10 Ways Men Can Combat Sexist Entitlement in Public

After the tragic mass murder in Isla Vista, CA in May, violence driven by Elliot Rodger’s misogyny and racism, countless women used the hashtag #YesAllWomen to voice the endless ways in which overt and microaggressive misogyny shows up in their everyday lives.  It was an incredible response to a terrible tragedy, one with the power to raise awareness of the constant assault on their lives, bodies, personhood, and livelihoods that women-identified people face.  I, along with a number of other pro-feminist men, called on men to read as many of the tweets and to reflect on what they cumulatively call on us to change.

Sadly, though, many men saw it as a chance to question and challenge women’s experiences with misogyny rather than to listen.

One of the most common refrains, despite the thousands of voices cumulatively calling on men to realize the harsh realities of misogyny, was “PROVE IT!”  Men, and not just your hardcore MRAs, were challenging women (without a hint of intended irony) to show evidence that misogyny exists while the evidence rained in tweets all around them.

One dude in particular tweeted at a number of women, asking for proof that men are socialized to feel entitled to women, women’s bodies, women’s accomplishments, women’s space, and so on.

As one example, someone tweeted the “Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train” Tumblr, trying to help him understand that male entitlement extends beyond overt commodification of women’s bodies, and that it extends into how we are socialized to be in society.  Literally, we are socialized to take up more than our fair share of space!

MT2MSOTT

Source: Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train

From there, someone linked to the “Your Balls Are Not That Big” Tumblr, and someone else posited that maybe the men on trains are just “Saving Room for Cats:”

SavingRoomforCats Source: Saving Room for Cats

The guy didn’t really get the connection.

But there is an important connection to be made.  #YesAllMen are socialized to feel and act entitled in society, and we tend not to see and understand the ways we act with entitlement because, well, privilege.  And for many of us, this entitlement just plays out through microaggressions like asking a woman to smile or touching a woman’s hair without her permission.

But it doesn’t just impact women.  Last week I was on a plane, and I was exhausted. I had just spent the night in the airport after a series of annoying delays, and it was a long flight.  The guy sitting behind me was pretty obnoxious during boarding, cracking stupid jokes and being overall way too loud for a 7 am board time.  I was in the exit row, which meant there was a gap between my window seat and the actual window/door, and a few hours into the flight, I was woken up my a terrible smell.  This is what I found:

MyFlightCompanionYeah, that is my arm rest, and those are his shoeless feet.

Now before you rush in with a #NotAllMen trope or a story of a woman being super entitled in public space, listen: no, not all men would have the gall to put their stank feet up on someone else’s armrest, and yes, I have seen women get super entitled about how their drink was made a at a coffee shop.  However, when we pair the entitlement that men too often feel and act upon with the everyday misogyny that women face, we have a dangerous combination.

No, not all men will be an Elliot Rodger, killing women who reject us, but if we are not actively working to dismantle the ways in which men learn the type of entitlement that Elliot Rodger felt, then we are surely contributing to the wider problem.

So here are 10 simple ways that men can combat sexist entitlement in public:

1.  Don’t Act Like the World is Your Living Room, and Call Out Men Who Do

This one’s simple.  Be aware of the physical space you take up in public: on trains, in coffee shops, at the library, on airplanes.  I’m plenty guilty of waking up on a plane, only to realize my large legs have taken over some of the space afforded to my neighbor when they bought the ticket. I simply apologize and reposition myself so I’m not taking over!  See a dude with his feet up and shoes off in a crowded Starbucks?  Politely ask him to consider how much space he is using.

2. Using Your Voice: Step Up and Step Back

I’m a loudmouth, and it’s easy for me to dominate conversation. But you know what I’ve noticed? Far more men are this way than women. Thus, when we’re part of a conversation, whether it’s on the latest Spiderman movie or on the best way to dismantle the patriarchy, we need to be aware of how much we’re talking.  You see, it’s not just the physical space to which men tend to feel entitled.  Thus, we should be aware of how much we’re talking, and if we are talking a whole bunch, step back.  If we notice that men are dominating the conversation, we should step up simply to point it out and to call men to reflect on that.

Here’s a little secret: Most of the times I have had a BRILLIANT idea in a discussion, if I wait a little while, someone else will voice that idea or something similar.  If they don’t, then I still can.  This doesn’t mean that I’m not an active participant in the discussion.  It simply means I put more energy into really listening than to having my voice heard.

3.  Work to End Street Harassment

A simple way to do this is not to harass women on the street.  And not all street harassment is a lewd comment about a sex act yelled at a woman.  Street harassment can be leering.  Street harassment can be asking a woman to smile. Street harassment can be hitting on a women with whom you have no context or relationship.

Aside from refusing to participate in street harassment, though, we have a responsibility as men to end street harassment.  There are a lot of ways to do that, but here are a few suggestions for starters.

4.  Refuse to Use Sexist Language, and Call Out Men Who Do

Sexist language really is pervasive.  From the common usage of b*tch to calling someone (but particularly a woman) hysterical to referring to a woman as crazy, there are endless ways that sexist language makes its way into our vernacular.  Worse, when men are only around other men, the hyper-sexualizing language often gets pulled out, objectifying women through language and gesture.  A simple thing that we as men can do to push back against male entitlement is to refuse to use this language and to talk to other men about why we find it hurtful or offensive when they talk this way.

5. Keep Your Clothes On

Man, I used to love to streak.  Any chance I got, I was running around naked in public.  But it wasn’t until some people called me in to consider the roots of sexist male entitlement present in my streaking that I realized that it wasn’t just good fun.  But it doesn’t have to be as overt as streaking for male bodies to dominate space.  Have you ever been in a crowded area on a hot summer day when a guy takes off his shirt? First off, he ensures that his sweaty body rubs up against other people, but he also exerts his privilege, as cis women and Trans* people do not often have that same privilege of going topless in public.  A simple thing we can do to push back on sexist entitlement in public is to keep our damn clothes on (yes even if we’re hot).

6.  Be Publicly Trans*-Inclusive

I hadn’t actually considered how cissexist it was for me to simply take my shirt off in public every time I could until a Trans* friend pointed out how he can’t actually wear traditionally “masculine” swim attire because it would be considered indecent, just as it would be for a cisgendered women to go topless in public.  That got me thinking: How else do I need to change my behavior to be more Trans* inclusive?  Here are a few ideas: Don’t assume people’s gender pronouns until they tell you, opting to use gender-neutral ones instead; make sure to call people by their preferred gender pronouns and preferred name, even if it’s hard for you to remember; highlight Trans* issues (like the cissexism of assuming only women need abortions or the hyper-prevalent threat of violence Trans* people face) whenever it makes sense to do so as a way to lessen the marginalization of Trans* people in society.  Aside from helping to make our communities safer places for Trans* people, doing so is a subtle way to check male entitlement because it challenges our traditional gender norms that undergird male entitlement.

7.  Demonstrate Clear Consent

Whenever possible, demonstrate consent.  Need to slide past a woman in a public place?  Don’t just put your hand on her back. Ask to slide by.  Ask before you hug someone.  Ask before you pick up that little kid or tickle them.  Ask before you kiss your partner.  Simply finding mundane as well as creative ways to demonstrate consent is a simple way to push back on the assumption that men are entitled to the bodies and spaces around them.

8.  Strive to Be an Ally to Women in Social Spaces

Party spaces tend to be some of the most overt areas where men exert entitlement.  Ask any woman whether they’ve been groped by a dude on a dance floor and you’ll understand what I mean.  Thus, men have a responsibility to strive to be allies in social spaces.  Not sure how to do that?  I wrote a whole piece on that!

9.  Talk About Male Entitlement with Other Men

Because of that old adage that privilege conceals itself from those who have it, a lot of men are clueless to the ways that we express entitlement to space, bodies, affection, emotional energy, and so on.  Talking with other men, particularly doing so publicly, is an important tool for challenging entitlement simply because it sheds light on the problem.  Whether it’s a call out or call in or a public conversation with your bros about the ways that men express entitlement, naming the problem can help you identify allies you never thought you had and help men consider a problem that far too often is invisible to us.

