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    Categories: Afternoon InquisitionFeminism

AI: Tell Me How I Should Feel

There has been quite a bit of talk about sexism and feminist issues and topics surrounding rape and topics like male white privilege on this blog lately. And every single time we write one of these posts or mention something related to them on facebook someone has to come in and tell us how we are completely wrong and how we should actually feel about the situation. I am sure that the majority of the people who tell us we are completely wrong and should not for a moment ever feel this way, are in fact men, is just a coincidence.

So here ya go.

Here is your chance to tell me how I should feel on a variety of topics.

Have at it.

How should I feel when walking home to my apartment in a city at night alone?

How should I feel when a car pulls up beside my car and honks and the man driving the other car is jacking off?

How should I feel when I catch a neighbor peeking in my window?

How should I feel about online stalkers who threaten to kill me?

How should I feel about men who whistle at me or tell me to smile while I am walking to the pharmacy to pick up asthma medicine?

How should I feel about what I am wearing? Should I feel differently if my skirt is short or long or if I am in pants?

How should I feel about the size of my breasts? And is it relevant to how I should be treated?

How should I feel about my weight?

How should I feel about my age?

How should I feel when I am asked out on a date even though I am clearly wearing a wedding ring?

How should I feel when I am called a bitch for turning down an offer for a date?

How should I feel when I am called a bitch for speaking my mind?

How should I feel when I am followed by a group of men I do not know down a side street?

How should I feel when when I am called a slut for showing “too much” skin?

How should I feel when I am told that I’m not dressed sexy enough?

How should I feel about being told that I am not pretty enough?

How should I feel about being physically forced to give a man a blow job?

How should I feel about having a gun held to my head?

How should I feel about being tied up with duct tape?

How should I feel about the potential for being raped?

How should I feel about being groped by strangers?

How should I feel about the fact that I carry pepper spray and lace my keys in my fist when I walk alone?

How should I feel about being told that I am “paranoid” or a “man-hater” because I err on the side of caution when I leave the house?

How should I feel about being told that I am not as sexually evolved as other women because I point out instances of sexism?

How should I feel about making less money than a man who does the same job?

How should I feel about people who say, “oh, that’s too bad” when I say I don’t have children?

How should I feel about people acting confused and scowling when I must explain that I didn’t change my name when I got married?

How should I feel about people saying I am cliquey because I write for a blog with other women?

How should I feel about being outnumbered by men at most skeptic, tech and science events?

How should I feel about being a woman?

Amy Roth: Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics She is the fearless leader of Mad Art Lab and cohost of Makers' Hustle Podcast Support her on Patreon. Follow her on twitter: @SurlyAmy or on Google+.

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  • ¸.·´¯`·.´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸> I think if we educate infants in sexual consent, and had a society where female sexual desire is valued, that may create an atmosphere where women are far less sexually pressured and more comfortable to express their sexuality. It's lovely if you can enjoy your sexuality and enjoy the attention you want.

  • Yes, well. I might react or think the same way as you on most of these. Probably not all though. If I do a risk assessment or irritation audit and come up with a different answer that doesn't mean either of us are clueless, naive or wrong. It just means we are different people and so we should be. If we are telling other people "don't tell me how to feel," we should probably be extending that to include other people. No matter what we do, we are going to upset other people. I hated being asked if I had children, because we were struggling with fertility problems, so my view of it being a crassly invasive enquiry differed (maybe) from yours. I could take it in the spirit in which it was meant or get touchy every time someone mentioned anything to do with kids and flaunted their privileged fertility :-) I use my own name, never worry about my tits, age or sexuality, and am outnumbered every day at work in a very male dominated industry.None of these things matter much -to me- while the issue of getting paid less makes me furious. You can feel what you like, and good luck to you, but it doesn't make either of us a better feminist. I have had a lot more power over my own life since I decided I'd fix things for myself. I am allowed to think that a man in a lift is not is a big issue- for me.

