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Stuff You Absolutely Have to Read: Kathy Sierra and Adria Richards on Harassment and "Trolls"

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Sometimes when I post links, they’re simply interesting things I’ve run across. These, though, are essential reads:

Why the Trolls Will Always Win, by Kathy Sierra, Wired

A detailed post by Java expert and game developer Sierra describing the harassment and vilification she’s faced for the crime of, well, basically for being a woman in the tech world. While long and a bit rambling in spots, this is an important piece that, among other things, describes how harassers can sometimes transform slanderous assertions about their targets into “conventional wisdom,” details the damage that “trolls” can have on a person’s reputation (and their life generally), and offers some sobering reflections on the culture of harassment and how difficult it can be to fight.

She offers these thoughts on the ways in which Twitter can serve as an enabler of this kind of harassment:

Twitter, for all its good, is a hate amplifier. Twitter boosts signal power with head-snapping speed and strength. Today, Twitter (and this isn’t a complaint about Twitter, it’s about what Twitter enables) is the troll’s best weapon for attacking you. …

It begins with simple threats. You know, rape, dismemberment, the usual. It’s a good place to start, those threats, because you might simply vanish once those threats include your family. Mission accomplished. But today, many women online — you women who are far braver than I am — you stick around. And now, since you stuck around through the first wave of threats, you are now a much BIGGER problem.

And she takes on the “troll logic” of those who insist that unless there’s legal action no “real” harassment has happened:

You’re probably more likely to win the lottery than to get any law enforcement agency in the United States to take action when you are harassed online, no matter how viciously and explicitly. Local agencies lack the resources, federal agencies won’t bother. (Unless you’re a huge important celebrity. But the rules are always different for them. But trolls are quite happy to attack people who lack the resources to do anything about it. Troll code totally supports punching DOWN.)

There IS no “the authorities” that will help us.

We are on our own.

And if we don’t take care of one another, nobody else will.

We are all we’ve got.

Much of Sierra’s piece focuses on one of her biggest enemy in all of this, “hacktivist” Andrew Auernheimer, better known as weev. He’s posted a response to Sierra’s piece. It’s pretty appalling; weev is a hateful misogynist and white supremacist. Here’s a sampling:

Kathy Sierra is the epitome of what is wrong with my community. She had something coming to her and by the standards set by her own peers in the social justice community, there was nothing wrong with what she got.

I do not hate women. My colleagues include quite a few (cis and trans) women. I support women making tech. However, it is high time for the “women in tech” to get the fuck out.

The other essential bit of reading?

Telling My Story, by Adria Richards, Storify.

Developer and tech evangelist Richards, you may recall, ignited the fury of the Great Internet Lady Harassment Machine by tweeting about sexist jokes she overheard at a tech conference. At the time, she largely kept silent about the harassment she was getting. But now she’s speaking up and sharing the details.

In a series of Tweets yesterday, Richards posted screenshots documenting some of the worst harassment she’s gotten; this Storify collection pulls these together in one place.

Make the effort to enlarge and read the screenshots; they’re horrifying. And Richards promises to post more.

While I’m posting links, here’s one that’s hardly essential but that’s pretty funny:

Local Chicago Man Would Like Women to Smile, Accept His Advances, by Kara Brown.

No, this last one isn’t from The Onion. It’s REALLLL.

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Catalpa
Catalpa
5 years ago

As someone who’s reasonably socially awkward myself, I find that genuinely awkward people tend to listen INTENTLY whenever someone tells them what they’re doing is inappropriate, because we’ve gone through life feeling like everyone has a manual for this interaction stuff that we somehow missed out on and HOLY SHIT SOMEONE IS TELLING ME THE BEST WAY TO INTERACT WITH THEM IN PLAIN ENGLISH, JACKPOT.

