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“Why do women get dolled up if they don’t want attention?”

by Greg Krehbiel on 3 November 2017

A friend linked to this. Why do women get all attractive if they don’t want to be harassed? Glad you asked

The article is classic (not in a good way). It doesn’t seem to me that the man actually asked that, but … that’s no excuse for not reading a “harassment sympathizer” meaning into his words and getting in high dudgeon about it. (It could be that the guy is a jerk. The author claims to have had other contact with him. But from what she wrote, it sounds like she’s being a little dramatic about it and reading hidden meaning into his words.)

Women try to look attractive for lots of different reasons, one of which might be to get the attention of someone they’re attracted to. Hoping for some attention (from the right people) is not the same thing as inviting harassment, or any of the rude things mentioned in the article.

The basic move of the dance ordinarily goes like this: women attract and men approach. “Approach” does not mean harass, but some people — men and women — insist on making it that way.

Men insist on making it that way when they think a woman’s attire justifies rude, crass behavior. Women insist on making it that way when they act as if any approach is sexist and awful. (Remember that weird story a couple years ago about the woman at the science conference who got all upset that some geeky dude very gently expressed some interest, and she got freaked out about it?)

A rather poor analogy would be this. If I put a “for sale” sign on my car, I’m asking for offers. That doesn’t mean I’m asking for rude, crass, nasty, insulting offers.

(It’s a poor analogy because women get dressed up for reasons other than looking for a date. Otherwise I’d get really mad at my wife if she dressed up to go out with me.)

And even if I don’t have a “for sale” sign on my car, there’s nothing wrong with somebody asking me if I want to sell it. That’s the sort of thing that happens in the world, right? People do sell cars, and people do go on dates. So there’s no harm in asking, so long as everybody is polite and decent about it.

2017-11-03  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 9

  1. Ken Crawford
    3 November 2017 @ 11:59 am

    I was hopeful that article was going to go somewhere interesting when she started talking about how women’s bodies are used in marketing and porn and the like. She has the right idea that these things have the effect of making men less likely to see women as human beings and more as objects.

    But she just left it dangling out there.

  2. William
    3 November 2017 @ 12:10 pm

    Move over Harvey Weinstein, the #metoo campaign is growing larger and expanding beyond women. Kevin Spacey has growing allegations of sexual harassment (possibly 8 so far). As well, actor Corey Feldman recently accused Jon Grissom of molesting him in the 80s. Also, more allegations have recently surfaced concerning Bill O’Reilly. So, I’m wondering, is harassment as pervasive and deep rooted as it now seems or are people using this opportunity to have a “me too” moment? Maybe it’s both?

  3. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    3 November 2017 @ 1:55 pm

    > is harassment as pervasive and deep rooted as it now seems

    I’ve been wondering the same thing. It makes you wonder if the world is far more horrible than we think, and we have simply pasted a polite veneer on top of it.

  4. Ken Crawford
    3 November 2017 @ 3:22 pm

    William, I think it is both as well as world wide media makes problems seem bigger than they are. A century ago, a child molester 3 towns over didn’t make the local news. Now it feels like that molester as well as the guys 6, 9 and 12 towns over all live next door. But perhaps they’re (on average) still every 3 towns over, which feels a lot more reasonable/safe.

  5. William
    15 November 2017 @ 4:06 pm

    Interesting…seems as if the #metoo phenomenon is extending into Congress. A recent review indicates Congress has paid 15 million for harassment and discrimination claims and there are 2 unnamed lawmakers currently suspected of harassment. So, is this a coincidence that this is coming out now in the midst of allegations against Weinstein, Grissom, Louis C.K., Spacey, Sheen, O’Reilly and now Moore?

    Seems Congress’ proposed remedy is mandatory training. Why am I not surprised? This is a familiar approach but has been proven to be ineffective alone. Training is not a panacea. If this isn’t a part of a larger strategy, tax payer money could be used more effectively elsewhere. To have systemic and sustainable impact, key processes would have to be examined and modified. As well, proven offenders would have to be held accountable. Without this, mandatory training would be like using a band-aid to stop hemorrhaging.

    That said, it will be interesting to see what Congress actually does with this issue. If past practice is any indication, nothing truly substantial will result. But, we’ll see.

  6. smitemouth
    15 November 2017 @ 10:08 pm

    When I worked for USAF, we had to go through mandatory training like that–in the late 80s. It seems unbelievable to me that Congress and their staff don’t have to go through the training. You’d think that after Clinton, all the white house staff would have to go through training.

  7. William
    15 November 2017 @ 10:45 pm

    I suspect training may have been done previously but it’s fallen off the radar over the years or outdated. This may be a “renewal” effort. That said, it wouldn’t be a surprise if it turned out that Congress are cobbler’s children. After all, who knew tax payers were funding a hush fund for harassment/discrimination claims.

  8. Greg Krehbiel GregK
    16 November 2017 @ 7:44 am

    Seems to me training isn’t nearly as important as creating an environment where people who feel they have been harassed can come forward without fear of reprisal. But maybe that’s what the training is about.

  9. William
    16 November 2017 @ 8:22 am

    @Greg, exactly. As I said previously, training isn’t a panacea. Most use it to “check the box” so they can say they’ve done “something”. Training is a tool to help create awareness, skill-build and provide general guidance (assuming it’s designed and delivered well). In this situation, to be most effective, it should be a part of a larger change strategy. If training is the only thing that’s done, it will have limited impact and likely a colossal waste of time and money.