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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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dizziedumb on sexual harassment

The following scathing, eye-opening (and public, a rare occurrence) entry from dizziedumb made me question even my own behaviour in public. Thanks to her for this huge heads-up. Plus for her impassioned and moving confession of her experiences just from everyday life. Wow.


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hey an excuse to pontificate absurdly!

vyus September 25th, 2006
When I was young and less hairy, I got my share of looks. I've been kissed w/o expecting/inviting it a handful of times (thankfully by girls) and had my ass rubbed or pinched a handful of times (not always by girls).

Yesterday evening, I was making a right turn out of my subdivision onto a major street. Across the intersection were three girls/women on three horses. In two years of being here, I'd never seen horses.

One gal, atop a horse, begins to pull her top off. Now, she's far enough away that I can't really see details except hair color, some busty-ness. But I can see that as that top is coming off, her stomach is bare. I think I waited enough to catch the lower part of a sports bra underneath, but my reptilian brain didn't care. So it took me about a second to disengage and start making my right turn because I figure they don't need some shmuck in a truck staring no matter what they're doing.

Tough situation. Horses where you never see horses -- I love horses, I would've struck up a convo if I were on foot -- and women -- I love women, especially in a state of undress. Gal ontop a horse pulling off a top. This scene reaches right into my teenage fantasies. How do I possibly pass this up?

Pragmatically, I know boobs are just boobs. Viscerally, hey, boobs! Exciting stuff. You know, there really isn't a point to this story except that the entry reminded me of that.

No one needs to have somebody taking pictures or making lewd comments. I do have a hard time with folks (men or women in whatever type of attire) that feel accosted just because of people looking at them. In a world where swimwear covers less than lingerie, it's tough to know when it's OK for the libido to take over the eye sockets. And more often than not, the women getting gawked gets more annoyed if it's a hairy, mullet-sporting guy in his 40s than if it's six-pack suave-smiling guy in his early 20s with strong guns. In a situation like that, how do you guess biases?

I would initially classify the events described at the supermarket as content vs process. Content was sexual (for lack of a better word), but the harrassment process was the same if it'd been somebody making rude comments about anyone. I wouldn't tolerate that harrassment process regardless of content. But the content on its own would not be why. We don't need norms saying "big guys can't harrass littler guys" -- we just a need a "no harrassing" norm, regardless of gender, breast size, or size of the tumor on his/her forehead,

Oddly enough (and I can go on forever) I used to date a girl who, just once, would like a guy to stare at her chest all evening. She wasn't huge, but she wasn't small, either. Just something about guys staring at her chest. Ah, the things we wish for.

jdquintette September 25th, 2006
If confronted, men like that often insist they are being 'complimentary' and that they are merely acknowledging someone who is encouraging this kind of attention through dress or behaviour.

In reality, these are hostile, controlling acts perpetrated by men who fear and hate women.

There's no mystery about it. It's a drag there's so much of it.

fireceremony September 25th, 2006

*sigh* I've got a nice back log of stories like that. Not as bad as the guy who tried to take her picture, though. Once I got stuck on an air plane with a drunk Cambodian who wondered if I were good at cooking and "by the way, I'm looking for a wife"...

Sometimes it's a miracle all the eye rolling I've done through the years hasn't dislocated my eyeballs.

sita_radha September 26th, 2006
Thanks for posting that.

As a relatively good-looking 20-something, I get my share of comments. Sometimes, to be honest, it is nice. That depends on how it is given, who is giving it, and timing. A friendly person saying, "wow, you look terrific" when I'm dressed up at a club -- fine. Some guy wearing a stained overcoat leering and making vulgar comments when I'm at the grocery buying cold medicine -- gross.

Now, I do disagree with how to handle this. Personally, I like the disbelieving, incredulous stare, a head-shake and walking away. I don't know if these men may be violent or whatever else. I'm not putting myself in any danger to make a point. I'm certainly not going to make any comments about their sexuality, prowess, etc, as that just invites escalating the comments, and I'd rather not hear them in the first place.

These men don't care a whit for what I might say, non-confrontational or not. I am first, last and always an object to them, and if I don't act as an object, then I'm a bitch. I'd rather be a bitch who didn't waste ten words on them than one who did. For myself, I just don't want to hear it.

Also, it is not my responsibility to divest the man of his sexism. In fact, I have no responsibility to a man who harasses me whatsoever. To say otherwise, to me, puts an undo burden on the woman and smacks a little of the late Victorian idea that men need women as a moral guide, and women have a duty to restrain the 'natural' behavior of men. The only responsibility I have is to myself.

iamom September 26th, 2006
I have no responsibility to a man who harasses me whatsoever. To say otherwise, to me, puts an undo burden on the woman and smacks a little of the late Victorian idea that men need women as a moral guide, and women have a duty to restrain the 'natural' behavior of men. The only responsibility I have is to myself.

Nicely said!!!

And as far you being "relatively good-looking", Christ... That's an understatement, to say the least.

this is me, out in left field

jaipur September 26th, 2006
I don't get it. She's wearing club dress and has a bodacious figure and expects drunk guys at 3 am not to notice/comment/use cell-phone cams? What color are the skies in her world? I think she's well within her rights to tell him off like she did, but seriously. That's hardly harassment.

I'm female, I DON'T expect to be harassed everywhere I go, every day of my life, and ya know what? I've been harassed once, maybe twice that I recall in my 40 years. Maybe I'm just lucky or live in the right parts of the world, but geez. I have NOT found it to be a societal attitude that guys think they have the right to harass women, and expect women to take it as a compliment. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, or that it doesn't happen to people, or that we don't have to be on guard about it; it's just that I'm always astounded that if it's that common I don't see more of it.

At least in the US, that is. Latin America, Italy, Asia, those are differnt cultures all together, and sure, yeah, there I've been pinched/poked/prodded/proposed to as though any woman's key goal in life is to marry some guy who doesn't speak her language. That's what I call demeaning.

I dunno. Sexism is something to be sensitive to, of course; and yeah, it's still a fight in many parts of the country, and the job situations can be truly nasty; but of all the examples to pick, this is not the one that gets my sympathy...

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