Of course, sometimes I myself might take things too literally, as in “Someone told me to leave them alone and now I must NEVER TALK TO THEM AGAIN”, but I listen. People who are told that their actions are inappropriate and still continue to take those actions aren’t being socially awkward. They’re being predatory.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Catalpa,
Agreed. It’s always been mortifying to me to find out if I’ve been off putting in some way.

Noadi
5 years ago

So I opened the talk by Anita in youtube and had quite a chuckle. One of the video thumbnails on the side was titled “Reason vs Feminist Frequency” and the image was her face badly photoshopped into a butt. Reason ur doing it rong.

Syburi
5 years ago

There’s a similar issue with men with big dogs. They’ll let the dog lunge at you and tackle you off your bicycle, then claim “he’s just being friendly.” Oddly, they never seem to want to be friendly to cops or bikers.

Like these guys only want you to smile, they just can’t understand the “fuck off” body language. Yet somehow, mysteriously, they have absolutely no trouble interpreting the body language of bikers who don’t want someone pinching their arse or telling them to smile.

Funny that.

Shitheads.

Kootiepatra
Kootiepatra
5 years ago

The complaint about sunglasses is especially obnoxious. Sometimes it means, “Bugger off, I don’t want to talk to you”, which is of course perfectly within a woman’s rights to do.

However, sometimes it means, “I have, or am actively trying to avoid getting, a migraine.”

I have a friend who has to wear sunglasses even on mostly cloudy days. Too much direct sunlight can put her in bed for a day or two in excruciating pain.

Er, I mean, how rude of her to prioritize her ability to function over strangers’ comfort level with interrupting her to give commentary on her outfit. Misandry.

Skye
Skye
5 years ago

I’m really almost triggered to anger and gruef by strangers commanding that I smile. The first time that happened to me I was trying to by Christmas gifts for people two months after my father (who I loved very much) passed away. I was too shocked to react. I wish I’d told the entitled creep off.

Lea
Lea
5 years ago

Syburi ,
I know the guys you are talking about! My dogs are large and not all dog friendly and my heart skips a beat when another dog, big or small comes running at us. Little dog people will just stand there like, “What?” or tell me what an awful dog I have for snarling and lunging at their small dog that ran up to us, snarling and sometimes snapping. The big dog guys will yell from what ever distance they are from their loose dog, “It’s OK, he’s friendly!” as I play goalie to avoid a fight. I finally just started yelling first, “He/She WILL bite! Get your damn dog!”. I’ve gotten so much stink eye and it is so stressful that I hardly ever walk my dogs anymore. Things like that can trigger panic attacks.

Those people never pick up their dog’s poop either. They just keep walking like they didn’t notice their dog stop to take a dump. I want to yell, “We all saw that! You did too! Stop looking at your phone and pick up the poop!”

I assume they are the same people who let their kids act like caffeinated monkeys in public and only pay attention to traffic lights when it is convenient.

Michelle C Young
5 years ago

Ugh. Ugh! UGH!

And thank you, cloudiah, for that excellent comic!

I’m going back to bed now.

Daeran Zemaitis
Daeran Zemaitis
5 years ago

b-but i’m socially awkward s-so it’s okay to be a creep

FUCK. YOU.

F U C K Y O U F U C K Y O U F U C K Y O U

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I have diagnosed Aspergers’s and ADHD, I blow social cues fairly often. In high school I had no interaction with the opposite sex that went beyond decently friendly, and I did some things were actually a bit creepy and lame, for example secret notes and the like, (because I was scared of rejection and didn’t have the confidence to talk to girls that I was interested in, though I was fine talking to girls I *wasn’t* trying to date at the time. The difference was, that shit is embarassing and painful and generally when stuff is embarassing you want to do it LESS, not more. So I’m very careful and polite in my social relations in general, in fear of doing something embarassing or awkward. I find it mindboggling that someone can be socially awkward like that, with all the attendant traumas, and not develop an overwhelming selfconsciousness about one’s social behavior These guys either:

Are socially awkward and don’t care, possibly because MRAs and other internet kiddies told them they didn’t have to because it’s SOCIETYS/WOMENS FAULT that socially awkward people have difficulty with social relations like say, flirting.

