Author Topic: Accosted on the street and did not engage  (Read 7131 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5758
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2013, 11:18:04 AM »
From the information given, I'm assuming this was daytime in a populated area. It seems like the OP could have "shut this down" with less drama by simply acknowledging the first "hello." And then if the person tries to engage in conversation, then say something like "I'm not interested."

At night with no one else around? Then it might seem scarier. But that doesn't seem to be the case here.

I POD this completely.  For whatever reason, I have complete strangers talk to me or at me very often.  Generally speaking, these people are not intending to assault me.  They are simply giving me a compliment.  I can grasp that some people don't want such attention - I don't either.  But in my experience - which is vast in this arena - simply acknowledging that I have been complimented diffuses any drama and I would say 99.99% of the time ends the interaction with both of us having a smile on our faces and a happy drama free moment.  Immediately going on the defensive comes across as unnecessarily abrasive, IMHO, and I would imagine this would put the complimenter on the defensive and prone to follow up to explain that he meant no harm, was trying to be nice, etc. etc. 

In my experience, being pleasant while firmly continuing on my way gets my point across that I don't want further interaction but also keeps the situation drama free.

Goosey

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 962
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2013, 11:22:26 AM »
I think the idea is to discourage the behavior in general not just that particular instance of it. If the majority of people don't like being followed and "complimented" against their will or comfort level, there is absolutely no need to be demure in condemning the behavior. Thanking someone for their gracious attention is nothing but encouragement.

gen xer

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 502
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2013, 11:42:36 AM »
 Nobody should have to endure any sort of harassment but I truly don't understand the automatic defensiveness.  I know there are annoying guys out there and he sounds like one of them but I have to agre with TurtleDove that we don't need to get our fur up all the time and make so much of these types of encounters.

I also have to say that treating every encounter by a stranger as a come on can be pretty obnoxious.  Now the OP's situation does sound like a come on but so many people seem to think that any hello from a stranger is automatically ill intentioned. 

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5758
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2013, 11:51:08 AM »
I also have to say that treating every encounter by a stranger as a come on can be pretty obnoxious.  Now the OP's situation does sound like a come on but so many people seem to think that any hello from a stranger is automatically ill intentioned.

Yes, this.  Sometimes, people are just being nice.  I actually think it is rude to discourage people who are trying to spread pleasantness and friendliness.  When a strange man says, "Your smile made my day!"  I can respond with a "thank you!" and we both go on our way having had a pleasant encounter.  If I were to respond with, "leave me alone - I am not a piece of meat!" it would add drama to a situation that did not require it and leave both of us feeling icky.  It would also likely lead the man to want to defend himself and his intentions. 

There are situations where men (or whomever) are ill intentioned.  Generally speaking, these men are not complimenting women in busy areas in broad daylight.

Firecat

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2526
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2013, 12:08:29 PM »
I think the idea is to discourage the behavior in general not just that particular instance of it. If the majority of people don't like being followed and "complimented" against their will or comfort level, there is absolutely no need to be demure in condemning the behavior. Thanking someone for their gracious attention is nothing but encouragement.

This. It's not about someone "trying to be nice." It's about men feeling entitled to comment on womens' bodies and appearance in general. Because those same guys being "nice" to some women are very likely the same guys saying "no fat chicks" to my best friend or to other women who don't meet these guys' standards of how women are "supposed" to look. It's called street harassment; it's NOT ok, and it's not about being "nice."

I think the OP handled it just fine, actually. She wasn't rude, but she let the guy know clearly that his approach was not welcome. Maybe he'll think twice before he does it again to someone else.

For the record, in my experience, guys who have called out to or approached me on the street want one of three things: 1) to pick me up, 2) to ask me for money, or 3) to push their particular brand of religion. None of which are remotely welcome.

I have occasionally been asked for directions, but they usually start with "Excuse me, do you know where X is?"

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8795
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2013, 12:14:41 PM »
I think the idea is to discourage the behavior in general not just that particular instance of it. If the majority of people don't like being followed and "complimented" against their will or comfort level, there is absolutely no need to be demure in condemning the behavior. Thanking someone for their gracious attention is nothing but encouragement.

