A Woman’s Unfair Burden

Last Week I was at my desk at work innocently engrossed in the work that I am passionate about doing, when a new gentleman who transferred from the city, stops by.  A brief yet awkward and tense encounter ensued.  The signals were crystal clear: his mentioning of his divorce, his emphasis of not wanting to be alone, and to top it off his boasting about being the perfect (and most loved) parent.  I dread these encounters and handle them too indirectly.   He asked if I could give him a tour of the area and I replied by explaining that I’m a workaholic and am either at my desk at work or at my laptop at home.  My body language must have given him signals (thankfully) because he finally left, mumbling “sorry to bother you”

This is not the first time this has happened.  In spite of being low key (or maybe because of, I’m not sure) I have had a number of unpleasant incidences that I somehow always blame myself for.  It is a joke among my friends.  The less effort I make to socialize, the more I attract.  I can’t make sense of it.  To compound the discomfort, the encounter alone is not what distresses me, but the reaction that I get from people that witness the event.

I have been told that I’m not confrontational enough.  My rudeness isn’t glaring, and men are incapable of comprehending subtle signals.   I never wear dresses, I have no cleavage whatsoever, I don’t wear make-up and rarely wear jewelry.  Isn’t that enough of a message that I am uninterested in getting the attention of men?  I guess not.

Once, I even had a man corner me, a man that initiated the demise of his career by doing so.  It was scary, and granted, I should have gotten angry.  Instead I was frightened.  This prompted criticism from peers that I’m not outspoken enough in my resistance to male misbehaviors.  I guess I fail at being a defensive lineman.

Here is my real complaint.  Why, oh why, is it my responsibility to manage the behavior of men when they have the same grey matter behind their skulls as I do?  I live in a Western culture, yet the signals that my society sends, indicates to me that the ideal would be to wear a burqa.   This mentality about men and their inability to control their sexual urges crosses cultural, geographical and racial boundaries.  Westerners belligerently criticize the Muslim culture for the oppression of women, yet from my perspective, women are equally oppressed in Western cultures, just without the blatant clothing.  When will the human race begin to hold men responsible for controlling their own flow of testosterone, rather than depending on women to somehow mitigate their sexual urges?  I hope I, or my daughter live to see it.


19 thoughts on “A Woman’s Unfair Burden

  1. Well, this article is definitely you. The truth is, the theme in out western culture you speak of, is present in others, and in some cases far worse than you experienced today. But this is not the only issue with a culture you have to deal with. But without delving into a bunch of examples, the key is to develop some simple tools to deal with it. I think you may have dealt a bit harshly with this guy you reference in this post. To push a guy away, all you need to do is referenced someone else. For example, “my boyfriend and I would LOVE to show you around town”. He would have retracted his offer. I hope this helps.


  2. Or better yet, there should be some unwritten, unspoken distinction between work and a bar. I mean, really? For one, this guy is meandering from his own workload to try to pick up a woman, and he’s interrupting me from my work on top of it. Where is management when you need them?


  3. “…Why, oh why, is it my responsibility to manage the behavior of men when they have the same grey matter behind their skulls as I do?..”

    “…This prompted criticism from peers that I’m not outspoken enough in my resistance to male misbehaviors…”

    I don’t mean to be rude but isn’t it your behaviour which needs managing? I don’t mean that as an attack, but rather as an invitation to be more *assertive* and *honest* around men (or to use that awful word ….. ’empowered’).

    As far as I can tell the first man was just being sociable, and obviously trying to spark up a ‘friendship …. and possibly more’ with you. This is not a crime (yet). The only crime I can see is wasting work time – his and yours. But wasting work time is not a gender issue. He gave you a concise and (I will assume) honest account of his personal circumstances and asked a straightforward question. Basically, he laid his cards out on the table for you to see… and to respond to. You say his signals were crystal clear. Isn’t that better than a man who’s signals are not crystal clear? He put the ball in your court. He basically put all the power in YOUR hands.

    It seems that having that power (the power to either accept or reject his advances) was what made you feel uncomfortable. Is that fair, or have I misread the situation?

    When you gave him the signals that you were not interested in hooking up with the guy he even apologised for bothering you. He might have wasted some of our time, and he might have made you feel uncomfortable…. but did he really do anything wrong? What if you had found him attractive and in two years time you got married? ….. or maybe you just became good friends at work…. Had he not approached you to begin with this would never have happened. You might have always assumed he was married, or not interested or whatever.