10.  Talk to Boys and Young Men About Male Entitlement in Age-Appropriate Ways

What’s the best way to end male sexist entitlement? Keep it from spreading to the next generation!  Obviously telling a 5 year old that he is expressing “sexist entitlement to girls’ bodies” when he pushes over that little girl to take the tricycle she is riding isn’t going to help anything.  But talking to him about why it is important to respect all people’s bodies is vital.  Pointing out to boys and young men the ways in which they are exhibiting entitlement and helping them understand why it is wrong is key to ending the entitlement that far too often leads to violence later in life.

Are you a coach of a boys soccer team? Talk to them about why the sexist ways they are talking about the girls soccer team’s bodies isn’t cool (and for goodness sake, don’t participate).  Are you a father or an uncle? Think of fun and creative ways to teach the little boys in your life about asking for consent.

When I think of what it looks like to talk to young boys about entitlement, I think of a story my friend likes to tell about his professor.  While over at the professor’s house for dinner, his 4 year old son hit his older sister.  The professor pulled his son aside and asked the boy, “What’s the most important thing about being a man?”  The little boy, embarrassed, said, “Being gentle.”  Brilliant.

***

No, not all men will act upon the ways we’ve been socialized to feel entitled by committing murder, intimate partner violence, child abuse, or sexual violence, but yes all women and all children have to deal with the consequences of male entitlement and its close connection to violence.  In turn, we cannot expect women to be the only one’s leading men to change.  We have to step up and be the change while calling more men into the work.

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77 thoughts on “10 Ways Men Can Combat Sexist Entitlement in Public

  1. I follow your blog. At times I wonder why. I believe in my first and only other comment I stated that you make me think and I believe that is still why I bother coming and reading.
    We are as different as night and day when it comes to how we should treat others yet I believe that we both try to treat all people as equals and deeply respect not only the things that make us similar but those things that make us different.
    Having said this I still cannot fathom most of your words on this. Ask before touching! Really? Even your partner?
    I want to ask if you are insane but I know you are not. I definitely know we come from two different worlds and maybe that is the only reason I do not understand you.
    It would appear you are urban, I am rural; you are modern, I am not; you have an agenda based upon your business, I have an agenda based on ???[time for me to think];
    No man in my world would were earrings and jewelry is non existent except for a wedding band, maybe an engineer will wear his pinky ring, but seldom. And while no man I know would choose to follow your advice every man I know has the greatest respect for all the women around them. No one would dare talk down to them or even attempt to take them for granted.
    Yes we are different and we celebrate that. Our women, yes possessive I know, love us as much as we love them; and in my world, I would expect, there are more long term marriages than yours. [This is a little presumptuous I know but it comes from a lifetime moving between many locals and from city to country and back. Board rooms and bunkhouses all throughout this great world, I would apologize now for this statement however I still believe it to be true.]
    In the end I still believe you bring a lot to the table and I still like to follow you but I repeat I do not, at times, know why.

    Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!
    Carl

    • “Ask before touching! Really? Even your partner?”

      You should get the consent of other humans before touching them. It’s a respect issue. It doesn’t have to be specifically verbal consent. Nonverbal consent works as well, provided you know the person and understand the ways they communicate non-verbally. One of the many sexist problems men in society have is thinking (and they’re not thinking, it’s almost reflexive) that they’re entitled to women’s bodies. Whether it’s something overt like touching a woman’s breast or buttocks, or something more subtle like stroking their hair, men are socialized to feel like they’re entitled to women’s bodies. With that entitlement comes a lack of respect. It demonstrates a lack of respect of the bodily integrity of women. An extreme example is rape. Rape is about power and when men rape women they’re violating their bodily autonomy. They’re saying “I’m going to do whatever I want to you and I don’t care how you feel about it”. That’s an extreme, and incredibly common form of entitlement. Men’s feeling of entitlement towards women’s bodies exists along a continuum. It doesn’t start and end with rape or grabbing a woman’s breast. Those problems are indicative of a lack of respect for the bodily autonomy of women. If we’re to teach men to respect the bodily autonomy of women, we have to teach that they respect *everyone’s* bodily autonomy (with special emphasis, given the extent of endemic sexism and misogyny, on women). That means re-socializing people to not touch other people without their permission. We’ve grown up thinking it’s ok for grandma or grandpa to squeeze their grandchild’s cheeks as a show of love. But what about the child? Does the child *want* that? Some children respond to displays of affection differently. Some don’t like those displays. Some people even continue showing this affection after being asked to stop. Look at how adults tickle children. It seems small, I know, but it’s one human being thinking they can touch another human being without permission. No human being has the right to do that. If you think you do, you’re dehumanizing that person. Establish that it is ok to touch someone else. Respect others enough to recognize their boundaries. This needs to happen with children-especially when they’re young. If they develop good habits and a respect and understanding of bodily autonomy (both for themselves and everyone else), they’ll be less inclined to violate the bodily autonomy of others. That respect for others’ bodies is one powerful way we can combat Rape Culture. the problem of entitlement in society manifests in big and small ways. The only way to combat it effectively is to teach people–especially young men and boys–that they do not have the right to touch other people without their permission. Whether that’s squeezing a child’s cheek or sexually assaulting a woman.

      • Sorry. I do understand it is just that one does not ask for intimacy whether it is a man to a woman, a father to child a child to grandparent or two lovers meeting in the night.

        In the end I understand were you are coming from but find it all a bit much. You must live in a world so different than mine. I have a sense of fear between people that must abide by the rules you propose.

        How better it is to understand that a touch between people is a sign of love, of caring, of pain or happiness shared.

        I see none of that in your words and it saddens me.

        Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!
        Carl

      • Tony, I agree that people should ask for consent before touching someone. I also agree that it is an issue of respect. The problem is that Utt only demands it of men. Most of the people who touch me without permission are women. Whether touching my shoulder, my face, my hair, or my body, none of them ask for consent. Likewise, the only people who have ever tried to touch my cousin or my godson when they were small kids were women.

        I agree that this is a sense of entitlement. Women feel entitled to touch people without permission because they have been socialized to believe themselves non-threatening, an idea reinforced and supported by feminists like Utt.

        As for the extreme example being rape, I agree in part. It is not the only extreme example. However, here too we see that when women rape they use the same sense of entitlement that their acts are harmless, which again feminists like Utt agree with.

        You cannot effectively teach people to respect other people’s bodies if you ignore half the people who disrespect other people’s bodies.

      • 2 cents from a woman:
        i would not want a partner of mine to ask for permission before touching me. its implicit in the relationship that the private space dissolves a lil between partners. if theres an argument or if there are known dislikes in the touching department, then sure, thats another story.. but for me, in general, that part feels unnatural and distant more than respectful. in a relationship i wont mind that the guy thinks of me as “his” cause id think of him as “mine”.

    • I grew up in a family that hugged a lot, and where children were expected to kiss everyone good-night, and there were times when I REALLY didn’t want to go through the rounds of kisses, but did because it was expected of me. I was often tickled, and I hated it (still do, actually). When I had a daughter of my own, we taught her to say “Please stop” and also to listen

      I agree that women should also check for consent. I am very huggy with most of my friends, but I never assume that everyone wants to hug hello or goodbye. I ask children “May I have a hug?” I ask people whom I don’t know that well but like “Do you hug?” (I have a very friend whom I’ve known for 35 years who is touch-adverse because of bad things in her childhood. I had warned another friend to whom I was going to introduce her and that friend held out her hand. My touch adverse friend said “I LOVE you! I was gonna take one for the team, but, thank you!”)

      And yes, of course ask your partner. It’s likely that you have boundaries set up over the years, but there’s nothing wrong with saying “May I have a kiss?” or “Do you want to make love?” or “Is tonight a good night…?” (suggestively raised eyebrows!) and a whole lot right. Ask what they’d like, and do it if you’re up for it. It’s not just about verbal consent. Sometimes things that usually feel good dn’t work just now. Watch their body language, facial expressions. No can be as simple as a knit brow or a slight pulling away. Both partners should give enthusiastic “Yes”es as well; “Mmm, that feels good!” “I like that!” “Ooh, keep doing that!”

