Harassment and Understanding It (split from Do Men Have a Problem with Empathy)

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Post by reboot on Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:15 pm

Enail wrote:
reboot wrote:
* Um, just because we are older we are not abnormal :-)

I think TheWisp may have meant the "normal" bit as opposed to the "with an unsettling vibe" bit, not the "older" bit.

Oh yeah, hence the smile Smile It just read that way but I know he did not mean it like that.
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Post by Wondering on Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:38 pm

But how exactly was your experience not what we could technically define as "positive" harassment?

Well, I think this goes to what was said in one of the other threads today (I think) that women who are not 20s-30s, attractive, and thin don't count as women. If a woman is older or unattractive or fat, she doesn't register as a woman, therefore, harassment by her doesn't register and can't be processed as harassment by a woman.

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Post by Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:17 am

They're adults now, too. And they're still bigger than you. And they see you walking, and get the exact same looks on their faces they used to get right before they had a go at you. You hear the same laugh. They've got the same body language going on. And you have to walk past them to get where you're going.

As you get near them, one of the bullies calls out to you, in the exact same tone of voice they used to use before.

"Hey. Nice arse."
EXACTLY EXACTLY EXACTLY

And when you look round, unsmiling, and carry on walking because that's what you have been told is the safest thing to do, you see that look in his eyes: Gotcha.  I got to you.  I made you feel uncomfortable and unsafe.  Look how much power I have over you. Haha.

And yes he was around your age.
And yes he was conventionally attractive.
And yes he just called you pretty and asked for your number.
AND NO IT ISN'T A FUCKING COMPLIMENT.

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Post by Aggrax on Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:34 am

Mel wrote:Okay, so you've never been sexually harassed or seen it happen, but as others are pointing out, it's basically bullying.  Surely you have seen people insult or threaten another person before?  Surely someone at some point has said something unkind to you?  It feels a lot like that (with an extra discomfort of knowing it's aimed specifically at your gender).  If some stranger yells an insult at you on the street, you wouldn't be thinking about how at least they took the time to do so, right?

When I was a kid I walked home from school a lot, because I lived fairly close by. Every once in a while I would get people that would drive by and shout things out of their car at me. It was generally some variation of "ha ha, you're fat." Occasionally though, I would get women, usually teenagers if memory serves correctly, who would yell things like "Hey cutie" or something similar. The second one actually felt worse because I could tell that it wasn't a compliment. The message was clear: "Not only do we think you're fat and ugly, we also think your stupid and will believe that we actually think you're cute."

Obviously that's not as bad as the kinds of sexual harassment that women usually go through. I do think that it helps contextualize the negative vs. positive aspect of harassment perception. I'm sorry if this comes off sounding a little ramble-y or stupid. My brain functions even worse than usual at 4:30 in the morning.
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Post by reboot on Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:18 am

Aggrax wrote:
When I was a kid I walked home from school a lot, because I lived fairly close by. Every once in a while I would get people that would drive by and shout things out of their car at me. It was generally some variation of "ha ha, you're fat." Occasionally though, I would get women, usually teenagers if memory serves correctly, who would yell things like "Hey cutie" or something similar. The second one actually felt worse because I could tell that it wasn't a compliment. The message was clear: "Not only do we think you're fat and ugly, we also think your stupid and will believe that we actually think you're cute."

Obviously that's not as bad as the kinds of sexual harassment that women usually go through. I do think that it helps contextualize the negative vs. positive aspect of harassment perception. I'm sorry if this comes off sounding a little ramble-y or stupid. My brain functions even worse than usual at 4:30 in the morning.

That actually sounds spot on. The "compliment" that is not a compliment because you can sense that the underlying motive for saying it is hostile/not well intended.
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Post by Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:54 am

Aggrax wrote:When I was a kid I walked home from school a lot, because I lived fairly close by. Every once in a while I would get people that would drive by and shout things out of their car at me. It was generally some variation of "ha ha, you're fat." Occasionally though, I would get women, usually teenagers if memory serves correctly, who would yell things like "Hey cutie" or something similar. The second one actually felt worse because I could tell that it wasn't a compliment. The message was clear: "Not only do we think you're fat and ugly, we also think your stupid and will believe that we actually think you're cute."

Obviously that's not as bad as the kinds of sexual harassment that women usually go through. I do think that it helps contextualize the negative vs. positive aspect of harassment perception. I'm sorry if this comes off sounding a little ramble-y or stupid. My brain functions even worse than usual at 4:30 in the morning.