This. It's not about someone "trying to be nice." It's about men feeling entitled to comment on womens' bodies and appearance in general. Because those same guys being "nice" to some women are very likely the same guys saying "no fat chicks" to my best friend or to other women who don't meet these guys' standards of how women are "supposed" to look. It's called street harassment; it's NOT ok, and it's not about being "nice."

I think the OP handled it just fine, actually. She wasn't rude, but she let the guy know clearly that his approach was not welcome. Maybe he'll think twice before he does it again to someone else.

For the record, in my experience, guys who have called out to or approached me on the street want one of three things: 1) to pick me up, 2) to ask me for money, or 3) to push their particular brand of religion. None of which are remotely welcome.

I have occasionally been asked for directions, but they usually start with "Excuse me, do you know where X is?"

This. A lot of times, it's even the same guy and the same woman. Guy shouts "Hot mama!" and if the woman ignores him, he then resorts to "Fat female dog!" even though she looks the same as she did two seconds previously.  ::) This doesn't even need to be about "danger" and yes it happens in broad daylight all the time--it's just horribly annoying. And I don't think I've ever met someone who jumped right to personal remarks about a stranger's looks--which are against etiquette, by the way--and turned out to have normal, un-annoying intentions. It's usually a plea for money, a sales pitch, or just random shouted commentary with no goal at all except showing off for his buddies.

Goosey

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 962
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2013, 12:21:46 PM »
It is too personal to comment on a woman's body - whether her smile or her rear end. It leaves one with the feeling of having been on stage or something. It's not pleasant and not welcome in most cases.

Firecat

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2526
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2013, 12:38:36 PM »
It is too personal to comment on a woman's body - whether her smile or her rear end. It leaves one with the feeling of having been on stage or something. It's not pleasant and not welcome in most cases.

Exactly. It perpetuates the idea that the most important thing about a woman is how she looks, and that her main purpose is to be visually pleasing to any man who happens to encounter her.

It's not necessarily about danger, although it can be - even in broad daylight. But mostly, it's more about the background noise too many women live with constantly that says that if we're not hyperfocused on our looks, we're falling down on the job.

gen xer

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 502
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2013, 01:51:18 PM »

Maybe I am losing my feminist card but it just doesn't seem very empowering ( I hate that word almost as much as I hate the phrase hinky meter ) to overthink every encounter and conclude that it is all part of a misogynistic power trip.

Now I will restate that I don't think the OP was wrong since she has absolutely no obligation to engage a stranger if she doesn't want to.  I will also agree that the guy was coming on to her and she was certainly within her rights to end the encounter as she saw fit. 

But......

I know there are rude and obnoxious jerks out there who don't think much of women.  Heck I used to be married to one.  I am sure we have all encountered them at some point or another.  But it's kind of like letting the patriarchy win when we instantly get all bent out of shape.   Responding as a hissy cat would doesn't make a man ( or whoever ) who had no ill intent suddenly think "Doh!!!  I should have realized that telling her she had a nice smile was obviously a degrading, patronizing thing to do and that I am perpetuating the idea that women are objects".

No they're going to think "What's her problem????  What a female dog"

Overreacting suggests that we've hit a major nerve.  It bespeaks some confidence if as women we don't get all flustered, frightened and offended too easily. 


TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5758
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2013, 01:55:12 PM »
Well stated, ge xer.

Goosey

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 962
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2013, 01:58:53 PM »
Quote
Overreacting suggests that we've hit a major nerve.  It bespeaks some confidence if as women we don't get all flustered, frightened and offended too easily. 

What about simply not accepting compliments or unwelcome comments from strangers speaks to getting flustered or frightened? It speaks to setting limits - and those limits include "my appearance is not your business." It's about confidence - confidence that you do not NEED to even acknowledge those who approach you and comment on your appearance and presume familiarity and welcome that is not there.