    In the second example it appears the man did behave inappropriately. But you say this behaviour ‘initiated the demise of his career’. So (without any more details) it would appear the mere act of ‘cornering you’ was not tolerated by your place of work, which I assume includes male co-workers and bosses.

    In general I think it’s fair to say the social taboo against men ‘cornering women’ in places of work is so strong it usually will literally end any man’s career – or at least force him to seek employment elsewhere. And I think it’s also fair to say most men (the vast majority) strongly condemn that kind of behaviour and help to rid the workplace of such men.

    So when you ask “…When will the human race begin to hold men responsible for controlling their own flow of testosterone, rather than depending on women to somehow mitigate their sexual urges? ..” I have to point out that society *already does* hold men responsible for controlling their sexual urges. There are laws, procedures and social taboos against sexual harassment at work and the vast majority of men agree with those laws, procedures and taboos – and they help to enforce them!

    Short of castrating all males at birth what more can society do?

    There are laws against car theft, but cars do still get stolen from time to time. Would you say society ‘condones’ car theft? Do we live in a ‘car theft culture’? Of course not! Sexual harassment or even rape is the same. There are laws against it. It is socially stigmatised. Those who are caught get punished. Victims have the right to seek compensation, relative to the severity of the harassment.

    Most men feel it is their *duty* to protect women from the unwelcome advances of harassers or would be rapists. A woman being harassed in the street is far more likely to be rescued by men that a man being harassed in the street.

    If a man slaps a woman in the street everybody rushes to intervene, or even call the police. But if a woman slaps a man in the street everybody assume SHE is the victim.

    This guilty-until-proven-innocent attitude helps to protect women, but it also screws with our perception of men and women and their respective agency, responsibility, victimhood and capacity to behave badly.

    In the interests of true gender equality, let’s reverse the gender roles….

    Suppose a new female worker approaches a male co-worker at work and gives him an account of her personal circumstances before asking him if he will show her around town. The man feels uncomfortable and a bit annoyed, but he does not tell her to get lost…… he just gives her subtle signals he is not interested until she eventually gets the message and apologises for bothering the man. The man then blogs about this episode and complains he was being harassed.

    Would you say that this counts as (sexual) workplace harassment? Or would you say to the man “Geez… get over yourself, she is new in town and is just looking for friends and possibly a relationship – stop being so precious!”

    What do you think ‘society’ would say to this man?

    And what if a female worker ‘cornered’ a male worker in the stationary cupboard, or perhaps she kept leaning over his desk pushing her cleavage in his face, or perhaps she got drunk at the office party and draped herself all over him or sat on his lap and then asked him to drive her home (etc etc). The guy dresses conservatively, doesn’t drink and is a bit of a nerd and he feels extremely uncomfortable by the woman’s forceful and manipulative sexual advances.

    Would you demand her dismissal from the company? Would ‘society’ label her a sexual predator or sexual harasser? Or would society tell the guy to stop being such a prude and to be thankful for the female attention?

    Now, I’m not making judgements, I’m just trying to point out the double standards that exist in society.

    I do, however, think your claim that men are not held responsible for their sexual urges is unfounded. I would say that men are held to account for their sexual urges far more than women are.

    Society (and the law) condemns male rapists far ore than female rapists. Rape victims (and domestic abuse victims) are split roughly 50/50 between men and women. But when was the last time you heard about a male rape victim or a male domestic abuse victim?

    Mens’ Rights vs Feminist Rape Culture explained using Puzzle Pieces

    The so called ‘rape culture’ we live in is a result of feminist propaganda which using fraudulent statistics to make it look like all rapists are men and all victims are women. For example the statistic that 1 in 4 women have been raped is obtained by classifying ‘sex under the influence of drink or drugs’ as rape. Whereas for males ‘made to penetrate’ is not regarded as rape.

    We even have cases where teenage males have been raped and then forced to pay child support to the child that resulted from that rape. And we also have cases of false rape accusations made by women against men which have resulted in the falsely accused man being murdered as retribution for this crime (which he did not even commit). Murdered by a man. If rape is acceptable to men, why do men kill other men for being rapists? Men do not generally assault or kill other men for stealing cars, or defrauding customers, or driving recklessly…… but if a man is a convicted rapist he will be in great danger from other men. This is because most men view rape as the worst crime imaginable and most men feel it is their duty to protect women.

