A friend of mine posted something about catcalling and street harassment. To the absolute shock of … well, pretty much nobody, the very first comment on her post was a guy explaining why women shouldn’t be afraid of catcalling, and isn’t it funny how the women complaining aren’t the ones experiencing the “privilege” of being catcalled in the first place? Also, women wouldn’t be afraid if they carried guns, and the real threat are guys “in a dark van with no windows parked next to your car in the Walmart parking lot.”
His suggestion? “Now what would happen if a woman who’s the center of the cat call took the power back, walked up to the offending rake and asked for his number and told him to show a little respect and maybe if he was lucky she’d let him earn the opportunity to do some real cat calling?”
This is the point where I facepalmed so hard I gave myself a concussion.
Guys, is it really that hard to shut the hell up and listen instead of immediately trying to tell women why they’re wrong about their own lives and experiences?
It’s pathetically predictable.
- Woman complains about harassment.
- Dudebro feels uncomfortable.
- Dudebro tells woman why she’s wrong to feel that way.
Because Dudebro’s discomfort at women complaining about harassment is somehow more important and valid than women’s discomfort about actually being harassed.
The CDC put out a report this year about sexual violence, after completing more than 12,000 interviews. They found that one in five women have been raped in their lifetimes, and 99% of those rapes were committed by men. (The report states that about two percent of men were raped as well, which I strongly suspect is an underestimate. They also found that approximately 80% of those rapes were also committed by men.)
“But I’m not like those other men,” says Dudebro, waving the “Not All Men” flag with righteous pride.
Then stop acting like them.
- When a woman says she’s uncomfortable with something and wants you to knock it off, stop arguing. Stop telling her she’s wrong, and stop making excuses to keep doing it.
- Stop pretending it’s about complimenting women. (Here’s a tip: Compliments don’t go from, “Hey baby” to “Fuck you, you stuck-up bitch” in the blink of an eye.)
- Stop treating women as objects you’re entitled to instead of people.
You seriously want women to believe you’re not an asshole and a potential threat? Start by shutting up for a minute and actually listening to what women are saying.