Ekona wrote:As far as strangers interacting, she said that she'd never noticed it at all, but that it's human nature to want to interact with other humans whenever possible, and that someone who wants the opposite probably needs help
This is fascinating to me, as it's adding weight to Helen's comments that there's definitely a divided view between those women who experience harassment regularly and those that don't. From what I've seen and heard both on the web and anecdotally among female colleagues and friends there seems to be a whole load of factors at play in determining which camp you fall into.
You've probably seen "10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman", if not then look it up. Some say it's representative of what women deal with on a daily basis. But clearly if you're not a woman in your 20s wandering a sprawling metropolis like NYC every day your experiences may be somewhat different. Helen (and I assume Joey) both commute by car and are older, dressed for professional roles. On the other hand, Helen's sister is a student barely out of her teens and walks or cycles back and forth through the town centre where she's more exposed to this stuff.
So, on reflection I admit this statement is plain wrong:
This is what women experience from men, all the time, everywhere
Because no, there's simply no way to quantify the issue. However, I maintain that there's a difference between unsolicited
attention and unwanted
The woman whose comment you originally replied to is talking specifically about how women feel about unwanted
attention, while your argument seems to be dealing with unsolicited
attention and whether you should have a right to give it based on what the majority of women want. My position is that any judgement you volunteer to a stranger is by definition unsolicited, and you're making the assumption that it's also wanted
at the very moment you open your mouth. I believe that communicates several things to the recipient:
- You've just judged them - a total stranger - on appearance alone
- You've decided that, by your standards, some aspect of their appearance has gained your approval
- You've decided that your approval matters to them at all
- You've decided that they should hear it regardless of whatever shit they might be dealing with at that precise moment
- You've assessed the risks and decided that you're going to get a positive reaction
- You've decided it's reasonable to expect that from them - again without knowing anything about this person and without them knowing anything about what kind of a person you are
Now clearly if you're at a party or in a club where that kind of social interaction is expected you can probably work through that little list and say "I'm ok with this" because context matters
. Anywhere else? Personally, I'd find it a little more difficult to make that call.