This makes me really sad. I had those experiences, too, and it still, to this day, leaves me suspicious of anyone showing the least bit of interest in or attraction to me.

There was one kid in junior high, whose name was Mike. I have forgotten the same of almost everyone else, but I remember him. And he was part of the group of kids who would make fun of me. And then one day, in English class, he said, "Will you go out with me?" and I ignored him, because I knew -- I KNEW -- that it was a setup. That I was supposed to be so desperate I'd say yes, and then he'd either laugh at me or dump pig's blood on me or something.

So I ignored him. And this became a thing, another way he'd hurt me.

And then there was a boy I liked, named Jonathan. He was unpopular. And I asked him out. And he ignored me. The next day, I tried again, same result. And I wondered -- was this the same thing? Was I playing out my Mike story in reverse? Was it possible Mike's motives weren't bad all along?

And I don't know. I know a lot of the other kids who did it -- complimented me, asked me out, got, um, cruder -- were absolutely doing it to hurt me, because they'd do it in packs, and when I turned to look at them, they'd break out laughing.

But I wonder if the scars from that kind of thing have left me permanently unable to trust expressions of interest.

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Post by Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:42 am

I remember a few nasty things from high school that was harassment level.

I was the smallest in my year for most of entire time there, so I was an easy target for most. There was this one kid in particular that hated my guts. I can only guess why, but I think it had something to do with him being... not so attractive when it came to his face and, from my own observations, being but one popularity rung higher than I. He deliberately tried to insult me, followed me to do so and seemed to try and learn my habits so he could mess with me. Luckily for me, he ended up leaving the school

There was also a period of a month or two where everyone seemed to think I was gay. Not that I consider it an insult, but my lack of interest in women seemed to set off some kind of arsehole alarm bell in people's heads. For whatever reason, this died down, but it left me feeling like there was something wrong with me if I wasn't interested in women. Couple that with an overbearing and incredibly prudish mother, and I was caught in this trap of not finding women attractive for a while and feeling bad about it... Then realising I was attracted to women and feeling even worse and guilty about it. This one definitely messed me up when it comes to women because it morphed into the belief I must be a creep or something, which leads me to believe women can't be interested and yadda, yadda. You get the idea of it snowballing.

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Post by The Wisp on Fri Oct 03, 2014 12:19 pm

Mel wrote:
I'm confused.  You say you can't connect your anecdote with "complimentary" harassment, that you struggle to understand how "positive" harassment would be unpleasant... But how exactly was your experience not what we could technically define as "positive" harassment?  From your description, the woman didn't hurt you or say anything unkind to you.  She simply got more physically close to you than was appropriate and asked you to dance.  And you express that this made you very uncomfortable.  If having someone put their arm around you and ask you to dance was unpleasant, what exactly is this more "positive" type of harassment you imagine women get that you wouldn't see as unpleasant or, as you found it, very uncomfortable?  I mean, seriously, even when harassment involves supposed "compliments", it's done in an aggressive/unnerving tone (yelling/muttering/etc.), and/or involves the person getting too much in personal space or being physically intimidating in other ways (e.g., in vehicle), and/or comes with aggressive/unnerving body language (crude gestures, leering, etc.), and so on.

I'm confused about it, too! I understand that that situation is exactly like the kind women complain about on a intellectual level. There's a disconnect between my rational side and emotional side on this one.

UristMcBunny wrote:Wisp... honest question, because I find this an interesting situation to try and puzzle out.

Were you ever bullied as a kid?  In school, was there ever anyone who made a habit of doing unkind things to you?  Anyone who did anything like the following:

* calling you names
* kicking your chair
* pulling your hair
* pushing you in the corridors
* getting in your space/blocking your path/physically intimidating you
* following you to hurl insults
* getting violent and hitting or slapping you
* coming up behind you in the canteen and shoving your face into your lunch
* making up lies about you to tell others
* pretending to like you so they could play a trick on you
* throwing things at you
* stealing your property and damaging it/throwing it away/refusing to give it back

Was there ever a time in your school life when you experienced any of these things?  Anyone who ever got to the point where, all the had to do was call out "hey" at you from across the hall and it made your shoulders go up around your ears because you knew, you knew they were going to start something but you had no idea of knowing what, of how far they would take it this time.  If it would just be an insult, or if they'd actually hurt you this time.

