wood cat


incidents and accidents, hints and allegations

wood cat
Kate kate_nepveu
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more about asking to touch the breasts of a stranger

Trying to highlight interesting comments that I've seen, without being too repetitive of things people have already said in comments to my prior post (at least as they stood a few hours ago, before I went off to an appointment):

coffeeandink has links to good comments in the original post; in comments to her post, rydra_wong succintly articulates the privilege behind the original post, and giandujakiss points out the broader context about what men and women are taught to want.

Also in coffeeandink's comments, lnhammer notes the problems with the originators' choice of name, and says, "I suggest everyone start calling it the Public Domain Boobs Project. Mockery being a most excellent criticism."

In a comment to hernewshoes's post, rushthatspeaks points out not only the threat of the question but the way that people opposing it are being told they're unworthy of being heard.

springheel_jack sets out how this reinforcement of sexism stems from the basic libertarian fallacy.

hahathor proposes The Open-Source Knuckle Sandwich Project.

ETA 2: I also like the way misia phrases her Open Source Swift Kick to the Balls Project.

Finally for now, theferrett has edited his original post to say that people shouldn't do this and that the Open-Source Boob Project is dead. I have issues with the phrasing of his edit, but am glad of the practical statements in it.

ETA: on a tangent, veejane has smart comments about safety at cons. And now I'm really done for a while, possibly the night, honest.

(Deleted comment)
I don't think veejane is saying that libraries or cons are full of danger, but that you can't assume that they are safe spaces. Which is perfectly consistent with what you're saying.

Edited at 2008-04-23 12:25 am (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
I read it as deliberate.

Actually, the point is that you don't know whether the following is deliberate. If it's not, whatev, somebody else on the staircase. If it is, then we have an unsafe situation on our hands. As an ordinary observer, it's impossible to know what the follower's intent is.

People who have never had to think seriously about their own safety will tend to assume the following is not deliberate, and not understand that the situation is potentially dangerous. It's not the actuality of danger I'm describing, but the potential for it, and the perception of that potential. A lot of people have the luxury of never considering that potential.

Ah, I see what you're saying--I jumped a step. Got it now, thanks.

I think you are seriously underestimating the extent of sexual harassment and threat that women live with, and that you are also underestimating the psychological impact of needing to prepare for the threats even if they don't materialize.

Yes. (Part & parcel of which was reading the post in a different way than I did, as above.)

Have you seen rhienelleth's post? I thought that one was interesting, too.

I . . . am having a knee-jerk reaction to the proportions of that post that are about what predators do and what potential victims of predators do, and need to think about it some more.

Yes, parts of it I had trouble with, too. But her statement that if you're not comfortable doing it out of sight of others, why are you doing it at all has given me some food for thought.

Actually, the discussion of around this has been more interesting than the post itself in many ways. I just stumbled upon this comment, too:

Just a thought about the difference between men and women in geek scenes: I'm mostly going on the basis of inspirational teen romps of the 80s and 90s, but geek boy romances (including those in anime) typically wind up with geek boy getting hot chic while remaining as geeky as ever. The geek boy narrative often achives completion by having the hot girl accept him as a sexual being (also, for good measure, geek boy may symbolically emasculate a rival hot but very stupid boy).

On the other hand, any film in which a young female protagonist is a book-burrowing, bespectacled, orthodontic-hardware-sporting nerd must have a transformation in which Nerdy Beast awakens as a Sexual Beauty, which is by nature a positive and necessary change. A geek girl narratives requires that she must accept herself as a sexual being before she has a chance with any hot (but not stupid) boys. I mean, intelligence is fine, but you're not complete until everyone realizes you are sexy, too.

I know this is a mean-spirited generalization about con geeks, but how many gropees were dressed in sexy costumes and how many gropers were slobs with greasy ponytails?

Which is an issue I've noticed with (some of) male geekdom before.

Yeah, I've got that post open to read and think about, too.

