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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!

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.


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?


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

Great post FB.

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


No, just a humourless munter with an attitude problem.

Or possibly a frigid whore.


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


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?

SolidGoldBrass Wed 06-Mar-13 11:19:32

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


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


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.

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