sexual advances - the big question

(458 Posts)
BramshawHill Sun 03-Mar-13 10:47:20

BBC the big question is currently discussing whether sexual advances should be accepted as a part of life.

The first speaker has said it weakens men and women if women complain about it every time, and that it IS a part of life.

Anyone else watching? Thoughts?

First time posting, hello btw!

StickEmUp Sun 03-Mar-13 10:59:38

Hi!

Am watching. Tired of women saying it happens both sides. Of course it does.

Im still formulating my views so far.
Will be back, im sure.

BertieBotts Sun 03-Mar-13 11:02:05

I'm not watching as I don't have a TV Licence. What is meant by "sexual advances"? Do they mean a simple kind of hopeful flirting/suggestion kind of thing? In which case I don't see a problem with that at all. If they're talking sexual harrassment (even a one off harrassment) then obviously that's different.

StickEmUp Sun 03-Mar-13 11:06:25

Bertie, it was a bit ambiguous in title which i found a bit stupid.
I agree.

Man: hi, can i buy you a drink?
Woman: no thanks.
Man: okay bye bye.

This is acceptable.

What isn't acceptable is the offerer not taking no for an answer.

Some lady thought its up to us to be ale to say no in a stronger way. She was a dick. She said it was part of life and we should be better equipped to deal with it.

Well, in so many words. But that is what she meant.

It was great to see the everyday sexism founder on there.

She was fucking awesome. As were a couple of other women who were there from other organisations.

BramshawHill Sun 03-Mar-13 11:21:37

I liked the last (I think) speaker, a man raising a girl and 2 boys who said he was teaching the boys to respect girls, not teaching his daughter to put up with it.

And by sexual advances, I think they did mean everything - assault and harrassment was certainly mentioned but the title of the segment was literally 'are sexual advances a part of life?' so I'm not sure if some audience members were only thinking about flirting/propositions and basing comments on that, if you see what I mean.

StickEmUp Sun 03-Mar-13 11:25:17

It was are unwanted advances part of life, not sexual.

StickEmUp Sun 03-Mar-13 11:26:04

Rather that was the actual title. Sexual advances were the theme though, sorry typing on ipad is stupid lol, just putting laptop on to elaborate on my thoughts.

meditrina Sun 03-Mar-13 11:26:18

The element of the subjective complicates this (a bit) as one person's flirtation might be another person's harassment.

But there's a clear solution to both - if recipient of advances says no, the requester STOPS. Give a maximum of two minutes for the requester get mind round this, and change gear mentally to realise it's a no. Requester does not try again.

StickEmUp Sun 03-Mar-13 11:35:57

med yes true. Like I say, if I was the subject of 'can I buy you a drink/take you out' etc I would accept this as a part of life, it's how people get together.
I am married, with someone and would say no.

I would expect them to walk away, or whatever but not keep on about it.

Back to the title, the debate after was sexual but it was 'unwanted advances'.

If someone asked me out, it would be unwanted. In THAT context, yes it's part of my life.
Repeated nags from the same person should not be confused with innocent advances.
That should NOT be a part of life, and outright gropes as part of the 'flirting' process should not be either.

What also worried me was the focus on women having the power to say no, not the man to be able to walk away from a knock back.

Again, I guess the genders could be reversed.

The debate was discussing the woman being the reciever of unwanted advances however.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 03-Mar-13 12:06:39

Re the OP - which woman EVER has complained about sexual advances "every time"? That's just exaggeration by the speaker mentioned.

StickEmUp Sun 03-Mar-13 12:10:55

Did you see it too? She was such a .. I can't think of a proper word.
I think she was trying to play devils advocate but did it incredibly badly.
Very victim blaming. but subtly. that's the danger

Only a very silly individual would take offence at someone politely offering them a drink or asking them to dance in a social situation. After all, if people are going to start relationships, however casual, someone has to make the initial move and plenty of time, an advance is in fact welcome.

The problem lies with the idiots who have no idea of boundaries and no perception that other people and their feelings matter. If you initiate a conversation with someone and s/he is not responsive or actually tells you to go away, it's hardly rocket science to understand that your approach is unwelcome and to go away, after all.

AbigailAdams Sun 03-Mar-13 12:27:13

"What also worried me was the focus on women having the power to say no, not the man to be able to walk away from a knock back." I didn't see it but yes this is a problem. The unacceptable behaviour is a man not walking away from a no yet the solution is to try and make women deal with that rather than tackling that behaviour?? A trick of the patriarchy - keep the focus on women's behaviour and men can carry on behaving as they always have.

<and that is the second time I have written that today. One of those days!>

MooncupGoddess Sun 03-Mar-13 12:32:10

I haven't heard the news item in question... but it sounds like it relies on a very old-fashioned understanding of how sexual relationships begin - that is, initiated by men pressing their attentions on women when they have no idea if the woman is interested or not.

In reality most relationships begin with both the man and woman in question displaying subtle signs of interest until one party grasps the nettle and makes a move. Any man (or woman) who makes a sexual move without having a sense of whether it's likely to be reciprocated is either naive or predatory. It's generally quite easy to tell the difference as the naive ones are mortified at being turned down and learn from their mistake.

Also, any decent man in a position of power would be very careful indeed not to put a woman he fancied into an awkward situation.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 03-Mar-13 12:48:28

YY Mooncup

BubblesOfBliss Sun 03-Mar-13 15:00:32

Agree Mooncup

larrygrylls Mon 04-Mar-13 10:00:06

Surely it is a spectrum?

There is a polite advance which can be either accepted or declined. There is being a little pushy, which strays into bad manners but is not a matter for reporting to employers or police but dealing with strongly. And finally there are men who cannot take no for an answer or make a pass in a way which is threatening. These people should be reported and dealt with.

As long as men are expected to make the first move (which by and large they still are), there has to be some latitude for clumsiness or stupidity. Not every man is going to be Mr Sensitive, after all, especially after a few drinks. And something defined as unacceptable has to be the same definition for all men. So, you cannot say a behaviour exhibited by an attractive man is charming but exhibited by an obese unattractive man is harrassment. I agree with Mooncup that flirtation should escalate from very subtle upwards, with both parties able to read the signals that the other is giving out. It is just not realistic, though, to say that any deviation from this model is "unacceptable". Most women (and men) have dealt with inappropriate advances from the opposite sex in a robust enough way to have their intentions understood, but without feeling it is overly traumatic.

I really don't buy some of the recent political claims which emerge 10 years later of women being distraught because a man made a clumsy pass at them at a dinner party, regardless of his position relative to hers.

namechangeguy Mon 04-Mar-13 10:09:57

Isn't it persistence that is the problem, rather than the act itself? We need a 'one strike and you're out' rule for this stuff.

KRITIQ Mon 04-Mar-13 13:28:31

I don't have a tv so didn't see the programme, but followed tweets about it. It's a religious/ethics type programme, so I think the producers try to frame questions and issues to fit within that, resulting in some considerable awkwardness!

One tweet during the programme was along the lines of, "why do we spend so much time teaching young people they must say no without teaching them that they must accept no?" I think THIS is a big part of the problem.

If you start a conversation with someone (whether because of romantic interest, brokering a business deal or just to pass the time at a bus stop,) you probably won't know what's going on for them and whether they will welcome the approach or see it as an annoyance, intrusion or even a threat. You have to be prepared to accept an outcome different from the one you hope for.

Women and girls know from experience whether they say a firm "no," ignore, be rude or be polite, it can still result in abuse from the bloke if he doesn't get the response he wants. I think "miscommunication" is a total red herring here.

Also, if you read the #everydaysexism hashtag on Twitter, you will see example after example of incidents where it is clear the man's purpose in approaching the woman or girl was to intimidate or abuse. What they want isn't a friendly conversation, or a date or necessarily, even sex. What they want is to see a woman or girl frightened and hurt. No crossed wires about it.

MooncupGoddess Mon 04-Mar-13 14:14:10

I agree that there is a spectrum when it comes to men's suavity of approach to a woman they're interested in having a relationship with. Though that doesn't excuse men who are aggressive or gropey, both behaviours which suggest they don't see the woman as an equal human being.

But powerful men who grope subordinates or try to lure them to a hotel room is quite a different matter. Sometimes they are trying to intimidate them, as Kritiq says; sometimes they are quite clearly motivated by the desire to demonstrate their power and don't care (or indeed are gratified) if the victim is made uncomfortable. Powerful men are not stupid; they have got where they are by being very good at reading situations and taking advantage of them.

I imagine, Larry (though correct me if I'm wrong), that you have never been in a situation where an older, more senior person in your line of work has groped you or invited you to have casual sex. And therefore that you have never experienced the resulting, split-second train of thought: 'Oh GOD. This is horrible. I need to get away, but what if he gets angry - will it scupper my promotion/I really need this deal/he could humiliate me by saying he was just joking and I have no sense of humour'.

I'm also annoyed by all the comments mocking women for being 'distraught' at their treatment by this type of men. I haven't seen any of the women who've spoken up talk about how distraught they are (and none of them have compared their treatment to Jimmy Savile's crimes - another media straw man). What these women are saying or implying is simply that powerful men should not behave like this, and that if they do there should be repercussions. And they're right.

slug Mon 04-Mar-13 15:06:56

Don't forget that frequently in addition to the risk to promotion women have to factor in the fallout if they do make a comment. It's not just immediate. That man may well be the person who provides a reference. In small professions, powerful men can easily make it known a young woman is "difficult" and scupper their chance of ever working in that profession again. That's potentially years of investment in an education, training and career building down the drain the minute he runs his hand up your leg.

And, of course, what larry probably wouldn't consider is every time a man makes an unwanted advance women have to do a calculation. What will happen if I refuse? Is this likely to get violent? A version of this is going through her head the entire time.

There's also there fact that there are times when you just don't want someone making a social advance, sexually-motivated or not. When you are reading or working on your laptop, for instance. When your'e in a funeral parlour or doctor's surgery. When you are moving a heavy piece of equipment, or trying to fix something delicate and fiddly.
Yet there are some men who just don't seem to be able to comprehend that anything a woman is doing matters - they really do see women as available to men at any time and therefore get all arsey at a perfectly civil request to go away.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 04-Mar-13 15:31:38

KRITIQ that is a great point about teaching to accept no.

SirEdmundFrillary Mon 04-Mar-13 15:36:45

I can't see it's that difficult a question to answer, is it?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 04-Mar-13 15:40:20

Drinking in a work context is rarely exempt from professional "rules" such as not swearing when chatting with your boss when you might cheerfully swear at the pub with mates etc.

Most people manage to contain their drinking when out with work to ensure they don't impact their careers. Larry, was your point re a few drinks impacting "sensitivity" meant to be in a professional context?

AnyFucker Mon 04-Mar-13 18:01:39

Slug, that is a great blog post you linked to

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 04-Mar-13 18:34:19

Larry, re claims emerging 10 years later...

Lots of women don't bother to report as they don't think anything will be done. When one person does report and it's publicised, then they think it's worth reporting as something is being done/they realise it was something there should have been a process on and not just "shit we have to live with."

I don't think it's that different to some other situatuons eg Someone tried to snatch my purse on a bus once. I knocked it out of his hand and didn't report. If I'd seen a poster shortly after saying "please report thefts on the no 23 as there's been a spate recently", I would have done so.

Additionally, in this particular case, I think some women did report to other MPs etc at the time.

You seem doubtful that an actual incident is behind their reporting now. What do you think is behind it, then?

FastidiaBlueberry Mon 04-Mar-13 19:00:37

"So, you cannot say a behaviour exhibited by an attractive man is charming but exhibited by an obese unattractive man is harrassment. "

Why not?

If the behaviour exhibited by the attractive man is welcome, then it's not harassment. It's harassment if it's unwelcome and it continues even though it's been made clear that it's unwelcome.

Unattractive men are incredibly resentful of the fact that women will allow attractive men liberties we won't allow them. Get over it. It's our choice who we accept advance from, we have the right to find attractive men charming and unattractive men repellent.

FastidiaBlueberry Mon 04-Mar-13 19:07:42

That Toby Young thing, about how they wouldn't have minded if it was George Clooney, was really indicative of a misogynist's view of women - if we fuck one man, we have to fuck them all. Because we have NO RIGHT to choose which men we fuck. Because it's NOT FAIR that George Clooney and Hugh Grant and Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt are more attractive than Toby Young and more women want to sleep with them. After all, he has a dick too, and it needs to be attended to by women (who are after all, there to attend to dicks in between domestically servicing men) just as much as handsome men's dicks.

They forget that outside of patriarchy, many male mammals never get to mate.

And then they try and tell us that patriarchy is naycher.

Nobbers.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 04-Mar-13 19:17:59

Thanks FB. That's captured the point really well.

FastidiaBlueberry Mon 04-Mar-13 19:28:33

It says everything - fucking everything about the way misogynists feel so entitled about women, that attitude.

You find George Clooney attractive? Well then, you've got no right to turn me down.

Fair enough if you're a lesbian or a nun or the property of another man - but if you're single and would be up for sex or flirting with GC/ JD/ any other attractive man, it is simply unreasonable of you not to be up for sex or flirting with me.

Because you're not an individual with tastes of your own - you like one dick, you should be prepared to have any dick (particularly mine). Because actually, liking dick means you're a slut and liking a specific dick, means you're an uppity slut who thinks she's got rights and you probably need to be taken down a peg or two.

That is the real attitude behind views like this. It really is.

I could go on for posts and posts.... grin

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 04-Mar-13 19:38:29

Sure - as if they wouldn't feel differently about an advance at work depending on their own attraction to the woman in question.

But m

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 04-Mar-13 19:46:09

Sure - as if they wouldn't feel differently about an advance at work depending on their own attraction to the woman in question.

But mooncup's key point remains - no matter how classically attractive, or not, you are, make damn sure that there's some kind of reciprocation before acting on an attraction, if you are in any kind of professional situation, especially where you are professionally more powerful. The greater the power difference, the more diffident you should be. If you are older, physically bigger (muscle or fat) and have only just met the other person and are interviewing them - it's unlikely that you can get sure enough. So just leave it.

If, that is, you give a toss about whether there's reciprocation. Which, well, colour me sceptical in the case in point..

While I agree with what FB posted about ugly men and their sense of entitlement, it's also worth pointing out that a man can be handsome, politely-spoken and apparently wealthy eg good suit and fancy watch but still be repulsive to an individual woman.

I was briefly discussing this sort of thing with a friend this evening: she has just had to involve the police because her ex-boyfriend won't fuck off and leave her alone. I was telling her that she did the right thing and that the police won't think she's a silly woman making a fuss about nothing (in fact, the police have been very efficient and helpful, he's been cautioned and may be arrested and charged). And we were discussing how gifts of flowers and chocolates are not invariably romantic if you don't like the man they are from.

larrygrylls Tue 05-Mar-13 08:56:23

FB,

You have turned my entire point upside down. My point is that any man has a right to proposition any woman (as does any woman in reverse). And every woman/man has a right to say no.

"If the behaviour exhibited by the attractive man is welcome, then it's not harassment. It's harassment if it's unwelcome and it continues even though it's been made clear that it's unwelcome."

Totally agree but the "and" in your sentence is important. If a man makes a clumsy advance and it is rejected, he has to accept it. However, making the advance in itself is not harrassment. You cannot make policy or law based on looks or subjective feelings.

namechangeguy Tue 05-Mar-13 09:09:21

Larry, I'd qualify your statement with '...any man has a right to proposition any woman (as does any woman in reverse) if it is appropriate. You may well have meant that, but I think it's important to add it in. And appropriateness is complicated, but we all know when advances are out of order, e.g. someone else's partner, someone is otherwise engaged, someone is out of kilter emotionally etc etc. Many, many people are completely oblivious to this.

