Seattle Space Needle Reflection at Night

A Woman’s Prerogative

Women are indecisive creatures. Fickle beasts, unable to make up their minds. Emotional, untrustworthy people, unwilling and unable to take responsibility for anything.

These were (some of) the stereotypes prior to 1970. Thank goodness the feminist movement has dispelled such notions by showing everyone the errors of their ways. Or … barring that, has at least frightened and intimidated everyone into at least pretending that those stereotypes are the result of some evil sexist plot.

A couple of weeks ago, a woman named Danielle Campoamor wrote an op-ed in the Seattle Times complaining about the timid-ness of Seattle men. In her screed she writes:

I quickly learned that Seattle men are far different from any other I’ve encountered: shy, timid and seemingly incapable of striking up a conversation, let alone offering to buy a female a drink. The Seattle males’ inability to successfully merge with their female counterparts reminds me of the colossal cluster that is I-5 onramps. Much like a Seattleite merging onto a freeway, our men’s apprehensive tendencies leave them incapable of finding either the open lane or the open bar stool.

Like a Seattleite’s driving, which is among the worst according to two years of Allstate claims data, Seattle men are unable to properly insert themselves, thanks to a “no, you go first” mindset, creating a plethora of blundering crash-and-burn scenarios.

Being born and raised in Alaska, I found such dating behavior foreign. Sure, there are more men than women in the great 49th state. According to the most recent census data, 52 percent of Alaska’s population is male. However, Alaskan mating rituals cannot be boiled down to a simple numbers game. The northern, hardworking, truck-driving men of my hometown are born with confidence in their veins and courage in their one-liners.

It’s true not every man from the last frontier can be described as such. Some still live with their parents, are dealing with their third DUI, or are desperately attempting to relive their high-school glory days. But even those men aren’t afraid of letting a woman know they’re interested.

(I will not link to the Seattle Times article directly, because the Seattle Times website is loaded with all kinds of malware surprises.)

Her piece touched off a number of “me-too” articles (including this one) and discussions, with a great many other women complaining that Seattle men, were indeed, timid.

Now, I could add my opinion to the fray, that Campoamor is likely not the catch that she thinks she is, but I don’t know that I disagree with her overall premise. Seattle transplant men are typically more feminine than their female companions. Why, just the other day, I watched a woman change a tire as her “boyfriend” stood behind her, pecking away at his iDevice. At my building last month, I winced as I watched a man greet a woman with a hug as she got out of a taxi, then stood back as she unloaded her luggage from the trunk. Seattle men are pretty timid.

That’s why I just shook my head when … the very same day I read Campoamor’s piece … I picked up The Stranger and found an article teaching women what to do when they encounter the aggressive, rude, profane, scary men of Seattle. If you’re really and truly offended by bigotry in all of its forms, you may want to skip the following link, but the rest of you may read it here:

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/street-harassment/Content?oid=16951900

Dan Savage

The Stranger’s article decries the harassment which Seattle women supposedly endure on a frequent basis, and teaches them, with pictures, how to respond.

Yeah, I know.

That the privileged, well-educated, consumer-spendingly-gifted, first-world-problem-having women of Seattle count this as amongst their greatest problems truly is a testament to just how far they’ve come. It’s clear that they officially have no actual, real problems to address anymore, but it sucks that they aren’t about to try and help anyone else.

You see, the harassment that The Stranger claims exists, is ostensibly dispensed by Seattle men. Yes, those Seattle men. The same Seattle men another female writer that very day described as shy and timid. Men who, at least according to the paper, look like this:

Typical Seattle Male

Geez guys, looks pretty realistic, but where’s the blood dripping from his fangs? I see that guy standing outside Benson’s Market all the time, and he always has blood dripping from his fangs. He’s kind of creepy, but not nearly as bad as this guy:

Laser Beam Guy

Alright, before I go any further … really, Stranger? All that money from full-color hooker ads (cause it ain’t demeaning to women when you get paid), but you can only hire the graphics artist for two hours? You have to stand over them yelling “hurry, hurry, hurry” while she’s drawing the bad guys? Is this supposed to be a creepy harasser from Seattle, or an android with x-ray vision from the planet Zoltar? Christ, I’m almost starting to feel bad for picking on you. Almost.

Anyway, who says that women are inconsistent and prone to making things up? Certainly not me. I mean, “men are timid, no wait, I mean men are aggressive, no wait I mean … who’s my audience again?”

Eeeesh, ladies, no wonder you’re having trouble. Perhaps living in an ever-changing reality of your own choosing isn’t all that appealing to the confused men of Poserville. You know, I don’t want to seem “sexist” or anything, and I know this isn’t going to go over real well, but maybe, just maybe, the problem is you? Maybe these never-ending mixed messages are finally starting to take their toll, and perhaps, just perhaps, the man-children have quietly opted out of the game?