Aren’t socially awkward and are just using it as a cover to be assholes to women.

maistrechat
5 years ago

I’m pretty sure I saw the guy from the Craigslist ad yesterday on my way home from work.

Adding my voice to the “socially awkward is not an excuse to be an ass”.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

@Amanda

Social awkwardness is a thing. I’m not denying that. I am awkward occasionally, a holdover from my deathly-shy phase. If someone greets me in a context where I don’t expect it, I don’t always react correctly and instead just sort of stare at them. It comes across as rude and I always feel bad afterward.

It’s the dudes (almost always dudes, but not entirely exclusively dudes) whose “social awkwardness” makes things awkward for you that get the side-eye from me. It’s clear from looking at them that they don’t feel awkward in the slightest. A guy who is physically obstructing you until you acknowledge him to his personal satisfaction? Is not socially awkward. If he doesn’t look like he feels awkward (and from your description he clearly doesn’t), then his “social awkwardness” is a ruse and a cover for knowingly bad behavior.

re: SMILE

I’ve learned that when dudes ask me to smile, the proper response is NOT “why?” Because that invites further interaction, and they always have some kind of dumb-ass reason, like, “Because life is grand!” I’ve started telling them, “I don’t take orders from you,” which usually seems to work. It upsets them, which is awesome actually, but because it upsets them I don’t want to deploy it against guys who are behaving in an intimidating way.

So, does anyone have any other possible responses that shut them down?

Buttercup Q. Skullpants

I think there’s a big difference between the “aware” type of socially awkward, where you might feel discomfort during an interaction, but you fervently hope the other person doesn’t feel the same way; and the “jerk” type of socially awkward, where they deliberately offload their own discomfort onto other people (by resorting to hostility and insults when faced with rejection, for example).

Manners, empathy, civilization, the social contract, basic emotional maturity – it all boils down to concern for other people. Those are the very things trolls, libertarians, and MRAs spend their lives railing against.

@strivingally

I guess since PUA predation is about trying to find women who won’t or can’t stand up for themselves and enforce their boundaries, or manipulating them with social pressures, it makes perfect sense that a lot of their first strikes are already gating whether or not a woman will modify her response based on someone else’s expectations.

That’s pretty much what PUA techniques are – it’s probing the crowd to locate women with weak boundaries. I wish parents/schools/magazines/pop music/movies/YA novels could do a better job of teaching girls how to spot and dismantle this type of bullshit. We teach the obvious predator-spotting techniques (creepy guys with vans) but we don’t teach them to spot more subtle red flags in everyday situations. Meanwhile, we train young girls to be pleasing to boys, to focus on hair and clothes and makeup, to be desirable but not have desire, and to mistake stalking for romantic love (hello, Edward and Christian Grey). All of that keeps girls less attuned to their own needs and more vulnerable to predators.

Even at my relatively advanced no-nonsense age, I’ve learned so so much from reading the posts and the comments here. It’s helped me connect the dots between street harrassment, negging, gaslighting, bullying, body commodification, and other abusive boundary-violating tactics. They’re not just isolated instances of creepiness. They’re all part of a pattern. In the past, whenever someone made me feel uncomfortable, I’ve never been able to articulate why – just a gut feeling that I wanted to get away from this person. It’s so easy to get “argued” out of your gut feelings and self-esteem by a skilled predator, or even just a garden variety d-bag who targets you at a college party. It would have really helped me when I was younger to have the tools and vocabulary to deconstruct this stuff, name it, and be able to defend appropriately against it.

On the flip side, we should be teaching boys empathy, restraint, emotional literacy, how to take responsibility for their actions, and how to relate to girls as human beings. Rigid gender roles are just as toxic for boys as they are for girls. The happiest, most relaxed guys I know are the ones who are the least concerned about “manliness”.