I dealt with a little verbal bullying here and there, but otherwise I was pretty much left alone. I do know the feeling of being afraid of people, though. I have social anxiety disorder, and it was much worse in high school. I can relate to cringing when people tried to get my attention. Of course, this is slightly different because I never felt physically afraid of them and at some level knew I was safe.

Think about the sort of body language your bullies used.  The tone of voice.  The way they laughed.  The way they'd look at you in passing and how it made you feel.  The uncertainty of it all.

Now imagine you're walking down the street now.  You're an adult.  And as you're on your way somewhere, you see that just up ahead, there's the kids who used to bully you.  They're adults now, too.  And they're still bigger than you.  And they see you walking, and get the exact same looks on their faces they used to get right before they had a go at you. You hear the same laugh.  They've got the same body language going on.  And you have to walk past them to get where you're going.

As you get near them, one of the bullies calls out to you, in the exact same tone of voice they used to use before.

"Hey.  Nice arse."

Yeah, I see what you mean. That way of framing it does help me see it better at a gut level. Thank you. This also made me connect to a different scenario that I experienced that was very uncomfortable.

I think I just realized why I didn't initially have that visceral understanding of why "complimentary" harassment is bad that kleenestar described. The big social struggle of my life has been isolation and invisibility, so when I hear somebody complaining about something that seems at a shallow level to be complimentary attention, I couldn't help but think "that would be nice". Of course, I've realized for a while that I wouldn't enjoy it if it actually was a regular part of my life and that I wouldn't be happy if I saw it happen to somebody I know. That quietly jealous part is just one part of me, I understand why it's bad. Your way of framing it helps bridge that gap, too.
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Post by Lemminkainen on Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:34 pm

A hypothesis about why some guys, especially in venues like this, have a hard time understanding the harassment issue:

Discussions of harassment frequently tend to get invoked when people explain why one shouldn't/should be hesitant to approach women in certain contexts. Guys who aren't street harassers themselves and haven't seen street harassment then tend to start to imagine street harassment as something like an approach that they would do-- which, while it might be very unwelcome or uncomfortable for the recipient, would be very different from harassment. And because people are cognitively lazy, they have a hard time changing their images of things, especially if they're feeling a lot of anxiety-- which discussions about approach issues seem to trigger in people with less social experience like Wisp.

In fact, I think that most women are just trying to explain that some types of interactions have broad similarities with harassment (feeling unwelcome, personal space violation, having a hard time getting away), or that experiences with harassment have made them automatically much more defensive about approaches in certain settings. In any case, I think it might be helpful for everyone to disaggregate some of the different kinds of unpleasant-for-the-approachee approaches.


On another note, I think that the "Language, tone, and body language of the school bully" framing is a really helpful explanation. I once saw my partner get street harassed by a drunk old man in New Orleans, and that was very much the vibe I got from his behavior.

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Post by Aggrax on Fri Oct 03, 2014 2:56 pm

Lemminkainen wrote:A hypothesis about why some guys, especially in venues like this, have a hard time understanding the harassment issue:

Discussions of harassment frequently tend to get invoked when people explain why one shouldn't/should be hesitant to approach women in certain contexts.  Guys who aren't street harassers themselves and haven't seen street harassment then tend to start to imagine street harassment as something like an approach that they would do-- which, while it might be very unwelcome or uncomfortable for the recipient, would be very different from harassment.  And because people are cognitively lazy, they have a hard time changing their images of things, especially if they're feeling a lot of anxiety-- which discussions about approach issues seem to trigger in people with less social experience like Wisp.

In fact, I think that most women are just trying to explain that some types of interactions have broad similarities with harassment (feeling unwelcome, personal space violation, having a hard time getting away), or that experiences with harassment have made them automatically much more defensive about approaches in certain settings.  In any case, I think it might be helpful for everyone to disaggregate some of the different kinds of unpleasant-for-the-approachee approaches.


On another note, I think that the "Language, tone, and body language of the school bully" framing is a really helpful explanation.  I once saw my partner get street harassed by a drunk old man in New Orleans, and that was very much the vibe I got from his behavior.

As a possible addition to this, I think a lot of guys are unable to be empathetic about these kinds of situations because, in addition to being unable to identify with the person being harassed, they are unable to properly contextualize and visualize the people doing the harassment. It's likely that Men who have trouble empathizing with street harassment aren't able to sort out their own perceived biases from a situation, which gives it a very different context.