    • More long-term marriages? Yeah, you are totally being presumptuous, there, & probably wrong. I’m in a circle where there is not only New-Agey stuff, but polyamory, and half the marriages are over twenty years old as of this writing.

      • :) I am glad to be wrong. Do not know anything about New-Agey Stuff nor polyamoy and
        if 50% of the people you know have marriages over twenty years old then yours is very special group of friends.
        In all these things what I find really odd is the use of labels. Are we not all people, male and female, but all people. And if so are we not definable. Hetro, Homo, Sic, Trans are all labels we put on others and ourselves for reason that I am still trying to figure out. But one wonders if at the end when everything stops did it really matter? Did we care for everyone we came in contact with. Do we give as graciously to those whom we disagree with as those whom we agree with.
        We are all trying to prove our side right and the other wrong. When in reality there is no right and wrong there is only what we believe. Does what we believe help humanity if so then it is a good thing, if not we should reexamine our belief.
        For myself that is why I, a straight, male, heterosexual, monogamous, father, husband, and son, come to read about others beliefs and find in myself more humanity. This is why I now find myself in this company.

        in the end while my words are never meant to hurt nor imply superiority, they are just words in the end, they are what I believe. I open myself up for your criticism and I hope you will be kind in showing me my follies.

        Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!
        Carl

    • Hey Carl, Thank you for sharing your ideas. For the “ask before touching your partner” bit, I choose to imagine that referring to younger men (and women) who are in young relationships. Obviously not everyday, especially when you’re established, but I too often had the experience where oh “now we’re dating” so that guy just feels like he can hit my ass, grab my waist, and rub my thighs whenever. It was kind of scary and I didn’t realize then that it also wasn’t appropriate.

      I totally agree this stuff can go too far but for now I think its important to keep the dialogue open so that everyone can actually talk about these things. Its making me so happy to so the conversation be 2-sided, as in how men and women can BOTH improve, not just teaching women how to protect themselves and set boundaries.

      Un abrazo,
      Lauren

      • Lauren

        I appreciate your comment.
        It as been a long time and several generations since I was in a young relationship. I remember wanting to grab my girl friend, now my wife, all the time. I do not know how things have changed, I know they have but not really how. In some ways younger people appear to be more ‘familiar’ with each other and at the same time more ‘fearful’ of each other.
        I do not know if this is correct but fear I feel in some of the comments is strange to me. And as stated previously it saddens me. We should be more open in how we talk and how we assemble. In this way we come to know each other better and it is only by getting to know each other better that we can become to tear down the walls we think separate us. In fact the walls are not protecting us they are impeding our journey.

        Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!
        Carl

  2. [Boardrooms to Bunkhouses; now that would be a great title for a blog. :)

    • Carl, I can see where you are coming from. As an academic discussion a lot of this seems very cold. The trick is having already established boundaries.
      As your first comment pointed out “even your partner?” Yes even your partner, even your parents, even your children. However, while the easiest form of consent is, “can I touch/hug/kiss you?” There are other ways of getting consent and a lot of those ways is having a history with that person. I come from a very physically affectionate family, we don’t say I love you a lot, but we hug, kiss, touch every time we are in the same physical space. Because of the history in my family this form of touching is perfectly fine the boundaries have been set, it means that when I see my brothers, or my cousins in any social situation we will bear hug, link arms, and not ask permission, consent has been established. On the other hand I am also on the autism spectrum and there are moments in my life where even the lightest touch is physically painful, the way the boundaries in my family work if I, or anyone else, says stop/holds up a hand/backs away the contact stops until I ask for a hug. I bring this joy of hugging, hands on shoulders, linking arms to every relationship I have, from friends to romantic partners. In every one of those relationships I have a conversation, it usually only takes one, asking some variation on “I am a very touchy, feel person, are you okay with me touching you on shoulder/back/hand, and hugging you?” Most people are fine with this. I do have a few friends who don’t want to be touched, for a variety of reasons ranging from PSTD to skin and muscle sensitivity from cancer treatment, to they just don’t like people touching them. And because I have always respected that boundary a funny thing happens to me, I have some friends who I am the only person they will let hug them, or casually touch them on a regular basis, specifically because I went to the trouble to ask if they were okay with it they trust me to stop touching them if they stop being okay with it.

      I am fine with casual touch, in fact I seek it out, and teach my friends about hugging, and my romantic partners about kissing in greeting and fair well, or just because. What I am not okay with is a random person in the pub or on the train feeling it is okay to intentionally touch me, in crowded public transit you end up squashed in like sardines and will end up touching whether you like it or not, but squashed next to people who aren’t paying attention to me is different than the person next to me placing a hand or elbow on my shoulder and being offended when I ask them to remove it. I have had people, both men and women, on planes, and buses put feet up next to me, bags basically in my lap, and then get angry at me when I ask them to kindly remove themselves from my physical space. I have been cat called, harassed, my hair touched, my ass grabbed, and been called a variety of things along the lines on “stupid bitch” when I had the audacity to confront the people who did these things. I have picked up the pieces of friends lives after. They have physically abused. The only thing all of the incidents had in common was that they were all perpetrated by men, many of them “stand up guys, I can’t imagine him doing that”, and apart from one great aunt with no boundaries , the women I encounter in social situations who I don’t know will back off when I ask them to. And apart from a friend who enjoys wolf whistling at me, and making suggestive comments every time she sees me in public I have never been cat called, or harassed on the street by a woman.

      If you have read this far, thank you for sticking with me, let me put this in context: I am a cis identified woman in my late twenties, I grew up in a town where literally everyone knew everyone else, I now live in a medium sized city, I am the middle child of three, both brothers. Most of my cousins are male, of the ten people I consider my best friends only three are women. I spent most of my life as a very stereotypical “tom boy” and “one of the guys”. I hear a lot of “not all men” in my daily life and I call them on it all the time. And it isn’t all men, but even my highly intelligent, self identified feminist male friends fall into the trap of misogyny once in a while. One of those male friends, one of the friends I mentioned earlier who doesn’t like touch, was physically and emotionally abused by a girlfriend in high school and the same culture of “male gaze” driven media and devaluing of women’s bodies, keeps him silent and ashamed, the same system that has my friends truly confused as to why I would lash out at the guy in bar who wouldn’t stop touching my arm or following me when I went to order another round of drinks, tells my friend over, and over again that he is lying because men can’t be abused by women (this is getting into a different issue slightly). As far as your comment about rural vs urban settings the first time I was exposed the street harassment it was from the local road crew. The crew chief was the father of a friend of my brothers the kid who made the comment was a classmate of the friend I was with. A lewd comment was made as we went running by, the crew chief said nothing, the rest of the crew just laugh, boys will be boys. Because of where I grew up it was not anonymous, we knew who had shouted, we knew everyone on the crew, when we got home my friend told the kids grandmother what he had said, a week later he found us and very quietly, privately apologised. He said he was sorry for disrespecting us, not because the men in his life, the other men on the crew, had said anything but because his mother, his grandmother, and his sisters had yelled at him. We had known each other all our lives but he still felt it was acceptable, and worse the adults around him allowed it to be acceptable, to make a degrading, sexual comment about a 15 year old girl.

      All of this ties back to a very simple point, and what I think is one of the central points of much of this blog post: consent matters, respect for others bodies matters, if you aren’t sure where you stand with someone, ask. If there is any doubt at all contact of any kind, verbal or physical, may be unwanted don’t connect, or ask first. It is difficult, I certainly don’t ask when moving through crowds, I touch shoulders and backs to let people know I am there, I also keep up a litany of “excuse me, sorry, please move, coming through”. It isn’t perfect but it is more than is happening now.

