One of the weird paradoxes of patriarchy is the idea that on the one hand, men are naturally the dominant group in society because they’re more rational, have bigger brains, control their emotions better, and make more sensible decisions and life choices; and on the other, women must dress “modestly”, act “respectably” and take all kinds of “preventative” measures against sexual harassment and violence because men are literally incapable of stopping themselves from being abusive to women.
It’s beautifully highlighted by this article about a man getting very defensive after the woman he and his mates had been harassing on a daily basis for a month reported them to the police. (For the love of your brains, do not read the comments.)
If you break down Ian Merrett’s excuses for his boorish behaviour, there’s the More Rational, Bigger Brains, Less Emotional excuses:
“We stopped doing it … it’s not worth getting into trouble over some silly little girl. I don’t know why she complained, she must be thinking things above her station.” Because that’s not demeaning at all!
“I have wolf-whistled so many girls … and never had a complaint before … But I’ve got a girlfriend so need to be careful what I say.” Because women are cuh-RAY-zee and fly totally off the handle when you brag to the media about how many women you’ve “snogged” after sexually harassing them.
And then there’s the Literally Incapable of Controlling Myself excuses.
“I didn’t even see her face” … but I wolf-whistled at her anyway, which means it couldn’t “possibly be sexual harassment” because when you’re objectifying a person based purely on their gender it’s, um, something else.
If Ms Smart walks past them again and is “lucky” “she will get wolf-whistled again” … even though they “stopped doing it” after the police told them about the complaint.
So to sum up the wisdom of Mr Merrett:
- wolf-whistling is just a natural reflex triggered by the vague presence of a woman
- but they can stop doing it as long as someone in uniform is telling them not to
- except they won’t
- but it’s a total compliment anyway to have someone’s subconscious brain-spasm react to your existence
- and you shouldn’t feel objectified just because the vague shape of your body is sufficient to trigger pushy sexual vocalisations. That would be thinking above your station.
And they say it’s feminists who think men are animals …