As an example, lets use the well known example of "guys at construction site wolf whistling and cat calling someone." It's possible that most men either visualize these people as either very conventionally attractive ("It's attention from hot guys, what's bad about that?") or as generic overweight guys in sleeveless shirts and vest ("They're harmless jokers, don't take them seriously"). For the second one, it's likely that their threat level would be underestimated or dismissed by most men because these people have basically switched over to "incompetent cartoon villains". They don't feel physically threatening so nothing they do is given serious consideration.

The problem is how this ignores 1)That these people certainly do have the capacity to be dangerous, especially against a single person and that 2) Like many have said before, it's not so much about action in these situations as it is about reaction. They were able to make someone feel unsafe and uncomfortable, which gives them power. It takes a compliment (you look nice...) and hides a dagger in it (...and that means I can say whatever I want).
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Post by Mel on Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:16 pm

Aggrax wrote:As an example, lets use the well known example of "guys at construction site wolf whistling and cat calling someone." It's possible that most men either visualize these people as either very conventionally attractive ("It's attention from hot guys, what's bad about that?") or as generic overweight guys in sleeveless shirts and vest ("They're harmless jokers, don't take them seriously"). For the second one, it's likely that their threat level would be underestimated or dismissed by most men because these people have basically switched over to "incompetent cartoon villains". They don't feel physically threatening so nothing they do is given serious consideration.

The problem is how this ignores 1)That these people certainly do have the capacity to be dangerous, especially against a single person and that 2) Like many have said before, it's not so much about action in these situations as it is about reaction. They were able to make someone feel unsafe and uncomfortable, which gives them power. It takes a compliment (you look nice...) and hides a dagger in it (...and that means I can say whatever I want).

I think both you and Lemminkainen have raised some very good points. I just want to make one note related to the above. Sometimes this type of harassment does involve women feeling physically threatened or unsafe, definitely. But sometimes it's more about a feeling of being put in one's place/diminished, which can be just as upsetting. A guy who calls out "Nice tits!" or "I'd hit that" or whatever is not just indicating "I can say whatever I want" but also "the only thing that matters about you is your body and how I'd like to use it for my own purposes; your thoughts and wants do not matter." That's a really horrible message to hear, especially repeatedly, and in the context of a society where there are a lot of messages from other sources suggesting that women should exist mainly for others' visual and sexual pleasure, there's a cumulative impact.

I realize that may be difficult to conceptualize if you haven't been at the other end of it... For those who've struggled with the pressures on men not to be emotional, for example, maybe compare it to how you might feel hearing someone tell you to "man up" or similar when you're going through a tough time?
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Post by Guest on Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:25 pm

Aggrax wrote:As an example, lets use the well known example of "guys at construction site wolf whistling and cat calling someone." It's possible that most men either visualize these people as either very conventionally attractive ("It's attention from hot guys, what's bad about that?") or as generic overweight guys in sleeveless shirts and vest ("They're harmless jokers, don't take them seriously"). For the second one, it's likely that their threat level would be underestimated or dismissed by most men because these people have basically switched over to "incompetent cartoon villains". They don't feel physically threatening so nothing they do is given serious consideration.

The problem is how this ignores 1)That these people certainly do have the capacity to be dangerous, especially against a single person and that 2) Like many have said before, it's not so much about action in these situations as it is about reaction. They were able to make someone feel unsafe and uncomfortable, which gives them power. It takes a compliment (you look nice...) and hides a dagger in it (...and that means I can say whatever I want).

There's a line from (I think) Robin McKinley's Sunshine, that goes something like this: Nightmares don't become nightmares because of what happens in them, but because of how they make you feel.

It's like, picture a pretty woman around your age coming up to you and smiling.  Birds are tweeting.  There's a clear blue sky.  "Hello!" she says.  She holds out a hand to you in invitation.

Now picture the same scene, but the blue sky is grey-green.  Lightning's flashing.  There's wind.  And in addition, the tense, nerve-straining theme to a horror movie is playing in the background.  "DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE!" your brain is screaming at you, in sheer spinal reflex.  And she smiles at you.  "Hello!"  She holds out a hand.