      • Lynx

        I did read your entire reply. I thank you for sharing it with me and possibly many more.
        I do not have a ready reply and do not think one is necessary.
        First – when I brought up Urban vrs Rural I did not have in mind that one was better in any way than the other. It was just meant as a literacy meaning of opposites. I find myself constantly seeing difference between the two. Not that the individuals are that different but the culture, society is. We country people have the same amount of ‘jerks’ [I hate labels but I will leave that aside] per capita as any other group.
        In the end I read this blog and others so I can get a very fresh view. I like the challenge and in this case the mental exercise in confronting my HABs. (Habits, Attitudes, and Beliefs)
        I have learned something about your lives and that is, to me what is important.
        You should know I do touch, without consent. When I say this I am not talking about people I am close to, friends, family etc., but people I just come in contact with. Again not in the crowd touching kind of way just casual meeting of people.
        In my previous comment it is the times of shared joy or pain that causes it. Maybe the consent is in the eye’s prior to the contact. No one has ever pulled away or requested I not do it. Physical contact is a means of healing, physically, emotionally, spiritually.
        I find when I touch others in this way a bond occurs between us and in this bond more happens then what can be easily stated.
        I believe in the end, you are correct consent is required. Having said this, or because of having said this I do know at times I want to touch another and do not. I feel vaguely uneasy at these times. Wanting to but not. I do not know how to ask and so I do not ask and I do not touch and both are wrong.
        As always I have more learn.
        Again, I sincerely appreciate your comments.

        Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!
        Carl

    • In the past I’ve faught with my finance and after the fight he will switch from angry to “affectionate” and expect me to respond positively. He has actually stated that “our relationship status means [he] gets sex. As his girlfriend, I’m required to meet his needs. That’s the point of a committed relationship.” He also feels it appropriate to randomly fondle me or touch me without gauging my mood or level of interest in any sexual contact. Not only as a woman but simply as a person I believe I’m ENTITLED to my personal space, and to not feel like a peice of meat, kept around only to fufil my fiances “needs”. This is a respect issue. Those who read this article and immediately feel defensive or angry are probably more aware of an issue than they lead on. I usually don’t get outwardly upset about issues I feel indifferent about.

      • Katie

        I am sorry to hear your story, it saddens my heart. In my mind there your story goes beyond the bounds of one persons feelings of entitlement to abusive behavior. I am not your counselor but if you were to ask me for my counsel I would say that both you are your betrothed need to seek professional help prior to taking your wedding vows.
        I know I am speaking out of turn and if it offends you that a complete stranger offers these words please understand that my words are meant only to give succor during what appears to be a hard time.

        You are completely correct, the issue you bring forth is all about respect.

        And just to clarify I very seldom get angry, except at myself and in the last five or so years that have been working on my inner self have learned to control and hopefully overcome my defensive feelings. Since I no longer believe in right and wrong, good and bad, truth and falsehood, etc. Without any of these labels there is little to get defensive about.

        Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!
        Carl

  3. Jamie, I’m part of a discussion site, and this article was cited/linked in a comment there in a discussion about misogyny. I have a question or two to ask you, and I’d rather ask them privately, not in a public comment. Another member of the discussion has contacted your editor to see if this article can be cross-posted to the discussion website. I’d like to ask if you would consider joining that site in order to cross-post your articles and/or join in to our discussions. You can either cross-reference my request to the request sent to your editor, or let me know how to ask you about this in a private setting. Since your comment section contains hits by MRA types, I’m not going to name the site publicly.

    You are doing valuable work. Best wishes and good luck!

  4. I’m sorry, I am a woman and I think this entire thing is stupid. If my boyfriend asked me Everytime if he could kiss me, I would get unbelievably annoyed. Also, striking up a conversation with a woman on the street or telling her if she’s pretty is not harassment. I always enjoy it when random strangers give me compliments and I know some people that are now in relationships because of it! Also, if men stop using “sexist language” then women need to too. For one, many of the women at my school greet each other with “bitch” so we too use the word. We also use words like “dick”, am I sexist for that?

    • “Also, striking up a conversation with a woman on the street or telling her if she’s pretty is not harassment. ”

      Not for you, perhaps, but it is for a great many women. I’ve listened to enough women tell me that this form of street harassment annoys the crap out of them. Women do not exist for the pleasure of men. Telling a random woman on the street that they’re hot often serves as a reminder to women that they are viewed primarily as sexual objects by men. That’s a message reinforced throughout society every single day. A great many women want to be able to walk down the street without being whistled at, cat called, grabbed on the butt, or told they are attractive. That’s reducing women to sex objects. I wish you could see that, bc the goal is to make society more welcoming to all women, not just the few who don’t have a problem with the status quo like you.

    • I am female, and i’m afraid i would say the opposite to you. I do not like it if some stranger approaches me and strikes up a conversation, worse if someone randomly compliments me. Why would you compliment someone you don’t know? You wouldn’t. Or as far as my experiences have went – people compliment you, because they want something from you, i have learnt that the hard way on numerous occasions. Now i am extremely wary of someone who i do not know complimenting me.
      And yes, i see your point on “bitch” but keep in mind, words such as n****r are horrible and racist and yet black people say it to each other in a friendly fashion – why? Because it is something unique to them that they use to bring each other together as a minority/group. I would say the same applies for the word bitch. I would however agree with the “dick” comment. That is applicable to any insult related to genitals, which, ew.

    • “Also, if men stop using ;sexist language’ then women need to too.”
      I agree.
      ” For one, many of the women at my school greet each other with “bitch” so we too use the word.” http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7sn005GxxOo/UtygTCRUCbI/AAAAAAAACsA/eE0Br3EzSZ0/s1600/tumblr_mb3asnehyf1qlw3mqo2_r1_500.gif
      “We also use words like ‘dick’, am I sexist for that?” Yep. Why do you feel the need. You seem to be articulate, there are so many good words that don’t imply that, well, dickery is specifically masculine or that women are all on the level of dogs.

      Instead of “bitch” (“As in “hey, bitch”l) say “Friend, lady, sweetheart,
      Instead of “bitch” (as in “What a bitch!”) why not “S/he’s evil!” “S/he’s awful!” “S/he’s obviously got some issues! ” “What a horrifying waste of skin!’ “Wow, guess s/he was last in line when they were handing out basic human decency.” I’m sure you can think of many more.
      Instead of “dick” (as in “what a dick”) You can go with the above for “bitch,” or come up with your own.

      If nothing else, it avoids repetition. It may be fun to say “bad” words but if you use them in place of normal words (Like if every woman is a bitch)

      As for men giving “compliments,” I’m wondering if maybe street harassment isn’t on the decline, because younger women I’ve talked to seem to experience less of it (although I’m sure many of the issues I dealt with were because I rode public transit in a crowded city. I was a lot more likely to encounter a harasser when I passed literally hundreds of people than my daughter is when she can walk two miles and only see a few people, in our smaller town where most people drive.).
      This is my #yesallwomen story, I’m glad it’s not yours.

      Because of all that, I had to be guarded with the men who were simply trying to strike up a conversation, the men who were just trying to maybe get a very pleasant date with me. But I’ve never dated a total strangers. I’ve met people through friends, work, hobbies, something in common.” I wish that my response could be “Hey, this could be a new friend!” but it HAS to be “Where might this conversation go?”

  5. This article was wonderful and most of the comments depressing as hell. As many of us doing the work can expect (bc: oppression in the world), many responses like these will surface that only further demonstrate misogyny in folks of all genders. I’m a ciswoman of color who doesn’t believe in congratulating pro-feminist men for doing the work, too, but I am also sure as heck glad I can now link pseudo-feminist allies to pieces like these. Thanks, J.

  6. This article is is great! Yes it is so so so so annoying that rather than try to listen, men often seek to argue and ‘point-score’ with the woman trying make her point. We live in a sexist society, prejudice / gender stereotyping is powerful ingrained in to all of us to some extent. Male privilege is just a fact of life – they are overwhelmingly disproportionately represented in power, leadership, economic management, public life and so on. The only other explanation to this state of affairs, other than that we have a society that unfairly advantages men, is that ‘men’ are disproportionately more able than women. Yet, not only is there no evidence at all (even though countless people, usually of the male persuasion, have tried to prove women’s innate inferiority) females, on average, overwhelming out-performing males in education (in the UK) for example. Everything relates to this power unbalance – however small. It is not about ‘persecuting’ men but asking them to ‘think’. To care. Why would they want to defend their right to upset people? Can’t they understand that there can be gap between what some consciously intends and how the other person is made to feel? That we behave in all sorts of unconscious negative ways without really understanding our motivations?

