Grenacia Gem Green (grenacia) wrote,
Grenacia Gem Green

To hell with fear

I've seen been seeing various links turn up in my social media feeds to essays written (generally) by men, trying to explain #YesAllWomen to other men. I've been noticing a theme to some of them, which I would boil down to this concept:

"Guys should watch their behavior in regards to women, because certain behaviors, though they seem innocuous to guys, will cause women to fear them, because they remind the women of bad things that have happened to them or to other women in the past. You may think women are overreacting, but they're doing it because they're afraid, and they might have logical reason to be afraid, because it's hard to know for sure whether a guy is just annoying or if he's going to turn violent if rejected."

So, there might be some truth to that, but still it bothers me. And I'm going to have to say Not All Women to that one. I completely refuse to be afraid of stupid guys who don't know how to cordially interact with their fellow humans. Annoyed? Sure. Angry? Sometimes. Cautious? When it seems warranted. But not afraid. There are things I fear in life, but douchey guys giving me unwanted, inappropriate attention are not one of them.

Letting fear of them effect how I live my life is a waste of my time. In the unlikely event that one of them points a gun at me someday, I'll consider fearing that one, because then I'd actually have good reason to. Until then, no. Knowingly or unknowingly, harassers will USE that fear to get women to tolerate and placate them, to coax them to be nicer and less firm in their rejections of harassment.

Aside from my personal belief of refusing to live in fear and let those idiots win, there's something else that bothers me about the fear explanation. It implies that the reason harassing behavior is wrong is because it makes women afraid. But the fear is really just a side effect, and there are all sorts of reasons harassment is wrong that have nothing to do with fear. It's really more about consent - if you are indulging in a behavior, and if the people primarily effected by that behavior tell you it's inappropriate and that you should cut it out or go away, you need to cut it out or go away, not try to explain why you think your behavior is appropriate.

EDIT: By the way, I absolutely do not mean this as a criticism of anyone else's fear, even if I don't share it. We all have our personal fears, and our personal reasons for them. There may well be other things that I'm terrified of that don't phase you.

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