You’d think the purity ball crowd would be on board with educating and arming their children against sleaze, but I have a feeling they’d be dead set against it. It might make their daughters less willing to be married off to authoritarian buttwads.

Antonio Pe Yang III
5 years ago

I remember reading this article by a feminist writer/blog (I can’t recall if it’s Amanda Marcotte or Skepchick) that one way they would rather deal with trolls wasn’t to “feed” them or stay silent. It was to drag them out into the public light, and basically let as many people as possible know how big an asshat they are.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

I wonder how many of these guys there really are. They hit on so many women that it must seem like they are much more numerous than they really are.

I think you may be right. I read somewhere that one woman got hit on three separate times by the same PUA. He didn’t seem to realize that he’d already met and been rejected by her before. He was just so entrenched in his numbers game that he would approach any unaccompanied woman he could find, wherever he was, with the same stupid spiel every time. She was more amused than anything else by his ignorance, and never said “Excuse me, but you’ve already hit on me twice before. The answer is still NO.” (I kind of wish she HAD, because I can just picture the look on that dude’s face.)

As someone who’s reasonably socially awkward myself, I find that genuinely awkward people tend to listen INTENTLY whenever someone tells them what they’re doing is inappropriate, because we’ve gone through life feeling like everyone has a manual for this interaction stuff that we somehow missed out on and HOLY SHIT SOMEONE IS TELLING ME THE BEST WAY TO INTERACT WITH THEM IN PLAIN ENGLISH, JACKPOT.

Of course, sometimes I myself might take things too literally, as in “Someone told me to leave them alone and now I must NEVER TALK TO THEM AGAIN”, but I listen. People who are told that their actions are inappropriate and still continue to take those actions aren’t being socially awkward. They’re being predatory.

A thousand times YES to this. I was always so grateful whenever someone set me straight about something I was doing wrong when I was a very socially awkward kid. Embarrassed at first, but grateful soon after, because as soon as I started acting more like others, I found myself being treated more like others, too. And for me, who wanted nothing more desperately than to fit in and be accepted, that was so important. These guys who think they’re “standing out from the crowd” by making themselves obnoxious are, as you say, predators. Yes, they stick out, all right…like a sore thumb. And nobody wants one of those.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

@Amanda

Also, I should have mentioned: someone doesn’t have to behave in an overtly flirtatious way to display symptoms of being an entitled douche. The guy who kept wanting to talk to you when you had signaled that you were more interested in a different conversation? That’s almost textbook entitlement. That’s not social awkwardness; that’s him feeling like his desires were the most important consideration at hand, and feeling like your desires basically didn’t exist.

contrapangloss
5 years ago

PoM,

Well, it’s only ever happened to me once. I’ve been informed that I can have a scary ‘Nothing would give me more joy than to end your pitiful existence, but imagining it still makes me warm inside’ smile.

I don’t know how I developed it, because I don’t really get warm fuzzies about ending folks…

Dude backed off pretty quick. He asked for a smile; it’s not my fault he didn’t like/feel comfortable with what he got!

Buttercup Q. Skullpants

Re: SMILE

So, does anyone have any other possible responses that shut them down?

“I’d love to smile, but it’s really hard when the landlord slit his wrists and bled out in your bathroom this morning, and you’re holding back a tsunami of diarrhea.”

They want to invade your physical space? Great! Invade their mental space with a disgusting, boner-killing image.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

@Buttercup

Oh LOL! I don’t think I could do that whole thing, but saying, “I can’t, I’m having terrible diarrhea today,” is something I might be able to pull out in the moment.

That’s awesome! Thank you!

Buttercup Q. Skullpants

Yeah, you’re right, PoM, they don’t really deserve the effort it takes to say that whole sentence. But even the shorter version would have the effect of reframing the situation and puncturing their power play. The standard responses – ignoring, “f*ck off”, smiling through gritted teeth – just reinforce what they want, which is to get some kind of response from you and make you dance their jig. It’s all about demonstrating their superiority in public.