  7. OK…most of this can be resolved by simply respecting other people.
    There is nothing wrong with complimenting someone’s appearance…there is a huge difference between “You’re HOT!” and “That color really looks good on you.” or “Your smile makes me happy.”
    Last I knew, abortion could only happen in a woman’s body (it seems I am completely out of touch with the “real” world if that has changed). (BTW, I have no idea what cissexism is; guess I’m still out of touch.)

    • There’s appropriate ways to do it. Walking behind a woman on the street and saying “hey Sexy, where my smile” is not one of them. Maybe saying “hello” then striking up a real conversation, mentioning that the girl looks lovely today instead. Same goes for anyone regardless of gender.

      • Agreed. As someone who hates strange men talking to me on the street with a fiery passion, I do remember one boy a couple of years ago who simply smiled at me and said “Marry me?” which I found so charming. I had a good laugh and it brightened up my day a little. Had I been single I might even have talked to him more.

        But there is a HUGE difference between flirtation and harassment. Even something as apparently benign as a man telling me “Smile” instantly irritates me because of the unconscious command. The idea that I should do what you say, even something as innocent as smiling.

        Intent counts for something, but usually only as much as you make your intent clear. Cat-calls and tacky cliche pick-up lines “You wanna hot date?” are not flirtatious, they are disrespectful and the difference is obvious for anyone who knows what to looks for.

  8. “For at least two thousand years of European history until the late nineteenth century hysteria referred to a medical condition thought to be particular to women and caused by disturbances of the uterus “- (Wiki- Hysteria).

    I don’t believe that calling any person of any gender ‘crazy’ is right as all it serves is to isolate people who suffer from mental health problems. However, the reason ‘hysterical’ as a term is offensive to many women is that it was traditionally thought in less enlightened times that women suffered from a unique type of ‘mental disturbance’ known only to them because they were women and (generally) had a uterus. Anyone can suffer from an ‘unmanageable emotional excess’ regardless of gender, and therefore advocating that women suffer from ‘craziness’ and that they are ‘hysterical’ by using the term is wrong. The etymology of this word is what makes it particularly offensive.

    In other news, ‘hyst’ from Greek ‘hustera’, also seen as the root in ‘hysterectomy’ means ‘womb’. That means that linguistically (and historically) ‘hysteria’ is a term solely for describing a womb-related condition. Of course, it has come on to be a derogatory term used not only in relation to cis gendered women, but any people who show any kind of traditionally ‘female’ behaviours and attributes.

  9. […] reading a blog article on the topic of 10 Ways Men Can Combat Sexist Entitlement in Public it brought to mind a life event of mine.  First let me say that referencing the article does not […]

  10. :) (sorry for the long response)
    For everyone disagreeing with the “asking permission to touch” point, I would like to share a story.

    First off, I grew up in a very close church, the kind that, any man or woman in the church felt completely comfortable grabbing a random child and pulling, pinching, hugging, reprimanding, or picking them up and tickling them. Everyone was kind of everyone’s parents. Anyway, being touched randomly was not only a non issue growing up, it was a given.

    When I was 15, however, this idea changed. I was working a summer job, and one of my co-workers, (male) decided he liked me. It was a hard summer for me that year, and I really didn’t want to add a boy friend into the mix, so I turned him down. He couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to date him, if I wasn’t dating anyone else, and I had no desire to explain, other than that I wasn’t interested. Then everything started.

    I couldn’t go anywhere, ever, alone at that job, with out this boy popping up out of no where. Not even to the bathroom, because when I left, he would be standing there. At first, it was just unwanted “compliments”, trying to pressure me into agreeing to a date, and being way to much in my personal space. I would repeat my no, and ask him to stop following me.

    After awhile, he would just randomly come up to me and squeeze me in a bear hug in greeting whenever he caught me alone. He was tall and really really strong (and didn’t know his own strength), so not only did his “hugs” hurt and sometimes bruise me, he wouldn’t let go when I asked, and I couldn’t get out of it myself. If I tried to struggle he would only squeeze me harder. He once came up behind me in lunch and lifted me clear off the ground, and wouldn’t put me down until I agreed to loan him a dollar or something. But the hold really really hurt, and I hated how helpless I felt literally having no choice in the matter since he was so much stronger. He would hold me over pools (but not drop me) or grab my arm hard enough that I couldn’t get away. I never went anywhere by myself because he was ALWAYS there, ALWAYS. Although he would just laugh it off as if I was being dramatic when I told him he was hurting me, the bruises were getting kind of annoying.

    Here’s the problem, he really wasn’t trying to be this creepy, obsessive stalker. He was always genuinely smiling and laughing and joking, and I honestly think this was him trying to “charm” me into “changing my mind.” The girls would tell him to leave me alone now and then, but the boys usually just laughed or encouraged him. He wouldn’t listen to me when I asked him to stop, and honestly I was afraid if I started screaming, or went over his head to the bosses, the other kids at our job would label me as (over reacting or needing to chill out) since he was after all, just playing. So I had to deal with it, avoid being alone, and wait out the summer.

    This guy was obsessed with me, so a lot of the problem was that he was constantly doing these things to me, but really his behavior wasn’t that strange. I’m sure everyone has memories of boys in their lives who have done at least some of those things to them. Restrained them to get them to agree to something, threatened to throw them into a pool or over their shoulder, refused to take no for an answer and/or pursued them anyway. He really wasn’t doing anything out of the norm, even my mom told me “that is just what boys do,” but in such a large dose, it was very very harmful to me. So, if he wasn’t abnormal, it must be the perceived norm that is wrong.

    As and adult, in todays time, if this happened to me on a job, I would file harassment charges. But, as kids, well, he was a guy just playing around with a girl. I suppose if I liked him too, this wouldn’t have bothered me much back then, I probably would have been hugging him back or laughing with him. But since I didn’t, and we weren’t friends, I didn’t want him touching me like that, but I also wasn’t allowed a choice.

    Touching is great, it shows emotions that can’t be spoken, and it’s how we bond, but everyone has to want to be touched, or it can quickly become harassment.

  11. The fact that there are people commenting trying to dispute points the article makes or “one-upping” with examples of “but women do _______ too” IT ONLY FURTHER PROVES WHAT A PROBLEM THERE IS!

    Nobody, i repeat NOBODY is saying that there aren’t plenty of entitled women out there, plenty of bad behaving women who act in an ignorant fashion! BUT! The ratio of men harassing women VS women harassing men? WOMEN FACE SO MUCH MORE DESPICABLE BEHAVIOR ON A DAILY BASIS, DON’T EVEN SIT HERE AND TRY TO GIVE ME YOUR SOB STORY ABOUT HOW UNFAIR YOUR LIFE IS AS A PRIVILEGED MALE!

    Until you face all the challenges women face every single day – from having to worry about equality in the workplace, fear of random men thinking your body is somehow “up for grabs” and they are free to do with it what they please, to the victim blaming mentality we face when we’re raped or assaulted… JUST SHUT UP.

  12. Good Post, but:
    Your rules are only applicable in a very western, in some cases indeed american setting.
    1. Don’t act like the world is your living Room
    Goes for everyone. I can’t count the times I have seen people occupy three seats for their luggage. I include everyone. Everyone is an asshole sometimes.
    2. Yes.
    3. Goodness, what is this the stoneage? Just smile at people and look them in the eyes.
    4. More prevalent in the english language I guess.
    5. Really? North americans need to get mor comfortable with their bodies as a whole. Go to Finnland, visit a Sauna. Nudity becomes so invalued when you are naked with strangers for a few hours.
    6. I do not like this importance society puts on gender. I am totally fine With someone being Trans, or Furry, or anything else for that matter. I can’t fathom a situation where this would or could become an issue.
    7. Yes.
    8. Be an Ally not a creeper or white knight.
    9.-10. Entiement is such an american concept to me. Why should I be entitled to anything. As a rule, the world owes me nothing.

  13. Gotta love the men mansplaining in the comment section. Nice way to prove a point.

  14. Society does not want a discussion on sexism, at least not a two-way conversation. Same with a whole host of other topics in which males are “in the wrong”. When a topic is being discussed, but there is no room for opposing view points, you don’t have a discussion, you have a lecture. And society cannot grow on lectures. Until society is ready to actually engage in discussion, we are going nowhere.

