Saturday, 8 September 2012

... On approaching women

OK, so its been a while, my thesis is currently eating up mountains of time as I struggle to get the thing finally completed so I can move on in my life; however, recently I have noticed a few posts about geeky guys at cons causing major distress to women and in some cases going so far as to sexually assault them while attempting to hit on them.  Or rather, I assume they're trying to hit on them, it's difficult to really come up with any sensible reasoning behind what they've done.  Whatever they were attempting to do they are a danger to women around them and I would be extremely upset if they were to treat any of my friends in the way they have treated these women.  One example is the case of Ky being sexually abused at the Minecraft PAX party.  A very good article on these sorts of incidents is available over on Paging Dr Nerdlove.

In the article there is discussion of another incident from UnWinona's Tumblr, in which she is threatened by some truly horrific specimens of humanity, which, for obvious reasons, does not do much good for her sense of safety in the world at large.  A problem I find with the post is her annoyance at being approached by men as I am unsure as to how a man is meant to meet women as either potential partners or as potential friends without first initiating contact.  As a fairly empathic person I do my best to prevent any emotional harm I may cause to people when going through my daily life and reading that merely by approaching someone to talk to them I may cause such harm is extremely worrying from my perspective.  If I didn't approach women in coffee shops, bars, on trains or wherever I would have far fewer friends than I do now and certainly would have not had any dates in the last 3 years or so, so I'm not entirely sure what the solution is.

Part of the problem are obviously the men that do these horrible things in the first place and another are those who ignore it when such things occur (such as the security guard, who's JOB it was to do something about it, in Ky's story and the business man on the train in UnWinona's, although he may have been just as scared as she was), but it is truly unsettling to learn that to properly respect women I have to avoid all contact with them.  This leads me to a conundrum and one that, at least for now, I cannot solve but am forced to ignore if I ever want to make new female friends or meet potential partners.  I understand why women can feel threatened (I'm a small guy and find being approached by large males relatively unsettling having been attacked in the past), but I don't think the solution is for men to avoid talking to new women as some of the more radical feminists I have met have proposed.  The best I can do is make sure that when I do approach a new woman that I treat her with the respect she deserves as a fellow human being and do my best to read signals telling me to go away, should there be any.