Stop Blaming Consent Violations on Social Awkwardness

Content Notice for Consent Violations (including sexual assault and rape)

Consider those who share unsolicited images of their genitalia. Who sexually touch themselves and/or others in public. Who yell inappropriately-explicit comments at passersby. Who make obscene gestures. Who refuse to take “no” — whether stated a tone soft or hard, polite or angry — for an answer. Who violate consent.

They know exactly what they are doing, and they are relying on how people insist that socially-unacceptable behavior only originates with socially-awkward individuals to continue to get away with it. Continue reading “Stop Blaming Consent Violations on Social Awkwardness”

Stop Blaming Consent Violations on Social Awkwardness

Standards of Evidence: Sharia vs. Rape Deniers vs. US Courts

Content Notice for Discussion of Rape and Sexual Assault. Also note that for purposes of comparison, the only crimes being discussed are male-on-female. There is shamefully little-to-nothing in Sharia regarding men and boys who are sexually violated and rape deniers rarely take the issue of male-on-male or female-on-male rape into consideration.

Conclusion: You just might be a hypocritical misogynist if your standards of evidence for rape are more stringent than those of certain iterations of traditional Sharia. Thank goodness for the American justice system which, flawed as it is, has not such victim-blaming standards.

Continue reading “Standards of Evidence: Sharia vs. Rape Deniers vs. US Courts”

Standards of Evidence: Sharia vs. Rape Deniers vs. US Courts

Feminism 101: Objectification & Sexualization vs. Sexual Desire

Merely experiencing desire upon beholding someone is not to necessarily objectify. To wit:

I’ve been objectified by men when I’ve worn frumpy sweatshirts and baggy straight jeans: my butt was groped when I was arrayed that way at a hole-in-the-wall eatery. I’ve been objectified by men while I was wearing long, loose tunics and skirts topped by carefully-draped headscarves: I was asked if I was a “total freak under that thing”, the last word punctuated by an unmistakable gesture towards my scarf. Hell, I’ve been objectified by men for being a virgin who mostly stayed at home: a much-older man online told me that he found it titillating to think about me “locked away” and insinuated that if we got together, he’d rescue me to a liberated life of constant sex and nudity at his apartment.

Notice a pattern here?

Continue reading “Feminism 101: Objectification & Sexualization vs. Sexual Desire”

Feminism 101: Objectification & Sexualization vs. Sexual Desire

Does It Matter If It Was for Lulz or for Faps?

Content notice for consent violations of all kinds

The Sam Pepper scandal(? incident[s]? revelation[s]? trainwreck?) has been making the rounds. As I am not a YouTuber, per se, I have been mostly watching without weighing in much. I have cheered on those who are bringing his harassment and assault to light — those who aren’t him, that is, since he seems pretty adept at exposing himself (for what he is and otherwise).

In discussions specifically focused on the “prank” video that started it all, some defended Sam Pepper’s actions as “for fun” and “a joke.” I was reminded of the other times I’ve heard the “but it’s for lulz, not faps” defense.

The first time I entered an explicitly LGB space  and had my breasts groped by a male interloper. He responded to my aghast expression with “It’s okay, honey; I’m gay. Just checking if they were real. They’re nice.”

The Tumblr post by a self-described anti-feminist woman arguing that women ought to be okay with street harassment since her male friends tell her they do it to be “funny.” The lack of genuine sexual interest in the women they harass makes it okay, she thinks.

A story out of the UK where a man convicted of groping a woman’s crotch while she was out with her children saying “I didn’t know it was wrong. I was just having a laugh.”

The self-professed A-cup straight woman who harassed me for weeks about my breasts. She was shocked that I, with my double-Ds, wasn’t wearing low necklines in the workplace.

The street harassers who, when I confront them, tell me to calm down since I’m too unattractive for them to ever seriously consider anyway.

“It’s just a joke” is never an excuse for anything in the first place, but I’m fascinated by this notion that, as long as something is not done for prurient interest, it’s excusable. That if the perpetrators are not looking to get off, they get away with it and are off the hook. That if the ending ejaculation releases breath via laughter rather than sexual fluids via an orgasm, everything is fine.

As Miri points out

When I am being sexually assaulted, I don’t care what the person assaulting me truly deeply believes about this encounter and what it means to them and how they feel about it in their heart of hearts. I am being sexually assaulted. I would like them to stop sexually assaulting me now.