    It is *feminism itself* which creates ‘rape culture’ because feminism trains girls (and boys) from an early age to view all men as potential rapists. This in turn makes women view themselves as powerless, ‘acted upon’ sexual objects, at the mercy of these rapey men who ‘dominate society’ … and this in turn makes women feel and act disempowered in social situation involving men (whether those men are acting appropriately or not).

    To make matters worse, in the post feminist society fatherless upbringing is much more widespread. Many children are brought up with virtually no contact with adult males at all. Single mums and her female friends, all female daycare staff, all female primary school teachers etc. This means many girls (and boys) grow up to view males as some kind of alien species. And when you add in the feminist propaganda about all men being potential rapists this explains why so many women cannot assert themselves properly around men and why they feel so frightened …. and why so many women view men as these alien sexual predators.

    The feminist myth that men (fathers) are somehow not necessary to raise a child is HUGELY destructive to the male/ female relationship, and to society as a whole. It is well proven that fathers are required for the proper development of empathy and self restraint among both girls and boys.

    Without fathers on the scene girls grow up defining themselves as female first and people second. Their world view (including how they see men) tends to revolve around the fact that they are female. By contrast girls who have lots of contact with their fathers in early development tend to define themselves as people first and females second – which is a much healthier self identity. And they also tend to view men as people too, rather than as alien sexual predators who are defined by their maleness. This less polarised attitude makes male/ female interactions far less ‘edgy’ and defensive (or aggressive) on both sides.

    “…I have been told that I’m not confrontational enough….”

    How about just being honest and assertive? It is disrespectful to men to be either compliant and subservient ……. or aggressive and confrontational. Flitting from one extreme to another is precisely the attitude that I’m talking about. It all stems from viewing men as an threatening alien species who are defined by their maleness. This seems to be the attitude of your (I presume) feminist co-workers. If the man has money and is attractive, bat your eyelashes, stick your chest out and laugh demurely at his jokes….. if the man doesn’t have money and is not attractive bite his head off for harassing you with his presence. This is the post feminist ‘Sex in the City’ way to treat men. to call it disrespectful is an understatement.

    Feminists complain that men define women by their sexuality… and then they go ahead and define men by their sexuality. It’s offensive for men to say “all women are whores”, but apparently it’s OK for feminists to say “All men are potential rapists”. This is because feminists have claimed victim status. If you are perceived as a victim you can be offensive and irrational and get away with it. This is why modern feminists refuse to give up victim status even though all the original goals of feminism have been achieved.

    “..from my perspective, women are equally oppressed in Western cultures..”

    In what way? Can you give an example of how women specifically are oppressed in the west? I’m not saying women are not oppressed, I’m just suggesting men are equally oppressed. I cant think of any example where women are singled out and oppressed. Can you?

    “… It is a joke among my friends. The less effort I make to socialize, the more I attract. I can’t make sense of it. …”

    Maybe men find it attractive that you are not ‘after’ something (sex, a dinner date, flattery, male attention etc)? Maybe men respect you because you don’t use your ‘womanly wiles’ to manipulate men?

    “… I never wear dresses, I have no cleavage whatsoever, I don’t wear make-up and rarely wear jewelry. Isn’t that enough of a message that I am uninterested in getting the attention of men? ….”

    That’s an interesting statement. You are implying that women who DO wear dresses, make up and expose their cleavage ARE interested in getting the attention of men. If a man said that a million feminists would jump on him for it. They would say women wear frivolous and impractical clothes, make up etc FOR THEMSELVES and not to exert any influence over men.

    Again, I’m not judging….. I’m just pointing out where there are double standards. It’s OK for a woman to observe that women manipulate men with their appearance, but it’s not OK for a man to observe this. And for a woman to ‘objectify’ herself is OK, but for a man to be attracted to an objectified women is not OK – it is ‘objectification’. Always women have to be the victims, even when they wield the power. In fact according to feminist theory, a woman’s victim status IS her power. But sadly it is a very destructive power. For women and for the rest of society.

    I hope you don’t think I am having a go at you, or belittling your unpleasant experience of being ‘cornered’. I just feel that wherever there is a male / female disconnect it is largely a product of feminist theory itself, which is sadly what gets promoted whenever such issues arise.

    In case you haven’t noticed, I think feminism and its narrative about ‘male privilege’ and a culture of ‘rapey men’ has A LOT to answer for.

