So normally I blog about things like magic, the Pagan community, occult history, and other such stuff. It’s my realm of expertise, and I enjoy writing about it, and I don’t normally bother wasting bandwidth with posts about much else. However, lately, there has been a lot of discussion in both the news and on social media about the ongoing harassment of women, and something occurred last night that perfectly illustrates the bullshit that we have to deal with on a daily basis, in every sphere of our lives.
The #metoo hashtag has gained a lot of traction in the past few weeks, and millions of us shared our stories. If you’re one of my Facebook friends, you probably read my post about the first time I was sexually harassed. I was walking home from school, and a man, probably in his thirties or forties, walked past me, stopped, and said, “Give me a blow job.”
I was in fifth grade.
So I’ve been hearing this sort of thing for the better part of four decades at this point, and just like every other woman in the world, I’m pretty fucking tired of it. One of the most interesting things to me about the #metoo stories, though, was how many men were surprised at just how prevalent this is. While it may be a shock to the guys – and I suspect that’s partly because I surround myself with decent men and not douchey ones – it’s no surprise to us women. Every goddamn one of us.
In addition to the harassment narrative comes the idea that women are to be regarded as a prize to be conquered, some sort of sport prey in a hunt – and if the prey can’t be taken down, the next response is to diminish it and act like the hunter didn’t want it in the first place. I’ll give you a perfect example.
About two weeks ago, a guy asked me out. I wasn’t really interested, for a variety of reasons, so I declined with a polite “No thank you.” He took this No as the opening salvo in some sort of negotiation ritual, and then commenced to bombard me with reasons why I should go out with him (“I’m a Nice Guuuuuy!”), peppered with the shrapnel of compliments about my appearance. I got bored with this pretty quickly, and finally said, “Look, I’m not interested. Thanks but no thanks. It’s not going to happen.”
At which point, he informed me that I was a stupid whore, my tattoos and nose piercing guaranteed I’d never get a job, and I was probably just a gold-digger anyway.
And then we have the men who think that stalking random strangers on Facebook is a good way to meet women. News flash: if I don’t know you, we have no mutual friends and no common groups, I’m not going to talk to you at all. And I’m certainly not going to engage when you message me with an opening line like “Hey sexy.”
Know why? Because I don’t owe you jack shit. I’m not on Facebook because I want to date you, I’m on it so I can hang out with my friends in a virtual world, make fun of politicians, and laugh at Game of Thrones memes. Facebook is my living room, and messaging a stranger looking to hook up is the equivalent of walking through my front door uninvited, whipping your dick out, and putting it on my coffee table.
Stop. Fucking. Doing. It.
And just as a final thought, meet Nicholas. He first messaged me a few months back, which I basically blew off, and then yesterday he decided to escalate and try video chatting with me. A stranger. The sheer ridiculousity of it all was too good not to share, so here’s a screen cap of the entire Messenger exchange, from the very beginning.
Yep, I went from “sexy af” to “Fuck you” in about three seconds. If I was playing Creeper Bingo, I could have filled in quite a few squares.