I mean, could you blame them?

Alright, scratch that, never mind, of course you could blame them. In fact, I have absolutely, positively no doubt that you will.

When I first read The Stranger article, I laughed out loud. It was that ridiculous. I honestly thought it was a parody. I’m a male, though, and perhaps I wasn’t the best judge of these things. Wanting to get a second opinion, I took the article to my wife and asked her to read it.

About 30 seconds after handing it to her, she began to chuckle. The chuckles soon turned to laughs, and by the end of the piece, she was in tears. Literally IN TEARS.

You know, I like to fancy myself the amateur comedian, and I like to think that my family finds my jokes funny, but I was humbled by the authors of this Stranger piece, for the laughter that they elicited was the loudest and most sincere I’ve heard in years.

“So, how often do men say those things to you in this town?”, I asked her once the laughter calmed down.

This was not a good question to ask, because once she opened her mouth to answer, she burst out laughing again. All she could do was hold up her hand to make a circle indicating “0”. I had to take a break, because honestly, I was worried that she was going to asphyxiate.

Desiring yet a third opinion, I later showed the piece to one of my wife’s friends, and the reaction was surprisingly similar.

Over the course of the next few days, I presented the Stranger piece to women whom I at least counted as acquaintances, and while some had encountered this behavior in the towns from which they came, I wasn’t able to find a single female who thought that it was anywhere close to a problem in Seattle.

Of particular concern amongst the women I spoke with, was The Stranger’s advice to lie to police. At least two women worried aloud that the Seattle Police Department might take complaints from women less seriously after reading the article.

What if they did, though? What if, after reading The Stranger, SPD officers remembered this article, and at least in part because of it, took even a single harassment claim less seriously?

Were this to happen, I wonder, who do you think The Stranger would blame?

We all know the answer, and that’s really the problem.

You see, people will always subvert their true beliefs to the way they want others to see them. This premise was well-explored in “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.

Nobody is ever going to come out and vocalize as much, but underneath the girl-power exterior, these kinds of pieces hurt the cause of harassed women. The exaggerations, the over-dramatizations, and the public calls to exaggerate and over-dramatize. These articles contribute to negative perceptions and stereotypes.

Then, once they’ve had their desired effect, and have caused the errant person to drop his/her guard and offer their true opinion, or worse … to act on their opinion … the authors of this article will be outraged … OUTRAGED they’ll tell you.

When this happens, and it always does eventually, who will the staff of The Stranger blame?

Alas, they’ve already told us.

“What men need is a wake-up call: You’re the problem. If not you personally, then your best friend, a coworker, or that dude in your fantasy football league is.”

So there you have it.

If you are a man, then it’s your fault, and even if it’s not your fault, it’s your fault.

But, what if a woman has some dude in her fantasy football league who’s a jerk? Is she the problem if she says nothing?

Of course not. Women don’t join fantasy football leagues. Women don’t have friends or co-workers whose behavior they need to control, either. That’s man stuff.

Every bigot, since the beginning of time, has been convinced that his/her bigotry is somehow justified. There are no exceptions to this statement. In fact, justifying ones own bigotry is probably the most consistent human behavior there is. Feminists are simply carrying on a 10,000+ year tradition of scapegoating a large group of people while intimidating opponents into silence. The fact of the matter is that if I needed money from advertising to support this site, this post would not exist. It’s why you’ll find nothing similar on any other Seattle-based blog.

Had this been 1940’s Germany, the line from The Stranger would have read as follows:

“What Jews need is a wake-up call: You’re the problem. If not you personally, then your best friend, a coworker, or that Jew in your stickball league is.”

To criticize this statement would have been disloyal to the state, and so, few people spoke up. Today, we look back and call those people “Nazis”.

1940’s Alabama:

“What negroes need is a wake-up call: You’re the problem. If not you personally, then your best friend, a coworker, or that negro in your negro baseball league is.”

To criticize this statement would have made you a race-traitor, and so, few people said anything. Today, we look back and call those people “racists”.

“What men need is a wake-up call: You’re the problem.”

This, in 2013 Seattle, is what is known as “equality”. While wealthy, elite people will always enjoy privilege few of us could possibly imagine, and this represents the majority of the “white male power structure”, few males could even imagine this life. The average working-class-and-lower white male dies sooner, kills himself more often, suffers from higher rates of unemployment, and loses in family court more often regardless of the evidence against him.

It’s 2013 Seattle, people continue to scapegoat this minority, and the overwhelming majority of you continue to say nothing.

What will future generations call you?

A followup to this article has been posted here: http://www.seattlerex.com/cienna-madrid-the-stranger-and-a-total-fucking-idiot/

12 comments to A Woman’s Prerogative

  • Nathan W

    I got some great ideas from the stranger article about what to do next time I see Danielle Campoamor. Thanks stranger! You have inspired me!