  • After reading this I'm nor sure how I should feel as a man.
    This is not to refute the things stated here ... just how I feel.
    I'm now embarrassed to be a man ... though I did nothing personally to deserve this.
    It's hard enough trying to figure out my role as a man. Maybe my father's fault.
    Most of my close friends are female, but now I'm concerned about how they perceive me. I thought they were comfortable around me. Maybe I should ask? Or is that weird?
    I'm basically a shy person ... even around other men, but now I'm even more self conscious. ... maybe even afraid... to speak to a woman I don't know.
    I can't wait to see my therapist.
    I think I'm going to be sick.

    • If they're your close friends, why NOT ask?
      If your worst fears happen and they have complaints, you get to hear them from people you love and trust who will be supportive of your desire to self-analyze.

      If they don't feel that you do any of these things, they'll be glad you're so thoughtful as to ask, I'm sure.

      You'll maybe get into a conversation about these matters in a general sense not specifically applying to you, but that will strengthen your bond with your friends.

      It's all good. Just ask in the right way of course. Non-confrontational, etc. but I don't think I need to tell you that. Also, I'm a guy, so this is my best guess. I'm still working on myself too.

      Which is my general feeling about life - anybody who does not consider themselves to be a work-in-progress is likely to be contributing to some problem somewhere.

  • No one, obviously, can tell you how you should feel. But I can tell you how I would feel (or, on the items I have asterisked, how I actually did or do feel in sadly non-hypothetical situations):

    How should I feel when walking home to my apartment in a city at night alone?
    *Constantly nervous, but acutely aware that I am probably being irrational and that I love my neighborhood, but then panicking again when someone parks their car too close to me.

    How should I feel when a car pulls up beside my car and honks and the man driving the other car is jacking off?
    *This happened to me when I was walking, and he asked for directions instead of honking. I began laughing uncontrollably, which was not the reaction he was looking for and he drove off in quite a hurry, too fast to get his plates. I was grateful it was me, and not a girl more skittish about penises, and then disgusted.

    How should I feel when I catch a neighbor peeking in my window?
    Ick. Like I should buy more locks. And then move.

    How should I feel about online stalkers who threaten to kill me?
    Litigious

    How should I feel about men who whistle at me or tell me to smile while I am walking to the pharmacy to pick up asthma medicine?
    *angry. indignant. intruded-upon.

    How should I feel about what I am wearing? Should I feel differently if my skirt is short or long or if I am in pants?
    *Pathologically unsure. Put on the skirt, feel sexy for a minute, then worry my thighs look fat, change, like that I can rock that low-cut shirt, worry about what kind of attention I am drawing, change, feel more comfortable, then feel frumpy and worry that as I get older I am de-sexualizing myself, worry how that will affect my relationship, feel like an idiot but try skirt again anyway, etc...

    How should I feel about the size of my breasts? And is it relevant to how I should be treated?
    *Because I am a DD I feel ridiculous and that they are too large. If they were smaller I would certainly fret that they weren't bigger. Guh.

    How should I feel about my weight?
    *What day is it today?

    How should I feel about my age?
    *Grumblegrumblegrumble

    How should I feel when I am asked out on a date even though I am clearly wearing a wedding ring?
    *Baffled. Confused. Angry. Wondering if I put out signals I didn't mean to. Ashamed. Awkward

    How should I feel when I am called a bitch for turning down an offer for a date?
    *Like I dodged a bullet

    How should I feel when I am called a bitch for speaking my mind?
    *Like the bitch-caller is an idiot and not worth my time. Then I spend the rest of the day wondering how I could have worded what I said different so no one got mad. Self-loathing and rage stew.

    How should I feel when I am followed by a group of men I do not know down a side street?
    *Terror

    How should I feel when when I am called a slut for showing “too much” skin?
    *Like you can't tell me what I can and can't do with my body and I don't believe in your outdated sexual ethics anyway! Also shame.

    How should I feel when I am told that I’m not dressed sexy enough?
    *see above

    How should I feel about being told that I am not pretty enough?
    *I tell myself to shut the hell up!

    How should I feel about being physically forced to give a man a blow job?
    *Hollow and numb

    How should I feel about having a gun held to my head?
    I hope I never find out, but my best guess is: see above

    How should I feel about being tied up with duct tape?
    *Is being handcuffed to a radiator close enough? If so: scared, alone, and pathetically sorry.

