Unless you want to. But I wouldn't recommend it. There's a lot of yelling, and you've pretty well sorted out the sides within the first few minutes. Really, I only read up for about ten minutes before going off to play with kittens instead. But there was an interesting thing, so let's get to that!
A friend linked a blog rant about sexism in the atheist community
, inspired by a recent teapot tempest. The saucers flew when one woman vlogged about having given a talk on sexism only to later find herself followed into an elevator at 4am
by a convention attendee who asked her to come back to his room to chat over coffee. She told the story to point out that, to a woman, being caught alone and propositioned late at night in an elevator by a stranger was creepy, and "Guys, don't do that."(And a sad bit of brain sighs and points out how many guys I've known who would conclude that a woman who talks about sex at a convention must be a woman who puts out... Hey baby, how about some coffee?)
Guys flew into a rage.
they had the right to flirt and women needed to just
man up and
get over this silly male-phobic paranoia of theirs!
Gals sighed. Which is it? Are women overreacting when they get creeped out by a guy following them late at night, or are they not careful enough if they get raped by a guy who followed them late at night?
Men huffed. He probably didn't intend to 'corner her.' All he did was ask if she wanted to go back to his room! If a man can't even ask a woman out...
Women huffed. It's the situation.
You don't follow a woman at 4am to an isolated spot and expect her not to find that creepy! You don't corner her alone--however briefly, however large the hotel, whatever the statistics on stranger rape and elevators--in an enclosed space late at night! And furthermore, had she agreed to this offer and he did
turn out to be a creep, society would have said she was asking for it, because society says, "Coffee in his hotel room at 4am? Yeah, he meant 'sex,' and you should have known that."
Men huffed again
. This guy didn't rape her! He didn't lay a hand on her! He asked her out, she shot him down, and that's all! She assumed he might be a creep based on anti-man prejudice just because he followed her onto an elevator!
Women facepalmed, because society gives women endless grief and lecturing about exactly this sort of situation. "It's your job to be aware of your surroundings and not put yourself in risky situations!"
At best, with the biggest possible benefit of the doubt forwarded to him, this guy was completely oblivious to their surroundings and the context they lent his actions. Perhaps not an active creeper, but like the guy who walks up to the widow at the funeral and says, "So, you're single now, right?" Do you have the right? Sure. Is it still creepy? Fuck, yes! It's just not the right time or place, dude.
Anyhow, I spent ten-odd minutes flitting through this morass and encountered the most terrible, wonderful, and sad wording I've seen to describe the female dilemma: Schrodinger's rapist
That guy who very obviously wants to talk to you as he follows you across the parking lot after the store closes? He could just want to talk. Or he could be a rapist. You can't know until...
Society wants to maintain women in a similar state of possibility. If he does nothing, you are obviously a paranoid and over-reactive girl
who's just prejudiced against males. If he assaults you, you are clearly a careless and stupid girl
who doesn't pay any attention to her surroundings. You must give men the benefit of the doubt, but if he's proven guilty, it also proves you were stupid enough to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Meanwhile, there is
a simpler, more objective take on this, completely separate from exclamation marks and discussions of privilege and sexism. Off to the sides of this hubbub, I saw men and women agreeing that this was creepy simply as a breech of Small Enclosed Public Space Etiquette: face forward, no conversation, keep any necessary requests brief and to the point, and pretend you smell nothing
. This is the etiquette for tight halls, restrooms, urinals and elevators alike.
And that's where I stand, because nobody who walks up to you in a small enclosed public space at 4am wanting to chat is ever not