“I’m all for feminism, but it’s getting out on hand. I’m scared that if I pat my colleague on the back, I’ll be hauled up for sexual assault. Are we not allowed to touch people anymore?! It’s gone too far, it’s pretty sad.” Anon male friend
Short answer – No, you shouldn’t touch anyone, why would you? No one is for you to touch.
Long answer – On the one hand, I agree it’s sad. Sad that people feel scared to touch someone. But on the other hand, there’s a reason why an innocent touch may be misconstrued or may even make someone uncomfortable.
I recently had this discussion with a male friend. He, rightly so, was outraged that he lives in fear of a complaint, of a sexual nature, from a female, for just patting her on the shoulder. A complaint which, propelled by apparent overbearing feminism, will be investigated. Yet he fears blame will be placed at him, regardless. He’s seen it before. And he’s seen the effect it can have on people’s careers, and more importantly the effect it has on the person.
You can understand why he’s pissed at the rise of the females, the rise of feminism.
There might be a reason it’s ‘gone too far’
I don’t blame him for tarnishing feminism and saying ‘enough is enough’, I completely understand his perspective. Yet it boiled my blood to hear him say ‘it’s gone too far’. I asked him why you would even want to touch someone, why you think you have the right to ever touch another person? To which I was told I was being ridiculous and of course it’s ok to pat someone on the shoulder.
And so the debate escalated. I have a serious problem with someone telling me that they hold the right to touch someone and that I’m being difficult for opposing his view. My problem is, as a female, I live in a very different world to males. A world that, until this discussion, I thought they knew about. Plus, you never really have the authority to do anything just because you think it’s ok, especially when it will impact another person. But that’s verging on the whole ‘asking your baby for consent before changing it’s diaper’ and I don’t have the energy for that right now. Lets just stick to why an innocent touch may make someone uncomfortable.
Men are from safe-ville and women are from ‘you’re a sex object’-ville
For me the world is a dangerous place. And no, that’s not dramatic. I don’t need to insert facts about how more females are raped than males or that more females are subject to sexual harassment. I don’t need to back up my claim with statistics because I can tell you it from my, and so many other females, points of view.
From the get go, I have been told I am the holder of sex. Men want it, I have it. I am a sexual being, an object, first and foremost. I should cover my thighs and not reveal too much skin, else risk a raping. And I obey.
Society hard wires it into our thoughts, men are portrayed as predators and women the prey – what a disgusting point of view. To think of every man as a potential sexual predator is utterly abhorrent. But yet, I join them in believing men have one thing on their mind, and it’s extremely hard to shake. Society throws you into gender roles from birth. Females are motherly, soft, vulnerable, a prize. Men are tough, sexual, animalistic and powerful. Gender roles are the cancer of society, they should be put in the bin!
The reason I can’t shake that thought, the reason I do not feel comfortable walking along streets, being out at night, creating friendships with males is because time and time again I have been subject to their agenda. Whether I like it or not, whether I refute it or not, whether it makes me physically uncomfortable or not, I’m still subject to being made to feel like a piece of sex at the hands of males, at the hands of society.
I want to make this very clear here, I am not attacking all men, I’m not attacking any men. I’m trying to highlight what society has drilled into our heads. It’s incredibly difficult to express a point of view on any remotely ‘sexist’ subject without the fear of looking as though I’m a radical, man hating feminist. That could not be further from the truth. I’m a radical ‘society needs to sort it’s shit and stop stereotyping people’ supporter. It’s not ‘all men’, it’s how society raises men and women.
Females have a very different view of the world
As I expressed by predator-esque view of males, my discussion partner, was as you would expect since I am slandering every single male I have ever met, him included, getting his back up. He was getting angry at my blatant sexism and prejudice argument.
We both grew more heated and that’s when it clicked, for him.
I asked how many times, during his employment or otherwise he has been sexually harassed. His reply was a few things here and there.
I asked him how many times he has been made to feel uncomfortable due to any form of sexual interest/advances. Again, not many.
I asked him how safe he feels being out in public, and at night? He replies for the most part he’s pretty confident.
I asked if people just ask about, ridicule, stare at or use as a topic of conversation, his sexual organs? He said no.
I ask does he think before he wears something, as to conceal parts of his body that may be found ‘inappropriate’ or ‘draw attention’? No, no he doesn’t’.
But if I, or any female was to answer those questions it would be entirely different.
We live a very different life in the same world. A world in which I am intimidated by males, due to their psychical stature and apparent overbearing sexual nature. Bare in mind that the majority of males are lager than females, then think about what the female perceives, what she has been told since birth, the males objective is: sex.
Think about that, it’s important.
Think about someone twice your size making any form of unwanted advancements towards you. Even if the male is smaller, it’s still deeply intimidating and frightening. I’m not talking creepy guy walking behind you kind of scenario. I’m talking everyday life. Those moments that try to smash your illusion that you are safe and equal in society. When an older man stares at you, in close proximity, looking you up and down and staring at your skirt. You want to stand up and tell him to fuck off you creepy old fucker, but you don’t. You’ve been taught to ‘ignore it’, so you let it slide as it’s just ‘another creep, creeping on you’. It’s as if we learn to deal with unwanted attention, it’s a side effect of being female. He’ll soon stop looking if you ignore him. But surely it should be don’t look at a person and make them uncomfortable? We teach children not to stare, so why do we allow some men that privilege?
