“Everyone is entitled to my opinion!”

One thing I’ve noticed about men is that many of them are convinced that their opinion is super important and everyone (or maybe just every woman?) needs to hear it.  For example, if you Google the infamous Schroedinger’s Rapist blog post and read the comments, there are tons of guys who simply cannot accept the idea of leaving a random woman alone instead of chatting with her.  Women commenters were like “Look, if some chick in a public place is giving every indication of wanting to be left alone – headphones on, reading a book, closed body language, etc. – the thing to do is actually leave her alone.” And these guys were like “BUT HOW WILL SHE KNOW I FIND HER ATTRACTIVE?!?”  Hell, sometimes a guy would claim he only wanted to make conversation and wasn’t looking to hit on the woman, so his protest would be “BUT HOW WILL SHE KNOW I LIKE THE BOOK SHE’S READING?!?”

I just…I can’t even with this.  This hypothetical woman is.  A.  Stranger.  She has no reason to care what you think of her body, her book, or anything else.  Guys, would you particularly like it if a strange guy interrupted you when you wanted to be left alone, just to make a point of telling you he liked your book (or briefcase or shoes or ass)?  No?  You wouldn’t feel flattered or fulfilled?  You’d be somewhere on a continuum between annoyed and completely fucking indifferent?  Well, now you know how we feel.

Or, like, there are a few discussion groups on FetLife with the theme of “ask a woman a question.”  And I swear that every single time there’s a discussion among women of what kind of clothes we prefer to wear, at least one guy has to come in and announce what he finds attractive.

Like if a woman posts in one of the Ask a Female groups going “Does anyone else find they kinda have to wear thongs because full-coverage underwear wedges up into their ass anyway?”  The comments will invariably go:

Woman 1: OMG, yes.  I thought it was just me!  But yeah, having just that one string up my ass is more comfortable than having the entire back of a regular pair of underwear up in there, for sure!

Woman 2: Nope, I never get wedgies.  I like full coverage undies.

Woman 3: I like thongs more because I want to avoid panty lines.

Woman 4: I get wedgies sometimes but I still feel more comfortable in non-thong underwear…thongs make me feel kind of exposed.

Some guy: I LIKE WOMEN IN THONGS IT GIVES ME A BONER.

Ummmm wow.  One of these things is not like the other; one of these things just doesn’t belong.  Is it really that difficult for men to let a conversation not be about him or his boner?  Does some dude always have to intervene and try to drag the conversation so it centres around himself?

Yesterday The Bunny and I went shopping for sex toys and stuff.  There was a woman on the bus whose lower butt cheeks were showing a little bit, and I surreptitiously pointed this out to him.  Initially I’d thought she was wearing a short skirt that had ridden up to reveal her underwear (and the underside of her ass), but on second glance it became clear that she was wearing ruffly, underbutt-exposing boy shorts as outerwear.  I remarked on this to The Bunny…just saying that she was braver than I am, or something like that.  I couldn’t imagine having my butt on display like that.  The catcalls alone would make me wanna die.

And The Bunny was like “…And yet, if I went up to her and said that her butt was showing, she’d probably get mad at me because noticing it means I was looking.”

I said, “Personally, I’m fine with anyone telling me my butt is hanging out, as long as they’re doing it in the spirit of helpfulness and preventing embarrassment, not being pervy.  Just, like, ‘excuse me but you’re having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.’  Although with this chick it’s not a wardrobe malfunction, anyway, so it’s moot.  I mean, she knows she’s wearing underpants as pants.”

“Oh, she’s totally exposing her butt on purpose.  But my point is, if I went up and told her that her butt was hanging out, she’d probably give me shit for it.  But I bet another woman could get away with it.”

“But why do you even need to say something?  Her genitals are covered; I don’t think what she’s wearing is illegal.  And she knows she’s showing some of her ass, so it’s not like you’re trying to save her some embarrassment.  So what’s even the point of going up to her and commenting on her outfit?  Why is it your place to critique what some random woman is wearing?”

And The Bunny just could.  Not.  Get it.  We talked in circles for an absurdly long time, with him basically just repeating “But I can’t tell her her butt is showing!!!”

Finally I said something like “Do you also have the urge to go up to random guys and comment on their clothes?  Like just approach some guy on the bus and go ‘Hey, I see that you’re wearing a band t-shirt and I just wanted to tell you that I don’t like their music.'”

Then a light seemed to dawn and The Bunny was like “Ohhhh.  Fair enough.”

Jesus.  It’s so depressing when even a guy I like – a good guy, a smart guy, a guy who doesn’t consciously believe that women are lesser than men – still subconsciously buys into the idea that women’s bodies exist for men to critique and that all women must hear his opinion on their bodies dammit.  Sometimes I wish I were a lesbian just so there wouldn’t be that gap in understanding between me and my partners.  I’d be going out with people who’ve felt the oppression and know it’s there.

Wait, no…there are tons of oblivious asshole women out there, too.  Never mind.

 

4 Comments

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4 responses to ““Everyone is entitled to my opinion!”

  1. Andy

    Eurgh…

    It’s true there are tons of oblivious asshole women, but at least I’ve found a good few to surround myself with. Frankly, some days, I feel the flip side of what you were expressing and I pity straight women. Because…because how incredibly exhausting it must be.

    • It is exhausting. Because the good chicks really for real understand feminist issues and oppression and all of that, but the really good men all still appear to be at one remove.

      Well, the cis men, anyway. I would bet being raised female would give a dude some fascinating perspective.

  2. uncommonmurre

    All true, and something I’m trying to correct in myself in a general sense. The truth is nobody knows anything about almost everything; there’s too much to know.

    There’s two reasons I can think of that men do this:

    1) “Some guy” would be fascinated to hear a woman say “I LIKE MEN IN LEATHER JACKETS THEY MAKE ME WET.” He’s doing what from a simplistic perspective he’d like women to do for him. He’s not aware that even straight women dress primarily for other women.

    2) Men are constantly told to be confident in their relations with women. Then they get shot down piecemeal for being confident in the wrong places and wrong ways. The men that seem most successful with women are the ones that bull on obliviously.

    I think the biggest fix for that is that men need to be told to be happy without women and the confidence they need to have is confidence in that. Confidence that they will be just fine if they are turned down, not confidence that everyone is entitled to their opinion, or confidence in approaching random women that are doing something else, etc.

    The biggest offenders for me, as a big masculine man, in the “everyone is entitled to my opinion!” category are skinny conventionally-pretty women. Men do that to me almost never, conventionally-unattractive women infrequently, skinny conventionally-pretty women ALL THE TIME ABOUT EVERYTHING. Relatedly, they are the biggest offenders in thoughtless mean criticism. It seems to me that very heavy women hear a lot of unwanted opinions from the skinny ones as well.

    I think I’d hear a lot more from other men if I were small and didn’t look tough.

  3. Thud

    Ouch!!! Mea culpa. It takes 6 weeks to break a habit, but I’ll try

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