It’s sad but not terribly surprising that the topic of avoiding creepy behavior and the relative “fairness” of calling dudes out for being creepy are among the most controversial topics I write about on the blog. After all, guys don’t like being told that, hey, here are all the ways that you’re weirding women out. And in fairness, I can understand; nobody likes being told that they’re causing someone discomfort, especially in ways that he doesn’t process as being creepy. After all, he means well and didn’t mean to trip her Spidey-sense.
However, there are still folks out there who don’t seem to get the point. To them, it’s simply not fair that she can’t see past her own fears and expectations and malign these poor and clearly innocent men who only have the best of intentions at heart. Or else they cry “Hey, it’s only creepy if an ugly guy does it! Brad Pitt would never get called creepy!”
So once again for the cheap seats: to be a woman is to live in a world where you are at risk simply by virtue of being born a woman. I’m running out of ways to phrase the statistics, but here they are again: 78% of the victims of sexual assault or sexual violence are women. 1 in 12 women will be stalked in their lifetime. 1 out of every 6 women has been sexually assaulted or endured an attempted assault. But for every time I tell people this, I hear from the folks who insist that they are that special snowflake who may be a little socially awkward or a little inexperienced and this shouldn’t be held against them. Women, it is argued, should be willing to overlook behavior that corresponds with being a potential threat to her person.
Well, unfortunately, a few stories got posted this week that provide sterling examples of why no, they really shouldn’t.