Or maybe the same scene is being shot, and this time there's a laugh track. You're walking down the street, and she looks at you, and the laugh track plays, and she holds out her hand, and as you start to reach out, the sad tuba plays a "poor shmuck" bwa-wah-waaaaaah.

When you tell the story, there's a huge amount of stuff that doesn't get encoded.  The way the people were standing.  The fact that when they noticed you, there were 6 of them, and they moved with an almost pack-based motion, leaning into the leader's motion -- even though he was the only one who said anything.  The fact that the guy talking had a weird little smile that wasn't really reflected in his eyes.  The fact that his fingers were twitching slightly as he talked.  The reason you don't add those to the story is that usually, you don't notice them consciously.  They go to your backbrain, and they set off warning bells.  You know you are in a dangerous place.

And when you tell that story, the emotion of it is a fact of the story, the same as the details.  If I tell you there was a bad smell, you don't need to know what was mixing to make that smell to trust that it was bad.  If I tell you that I was hot and uncomfortable, I don't have to justify it with a temperature report and a description of what I was wearing.  He was being threatening!  It's a fact.  I can't describe all the little things that made it true, and yes: you could set up a version of that story where he wasn't threatening, but that's not the reality of what happened to me.

It's not bad because of what he said.  (Well, not always.)  It's bad because of how it felt.

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Post by kath on Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:36 am

Lemminkamen, ElizaJane, Mel and others have I think recognized this in their discussion, but it struck me while I was reading this thread earlier so I wanted to spell it out:

The things that make a nice compliment, complimentary and harrassment, harrassment (street or otherwise) are totally different things. They are not tied together at all. It is not a spectrum with "nice compliment" at one end and "harrassment" on the other. This is how you also have bullying that does not have a sexual component and is not even remotely complimentary, and you have compliments that are, indeed, totally complimentary and pleasant to receive.

One way to phrase this: including the word "nice" isn't what makes "NICE TITS!" harassment.

I will see if I can illustrate - this is essentially ElizaJane's illustration in different words just to have a variety. We're talking about the same thing. "Hello" isn't what made what she describes a nightmare.

Let's say that harassing behavior is a hornet's nest, and getting a compliment is a jujube. No wants a wasp's nest with a jujube inside, however much they may love jujubes.

Additionally, choosing belittling, loaded, disrespectful words is a tactic that can be used in harassment and is part of the harassing behavior, though not a requirement for it. That's why "I'd hit that" is actually not how you would say something like  "I would really like to have sex with you right now, you wanna head upstairs?" to someone you actually are proposing to have sex with. When you're talking about how sexy your partner's breasts are, "tits" is not necessarily the word you use, because it doesn't actually just mean "the secondary sex characteristics associated with mammary glands".

Women talking about being harassed are never saying "I hate getting sincere compliments". They may also hate sincere compliments, but that is a separate opinion.

And sure, if I get both compliments and harassment, and then I switched gender presentation and got no harassment and no compliments, I would certainly miss the compliments. They are totally nice. But you will notice that person didn't say "I missed getting harassed" - they said "I missed getting genuine compliments". Since these are, as described above, totally different things,  it is completely reasonable that you would miss one but not the other.

However, they didn't ask her "would you rather have both harassment and genuine compliments, or nothing" - and honestly, one woman saying "in my experience, I personally got little enough harassment and enough genuine compliments that I would rather take both than neither" is certainly reasonable if that's her preference. Also "why on earth wouldn't it be reasonable to expect to get compliments AND no harassment" - because that is, in fact, a totally reasonable expectation, and men should get as many genuine compliments on their appearance as women do - but it's also totally a woman's prerogative to say "if my choices are NO ( compliments OR harassment) or BOTH (compliments AND harassment), I pick the first set" that is also a completely rational and reasonable determination for her to make.

(and many women get (no compliments) and (harassment), so of course they don't want that)
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Post by SadisticToaster on Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:07 pm

Mel wrote:
Sometimes this type of harassment does involve women feeling physically threatened or unsafe, definitely.  But sometimes it's more about a feeling of being put in one's place/diminished, which can be just as upsetting.

Yeah - a feeling of helplessness and powerlessness , and knowing that nothing you can do can stop them. Even without any physical fear, it's still enough to ruin your day.