Playing the diarrhea card just confuses them. You haven’t outright rejected them, so they can’t get hostile and go the name-calling route…yet you’ve effectively sprayed their libido with a hose, so they can’t continue along the harrassment route. The only valid face-saving response left to them is “Oh, sorry, go on with your day.”

(I like this response better than something like “my dog died this morning”, because the dog excuse relies on them being emotionally empathetic enough to back off, which is not a given with street harassers. This one is more visceral and graphic, without actually being potty-mouthed.)

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

The only drawback is: what if this guy is into scat? But that’s probably an acceptable risk.

Amanda
Amanda
5 years ago

@Buttercup: YES. I was trying to put it into words, but you said it much better. Basically, I never learned how to distinguish between me overreacting and a real threat. I, too, was taught to avoid the guy in the van calling me over, but not subtle intimidation. Like I’m just expected to smile, be polite and give everyone the benefit of the doubt until they do something REALLY overt, and to ignore my own discomfort. But these guys know exactly how much they can get away with, without crossing the line that triggers most women to do something about it, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve both been at the company for over 10 years.

talacaris
5 years ago

The Chigago letter: I think it is attempt at parody or some kind of “ironic sexism”. It just seems so self-aware ofthe sexism and that earbud as signaling wanting no contact and so on. Also the last line “Do not contact me with unsolicited offers” =>hypocritical humour.

gilshalos
5 years ago

(Hope this works)
Wouldn’t this be useful ?comment image?oh=e3c689360e9b047132065b255e15c19d&oe=54AD5935

Buttercup Q. Skullpants

@Amanda – exactly! PUAs take advantage of the fact that women are socialized to be nice, to take care of other people’s feelings, and to want to please. Girls aren’t taught to pause and say “wait a minute, this isn’t right” when a guy is doing a lot of soft boundary testing, or to say to themselves, “so what?” in response to insults. They just assume they’re being too sensitive. In social settings, there’s a lot of pressure for women to be friendly and approachable and positive. It can be hard to distinguish friendly meetcute banter from negging, unless you’re aware of PUA tactics and have a strong sense of what is appropriate for a stranger to say to you.

PUAs also take advantage of the fact that many women have internalized the idea that their entire worth is based on looks. When all else fails, they play the “yer ugly” card to bring women back in line. Imagine if society valued women’s actions and character traits as much as men’s: then “yer ugly”, the 10/10 rating system, and the constant public appraisal of women’s features by random strangers would lose all of its power.

I think that’s why redpillers hate fat acceptance and self-esteem so much. They don’t want to lose that trump card. If they can’t be the ultimate arbiters of beauty and value, then what power would they have over women?

@PolicyofMadness

The only drawback is: what if this guy is into scat? But that’s probably an acceptable risk.

Well, that’s true…you don’t want to get into a kinkier-than-thou contest. If someone’s harassing you on the street, they’ve already demonstrated they have no regard for normal social convention.

If he’s into scat, maybe that’s a good time to mention your recent giardia and Hepatitis C diagnoses.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

@Buttercup

“I can’t, I was just diagnosed with AIDS.” Too far?

Daeran Zemaitis
Daeran Zemaitis
5 years ago

I think just saying “Sorry, I gotta take a really really bad shit” is good enough. Sounds reasonable, yet takes the focus away from them trying to “spit game” , but sounds plausible, everyone has to shit.

“PUAs take advantage of the fact that women are socialized to be nice, to take care of other people’s feelings, and to want to please.”

Buttercup, wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was socialized that way to an extent?

Buttercup Q. Skullpants

Women do not poop! Mind = blown! Nooooooo! *head asplode*

@Daeran – Excellent point, we should be equally focused on socializing boys to please others too. The world would be a more peaceful place. Skyscrapers would still get built, football would still get played, love would still get fallen into, but nobody would have to worry about fending off “compliments” from sidewalk weasels.

