun 30-Jun-13 14:58:35

Am I arrogant enough to think my feelings trump someone's religion? Yes. I don't think religion is a defence for actions that are unkind.

I can't just accept that another persons culture is the bottom line because there are lots of things that have been culturally and religiously acceptable at diffrent times and in different places that horrify most people nowadays. I'm glad people faught against those practices and positions, I'm not going to sit back and accept injustice and discrimination just because lots of people find it acceptable.

Moominsarehippos Sun 30-Jun-13 15:05:48

In our church you do whole shaking hands/kissing on the cheek thing. Nothing to do with physical attraction.

Any religion that says you can't touch or look at a member of the opposite sex in case they are unclean in some way, or likely to drive you to the heights of lust is puting a bit too emphasis on carnality. It usually puts one gender on the back foot with regards to what they do, where they go, what they wear, etc and no guesses which gender ends up with the short end of the stick, or the most rules and regulations.

I don't lust after random blokes or am driven to mad passion if a friend kisses me on the cheek or gives my arm a squeeze.

It cuts both ways - I won't put my hand an the arm of someone who - know would feel uneasy about it, if by the same tolken they won't squeal and rub themselves down with a brillo pad, assuming I am one step away from seducing them.

Why is it so hard for someone to just think 'bloody touchy/feely brits/christians/french' and shrug it off as not a deliberate come-on? Or even take a deep breath and explain why this is something that makes them feel awkward.

Some 'rules' are very difficult not get get insulted by - so having to pull a whole batch of paper cups from the bottom one only and not handle any others, then hand it to someone who selects one from the middle that you haven't possible have contaminated. Now that's a hard one to smile and nod to.

Of course there are people who just don't like being touched, for whatever reason and it isn't always obvious. Again, "please don't".

In the OPs case the touched man went on to shake another man's hand with no problems. I'm assuming the OP wasn't in Saudi or other country where the no touching rule generally applies? What if the OP was a black man and had the same reaction?

Snog Sun 30-Jun-13 15:09:35

I would touch women like this at work but not men OP
Recoiling from social touch does seem rude to me though

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Sun 30-Jun-13 15:13:00

Is anyone else really hoping for a man to start a thread about how he touched a women who recoiled but she didnt yelp as that would be over egging it and he is a bit hurt by it?

I wonder what the replies would be like......

Moominsarehippos Sun 30-Jun-13 15:15:22

If you're at work and are left hanging at a handshake as the crickets chirp then that would be awful.

I'm not a touchy touchy person naturally. We scots aren't by nature. I can't remember being hugged or kissed as a child (I realise how sad that sounds). However I have mainly mainland european friends and its rubbed off a bit but I don't lunge at colleagues or aquaintances! Although even my muslin relatives will pop an arm around my shoulder and jig it when having a joke or taking the mickey out of me.

jacks365 Sun 30-Jun-13 15:24:51

If the op had offered her hand to shake and it had been refused then he'd shaken another mans hand then I would say he was wrong but you can't compare a hand shake and a touch on the arm as I said earlier I'm happy to shake hands but hate being touched otherwise.

The op has been looking for a reason why he flinched and assumed it was due to religion and that he viewed her as unclean, she's admitted that it never occurred to her that he just wasn't happy to be touched. It was suggested that she ask him rather than making assumptions and until we know for sure that is what everyone else is doing too.

Irrespective of religion or culture my right to refuse to be patted on the arm by anyone overrides anyone else's feelings,

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 30-Jun-13 15:55:14

YY TheToys.

Emmeline your right to have your feelings unhurt certainly doesn't trump my right to decide who touches my body.

thebody Sun 30-Jun-13 16:15:20

It was a pat On the arm not a pinch in the bum.

Quite frankly if this had happened to me op be it from a man or a woman I would have been hurt and angry.

Totally ott.

larrygrylls Sun 30-Jun-13 16:54:41

It is always humorous when two sets of right-on left wing beliefs co-exist in the same thread. This one is the "bodily integrity is all" belief and the "all cultural/religious beliefs should be respected, no matter how weird or what the intention of the transgressor is" belief.

The reality is that a polite touch to reinforce a point is in no sense rude and it is the intention that matters. Non extreme versions of all religions allow exceptions for accidents or those who do not know the religious code. I bet (although I do not know for a fact) that no moderate Muslim man would object to an innocent touch on the arm from a non believer in a work context.

The OP politely touched a colleague to reinforce a point. He responded rudely. Her intention was good. He could see that and chose to ignore it. That is rude. End of.

yamsareyammy Sun 30-Jun-13 17:52:55

It isnt as simple as saying that it is intention that matters.
The op knew how the man was about being touched. But she touched him anyway. So what was her intention?

larrygrylls Sun 30-Jun-13 17:57:14

She didn't. Read the thread.

yamsareyammy Sun 30-Jun-13 18:04:14

Have you read the op?

merrymouse Sun 30-Jun-13 19:12:14

Has anybody considered that they might have been standing on nylon carpet and perhaps the OP gave her colleague an electric shock???

Moominsarehippos Sun 30-Jun-13 19:34:42

He did yelp. I have never made a grown man yelp!

I don't think we know where the OP is. If she's in the UK Mr Yelp would know full well that culturally, touching an arm is ok. I wonder what the kids thought.

If she's in somewhere like Saudi, ok not such a good idea but it's the other side of the coin for those saying 'give his culture a break'.

Electric shock theory is funny though! Unless she crept up behind him and jumped on him. That's the only thing that makes DS yelp.

defuse Sun 30-Jun-13 23:37:36

Love the electric shock theory. grin

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 30-Jun-13 23:50:48

It's always sad when people dress up bigotry as feminism.sad

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 01-Jul-13 01:34:15

Even sadder when they attach it to a fairy in the sky.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 01-Jul-13 07:09:30

Plain wrong to defend bigotry with religion. Any woman should be embarrassed and ashamed to do so.

Moominsarehippos Mon 01-Jul-13 11:38:46

Especially religions that profess to treat women equally (which does imply that they are 'other') all brother/sisterhood etc.

Jesus touched lepers and prostitutes!

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