I don't find much to applaud in his edit. Particularly not the "Poor me, everyone thinks I'm a would-be rapist now, so I'm not going to the cons! Are you happy now?" bullshit.

It rings hollow after all of the vehement defense and the insistence that anyone who was horrified by the idea was somehow an unenlightened, repressed trog.

I've been thinking that one could do a graduate-level exam on feminism and rhetoric just by giving the class his original post and telling them to list as many things wrong with it as they can in the time available.

I had a very similar reaction to the way the edit was phrased, but I do appreciate the practical upshot.

LOL. (To the suggestion about the feminism exam).

The only problem is the students might run out of time . . .

That's not a problem, I think. Just do as much as you can in the time available, and knowing that no-one could do it all, so any level of ability and genius can be safely accommodated.

An example I was given once


I think the whole original post is idiotic, but the errors in it have been explained in depth by people much better than I could. There is one thing I wanted to add to this discussion, and your blog seems like a relevant place.

When I was around twenty, or less, I asked one of my friends "What's the problem with just looking at a girl's boobs? Not staring, just looking."

She said something like:
Look, I know you are a nice guy. And apart from occasionally sneaking what you think are covert glances at my chest you're not going to do anything.
Imagine you're talking with a hairy, broad-shouldered gay guy who is a foot taller than you. And he's staring at your crotch. And smirking.
Do you see the problem now?

Note - for all hetero males not seeing the problem, please go to a party at a gay bar. Wearing your party clothes. Bonus points if they are revealing and/or tight.

Here's a rule - until you know people, assume they are willing to be touched in a polite manner that is acceptable as a cultural norm, or what is acceptable to you (would the situation be reversed), whichever is LESS.
When you know a girl, you can ask to touch her boobs. Some might say yes. At some point, you won't have to ask, even if it isn't sexual.

Oh, and if you try to touch me (a straight male), in a non-sexual manner that I don't like, I'll move away.
If you repeat, I'll break your fingers.
Another possible rule if the first one didn't work - pretend every person you meet is a martial artist, just waiting for an excuse to break your arm. Maybe a version of that should be on a shirt...

The original post enraged me so much, I'm actually surprised theferret (whom I never met, and might be a very nice person) doesn't have a broken arm. Possibly also disappointed, which is a measure of how bad the original post was (comments from other attendees of Penguincon state that it was cool then, but isn't cool now) - I still can't see how it was acceptable than, and I really can't see how it was supposed to liberate women and their sexuality (or whatever twaddle was presented as a manifesto of this so-called "movement").

Sorry this is kind of disjointed, but this has been going round and round in my head the whole day. I'll quit before I start screaming. The whole topic makes me feel like I should apologize on behalf of my gender for this thing, and I hate that.


Re: An example I was given once

Thanks for commenting. I appreciate hearing your perspective--especially as a guy--and hope that posting helped somewhat. And I like your lesser-of-two-touches rule.

I'm coming into this whole debackle late, as I was only introduced to it today by way of an online kerfuffle with a friend who thinks that whatshisface was treated unfairly. I've found the whole thing quite interesting and even helpful in terms of becoming more aware of my own patterns of behaviour as a man. I did just want to say, though, that I found your comments and those by your commentors to be among the most interesting because, while establishing the theoretic underpinnings of white male privilege and such is important, what really adds meaning and substance is the real face of human beings and how this makes them feel. Even whatshisface had to ultimately conceed that nothing stands in the way of the fact that his hairbrained scheme simply does not make women feel safe.

Thank you for posting them!

Thanks for commenting--I'm so glad to hear that the discussions were helpful, and I appreciate your taking the time to say so and to share your responses.

I want to thank you for this post but also and especially for the other post you did on this topic. Out of all the (mostly well written) words I've seen on this, your prior post most concisely taps into how I feel.

You're welcome, and thank you for commenting--I really appreciate it.


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