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jfpbookworm in phmt

For Teh Menz

sabonasi has an interesting post in feminist about A Feminist Man's Guide To Interacting With Women in Public. [Reposted with permission.]

It's a good list, but it's another "what not to do" list. In the wake of the latest glut of complaints by "nice guys" that there aren't enough (a bit more about this later), is there more "positive" advice out there? The best I've been able to come up with is to recognize that is keeping these guys from the meaningful interactions they presumably want isn't the feminist message of "don't be a harasser" so much as it is patriarchical assumptions about sexuality and agency.


What are the latest glut of complaints by nice guys?

I've always been averse to the idea that "guys have to act this way and girls have to act this way", whether it's in the old form of patriarchy or some newer set of rules. The women that I've had relationships with have had much the same ideas as me in that much of gender can be stripped away. There are lots of sleazy guys out there, fact. There are also lots of girls that buy into their preconditioned roles. I don't have to be a part of that, in fact I get edgy around men or women who unthinkingly run with the assumed mating rituals of yesteryear.

There are two issues for me here - the first is that I like to (and do) make random friends. If someone isn't interested in talking to me then I back off. I don't see anything wrong with that so long as I remember my manners. The second issue is that attraction compels us to make contact with those that we're attracted to. Many men do play some kind of aggressive numbers game, but I don't get along with those sorts of people so I haven't had much opportunity to assert my problem with that kind of approach. To some extent we are societally conditioned be the social instigators of sexual interest. This is a notion that I reject outright.

I do not have a lot of relationships, due to reasons beyond this discussion, but the ones I've had have been mutually respectful and have developed naturally through friendship first. I acknowledge that as a man I am not harrassed to the extent that women are, but I don't lay the blame solely at patriarchy, because I specifically think that removes the relative freedom and very real agency that we have in our Western societies to live as best we can outside of them.