Toby Young's attitude on Any Questions was one of an entitled prick. But then he did write 'How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: A Memoir', which probably says it all.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 05-Mar-13 09:10:20

Appropriate, exactly NCG.

larrygrylls Tue 05-Mar-13 09:15:19

Namechange,

Within reason, yes, I agree. Although, again, I think that we have to make a firm distinction between good manners, employment law and harrassment, all of which are different.

Propositioning someone else's wife is ill mannered behaviour but nothing to do with law or employment.

Chubfuddler Tue 05-Mar-13 09:21:11

Someone else's wife eh? Women as property again. Couldn't make it up.

No, people do not have the right to proposition anyone they like. Absurdly not.

larrygrylls Tue 05-Mar-13 09:26:23

Chub,

Can you explain why not and quite what you mean by "right" (which I think I was quite clear about). Would you like it to be made illegal? Or companies to have employment policies concerning it?

It is nothing to do with "women as property". It is about the right to free speech. To be honest, the idea that you cannot proposition someone else's wife is treating that woman as her husband's property and not as an autonomous individual able to make her own decisions. Yep, you are right, you could not make it up.

Hullygully Tue 05-Mar-13 09:26:39

yy fastidia

altho George's boyfriend might be a bit hurt if he did make advances.

namechangeguy Tue 05-Mar-13 09:35:26

Chub - my wife has exactly the same 'right' to be offended if someone made a pass at me, so don't go creating stuff in your head that doesn't exist.

MoreBeta Tue 05-Mar-13 09:38:52

I didnt see the programme but have read the thread.

slug - what you said is bang on and I know people this has actually happened to.

" That's potentially years of investment in an education, training and career building down the drain the minute he runs his hand up your leg."

It is generally done by men in power over young subordinate women. These men know perfecly well what they are doing and let nobody pretend that it is somehow all about innocent mistakes and misunderstandings.

Taking what I have read of Toby Young's comment from the thread there is a nugget of truth in it albeit I agree with a lot of what Fastidia said.

I think it is fair to say that most single unattached people will find an advance from someone they find attractive as 'welcome'. They will obviously find it less 'welcome' from someone who is unattractive. The problem is dealing with rejecting and the rejection in a courteous manner.

In the end I always think this comes down to good manners. A man or woman who keeps hassling someone else with advances even though they are not interested is just being damn rude and inconsiderate and needs telling in no uncertain terms.

namechangeguy Tue 05-Mar-13 09:40:26

Apologies, Chub - you weren't talking to me.

Hullygully Tue 05-Mar-13 09:49:24

Women are very good at giving signals that they are interested if they are. Why not wait, men, and not run the awful risk of rebuffment and terrible hurt of potential rejection?

Why would you approach someone who has displayed ZERO interest and be surprised and hurt at the lack of "Oh yes please"?

Because if someone has displayed interest, AND YOU WILL KNOW - you ain't gonna be rejected.

Hullygully Tue 05-Mar-13 09:51:32

There was a very good article at the weekend (Barbara Ellen maybe?) about bum-patters, gropers, harassers etc etc in which she wondered why they continued when never ever ever in the history of the world has any woman turned round to a bum-patter and said oh please fuck me now.

So it isn't about advances, is it?

larrygrylls Tue 05-Mar-13 10:01:28

Hully,

You are way oversimplifying things. Firstly, not all women are good at giving unambiguous signals. Everyone knows of flirtatious women who enjoy innocently flirting. I think this is great but it will sometimes be taken wrongly. Equally, not all men are great at reading signals, especially after alcohol.

If you want women to be the "gatekeepers" of sex (i.e you want to be able to go out as a single woman and be approached by men), then you have to accept that sometimes there will genuinely be "innocent" confusion. If some other cultures (nordic ones, for instance) it is far commoner for women to approach men in bars. Friends I have known have been propositioned by women many times when they were married and clearly not interested. They have had no problem in saying no thanks without being hurt by the process. And if someone is stupidly persistent, they get told to go away in no uncertain terms, which is as it should be. If you want men to "wait", then you are essentially after a role reversal, where the woman de facto chats up the man. I don't think that is the majority view, though.

As I said it is a spectrum. Morebeta says it is all about manners. In the main it is. However, a man grabbing a junior employee's breasts at work (which I have known to happen) goes beyond that and on to assault. And when that happened the men all backed the woman and the guy (he was a very senior expat) was sent back to his home country by the company.

I think that there are areas of ambiguity. If a man, after chatting to a woman all evening, brushes her knee, she can choose to respond positively or to make clear that his advances are not welcome. If he does not persist, I don't think anyone has done anything wrong. A rejected pass is just that and, as many people have said, it is possible to reject a pass and accept rejection with good grace.

Hullygully Tue 05-Mar-13 10:05:17

Firstly, not all women are good at giving unambiguous signals. Everyone knows of flirtatious women who enjoy innocently flirting.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

that was a joke right?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 05-Mar-13 10:09:39

I don't want women to be the gatekeepers of sex, for fuck's sake. What does that even mean?

If you can't read sexual signals after alcohol, that's your problem. Drink less.

namechangeguy Tue 05-Mar-13 10:14:25

'Women are very good at giving signals that they are interested if they are.'

Bit of a sweeping statement, that.

Hullygully Tue 05-Mar-13 10:28:15

Is your concern that they might not be able to indicate their interest so it's better for a man to approach them in case they gratefully fall into his arms in relief that he has managed to second guess their complete lack of communicated interest?

Bit mad, that.

namechangeguy Tue 05-Mar-13 10:38:38

Nope. Personally, if I was single, I am more likely to not approach at all. I cannot speak for everyone though - that's just me. I wonder why you assume the opposite? We are all different.

slug Tue 05-Mar-13 10:52:21

You know what? Even if there is a case of misread signals and an unwanted approach, a simple "Whoops, sorry, I misread the signals there I hope you can forgive me" would suffice. As long, of course, if the groper didn't attempt it again.

But sadly, looking at Rennard, O'Brien, and all the other countless examples of "misread signals", this seldom happens.

chibi Tue 05-Mar-13 11:50:32

to me it seems obvious

is there a chance that the person you are making advances to might feel compelled to accept (because you have power over them, their career, their safety, their education etc etc etc)?

if yes, leave them alone. let them approach you, if necessary. don't put people in a position where they have to worry about what the fallout might be if they say no.

if you do make an overture which is rejected, accept this and move on. the person who rejected you is not a stupid bitch, or ugly, or in need of verbal abuse or violence because being rejected makes you feel bad.

and mostly, stop acting as if the gratification of your sexual urges is the number one concern of all and sundry. everyone is the star of their own long running serial, and whether anyone will fuck you is a tragedy that files below everyone else's radar. no one cares. cope.

chibi Tue 05-Mar-13 11:54:51

unbelievable that anyone needs to be told this

only they don't, because these aren't good faith errors, they are slimy bastards using whatever power they have to coerce people to fuck them, and who then turn around when called on it and say 'how was i supposed to know that woman in the lift didn't want my hand up her skirt? honest mistake!'

Hullygully Tue 05-Mar-13 12:23:27

chibi I think yo have misunderstood the nub of the issue.

It is about menz' feelings.

chibi Tue 05-Mar-13 12:32:55

i have constructed an existence for myself where men's feelings about pretty much everything are prioritised just after those of banana slugs.

it is pretty great actually. grin

chibi Tue 05-Mar-13 12:33:47

which reminds me, has anyone considered this issue from the perspective of banana slugs?

Hullygully Tue 05-Mar-13 12:35:05

namechange - so what was your point then?

Lovecat Tue 05-Mar-13 12:43:36

<worries about the poor banana slugs>

I would disagree with Hully's point. A lot of men take any kind of interaction as a signal that you are interested in them. Simply being polite to a man can make him think you're interested. In fact I've known men who take 'not actively pulling faces and telling them to fuck off' as a sign they might be in with a chance. As I like talking to men as well as women in a social context (not flirting, although I'm sure there are men out there who think the very fact I'm talking to them is flirting) this happens with depressing frequency. I was once really enjoying discussing Studio Ghilbi films with a bloke when out of nowhere he said 'come upstairs and suck my dick' - I was like WTAF??? How did we get from Princess Mononoke to that?

I don't want to be a gatekeeper to sex. I just want to be treated like a human being. I don't think that's unreasonable.

curryeater Tue 05-Mar-13 12:51:08

I wish I had all the time back that has been wasted in pubs and bars by stupid men trying to get some attention from my very pretty friend.
None of them "crossed a line" in terms of actual behaviour, at least not according to just-post-neanderthal rules posited by the famous Larrygrylls. But the sum total of all these dickheads getting all up in our grilles and being "funny" (not very) and NEVER actually going away even when they were obviously getting nowhere.... amounts to time I could have written a novel (or more realistically, had fun gossiping and drinking one-to-one with my lovely friend, which was what we had gone out to do in the first place).

And you can't just say "go away". If you do (we've tried it) it all gets very serious and heavy suddenly. Yes, it's dangerous. If you don't... you're stuck with them for ever.

curryeater Tue 05-Mar-13 12:52:14

Lovecat - yes, but if you don't talk to them, or even tell them to go away, you're out of order too. You're uptight, frigid, stuck up, humourless, generally a bitch for having better things to do.

PretzelTime Tue 05-Mar-13 14:46:12

Guys like the one Lovecat met must have something majorly wrong with their brains. A smart person understand that "Hey you innocently talked to me suck my dick" doesn't work. He didn't even suggest giving something back. It's insulting and implies that since you showed any interest, you should now be interested in servicing his royal highness the king or whatever he sees himself as.
Yes guys like this (and who hasn't met tons) think they should just have access to whatever women out there because he is the only one who counts and everyone else are just some prop in the stageplay where he is the important main character. Of course you'd be offended when a prop says no you, the supermegaimportantawesome star! Actually there is words for when people are like that, it's called narcissistic personality disorder and sociopathy.

Of course when women are opressed in patriarchal societies then it's made easy for all men to look at women as props for their use and get the insane thinking too. Because they can and it's very easy to get away with stuff like sexually harass women in oublic places.

Sigh. What a crazy world. Well, some people. <rants>

FastidiaBlueberry Tue 05-Mar-13 17:08:35

I am vastly amused by the idea that we all have the right to proposition each other.

Really?

A right?

What sort of right? A moral right? A basic human right? Is it in the Geneva Convention?

FastidiaBlueberry Tue 05-Mar-13 17:15:28

And yes, how often do propositioning men turn scary and threatening when women don't turn down their proposition in exactly the way they want us to?

I have lost count of the times when I've had to play nice and placate men because I knew that if I didn't, they might hurt me. I've had to talk to them for half an hour nicely because that's what they wanted and if I didn't play along, it would mean I would have to leave the venue or risk them being hostile and aggressive all night instead of just leaving me alone after half an hour.

That's the result of their fucking "right". It tramples on my right to be left the fuck alone to get on with my evening without their intrusion.

Whose right takes priority there? That of the person who wants to proposition or that of the person who wants privacy?

Because you see, if it's that of the person who wants to proposition, that means in effect, that any woman going out for the night, has no right to privacy and to be allowed to get on with her evening. Because if all the men in the room have the right to proposition her and feel like exercising their right, by the time they're all done, it's time to go home and she hasn't actually had the evening out she wanted - she's spent it fending off entitled arseholes who believe they have the right to intrude on her space and time.

Hullygully Tue 05-Mar-13 17:18:43

Are you a lesbian then, fastidia?

etc

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 05-Mar-13 17:20:30

Great post FB.

FastidiaBlueberry Tue 05-Mar-13 17:21:41

Arf.

No, just a humourless munter with an attitude problem.

Or possibly a frigid whore.

grin

curryeater Tue 05-Mar-13 17:22:18

right, fastidia.

this "rights" thing is really problematic in lots of cases and I think is a load of liberal misguided tosh when misapplied and I think that is what is going on on the "porn in Iceland" thread which I have now abandoned

larrygrylls Wed 06-Mar-13 11:11:25

FB,

Not really.

There are clearly places to go for privacy and places where social interaction is the norm and generally desired. If you go out for a meal in a restaurant with a girlfriend or select a quiet table in a corner, it is unlikely you will be bothered. If you go somewhere which is generally regarded as a bar for social interaction, hang out near the bar, and then demand the right to privacy, it is like going to a rock concert and demanding the right to read your book quietly.

I am curious as to the outcome you actually want. Are you saying that no one should be able to approach someone in a bar and try to initiate a conversation or offer to buy them a drink?

Larry, you were asking about 'appropriateness'. It's not particularly inappropriate to initiate a conversation or a flirtation in a social setting: it is inappropriate to do so in the middle of a funeral or when someone is undergoing medical treatment. It's also, as other posters have said, inappropriate at work when the initiator has authority and power over the other person.

But there's another measure of appropriateness that entitled men don't get - that if a woman is doing something, whether that's getting on with her work, talking to a friend or just reading the paper, she isn't going to welcome some man coming up and demanding her attention. Women talking to each other are not 'on your own, ladies'? they are talking to each other.

larrygrylls Wed 06-Mar-13 11:47:52

SGB,

We don't really have a singles bar culture in the UK, so most men and women go out in pairs or groups even when they are hoping to meet others. I really see nothing wrong with approaching two women (or women approaching men) who are chatting. It is all about manners. If two people are clearly chatting intensely, then leave them alone, at least until an appropriate pause. And be prepared to be told to leave them alone and withdraw gracefully.

I don't think there is anything entitled about initiating a conversation with someone reading a newspaper, though!

Work is fraught but, realistically, many marriages start in the workplace and are between bosses and subordinates. OTOH, so do a lot of lawsuits. You just have to hope that people are especially sensitive in that environment, as you are never going to stop work romances.

KRITIQ Wed 06-Mar-13 12:09:12

I think there is a big point being missed here, and was missed in the programme (I've now seen that segment on I Player.)

What we are talking about isn't miscommunication or crossed wires. If you look at the Everydaysexism website, very few comments are not about this. It's bullying, plain and simple bullying.

A 40 something man shouting to a 12 year old girl standing at a bus stop that she has "nice tits," isn't making a social faux pas nor misreading her "signals." A bloke grabbing the buttocks of a women he doesn't know in a bar is not thinking this is the first step towards a loving relationship, or even necessarily a no strings sexual encounter.

In these and the thousands of similar situations described on the site, the men approach the women and girls with the intent of embarrassing, upsetting, intimidating, angering and/or frightening them. For whatever the reason, that is their goal and that is what they get the buzz from.

That is what bullies do regardless of their reason for or chosen methods of bullying. Talking about "overstepping the mark" when flirting and misreading signals is a red herring here. If it were really about that, men would accept a "no" or the person ignoring them, apologise and desist. As others have pointed out, that is rarely what happens.

Regardless of whether the woman ignores them, says no politely or responds rudely, the response from men is too often the same - either they continue regardless, or become hostile. Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

For those not familiar, this blog explains why it is nigh on impossible for women and girls to muster the "right" response to sexual bullying.

AbigailAdams Wed 06-Mar-13 12:12:18

"I don't think there is anything entitled about initiating a conversation with someone reading a newspaper, though"

You realise that this thread is about sexual advances? Would you be happy to interrupt a woman, minding her own business, reading a paper to flirt or "proposition" them despite the fact they are showing no propensity towards accepting this? In fact they are showing the opposite. There is a disregard for boundaries there, even if it is just to strike up a conversation.