Speaking only for myself ( but I imagine most men have also been there ), I've also had plenty of abuse - and cans and bottles - flung at me from passing cars - plus the occasional punch to the face while walking down the street - but bullies perfer victims who don't look like they can fight back - which generally means someone on their own. As a result - just as men don't witness a lot of the catcalling which goes on, women don't notice when men are the victims.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:31 pm

SadisticToaster wrote:
Mel wrote:
Sometimes this type of harassment does involve women feeling physically threatened or unsafe, definitely.  But sometimes it's more about a feeling of being put in one's place/diminished, which can be just as upsetting.

Yeah - a feeling of helplessness and powerlessness , and knowing that nothing you can do can stop them. Even without any physical fear, it's still enough to ruin your day.

Speaking only for myself ( but I imagine most men have also been there ), I've also had plenty of abuse - and cans and bottles - flung at me from passing cars - plus the occasional punch to the face while walking down the street - but bullies perfer victims who don't look like they can fight back - which generally means someone on their own. As a result - just as men don't witness a lot of the catcalling which goes on, women don't notice when men are the victims.

Yeah but it's not really the same th—

Oh.

Shit.
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Post by eselle28 on Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:58 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
SadisticToaster wrote:
Mel wrote:
Sometimes this type of harassment does involve women feeling physically threatened or unsafe, definitely.  But sometimes it's more about a feeling of being put in one's place/diminished, which can be just as upsetting.

Yeah - a feeling of helplessness and powerlessness , and knowing that nothing you can do can stop them. Even without any physical fear, it's still enough to ruin your day.

Speaking only for myself ( but I imagine most men have also been there ), I've also had plenty of abuse - and cans and bottles - flung at me from passing cars - plus the occasional punch to the face while walking down the street - but bullies perfer victims who don't look like they can fight back - which generally means someone on their own. As a result - just as men don't witness a lot of the catcalling which goes on, women don't notice when men are the victims.

Yeah but it's not really the same th—

Oh.

Shit.

No one went there besides you, and I don't think anyone was necessarily planning to. Men are bullied, assaulted, and harassed as well. People are targeted for a variety of reasons - gender, performance of gender, perceived sexual orientation, perceived gender identity, racial background, disability, and all sorts of other reasons. To the extent it varies, it's in society's response to the harassment. Women's harassment is generally acknowledged to occur but tends to end up being lumped in with discussions of men's dating problems, the giving of compliments, and how women dress. Harassment of men for appearing weak or vulnerable doesn't seem to get discussed much at all (or if it is, sometimes seems to come with a narrative that the way to combat it is by attacking the harassers?). Harassment of some of those other groups tends to fall into other narratives.
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Post by Werel on Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:08 pm

SadisticToaster wrote:
Speaking only for myself ( but I imagine most men have also been there ), I've also had plenty of abuse - and cans and bottles - flung at me from passing cars - plus the occasional punch to the face while walking down the street

Shocked

I'm not sure that most men (or anybody) have "been there" with unprovoked physical attacks to the face. Good gravy, is that normal for where you live??
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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:24 pm

eselle28 wrote:
nearly_takuan wrote:Yeah but it's not really the same th—

Oh.

Shit.

No one went there besides you, and I don't think anyone was necessarily planning to.

True. What I mean is, that + earlier posts did finally change something about the way I was approaching the subject. And as almost everyone has already found, that shift is somehow too large to describe how exactly it happened.

eselle28 wrote:Men are bullied, assaulted, and harassed as well. People are targeted for a variety of reasons - gender, performance of gender, perceived sexual orientation, perceived gender identity, racial background, disability, and all sorts of other reasons. To the extent it varies, it's in society's response to the harassment. Women's harassment is generally acknowledged to occur but tends to end up being lumped in with discussions of men's dating problems, the giving of compliments, and how women dress. Harassment of men for appearing weak or vulnerable doesn't seem to get discussed much at all (or if it is, sometimes seems to come with a narrative that the way to combat it is by attacking the harassers?). Harassment of some of those other groups tends to fall into other narratives.

I think it really does come down to looking at all bullying the same way vs. thinking there are different kinds of bullying and different motivating factors and they need to be handled in different ways (assuming a person is sufficiently not-terrible to recognize that all of them are important).

Because hearing about [other group]'s problems sometimes really does seem like, well, I don't envy [problem], but [group] also gets [tangentially related benefit], and aren't the two both kind of tied to [social assumption about group]?

Implicit assumption: there only two solutions to [specific form of bullying]. One is eliminating shitty behavior, and one is eliminating the cultural element that enables [specific form of bullying].
Maybe there's a third option? I don't know.

