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Are Street Harassers the REAL Victims of Street Harassment? One Men's Rights Redditor says "yes."

Not so fantastic, dude.
Not so fantastic, dude.

A new video from Vocativ features a number of young women describing the sexual harassment – from creepy catcalls to actual physical assaults – they and countless other women face on the streets every day; the unsettling video, in which one woman, a former beauty queen, recounts her own sexual assault on the Washington DC metro last year, has been seen more than 2 million times on YouTube in the eight days it’s been up. (I’ve pasted it in at the end of the post.)

Some of these viewers have been Men’s Rights activists, and a lot of them aren’t too happy about it. Not about the street harassment. About the women speaking up against it. Indeed, one new Men’s Rights Redditor by the name of liuetenantwaffleiron was so angered by the video that he sat down and wrote a 700 word rebuttal of sorts – which quickly won him dozens of upvotes from others on the subreddit.

He started off with a story of his heroic efforts to stand up against one of the evil sexy women in the video, and the terrible price he paid for expressing his so brave opinions on the subject on Facebook:

Dear ‘harassed’ in the provocative attire,

I need to say this, and I literally have nowhere else I can say it, so I figured I’d say it here, and to you. I was facebook unfriended today by commenting on the sexual harassment video that’s been going around that you’re in.

Unfriended. The horror!

You were the one who said she likes to “dress provocatively” but that you don’t want to “deal with it,” and who was carrying a hidden camera with her to document all her public ‘harassment’ you get.

This sounds like the worst “missed connections” ad ever.

I simply replied:

“Dresses provocatively; provokes.”

I wasn’t aware of this, but apparently we straight men can’t help but utter the words “baby” or “nice toes, ma,” or “I want to cum on your tits” or “pregnant pussy is the best pussycat” every time we’re “provoked” by a woman in a short skirt or a long skirt or pants and a shapeless sweater wandering into our field of vision.

On top of the instant shit storm that erupted at my insinuation that you ought not to have been surprised at the attention you intentionally attracted, I was subsequently unfriended by the poster, an industry colleague of mine.

Gosh, who would ever imagine that being a dick to a woman who’s getting sexually harassed could possibly cause you any problems in the work world? What an outrage!

On top of the despair I felt at not being able to say more than three words in criticism without fingertips shooting into ear canals, I tried to imagine who those ‘harassing’ men were who called out to you.

I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you. I was too busy crying, thinking of the terrible “despair” you felt when your dickish and completely unoriginal comment didn’t get you a standing ovation and a tiny little medal.

While a vanishing minority may truly have been confident about their romantic prospects with you, there’s no doubt that most knew that they didn’t stand a chance in hell. Yet, there you sauntered, dressed as sexily as you could, meticulously made up, flaunting that fact; Rubbing it in their faces that they would never have a chance at catching the eye of such a beauty, much less to speak with you, so much less to touch you.

Wait, you’re actually angry that you can’t automatically score a date with – or at least get a chance to grope – every single attractive woman you see? You’re going to have a rough time here on planet earth, dude, as there are literally billions of women out there who will never sleep with you or let you touch them.

Are none of these women allowed to wear clothes that you might find sexy? Or are they obligated to have sex with you if they do?

Would you really rather they dressed as drably as possible, with no makeup? Somehow I suspect that this would make you even madder.

Everything you do is seems to be to attract a man, yet when a man presumes to express that attraction, you’re offended to the core, and you demand that the rest of us be as well.

“Express their attraction?” What video did you watch, anyway? The men in the video I watched were doing a lot more than “expressing their attraction.” The woman you’re so angry at — the one wearing a short skirt and a hidden camera – faced what seemed like an unending series of leers and crude remarks from men as she walked down city streets. The women being interviewed described men “expressing their attraction” by groping and threatening them.

You are one of the most privileged people on Earth, and you dare to complain that some men don’t know their place, and won’t suffer your insults in silence.

Really? Because I watched that same video, and what I saw was a woman in her twenties getting endless harassment from men, some literally twice her size, for the terrible crime of … being an attractive young woman in public. How exactly is this a sign that she’s privileged?

I ask you: Do some men cross a reasonable line of decency? Of course they do. Some masturbate, and grope. Some do worse.

Oh, sure. Men might pull out their dicks, or shove you up against the wall on the subway, or you know, do that thing that starts with the word “r,” but none of this matters as much as the DESPAIR our manifesto writer felt when people on Facebook got annoyed at him for being a dick.

Perhaps its because they’re mentally unstable, or perhaps it’s because they’re so socially marginalized that they have no longer have incentive to behave civilly.