This is quite a good blog post about men approaching women who are minding their own business Can I Buy You Coffee

"Because you don’t get to control when people are quote-unquote “nice” to you, and it happens all the time, and you know there’s always a hidden cost behind it."

And this related post but if I can't buy you coffee...

larrygrylls Wed 06-Mar-13 14:09:32

AA,

I don't really buy the first blog. I don't think that there is anything deceptive about a man buying a woman a coffee. The agenda is clear from the outset. I think with this kind of interaction it is very hard to write down a set of rules, it is a question of sensitivity and manners. Sometimes women want to be chatted up, sometimes they don't. If it were the case that no one appreciated being chatted up, the rules would be as clear as you suggest, but it isn't.

I don't chat anyone up any more, as I am married. I do still chat to people though and sometimes people chat to me. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I am ensconced in a crossword and it is annoying. I appreciate, though, that it is not formulaic and as long as someone is polite and responsive to signals, it is not offensive.

AbigailAdams Wed 06-Mar-13 14:26:17

I am not sure what could be clearer about not being receptive to a spontaneous conversation than being otherwise occupied like reading a paper? confused

Bleeding obvious I'd say. You are the one trying to obfuscate things with rules and stuff.

curryeater Wed 06-Mar-13 14:45:12

"If you go out for a meal in a restaurant with a girlfriend or select a quiet table in a corner,"

What the fuck makes you think you know this, Larry? It isn't true, by the way.
Are you going to believe me or tell me you know better?

curryeater Wed 06-Mar-13 14:47:43

"I don't think there is anything entitled about initiating a conversation with someone reading a newspaper, though! "

OK, let me tell you, as a point of information, that it is usually annoying. You can believe me, or you can know better, it's up to you.

samandi Wed 06-Mar-13 15:06:20

"I don't think there is anything entitled about initiating a conversation with someone reading a newspaper, though! "

Well, most entitled people don't see anything wrong with their behaviour.

samandi Wed 06-Mar-13 15:10:17

I don't want to be a gatekeeper to sex. I just want to be treated like a human being. I don't think that's unreasonable.

The trouble is that some men see women as gatekeepers to sex first and human beings second.

Women tend to view men as human beings first.

Well, everyone is a 'gatekeeper' for their own sexuality in that everyone has the right to CHOOSE who they want to have any kind of sexual engagement with. As the blogs linked to above pointed out, now there are so many ways of reaching people who are actually looking for a relationship and/or some NSA sex, there is really no justification for pestering strangers in the street because you want sex or a date.

Larry, the key point that every man needs to remember when he approaches a woman he doesn't know is that, while his intentions may be harmless she doesn't know that. There is a TEN PERCENT CHANCE that he's a rapist after all. So unless it's in a very social situation (nightclub, bar, party) it's best to leave women alone unless there's been at least some eye contact and a smile.

Hullygully Wed 06-Mar-13 15:39:35

Love how very mad this is getting.

All the women on the thread find it terribly simple, all the men tying themselves in knots trying to say why it's ok for men to approach women.

Gatekeepers, bars, restaurants, newspapers, women unable to give "I want you signals" any more justifications?

Hullygully Wed 06-Mar-13 15:40:27

I think the problem is that men WANT to be able to approach women.

But we don't want them to.

So they shouldn't fucking do it.

Hullygully Wed 06-Mar-13 15:43:30

And if someone says, "Well some women want to be approached"

see my point days ago ^^

THEY WILL LET YOU KNOW

SirEdmundFrillary Wed 06-Mar-13 16:04:58

I don't think they shoud. Why should they?

Also, I don't see men shouted at on the street or in the press for their appearance being wrong. Which is connected.

StickEmUp Wed 06-Mar-13 16:07:08

THEY WILL LET YOU KNOW yy Hully. I think I'm being sexually harrassed at work and not sure how to handle it.
I FEEL sexually harrassed. Whether I am or not ... ? I have been asked out, and declined the offer.

I can stare at my screen looking really busy and he will come over and still say hello and lean all over my desk.
Blatantly.

KRITIQ Wed 06-Mar-13 16:11:36

Larry, you said yourself that there are times when you don't want to be disturbed, like when you are doing a crossword. You say as long as the disturber is "polite and responsive to your signals," it's not a problem though. You seem to expect that all women will have the same attitude as you to interruptions.

As so many have said here, one of the problems is that men who approach women, hoping for their smile/attention/praise/phone number/sex/whatever are not polite and responsive when rebuffed. They are often insulting, hostile and threatening, regardless of whether they are ignored, politely told "no" or abruptly told to do one.

Unless you routinely get a nasty response to telling someone you would prefer to ponder on 7 across than talk to them, then perhaps you won't see why women, who DO routinely get this kind of response, have a different perspective.

Following on from SGB's post, this blog about SCHRÖDINGER?S RAPIST is very apt.

KRITIQ Wed 06-Mar-13 16:13:37

Or, as in Stick Em Up's case, she has declined the offer, but they have persisted in demanding her attention. I'm guessing that doesn't often happen when you are doing the crosswords.

Dazzler159 Wed 06-Mar-13 16:15:09

SolidGoldBrass Wed 06-Mar-13 15:29:36

Larry, the key point that every man needs to remember when he approaches a woman he doesn't know is that, while his intentions may be harmless she doesn't know that. There is a TEN PERCENT CHANCE that he's a rapist after all.

Do you have any figures to qualify that? It kind of seems quite high.

I read that there were about 95,000 recorded cases last year. As there are a number that don't report then I guess we could double that to 200,000. The male population is approx 30 million in the UK so this represents 0.67 percent of men. If 90 percent of victims already know their rapist then I would say that your claim is slightly out as this would mean that only 0.067 percent of men walking about are likely to be rapists.

Given we have approx 30 million women in this country then that leaves us with a ratio meaning it is highly unlikely for a woman to be raped by a random stranger.

I'm not putting a positive spin on being raped (naturally) but I certainly don't equate it to the 10 percent chance that you've described.

StickEmUp Wed 06-Mar-13 16:17:24

I am not meaning to derail here but guess what.
I am married.

So what makes him think I am avaialable?

Well I had a drunken snog. Not with DH.

So I must be a slut who goes with everything.

Even ugly, smarmy, slimy office wankers. (nog guy was a sexy bloke)

Ps I am saying this in a matter of fact way, half on purpose, half because it's on the past.

AThingInYourLife Wed 06-Mar-13 16:19:24

I think far from being taught to accept no for an answer, men are fed a narrative that persistence is romantic, that "getting the girl" is a project that can be the work of years.

That sounds like what you might be on the receiving end of, StickEm, the belief that a woman is right for you and that surmounting her indifference and rejection and convincing her if your worth is part of the quest of wooing her.

And yes, it is harassment. And it's very difficult to deal with.

StickEmUp Wed 06-Mar-13 16:19:28

but I certainly don't equate it to the 10 percent chance that you've described
I think you might be equating 'rape' with stranger in a bush scenarios.

With all the date rape, etc that goes on 10% does not shock me at all.

'C'mon wifey, I need some' when she doesnt want to (have sex - and then she submits), I think is also counted as rape.

Someone put me right if I am wrong.

Hullygully Wed 06-Mar-13 16:23:08

yy aThing, good point.

There is all that old shit about "getting the girl"

StickEmUp Wed 06-Mar-13 16:23:12

And it's very difficult to deal with.
Yes, mainly because I think he's claim all the smiles I have ever given him add up to a 'come on'.

AThing
Probably.

I wonder if (I mention I snogged someone, it was someone at work and most people know) he might feel like if he 'gets me' then it puts him on the same level as snog guy - who was really very, very attractive (on the outside, anyway).

AThingInYourLife Wed 06-Mar-13 16:23:13

"I read that there were about 95,000 recorded cases last year. As there are a number that don't report then I guess we could double that to 200,000. The male population is approx 30 million in the UK so this represents 0.67 percent of men. If 90 percent of victims already know their rapist then I would say that your claim is slightly out as this would mean that only 0.067 percent of men walking about are likely to be rapists."

shock

I barely know where to start with this.

But you seem to be suggesting that we need to knock the rapists who know their victims off the figures of likely rapists?!

On what basis? That if they rape women they know they are not dangerous to strangers confused

SirEdmundFrillary Wed 06-Mar-13 16:44:17

I don't think sexual advances should be accepted. Wny would that be OK?

AbigailAdams Wed 06-Mar-13 16:45:58

Those figures Dazzler quoted also don't take into account rapists that didn't rape last year. Just because they raped someone 10/20/30 years ago doesn't mean they aren't a rapist.

PretzelTime Wed 06-Mar-13 16:57:24

It sucks that you are being harrassed at work, StickEm. Yes it's harassment if he keeps interrupting you in your work and keep getting too close. Have you tried something like this? Do others know that he is bothering you?

Pretzel, what a marvellous hint that is. Because the man either has to back off and leave the woman alone, or do something that makes it obvious to other people that he's a pest and the woman is not 'making a fuss about nothing.

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 06-Mar-13 18:03:00

"As there are a number that don't report then I guess we could double that to 200,000"

A number that don't report?

That number would be 85 - 90%.

So you need to do more than double the number of reported rapes to get to the real number. Only 1 to 1 and a a half in 10 rapes is reported.

As if you didn't know.

Dazzler159 Wed 06-Mar-13 18:19:09

AThingInYourLife Wed 06-Mar-13 16:23:13

You've missed the bit of the discussion where SolidGoldBrass said to Larry that approaching a stranger is a bad thing because you have a 10 percent chance of talking to a rapist. To quote again:

Larry, the key point that every man needs to remember when he approaches a woman he doesn't know is that, while his intentions may be harmless she doesn't know that. There is a TEN PERCENT CHANCE that he's a rapist after all.

I'm not willfully neglecting the men that rape their partners or people they do know. I was referring to those that you don't know.

AbigailAdams

Of course you make a valid point but given so many men are not convicted then we simply do not know if the previous/next years offenders are repeat offenders, men that suddenly decide to rape a woman or rapists that are still in steady relationships. Sadly we just don't have a clue who is walking about and who isn't but either way the chances are pretty slim if you look at the figures over the past years.

Again, I'm in no way justifying it or trying to put a positive spin on it but I would hate for my wife to think that 1 in 10 men she randomly speaks to could be a/her rapist (as I genuinely don't think this to be the case). By the same token I would be sad of the day when women were scared of talking to me for fear that I were that 1 in 10. For sure, the stat needs to be zero but this is another discussion entirely.

I appreciate that this discussion is about sexual advances but I think the type that Larry has been talking about isn't the full-on come-on type but striking up a conversation in the hope that it may lead toward friendship > dates > relationship. I'm guessing a small fraction of relationships start from such random encounters where a woman did not feel imposed upon.

To be honest I've never met a woman in this manner although I do often speak to male/female strangers in random situations. Is this any different, except from the fact that I have no sexual agenda? I personally wouldn't try and start a relationship in this way and fortunately all of my relationships have commenced due to a mutual understanding that we were both interested (via work/friends). However, there is no doubt that some women like to be chased and whilst some on here hate the very thought of it, people's preferences and tolerance of strangers varies wildly, which is part of the reason we have this problem.

Dazzler159 Wed 06-Mar-13 18:33:54

Fastidia, why the cynicism? It's poor form IMHO and a little insulting that I would be so disrespectful of such a serious topic. But anyway.

I'll level with you. I was thinking about going home when I posted and googled. I found a figure of 95,000 on the BBC but not the unreported stat so (wrongly) assumed it would be like for like. I genuinely thought I was being conservative so I stand corrected.

In fairness I've just googled again and have seen 9 out of 10 from the Mirror, 70-90 percent from Surrey university and then 68 percent on the Independent.

Ok so I'll go with 90 percent but that still doesn't equate to 10 percent.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 06-Mar-13 18:40:40

Dazzler whatever the percent chance of them being a rapist, there are also chances of them following up with threatening behaviour- calling you a bitch, groping you anyway, spilling your drink, following you round so you have to leave etc. I've had my looks insulted for turning down a guy in a bar when I wanted to talk to my friend for example. And if there is this level of threatening behaviour then you are much more wary if ther might be more levels to come.

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 06-Mar-13 18:45:48

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

AThingInYourLife Wed 06-Mar-13 18:57:36

"By the same token I would be sad of the day when women were scared of talking to me for fear that I were that 1 in 10."

Wake up.

It is that day.

It has been for centuries.

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 06-Mar-13 19:22:51

Quite.

How does a woman know which man is one of the 1 in 10 or 1 in 20 or one in 70 or whatever it is?

Men get really pissed off when women point out that we don't know which one of you is a rapist or an axe murderer.

They just expect us to see the world through their eyes, not through our's.

Dazzler159 Wed 06-Mar-13 19:51:37

Ok Fastidia, apolgies for the mixup re: the figures.

Point taken about the following up with abuse. I guess I was raised better than to threaten women but have experienced friends (when I was a lot younger) calling women x,y,z for getting a knockback. Sadly a lot of parents do not raise their boys with the right values and I'm not sure how to solve that one.

Otherwise I don't know where it comes from. We don't see this kind of stuff on TV or on other media so don't see how boys are conditioned to threaten women. I've read research that suggests that some men are violent due to smacking but this has got to be reducing now that smacking kids is on the decline.

AThingInYourLife

I have a very different experience. I often speak to women and are spoken to by women in random situations. Be that work, at the shops, the gym, train station etc. I only do so because it is a 2 way thing and have found that women are as forward/receptive as I am. Maybe I come across as a particularly unthreatening figure? I have no idea. In fact the last time I spoke to a random woman I was on my laptop in an airport and a she sat down and started chatting within a few mins.

I'm not suggesting that you're wrong but in my experience I don't see the same level of fear as has been described.

Don't get me wrong. I know a girl who finished with a guy and he's now in prison because he murdered his new girlfriend. She is now freaked out about meeting new men (obviously) so am not simply seeing things through my eyes. It's just that my personal experience has shaped my personality such that I talk to random women as much as they do to me. Hence my comment about it being a sad day.

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 06-Mar-13 20:39:25

But Dazzler, maybe you're just chatting to random women?

Maybe you're not making "sexual advances" to them?

On the whole, people don't mind having random conversations if they're waiting at bus-stops, for planes etc. Also chances are, when she saw her flight number come up and needed to go, or kept looking at her book paragraph, you stopped talking to her and didn't behave as though you had the right to keep her from her flight/ bus / book/ ipad.

It's really not a minefield. Most men negotiate it with the same ease they take a walk in a park. The ones who find it a minefield, are the nobbers who have a massive sense of grievance that sometimes, women don't want to allow them to take up our space, time and energy. Most men can cope with that concept quite easily, once they've been introduced to it. grin

Dazzler159 Wed 06-Mar-13 21:26:52

Fastidia

You're right, I'm not making any advances as I'm happily married. Anything else and I would be one of those nobbers! I've no doubt that some relationships are formed by such random encounters though.

Anyway I've just watched the programme on iPlayer and I could see all sides of the argument. I think the first speaker was at crossed purposes, as they essentially felt the same, although I didn't agree that women/men should keep quiet for minor incidences. That is for the individual to decide IMHO but I would definitely encourage someone to be vocal.

The problem (as you say) isn't with the 'normal' folk but with those fools that have no moral compass whatsoever. Be it through power, entitlement or some other twisted idea.

