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Feminism: chat

Overbearing man

3 replies

CindyLouWho1 · 04/02/2022 02:05

I’m posting just to rant really.

I live abroad and I’m currently taking a class with a group of people from all over the world, including some men who come from historically macho, kind of sexist cultures, where certain behaviour towards women is still somewhat socially acceptable. (I hope no one takes offence at that). There is one man in particular whose behaviour I find extremely irritating. I’ve never met such a vain peacock of a man - he is constantly trying to show off his huge muscles and tattoos and boasting about his wealth, his workouts, etc. Within minutes of meeting him, he was shit-talking his ex-wife and complimenting my appearance and repeatedly touching my arm. In class he talks over me constantly and answers questions directed at me. When we have to work together, he talks and talks; when it’s my turn to speak, he interrupts repeatedly with irrelevant remarks, eg today he was trying to show me photos of cigars he likes, as if anyone would be interested in that! I used to get stuff like this all the time in London but I’ve lived away for so long that it’s come as a bit of a shock, especially because the place I live in now is generally so safe for women. (There is no catcalling, no wolf whistling, not even any staring, and everybody in colleges and workplaces maintains a professional distance). This person really dominates the space and has absolute zero awareness of other people’s (my) discomfort with his overbearing nature, or lack of interest in his conversation, or sheer dislike of his unattractive personality traits.

The thing is that everyone else just tolerates him. I don’t think I can and I don’t think I should. But I know I’m already being labelled a rude bitch for asking to be moved away from him. I don’t really know how to explain myself, I’m just so annoyed that I can’t attend a class without having someone ruining it by constantly being in my face and in my space. I feel like it’s so unfair that my desire and ability to participate in this class is being taken away because of him and I hate it.

Any thoughts on how to deal with it? I’m a bit annoyed with myself for tolerating it as much as I have - I look very young but I’m in my mid-thirties with 2 kids, I feel like I’m so done with taking shit from men already! But talking to him isn’t really an option as he doesn’t seem to have the ability to listen or take in anything a woman says.

OP posts:

NumberTheory · 04/02/2022 02:58

There are a few routes you can try but don’t know how effective they will be. It will depend, to a large extent, on what sort of support you get from leadership and your peers.

Are you the only woman he talks over? If so, I would be a little bit concerned for your personal safety and would prioritise that. Don’t let yourself ever be around him when there aren’t plenty of other people there too.

Possible routes:

Approach the lecturer/teacher and ask them to stop the harassment.

Talk to other women in the class and see how they feel about it. If they don’t like It either, a joint direct approach would then be my preferred option, but a less confrontational one would be to suggest you back each other up in class. So if he talks over someone, another woman speaks up straight after “What were you saying, Susan?” and, where appropriate, after women have said something another woman says something like “I like the point Natasha made about…”, so echoing women’s contributions so they get heard better. And when he starts talking to a woman about boring stuff have a sign you can make so another woman comes and “rescues you”. Stuff that just undercuts his arrogance by ignoring it and highlighting women.

You could also try being direct and stop doing the social facilitation that lets him get away with it.. So if he talks over you, turn directly to him and say loudly “I’m in the middle of talking.” If he shows you cigars just say “Really not interested in cigars” and turn away. Etc.


LaChanticleer · 06/02/2022 21:01

You could stare at him directly when he interrupts you, and say “Be quiet, please, I am speaking. the teacher has set this exercise and requires us to take turns”. Speak sternly forcefully more slowly and perhaps just a little bit more loudly than you would normally speak.


EmmaH2022 · 06/02/2022 21:29

I have had to say "please stop touching me" in a social group. One man kept touching my arm and patting my hand.

It was good because it was an immediate shut down in front of others.

Why do you have to work together, is it a situation where you take turns? Is he doing this to others?

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