Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 9.9

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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27 Comments

  1. I think it’s really dangerous to make “perverts” out to be some easily identifiable, always-stranger group.

    And that’s aside from the praying and forgiveness bullshit. (Sorry, but I forgive when there’s been some contrition.)

    1. Most sex abuse of minors is perpetrated by family members or family friends. The flasher example, as part of child safety training, was useless old crap in the 1980’s and completely ignores that quite often the perpetrator is a father or step father who has established a relationship based on trust, care and normal affection with the victim prior to the abuse taking place. And fuck the prayer shit as a necessary step to getting on with your life if you’ve been a victim, cuz I’ve known a number of perps who loved Jebuz, went to church, and prayed a lot.

  2. That’s a good point that perverts are not always strangers. Most are people you know (or at least have been introduced to).

    That’s how it was with the pervert I encountered anyway. The comic did actually make me feel better about it, even though the incident was over a year ago.

  3. The pervert thing bothered me by painting all perverts as flashers or what have you who pray on the public rather than the much larger group of people who just like unusual sex. Also, the advice to always trust your gut feelings is rather ridiculous.

      1. I agree. “Pervert” has way too broad a definition. What this article is talking about is sexual predators. They are horrible people and should be dealt with appropriately. Simple perversity is something that turns one person on and makes another uncomfortable. This is harmless… unless one person forces their perversity on another in which case we are back to sexual predators.

    1. I don’t think the comment was really including kinky people in its definition of pervert or scope. It’s only by accepting the label “pervert” and self-identifying as such that a kinky person or someone with an unusual sexuality could feel they were lumped in with this comic. Comic seems explicitly to be speaking ONLY of the “I get my kicks from sexually harassing women” people. Just as no mention was made of sexual assault by family / friends, no mention at all was made of unusual sex or whips or strap-ons or popsicles or tubs of live worms.

    2. True, but understandable if that was the main experience that the women mentioned (grandmother, aunt, niece) had had.

      And the message of it’s not your fault and you shouldn’t keep it secret out of shame is still very valuable and applicable to non-stranger creeps as well.

  4. While I agree with the sentiment that people shouldn’t let sexist (or racist or otherwise prejudiced) comments slide, I’m not sure the article’s argument really holds up. The study that seems to be central to the article’s argument was discussed over at Blag Hag and I think Jen raised some good points on the limitations of what the study actually shows with regard to women confronting men over sexism (I use the gender specific language as a reflection of how the study was structured rather than how confrontations concerning sexism may happen in the real world).

  5. Re: falser words. It’s interesting that words and phrases are distorted for these inspirational figures. It’s easy to see how religious teachings and stories can come to be in the same way: you have an interesting, charismatic leader *cough Jesus* and start attributing words and actions to him. Eventually it becomes fact in the public mind.

  6. There is another thing that can be done with perverts, there is an ap that allows streaming of video and audio to reomote storage in real time and that logs the location and time.

    I think that would be even more effective.

  7. I also had an issue with whole “Listen to your gut! .. Your gut will not lie. Trust it.” I would like it better if she switched the word “gut” for “brain” and vice versa. I believe that we, as humans, make very poor decisions based on out instincts and feelings. At least that’s what my gut tells me.

  8. I don’t know if it’s a selection effect, but all the mangled misquotes in the first link serve to deradicalize the source, making them more acceptable to libertarian, egotistical world view. They all emphasize individual action at the expense of collective action. I smell secret conspiracy by the corporate power elite (Bilderberg Group, CFR, Illuminati, call it what you will) and the American Association of Ceramic Mug Manufacturers (AACMM) to co-opt these historical figures. Someone please notify Alex Jones immediately.

  9. A couple more thoughts on the Pervert Comic…

    I did like the part about forgiveness. Not in a Christian “hate the sin not the sinner” sense, but just that forgiving them and understanding that their actions are probably coming from a place of insecurity and weakness… well, it just helps with not letting it get to you.