I'm glad they all agreed that flirting was perfectly normal/acceptable and ultimately that parenting is the key for the future. As I've mentioned on another thread, I believe the revolution starts at home and think the big gains will be had when parents of boys teach them about respect and parents of girls empower them to speak up and not accept it.

My kids are not long into secondary school yet but I wonder how things like this are progressing, if at all.

www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6028572

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 06-Mar-13 22:18:46

I wonder what the proportion of relationships that start up in a random encounter fashion (both including and excluding bars/clubs) vs the proportion of the approachees who end up being bad mouthed or receiving other threatening behaviour.

No way of knowing, I expect, but I'm genuinely curious.

I saw an incident yesterday that's pretty typical. It was on a crowded bus ie anyone who got on board and wanted to sit down would have to sit next to someone else: fair enough. There was a man who got on board with his friend and had a rather loud conversation, about nothing scary or offensive, something to do with building and decorating and a mutual friend but something about the volume and the body language suggested 'Pest. Nutter. Attention-seeker.' He got bored with his friend and turned his attention to the woman sitting next to him, who was eating a sandwich.
'Enjoying your sandwich?' he bawled. The woman ignored him. He spent the next couple of minutes speculating loudly about whether or not she could speak English, and how rude everyone was these days. Then he shouted at her again, 'Enjoying your sandwich? Is it nice?' At which point the woman (presumably feeling she had no choice) answered him and they began a conversation, which did seem to develop fairly fast into a sharing of experiences about jobs, but at the same time I felt sorry for her, being unable to escape the Nutter On The Bus, and yet I didn't quite get up the nerve to intervene and say 'Look, dickhead, she doesn't want to talk to you, leave her alone.'

I don't think this man was a rapist, I don't even think he was interested in dating her or having sex with her. He just thought that he had every right to pester and talk at a woman he didn't know, who was minding her own business, just because she was there, and she was a woman.

curryeater Thu 07-Mar-13 09:58:02

Fastidia:

"The ones who find it a minefield, are the nobbers who have a massive sense of grievance that sometimes, women don't want to allow them to take up our space, time and energy. Most men can cope with that concept quite easily, once they've been introduced to it."

Yeah but a few aren't getting it on this thread

"I don't consider it entitled...."
"I would be sad of the day when...."

in other words: I like being able to do what I want and don't want to hear that women don't like it

Dazzler159 Thu 07-Mar-13 10:41:12

curryeater

Do you understand the concept of humans as sociable animals? I've spent parts of my life in various places in the world and people are very different depending on where you go. As what I would consider a 'rational' human being I tend to adapt my social level to my surroundings.

Believe it or not, some places in the world contain people who are extremely extroverted compared to where I currently live (south of England). So in many cases, women will openly strike up a conversation with a complete stranger or say 'hello' when passing in the street. Being quite sociable I will always reciprocate, unless I am too busy, in which case I will make a polite excuse. As women are like this then I will adapt accordingly. My point is that people constantly impose on each other. I could take your view that it is a rude imposition but that's not my character. Some of the best conversations I've had have been with complete strangers, on busses, trains, airplanes. It's not about, "being able to do what I want". It's about acting in accordance to your surroundings. As per the TV programme it's about reading the signs that someone wants to interact. This is normally possible by making eye contact and reading someone's face.

Clearly some women feel it is their entitlement to strike up conversations with random men so it works both ways. Or maybe they don't think about it quite so deeply and just accept that it's a normal part of human existence. This isn't exclusively about women as it works equally for random men too.

So yes, it would be a sad day when humans felt they couldn't interact socially and I'm glad that I've even been approached by a frail old lady to help with crossing the road. That is entitlement. An old woman thinking that I should take time out of my life to help someone I don't know (happens a lot down south with all the retirees).

How you think your view can apply for all humans is absurd and I'm glad that, to date, people still feel able to strike up a random conversation with me without feeling threatened. As people do this with me then I'm going to act accordingly.

larrygrylls Thu 07-Mar-13 11:41:47

Dazzler,

I 100% agree with your post. I think that 90% of women do and maybe 8% or so are indifferent. It is a tiny minority who see any form of social interaction from a stranger as unwelcome.

I have two small toddlers and one of the nice things about it is that all sorts of people approach me all the time to chat. It is what makes a society. Otherwise, we would just be atomised individuals, which is a recipe for maladjustment and depression.

I find this kind of thread depressing, in the same way as I found it depressing when my football mad father in law passed a football back to a little boy and asked what team he supported, only for the boy to run to his father in abject terror (clearly, he had been taught of "stranger danger"). I do see that a minority of men are entitled and unduly persist when rejected. Save your ire for those.

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 11:44:21

Exactly, Solid.

'I don't think this man was a rapist, I don't even think he was interested in dating her or having sex with her. He just thought that he had every right to pester and talk at a woman he didn't know, who was minding her own business, just because she was there, and she was a woman.'

runningforthebusinheels Thu 07-Mar-13 11:51:27

I have been that woman on the bus. It's horrible. Really really horrible.

I don't understand why anyone feels they have the right to do this to another person - bully them into social interaction that is so clearly unwanted - 'sociable animals' or not. hmm

Dazzler159 Thu 07-Mar-13 12:58:35

Larry

Exactly. The ire needs to be directed to those fools that genuinely impose on people in a bad way. These people impose upon everyone and it matters not whether you're male/female/old/young. I would say the majority of men/women are reasonable and as such, pose no problem. As ever it's the few that spoil things for the rest of us.

And I agree, having young kids is a great 'barrier breaker' as I've lost count of the times complete strangers (mainly women) approach to pay your kids compliments or to discuss random things. If anything I've found it's mainly women as men are more inclined to feel like they're imposing. I recently had a woman in a shop telling me how beautiful my daughter is. I doubt many men do this for fear of coming across inappropriately (in fact I've never had a man tell me how beautiful my daughter is).

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 13:07:42

Dazzler and Larry

Give your comments on this:

'I don't think this man was a rapist, I don't even think he was interested in dating her or having sex with her. He just thought that he had every right to pester and talk at a woman he didn't know, who was minding her own business, just because she was there, and she was a woman.'

larrygrylls Thu 07-Mar-13 13:12:57

SirEdmund,

All these things depend on context. It sounds like a typical nutter unaware of any social boundaries. They generally don't care if the person they are talking to is a man or a woman. A lot are mentally unwell and lonely. Personally, I generally feel sorry for them and chat for a couple of mins and then apologise and say I am busy and terminate the conversation.

Obviously, if you are caught alone with someone like that, it could be scary.

Dazzler159 Thu 07-Mar-13 13:19:36

FWIW I agree with Larry and mentioned this in my post earlier.

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 13:20:42

Someone minding their own business, is the point. Women go about their lives and often get stuff- what am I saying - I've walked around in the world as a me, I've been shouted at etc by men, not by other women. That must mean something. ?

Dazzler159 Thu 07-Mar-13 13:26:36

It's the assumption that he did this solely because it was a woman. You simply cannot assume this IMHO as from my experience, these kind of numpties will harrass anyone.

But I agree, there are guys out there that feel entitled to harrass women and they are scum. No question.

It's what we can do about it. That's the big question as scum like this don't see reason or any wrongdoing in their actions.

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 13:39:59

'I don't think this man was a rapist, I don't even think he was interested in dating her or having sex with her. He just thought that he had every right to pester and talk at a woman he didn't know, who was minding her own business, just because she was there, and she was a woman.'

Dazzler and Larry, nothing you've said has addressed this. If you can, do.

MooncupGoddess Thu 07-Mar-13 13:43:19

I'm finding you quite patronising, Dazzler, with your comments like 'Do you understand the concept of humans as sociable animals?'

I've travelled alone and had interesting conversations with men I've sat next to on the train or whatever. Great. No one's talking about that here. I've also experienced many occasions when a man has come up to me, with that hot look in his eyes, moving a bit too close and trying to touch me or ask me personal questions. It's horrible and it is very much something men do to women/girls.

Comments such as 'These people impose upon everyone and it matters not whether you're male/female/old/young.' suggest that you have never experienced what I'm talking about - unsurprisingly, since you're a man - and should therefore try listening to people who have experienced it (among which group I expect every woman posting on this thread is numbered) rather than pontificating about something totally irrelevant.

larrygrylls Thu 07-Mar-13 13:45:34

SirEdmund,

We have addressed it directly if you read our posts. We have said that these people approach men and women. The statement "because she was there and a woman" is just an assumption. He may have done exactly the same were it a man.

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 14:01:22

Should sexual advances be accepted as a part of life, was the question.

You say yes. I say no.

KRITIQ Thu 07-Mar-13 14:04:19

Not happy with the use of the term "typical nutter," or suggesting that there is something distinct and highly spottable about men who "behave inappropriately" with women or people in general. It's as though they can be disregarded because they are not like "normal" men (quite apart from the ridiculous suggestion that it is the result of mental illness.) hmm

Again, this is something that is an every day, lived experience for nearly ALL women - to be approached by men who believe they are within their rights to demand their attention and often become hostile when this is not given. It's also being approached by men who have the expressed purpose of embarrassing, upsetting and/or frightening women because they get a buzz out of it and that's more important to them than the negative impact on the woman or girl.

There is ample evidence in everything from the British Crime survey to academic research (look yourselves if you are genuinely interested,) to show that sexual harassment is predominately men against women. Because you are a man, you have the privilege of disregarding this, dismissing women's experiences as "assumptions" and just plain not giving a toss. Even if you would never engage in sexually harassing behaviour yourself, your dismissal of this is effectively collusion with those men who DO choose to behave in this way. Insisting it's "no big thang," gives them license to continue with your blessing.

PromQueenWithin Thu 07-Mar-13 14:05:57

"...suggest that you have never experienced what I'm talking about - unsurprisingly, since you're a man - and should therefore try listening to people who have experienced it (among which group I expect every woman posting on this thread is numbered)..."

This.

I've experienced it on many occasions, and actually, I think the fact that I was once I'm a young looking, small, blonde woman had a fair bit to do with why they wanted my attention. I really don't think they'd have done the same thing to a beefy looking builder type. I really don't grin

larrygrylls Thu 07-Mar-13 14:07:29

SirEdmund,

How would relationships ever form without sexual advances? Do you want to limit relationships only to those mutually arranged through friends/family, where both parties know the other's intentions ahead of meeting one another? Or do you want to turn things around 180 degrees and make it only acceptable for a woman to make a sexual advance towards a man?

It is never going to fly. Have you never heard of groups of both sexes going "out on the pull" of an evening? Or two work colleagues dating? Someone has to ask the other one out to make it happen (AKA make a "sexual advance").

If you do not want to accept sexual advances, what would you like to replace them with?

Dazzler159 Thu 07-Mar-13 14:11:23

Mooncup

I can see why people get frustrated but this is often because they fail to adequately read text that's been posted.

They then retort with some weird interpretation of what they think they've read.

I'm sorry but I'm not going round in circles explaining when you've made a clear error in interpretation. At the expense of sounding patronising a second time, please re-read and you will realise what you're saying is irrelevant.

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 14:13:02

You're being disengenuous.

AbigailAdams Thu 07-Mar-13 14:16:00

It isn't a choice of the situations we have been describing/arranged marriages/women only approaches. There is another way. Men respect women's boundaries.

runningforthebusinheels Thu 07-Mar-13 14:16:11

What Kritiq said.

I have oodles of experiences - too many to recall - as a student and a young woman travelling around, in pubs, on the street, on public transport, at work, where I have been subjected to obviously unwanted attention from men. Men who are not "typical nutters" either.

It really is an occupational hazard as a young woman - and as Kritiq says - men do not suffer it in the same way as women do. Hence Larry/Dazzlers easy dismissal of it.

It doesn't happen to me as much as it used to. I'm a mother of 3 now - I tend to drive to a lot of places, and am not out and about as much as I was when I was younger. But it still happens - when I'm out alone it seems to be open season for men to comment on me or somehow accost me.

It really is awful - awful that as women we just learn to live with it.

Dazzler159 Thu 07-Mar-13 14:29:32

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 14:01:22

Should sexual advances be accepted as a part of life, was the question.

You say yes. I say no.

<facepalm>

That's not what we are saying and have not been saying that at all.

</facepalm>

As per the program it was agreed that flirting and sexual advances were a part of life. People give signs and act upon it. Sometimes we get it wrong and that's ok providing no means no and we accept rejection honourably.

It's the persistent ones, power trip ones, groping, manhandling etc. that is not appropriate and shouldn't be tolerated by anyone. No one is disputing that yet we keep going round in circles. I hear what you're all saying quite clearly and am not denying anyone's experiences. Why you should think otherwise is beyond me as it smacks of no one actually listening to us!

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 14:32:44

Facepalm as much as you like, you havne't answered my question.

PromQueenWithin Thu 07-Mar-13 14:38:45

^"As per the program it was agreed that flirting and sexual advances were a part of life. People give signs and act upon it. Sometimes we get it wrong and that's ok providing no means no and we accept rejection honourably.

It's the persistent ones, power trip ones, groping, manhandling etc. that is not appropriate and shouldn't be tolerated by anyone."

This, I agree with. What I don't understand is why you'd then seek to argue that a proportion of the men who do this would also do it to an elderly gentleman or are a "nutter". Perhaps you can elucidate?

PromQueenWithin Thu 07-Mar-13 14:39:04

italics fail

WhitegoldWielder Thu 07-Mar-13 14:39:46

For example Dazzler has anyone male or female demand that you 'smile'?

Has anyone simply shouted at you 'nice cock'?

Has anyone sat next to you reading a newspaper/magazine with a picture of a nearly naked man and drawn your attention to it?

Has anyone intimidated you in a lift?

Has anyone interrupted you in the middle of a conversation to ask 'hello gentleman can I buy you a drink'?

AbigailAdams Thu 07-Mar-13 14:42:16

I think it is because you are insisting on bringing up scenarios we aren't arguing against Dazzler. We aren't the ones not understanding that reading body language and eye contact are important. We aren't the ones wanting to outlaw normal social interaction or people asking others for help. Yet you keep mentioning all these scenarios as if they are relevant? It is certainly confusing.

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 14:46:20

dazzler you say: 'as per the program' - what are you talking about?

WhitegoldWielder Thu 07-Mar-13 14:53:18

Actually the more I think about 'social interaction' the more annoyed I get - I can go out with my male friends drinking to a local bar and have a hassle free evening and yet I can't do the same with my female friends even though we are all married and obviously not on the pull. Does that imply that women as a group should not go out together if they don't want unwanted male attention?

Dazzler159 Thu 07-Mar-13 14:56:28

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

runningforthebusinheels Thu 07-Mar-13 15:00:36

Dazzler: As per the program it was agreed that flirting and sexual advances were a part of life.

I love that observation! So it's all been decided on a discussion show hosted by Nicky Campbell that it's a part of life. Oh good - we all just have to put up unwanted advances then? hmm

As it happens - that wasn't what I took away from the program at all. To me, the point was made over and over that this should not just be part of life, and that someone should sense when someone else is not comfortable with their advances- and back right off. I thought the women from the everyday sexism project, and the End Violence Against Women spoke very well - the latter touching on what was needed - for example, education of boys in school re. respecting girls' boundaries.

PromQueenWithin Thu 07-Mar-13 15:03:50

Dazzler, it's called communication. You say something, others respond. They may have misunderstood, or have missed something you think is important. You correct them, politely. Or elaborate on a point you've made that you think may have been misinterpreted. Thus, a conversation ensues.

It's arrogant to tell people to read back what you've posted, as if it was some infallible pronouncement from on high and anyone that wants to challenge you or engage in further discussion is being deliberately obtuse.

