Caitlin Moran article on "why not just tell men to stop?" people(34 Posts)
Hope this photo comes through okay - it is of an article by Caitlin Moran in today's Times magazine. A really good (I think) piece on pulling up the ladder behind you/ why it isn't enough to just expect women to tell obnoxious (or worse) men to stop.
Obviously, the biggest problem in all this is the men involved, but I think she is making some good points about society as a whole.
Yes I thought was very good. Gist of it for non-subscribers was pointing out the crapness of expecting women to deal with harassment by being "sassy" because
1. We are not all sassy nor can this trait be just learned by every woman
2. It doesn't fix the underlying problem - the shit behaviour by the male perpetrators isn't addressed
3. It puts the onus on women for dealing with men's shitty behaviour rather than expecting men to regulate their own behaviour
Thanks for linking this both - brilliant article. She is so right, just another case of victim blaming really.
I’m afraid I can’t celebrate that in a successful woman, who appears now to be boasting about it. That you yourself did not die of the poison – but you left others behind to eat it, and deal with it as they may. Of course you have risen through the ranks: you let harassers stay in their jobs; carry on as they did before. Of course you have been rewarded for your public inaction and silence
That's really powerful. Well said, Caitlin.
Yep. You can't just expect victims to have the ideal social skills or perfect personality. It is a crap response of unthinking people.
Brilliant message. I remember a discussion on here once about rape which pointed out that women are not a herd of wildebeest , if we dont walk down the dark alley, we may escape but it just means another woman will be attacked. Men don't stop their behaviour that way, they keep going.
Yup. It's victim blaming crap to tell women that it's their responsibility to just deal with it / tell them to stop / give them a swift slap to bring them back to their senses / make a joke of it / some other ridiculous suggestion that obviously no woman has ever thought of...
Brilliant arguments. I don't have a subscription though. Paywalls
Matt Frei on C4 was asking a female interviewee why more women don't just say no firmly. Talk about victim blaming. Good old Caitlin Moran. I assume she's referring to Julia Hartley Brewer. I will just say
that I have great difficulty with JHB.
If you were sassy and it worked you were lucky, not clever. Some men are prepared to use violence and sass really doesnt do anything in that kind of situation except make them angry.
We cant tell from the outset who is going to be put off by assertiveness and who is going to punch us. Men really dont get this.
That is damningly good.
I did have the same thought as DJ - that even the best sassy responses won't always work anyway; they might be effective against a chance fondle in public, but not against a really determined rapist for example. But still this speaks a LOT of truth to me.
Matt Frei on C4 was asking a female interviewee why more women don't just say no firmly. Talk about victim blaming.
I didn’t see this, but was he actually victim blaming or simply giving the interviewee a chance to address the question that, unfortunately, many people ask?
Excellent article and agree with rogue that referring to Julia Hartley Brewer.
I was assaulted once on public transport, and instead of saying or doing anything I completely froze. Before this happened I would have said I would have shouted/ pushed/ slapped but I just couldn't. I'm sure there's an evolutionary/ biological reason for this and I wish it was highlighted more often that this is a common response. If it was well known maybe we'd have less "why didn't she say anything at the time".
Well said Caitlin! I wish I hadn't read the comments underneath though. The second one down as I saw it began, "Women are getting tedious as a species..."
Men are scared women will laugh at them; women are scared men will kill them.
Great article. I agree with her, although I did find Janice Turner's article about millennials (who won't tolerate a hand on the knee but are very pro-porn and pro-prostitution) thought provoking.
I think there has also been a cultural change in men's responses. 15 years ago, if a man was trying it on in a bar and his attention was unwanted, we would tell him to piss off and he'd slink back to his laughing mates with his tail between his legs. I don't go out enough anymore to say for certain but the few girls' nights I've had in the last 5 years have been peppered with unwanted attention. The men now won't take a simple rebuff and get quite aggressive if you tell them to piss off. I'd like to hear more about this attitude shift from younger women, it's not something that is talked about. Caitlin got me thinking: perhaps sass was a good response in the past but it could be very dangerous now.
I luffs Caitlin Moran. Luffs, luffs, luffs her. She shoots from the hip and I bet she'd be good for a drink and a packet of crisps too.
Also, if you are 'sassy' ( and I learned to be so pretty quickly as a defensive strategy) you may deter some creeps who prefer easier prey. But IME you simultaneously attract other creeps who get a kick out of raping or bullying 'a tough one' into submission. It's no solution, even on an individual self interested level.
fruitlovingmonkey I agree with you about that shift and I think it's down to the saturation of pornography which is so misogynistic and being accessed by boys who are being conditioned to believe that women are permanently available for them and so they react with anger when denied what they think they are entitled to. I work with teenage boys. In my personal experience, sexism and misogyny is on the rise. Whilst teenagers have always been quick to sexualise everything, now when I use words like 'ruin' or 'destroy', (we were talking about a scene in a particular novel) the 16 year old boys snigger and smirk. How did those words come to be associated with sex and something you do to a woman when you have sex with her? These are nice, normal, well behaved boys who are respectful towards me - but their attitude towards women is clearly being poisoned. It really worries me and my school is looking to specifically address this problem and work with boys on what masculinity actually is or should be. I'm so glad that we are addressing boys in this, not teaching girls that their behaviour is responsible for assaults and harassment and I really hope we have some success.
Is it not a similar dynamic to any situation of one person exercising power over another? These abuses do not exist in a bubble, separate from all other matters of the interpersonal.
I do think that there are differences between sexual harassment and what we might think of as 'standard' bullying - for a start, some sexual harassment can be dealt out almost benevolently: the abuser might be under the delusion that their harassment is welcome and fun.
However, that aside, we all - as friends, as colleagues, and just as people that exist alongside others in a crowded society - understand what bullying is. We've probably all been bullies at some time or other. That exertion of power over another individual - whether to make them feel bad, to have fun at their expense, or to coerce them into doing something they do not want to do - is where the blame lies. No doubt. But, at the same time, as adults we also know that we do need to be able to set out our own boundaries. Having a certain level of robustness where we can tell others what is or is not acceptable is a fundamental life skill. It simply isn't good enough to say that it's ok to passively accept whatever happens to us, because it's other people's fault.
Yeah, sure, victim blaming is a bad thing. Harassment is a bad thing. The onus is, of course, on the abusive to not be arseholes. But, I really do think that it's unhelpful to suggest that people should make no effort whatsoever to learn how to be assertive or set boundaries. We can't shout down as 'victim-blaming' any and all attempts to encourage people learn basic life skills. That's a huge disservice.
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