On the one hand, we have the now oft-quoted, "Grab 'em by the pussy." (If you came for a political commentary, this isn't one.) On the other hand, we have this well-rounded lady:
That was a great response! My only critique is that it's too bad Ms. Hadid didn't leave a permanent mark, so women can easily identify that guy for the rest of his life.
During Aziz Ansari's Netflix comedy show, he asks how many women have been followed by a creepy dude, and the response is a large fraction of the female audience with hands raised. Sexual misconduct toward and the assault of women is not an infrequent occurrence. Guys don't have to worry about this. There's obviously a biological component, but that excuses nothing in civil society. Plenty of folks are lamenting the situation without proposing a solution. Aziz tells the audience, "That shouldn't be happening," and I couldn't agree more. But it's a comedy special, so I don't expect Aziz to carry the banner further. Recognizing the problem is a good first step, but let's figure out what to do next.
We can't change all men, but women can set boundaries, protect themselves, and, as a happy side effect, maybe change some of the creepy dudes they're exposed to a little bit. Legally, there's a consolation prize for ladies: our society recognizes that in any average encounter between a male and a female, there exists a disparity of force. That is, a woman is legally justified in moving up the continuum of force in response to a man's bad behavior, faster than a man would in the same situation. (We're not talking about a female world-champion CrossFit athlete and an arthritic octogenarian man, just an "average" male-female interaction.)
Clear verbal communication and pepper spray are way down at the "soft" end of the use of force continuum. Some men who are inclined to inappropriate speech or touching can right their ways with a little help from ladies. When someone makes an unwelcome verbal advance say, "What you just said is inappropriate. I don't like it. Nobody likes it. Don't do it again." Put your own spin on it, but don't try to be coy. It's not easy to do this, and it may cost you something socially. There are always people out there who will view female assertiveness negatively. Those people are fools, and you shouldn't care what they think. The rest of the world cheers you on.
If they persist, even verbally, or when any unwelcome touching occurs, pepper spray is a fun and unambiguous way to say, "I'm not interested," and creates an opportunity to escape the situation. Empty hand fighting skills are great, and I think every gal should have some, but pepper spray is a lesser, more justifiable use of force, and it works the same regardless of physical ability. Buy some (and inert practice spray, so you can try it out). Women should be pepper spraying creepy dudes all the time. I'm willing to bet that men exposed to this kind of harsh treatment early and often will develop better behavior. I know it's not fair that men manifest this kind of bad behavior so overwhelmingly compared to women. It sucks, but that's the way it is until we change it.
So get out there and pepper spray some creepy dudes, ladies!
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