TeiTetua Thu 07-Mar-13 15:07:20

I'm astonished that there are men trying to be taken seriously by feminists (can they actually want to be seen as feminists???) who are somehow defending this kind of behaviour.

Quote: "How would relationships ever form without sexual advances? Do you want to limit relationships only to those mutually arranged through friends/family, where both parties know the other's intentions ahead of meeting one another? ...
Have you never heard of groups of both sexes going "out on the pull" of an evening? Or two work colleagues dating?"

Yes, it's certainly not a bad idea to find relationships through friends/family. But it's also all right to "go out on the pull" if it's clearly understood who's doing it and who wants to be left alone. Two work colleagues, more dubious but not necessarily wrong; there would presumably have been an introduction ahead of time, and they wouldn't start a relationship as strangers. There are all sorts of other ways that people can start as strangers and become acquaintances and then maybe more, and I imagine most of us have personal experience. For those willing to play those games, there are personal ads and computer matching, too. I can't object to it: my partner and I met that way.

What's all wrong is attempting to strike up an interest in a stranger. But most often, that's hardly the real intention--it's harassment, bullying, pure and simple. Or a half-hearted attempt at one that will more clearly show as the other when the (almost inevitable) rejection comes. What's important to these men isn't finding love and happiness in a cottage with roses by the door, but a man proving to himself that he can have an effect on a woman. Or even on a girl--plenty of girls get hassled by boys their own age, and also by men decades older.

News flash. 16 year old girl on her way to school stabbed to death on a bus in Birmingham. A 22 year old man has been arrested. It's not clear what happened yet, but one wonders. Sometimes these things reach the ultimate level.

curryeater Thu 07-Mar-13 15:08:42

Is Dazzler a man or a woman btw?

WhitegoldWielder Thu 07-Mar-13 15:08:55

Dazzler have you ever considered that you could've made any of the women that you've conversed with uncomfortable? Have you thought why they might have replied? Have you knowingly stopped a conversation when you realized that it was unwanted? If someone didn't want to talk to you did you feel annoyed?

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 15:14:55

Dazzler159 Thu 07-Mar-13 14:56:28
Until someone actually re-reads what has been posted I'm not actually going to waste my time responding any more.
It really is patently obvious that some of you have some kind of selective reading filter that completely blanks out pertinent comments.
Either that or you're just taking the mick.

Dazzler, I have read back to see what you've posted.

Well, being attracted to people is part of life. Doing something about that attraction in terms of checking out whether it might be mutual seems reasonable smile

It depends on the way that's done doesn't it, whether it's acceptable, or even charming or welcomed ! That definitely includes taking no for an answer as well.

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 15:20:05

Larry, what have you to say?

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 15:25:06

Juggling speaks sense smile

StickEmUp Thu 07-Mar-13 15:33:09

Dazzler have you ever considered that you could've made any of the women that you've conversed with uncomfortable?

I am not answering for him of course but I for one smile until a bloke trying to make a conversation backs off, if it's on public transport or somethign like that.
It's easier than wondering if I'm in for a punch or something.

Which is quite bad because sometime a bloke thnks a smile back is a 'yes' to a flirtation.

I'm going to say exactly what's on my mind and it might not be a good thing.

Until you are a woman who has to put up with these advances you have no clue as a man what it feels like.

I'm sorry it's how I feel.

I'm also still formulating my ideas about men as feminists.

curryeater Thu 07-Mar-13 15:44:01

Of course Dazzler is a man. Look at this classic piece of mansplaining:

"Do you understand the concept of humans as sociable animals? I've spent parts of my life in various places in the world and people are very different depending on where you go. As what I would consider a 'rational' human being I tend to adapt my social level to my surroundings."

1. "do you understand the concept...?" typical patronising intro. AFAIK Dazzler knows nothing about me. I could be a professional anthropologist for all he knows.
2. "As sociable animals" - with a suitably crashing, immediate mistake. If you are talking about humans as animals, you mean they are social animals. If you are talking about human characteristics between particular individuals, some are more sociable than others. They are different words with different meanings.
3. This is important because, as social animals, we tend to live in groups; as sociable or unsociable people we tend to respond differently to different sorts of approaches. Clumsily mixing this up has rendered whatever Dazzler is trying to say functionally meaningless. However, bravely - or obliviously - he ploughs on:
4. "I've spent parts of my life in various places in the world and-" oooh you big-man-traveller you. How did you know that I have only been to the local shops? (clue: I haven't only been to the local shops.)
5. "people are very different wherever you go." So how does this fit in with social / sociable animals, then, as a blanket category?
6. "As what I would consider a "rational" human being" - glad you've got those caveats there, Dazzler. As what I consider to be a "teapot" (I can consider myself to be anything I like, as long as I put it in "inverted commas", like Miranda's mother), I think you are talking nonsense.
7. "I tend to adapt my social level to my surroundings." What, like you are doing here? (snort.)
7b. The use of "level" is fascinating. Everything is a hierarchy, isn't it, for people like this. A clumsy word that gives something away.

It's all fascinating. I could go on like this for hours.

Xenia Thu 07-Mar-13 15:49:23

It can get a bit wearing when it happens too often and when the man is the boss etc it can put women in a difficult position which is why most work places ban it of course.

I think the current climate means men now realise women don't accept it and that's a good thing. The pressure must be kept up.

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 07-Mar-13 16:03:32

Sexual advances should not be a part of life.

Dazzler159 Thu 07-Mar-13 16:12:05

I give women as much consideration as I do any other human being. As I've said previously, eye contact, facial expression and also body language is usually enough to give me a sense of whether someone is receptive to conversation. If a woman looks at me and smiles (without any provocation by me) or gestures then it's usually fair to say that it's ok to strike up a conversation. If I don't 'feel' it then I don't do anything at all.

Often it is the woman that instigates and I am all to happy to reciprocate. In this instance I don't consider whether I may be imposing on her because she has opened up the interaction. Again, as I mentioned previously (as did Larry) women often speak to me when I am out with my kids.

I'm not trying to be overly casual about it but the women that instigate conversations with me clearly do not consider whether they may be making me feel uncomfortable or that they may be imposing on my time. I have no idea if these women are trying to hit on me or if they're just being sociable. I would think the latter. Of course I'm conscious of making women feel uncomfortable. Most decent men are - hence my saying that I gauge people before opening my mouth. But really, if women feel they can instigate a conversation with me then why should I curtail the behaviour/life experience that these women have helped to shape just because there are a few on here that object to it? Seriously?

I will stop gauging and talking to random women when random women stop striking up conversations with me. I think that seems fair. You may not like it and that's your perogative but for good/bad that's how I'm going to continue living my life.

PromQueenWithin

Anyone capable of following a thread of conversation should be able to pick up the flow of discussion without making unbelievably wide interpretations. Even now, TeiTetua has said: "I'm astonished that there are men trying to be taken seriously by feminists (can they actually want to be seen as feminists???) who are somehow defending this kind of behaviour". Unbelievable to say the least.

Then curryeater, "Is Dazzler a man or a woman btw?"

It really does defy all comprehension. Being a long time lurker I've seen this time and time again and am surprised I've been sucked into it.

JugglingFromHereToThere Thu 07-Mar-13 15:18:11

100% agreed.

Dazzler159 Thu 07-Mar-13 16:14:12

curryeater

Oh my days.

AbigailAdams Thu 07-Mar-13 16:26:45

grin curryeater

curryeater Thu 07-Mar-13 16:27:45

what are you trying to prove, Dazzler, with your ridiculously long and content-free post of 16.12? Is it:

a. Everything is ok between men and women, men are acting perfectly reasonably and the women on this thread who think not are WRONG; or

b. Everything you personally do is fine and reasonable and polite?

If a. well you are just wrong, aren't you.
If b., why? what do you have to prove, to whom? What is your investment in this? If you actually honestly sincerely thought that while some men are PITAs (and they are, because women on this thread find them so), but you are more subtle and considerate and never annoy women, and all the women in the world think this of you too.... if this is your position, why are you on this thread defending yourself?

I think you are tending more towards position a., (or a slightly weaker version of it) - I think you are personally invested in defending standard male behaviour because you suspect you are just a standard male and you are DETERMINED to make sure you can believe (and "prove") that that is a fine thing to be.

PromQueenWithin Thu 07-Mar-13 16:28:01

Yep curry, grin

PromQueenWithin Thu 07-Mar-13 16:29:47

My grin was to your mansplain post, but applies equally to the latest.

runningforthebusinheels Thu 07-Mar-13 16:44:48

YY to curryeater's last few posts.

grin

MooncupGoddess Thu 07-Mar-13 16:45:27

I think I love you a little bit, curryeater... but I will resist the temptation to sidle up to you and inquire, a little breathily, if you fancy a drink somewhere.

Whitegoldwielder: Men pestering groups of women, well this happens because a certain type of man doesn't percieve women as people but as objects, resources. And if he sees one he likes, and it doesn't appear to belong to anyone, well then he can just go and pick it up.

This is why women talking to or socialising with other women are interrupted by stupid, entitled men - they are not displaying any indication that they are owned, even temporarily, therefore they are available.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 07-Mar-13 17:28:17

Larry, do you think the Sandwich Guy would have made loud comments about a physically imposing 15-55 year old male's ability to speak English if all said male was doing was not responding to him?

TeiTetua Thu 07-Mar-13 17:36:28

Meanwhile, in the "Discussions of the day / Most active" box over on the right:
"I was flashed today for the first time".

Ah, women are indeed fortunate that men initiate social interactions so readily.

curryeater Thu 07-Mar-13 21:32:33

Thank you smile

(smile to show I am taking the compliments in the spirit in which they are meant, rather than feeling oppressed by them, because like all the other humans, I am a social animal, innit)

but my other sociable animals, for playing with, larry and dazzling, have gone away. why? can they not take a joke? Are they miserable and uptight? Are they too selfish to interact and give me their time? Are they trying to deny the truth of being sociable animals? Or maybe they do not understand this concept.

(totally fails to consider possibility that they simply have other things to do)

PromQueenWithin Thu 07-Mar-13 22:35:30

They are probably just jealous...

Xenia Thu 07-Mar-13 22:37:50

Most of the recent cases have not just be about men talking to women. They have been hand on knee, hand on breast and up the front of top, patting on bottom, hand down back of skirt.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 07-Mar-13 22:58:42

Exactly Xenia.

They haven't been "misunderstanding social cues". They haven't been making the first move because women like to be the "gatekeepers of sex" <boak>. They've been sexual harassment and sexual assault.

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 09:34:24

Curry,

I am happy to socialise with you any time smile.

This thread is about sexual advances. There are three kinds (IMO). Firstly, ones which are outright unacceptable and often illegal. Others are crass and ill mannered. They should not happen but will, and people should be able to deal with them in the same way as they deal with ill mannered people in any other situation. Finally, there are those which some people would welcome but others hate. For instance, many women out with friends are very receptive to advances and some reading/working are happy to be interrupted and chat. Is it reasonable that because some people want their space "respected" that they should impose this view on all others, whether they welcome interruption or not? Surely this area is about reading signals and for the woman (or man) who is doing the chatting up to accept rejection with good grace but for the man (or woman) being chatted up to be able to reject someone with politeness and good grace as well?

Xenia Fri 08-Mar-13 09:41:54

Yes, pushing your hand down someone's chest who is a work colleague in a work situation or your hand on her knee is not acceptable. I have suffered a few instances over the years and it tends to be someone senior. I am not the sort of person who would be traumatised by it but it's not an easy situation these work sex pests put people in.

Even last year in a business meeting an ex MP (you could not make this up) touched me totally unexpectedly (fat ugly awful and even if he weren't it would have been wrong) and said the immortal words "fancy a bonk". You can hardly believe it would happen. I am laughing as I write it. What an idiot. I suppose he must just do that all the time with lots of women and occasionally a few agree. There is no need for that kind of thing. If work rules allow co workers to date then that person could instead ask the person out to dinner.

As for chatting to people I don't think anyone is wanting that to be banned in employed codes of conduct although some people just don't want to chat in which case they should say so...,. particularly if some chap on the pull has plonked his large bottom on the side of your desk looking down your top and supposedly having a friendly chat when often it is anything but.

Hullygully Fri 08-Mar-13 09:44:17

For instance, many women out with friends are very receptive to advances and some reading/working are happy to be interrupted and chat.

They aren't Laz.

They are being polite and/or afraid.

If they were "happy" to be advanced upon or interrupted they would be looking up and around with an open friendly gaze LETTING PEOPLE KNOW

ffs

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 09:47:41

Xenia,

Your first instances fall into my category 1. They are against employment law and the person should be disciplined and, if persistent, ultimately sacked. And pushing one's hand down someone's chest is sexual harrassment.

Your second is ill mannered. The person concerned deserves a robust, loud and embarrassing "fuck off".

On this thread, when people talk about having their space and time respected, they are in effect asking for chatting up to cease.

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 09:50:05

Hully,

Oh crap. Have you ever been to a bar late at night? I don't think the woman intensely chatting to her friend who is next seen wandering outside with the bloke who has interrupted her for a snog or more is frightened or being polite. I have seen that kind of thing too many times to be counted during my middle aged life.

Some posts on this thread show such a disconnect with real life that it is hard to know how to respond.

Hullygully Fri 08-Mar-13 09:50:26

You've got there at last! Hurrah!

"Chatting up" is UNWANTED

curryeater Fri 08-Mar-13 10:43:25

Right Larry, so just to clarify your position: are you saying that everything is fine? Men should just carry on doing what they are doing because it would be unfairly penalising them to expect them not to approach women as they already do, just because a tiny and grumpy minority of women don't like it? And a pair of women out together obviously primarily socialising with each other will not get any unwanted attention? And when - on the vanishingly few occasions this does happen - a man makes a rude advance, it's ok, because it is generally accepted that the woman will loudly say "fuck off" and will not be badly treated in any way when she does so? and that this just is the case, no matter what any women, or any number of them, say to the contrary?

StickEmUp Fri 08-Mar-13 10:44:32

Larry hate to barge in here but you do realise your perception of all this is different being a man?

Some posts on this thread show such a disconnect with real life that it is hard to know how to respond

Your version of event will be different to mine purely on that basis.

You can't just say fuck off. Insults get thrown everywhere, I've been there.
'frigid bitch' etc.

It's diffuclt and you can't see that.

AbigailAdams Fri 08-Mar-13 10:49:33

"Some posts on this thread show such a disconnect with real life that it is hard to know how to respond." They do don't they? Even after numerous women have come on and said what they dislike, the scenarios that are unwanted, the space and respect we would like. Yet still you want to encroach on those boundaries, larry. Why is that?

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 10:53:54

"Is it reasonable that because some people want their space "respected" that they should impose this view on all others, whether they welcome interruption or not? "

Is it reasonable that because some men people want to be able to approach women anyone at any time want their right to do this "respected" they should impose this view on others, whether they'd prefer to be left alone or not?

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 10:54:13

Curryeater,

You want me to put an overly simple set of rules up for you to critique. Given that I have already clearly summarised my position in my own posts, you wouldn't by any chance be "womansplaining" my own views for my erudition, would you?!

I have no idea of your experiences and, of course, I cannot empathise with a woman in the same way another woman can. I can, however, observe their reactions to things, and have over many years. It is not consistent. I have seen completely neanderthal approaches succeed in "pulling". I have also seen people highly offended. I think the middle ground is summarised in my post. To politely approach another human being is not impolite or wrong or in any sense "entitled". To not accept rejection with grace is clearly wrong. Where people grossly overstep the mark, it should be dealt with robustly, either by the law or the response, depending on the degree of it.