    I would say feminist theory provides a solution to issues of gender in the same way that the KKK provides a solution to issues of race.


      1. This has nothing to do with feminism. It has to do with appropriateness and the subconscious (and quite biological) urges of men. If a woman came to my desk and behaved the same way, for the record, I would be just as offended. This is not a social gathering, I have a job to do (and so do they).

        Lastly, I’m sure if a gay man came to you and hovered over you for an extended period of time wanting to know about your life and telling you that he’s available, I’m sure your feelings would be different.


  4. From a male’s perspective, you did a very thorough job of pointing out every possible double standard conceivable, from this short essay. I think the essay was more innocent than that and more about an uncomfortable interaction between two people in the workplace.

    However I do have to take point on your ‘post-feminist fatherless society’ theory. Really? Do you really think any woman in her right mind would purposely do away with the father figure for her children?

    If you are hands on father and are there for your children then I applaud you. But you make it sound like it is an arbitrary choice or a lifestyle choice a single mother makes on a whim. Yes, I’m sure that has happened but it is not the norm.

    How many mothers out there were forced to raise their children alone, financially and emotionally either to protect their children from abuse and/or abandonment by all those male figures you speak of. Any sane, caring mother would want her children to have a responsible loving father in their lives.

    You can’t tell me that it is not most often the Mother who is left standing there holding the bag. I’m not talking a designer bag. This is not ‘Sex in the City’.


  5. “… This has nothing to do with feminism…”

    Then we agree! 🙂

    You were on the receiving end of two instances of inappropriate behaviour. The first was just annoying and the second was more coercive and frightening. You happen to be a woman and they happened to be men….. but as you yourself point out, this kind of inappropriate behaviour can happen between any combination of men, women, straight or gay people.

    So why did you refer to it as a ‘women’s unfair burden’?

    That turns it into a feminist issue even if that was not your intention, because ‘women’s unfair burden’ implies this is an issue which only affects women, and which is only perpetrated by men against women. But being hassled by annoying (or even threatening) people is an issue which affects everyone.

    It’s like blogging about being cut up in traffic by two drivers who happened to be black and then calling your blog ‘White society’s unfair burden’.

    I mean, can you imagine the backlash you’d get if you did that?! You’d be flagged for racism and hate speech (and rightly so) because although it’s true that some black people are aggressive drivers most are not…. and plenty of white or asian people drive aggressively too.

    The same is true of men and inappropriate socialising or sexual advances. Some men do it, but most do not…… and plenty of women do it too.

    For me, the most interesting thing about this is the question: why is it socially unacceptable to negatively stereotype black people, but perfectly OK to negatively stereotype men?

    The answer is that we have all been brought up to accept a ‘threat narrative’ about men, where men are depicted as evil, privileged oppressors and rapists and women are depicted as innocent helpless, downtrodden, ‘acted upon’ victims.

    And whenever any group in society is automatically classified as the ‘bad guys’ it becomes impossible to view them as victims….. and we usually end up treating them like crap and saying hateful and untrue things about them with no public outrage.

    Once upon a time – not very long ago – black people were also depicted as a threat, and that status meant white people were unable to think of black people as being victims. And that is what allowed racism to flourish. A ‘threat narrative’ was repeated about black people being BIOLOGICALLY INCLINED TO BE ‘savages’ and ‘crimminals’ and ‘rapists’. Blacks were often depicted as wild animals lurking around every corner in a predatory manner. This ‘threat narrative’ switched off society’s collective empathy and sympathy towards back people. And the result was widespread persecution and hatred towards black people without anybody saying “Hey, this is totally not cool! They deserve equal respect”

    The exact same thing is now happening with men, thanks largely to feminism. You yourself suggested that men are BIOLOGICALLY INCLINED TO BE ‘savages’ or ‘harassers’ or even ‘potential rapists’. Imagine saying the same thing about black people, or gays or jazz musicians or any other group… It’s scary how easy it is to be ‘a racist’, when it come to men. Our culture has collectively switched off empathy with men as a group.

    Sure, you didn’t go as far as many radical feminists (who flat out accuse all men of being rapists), but you certainly added your vote to a generally unfair, negative and UNTRUE perception of men as being inherently bad, and a threat to civilised society…… never mind all those men who enforce laws against uncivilised behaviour and put their lives on the line to protect women against the minority of annoying or dangerous men (and women) out there.

