I wrote a post a while back about how some people are very good at getting away with doing intentionally creepy things by passing themselves off as just ~awkward~.
Recently, I noticed a particular pattern that plays out. While creeps can be any gender, there’s a gendered pattern by which creepy men get other men to help them be creepy:
- A guy runs over the boundaries of women constantly
- He makes them very uncomfortable and creeped out
- But he doesn’t do that to guys, and
- He doesn’t talk to guys about it in an unambiguous way, and
- When he does it in front of guys, he finds a way to make it look deniable
- And then some women complain to a man, maybe even a man in charge who is supposed to be responsible for preventing abuse in a space
- and he has no idea what they are talking about, since he’s never the target or witness
- And he’s had a lot of pleasant interactions with that guy
- So he sympathizes with him, and thinks he must mean well but be have trouble with social skills
- And then takes no action to get him to stop or to protect women
- And so the group stays a place that is safe for predatory men, but not for the women they target
- Mary, Jill, and Susan: Bill, Bob’s been making all of us really uncomfortable. He’s been sitting way too close, making innuendo after everything we say, and making excuses to touch us.
- Bill: Wow, I’m surprised to hear that. Bob’s a nice guy, but he’s a little awkward. I’m sure he doesn’t mean anything by it. I’m not comfortable accusing him of something so serious from my position of authority.
What went wrong here?
- Bill assumed that, if Bob was actually doing something wrong, he would have noticed.
- Bill didn’t think he needed to listen to the women who were telling him about Bob’s creepy actions. He didn’t take seriously the possibility that they were right.
- Bill assumed that women who were uncomfortable with Bob must be at fault; that they must be judging him too harshly or not understanding his awkwardness
- Bill told women that he didn’t think that several women complaining about a guy was sufficient reason to think something was wrong
- Bill assumed that innocently awkward men should not be confronted about inadvertantly creepy things they do, but rather women should shut up and let them be creepy
A rule of thumb for men:
- If several women come to you saying that a man is being creepy towards them, assume that they are seeing something you aren’t
- Listen to them about what they tell you
- If you like the guy and have no idea what they’re talking about, that means that what he is doing is *not* innocent awkwardness.
- If it was innocent awkwardness, he wouldn’t know how to hide it from other men
- Men who are actually just awkward and bad at understanding boundaries also make *other men* uncomfortable
- If a man is only making women uncomfortable but not men, that probably means he’s doing it on purpose
- Take that possibility seriously, and listen to what women tell you about men
tl;dr If you are a man, other men in your circle who are nice to you are creepy towards women. Don’t assume that if something was wrong that you would have noticed; creepy men are good at finding the lines of what other men will tolerate. Listen to women. They know better than you do whether a man is being creepy and threatening towards women; if they think something is wrong, listen and find out why. Don’t tolerate give predatory dudes who are nice to you cover to keep hurting women.
I’m so fucking done with my entire family
I’m at my parents’ home, which means that I’ve, thus far, gotten one four-hour long rant from my Dad about why I should change my sister’s mind about her marriage, one three-hour long rant from my mum about how my dad constantly yells at her about the aforementioned sister, plus fifteen THOUSAND discussions from EVERY SINGLE PERSON in my family about how it’s really important that my dad’s four kids all get their ‘fair share’ of his money when he dies and don’t I agree
and i’m just like
1) He’s not goddamn dead yet so can we please just not
2) I pay my fucking bills, I make my fucking rent and I really don’t fucking CARE one way or the other
3) Maybe if you want him to give you all of his money, you should fucking talk to him because I JUST WANT TO GO BIRDING
and also point 4) I’m pretty sure he has, you know, a living spouse, e.g. my mum who is probably not keeling over anytime soon so isn’t this all kinda moot, or am I supposed to be in some kind of conspiracy to make sure that my mum doesn’t get to keep her house when my dad dies? Because not cool?
I just am so tired of this. I’d compare everyone and their mother to vultures, except I like vultures, and I thought this was only supposed to happen after people died, but I guess everyone’s GETTING ANTICIPATORY or something, and it’s just GROSS and FRUSTRATING and UGH
I HATE EVERYONE.