Huh. Apparently in the world of liuetenantwaffleiron — and a lot of other Men’s Rightsers — every guy who ever victimizes a woman has an excuse. They’re mentally ill. They’re “socially marginalized.”  It’s never, say, that these guys are, you know, entitled shitheads who think they’re entitled to women’s bodies.

To paraphrase West Side Story, they’re depraved on account of they’re deprived — of a woman’s body, something that doesn’t actually belong to them.

In the cases illustrated in the video, I’m certain that there was no possibility of any of them having any sort of equal relationship with you, or to the other women featured, and you know it.

Really? Even if this were true, so fucking what? You’re not entitled to have a relationship — equal or otherwise — with any woman who strikes your fancy. You’re not entitled to harass every woman you see who’s out of your league, or already hitched, or just not interested in your asshole “nice guy” self.

In the absence of incentive to try to win your favor and to respect you, and in the presence of your garish flaunting to them of your unavailable sexuality, I have no doubt that some even grow to resent you.

Yeah, we picked up on that already, genius. As did every woman in the video, who saw clearly that the actions of the men who harassed them weren’t driven simply by attraction but by resentment and rage and a desire to demonstrate power over women they knew weren’t interested in them.

Whoever these predatory males are, they’re not me. I don’t know them. I don’t know where I can find them.

Really? Because you sound pretty much exactly like “these predatory males.” Maybe you haven’t harassed any women – yet – but your little manifesto is filled with the same toxic mixture of aggrieved entitlement that helps to fuel this kind of harassment.

I doubt they’re reading these words, or watching your videos. I’m terribly sorry they cross the line into physical contact, and stalking, and god knows what else, but we’re NOT those guys.

I hate to tell you this dude, but you’re already thinking like a harasser. I mean, you’re writing a 700-word manifesto attacking a woman you’ve never met because she had the temerity to walk down the street in a short skirt and record the harassment she got.

Yes, dressing sexily is absolutely your right, as is walking in that “provocative” outfit down the street while expecting a certain degree of civility from your countrymen. However …

Somehow I knew that “however” was coming.

However – know that your message to us is powerless to change the behavior of the ‘creeps’ that will physically harass you, and assault you, and worse.

Really? Then why are you getting so mad about the video? Somehow I suspect that you realize this sort of video does give harassed women a certain degree of power, both by shaming those men who might not realize how terrible their behavior really is, and by helping encourage and empower women to hollaback, as they say, at their harassers.

Your insistence to wear what you wear, and act as you act – while absolutely within your rights – undeniably makes you a more visible target to those perverts and predators.

And an even more visible target to the creepy entitled assholes of the Men’s Rights subreddit, apparently.

You are determined to ignore one of the most important factors in avoiding harassment and assault because you have the gall to be offended that lower-status males might dare to approach you.

And you, dude, have the gall to be offended by a woman talking frankly about the harassment she gets.

Furthermore, your constant antagonism of their attraction to you gives them reason to resent you.

No, I’m pretty sure you’re responsible for your own resentment here, given that it stems from an unacknowledged sense of entitlement.

These two factors expose you to risk that you simply don’t need to take, and I refuse to feel any guilt for your misadventures so long as you act with such a sense of entitlement and such a complete lack of common sense.

Well, forgive me for feeling no sorrow if no woman ever wants anything to do with your whiny, resentful, bitter ass.

ps- First time posting. Happy to be here

You’ll fit right in. Your sense of aggrieved entitlement is already pretty well-developed.

That, and access to the internet, is really all you need to be a Men’s Rights Activist.

Here’s the video. TRIGGER WARNING for detailed description of sexual assault:

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lkeke35
lkeke35
7 years ago

Yeah, most people ,even if they don’t follow feminism or classify themselves as such have no issue with the true tenets of feminism. All the misogynist ranters have done is make the word feminism a bad word. The real thoughts behind the ideology have not been disturbed one bit. Which makes the FB page about not being feminists very interesting. These women say they’re not feminists but I’m willing to be if you ask them a bunch of questions about it without using the word feminism, the’yd support every statement.

I was going through a period where I classified myself as not being a feminist bc I thought it was pretty much for upper middle class White women, with very cushy jobs. But I did believe all of the mainstream tenets of feminism.I still do. Now that there’s beginning to be much more recognition of intersectionality and the needs and wants of women with disabilities or WoC and Transwomen in feminism ,I’m having less of a problem with identifying myself as a feminist.

GrumpyOldMan
7 years ago

There is a weird but interesting process: As Feminist Ideas enter the mainstream they are perceived as being common sense and no longer Feminist Ideas, so Feminism is perceived as being the subset of Feminist Ideas which have not yet made it into the mainstream.