    Over the last two months, I’ve had to deal with TONS of sexual harassment. It’s been really, really, really crazy and weird and I’ve had a hard time adapting to it and not letting it get to me. I’ve been mistaken for a prostitute four times (three times by men, once by an actual prostitute…and one of the guys, an old man with horrible teeth, offered me $20 for a blowjob. $20!). I had a note from a much-older roomate slipped under soliciting sexual favours and misinterpreted my efforts to be friendly and polite as “messages”. I’ve had my ass grabbed, and another guy blatantly bend over to look at it. I’ve had dozens of cat-calls and sexually suggestive comments (the worst was a very gross homeless guy who’s beard was literally encrusted and matted with filth call out “I’m single if you want a quick fuck!”). I’ve had countless creepy smiles and leering looks. I had an old man repeatedly offer to buy me lunch while I waited on my sandwich from a street vendor who absolutely would not take no for an answer. I had a teenage boy stuttering hopelessly (he was trying to ask to bum a smoke) as he stared at my chest. Etc.

    All of those things were awful and made me feel really freaked out and creepy and like I was just prey. It’s been a VERY hard adjustment. But what has helped has been forgiving them. It allows me to move on.

    The other thing I wanted to say, though, is that, on the other hand, drawing attention to it, or appealing to authority, is not *always* the best idea for every woman. If you’re a woman of colour, or dressed a certain way, or a sex worker (or someone likely to be mistaken for a sex worker on account of certain stereotypes…especially if you’re carrying multiple condoms), or a drug user, or transgender, or have mental health issues, or lack a certain level of education, or are evidently kinky in some way, are homeless or belong to the lower rungs of economic class, or are part of a maligned sub-culture, or simply don’t fit into social expectations of female expression, behaviour and the assigned gender role, there’s a very good chance your accusations aren’t going to be taken very seriously. There’s a chance that you’re going to create just as much trouble for yourself as you do for the creeper, if not more. If you’re a pretty white middle or upper class girl? Yeah, people are going to be happy to defend your honour from the corrupting “pervert”. But otherwise? Well….it can be a bit of a gamble, and it really depends on the attitudes and biases of whoever ends up responding to your call for your help.

    1. “As usual, Natalie’s comments are clever, insightful, and completely spot-on! She is absolutely the most brilliant commentator on the Skepchick network.”

      – Ralph Waldo Emerson

      “Natalie’s unflinching, uncompromising search for truth is an inspiration for us all.”

      – Virginia Woolf

      “There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are wrong, and natalie1984”

      – Oscar Wilde

      ;)

  10. While I understand the criticism of the “Pervert” comic, and I’m not a fan of the prayer at the end, the comic really meant a lot to me.

    A middle-aged man who lived down the street from me exposed himself to me regularly when I was between the ages of 10 and 20. Because I was so young when it started, I didn’t know how to react to it. I had to walk past his house every day to get to the school bus stop, and I always ran past him as quickly as I could. When I told my parents, they told me that if I ignored him long enough, it would stop. But it didn’t stop. When I was a sophomore in college, I did my laundry at my parents’ house. One day, when I was putting my laundry back into my car in preparation to leave, I saw him at the side of his house, unzipping his pants and looking at me. I screamed across the neighborhood at him, and he never, ever exposed himself to me again.

    I understand that screaming at someone is not always the best or safest way to handle something like this. I understand that “Pervert” was not the best term for this guy. I also understand all too well that going to parents or authorities won’t necessarily help.

    However, I really like the way that the cartoonist highlights that: 1) This is not your fault. 2) You do not have to be compliant or polite when someone frightens you or makes you feel threatened just because they are not physically touching you or physically hurting you (which is what I think she meant by the “gut” feeling). 3) This is not something to be ashamed about, and it happens to many, many people.

    1. Well said! I agree. I think overall it’s a great comic and an important, well written message for girls who may have had to deal with some kind of sexual harassment, and also for all girls, since the sad truth is that almost all of them will deal with this kind of thing at some point in their lives. I think the various criticisms and questions pointed out in these comments have been valid, but I don’t think any of that stuff lessens the value of the message. :)

      And the gut feeling part… While I think that “trust your gut not your brain” is definitely NOT a universally good way to approach things, I think that when it comes to stuff like this, it is good advice. If your “gut” tells you a situation might be dangerous, creepy, dodgy, sketchy, etc. it’s often a good idea to trust those feelings. Intuition and “gut feelings” are just one of the many ways our brain processes things, and it’s especially well suited for figuring out when a situation is dangerous or not. My own take on it is that subjective “intuitive” judgement and objective “rational” judgement are both valuable skills to have, and which one is the most appropriate really just depends on the particular situation or question.

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