theworldahead: (Jeeves angry face)
[personal profile] theworldahead

Ok, so recently some of y'all may have been witness to me really upbraiding Ethan about a shirt he chose to wear - and while I admit I was perhaps a little harsher than the situation warranted (and I have already apologized to Ethan for that fact), I absolutely stand by my critique.

A little background - Ethan chose to wear a shirt to a party that had the phrase (or one very similar to it), "When you run out of pepper spray, can I have your number?" on it. He thought it was funny - one would assume because Ethan (as anyone who knows him would tell you) is not at all the sort of man who would harass a woman to the point where she would genuinely fear for her safety (and would then presumably use pepper spray to defend herself), and certainly not enough of a dolt to continue to harass a women through a blinding haze of pepper spray. Ha ha, funny!

Nope. Not actually funny.

If I'd been a little less pissed and a lot more articulate, here's what I would have said.

"Dude, there are men out there RIGHT NOW who think that a woman owes them her time and attention. They think it's ok to harass her in the street, catcalling and yelling lewd suggestions. They think it's ok to approach her in a bar and continue to ask for her contact information after being repeatedly turned down - they think it's ok to follow her to her car and continue that harassment. THEY THINK WOMEN OWE THEM SOMETHING, AND THAT'S NOT OK. Now you, you're not one of those guys. We both know that. But every time someone, especially someone who is "not one of those guys", thinks it's funny to make a joke about assult, or about rape, or about race or any contentious and highly problematic makes it a little easier for someone to actually get away with being a douchebag who assults women (or men!), or a rapist, or a racist, because we've humorized and humanized it. It's a tshirt slogan, it doesn't actually happen to women. That's why that shirt is not ok, and why I'm calling you on it."

So to you, my reading few, this is a heads up - if I see you doing something shitty, something that demeans a real issue that people face the world over...whether it's wearing a crap tshirt or dressing up as a "Native Princess" for Halloween or making a rape joke, I'm going to call you on it. I will do my best to unpack my issues and to communicate with you in a meaningful way about why I feel your attitude/dress/demeanor/joke isn't ok, and how I feel it's damaging. I may be pissed and not do the best I could, which I apologize for.

But really? You're better than this. We all are.

PS: If you would like to educate yourself about street harassment, go to and check out some of their stories.

Date: 2011-09-26 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Huh... wow, I missed the fury at the party.

I know that's the shirt Ethan wears under his garb for Chili...

The heads up is good. Being mindful, also good.

Date: 2011-09-26 07:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It was a brief interaction - despite my post title there was no yelling, though I was perhaps a bit more aggressive than the situation warranted.

Mindfulness is never a bad thing, IMO.

Date: 2011-09-26 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Yeah. There are lots of ways to discuss the possible ramifications of choices/actions that don't involve chewing faces off.

Date: 2011-09-26 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My only take on it is that being a friend, maybe not dressing him down in public would have been better.
But then that's just me.
While issues do need to be brought to the forefront, and people made aware, making a friends lose face for my cause isn't fair to them, if they genuinely meant no harm.
However if they then deliberately pressed my button after talking to them quietly, then it's on.

And we're all human who make mistakes so glad to hear everyone's fine all around.

Date: 2011-09-29 04:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
hmm yeah you came off a bit holier than thou and it took away from the point by making Ethan completely defensive from the get go.
To be honest I don't think it would matter how you came off to him as it would not change his mind about the T-shirt I think.
Also it wasn't all that big of an interaction or hyper bad deal.
No huge deal I think.

Date: 2011-10-05 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As I wasn't there I really can't comment on exactly what was said at the time or how it was said, however...

Apologizing when you realize that you handled a situation in perhaps not quite the best possible way is a very good thing.

Having the courage to stand up and tell people that you are upset about something is even better. Sometimes this is even more difficult when it is to a friend.

The best way to get better at dealing with situations like that is practice. I try to speak up when I see someone saying or doing something that crosses a line, and sometimes I do, but it is hard.

So in summary, go you for speaking up, go you for apologizing, and if the two of you resolved whatever conflict might have come from the exchange, then go him too for accepting the apology and hopefully at least understanding your point of view even if he might not change his.


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