Can you honestly deny that many women go out of an evening with the intention of being bought drinks and chatted up? If not, then it cannot be wrong to approach a woman with that intention.

And I have nothing invested in this debate at all. I am not in the market and don't really go out to many late night bars these days. It is possible to have a view without being "personally invested" as you put it.

curryeater Fri 08-Mar-13 10:55:38

I am just astonished thinking about the reality of saying a loud "fuck off" to the sort of man who thinks it is ok to touch a woman uninvited. It is blowing my mind that someone (Larry) is so stupid that he has no idea of the implications of power occurring when a man sticks his hand on a woman's body; the threat implicit in this; how swearing automatically places a woman in the "not-nice, not to be protected or regarded" category for so many men; how so many paralysing influences are at work here - it is BLOWING MY MIND that Larry so breezily offers that as some sort of effortless solution.

However I am not going to talk to Larry any more because, you know, wtf, what is he getting out of this, why should I be a part of it, I am supposed to be working, I don't see why I should be giving him any of my valuable time

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 10:55:50

Abigail could it be that because Larry's "real life" must be the real, real life, and we should all just listen to him because our own experiences must be aberrations or examples of when we've misinterpreted some poor friendly chap just looking for friendship or love?

curryeater Fri 08-Mar-13 10:57:38

x-posted. bye Larry, not interested in you

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 11:00:44

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 10:53:54
"Is it reasonable that because some people want their space "respected" that they should impose this view on all others, whether they welcome interruption or not?"

Is it reasonable that because some men people want to be able to approach women anyone at any time want their right to do this "respected" they should impose this view on others, whether they'd prefer to be left alone or not?

I thought this was rather a pertinent point that got lost in other contributions, and I'm keen to know your thoughts Larry.

AbigailAdams Fri 08-Mar-13 11:07:06

I think it is pertinent too PQW.

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 11:09:45

Promqueen,

I actually think that is really interesting and did draft a reply but assumed it would just be derided without being thought about.

I think we have both put two mirror arguments, both of which have value. I think that is why there are no simple answers in social interactions between human beings. Clearly you have had bad experiences when men have annoyed you and wasted your time (and maybe worse). Equally, most of my female friends and my mother have never found dealing with the attention of men a troubling aspect of their lives when I ask them about it. They actually (in general) say that it is infantilising of women when they are unable to deal with it (I am not including assault or anything illegal in this). Now, your experiences and theirs are real women's experiences. What conclusion am I meant to draw? Are they all just conditioned by the patriarchy to accept the unacceptable, or are some too sensitive? I don't think there is one truth, by the way.

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 11:15:35

"I think we have both put two mirror arguments, both of which have value. I think that is why there are no simple answers in social interactions between human beings."

At a really basic level, I'd agree with you there. Now that you've picked yourself up off the floor in shock grin let me say that the difference between men and women in the 'social interactions between human beings' argument is that 'human beings' assumes both are equal and have the same ability to negotiate their way out of unwanted interaction: either subtle signals of disinterest or a loud "fuck off".

The problem is that men and women don't have equal recourse to strategies for negotiating their way out of such situations. One always knows at the back of one's mind that the seemingly polite and friendly stranger might insult or, sadly, become physically violent if rejected. That friendly, polite stranger might be you, who has no intention whatsoever of doing either of those things. But the point is, I don't know this!

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 11:17:13

And also, I'd like you to know that I wasn't putting in a mirror argument as such. I just wanted to highlight to you what your argument would sound like if reversed. smile

runningforthebusinheels Fri 08-Mar-13 11:40:15

I'll wager that neither Lazzer or Dazzer have ever been put in the position that, for example, the women working with Rennard or the woman on the bus in SGB's post were put in. Otherwise they wouldn't be making such crass statements on this thread.

Not every woman can just shout "fuck off" at a man who is making unwanted advances to her. It's great if she can - but for many women a mixture of fear, embarrassment or simply social nicety can render you speechless and feeling helpless.

I have encountered the sort of situation "sandwich man on the bus" SGB described on many occasion - how many times have I ended up, often through politeness or embarrassment, having a strained conversation through gritted teeth with a man who is basically harassing me in public. I have wanted to yell fuck off and leave me alone many a time - but I would expect these people to take the social cues I'm clearly out by turning away, making no eye contact, clearly looking uncomfortable as "I don't want to talk to you". But they don't. Why is that?

Perhaps they are so completely unaware of anyone else's feelings other than their own "right" to go and talk to the pretty woman on the bus?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 08-Mar-13 12:28:28

YY running.

Dazzler149 Fri 08-Mar-13 12:53:01

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PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 12:55:49

Dazzler, before you go, do you realise quite how rude and patronising you sound? If you'd care to tone down the insults a little, perhaps you'd find some value in actual discussion (by which I mean respectful exchange of opinions) with people who's views and experiences are so different from your own.

Hullygully Fri 08-Mar-13 13:09:18

Your post does sound like this, Dazz:

"Larry, <rueful headshake>, I'm afraid us two chaps will never make these sad and damaged ladies see reason and that they are wrong and we are right. So sad"

And yet we are women telling you what we feel about the subject in question that impacts directly on us, our daughters, mothers, sisters and friends.

Do you think that we are lying?

Hullygully Fri 08-Mar-13 13:10:32

I have never ever ever met a woman that hasn't been subject to unwelcome advances in at least two of Lazz's categories. And that is women from all over the world of all classes and ages.

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 13:12:11

"None of the women that have ever instigated a random conversation with me has ever been troubled either. It stands to reason."

She may not have appeared troubled to you, at the time. Can you be so sure that she wasn't on her guard and being polite in case you turned out to be one of those men though? Can you really?

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 13:13:56

Argh, no! I've misread your post. I missed out the "instigated conversations with me bit"

I apologise.

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 13:14:08

You were still very rude though smile

MooncupGoddess Fri 08-Mar-13 13:18:31

"I don't know of any woman, that I've had a discussion with, that has ever been troubled by strangers."

I'm actually amazed by this. Have you asked them directly? Can you instigate an informal survey where you ask them 'Have you even been hassled by a random man?' and report back?

slug Fri 08-Mar-13 13:25:07

Dazzler and Larry, You might want to read the point of view of 20,000 women instead.

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 13:26:58

Yes, please do ask women you know Dazz. Perhaps ask them if they've ever been made to feel uncomfortable by male attention, but felt unsure how to escape without a) being seen as rude or b) provoking the man in question.

I think you might be shocked by their responses.

runningforthebusinheels Fri 08-Mar-13 13:36:41

Dazzler149 - why did you change your name?

Anyway, before you're banned again you go, I'd like to thank you for your contributions to this thread.

I'll never know how you've remained so calm on a thread with so many hysterical women? Thank the Lord that Lazzer is here, for you to clap on the shoulder in a manly way, and agree that really hardly any women are harassed by men in real life at all - just these very few on MN.

WhitegoldWielder Fri 08-Mar-13 13:44:58

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runningforthebusinheels Fri 08-Mar-13 14:02:26

Lazzer and Dazzer, along with a lot of the reactions to the Lord Rennard story, have demonstrated so well how women who report sexual harassment, in all it's forms, are not believed.

Xenia Fri 08-Mar-13 14:37:01

Larry's friends and mother are not the views of many and indeed most women. I do not spend my life warding off men but even I have had unwanted attention from sex pests. It is not fun chatting up. It is difficult stuff women regularly have to cope with which men rarely do.

I am though women on the thread coudl set uot a set of rules men could follow which woudl really help:

1. Follow your employer's staff handbook - if it forbids relationships with colleagues never start one.

2. Do not chat up women at work or in any context where you have power over them, interviews, MP appointments, etc etc Particularly avoid mixing work and pleasure where you are senior to the woman or can influence her promotion or lose her her job.

3. Don't touch a woman ever unless she agrees. Don't touch a strange woman - just ask her out if you feel you want to. Don't pout your hand on her bottom, down her skirt, up her top or kiss her without permission if you're at work, on a train etc etc.

4. To use my example above don't ask her if she wants sex at the end of a business meeting.

Presumably most of us can agree on those 4 rules whether we're male or female?

AnyFucker Fri 08-Mar-13 14:48:00

Dazzler, I think your assertion that you have never met a woman who has been subject to unwelcome attentions is very naive of you (that is the least combative word I can use at this point)

I think it far more likely that all these women would rather gnaw their own arm off than discuss their disquiet and vulnerability with someone who displays such a lack of insight into the problems faced on a daily basis by many females from about the age that they reach sexual maturity

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 08-Mar-13 15:06:36

" They actually (in general) say that it is infantilising of women when they are unable to deal with it "

What does that mean?

That they are infantile for not being able to deal with it?

Or that it is infantilising of them to not expect them to deal with it?

Either way, the focus is back on women's behaviour isn't it and discussing how they ought to deal with harassment, instead of on that of men and discussing how and why they harass and how they can be prevailed upon to stop it.

I agree that Larry and Dazzler have absolutely demonstrated how men simply dismiss what women say about sexual assault. And this is why women don't speak up when it happens to them - because RL is full of men like them who will minimise and/ or dismiss women's complaints.

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 08-Mar-13 15:14:36

Oh and here's another thing.

You know all those men who are crap at reading social cues? Who plough on regardless, not bothering to note that the women they are intruding upon, are not showing any interest in pursuing the interaction?

Well those men are absolutely capable in a workplace scenario, of clocking when the best time to approach the boss with this problem is and if they see that he's not up for discussing this issue right now, they back off and make sure they broach the issue at a better time. They know when to approach their suppliers with the news that there's been a 25% budget cut and they won't be able to spend the same amount next financial year as they did this year, but they still want to retain their discount and they know by the body language and the tenor of the conversation, that Wednesday's meeting wasn't the right time to raise that, but they'll see how the land lies at next week's meeting. When they're in a club, they know when it's safe to smack down a lairy lad who has had too much to drink and when it's best to avoid said lad because things might turn violent.

And we're supposed to believe that those men are overtaken with the inability to read cues and become utterly socially inept once they're in the company of women.

Bullshit.

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 15:53:29

FB,

"What does that mean?

That they are infantile for not being able to deal with it?"

It means that adult women do not need protection from insensitive men and are not going to be traumatised for life by being touched on the knee at a dinner party. It harks back to the Victorian view of women as delicate, precious flowers.

Re your second post, I have been approached at work many times by guys asking for pay rises at the most inappropriate times and for the most inappropriate reasons, so I am not sure these men reserve their insensitivity for interactions with women.

Xenia,

You cannot claim my mother and friends are atypical any more than I know that the women on here are atypical. They are generally successful women who are confident enough to tell rude men to get lost when required, as I am sure you are.

I basically agree your four rules except for the one re touch. Many people are tactile and touch someone on the arm or even knee while chatting. As many women do it to men as men do it to women. Again it depends on the environment and relationship between the two protagonists. As for banning workplace relationships, good luck! Just about every place has a policy against it and it is always flouted and, as long as the two get on with their jobs, it is nearly always ignored.

(And, although I share some of Dazzer's views, we are two separate people with our own opinions and perspectives so although "Lazzer and Dazzer" has a certain ring to it, we have not had a mind meld and are two different people.)

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 16:01:38

"It means that adult women do not need protection from insensitive men and are not going to be traumatised for life by being touched on the knee at a dinner party."

But why should adult women who are perfectly able to stand up for themselves if they wish to have to put up with it? Why?

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 08-Mar-13 16:08:44

So the bar for it to be acceptable is that she is not traumatised for life?

How long is she allowed to be traumatised for? A year? A month? A week? A minute? A second?

And of course, the idea that it is the touch on the knee that is traumatising, is the deeply dishonest proposition here. It isn't the touch, is it? It's the power relationships of those who are touching without permission or invitation and what that touch means.

Pretending that "touch" is just touch - nothing else - and so therefore a woman would feel the same discomfort/ indifference whether it's a bloke in a pub or her boss's boss who has actual power over her ability to earn her living, furthers the interests of harassers.

And of course, it's shifting the focus back to the women who are touched without permission, rather than leaving it where it should be: on the men who do this.

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 08-Mar-13 16:11:27

And what an exciting work life you must have, with all these socially inept men who continually approach you for pay rises Larry.

grin
hmm

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 16:12:15

Promqueen,

If we are talking about rudeness, of course they should not have to put up with it. But how many rudenesses of one sort or another do we all have to put up with in our lives?

Some people are pleasant, some far less so. If I could instantly turn every rude individual on this planet into a polite one, I would do so. However, I can't. I don't think, though, that there are more unpleasant men than women. And women can certainly impose on men, both sexually and otherwise. Bodily, men tend to be bigger and thus maybe more frightening but you only have to view youtube hen night footage to see some pretty rude sexually aggressive women.

There are no easy fixes and blaming men or the patriarchy for people's insensitivity and rudeness is way too simple.

When people mix up rudeness with assault, though, that is another matter. An unwanted touch on the knee at a dinner party can be annoying but it is in no way assault (and even if one could say it was, literally, in law), the CPS would never proceed.

runningforthebusinheels Fri 08-Mar-13 16:13:49

" They actually (in general) say that it is infantilising of women when they are unable to deal with it "

What does that mean?

That they are infantile for not being able to deal with it?

Or that it is infantilising of them to not expect them to deal with it?

Either way, the focus is back on women's behaviour isn't it and discussing how they ought to deal with harassment, instead of on that of men and discussing how and why they harass and how they can be prevailed upon to stop it.

Absolutely. Larry is hinting that it's the woman's own fault for not being able to shout 'fuck off' at the offending man - and because his mother apparently bats off male attention with ease, any woman should be able to?

Fact is, Larry, I, and in fact all the women I have ever known have had to deal with some sort of male harassment during their lives. We do in general deal with it and learn to live with it. But that doesn't make it all right, and that doesn't mean that women shouldn't speak out about it. It is intimidating and it shouldn't happen.

And you know what - they're are plenty of people I wouldn't discuss this with irl - certainly not with people like you and your mother who are apt to brush these things under the carpet.

Telegraph article: Our Culture Is Changing And The Sexists Don't Like It

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 08-Mar-13 16:14:15

Oh well that's lucky for men who want to touch up women at dinner parties isn't it Larry.

Lucky the CPS is on their side.

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 16:15:53

FB,

"Pretending that "touch" is just touch - nothing else - and so therefore a woman would feel the same discomfort/ indifference whether it's a bloke in a pub or her boss's boss who has actual power over her ability to earn her living, furthers the interests of harassers. "

I never said this. In fact I think I said in a previous post that you had to approach work people and especially subordinates with great sensitivity. Most work places have very robust policies against harrassment these days which is a thoroughly good thing.

Luckily I am "retired" from that line of work now. Got boring dealing with infantile 21-40 year olds. Much happier dealing with toddlerish toddlers than man (and occasionally woman) childs.

runningforthebusinheels Fri 08-Mar-13 16:16:55

Oh, and you may not like it, Lazzer, but I think Dazzer thinks you two are a team wink grin

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 08-Mar-13 16:17:12

But you implied it when you said a woman shouldn't be traumatised by a hand on her knee.

That implies that a touch is just a touch.

When we all know it's not.

And also, we are back to discussing women's reactions instead of men's behaviour.

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 16:17:24

Sure, but we're not blaming patriarchy for insensitivity and rudeness, we're noting the structural inequalities that make it much, much easier for men to feel that they have the "right" to behave in this way and that women should just laugh it off or ignore it.