    How should I feel about the potential for being raped?
    *Like I can't spend all of my time thinking about it, and it's not impossible but it's unlikely, and that I think about it all the time.

    How should I feel about being groped by strangers?
    *Disgusted and ashamed and like I can't speak up because no one will have my back. Because of those times I called guys out on it and everyone in the room told me to lighten up.

    How should I feel about the fact that I carry pepper spray and lace my keys in my fist when I walk alone?
    *Like you can't let the terror control you and you need to assert some kind of control on your fear, even if it's largely symbolic. I don't think those things would actually save me if it came down to it. I am slow and weak. But you have to do something to feel brave.

    How should I feel about being told that I am “paranoid” or a “man-hater” because I err on the side of caution when I leave the house?
    *Like those people see these questions as abstract and hypothetical

    How should I feel about being told that I am not as sexually evolved as other women because I point out instances of sexism?
    *see above

    How should I feel about making less money than a man who does the same job?
    *tired of this shit

    How should I feel about people who say, “oh, that’s too bad” when I say I don’t have children?
    like they can't understand people not wanting the things they want out of life.

    How should I feel about people acting confused and scowling when I must explain that I didn’t change my name when I got married?
    *Sorry for them (the explanation for this is too long for this post.)

    How should I feel about people saying I am cliquey because I write for a blog with other women?
    *Tired of this shit

    How should I feel about being outnumbered by men at most skeptic, tech and science events?
    *OK with it, because I am hopeful it is changing, because I am working to change it along with a lot of other kick-ass ladies.

    How should I feel about being a woman?
    *Like someday I will get to just be a person

    • Thank you for this straight-forward reply, which might not match the desired input to this thread, but I found interesting.

  • Some of this is hard for me to believe this stuff happens often enough to be significant, not because I think you are lying, but because I simply cannot believe that anyone would do things like are described here.
    However, I am guilty of trying to get women to smile, although honestly it is not because I think it is improper for a woman to not smile, but rather because I thought she might be having a bad day. I had no idea that it would be improper. Though it is usually woman with whom I am actually interacting, not just someone I pass on the street. I think I do it to guys as well.
    I usually tell a joke. I don't think I have ever just commanded a stranger to "Smile, varlet!"

    • I feel that it is condescending, but not because of my gender. I feel irritated because 99% of the time these are strangers who don't know anything about me, or my life in general, or what kind of day I've had. It happens to me at work a lot (I become very deadpan when I focus, I guess, even when in a good mood, which is most of the time). People tell me to smile because either "I have such a pretty smile," which is gender-related and feels demeaning, or else because "it can't be that bad." Really? Do you know that? We've never met! You know nothing about me! Maybe some people like being told to smile by strangers and it cheers them up, I feel like it presumes a familiarity we don't have and it feels intrusive. For the record, because I have been on the internet lately: it bothers me when men OR women do it, I can't read minds and cannot claim I know what people's actual intent is, and I in no way claim to speak for all women.

  • I hate it when I make people, male or female, nervous. One of the nice things about getting old is that I less frequently hear car doors locking as I walk down the sidewalk.

    If I'm overtaking a woman alone and I fear I may be making her nervous I take out my cell phone and "chat" with someone. If someone is making me nervous I do the same thing. It erects a sort of barrier even if no body else is there.

    Reading some of the statements it occurs to me (not for the first time) that many people say they are atheists not because they have a sincere desire to be rational in all things. But because they are asses who want to attack people. I'm sure if we lived in country where 90% of the people were atheist they would be true believers, and hound the atheists. Not to say there are not plenty of true believer asses already.

    When somebody tells you to smile, say something like, "I would but my mother just died and I can't do it." Don't let on that its not true, they'll learn.

  • All these people including Dawkins telling Rebecca how she should feel. She was there and has told us how she felt.

  • How you feel depends on yourself. You can not change what other people has done, but you can change how you feel about it. By no means do I mean that we should just lie down and take what is handed to us. Rape is not a sexual act, it's a control act. You decide who will be in control. You decide what you feel. You decide if you are a victim or a victrix