@PolicyofMadness Well, if I were HIV positive I’m not sure how I’d feel about healthy people using it as a sort of social-pariah-guarantee card, but if it shuts down a potentially dangerous situation…

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
5 years ago

I used to tell pushy evangelists that I was a Satanist, on the assumption that the guy down below would be the thing that would make them recoil most instinctively. So for PUAs, either “I’m a feminist” or start talking about the assertiveness and public speaking or leadership training program you just attended?

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

@Buttercup

Guys who aren’t making me feel threatened get the “I don’t take orders” response. I’m looking for something to deter the ones who do make me feel threatened. I respect that perpetuating the meme that HIV+ folks are untouchable is, to understate the situation, not ideal, but if it gets me out of a threatening situation the pro/con balance might be acceptable.

It may be going too far, though.

@cassandrakitty

It seems like that might invite further interaction. Does it? I’d love for the answer to be something that simple.

Puddleglum
5 years ago

If I were to approach a strange woman in public, it would be because I needed information and thought she might have it. These jerks make women so creep-sensitive that it’s harder for someone like me who has a legitimate need to initiate a conversation to do so successfully.

But, unlike these asshats, I imagine that you probably see all the people on the street, not just the ones that pass the ‘boner test’, so you have a broader range of people to ask information from.

contrapangloss
5 years ago

PoM, AIDS generally wouldn’t be transmitted by feces, so throwing HIV+ folks under the bus is a little more non-sequiterish, Hep A and C-diff though…

Yeah. after learning about those two you get paranoid about other people not washing hands and POOP, even though the most people’s poop isn’t actually that nasty.

strivingally
5 years ago

Yeah, I find it odd how the “social awkwardness” excuse is ALWAYS a free pass for a guy to be creepy/intimidating/ignore a woman’s social cues, but is NEVER an acceptable excuse for a woman refusing to play by the social conventions that would force her to engage with a guy who approaches her unsolicited. Why doesn’t *she* get the benefit of the doubt?

Catalpa
Catalpa
5 years ago

^ Ah, it’s because women are never socially awkward ever and are constantly and inherently more emotionally and socially aware than men are, in exchange for being unable to comprehend math and logic with their feeble ladybrains. /sarcasm

It would sure be nice to be able to pterodactyl screech at any man who approached you unsolicited, and then in response to the WHAT THE FUCK, you could go “Oh, that WASN’T appropriate? Not my fault! I’m just soooo socially awkward! =D” and then continue to do that every time.

strivingally
5 years ago

Catalpa, you’ve just made my day. I’m going to go around picturing scenarios in nightclubs, on buses, in public libraries, etc. where dudes try to randomly hit on women and just get “AARRRAAAAWWWWWWKK!!” in response, followed by an insincere “Sorry for my social awkwardness! *cheesy grin* What were you saying?”

That sounds like an awesome YouTube skit waiting to happen. 😀

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
5 years ago

@ Policy of Madness

I’ve found quite openly laughing at them right to their faces to be the most effective way to get rid of PUAs, but obviously that involves a certain level of risk calculation in terms of how likely it seems that they might physically harm you.

Amanda
Amanda
5 years ago

@cassandrakitty: Yes, fear of harm coming my way is definitely a concern. (Although some people will take advantage of those who are too meek, so you’re kind of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.)