    What this means is, when posts like this are written in such a way to immediately try to silence any opposition, the writer is not intending to start a conversation. The writer intends on making a list of demands and leaving it at that. Whether I agree or disagree with anything presented here is moot: the author, like so many, wall off the topic of discussion that my only reaction can be disdain… Because the willingness to talk about these issues instead of lecture on them isn’t there.

    Solutions are found by coming to an agreement, not by dictating a list. Women or Trans want to not wear shirts? Go for it. I am all for letting people get over the uncomfortable relationship western society has with the human body. Taking too much space? The discussion is less about men and misogyny and more about respect for other humans… Getting to the right topic versus the superficial sexism will do society more good. Most of this article boils down to not being an asshole. Something everyone regardless of plumbing or orientation needs to take into account.

  15. Having to ask before touching your partner is ludicrous. As a gay man, I would never think it necessary to ask if I could hug, kiss, or grab a hand to hold when with my partner. That makes me affectionate — not lecherous. I see no reason for it to be different with a straight couple…THAT is being sexist…somehow implying that all women are of lower rank, subservient…that just insults women and implies they are too dainty to hold their own. And the idea that expressing attraction and suggesting a date to a new person is harassment…well, that’s silly as well. Again, as a partnered gay man living in San Francisco, I regularly get “hit on” at the grocery or any number of other public spaces…it takes zero effort to smile brightly and say, “how sweet of you to ask…I’d love to, but I’m not single…but my name is xXxX….do you live near here? Isn’t this the best grocery in the hood, blah blah blah”, and I’ve made a new friend. Surely a beautiful woman can also be called upon to offer the same social grace as I (a man) can. When you tell people not to speak to others or compliment them, you reduce a lovely planet to a really really cold society wherein everyone refuses eye contact and communicate in grunts.

    • Yes, but you are a man reacting to men. Try being a woman, smaller and less strong than the average guy, and being pursued by bigger, stronger men who won’t take no for an answer. I legit worry about my safety every time I walk near a crowd of men on the sidewalk. Are they nice guys? What happens if they aren’t – they’re bigger than me, and there are more than them.

      Oh, and “I have a boyfriend/husband/girlfriend” has never stopped the come-ons. Usually it makes them try even harder. When I’m in a relationship with a woman, if I say so, I risk being bashed for being a lesbian, raped to prove to me that I’m not, or at minimum, start getting asked to bring my girlfriend along, because obviously we just haven’t met the right guy to make us straight. And at any rate, I shouldn’t have to be someone else’s partner in order to get a guy to leave me alone.

      There is a layer of fear we live with as women that you as a man, even a gay man, will never, ever understand.

  16. […] Are you surrounded by idiots? Heartbreaking in Detroit (and sadly every other city) I love a good list (#YesAllWomen) When the juvenile justice system isn’t the […]

  17. The amount of mansplaining on here is HA-larious… I spose I’ll join in. A response to a majority of the defensive responses on here:

    “But, but, women do (blank), and that’s disrespectful to men!”
    —– You’re changing the subject because it’s making you uncomfortable. Yes, women can be jerks too, but that’s not the focus of this article. And please don’t say no one writes about women being jerks… You’d embarrass yourself if you said that. Look at any woman who’s ever publicly gotten “out of line”, and you’ll see a whole host of articles explaining why she was wrong for doing it.

    “It just boils down to respect, and not being an asshole.”
    —– The author is talking about aggressive behavior by men, doing things to women, due to a sense of ownership over body and space. I don’t know how that could be any more clear. Yes, respect is the larger issue… Sub-issue – how men can be more respectful, particularly toward women and trans folks. Quit expecting a medal because you don’t rape or cat-call. We can do better than we’re doing.

    “I guess I just don’t understand…”
    —– I guess you don’t. If this is your first step in the larger process of being less of a jerk, welcome to the party! If you keep saying, “I guess I don’t understand”, then you’re not trying hard enough. A big part of the problem, I would bet? You’re hanging out with people who think just like you… Meanwhile, people who think like the author hang out with people like you (because you’re freaking everywhere) AND feminists/researchers/people in the LGBT commmunity/etc. Who do you think has more perspective on the situation? Dude in his ultra-comfortable bubble doesn’t get to act like he knows more about these things, and then feign ignorance at the end of his rant.

    “When women get hit on in the street, it’s usually something along the lines of ‘Well, hello lovely young lady, you look very pretty today.’ And then the two have a nice conversation about the neighborhood.”
    —– It doesn’t look like that. Because I’ve seen it, and when I was younger, been a part of it. Cat-calling, leering, unwanted advances… It’s all ugly, and even if a woman doesn’t tell you to your face, there’s a good chance she felt a little violated by it. Yes, there are exceptions, but there are also people that pay to be kidnapped (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/extreme-kidnapping-business-paying-experience-abduction-cross-line-18921706)… It doesn’t give you the right to kidnap people.

    It’s hard being a man too, ya know…
    —– I think there’s a phrase for that… Oh yeah, suck it up.

    • As an individual who does their best to challenge their accepted worldview and beliefs, I read this article and several of the comments. This comment by Josh left me wanting to voice an opinion though .

      —– You’re changing the subject because it’s making you uncomfortable
      Anyone who actually subscribes to the notion that ‘it’s okay for me to be a jerk because someone else is being one’, doesn’t belong in a civil discussion anyway. So with that, you start your little rant with an overgeneralized point that I really haven’t seen in any of the comments here. What I have seen is people saying that disrespect isn’t limited to a specific color, creed, or plumbing.

      —– The author is talking about aggressive behavior by men, doing things
      I had to read your comment a few times, but what I’m getting from you here is: This article isn’t about not being an asshole, it’s about men not being assholes to women and trans. I could be wrong, but if a man was to stop being an asshole, wouldn’t that include not being an asshole to women and trans as well? Again, you suggest this idea that men here actually seem to believe they should be lauded for not raping anyone or the like. Oh, and I’d say if a man was to not be an asshole and try to respect those around him, he probably wouldn’t rape anyone either.

      —– I guess you don’t. If this is your first step in the larger process of being less
      So here you’re choosing to belittle people who came to this site, obviously read a good deal of subject matter they aren’t familiar with, and then explained that this is all new to them. What an outstanding way to stimulate conversation. You know what would be an even better way, take the questions and ideas these people suggest, overgeneralize them and mock them. That’s guaranteed to get them to engage in a meaningful discussion.

      —– It doesn’t look like that. Because I’ve seen it, and when I was younger, been a
      So just because you were the asshole insulting and leering at women, then every man who speaks with or compliments a stranger must be just like you were? I hate to beat a dead horse, but if a man is shouting degrading and insulting things at women from across the street, he is probably…wait for it…an asshole! A man who isn’t an asshole and who tries to respect those around him, is probably capable of striking up an actual conversation. There’s also the fun fact that you’re a lot more likely to find that stranger you’re interested in reciprocating if you’re not an asshole when you first establish contact.

      It’s hard being a man too, ya know…
      This is probably my favorite part. If a man is rude and disrespectful to you, then he must be a hate-filled misogynist pig who is nowhere near as enlightened as our author (and Josh of course). However, if a man is rude and disrespectful to you and you are also a man, then you’re just being weak and should accept that behavior, or ‘suck it up’.

      All that being said, I agree with a lot of what the author put forth here. I do feel like some of it is repetitive and other parts are unnecessary. Overall though, I found it stimulating and it did result in my examining how I interact with the world.

      To be honest though, most of this can be boiled down to two lessons I learned as a kid. The first was to respect other people and don’t judge them, as you have no idea where they are coming from or what is going on in their world. The second was my father telling me to treat all women the way I would want someone to treat my younger sister.

  18. You think that a typical guy wouldn’t argue against these things? Have you read the comments? Have you hung out with dudes before?