Implicit assumption: countering a stereotype, or similar, is extremely difficult, but eliminating shitty behavior is fundamentally impossible.
Is it?

Implicit assumption: [problem] and [benefit] really are both connected to [stereotype], so countering the stereotype to eliminate the problem also loses you the benefit.
This is what I've definitely changed my mind on: they aren't connected.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:26 pm

^^ I didn't write that. Perhaps someone new to mod privileges edited my post but meant to click Quote (and thought they had)? xD
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Post by Enail on Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:05 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:^^ I didn't write that. Perhaps someone new to mod privileges edited my post but meant to click Quote (and thought they had)? xD

<mod> Yes, it looks like that's what happened (good guess!). If it's alright, we're going to hold of on the fix till the mod in question is able to do it, because that way they can turn it into a proper comment reply, and they're more likely to be able to sort out who said what correctly. Does that sound alright? </mod>

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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:07 pm

Yeah, no rush. I'm just having a chuckle because things like this make me hear one of my former coworkers (a senior engineer) in my head, saying "I hate computers!"
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Post by eselle28 on Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:32 pm

I am very sorry everyone. Embarassed

nearly_takuan wrote:
eselle28 wrote:
nearly_takuan wrote:Yeah but it's not really the same th—

Oh.

Shit.

No one went there besides you, and I don't think anyone was necessarily planning to.

True. What I mean is, that + earlier posts did finally change something about the way I was approaching the subject. And as almost everyone has already found, that shift is somehow too large to describe how exactly it happened.

Oh, I'm sorry! I read that in completely the wrong way.

nearly_takuan wrote:
I think it really does come down to looking at all bullying the same way vs. thinking there are different kinds of bullying and different motivating factors and they need to be handled in different ways (assuming a person is sufficiently not-terrible to recognize that all of them are important).

I am not entirely confident about this conclusion, but my gut impulse is that there aren't that many motivating factors for bullying. Most of the cases I can think of involve attempts to feel powerful by asserting it over a comparatively less powerful person who's been deemed to be a socially acceptable target, with a certain amount of crowd mentality involved for larger groups of harassers. I do think that the dynamics around various types of bullying are different, however, and that they do sometimes need to be handled in certain ways.

Because hearing about [other group]'s problems sometimes really does seem like, well, I don't envy [problem], but [group] also gets [tangentially related benefit], and aren't the two both kind of tied to [social assumption about group]?

Implicit assumption: there only two solutions to [specific form of bullying]. One is eliminating shitty behavior, and one is eliminating the cultural element that enables [specific form of bullying].
Maybe there's a third option? I don't know.

Implicit assumption: countering a stereotype, or similar, is extremely difficult, but eliminating shitty behavior is fundamentally impossible.
Is it?

Implicit assumption: [problem] and [benefit] really are both connected to [stereotype], so countering the stereotype to eliminate the problem also loses you the benefit.
This is what I've definitely changed my mind on: they aren't connected.

Ah, okay, I think I understand the thought process, and I agree with your conclusion in the third assumption.

I'm curious about how you're defining something in your first assumption, and depending on the definition, may not agree with your second one. Does eliminating the cultural element that enables [specific form of bullying] relate only to the choice of targets, or does it also include methods? I think we can counter stereotypes, with difficulty, but I also think we can change the narratives about what kinds of behavior are acceptable to an extent that only a very small minority of people engage in them. I think that in all but the smallest groups there will sometimes shitty behavior in the form of people sometimes trying to make others feel worse to make themselves feel better, but the ways that manifests varies tremendously in form and impact depending on the environment.[/quote]
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Post by eselle28 on Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:35 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:^^ I didn't write that. Perhaps someone new to mod privileges edited my post but meant to click Quote (and thought they had)? xD

I am so sorry about that. I have no excuse except for the buttons being next to each other.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:04 pm

eselle28 wrote:
nearly_takuan wrote:
I think it really does come down to looking at all bullying the same way vs. thinking there are different kinds of bullying and different motivating factors and they need to be handled in different ways (assuming a person is sufficiently not-terrible to recognize that all of them are important).

I am not entirely confident about this conclusion, but my gut impulse is that there aren't that many motivating factors for bullying. Most of the cases I can think of involve attempts to feel powerful by asserting it over a comparatively less powerful person who's been deemed to be a socially acceptable target, with a certain amount of crowd mentality involved for larger groups of harassers. I do think that the dynamics around various types of bullying are different, however, and that they do sometimes need to be handled in certain ways.