And the consequences for women so much worse. I will agree completely with you when you say that a group of lairy women on a hen night might make they men they interact with feel very uncomfortable. But I doubt those men would be worried that they'd follow him home and sexually assault him, would they.

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 16:18:39

FB,

"Oh well that's lucky for men who want to touch up women at dinner parties isn't it Larry."

What about women who touch up men at dinner parties? Or is that different because of the "power" relationship. And what if it is a female boss and a male subordinate?

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 16:20:04

There's nothing good in either scenario, people with power shouldn't abuse others whatever their gender.

You suggesting that it happens to men as frequently as it does to women Larry?

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 08-Mar-13 16:25:15

"Wotaboutthenmenz"

grin

<Weeps with laughter.>

Because it happens so often doesn't it Larry. With the same regularity and the same level of career-destroying shit attached to it.

You wouldn't expect me to say anything other than all abuse of power is wrong.

And I have come to expect that you don't acknowledge the huge disparity of power between men and women.

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 16:25:30

Promqueen,

Probably not but the ratio is also probably a lot closer than a lot would believe. Plenty of people in power abuse their positions in all sorts of ways and more and more women now have positions of power. And men are far less likely to report it, the culture is really not on their side, they would be laughed at.

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 16:27:22

FB,

I am afraid I don't, not in the society in which I mix in the UK. I don't see much disparity at all, and in many spheres women are outperforming men. Another discussion, though.....

On a global scale, or even among a different social demographic (I think it is now referred to as CDE) I totally acknowledge the huge disparity of power.

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 08-Mar-13 16:29:29

What evidence do you have that men report abuse less than women?

I have read evidence that says men are far more likely to report an incidence of domestic violence than women are for example.

I don't know about workplace abuse.

runningforthebusinheels Fri 08-Mar-13 16:39:24

It does demonstrate why some women don't report these things though - they know they're going to have to counter attitudes such as Lazzer and Dazzer's.

Hullygully Fri 08-Mar-13 16:42:45

Laz

Are you literally actually MAD?

You can't possibly possibly say that women are anything like men when it comes to touching and harassment.

No matter how much you want to say the behaviour and world you are used to, men approaching women at will, is desirable, natural and just dandy, you still can't possibly say that.

Hullygully Fri 08-Mar-13 16:44:44

I don't think, though, that there are more unpleasant men than women.

What, about from those doing all the violence and killing against women you mean?

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 16:50:02

Running,

Just because I do not agree with every one of your trite truisms does not make me a misogynist. Quite the opposite.

I have encouraged and helped women to support harrassment throughout my career in the City. I had women working for me for years on end (when they had many other options) and was regarded as a fair, unsexist and popular boss, which is probably why my career ended when it did. I was unwilling to embrace crappy management double standards in many areas.

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 16:50:29

Lazzer, I've been wondering about something and I hope you'll indulge me with an honest answer. Are you one of those people that always feels that they ought to present the counter position to any argument anyone makes, just because?

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 16:50:41

support? I meant report and no, not a Freudian slip smile.

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 16:52:49

Promqueen,

Larry, or, if you like, Laurence. Please none of that Lazzer stuff.

Yes, if you want an honest answer, I do tend to present counter arguments, probably because I see them and also I do think that people can be very simplistic about things which are quite complex. But, in conversations where men are assuming very sexist things (some of which I have learned from these boards) I do challenge them with the counter argument too.

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 16:55:43

My apologies Larry. So in this case, are you arguing a position because you truly feel it to be the correct one, or are you simply presenting the other side in the interests of balance?

larrygrylls Fri 08-Mar-13 16:59:11

Promqueen,

What I write, I believe. I can see that others have had different experiences and I cannot speak to them. But, I also cannot ignore the experiences of my female friends and my own family.

Where is the truth? None of us really know, do we? It is probably somewhere in the middle.

runningforthebusinheels Fri 08-Mar-13 17:01:02

Larry - you are right. Disagreeing with me does not make you a misogynist.

It is your comments on this thread which are so dismissive of women's experiences which do make you sound like a misogynist.

runningforthebusinheels Fri 08-Mar-13 17:03:39

I have encouraged and helped women to support harrassment throughout my career in the City. I had women working for me for years on end (when they had many other options) and was regarded as a fair, unsexist and popular boss, which is probably why my career ended when it did. I was unwilling to embrace crappy management double standards in many areas.

Larry - all I can say is either you're making that up, or, in real life, you must be completely different to how how you come across on here.

Xenia Fri 08-Mar-13 17:04:02

I don't agree that workplace touch is fine and inevitable, particularly in England which is not a tactile culture. A handshake is fine, a man's arm around a female colleagues back is not fine.

If were talking about a man and woman at a dinner party and who were not work colleagues I still don't think he should touch her knee if they aren't already going out. I think he should invite her out and then if they get on etc make his move.

There is a very big gulf between men and women on these issues, even those of us who tend to take the middle ground and work to stop discrimination in both directions. Men seem to think on the whole there is no big issue over this stuff. Women think there is and that is mostly explained because women have had to endure this kind of thing. I am hardly a likely victim but I have had a good few instances of it over the years. Also a lot of men do it very subtlely so you cannot quite work out if they are doing what they are doing. There are past master of it out there - probably almost every large office has a male sex pest (and a few will have women doing it but it is not a gender neutral issue). The Jimmy Savilles , the lib dem recruiter man and all kinds of types in between.

It's much better now. Women are better at objecting and men know they need to restrain themselves

Also it was suggested office romances will always happen. Well they may but a large number of companies make the junior person leave. That still happens.

PromQueenWithin Fri 08-Mar-13 17:08:28

Larry in this case I really, really don't think that the truth is somewhere in the middle! To me this suggests that you really don't believe what some women are telling you about their experiences. You think they are mistaken somehow.

I think the situation is, as you say, complex but the "truth" (however we wish to construct what that is!) seems more likely to depend upon one's perspective rather than being something that is ultimately "out there" and could be discovered by a survey or some such.

In my view, it's a bit pointless anyway to talk about trying to find the truth of the current situation. What's more important to me is the evident truth that something needs to be done improve women's everyday experiences so that they do not experience what they perceive as harassment.

And just because what a woman perceives as harassment is different from a typical male perception of same, doesn't mean that it isn't the responsibility of the perpetrator to modify their behaviour, not the victim.

I apologise if that's somewhat esoteric.

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 08-Mar-13 17:08:38

"I am afraid I don't, not in the society in which I mix in the UK. I don't see much disparity at all"

Ah the joy of privilege.

I don't see much racism in my life, but that is probably because I'm white.

The figures contradict your assertion that there is no disparity between men and women's power Larry.

You don't need to see it. Just like I don't need to see Australia to know it's there.

Hullygully Fri 08-Mar-13 17:09:16

I was on a train a few years ago and sat in as completely empty carriage (train was at starting station). A large suited man got on and sat next to me. I asked him why he was sitting there, squashing himself against me, when the entire carriage was empty.

Oo, he said, the carriage will soon fill up (sic)

Well if you won't move I will, I said, and did, to a different carriage.

I fortunately am older, so could deal with it. I can just imagine a poor young embarrassed female in that situation. And hear him saying he'd done nothing wrong, just sat on a seat on a train.

Hullygully Fri 08-Mar-13 17:10:33

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runningforthebusinheels Fri 08-Mar-13 17:21:00

This happened to my friend at uni, sitting with friends in the union bar.

Him: "I bet you 50p I can make your tits move without touching you"

Her: "What?"

Him: Grabs her boobs and hands her 50p.

Raucous laughter from the other men. The women were a bit more hmm but none of us said anything, and this man had basically assaulted her. No doubt, had we said anything, we would have been jeered at and told it was only a joke. We were young, but we already we knew the score - men will make all manner of advances to you, i all manner of situations - you just have to deal with it, as part of life.

He's a doctor now.

curryeater Fri 08-Mar-13 17:23:21

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Hullygully Fri 08-Mar-13 17:28:30

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Hullygully Fri 08-Mar-13 17:29:54

But then we are talking about a man who thinks it's fine for a child to call a black person "chocolate face" becasue chocolate is nice so it's not an insult.

And also thinks it's fine to hit kids, sorry "smack" them

nuff said really.

runningforthebusinheels Fri 08-Mar-13 17:32:05

Here's one for Laz from the Everyday Sexism Project:

Robyn via Twitter 2013-03-07 20:28
It was in chip shop! I got my arse groped, turned round &told him 2 fuck off. Female owner told me 2 get out

What would you say to her Larry?

AnyFucker Fri 08-Mar-13 18:32:27

Larry, why aren't you all over the eg. P+C parking, style and beauty, MIL, child-free wedding etc threads, presenting your "counter" arguments in a devil's advocate kinda way ?

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 08-Mar-13 18:51:55

Oh don't go giving him ideas now.

grin

Hullygully Fri 08-Mar-13 18:54:24

AF - because he's here to help us poor misguided Laydeeze

AnyFucker Fri 08-Mar-13 19:09:48

it's not working smile

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 09-Mar-13 00:15:28

The "truth" lies in between?

Or maybe, in all the millions of women in this country, some have had different experiences to others?

runningforthebusinheels Sat 09-Mar-13 09:16:55

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FastidiaBlueberry Sat 09-Mar-13 17:17:39

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Pan Sat 09-Mar-13 18:17:43

Lazzer/Dazzer - I don't think either of you get out much at all. To even suggest the scale or impacts of unwarranted sexual advances between the sexes is anything like comparable is so risible it's difficult to know where to begin with.

Laz - you refer to the 'professional' world - I'd spent x years as a rep on a 'professionals' assistance panel. Re unwanted sexual advances claims, we had one case of a woman, who had waaay to much to drink on a night out and grabbed a male colleagues buttocks. By the time we saw her she was v sober and utterly ashamed. Contrast with numerous (can't recall the exact number) of men over the years who behaved v poorly, but needed 'mediation' to understand the impacts of their actions.

fwiw, I am somehow doubting your City career ended by being a 'nice guy'.

larrygrylls Sun 10-Mar-13 09:56:44

Pazzer,

FWIW, you know nothing about me and I know nothing about you.

I never claimed it ended specifically to do with being a "nice guy" and it did not end because of my angelic defence of repressed females. As I said in my post, it ended because I was better at managing down than managing up and I supported my team in general. One very small aspect of that was sexual politics (for want of a better word). Don't worry, I am not after your title of the male feminist's feminist on these threads!

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 10:30:04

"I am not after your title of the male feminist's feminist on these threads!"
Excuse me. Just dabbing away the tears of mirth after that line.grin

larry I do apologise for misusing your nn. It was rude. And your use of 'managing down/up' is useful - I'm struggling with that at the mo. - I like what I do, leading a team, and 'managing up' means moving away from that into the world of budgets, which I am much less easy about. IF this is what you mean?

but to be honest I do know a bit about you, from what you post over the years. From my POV much of the sentiment is fine, and then you 'undermine' it with words that are inconsistent with the sentiment, iyswim. eg re sexual advances on this thread? That is imho of course.

But returning to the matter in hand, can you now indicate that the scale and incidence of unwanted sexual advances between the sexes is nothing like comparable, and 'hands on knees' at dinner parties is quite small beer in the larger world of sexual assaults and fears thereof?

PromQueenWithin Sun 10-Mar-13 11:53:51

I'm a relative newcomer here, and it may interest you to know Pan that I assumed you were a female poster. I've noticed on this thread and a few others how the style (for want of a better term) of male and female posters is so different. In particular I've noticed that "typical" male posters don't tend to say things like "yes, I see your point of view".

I've noticed irl as well that males seem to have an overwhelming need to play devil's advocate, present 'balanced arguments' to whatever is being discussed and treat any disagreement with 'well, it's probably somewhere in the middle' i.e. I probably should agree with you really, but then I will feel as if I've lost...

Apologies for the derail, I considered starting a thread to discuss it but didn't want to precipitate a bun fight grin. Perhaps it would be worth it, if the all posters would be willing to put aside past and current disagreements and be really reflective... wink

larrygrylls Sun 10-Mar-13 12:02:02

Promqueen,

Yep, women and men do seem to have subtly different posting styles, agreed. However, with the exception of an honourable few (you included), I don't notice many "yes, I see your point of view" from women on this particular area, either.

Interesting idea for a thread, though.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 10-Mar-13 12:08:01

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larrygrylls Sun 10-Mar-13 12:12:12

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Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 12:19:18
FastidiaBlueberry Sun 10-Mar-13 12:41:47

Yes quite right Larry.

You're catching on.

There have been times I've conceded points to sensible people with good arguments.

But astonishingly, I'm not going to spend Mother's Day looking for them. And tbh I wouldn't spend any other day looking for them either. You're welcome to though, of course. grin

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 14:16:58

sorry Prom, missed your ref. to mistaking me as a female poster. There's the odd debate from time to time as to whether men should make it plain in the nn their sex, but it usually ends in a majority of 'no need', for various reasons.
There's a few female posters who I thought were male from their posts and style, so after a while it gets a bit confused and it all usually comes out anyways. hth

PromQueenWithin Sun 10-Mar-13 14:40:29

No need for clarification on my account Pan, take it as a compliment directed at your apparent reasonableness on this thread.

Hullygully Sun 10-Mar-13 14:41:29

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PromQueenWithin Sun 10-Mar-13 15:43:06

Sorry all, didn't mean to touch any nerves sad probably best not to start a thread about posting style then, eh grin

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 15:45:43

No, go for it Prom! I'm sure it will meander along very quietly..

Hullygully Sun 10-Mar-13 15:51:43

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PromQueenWithin Sun 10-Mar-13 16:21:00

Scroll down to but you're different to all the rest to see why I was less than delighted with Larry's "compliment" about my reasonableness.

As to my so say pallyness (did you mean me?) I'll just carry on saying what I think in as polite a way as I can manage smile. Once again, it seems there's some history I'm unaware off and I'm sorry that I seemed to have stirred it up.

Hullygully Sun 10-Mar-13 16:23:59

No prom, I was addressing the reporter.

PromQueenWithin Sun 10-Mar-13 16:26:00

smile

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 10-Mar-13 18:22:25

Ahem.
<not officially here but coughing anyway>

nenevomito Sun 10-Mar-13 18:30:59

Personally I think its brilliant that we have so many men on MN who are all so interested in discussing feminism and womens rights. I mean, in general life, most gents I've met don't put it at the top of their list of conversation topics, so we're just super-lucky to have some here who are keen to discuss it whenever they can, even to the exclusion of anything else. Super lucky. I think it lends an importance to a subject that may otherwise be overlooked.

True, baby, very true.

Portofino Sun 10-Mar-13 18:49:51

Totally agree Babyheave. What would we do without the men telling us how we SHOULD feel after being inappropriately touched up at work or elsewhere?

Portofino Sun 10-Mar-13 18:55:37

We have to "man up" of course.

If only we had more of a sense of humour about it all. sad

Portofino Sun 10-Mar-13 19:11:51

Yes LRD. I remember 20 years ago, my boss stroking my long hair as it was "so beautiful". The fact that it made me freeze with fear and uncertainty and rendered me incapable of speech, decries the fact of how flattered I should have been that he liked my hair.

Ewww. shock

That is proper creepy.

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 19:23:23

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Portofino Sun 10-Mar-13 19:26:30

It is isn't it. If he touched my tits I would have slapped him and marched to HR.
But my hair...it would have sounded silly. It made me SO uncomfortable though. Still gives me the shivers now.