  19. Hi, I’ve never seen this site before and randomly came across this while looking for something intersting to read. While I feel you have made valid points, I do have some issues with certain things you have said that, after reading the comments, I still feel are wrong or not properly explained and so would like to know your thoughts on my opinions:

    2. Using Your Voice: I don’t believe that just because, in your experience, more men are this way than women, it is through a sense of entitlement. I myself get very loud when I am really excited and enthusiastic about a subject I am discussing, doesnt matter whether I am with men or women, in fact sometimes I get too loud when I am talking to myself!! I grew up in a household where my mother and my aunts were the most vocal, a number of the women I hang around with are more vocal than I am and the office I work in has a group of four or five ladies who will constantly shout you down in conversation. So, from my experience, women are more vocal than men. I think it is just a trait of upbringing, not a sense of entitlement and, if it is, then it’s more an entitlement of your opinion, not your gender, and I believe that you are basing your opinion on more on personal context and experience.

    3. Street Harassment – Do you mean any type of contact with women on the street? One of my closest friends met his wife by going up to her and talking to her as a stranger on the street. Surely it can’t be harassment to go up to someone and say “Hi, my name is _________, what’s yours?”. You may not be talking about this type of interaction but I wasn’t sure.

    5. Keep Your Clothes On – I think this is a ridiculous concept, I don’t think anyone should have to kep themselves covered up for fear of offending other people. I myself play basketball and sometimes walk home with my shirt over my shoulder because it is uncomfortable to wear after I have been sweating. Sure on a crowded train or bus it may be inappropriate, but on the street? The same way it is said women should not be judged for how much, or how little they wear, you cannot assume that a guy with his shirt off is an insensitive misogynist.

    6. Be Publicly Trans-Inclusive – The only thing I don’t understand here is the “assuming only women need abortions”. Speaking in medical terms isn’t that correct?

    7. Demonstrate Clear Consent – If I am trying to move the opposite way through a crowd or a throng of stationary people, I will use my hand to try and create a space before me and stop myself getting squashed or stepped on, regardless of whether it is a man or a woman in front of me. Surely it cannot be insensitive or entitled to do this to anyone regardless of gender and, is it only women that I shouldn’t do this too, surely it should count equally for men and women. It seems as if I should refrain from acting in a way that could be interpreted as insensitive when, to my mind that is just being absurdly cautionary.

    Also, ask before I kiss my partner? I don’t know about you but spontaneous displays of affection are part of what makes my relationship so great and I have it on good authority from my partner that she feels the same way. I understand that maybe not all relationships may be in this mould, but stressing that point as a general rule of thumb seems silly and kind of like you are forcing your opinions on other people’s private relationships.

    These were the only points I had issue with. Maybe I misunderstood or maybe, being from the UK, some of the cultural context doesn’t translate but to me it seems you are sometimes generalising certain modes of behaviour and talking as if they are certainties when in some contexts they may not be.

  20. Ask your partner before you kiss them? This seems to be getting ridiculous. Obviously, if they are uncomfortable or say no, stop. But asking every time?

  21. “#YesAllMen are socialized to feel and act entitled in society, and we tend not to see and understand the ways we act with entitlement because, well, privilege.”
    Listen. You hear that? That was the sound of all the men you needed to reach leaving the page.

    “Have you ever been in a crowded area on a hot summer day when a guy takes off his shirt? First off, he ensures that his sweaty body rubs up against other people….”
    Huh?

    “I hadn’t actually considered how cissexist it was for me to simply take my shirt off in public every time I could until a Trans* friend pointed out how he can’t actually wear traditionally “masculine” swim attire because it would be considered indecent, just as it would be for a cisgendered women to go topless in public.”
    So… because lawmakers are beholden to a bunch of crybabies who pee their pants every time a woman goes naked and want women to be ashamed of their anatomy, NOBODY should be allowed to go bare-chested? I think not, good sir! In fact, I say we should go full bore with a campaign for public nudity! Maybe even public sex! You will not believe how attitudes will change when naked human bodies become No Big Deal!
    “Whoa! Look at that naked chick! I mean LOOK at all of that just hanging out!”
    “Dude, honestly, it’s not a big deal. It’s basic anatomy. Stop being an Ugly American.”

    “Ask before you kiss your partner.”
    Ok, that’s a bit much. Isn’t most of that done with eye contact?

  22. Reblogged this on Betty Elektro In The City and commented:
    Share this to all of the men you know.

  23. Anyone who finds themselves questioning any of this should step back and realise their opinion is exactly WHY this article exists. You do not understand, and you really need to. It’s very hard to understand such a widespread and endemic issue and realise you contribute to it even in such small and seemingly irrelevant ways despite your good intention, but we all do. See the problem, be a part of the change.

  24. Most of this piece departs nicely from the recent upsurge in neofeminist/identity politics victim wallowing and suggest concrete emancipatory paths forward.

    The idea that people should not plumb the bounds of freedom available to them, in this case body freedom, until everyone can is a chicken/egg problem. It is similar to the way that nobody expected hets to put off marriage until lesbians and gays did or that nobody expected the trans folks who were in the US court districts that sanctioned trans marriage to hold off either. That is a twisted reinterpretation of emancipation that has no basis in history.

    Everyone should be able to be as naked as they want when and where they want and so long as there is no nonconsensual and/or sexual contact involved, it is no skin off of anyone else’s ass. By making body freedom more accessible by doing it, we open the doors to others for whom this is not yet an option.

  25. So if a man takes up too much space on public transit he is doing so out of a sense that he is sexually entitled to do so, but if a woman does it she’s just being rude? But how do you know that the individual man is not also just being rude? Is it because more men do it? Mothers with one walking child will often take up more space in public transit than two adults. Is that a type of sexual entitlement as well?
    Maybe the issue is not about entitlement but rather that some people who are not so repressed as to sit with their legs tightly glued together are also sometimes rude in their lack of repression.
    Perhaps it would be less sexist to simply urge people to behave themselves around other people without singling out what gender they are beforehand.

  26. To everyone who is saying that this article focuses only on what men need to do and leaves out how women are sexist and things that we need to do etc- Yes, but please read the title of the article. Jamie is not saying these are end-all be-all solutions or even that they work for everyone. Men, I understand how this article can leave you feeling defensive but, once that feeling has subsided, please re-read with a cooler head a reconsider what Jamie is saying here.

    Also, as a woman, I’d like to speak to #3 and specifically in the vein of random men telling women we’re beautiful. Please DON’T do it. I do not go out into the world everyday to serve as your visual pleasure or stimulation. You may be acting with the best of intentions but the fact of the matter is that I (we) are not looking for your validation. This whole piece is about men being unaware of their male entitlement. And this is a perfect example- quite frankly you have no right to comment on my body. If you think I’m beautiful, great! But keep it to yourself. There are people I appreciate hearing that comment from and there are ways that they say it that make that comment meaningful and genuine. So please focus on telling the people you care about in your life that they’re beautiful, and not random women who would just like to be able to walk around in their skin and clothes unbothered (a privilege men frequently indulge in).

    Note- I would also agree that women should therefor not make comments on men’s appearance but that was not the focus of the article.

  27. First and foremost, I’m appreciative of all the comments on the post (yes, even the hyper-critical ones). While many of them trouble me a lot, I am glad people are willing to engage, and generally, the comments have been with the spirit of dialogue (and there haven’t been too many trolling comments for me to delete).

    I don’t have a lot of time to respond to comments, so I am going to draw out a few themes I’ve seen in comments and reply to them here.

    Most generally, I find it really troubling and somewhat telling that so many people are towing the “not all men,” “this is really an issue of basic respect for all people,” and “women do some of this stuff too” tropes throughout the comments. While yes, all of these relate to basic issues of respect, there is a reason that the post is so directly targeted at men: men disproportionately express entitlement in public spaces. The very fact that some of you are demanding “evidence” of this is an expression of this exact entitlement, as the cumulative voices of the women around us are not enough. Just take one day to listen to the ways that women express having had their bodies touched and their space violated, and we can see that this is an issue men must take up. Again, this is not to say that women or non-binary people do not act in entitled ways that violate others’ space, but it is wholly incomparable to the ways men do this. If that’s not evident, then I would encourage some reflective listening.

    Now I will respond to a few of the things I have heard regarding specific numbers in the article:

    2. This is not saying that men should not have a voice or that we should be silent about things we care about. This is simply asking men to consider our privilege and consider the amount of space we take up in conversations. If you’re still saying, “But women do it too . . . “ you’re missing the point.