In the context of interventions for particular instances of bullying or within systems where bullying is especially prevalent, I agree there are contextual factors and therefore context-sensitive actions can be effective to mitigate that kind of behavior. But, well...

Autobiographical stuff:
I went to a school in a smallish town in a ruralish area. Pretty much everyone knew pretty much everyone, but in particular, my dad was vice principal of the middle school and was good friends with the principal and vice principal of the high school. Even if those administrators hadn't been pretty serious about cracking down on school bullying and such, I would've been practically untouchable by the usual kid-logic (even the "bad" kids didn't like the idea of detentions/referrals/calls home). And I don't think I was consciously aware of that, but I made some use of it—it would have been pretty clear to most of my classmates pretty early on that I'd talk about what I'd seen at home, which meant my dad would know, which meant the VP would know, which meant somebody was probably going to be questioned. Early on, I actually did get mad enough to start yelling at somebody for obviously trying to intimidate a smaller kid at the bus stop, and they almost hit me before they realized Who I Was. So as far as I knew, nothing vicious occurred in any class I was in, or to anyone I made a friend.

In retrospect, I think all I did was add one more political element to the whole damn thing. You can't cure a cold with cough syrup.

eselle28 wrote:
Because hearing about [other group]'s problems sometimes really does seem like, well, I don't envy [problem], but [group] also gets [tangentially related benefit], and aren't the two both kind of tied to [social assumption about group]?

Implicit assumption: there only two solutions to [specific form of bullying]. One is eliminating shitty behavior, and one is eliminating the cultural element that enables [specific form of bullying].
Maybe there's a third option? I don't know.

Implicit assumption: countering a stereotype, or similar, is extremely difficult, but eliminating shitty behavior is fundamentally impossible.
Is it?

Implicit assumption: [problem] and [benefit] really are both connected to [stereotype], so countering the stereotype to eliminate the problem also loses you the benefit.
This is what I've definitely changed my mind on: they aren't connected.

Ah, okay, I think I understand the thought process, and I agree with your conclusion in the third assumption.

I'm curious about how you're defining something in your first assumption, and depending on the definition, may not agree with your second one. Does eliminating the cultural element that enables [specific form of bullying] relate only to the choice of targets, or does it also include methods? I think we can counter stereotypes, with difficulty, but I also think we can change the narratives about what kinds of behavior are acceptable to an extent that only a very small minority of people engage in them. I think that in all but the smallest groups there will sometimes shitty behavior in the form of people sometimes trying to make others feel worse to make themselves feel better, but the ways that manifests varies tremendously in form and impact depending on the environment.

You're right, I wasn't really considering methods as something that could be deliberately countered—just motive and opportunity. I will have to consider how that changes the picture.
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Post by SadisticToaster on Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:21 pm

Werel wrote:
SadisticToaster wrote:
Speaking only for myself ( but I imagine most men have also been there ), I've also had plenty of abuse - and cans and bottles - flung at me from passing cars - plus the occasional punch to the face while walking down the street

Shocked

I'm not sure that most men (or anybody) have "been there" with unprovoked physical attacks to the face. Good gravy, is that normal for where you live??

Lived.

Past tense.

Very past tense.

( It never clicked before that tense and tense are spelt the same way. This makes no sense when written down - but hopefully people'll know what I mean )

All the rumours and sterotypes of Essex are true.

I think most of my guy friends who grew up in the same town as I did have told me about being involved in unprovoked violence at some point or another. Not often, but if you go outside every day, then a 1 in a 1000 chance will happen every few years - and random chance - if nothing else - will have it happen to some more then others.

Is this unusal then? It's so hard to judge what is normal with things like this because there's no frame of reference.

I'm far happier in London, by the way. I ran into a gang of youth ( hoddies up, baseball caps on, holding cans of beer, sort of thing ) late at night a few months ago. One raised a clenched fist, and shouted "Peace", and so I raised my first and shouted "Love and Peace" ( being half through rewatching Trigun ). He shouted back "Love and Peace" , and the group of them walked off shouting "Love and Peace" at each other. I'm sorry if this is a bit of a thread deviate, but I've been a bit glum here, so wanted to end with a happy note.

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