Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Hurting Women Is Not Manly

This is an amazing and thorough analysis of the problem with street harassment and rape culture. I was proud to see that much of my intuitive understanding of why men catcall and harass women on the street is supported by research conclusions.

This issue is essentially that men are not taught by other men, including their fathers, how to respectfully interact with women, and how to effectively meet women. Nor do many men learn what empowered male sexuality looks like. The fact that men think they are demonstrating their masculinity to other men by harassing women in public is so sad. In my perception, men who do this are demonstrating that they are weak, powerless, confused, and probably very lonely.

Attacking, hurting, scaring, and harassing women is not healthy or adaptive masculinity.

I was shocked recently by a man who was defending catcalling asking me whether I knew anyone who had stated a relationship by catcalling. Of course not! There is no way a relationship could ever start that way. It achieves the opposite effect; catcalling and street harassment drives women away.

On the other hand, I have had at least three relationships that started with me approaching a woman and respectfully speaking with her, while carefully noticing how she was experiencing the interaction, essentially demonstrating confidence, social intelligence, caring, respect, high self-esteem, ability to fail gracefully, willingness to risk rejection, kindness, care, humor, and emotional sensitivity. It takes a lot to start a relationship with a stranger. The first step is “Hello,” not “Nice tits!” or stalking someone for 10 blocks.

Harming, attacking, or harassing women is not a part of healthy or adaptive masculinity. Even in the days of the vikings, when some vikings would rape and pillage, I strongly doubt that those raping vikings had satisfying relationships with their partners or wives, or were able to effectively parent their children. The idea that a man is strong because he abuses women is a very old and non-adaptive meme that doesn’t serve anyone.