  • coolpacific

    Not really relevant, but couldn’t help think of some of your editorials when I read this. Fred, he comes up with more than a few gems…

    http://www.fredoneverything.net/Maureen2.shtml

  • Chuckreis

    I am sure that like a lot of things perspective matters.

    I walk a mile and a half through SLU Monday through Friday. Granted it is a fairly upscale area, but I have never seen a woman catcalled. I also walk 1 mile a day through SODO, and I have not seen a woman catcalled. These walks bring me past construction sites, bus stops galore, and stores with bums loitering.

    I would guess that I would hear comments on Capitol Hill at 12am on a Saturday night. You know, when women are dressed for a night out, people are drinking, and the hormones are rushing.

    So far the only catcall that I can remember hearing in Seattle was between a man and another man.

  • girl who walks everywhere

    Hey.
    I don’t live in Seattle, I live in L.A. But I think this issue is around in every city. I have definitely been catcalled in Seattle on a few occasions, and got followed once.

    I’m a nice girl. I am polite to strangers. I avoid making eye contact with men I don’t know. Yesterday I was walking home from the coffee shop near my house in L.A., minding my own business, when a dude pulled up beside me, yelled “hey” repeatedly to get my attention, pointed to his special area’, and asked me if i wanted to s*** his ****.

    This was a more vulgar incident than normal, but this stuff happens to me plenty, literally almost every day of the week. In my office clothes. Literally every single day that I walk, I am catcalled, hollered at, have men in cars make kissing noises at me, and sometimes they pull up beside me and try to convince me to get in.

    It makes me feel terrible. It honestly makes me feel bad and cheap. All women I know who take the bus, bike, or walk, who are young and reasonably attractive, experience this and it makes all of us feel like crap. If I want to wear shorts because I am walking 6 miles between bus stops when it’s 100 degrees out, I have to endure extra calls and comments.
    And when I am walking alone and I experience a more aggressive dude, the type who won’t leave me alone or seems angry that I don’t respond to him, it can be downright scary.
    It bums me out that not only you, but apparently other guys who read your blog, have a problem with me wanting to feel safe and respected when I walk on the goddamned street to go to and from work at my office job. Thanks. What if I was your daughter? 🙁

    • Hey. I don’t live in Seattle, I live in L.A. But I think this issue is around in every city. I have definitely been catcalled in Seattle on a few occasions, and got followed once.

      I’m sorry to hear that. That truly must have been upsetting for you. I wish that hadn’t happened.

      I’ve been robbed, shot at, and I’ve seen someone killed. I wish those hadn’t happened too.

      I’m a nice girl. I am polite to strangers. I avoid making eye contact with men I don’t know. Yesterday I was walking home from the coffee shop near my house in L.A., minding my own business, when a dude pulled up beside me, yelled “hey” repeatedly to get my attention, pointed to his special area’, and asked me if i wanted to s*** his ****.

      Well that sure was rude.

      This was a more vulgar incident than normal

      Yes, I figured as much.

      but this stuff happens to me plenty, literally almost every day of the week. In my office clothes. Literally every single day that I walk, I am catcalled, hollered at, have men in cars make kissing noises at me, and sometimes they pull up beside me and try to convince me to get in.

      Every day? Really? You should probably carry a video camera with you and document this, because every day seems quite extreme. I’m not going to say that I don’t believe you, but then again, you are an anonymous Internet commenter, you know?

      I’ve yet to meet an anonymous Internet commenter that wasn’t a 10 in the looks department, didn’t have perfect credit, and didn’t know the answer to every question.

      So, what’s your credit score?

      It makes me feel terrible. It honestly makes me feel bad and cheap. All women I know who take the bus, bike, or walk, who are young and reasonably attractive, experience this and it makes all of us feel like crap.

      Oh yeah, I can imagine.

      If I want to wear shorts because I am walking 6 miles between bus stops when it’s 100 degrees out, I have to endure extra calls and comments.

      You know, I see your point and I feel like maybe I was wronholdonwaitaminute……

      Did you say 6?

      6 … miles?

      6 miles between bus stops?

      SIX MILES BETWEEN BUS STOPS?!

      Oh fuck me.

      Don’t tell me, let me guess, it’s uphill both ways, right?

      Is there any place in the City of Los Angeles where the closest bus stop is 6 miles away?

      See, you could have said half a mile, maybe a mile, or maybe … if you wanted to push it … could have said “two miles between bus stops”.

      You didn’t, though. You went with six. 6. SIX!

      You actually had me for a moment.

  • Rachael

    Always a good idea to compare white male Americans to African Americans and Nazi-era Jews, bro. Totally fair. Totally not ridiculous.

