Those two postings of theferrett‘s which I mentioned previously (you remember: this one and this later one) have produced uproar in the comments, with everyone accusing everyone else of being sexist and belittling rape. No doubt LJ Drama will be on the case soon. Anyway, in my previous posting, I said that theferret‘s opinion was probably a common male one without actually saying what my opinion of those articles was. So now I think I’ll stick my neck out…

This comment points out just what it is about theferrett‘s “I’d do ya” thing that doesn’t sit well with me: not that it is bad to admit that someone is sexually attractive, but that to be quite so blunt about it is unsubtle and reductionist (and, if that weren’t bad enough, unlikely to work). It’s common for people who don’t socialise well to wish that the whole business was less complicated, and even to say things like “why can’t everyone just be totally honest with each other from the outset?” (I’ve been there myself), but the indirection in courtship exists to allow both sides to negotiate without presuming more of the other person than they’re prepared to give. Even if you do just want sex, being totally blunt about it presumes too much.

As for dress, I think theferrett is right to say that a well-dressed woman shouldn’t be surprised if men look at her, but I’m not sure where to draw the line in what an admirer might do next: I’ve got very little history of hitting on total strangers, so as I said to lisekit in this thread, I don’t really know what the etiquette of it is. I reckon saying “nice arse” to a stranger is again assuming too much, on the other hand, I can’t see the harm in telling someone they look nice in a less blunt way. It may be that very popular women get tired of this happening to them all the time, but if we assume that both men and women want to get together, and that on the whole women still expect men to approach them, some unwanted attention is an inevitable side effect of this. But then, I’m not the one getting the unwelcome approaches, so I don’t know how common this is. I expect I’ll find out when I post this 🙂

Where I don’t agree with theferrett is when he says that he can’t blame men for repeated attempts in the face of total lack of interest from women. I’m not talking about getting to know someone and taking things slow here, and I don’t think he is either, but rather continual pestering of someone who’s said she’s not interested. His defence of this sort of behaviour is that there are some women on whom this pestering works. My response is that they’re not the sort of women you want to be anywhere near. Yes, those women should not behave in that way, since it encourages men not to accept that no means no, but neither should the men continue to chase after being told not to.

Finally, the people who seem to be LJ’s leading feminists (or at least, LJ’s most vocal feminists) do an appalling job of furthering their cause, even when they’re in the right. I’m assuming that they wish to bring other people to their cause, to evangelise, as it were, so that in time society will change. My experience with how Christians are taught to evangelise suggests that calling people names and refusing to discuss things with them except within carefully prescribed limits won’t win people to your side. If you want to change the world, you must unfortunately deal with large numbers of people you consider to be idiots without losing your temper.

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