    I don’t think it’s really fair to judge the racist society of 200 years ago by today’s moral standards. Most people back then were swept up by the propaganda and ignorance of that age. And in the same way most people today are swept up by the propaganda and ignorance of our age too. In our age it is not racism against black people which is justified by a threat narrative…… it is sexism against men which is justified by a threat narrative ….. AKA feminism.

    The similarities are shocking…… in both cases the target group (black people/ men) are first dehumanised and depicted as a threat. This then allows the target group to be attacked without the normal constraints of empathy and morality being applied.

    So please don’t think I’m not having a go at you personally. I’m just pointing out how you’re being swept up by feminist propaganda… probably without realising it.

    The main thrust of your post was that women are oppressed more than men are and that women are the ‘acted upon’ victims in society and that men are the ‘acting on women’ oppressors in society. That is feminism theory in a nutshell.

    “…It has to do with appropriateness and the subconscious (and quite biological) urges of men….”

    Right, but only some men. Only the men who can’t control their biological urges. There are also women who can’t control their biological urges. This does not mean all women are like that. There are also black people who commit street crimes. But that doesn’t mean all back people are like that.

    You are occasionally burdened by annoying men just as men are occasionally burdened by annoying women. It’s called life! 🙂

    You are also burdened by annoying women too I’m sure. You know, the kinds of women who you avoid when you see them in the supermarket. The women who ask you if you want to do lunch and you tell them a lie to get out of it. There are annoying and inappropriately behaving men and women everywhere! Life is full of them. You are implying men are the main perpetrators and women are the main victims (eg feminist theory). The is simply not true.

    “..This is not a social gathering, I have a job to do (and so do they)….”

    I agree. But that is not a gender issue. Women in the workplace are just as capable of wasting their their time and other people’s by inappropriate chatting or socialising or flirting or ‘stalking’.

    “..Westerners belligerently criticize the Muslim culture for the oppression of women, yet from my perspective, women are equally oppressed in Western cultures..”

    This remark alone turns a social issue (an issue shared by men and women) into a feminist issue (an issue only affecting women).

    Maybe you are not aware that you’re falling into the trap of feminist theory? Feminist theory is so all-pervasive today that you have to purposefully ‘opt out’ of it. Just like you had to ‘opt out’ of being a racist a couple of centuries ago. The default assumption in our culture today is that women are victims and men are oppressors.

    Like I said, calling your experience ‘women’s unfair burden’ is really no different to calling it ‘white people’s burden’. Should that be acceptable in the 21st century?


  6. My issue is that men tend to miss social cues because of other biological motivations. If I dismissed a woman the same way she would never return. This gentleman, for the record, has returned everyday since then. I intend on making up a story the next time he makes an appearance to deter him from returning. I hope this works. Yes, I have the option to get rude, but it isn’t my nature and I would like to avoid it in a work setting.

    Ok. I admit, I generalized, and that wasn’t fair. But when it does happen, I only wish that it was recognized for what it is. By the way, I don’t even know this guy’s name. That’s how acquainted we are on a personal level. He only knows my name because he sees my name tag every time he stops by for a visit. What do you think his motivator is?

    I revere men who treat women with respect, and I have known some. However, there are men out there that, for whatever the reason, are completely unaware of their inappropriate behavior. Don’t you agree? This is a phenomenon that I struggle to understand in this civilized society. You may not be one of them, and I commend you for that. I only wish respectful behavior was more prevalent in our patriarchal society. I only speak from my own personal experiences, not from feminist propaganda. I am fiercely independent of all biases.


    1. “..My issue is that men tend to miss social cues because of other biological motivations..”

      I don’t think that is fair. Women are just as incapable of missing (or ignoring) social cues as men.

      “..This gentleman, for the record, has returned everyday since then. I intend on making up a story the next time he makes an appearance to deter him from returning. I hope this works. Yes, I have the option to get rude, but it isn’t my nature and I would like to avoid it in a work setting….”

      Instead of making up stories or being rude have you considered just being *honest* with him and asking him politely but firmly to stop bothering you? Maybe he views you as an adult who is perfectly capable of telling him to go away if you wanted to, and he views your behaviour as a green light to keep coming over. He might even view your ‘subtle cues’ as you testing him, to see if how interested he really is in you. Or he might view your behaviour (aloofness but not outright rejection) as you being interested (or potentially interested) but not wanting to appear forward or desperate or ‘easy’.