    What an intelligent argument from you would entail is a piece on how generalizing a gender’s behavior is a dumb and ineffectual way to approach issues like relational dissatisfaction or harassment, rather than the rebuttal you’ve crafted and posted which is only tossing the sweeping-generalization ball back across the court.

    The comments above mine have me anticipating a really sweet, non-offensive, non-derogatory response though!!!

    • Always a good idea to compare white male Americans to African Americans and >Nazi-era Jews, bro. Totally fair. Totally not ridiculous.

      Careful, now. The sarcasm was kind of plausible, but the “bro” thing overshot the mark and made the whole thing sound pretentious. Sometimes, less is more. Sarcasm can be a tough thing to get right. Keep at it, though, you’ll get there.

      What an intelligent argument from you would entail is a piece on how generalizing a gender’s behavior is a dumb and ineffectual way to approach issues like relational dissatisfaction or harassment

      So, your position is that I owe you an “intelligent argument”? Why do you think that is? Simply because you exist, or because you’ve done something to incur such an expectation from someone you don’t know? Do you think the publications I quoted made “intelligent arguments”? Have you let them know one way or the other?

      The questions are not necessarily rhetorical.

      Furthermore, do you really disapprove of gender generalizations, or do you only disapprove of them when I use them? Or do you disapprove of them always, but disapprove a little more when they’re against one gender? Have you made any comments on other articles making a similar point? Any links?

      rather than the rebuttal you’ve crafted and posted which is only tossing the sweeping-generalization ball back across the court.

      Fair enough, but again, I’m the only blogger that holds this position, possibly in all of King County. That’s a lot of sweeping-generalizations to juggle in a balanced manner, no?

      Can you show me an example of where you’ve taken a wildly unpopular opinion, and have defended it with the perfection with which you ostensibly are accustomed?

      Again, the questions are not necessarily rhetorical. If you can lead by example, I’m more than willing to try and give your stuff a fair read. Perhaps I’ll even learn something.

      I appreciate that you are holding me to a higher standard, but whether it’s out of genuine concern, or is a one-sided critique has yet to be seen.

      The comments above mine have me anticipating a really sweet, non-offensive, non-derogatory response though!!!

      Reverse-psychology? Really?

      See, I don’t want to be rude, but there aren’t many ways to say this without being seen as such.

      You’ve overstated your own importance. It’s a common trap into which most anon commenters fall, and one which has unfortunately diminished the possibility of rational discourse Internet-wide.

      Look left. Now look right. Do you see any advertisements? Do you see any reason at all, that I benefit from this little interaction?

      Sure, these little asides can be interesting in a way, but in general … you read, you don’t read, it’s all the same to me. It’s not some grand privilege for me. I don’t search engine optimize, nor do I invite people over. I care little about random, anonymous readers. Remember, you came to me, I didn’t come to you.

      I host my own articles, and your comments, at my own expense. Otherwise, you’d have to make your own blog to host your views, and honestly, it’s kind of a pain in the ass unless you go the Facebook route.

      In order to enjoy expectations from random people online that you don’t know, a known name, a URL, or a known pseudonym will go a long way toward getting that for you. As it stands now, however, you’re just one of 50+ million anonymous blog commenters, all with opinions they don’t want to be associated with. Not that anyone could blame most of them.

      So, I’ve given you a platform on my own nickel, and I’ve asked for (and gotten) absolutely nothing in return.

      You’ve already gotten more than you deserve, and as such, I don’t know that you’re in a position to “anticipate” anything.

      Thanks for the comment, though.

  • skeet

    You must only be interviewing old fat ugly bitches dog cause of course they won’t have any idea what you’re talking about. All the hos in my life complain about this “problem” but they be fiiine.

  • bobgreysr

    Your wife sounds like a right good honey badger unlike my feminazi exwife. Good to know your not married to or raising any uppity bitches. Speaking of which do you have any daughters old enough to date? My son needs a good girl in his life that won’t cause him too much grief. I can guarantee that he’ll treat them like a real man should treat a woman. Give it some thought.

  • Boosh!

    Rex, I’ve to say, I really liked the article but the two following lines made me laugh out loud:

    ” ‘…or that negro in your negro baseball league is.’ ”
    ” ‘…or that Jew in your stickball league is.’ ”

    I must be a bad person, because I agree with most everything you say, and your sublime absurdity is like a delicious cake to me.

    If you get a chance, I’d like to know how your “personal defense” situation is going……you can email me if you want, I might have something to contribute.

  • Steve Dunne-Caring

    I used to want a soul mate who could sit me down, shut me up, tell me ten things I don’t already know and make me laugh.

    Now, I just want a sandwich, sex and some silence. Feed me, fuck me, shut the fuck up! I’m much happier now…

    Have fun. Stay single.

  • BeeeJay

    fuck someone needs to write an article for guys about how to keep these bitches from harrassing our wallets….

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