Sure not everyone is a creeper. Some do genuinely just want to make someone's day or express a sentiment. But it's not on the reciever to be required to take or like it - and they're certainly not required to pretend they do.

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5758
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2013, 02:02:03 PM »
Quote
Overreacting suggests that we've hit a major nerve.  It bespeaks some confidence if as women we don't get all flustered, frightened and offended too easily. 

What about simply not accepting compliments or unwelcome comments from strangers speaks to getting flustered or frightened? It speaks to setting limits - and those limits include "my appearance is not your business." It's about confidence - confidence that you do not NEED to even acknowledge those who approach you and comment on your appearance and presume familiarity and welcome that is not there.

Sure not everyone is a creeper. Some do genuinely just want to make someone's day or express a sentiment. But it's not on the reciever to be required to take or like it - and they're certainly not required to pretend they do.

The bolded. Simply not responding is far better than the advice I've seen to make some sort of icy statement.

Goosey

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 962
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2013, 02:03:52 PM »
Quote
Overreacting suggests that we've hit a major nerve.  It bespeaks some confidence if as women we don't get all flustered, frightened and offended too easily. 

What about simply not accepting compliments or unwelcome comments from strangers speaks to getting flustered or frightened? It speaks to setting limits - and those limits include "my appearance is not your business." It's about confidence - confidence that you do not NEED to even acknowledge those who approach you and comment on your appearance and presume familiarity and welcome that is not there.

Sure not everyone is a creeper. Some do genuinely just want to make someone's day or express a sentiment. But it's not on the reciever to be required to take or like it - and they're certainly not required to pretend they do.

The bolded. Simply not responding is far better than the advice I've seen to make some sort of icy statement.
I think an icy and firm statement is required when a person doesn't accept the not responding bit.

But it struck me that it was being implied that not responding was an over-reaction in and of itself and that a person should respond or thank a person for unsolicited interactions. I may have been misreading though

Edited because I can spell interactions, but my fingers don't want to.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2013, 02:41:45 PM by Goosey »

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8795
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2013, 02:19:11 PM »
Quote
Overreacting suggests that we've hit a major nerve.  It bespeaks some confidence if as women we don't get all flustered, frightened and offended too easily. 

What about simply not accepting compliments or unwelcome comments from strangers speaks to getting flustered or frightened? It speaks to setting limits - and those limits include "my appearance is not your business." It's about confidence - confidence that you do not NEED to even acknowledge those who approach you and comment on your appearance and presume familiarity and welcome that is not there.

Sure not everyone is a creeper. Some do genuinely just want to make someone's day or express a sentiment. But it's not on the reciever to be required to take or like it - and they're certainly not required to pretend they do.

The bolded. Simply not responding is far better than the advice I've seen to make some sort of icy statement.
I think an icy and firm statement is required when a person doesn't accept the not responding bit.

But it struck me that it was being implied that not responding was an over-reaction in and of itself and that a person should respond or thank a person for unsolicited interations. I may have been misreading though

This.

Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11664
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Re: Accosted on the street and did not engage
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2013, 03:05:44 PM »
What I was doing (and what I see Goosey doing), is explaining why some of us do not appreciate being on the receiving end of this kind of attention from strangers. It's not (usually, anyway) some guy consciously deciding "I feel like showing my power over women today." It's about the sense of entitlement and privilege that drives the behavior. One of the first steps in changing the behavior is in making people aware of the societal dynamic and assumptions that are underlying the events when guys do this kind of thing.

If I sound angry about it, it's because street harassment does make me angry. No one should have to put up with being bullied (and it is bullying), just for going out in public.

Even if "overreacting" (I don't think it is, but bear with me) doesn't get a guy to suddenly realize the error of his ways, it may very well get him to think twice about making unsolicited comments to other women in the future.  Every time a guy gets chewed out for commanding a woman to smile or making [what he thought were] positive comments on her looks/shape, that means there are women in the future who will go un-harassed because that guy will learn to keep his mouth shut.  The reason doesn't really matter - he may do it because he suddenly understands he's being objectifying or he may just think "women be crazy," but the result will be the same.