Some men who want to compliment random women on the street are genuinely good guys who just don’t understand why their comments might be unwelcome. Some men who want to compliment random women on the street are creepy predators. Most are somewhere in between, and guess what? I don’t know you, I don’t know your life, and I have no idea if you’re going to leave it at “Hey, you look good in that dress!” or follow it up with “But you’d look better without it! Har har! C’mon, where’re you going? I know you heard me! Fucking cunt, nobody wants your fat ass anyway, bitch.”
When you compliment a random woman who doesn’t know you, no matter how nice you are about it, there’s a good chance she’s going to freak out internally because for all she knows, you could be that latter type. And I get that it’s really unfair that women would just assume that about you. I get that it sucks that sometimes, expressing totally reasonable opinions like “hey you’re hot” will make women terrified of you or furious at you. That’s not fair.
But if you’re going to lay the blame for that somewhere, for fuck’s sake, don’t blame the woman. Blame all the guys who have called her a bitch and a cunt for ignoring their advances. Blame all the guys who may have harassed, abused, or assaulted her in the past. Blame all the people who may never do such a thing themselves, but who were quick to blame her and tell her to just get over it. Blame the fact that if she stops and talks to you and then something bad happens, people will blame her for stopping and talking to you.
You know, I’ll go a step further and say - there are no “men who want to compliment random women on the street [who] are genuinely good guys who just don’t understand why their comments might be unwelcome.” There are guys who pretend that they don’t understand why their comments are unwelcome. But the man who whistles out his car window at me while I’m waiting for a light, the guy who stares at me while I ride past on my bike, the guy who says “Hey beautiful!” at me and my friend as we’re talking at an outdoor cafe - none of those guys want to make me feel good.
Not a single one.
I keep hearing about this guy! The good guy who catcalls and doesn’t get how it’s wrong, the nice guy who just wants to tell you you have beautiful eyes. And every time I’m told about that guy, it’s so that I don’t react, don’t glare, don’t respond negatively. Because who knows! Maybe he really super meant it in his heart and was just trying to pay you a compliment.
Because here’s the thing - here’s how I know that the nice guy ain’t real; because I always do react, always glare, always respond negatively. I always say, “No, that wasn’t okay. Don’t do that to me again.” And a nice guy? Would come back with, “Oh, man, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you feel bad. You’re right. I won’t do that again.” A nice guy who didn’t get it would say, “Wow, I didn’t think about it that way. Is this something that you think a lot of women feel?”
And that never happens - what happens is I get called names, or have coffee thrown at my face, or get shoved up against a wall, or get followed for fifteen blocks, or get shouted out from six inches away by a man who’s six inches taller and fifty pounds bigger than I am. What happens is that I’m shown, again and again and again, that these “compliments” are prologues to a story this guy’s just desperate to tell, the story of him scaring me, hurting me, making sure I know my place. And he can tell the story as loud as he wants, because he can always fall back on, “I’m a good guy! She’s the one who started it! I was just trying to pay the bitch a compliment.”
So stop telling me that there are good guys out there who just don’t understand, because there aren’t. What there are, are guys who will pretend to be good guys, right up until you don’t smile at them. And then they show who they really are.
Got this in my email today:
We are elders of the Maasai from Tanzania, one of Africa’s oldest tribes. The government has just announced that it plans to kick thousands of our families off our lands so that wealthy tourists can use them to shoot lions and leopards.The evictions are to begin immediately.
Last year, when word first leaked about this plan, almost one million Avaaz members rallied to our aid. Your attention and the storm it created forced the government to deny the plan, and set them back months. But the President has waited for international attention to die down, and now he’s revived his plan to take our land. We need your help again, urgently.
President Kikwete may not care about us, but he has shown he’ll respond to global media and public pressure — to all of you! We may only have hours. Please stand with us to protect our land, our people and our world’s most majestic animals, and tell everyone before it is too late. This is our last hope:
Our people have lived off the land in Tanzania and Kenya for centuries. Our communities respect our fellow animals and protect and preserve the delicate ecosystem. But the government has for years sought to profit by giving rich princes and kings from the Middle East access to our land to kill. In 2009, when they tried to clear our land to make way for these hunting sprees, we resisted, and hundreds of us were arrested and beaten. Last year, rich princes shot at birds in trees from helicopters. This killing goes against everything in our culture.
Now the government has announced it will clear a huge swath of our land to make way for what it claims will be a wildlife corridor, but many suspect it’s just a ruse to give a foreign hunting corporation and the rich tourists it caters to easier access to shoot at majestic animals. The government claims this new arrangement is some sort of accommodation, but its effect on our people’s way of life will be disastrous. There are thousands of us who could have our lives uprooted, losing our homes, the land on which our animals graze, or both.
President Kikwete knows this deal would be controversial with Tanzania’s tourists - a critical source of national income - and does not want a big PR disaster. If we can urgently generate even more global outrage than we did before, and get the media writing about it, we know it can make him think twice. Stand with us now to call on Kikwete to stop the sell off:
This land grab could spell the end for the Maasai in this part of Tanzania and many of our community have said they would rather die than be forced from their homes. On behalf of our people and the animals who graze in these lands, please stand with us to change the mind of our President.
With hope and determination,
— The Maasai community of Ngorongoro District
- The Endorois people (also in Kenya) were removed from their sacred land in the 1970s under similar circumstances & for similar motives (the establishment of parks for colonial tourists.)
Ethiopian girl guarded from gang rape & assault by three lions.
“The girl had been taken by seven men who wanted to force her to marry one of them. She was beaten repeatedly. Then the lions chased off her captors. The three lions guarded her for about half a day. They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest.”
Then, Stuart Williams (the local wildlife ‘expert’) suggests that perhaps the lions mistook the 12 year old girl’s cries for a lion cub. Which seems awfully silly, considering that lions are perfectly capable of telling apart the gazelles they eat from their own cubs, aren’t they?
MAJESTIC CREATURE OF JUSTICE