A lack of sexual intent or interest does not render consent violations any less violating.

Does It Matter If It Was for Lulz or for Faps?

Bad Chart Thursday: Exposing Dov Charney & Terry Richardson

I had never thought much of Terry Richardson or Dov Charney, but all the information I’d heard about “them”, until very recently, somehow ended up in the same mental box, as it were. I instinctively thought they were the same person until the so-called “News Media”‘s propaganda machine told me that one is a photographer and one is the head of American Apparel. I remained a believer in this false enlightenment until my eyes were recently re-opened. When I read an article on The Toast by Mallory Ortberg that compared the “two” “men”‘s looks, and saw in the comments that I was not the only person who recognized “them” for the same person that “they” are, I knew I had hit upon a troubling truth. Before I reveal it, let me present the facts.

Continue reading “Bad Chart Thursday: Exposing Dov Charney & Terry Richardson”

Bad Chart Thursday: Exposing Dov Charney & Terry Richardson

Talking About Unwanted Attention & Harassment Differently

Included in yesterday’s Quickies is a link addressing the internet-infamous phenomenon of the Nice Guy. The clever piece turned the narrative of the Nice Guy around and humorously expressed female frustration with the “Girlfriend Zone.” Earlier, more crude versions call it the “Fuck Zone.”

I understand that it’s meant to be a flip of the classic “Friend Zone” (or even “Ladder Theory”) narrative and a criticism of the “Nice Guy” mentality. These are all things I can certainly get behind. At the same time, I’m not certain that complaints about the single-mindedness of men, no matter how hilariously-worded and -framed said complaints might be, are the best way to criticize sexual entitlement. Not only do such notions demean men, they also belittle women who are not targeted for sexual attention.


As a single college student, I got to hear the “Nice Guys” in my life complain about how there were just no women around to date or fuck since all women led them along as “friends” (all while looking right at me, the adorably clueless jerks). To exacerbate matters, the clubs I joined, hobbies in which I engaged, social groups I helped to form, and major whose classes I most attended were all widely reputed to be, in cissexist language, “sausage-fests.” Indeed, the mention of any of those male-dominated groups in the presence of a woman or more socially-aware man often solicited a derisive snort and a warning that, as one of the few girls, I would be relentlessly pursued by desperate young men.

Confused, I watched as the few other girls in each of the aforementioned groups dealt with their particular lovesick swains while no one seemed to notice that I was also a girl. To this day, I’m more than a little confused by why things went the way that they did. All that I know is that I was not mobbed by male “friends” secretly hoping to put in just the right amount of kindness coins that would lead to sex.


In terms of harassment, women are warned by other women and well-meaning men that they should be on their guard whenever they join groups with skewed gender ratios. I was certainly so warned when it came to secular groups of all stripes, only to find myself the target of straight-up sexism rather than pick-up lines.

All this can leave women who tend not to be targeted by non-platonic male attention (positive or negative) with an odd sense of resentment. It was, for example, incredibly hard for me to be sympathetic with women complaining about how much harassment they experience when they issue universally-worded (but clearly not universally-applicable) warnings. Instead of feeling sympathy for their mistreatment, I would feel annoyed at their thoughtless overlooking of my femaleness. I had to fight the urge to think of them as somehow allied with their harassers in their shared inability to acknowledge the fact that I am also a woman.

Ditto for the exclamations of “Oh my glob, you didn’t know that [insert name here] is creepy! Ha! Duh, he’s a creeper!” All that the mocking of a woman who haven’t realized that a certain man has a reputation accomplishes is to point out that he hasn’t harassed her. There are better ways to potentially warn someone than to single them out as undesirable to someone (albeit a “creeper”). Mention that he has a reputation for lechery, perhaps, instead of declaring that he hits on all girls.

The same applies to situations where the sexual attention is wanted. I’ve been turned down by more than a few men for everything from a casual coffee date to a vacation fling. I’m sure any woman could find a man to whom she is attracted but who would reject her advances. Men should have the right to say no and be selective and women should be able to hear “no” from a man without being utterly crushed. It’s hard for a woman to not to be crushed by a “no” from a man when society informs her that men are desperate for any female attention.