Portofino Sun 10-Mar-13 19:27:45

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duchesse Sun 10-Mar-13 19:28:25

I think a lot of what we are discussing boils down to how to say no, assertively and in a way that gets the message across unequivocally. If I think back to all the times in my life I've been subjected to unwelcome attention, what riles the most is my inability to deal with it. I don't know about anybody else, but I was brought up conditioned to do what I was told and be a people-pleaser. Whereas what girls in particular really need is to be taught how to be assertive, how to get what they want and how to say no. And not try to please people all the damned time.

We ought to be able to tell someone to leave us alone in an utterly unequivocal way. The woman who was complaining about Lord Rennard ought to have been able to tell him she was not interested and to leave her alone, instead of using subterfuges to get rid of him.

Yeah, it's when it's just at the boundary of what's acceptable, isn't it, it's really hard to know what to do and I think it's deliberate. I had a driving instructor who demonstrated how to 'squeeze and release' the clutch on my thigh. Obviously I could have reported that, but it's also not quite as obvious as anything else and you have a moment of being unsure how to pick them up on it.

duchesse Sun 10-Mar-13 19:31:04

I had a driving instructor touching me inappropriately too. Aged 17 and I looked like a 12 yo. I was angry but had no tools to deal with it.

Portofino Sun 10-Mar-13 19:33:06

Duchesse - to me the point is that you should not need "skills" - they shouldn't fecking do it the first place. How hard IS that to understand?

duchesse Sun 10-Mar-13 19:37:17

But if there are fucktards who do it and want to do it (and i suspect that might always be), then we ought to be able to tell them to f*ck off- eventually they'd get the message that it was socially unacceptable. The vast majority of men don't go around groping, exposing themselves, rubbing themselves inappropriately against women in rush hour trains, call out lewd things, make suggestive comments randomly etc etc... But we've all had this happen, so clearly a significant minority of men who not socialised enough to realise it's crass and unacceptable. And we ought to be able to knee them in the nuts tell them to fuck off in no uncertain terms.

duchesse Sun 10-Mar-13 19:38:36

All those things happened to me in my teens and early 20s by the way. It's disconcerting and angering to be honest. Especially when it comes from people who have power over you, often professionally.

Portofino Sun 10-Mar-13 19:39:09

I mean I work in a dynamic IT environment. There are some lovely looking young guys that I work with on a daily basis. I might think in my head that xxx looks particularly gorgeous and tanned after his holiday, but I would NEVER dream of touching his leg or ruffling his hair to show my appreciativeness of his gorgeousness. Because that would be assault.

duchesse Sun 10-Mar-13 19:41:10

But most men wouldn't dream of doing that either! And the ones who do need to experience swift pain to know it's not on.

MooncupGoddess Sun 10-Mar-13 19:43:27

It's true, duchesse... just as we wouldn't hesitate in shouting at someone who was trying to pinch our wallet.

But of course, if groping and perving was seen as unacceptable as stealing, many fewer men would do it.

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 19:46:11

Porto You'll have to explain re pot,kettle,black? hmm

re the 'advances', the protaganist isn't concerned about a skills deficit. They know on some level it's wrong. But they don't really care about the morality of it.

An odd advance I've had was from a bloke on a bus, when I was about 12, who thought it okay to rub my knee and ask about any fantasies I had experienced, about men. I was fairly scared, despite being in a public place.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 10-Mar-13 19:46:28

Yikes, Porto (re the hair).

The adulting link upthread was a good response to personal space invasion in a work context (at least, I think it's on this thread - dodgy wifi so don't want to scroll up).

If it's on the borderline, why don't we say, "Stop that, it makes me uncomfortable"? Oh yeah, in case the bloke in question is one of the shouty insulty ones. sad angry

That is horrible, duchesse - and I agree with porto and with the way you've put it in your last post - the men who do this need to know it's not on. Women shouldn't need strategies to deal with it - and frankly, I think such strategies will never really work.

duchesse Sun 10-Mar-13 19:48:53

I saw this recently. It resonated a lot:

^ We were discussing homosexuality because of an allusion to it in the book we were reading, and several boys made comments such as, “That’s disgusting.” We got into the debate and eventually a boy admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other male passenger made a pass at him.

The lightbulb went off. “Oh,” I said. “I get it. See, you are afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you.” The boy nodded and shuddered visibly.

“But,” I continued. “As a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time you are is either just a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time.”

The girls in the room nodded, agreeing. The boys seemed genuinely shocked.

“So think about that the next time you hit on a girl. Maybe, like you in the taxi, she doesn’t actually want you to.”^

duchesse Sun 10-Mar-13 19:49:55

For borderline behaviour, I prefer to use the old school thing of raising an eyebrow and saying "That's a bit inappropriate."

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 20:53:24

duchesse - that's pretty strong example, and fairly clear. When working with abusers the very notion of them being 'victims' at some stage in their lives can be very alien to them. They are good at 'compartmentalising' stuff and failing to see, at all, how their abused status has any reference to anything they are doing. It's that cognitive dissonance between experiences.

No shit. It never ceases to amaze me how blind people can be to the way they are behaving and their own experiences.

Great anecdote, duchesse.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 10-Mar-13 20:59:15

I don't think all these men need to be taught that it's inappropriate and wrong tbh.

I think they already know it is.

But they calculate that they will get away with it and 99.9 recurring % of the time, their calculations are correct.

And part of the kick, is knowing it's wrong but that they can get away with it.

Am not sure what split it would be between that type and the type who genuinely can't see anything wrong with it because they're so entitled that they don't recognise they're doing something wrong.

Yes, that's true, they need to be taught that we know it's wrong and that someone will pick them up on it.

I think there are some who persuade themselves they don't know it's wrong.

It's a little bit like those questionaries about rape, isn't it? You know - if you ask men if it's acceptable to rape a woman, you get a lot of 'no's, but if you ask if they think it's ok to force a woman to have sex, you get a higher number of 'yes' answers. I think it might be the same thing here - they know that the behaviour called 'sexual harrassment' is wrong. But they also don't label their actions like that, consciously or unconsciously.

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 21:03:18

No, LRD, no shit! S'true. It's a filtering out process, that's fairly effective, and so gives licence to come out with all sorts of rubbish.

No shit, as in, the colloquialism. As in, yes, it is very obviously true that people can engage in stunning levels of cognitive dissonance. It's all over this thread, for starters.

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 21:06:49

I know it's all over this thread.sad

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 21:19:08

Fastidia - it's really tricky to detect the difference at times, between someone who knows they are 'getting away with it', and those who are convinced about their entitlement.

Psychometric tests assist, to some degree, but they are not panaceas as sometimes they are claimed to be. In assessment it often comes down to an 'instinct', and observed behaviours outside of tests, like how you approached the receptionists ( in a clinical environment), or how you describe your relationships with 'significant others'. <a 1980's but useful phrase, imo>.

Dazzler149 Sun 10-Mar-13 21:30:21

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PromQueenWithin Sun 10-Mar-13 21:35:13

So you've come back... To tell us you're leaving?

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 21:37:41

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Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 21:39:00

sorry, If it makes you feel..

I've just grown a willy but then I fell over it.

grin

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 10-Mar-13 21:51:32

<Snort>

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 21:54:27

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PromQueenWithin Sun 10-Mar-13 21:55:06

SGB I don't get it <feels foolish>

Hullygully Sun 10-Mar-13 21:55:08

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Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 21:56:52

oh Hully, let it gooooo. FFS.

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 22:01:14

Prom - it's as long as it is boring. I am sure someone will PM you about it. Not me of course..

Hullygully Sun 10-Mar-13 22:04:19

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Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 22:13:01

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Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 22:15:24

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PromQueenWithin Sun 10-Mar-13 22:17:05

Oh <wishing I hadn't asked>

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 22:21:00

I wish it hadn't all happened. Coward that I am.grin

Hullygully Sun 10-Mar-13 22:23:56

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PromQueenWithin Sun 10-Mar-13 22:27:35

Hully and Pan, I am truly sorry to have stirred this up, really not my intention sad can we move back to the thread topic?

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 22:28:45

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Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 22:30:06

Well, yes Prom, that would be good to do. I've added to the thread.

pan, she was on the thread days before you. She's not following anything.

And I really doubt anyone else wants to read this. It is so bloody tedious.

Hullygully Sun 10-Mar-13 22:32:59

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Hullygully Sun 10-Mar-13 22:33:33

2 sick kids, excuse me if I don't hang around to follow you.

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 22:34:31

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Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 22:38:29

But Hully, this thread isn't the first, is it? Can we agree to avoid each other?
Yes we are grown ups, and this stuff is massively not grown up.

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Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 22:39:51

<fwiw I don't have feminist convictions, so do please dump that one>

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 22:41:58

LRD - FFS it isn't me bringing it up. And yes I have reported this shit. Repeatedly. Lordy.

Can we get back to the subject?

I was wondering - has anyone successfully managed to get someone to admit they did make a sexual advance in these situations? I'm realizing I have never actually reported anything sexual that's happened. blush I can think of some I wish I had - but I didn't, mostly because they weren't 'serious enough'. I have argued quite a lot with men in a non-work setting, but that's all.

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 22:49:05

Yes,LRD as in mediator capacity, though not immediatly with someone who has offended against me, as a man. fwiw

PromQueenWithin Sun 10-Mar-13 22:57:10

I've never reported anything. Quite often, there isn't anyone obvious to report it to

Yes, I think that's an issue, prom.

PromQueenWithin Sun 10-Mar-13 23:08:18

Also, purely in a work context, ive only heard of anyone reporting anything getting pegged as a nasty, vindictive, manipulative women attacking some poor "great bloke" who probably did nothing wrong. I don't blame women who decide, on balance, it's better left.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 10-Mar-13 23:12:36

Yep, women know - or assume - that the men will be valued more highly than them.

They're usually right.

That's really depressing, prom. I certainly don't blame women, either (I hope I didn't imply that).

I think, psychologically, it's very difficult to put yourself in what you know will probably be a confrontational situation when you've just been in that position, too - because your natural instinct is to want to shrink away, and that includes shrinking away from the confrontation.

Pan Sun 10-Mar-13 23:22:45

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VerySmallSqueak Sun 10-Mar-13 23:34:47

I have made a report of sexual harassment in the workplace,quite a few years ago. Without wishing to go into any detail,I had already left the workplace prior to making the report.
I am not sure I would have felt as able to make the report whilst remaining in the workplace.

PromQueenWithin Mon 11-Mar-13 00:06:56

LRD I didn't mean to imply that I thought you might blame women. I have heard a couple of anecdotes about careers sadly and unfairly ruined by these nasty vindictive women, when in fact male bullying seems to run unchecked. I have personal experience of the latter, sadly. The fuckers don't stand and fight fair when called on it though. Sorry, still a bit angry

Oh, no, you're fine - I was just checking, I hate getting tone wrong on the net as it's so easy.

The whole petty rumour side of it is horrible, isn't it? Sorry to hear you fell foul of it. And of course you're angry - you bloody should be!

SlowlorisIncognito Mon 11-Mar-13 01:41:13

There was a blog post linked a while back on this thread, about how women/girls are conditioned in society. I found it really interesting, because it is true. I have never found an acceptable way of "dealing" with unwanted advances on a night out- apart from "I have a boyfriend, he's that guy there, he won't like it if you grab my arse/make sexual advances/touch me without my consent".

I find it really difficult to say no to men, even over a medium like text when they are asking for something I'm not willing to give, especially if I've given it to them before. I don't think men understand how hard it is when you've said no for the second or third time, or given a fairly polite no, which can be just about read as a maybe, so they persist.

The one time I got physical with a man (he started grinding against me with an errection in a night club with litterally no introduction and I slapped him to get him to back off) he punched me in the face. The bouncers were uninterested and fortunately after that he left me alone. I am 5'4'' and weight less than 9 stone, the majority of men (the majority of people!) are going to be physically stronger than me, so I don't like getting into situations where things might get physical.

The other thing that annoys me is the assumption that flirting/talking = consent. I have never left a club with a stranger, I very much doubt I ever will. I'm happy, sometimes, to add guys on facebook/give them my number. That's not equal to consent. Neither is going on a date or agreeing to meet up, and I hate how some men view it that way.

Interestingly, I have been in a situation where the roles were slightly reversed- a much less sexually experienced guy (although older), less into me than I was into him, and I tried to be very careful with regards to sex, and only had it if he instigated it and seemed to be giving "enthusiastic consent". I know, obviously, someone has to instigate but I wish some of my male partners had given it some consideration.

With regards to reporting, I have never experienced anything worth reporting, but a friend was sexually assulted (as in sexual act performed on her whilst unconcious then she woke up) by a boyfriend, neither the police, nor the university they both attended were interested!

NoTimeForS Mon 11-Mar-13 06:51:16

I am sorry that Pan and Hully's argument was brought back up here. Bad form. sad

I met a woman a while ago, in her 50s, who told me she had never met anyone who had been raped, or anyone who knew anyone who had been raped. Some people are truly blind to everything that hasn't affected them directly.

"Women? Upset by a hand on the knee? When I imagine a hand on my knee it doesn't disturb me. It's just a touch. Big babies. They're making it up."

Dazzler149 Mon 11-Mar-13 08:43:31

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curryeater Mon 11-Mar-13 10:19:00

The thing is (I bring you this analysis fresh from the field, having experienced an insidious groping at a bar on Saturday from a man who laughed and made a joke of it when I physically removed his hands and arms from my body) - they often aren't "sexual advances" in the sense that the man wants you to say "Oh yes, what a good idea, let's go and have sex". So he is "in the clear" in the sense that he didn't want you anway! (he could loudly protest). No, maybe he didn't want to take you to a hotel, but he has already had what he wanted, which was to rub up against an unfamiliar female body and revel in the power of being able to do this and still regard himself as a nice person.

A sexual advance would be reasonable. they often look like this:
"do you want to go out with me?" (= person wants to have a relationship with you, or at least thinks he might)
"Do you want to come back to my hotel room?" (= person wants to have sex with you) (obviously if you do go back to the room you don't have to, but you might want to have sex too)

both of these are fine in that they both allow the space, formally at least, for "no thankyou".
And this is why the whole nasty gropey power thing is so horrible, is that they have just taken it, there is no space for rejection, the event is over and they got what they wanted, which is power, and the demonstration of power

So I don't think we should be talking about "sexual advances" because a sexual advance is a moment that the advancer is hoping to lead to further, consensual moments of sexual contact. This is just this - doesn't lead to anything - it's just a power grab

Hullygully Mon 11-Mar-13 10:31:03

I agree curry. I would very much like to have an honest conversation with a "groper" and explore their thought processes.

curryeater Mon 11-Mar-13 11:44:58

One of my friends is really upset about a sexual assault that has just happened to her, by a stranger. She describes it as "low level" which I guess means "not actual rape". It happened so fast she barely had time to react.

Larry are you still there? Any words of advice for me and my friend? At what point should we have heartily bellowed "fuck off" and what actual fucking difference do you think it would have made?

I guess it is a crazy coincidence that we just happened to have been assaulted within hours of you explaining to us all that it doesn't happen very often and / or doesn't really matter (or whatever the fuck you were saying, as you don't want to clarify, just sort of generally minimise without coming out and being honest about your vile mealy mouthed position). How funny, such a once in a lifetime experience. OH NO IT IS NOT ONCE IN A LIFETIME IS IT

I am so fucking angry today I am sick to death of going about in the world with men treating me like a fucking toy. I am FORTY FUCKING ONE (not that it would be ok if I were 20)