      Have you actually stopped to consider HIS perspective on this whole situation?

      Maybe he would have known better how to behave if you had communicated your desires (ie to be left alone) in a more honest, grown up, no-nonsense way from the start? Just a thought… 🙂

      “..I revere men who treat women with respect, and I have known some…”

      When you deconstruct the traditional meaning of ‘men who treat women with respect’ you soon realise it actually means ‘men who treat women like children’…… ie a man who devotes his life to second guessing the needs and wants of a women and always places the woman’s needs and wants above his own. A ‘respectful man’ is honoured to even be in the presence of a woman and he repays this honour by attending to her needs and wants like a servant.

      By not communicating your feelings and desires to this man in an honest down-to-earth way (“please can you stop distracting me at work all the time, thanks”) you are maintaining the child/ adult dynamic where you are the irresponsible child who lacks agency and he is the responsible adult and the only one capable of acting decisively. You want him to pick up on your ‘cues’ just like a father might pick up on the cues of his young daughter. If he doesn’t tune into your unspoken desires soon like a ‘respectful man’ you are considering punishing him by shaming him in public by getting openly mad or upset (ie throwing a tantrum).

      “..However, there are men out there that, for whatever the reason, are completely unaware of their inappropriate behavior….”

      Inappropriate behaviour in this case means treating you like an adult who is capable of expressing her needs and wants in plain language. In his sick and depraved mind the fact that you haven’t explicitly told him to please stop bothering you means you don’t mind him coming over every day! 😉

      Like an insane lunatic on drugs he thinks if you minded you would have actually said something to that effect by now!

      Or maybe he is not insane and on drugs….. maybe he just views you as as an adult and as an equal, rather than as a child or a queen (which amounts to the same thing).

      “…This is a phenomenon that I struggle to understand in this civilized society….”

      Maybe he doesn’t understand how you could so strongly object to him coming over but without ever saying so to his face. What does a ‘civilised society’ really mean here? Does it mean one in which men and women can be honest with each other, or one where men must second guess the thoughts, feelings and desires of women at all times to the point that women don’t even have to voice those thoughts, feelings and desires?

      “…I only wish respectful behavior was more prevalent in our patriarchal society….”

      Perhaps by demanding he second guess your desires, instead of just politely telling him what you your desires are from the beginning, you are the one perpetuating the ‘patriarchal’ society. You are the one playing the role of helpless child/ queen, in order to provoke his paternalistic social programming of being so sensitive to your needs and wants that you don’t even need to tell him what your needs and wants are! Isn’t that patriarchy in a nutshell?

      By deliberately withholding valuable information (I don’t like you coming round every day) you are, in effect, demanding he increase his awareness to cover his own feelings AND your unspoken feelings too. You have basically taken yourself hostage and if your demands are not met you will get mad or upset and cause a scene. This will shame him (and all other men watching the scene) into treating you (and other women) more like children/ queens in the future, if only to avoid upsetting or enraging you (or other women). Again, this is ‘patriarchy 101’.

      This could all be resolved by simply telling him matter-of-factly that you don’t appreciate him coming over all the time….. but saying that NOW would expose the fact that you have been withholding that information all this time, which makes it uncomfortable for the both of you. He will feel like an fool, and you will feel like a deceiver.

      I’m not saying the guy’s behaviour is appropriate … but his (wrong) assessment of the situation is not exactly his fault if you refuse to be honest with him…. and you do seem to be trying to over-dramatize the situation (perhaps unconsciously) to reinforce patriarchal social programming.

      Anyway, that’s my (probably unwelcome) two cents 🙂


  7. “Anyway, that’s my (probably unwelcome) two cents :)”

    Just a thought…..If you already know your two cents are unwelcomed, aren’t you just as bad as the guy at work who keeps coming back?


    1. I was just acknowledging in a friendly way that I was *aware* that my views and my arguments differed from those of the OP. It was a way of saying I am not trying to be aggressive or hostile, even if some of the things I say provoke an emotional reaction 🙂

      Are you saying it’s wrong for someone to challenge commonly held attitudes towards gender roles and social conventions by bringing new arguments to the table in a public forum? If so, isn’t that kind of hypocritical given the subject?

      Do you actually disagree with specific things I’ve said? If so what and why? Please feel free to make your case 🙂

      “.. aren’t you just as bad as the guy at work who keeps coming back?..”