When I was in my early 20s, I had a boss who just rubbed me the wrong way. I could never put my finger on why, but my instincts told me not to be alone with him. One day, after I had left the company, a former coworker told me he had found him on the Megan’s Law website – he had done time in prison for rape and attempted murder. Out of curiosity, I just looked him up and he was arrested for ANOTHER rape just a few years after I left. Very scary, but this tells me my instincts were spot-on and not to second-guess myself.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
5 years ago

Never second guess yourself when it comes to potential danger. If someone gives you a bad vibe, what’s the worst thing that can happen if your feeling is right versus if it’s wrong? Your safety is more important than someone else’s potential hurt feelings.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

I had a coworker who creeped me out. I always joked with people that he gave me the feeling he had bodies buried in his basement. Later, he started harassing another coworker and got fired. The next day he tried to follow into work and piggyback past the point where you need a swipe card to get in. Who knows what he would have done if he had gotten in.
My creepdar never fails. I always tell guys that I know Woody Allen is guilty of molesting his daughter. I just feel it in my bones. Men never understand that we develop these instincts because they, themselves don’t need to have them.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
5 years ago

Or they know very well that we have these instincts, and why, but have reasons for trying to get us to ignore what those instincts are telling us.

(Says the pessisimist)

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Yeah, I find it odd how the “social awkwardness” excuse is ALWAYS a free pass for a guy to be creepy/intimidating/ignore a woman’s social cues, but is NEVER an acceptable excuse for a woman refusing to play by the social conventions that would force her to engage with a guy who approaches her unsolicited. Why doesn’t *she* get the benefit of the doubt?

Because all women are Just Asking For It, don’tcha know?

Seriously, though: I’ve had to field some ooky come-ons in my time, and ALL of them were from guys who were NOT socially awkward, but who cooked up some kind of plausible deniability to that effect so they’d never be held accountable for their actions. And they all used MY social awkwardness to THEIR advantage. One of them actually waited until I was seatbelted into his moving car before he made his move, and it scared the shit out of me. He knew exactly what he was doing. His come-on was blatant and clumsy in its execution, but his timing was impeccable. A truly socially clueless guy would not have waited until his target was unable to escape.

Girls are trained to be nice and polite all the time, instead of heeding their creepdar and fleeing if they feel the slightest bit of anything “off” about a person. And if you’re shy to begin with, as I was, and have trouble reading other people’s cues, as I did, you’re a sitting duck for that kind of creeper. I was in my twenties before the insistent bleeping of my creepdar finally started drowning out all my Nice Girl Training. But once it did, it’s amazing how little I was harassed. It’s almost like they sensed that I was no longer an obliging Nice Girl, even though I am still generally polite to everyone until they give me a reason not to be.

kittehserf
5 years ago

Ah yes, the mirthless smile, accompanied by a dead-eyed look at them. Helps when you have fairly prominent canines, as I do.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Cassandra
I was thinking of an argument I got into with a couple of male coworkers about Woody Allen. They’re generally good guys. They’re not themselves creepers. They just didn’t think his obsession with young women on display in his movies in addition to my feelings was enough to go on. It’s frustrating. Even progressive well intentioned men get male privilege blind spots sometimes. Not trusting women’s creepdar is one of them.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
5 years ago

Also wanting your heroes to be decent people, and finding it easier to ignore than to deal with evidence to the contrary. Did you ever see the doc about the filming of the movie Allen made with Helen Hunt? There was a scene where he leaned in towards her face and she visibly recoiled. One daughter is accusing him of abuse, and he married another almost as soon as it was legal to do so. How much evidence do people need? A lot, if they have a vested interest in maintaining their illusions.

Skye
Skye
5 years ago

Also wanting your heroes to be decent people, 

I have this problem a lot. I always want people who seem cool to be so. I was heartbroken at Whoopi’s defense of Polanski. I’ve never met her, but she always seemed like an awesome person.

I did meet Adam Baldwin at a con and he was nice to me then (just a fan meet, not an in-depth conversation or anything); it’s been painful to see here how awful he acts towards people online and realize he probably isn’t a very nice person.

pallygirl
pallygirl
5 years ago

My partner and I had a photo taken with Lance Henriksen at a Comic Con type thing. My partner was wearing the Dr Who scarf I knitted for him. Lance saw the scarf and complimented it, and it seemed that he didn’t realise it was homemade. I hope to dine out on that tale until I die, so please no one tell me that Lance Henriksen is horrible.