Friday, September 7, 2012

Recommended article: Amanda Marcotte's "It's Really Time for the Harassment to End"

Amanda Marcotte's "It's Really Time for the Harassment to End" is just brilliant.

There is so much in here; I suggest the whole thing.  But I will start you out with this snippet:

Jen McCreight has hung up her marvelous blog Blag Hag, even though she loves writing, because of all the abuse she’s been getting due to the rest storm in the atheist blogosphere over whether or not women are required to give any man attention because he wants it. The feminists say no, and support policies at conventions that state clearly to men that women’s consent matters. If a woman declines to give you anything—sex, flirting, any kind of attention—that is her right, and exacting your revenge by harassing her is unacceptable. A loud minority of atheist dudes find this unacceptable, and refuse to budge from their belief that they are owed women’s attention. They claim “free speech” gives them a right to an audience with the woman of their choosing, and claim that the requirement that a woman consents to an interaction means the end of flirting and sex. They grind their teeth over and over at the nerve of Rebecca Watson saying that it’s not cool to corner an unwilling woman in an elevator; their “right” to have a woman’s attention if they want it means that they are allowed any tactic, no matter how scary, to extract that attention, even if it means approaching a woman when she literally has no immediate means of escape. Hitting on a woman in an enclosed space sends the signal that she is not allowed, in your opinion, to decline the interaction. The anti-feminists occasionally pull sad faces and say they’re sorry that it has to be this way, but a man’s right to “free speech”, i.e. to extract attention from any woman at any time, trumps a woman’s right to free association.

To say otherwise—to say that a woman has a right to decline to give you attention—is “misandry”. The response to women who state boldly that a woman’s consent is required for any interaction has been many variations of “I’ll give you something to cry about.” Richard Dawkins raising the subject of serious oppression of women in some Muslim countries. Translation: “You should be grateful that we’re only demanding forced flirting, because there’s a lot more hellish things we could force you to do.” Many, many rape threats thrown at female bloggers who speak out: “You think forced flirting is bad, but there’s worse things we could force on you.” The notion of abandoning force altogether is preposterous to these men. There will always be force, they seem to be saying. Extracting what you desire from women by force is just the way of the world. You should be grateful that we demand so little of you, in terms of non-consensual interactions. 


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