“My mistrust [of men] is not, as one might expect, primarily a result of the violent acts done on my body, nor the vicious humiliations done to my dignity. It is, instead, born of the multitude of mundane betrayals that mark my every relationship with a man—the casual rape joke, the use of a female slur, the careless demonization of the feminine in everyday conversation, the accusations of overreaction, the eye rolling and exasperated sighs in response to polite requests to please not use misogynist epithets in my presence.”—
“These are forms of male aggression that only women see. But even when men are afforded a front seat to harassment, they don’t always have the correct vantage point for recognizing the subtlety of its operation. Four years before the murders, I was sitting in a bar in Washington, D.C. with a male friend. Another young woman was alone at the bar when an older man scooted next to her. He was aggressive, wasted, and sitting too close, but she smiled curtly at his ramblings and laughed softly at his jokes as she patiently downed her drink. ‘Why is she humoring him?’ my friend asked me. ‘You would never do that.’ I was too embarrassed to say: ‘Because he looks scary’ and ‘I do it all the time.’
Women who have experienced this can recognize that placating these men is a rational choice, a form of self-defense to protect against setting off an aggressor. But to male bystanders, it often looks like a warm welcome, and that helps to shift blame in the public eye from the harasser and onto his target, who’s failed to respond with the type of masculine bravado that men more easily recognize.”—
Among men, misogyny hides in plain sight, and not just because most men are oblivious to the problem or callous toward its impact. Men who objectify and threaten women often strategically obscure their actions from other men, taking care to harass women when other men aren’t around.
The weather was nice today so I put on a pair of shorts and went out to get some food. It has been long since I last had the courage to wear shorts going out on my own and I was unreasonably happy about that. On the way, a man about my father’s age caught a glimpse of me (my legs) and started staring; and then he looked up my face, probably thinking I wouldn’t have the guts to look back. But I did, and I gave him the angriest look I could, and he gave in and looked away. And once again I was unreasonably happy because I thought at least I did something about it rather than just ignored it like some other girls would have. Then I got to the place and was about to get in to buy some calzones for me and my mom, when all of a sudden a [supposedly mentally retarded - as the restaurant owner said] boy ran to me, touched my thigh and ran away. It happened in a nano second but was enough to give my a shock. The restaurant owner yelled at him, of course; but everyone saw it and stared at me - and I was just confused; frightened, too, to be honest; and I didn’t know what to do but to walk out. As I was going home, thoughts - so many thoughts ran through my head: why did they all look at me like that? was I supposed to walk away like that or should I have said something? if I had, would any of those people agree with me or would they just think I was making a big deal out of nothing - or worse, it was my fault in the first place for dressing like that? and finally, why do I have to feel scared in the end? I remembered a girl once told me and our friends about something similar which happened to her; and they all just laughed and said stuff like: don’t wear such skimpy clothes next time then; you should consider it a compliment that you’re so attractive you get touched by that guy; it isn’t a big deal, really… I suppose they’re gonna say the exact same things to me if I tell them what happened to me just now. And that’s when I realize all the people around me are idiots. Some men are just straight up sexist; some other [smarter] ones pretend to support feminism but never really take women seriously. As for women; some would say they don’t need feminism because they’re ok with the way they’re being treated by men; some would be all about feminism while never really understanding the true essence of it. But who am I to say anything about it? I myself am still trying to figure out what true feminism really is. But at least I’m not oblivious of the sexist undertone which lies in every single act that happens to me, whether caused by men or women. I am aware, but what am I to do about it?