I would hesitate to be overly critical of the past history of the Feminist movement, though some criticism seems to be justified. The movement started as a group of middle and upper-middle class college-educated women who wanted to have careers, and this particular battle took most of their energy for a while. Anti-feminists tried to represent their desire for a career as implicit criticism of women who chose to be housewives. In fact, it is fairly difficult to explain why you don’t want to be a housewife without sounding critical of housewives, and opponents were always ready to exploit any poorly phrased explanation. The early movement WAS somewhat hostile to lesbians, but that was in large part because of the effort to discredit Feminists as merely bitter, angry lesbians. And a good part of their failure to be inclusive came from the fact that they had not yet figured out how to explain the benefits of Feminism to WoC etc. for whom well-paid careers were mostly not relevant (because they were not yet being given access to the education that would lead to such careers), and the additional fact that the opposition was constantly harping on the theme that WoC etc. should regard Feminism as a movement that had nothing to say to them.
Feminism has always struggled against dedicated opposition that constantly tries to misrepresent its views, magnify its flaws, resist its expansion — and then announce its imminent death.

LBT (with an open writeathon!)

Enh, I think the criticism of the feminist movement as racist and classist is totally justified. Just look at poor Ida B. Wells, who white feminists tried to sabotage and kick out for crusading against lynching. I don’t think they were doing that because they “had not yet figured out how to explain the benefits of feminism to WoC.”

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

These women say they’re not feminists but I’m willing to be if you ask them a bunch of questions about it without using the word feminism, the’yd support every statement.

In the US that’s true of the word liberal too. People won’t often call themselves liberal but if you just ask people their stance on the issues, the liberal stance is overwhelmingly popular. Most people want social safety nets, strong food safety and environmental protection, access to reproductive health care, well funded public schools etc. Yet the conservative movement has been really successful in making liberal a dirty word. It’s very frustrating because low information voters end up voting for Republicans and conservative Democrats who do the opposite of what the voters actually want.

That turned into kind of an off topic rant. Sorry.

Enh, I think the criticism of the feminist movement as racist and classist is totally justified. Just look at poor Ida B. Wells, who white feminists tried to sabotage and kick out for crusading against lynching. I don’t think they were doing that because they “had not yet figured out how to explain the benefits of feminism to WoC.”

Seconded. As a white middle class cis-het feminist I’ll admit that criticism makes me uncomfortable sometimes. But it still needs to be said and people in my demographic need to just get over ourselves and listen to it.

GrumpyOldMan
7 years ago

@LBT I was talking about the modern movement that began in the late 60s. Earlier Feminist movements had serious flaws that are blindingly obvious to us today, but you can look at them as the first tottering baby steps along a long trail. I think we have to be careful about criticizing people in the past by the standards of today — although, I’ll agree, lynching should have been an obvious evil. For example, Lincoln’s views on race are very backward by today’s standards, but he was certainly ahead of the curve in his own time. I often wonder which of the views we regard as obvious truth today, future generations will be amazed that anyone could believe such crap. I know that in the early part of my life I held some beliefs that I consider repugnant now. The only thing that gives me some hope for our species is the thought that perhaps, just as we seem to be more enlightened than previous generations, future generations will be more enlightened than we are. Feminism was not born whole and perfect, and like any movement it has had to struggle in order to grow.
I don’t object to criticism of Feminism as having had elements of racism and classism, which is justified. What I object to is attempts to argue that because it wasn’t inclusive in the past, it can’t be inclusive in the future. People who make that sort of argument generally aren’t trying to improve Feminism, they are trying to kill it.

Amanda
Amanda
7 years ago

I just found your website and love it. I discovered the madness that is the Manosphere about 6 months ago and just … wow. I can’t believe how backward some people are, in 2014.

I always thought guys who harass women on the street do it BECAUSE they want to incite fear and discomfort. I remember when is was in college, living in a college town, this would happen to me a lot. I would just ignore it and pretend I didn’t hear anything, but it made me feel really uncomfortable. At the time I wondered how delusional a man must be to think that catcalling would cause a woman to feel flattered and go up and talk to him, but I think now that they do it just to get a reaction.

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

I’m sorry to be posting on a thread that’s sorta dead, but I just saw this awesome comic from a link in r/AMR and it’s relevant and I wanted to share it:

http://m.tickld.com/x/next-time-someone-says-women-arent-victims-of-harassment-show-them.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

That is awesome, sparky! Robot Hugs is cute.

cloudiah
7 years ago

It’s a great comic. If you want to make yourself head-desk repeatedly, you can read the r/MensRights take on it here:
http://np.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/2d5bom/feminists_prove_that_women_are_harassedby/

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