For some it’s an innocent touch, for others it’s uncomfortable to say the least
Genuinely, I want to agree with my male discussion partner, I want to say ‘yeah, people are too sensitive, what’s wrong with a touch on the shoulder’ but I cannot. I live in a word that I am prey and a touch can signal anything from friendship to that deep gut wrenching gurn of adrenaline meaning I am extremely uncomfortable and in danger.
I have been touched on the thigh, under tables or in the back seat of a car, numerous times. Not once did I indicate any form of sexual or even friendship interest. I have been groped, as a young 18 year old, on the arse by a customer while I was working. A hazard of working around drunk men – eh?! I have been groped on the arse so many times that I cannot tell you the exact amount.
I have had people comment on my body and ‘what I would do’. And when I do return a ‘fuck you’ I’m met with the wall of ‘man’ retaliating with insult or worse, threatening words of a sexual nature. I have been ridiculed, embarrassed and pretty fucking upset, by a group of men, while I was working, telling me they would fuck me so hard I would need a wheelchair. Much to their delight and glee as they laughed and high fived each other.
I have been forcefully handed phone numbers (while working), despite protests of ‘I have a boyfriend’, and told ‘he doesn’t need to know’. The fact that females actually feel the need to protect themselves by saying ‘I have a boyfriend’ is pretty telling of the uncomfortable situation they are in.
For a lot of females, we aren’t comfortable rebutting advances, not once in my life has a male held his hands up and said ‘oh ok, I’m sorry, nice to meet you’. I’m often met with a ‘are you sure?’ ‘ he doesn’t need to know’ or ‘when he leaves you’. I’m more likely to get a pushy and forceful response or some comment that makes me pretty uncomfortable when I say no.
I have been on nights out when males do that creepy dancing next to you and then they start wrapping their arms around your waist. Usually it results in groups of girls moving around the dance floor tactfully trying to avoid creepy hands.
I wear appropriate clothing, as to not draw attention. Although I’m ‘pretty lucky’ that I don’t have a large chest, which for some means constantly having to hide it. They don’t want the attention, it can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Can you imagine, having to hide a section of your body purely because they are deemed sexual ‘objects’ that other people will comment on or worse, bring unwanted attention? Or, insert eye roll, make a man uncomfortable due to his innate sexual tendencies.
None of these behaviours are acceptable. None of them can be attributed to being ‘drunk’ or ‘fooling with the lads’. It’s completely unacceptable that females are subject to them at an overwhelming ratio than males. No one should be subject to any of these behaviours. Often many cases of assault are over looked, for example being groped on the bum. That’s assault. No question. Yet, many would eye roll and say it’s all part of being a female, and it’s only a touch of the bum.
Try to look from another perspective
I don’t list any of these to man bash or go anywhere near the bullshit that ‘all men are the same’. I do it to show you how I, and many other females, see the world. It’s a difficult, uncomfortable and often scary environment. We are predisposed in the knowledge that we are sexual items for the taking. If you tell me I am ‘sex’ ‘sex’ ‘sex’ then I’m going to be pretty frightened and intimated by those that I perceive as wanting sex, when I do not want sex.
You can’t make females sex objects, told to cover up, told to stay safe, told not to entice males and then complain when they, rightly so, protest against being touched. I’m very uncomfortable when strangers, co-workers, random drunk dudes touch me. I’ve been conditioned to think they only want one thing, and there’s plenty of evidence on file to suggest, to me, it’s true. We cannot tell females they are sex objects, ask them to cover their body, make them feel uncomfortable within society and then be outraged that she doesn’t want your pat on the shoulder. An innocent touch it may be, but how does she know that? Whats to stop her wondering if you are attracted to her? What’s to stop her thinking that the touch may represent more than an innocent co-worker saying job well done?
Don’t blame feminism or females for the anti-touch society
I get it. It does seem over the top and dramatic. I do also see that there are innocent people out there being penalized for the disgusting behavior of some men. Mainly innocent, well meaning men. But this ‘no touch’ rule isn’t the outcome of radical feminists. It’s to protect people, male and female. It’s the outcome of society placing shitty gender roles on our heads, and us following them. It’s allowing ‘boys to be boys’ and telling girls ‘not to distract men and cover up’.
Don’t allow an almost sensationalized headline as ‘I can’t touch people‘ draw your attention away from why a touch may make people uncomfortable. And don’t do a Henry Cavill on the topic either. The female perspective is misunderstood or often over looked in an aggressive feminist agenda. It get blurred and mocked, which then leads people to think ‘it’s all going too far’.
Rather than mock, scaremonger or belittle, we should educate both sexes. Illuminate the world to the hidden perception of society held by many females. Show why you should double think what a touch means to someone, teach us not push our own outlook onto others. You may think it’s an innocent touch, but that doesn’t mean someone else will.
Let’s not start a war on feminism, instead let’s look at the inequality and fucked up gender roles of society. Maybe then we can all hug each other without it causing toe curls and unfounded sexual assault claims.