      Well, this is a blog with a public comments section, where the blog owner did ask open questions ……. and we are not under contract with an employer to perform some other task. So I’d say it was a very different scenario.

      I’m not even disagreeing with *most* of the things she said. I already agreed that the guy is acting inappropriately. I’m just suggesting she treat him like an ordinary adult (neither a saint, nor a devil) by being HONEST and STRAIGHTFORWARD with him.

      Is that really such a controversial idea?

      I only take issue with the claim that this is some kind of ‘woman’s unfair burden’. I don’t see how that logic works when the law, their employment contracts and just about everybody in society (men and women) are all in agreement that this guy is acting inappropriately.

      It might not be her fault that he started to pester her at work, but it is her CHOICE to not just use straightforward honest communication to tell him to go away.

      By expecting the man to read her body language she is not treating him as an equal human being. She is in effect demanding he treat her like a queen or a child. We don’t expect the staff at Starbucks to read our body language and serve us the coffee and muffin variety we want. We don’t expect them to ‘know’ how we feel or how hungry we are or what we always have on Wednesdays. That is unreasonable. It is just as unreasonable to expect this guy to ‘know’ that she want him to leave if she won’t say it outright.

      The fact that he’s bothering her at work means he’s either (1) socially impaired in which case he won’t be able to pick up on subtle social cues or (2) he has no regard for social (and contractual) conventions (3) he’s used to women telling him to “get lost” and so he’s interpreting her not telling him to get lost as a sign that she doesn’t mind him bothering her.

      In all three cases the only answer is to be sincere, honest and straightforward with him. I really don’t see what the problem is with doing this 🙂


      1. I have difficulty with confrontation, especially with aggressive people. Do you think that I shouldn’t be allowed to work in the corporate world as a result? This guy relentlessly came back time after time after time, and I ignored him mercilessly. Finally, without knowing me on a personal level at all, he asked me out. I lied and told him I’m seeing someone (something that goes against my principles). I was a nervous wreck. My hands were shaking. It affected me for about an hour. I wasn’t in a social setting. If I was I would agree with you 100%. I was sitting in my cubicle trying to work on my computer. Do you think that I have an obligation to take assertiveness training to ward off predators at work? This time spent training to dump uninvited visitors at work could be spent doing other things that I enjoy doing. Am I required to make that sacrifice in order to spare this gentleman from harassing me? And what about the cost? Should I quit going to the gym in order to afford going to assertiveness training? Do you see how unfair this responsibility becomes? I am an extremely fair person. Again, in a social setting, I totally agree with you. But at work, not so much.


      2. Dear Spinning For Difficulty,
        You are right on a couple of counts.
        1. Your comments do provoke emotional reactions. Daydream for Change has written a piece called ‘File It Away’ a while back on Stereotyping. I admit I am guilty of that myself. I am trying very hard NOT to do that to you. My brain wants to put you into my stereotypical impression of a right wing conservative male chauvinist who tends to steamroll over more liberal thinkers with their strong opinions. To be fair, I don’t think that is necessary you, but you do provoke strong emotional feelings. So you would have to expect an occasional knee jerk reaction. It would be poor of us as a population not to allow you to express your opinions in this open forum even though I strongly disagree with them.

        2. In that same vein, I was wrong to compare you to the relentless male workplace suitor in an off handed remark. Although you are both relentless, you are right; this is a different forum and not the same thing. You should be allowed to express your opinions. It is like bad TV. We can always turn it off and not watch.

        3. Lastly, you are correct in that an upfront NO in the beginning would have been a better approach. I think the issue here is not gender related. It is more a personality trait that some men and women have. Like other people with a heart, Daydream for Change did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. If she would have known upfront how relentless this guy was going to be, maybe that would have been her first approach. Although in this scenario, she would have been damned if she did and damned if she didn’t. If she would have cut him at the quick, then she would have been accused of assuming he was hitting on her. No win either way. You can’t fault her for taking a softer approach to spare feelings. Having said that, we are beating this to death.

        I would have much preferred debating your theory on the “post-feminist fatherless society” than to beat this anymore.

        Thank you for taking a friendly approach to all of this. I hope we can respect each other perspective on this and just put it to rest now.


  8. Well you can’t leave us hang now. We will need to know how this all turns out, since this is all your fault. (more sarcasm).


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