Less personally and more philosophically, calling more attention to men who want sex with women who want platonic friendship, even from the point of view of the woman, reinforces the ridiculous Mars-Venus mentality. Why not attack the problem at its root by challenging patriarchal notions of entitlement to women, differentiating between entitled sexual aggression and non-threatening expressions of desire, reiterating that yes means yes and no means no, and combating the “he’s a stud, she’s a slut” thinking that makes it difficult for men to say no and women to say yes?

Ceasing the use of sweeping language with regards to women as recipients of sexual attention, wanted or unwanted, would lead to more good and less harm than discussing sexism in a way that invalidates the femininity of women who are unappealing to Nice Guys and/or harassers.

Talking About Unwanted Attention & Harassment Differently

Hit ‘Em Where It Hurts: On Meeting Audacity with Audacity

Note: I am aware that harassment crosses all kinds of gender lines. I have known men who are harassed by women in the workplace and am sickened that their charges are not taken seriously. Below, I am speaking from my personal experience as a woman who gets harassed by men. Though I fully acknowledge they exist and do my best to speak up when I can against those who trivialize their plight, I cannot speak for those men who are harassed by women.

One of the more active ways to cause change is to make actions so costly to those who perpetuate them that the harms outweigh the benefits for them. As most people are not monsters, simply creatures of both habit and opportunity, they will not continue doing something that is more trouble than it’s worth to them.

Enter the Hollaback! movement and similar movement to end street harassment. Their aims are, for the most part, to enforce laws already on the books prohibiting sexual assault: for the police to take such charges seriously and prosecute those whose actions make the daily lives of girls and women so much more difficult. The efforts made have been successful both in terms of leading to more convictions and in changing the culture around street harassment. Where many girls and women have walked in fear and shame, they have begun to more confidently assert their right to walk in the world without feeling unsafe.


As a dweller mostly of suburban spaces myself, I never accepted the status quo in cities, that I was to somehow expect and accept harassment. Before I had even once walked around as an unveiled young woman in a city, I was a supporter of Hollaback. At no point, then, had I ever been used to the idea that I should always feel unsafe in my daily life. Not for me was the silent complicity taught to me by both my peculiar upbringing and by society as a whole, oh no: I fought back. I taught those street harassers what was what — that I was not a piece of meat to torment for their sick amusement, that women have the right to live our lives in peace, that their petty exercise of power did not render me powerless.

Then, as so often happens, I realized that I had a blind spot, one far more applicable to my suburban lifestyle: men at work.

I’m not talking about the stereotypical leering construction workers, although they can and do fall under this category. I speak of men who, under the auspices of employment, use their paid time to harass women. It occurred to me that I could easily raise the social cost of being a jerkface to women while at work. While men on the street have all the right to say what they want to a woman as long as they do nothing physical, employees are usually obligated by their employment to be professional. Why not enforce those obligations?

This might seem harsh to some. Is it really fair to cause a man to be professionally disciplined or even to lose his job because of some unprofessional conduct? Given the sheer audacity of using paid employment time to sexually harass women in crass fashion, I would say so. Personally, it bothers me that I have unemployed, underemployed, and nervously-employed friends while disgusting jerks get to feel so confident in their employment that they harass me when I’m a customer. Economic times being what they are, there is likely a queue of at least half a dozen eager and smiling job applicants lined up behind every complacently-employed harasser. If they feel brave enough to harass me while on the clock, I can be brave enough to report just how well they are representing their employers to the appropriate authorities.


This revelation did not occur to me in an academic or online context, but after a specific incident. I’d suddenly had enough of being treated like a piece of meat by people paid for the time that they were spending harassing me. I began affecting them in a way that they understand: in the wallets. I’ve taken to meeting their audacity with my own and hitting them exactly where it hurts.

I express this not to pressure less bold or privileged women into action, but in the hopes of waking up others capable of such action who have drowsed away on the matter for all too long. It is not okay for someone who is acting in a professional context to treat you so unprofessionally, and unlike in the case of street harassment, you have recourse that likely won’t affect you much at all beyond the negligible amount of time it takes to write down a name, find a manager, and have a conversation.

Let’s make it harder for harassers to get paid time to do their dirty deeds.

Hit ‘Em Where It Hurts: On Meeting Audacity with Audacity