    3. Are there ways for men to respectfully approach people they’re attracted to in public? Yes! Absolutely! Are there also a million more ways that men think approaching others is actually street harassment? Yes!
    Here’s a helpful article: http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/01/feminist-guide-to-non-creepy-flirting/

    4. Yes, referring to women is sexist. It’s also super ableist. Some other people in the comments have done amazing jobs responding to this ‘ish.

    5. I’m all for body positivity, and I wish more people were able to more freely express their bodily autonomy and beauty in public. However, we should not act as if men being naked or otherwise unclothed in public is in any way revolutionary or encouraging a body positive movement (except in cases, perhaps, where men depart from traditional beauty standards by, say, being fat). It simply reinscribes traditional privilege. Further, in a society that has men regularly forcing their bodies on others through sexual violence, to force our bodies (though with distance) through streaking or the like only furthers that sense of male entitlement with our bodies. And for those saying, “But where I am, women can go around topless,” sure, that is a good thing, but let’s not pretend that those women aren’t then sexualized for doing so, as their photos are likely to then show up on voyeuristic pornography sites. The point here is that men ought to consider our privilege, and doing so shouldn’t always be comfortable or convenient. Thus, I encouraged men who might be in public on a hot day to consider NOT taking off their shirts to better consider their privilege.

    6. A quick note based on a few people asking this: no, not only women need abortions. Here’s an article on that: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/17888-not-everyone-who-has-an-abortion-is-a-woman-how-to-frame-the-abortion-rights-issue
    And I really appreciated the link about googling “cissexism” from Onaka.

    7. Demonstrate clear consent – individuals in relationships can create models for consent that do not mean asking vocally every time. This particular point was about DEMONSTRATING clear consent as a model for other people. Maybe I don’t verbally ask my partner every time I go to kiss them, but I can demonstrate our commitment to consent publicly by asking in front of others to show that we are committed to consent. Similarly, I can ask publicly to slide past someone rather than putting my hands on them. I can ask before hugging a friend because of the message that it sends publicly. Again, this is about ways to push back on PUBLIC entitlement, so this is a suggestion for publicly demonstrating to others that consent is important in a society that downplays or ignores it.

    It is absurd, though, that some people want to claim I think consent is only important for men. In every aspect of my work, I encourage all people to demonstrate healthy consent, and I even offer workshops for people of any gender about what clear, healthy, and sexy consent can look like. This article, though, is for men. I am a man, so I am writing to those who share my gender. There is a need for EVERYONE to have healthy consent education. I also see a particular need for men to learn about healthy, enthusiastic consent considering that the vast majority of perpetrators of sexual violence are men. This is not to say that women do not commit sexual violence or that this is not important for people who are not men. I choose to focus on men because I see that as my calling within sexual violence prevention work as a cisgender man, so that will be my primary focus, though (as noted) my work does offer tools to people of all genders. Want an article that calls women to more carefully consider consent? Write one! Or find them! There are great ones out there!

    Oh, and to Carl, I appreciate your respectful engagement through disagreement. Having worked with many survivors from rural areas like the one you describe, I can testify that this is not a problem of urban areas or a problem where rural women just appreciate the ways men treat them. This is an issue that needs to be addressed in myriad of ways in every community in the United States.

    There are a host of other things that I likely could or should respond to in these comments, but I just don’t have time to cover it all! That said, if I interpret your comment as abusive or if it’s just repeating crap that others are already saying in the comments, it will get deleted. People cry censorship, but this is my space, and you don’t have a right to say whatever you want in my space. #SorryNotSorry

    P.S. Yes, this article is written in a very Western mindset, and it is likely written in a very U.S.-centric way. I am in the U.S. and writing in the U.S.

    • Your response is a fine example of circular logic and argumentum ad populum. Asking for evidence of a general argument is basic element of science, be it physical or social science. If you claim that something occurs, it is reasonable for people to ask for evidence supporting that claim. However, the evidence cannot simply be “the cumulative voices” you know. That you know many people who experience something does not prove that thing occurs all the time.

      Likewise, listening to women talk about their experiences would not prove it an issue men should take up anymore than listening to men talk about their experiences would prove it an issue women should take up. It would only demonstrates that this is an issue that affects some women, which no one denies.

      More curious is why people should engage in “reflective listening” to women but men. Why should we not listen to men when they say the same thing happens to them?

      As for your claim about consent, I have yet to read a single article by you suggesting that women and girls should ask for “clear, healthy” consent from men and boys, or that boys and men should expect that girls and women should ask for their consent. That implies you either do not consider it necessary to tell females to respect males’ boundaries, that females do not have to respect males’ boundaries, or that males have no boundaries to begin with.

      Regarding your comment about deleting comments, I agree it is not censorship, however, it does demonstrate that you do not want anyone to challenge your views. Attitudes like that are part of the reason I became an advocate for male survivors, so #IAmNotSorryYourAreNotSorry.

  28. This is a great 101 piece full of wonderful suggestions. Thank you so much!

  29. […] Jamie Utt: 10 Ways Men Can Combat Sexist Entitlement in Public http://changefromwithin.org/2014/06/26/10-ways-men-can-combat-sexist-entitlement-in-public/  […]

  30. Question for the women: if a man were to see you in public and think you were amazingly attractive, how would you like him to react?

    • By keeping it to yourself unless you know me. I couldn’t care less what you, as a stranger, think about my appearance, and thus have no need for you to tell me.

    • If you think I’m attractive, maybe you should actually get to know me first. I am not interested in being reduced to appearance.

  31. I hope you immediately shoved his feet off the arm rest without warning. That’s what I would have done no hesitation.

  32. I think it comes down to simple mutual respect for one another and basic common sense. Sadly, these traits are absent in public settings, and it is not a gender specific issue.

  33. We SHOULD be able to go shirtless, but we aren’t. You can’t base your argument on should, but what is. I can’t go shirtless because I’m a woman. He’s asking you to take it upon yourself (only the privileged in a position can take it upon themselves) to create a more conscious and inclusive environment by keeping your shirt on. It is a privilege you have and I am denied solely based on gender. Be considerate of it’s effect. Is that so hard?

    Also: it is not up to you to define what is insignificant or an injustice to someone. Simply realize your ascribed male privilege and don’t do things like he mentioned so even the people you don’t know personally can feel safe. Not everyone has a strong enough voice to be heard specifically because of their damage. Make the space around you safe and inclusive and you’ll be surprised at what you find.

  34. I just had an experience with this where I fought back for my space…and got molested because of it. I was on a night bus and the young guy next to me didn’t speak english, so when I asked him to move his leg off of my half of the space he didn’t do it. So I simply used force (pushed his leg outa the way). I also staked my claim to the arm rest. But it didn’t really make him move, so our arms and legs were touching a bit. But I was NOT about to give up my space on principle. I went to sleep and when I woke up his hand was on my chest! This jerk assumed that just because I was allowing our bodies to touch, that I must want him. He seemed utterly shocked when I slapped his had away violently and yelled. And then he said some things to me that I didn’t understand, but can only assume meant “but I thought you were into it?”

  35. 1. I would be interested to see how often you “called men out” and in what enviroment you would feel comfortable enough to do it? I bet you a few times you would sit very quietly in the corner.

    2. Some people are loud and some are not. This is more common with men because, you know, physiology. Not so much because of entitlement.

    3/4. Of course be mindful of the language you use when dealing with other humans. Isnt this courtesy 101. Trying to police other peoples language is another matter all together. Remember the corner?

    5/6. I get it. Be respectful and dont rub your sweaty body on people. Again isnt that courtesy 101. Dont take off your shirt because others cant, umm, why? Are we not supposed to do things just because others cant?

    7. Good idea. And when consent has already been demonstrated, share that love. :)

    8. Strive to be an Ally for the weakest amongst you. Be it the helpless female or male. They all need our support.

    9. Talk with people about their entitlements. Share your ideas on how to make the world a better place.

    10. Make sure you dont shame young boys by assuming they are entitled. That is probably the fastest way to have them harbour ill feelings towards themselves and then act out in exactly the way you assume they are. Talk to them in positive loving ways by affirming the goodness in them.

    All in all be the change that you want to see in the world. I would ask the author of this piece to not feel so entitled as to speak for me or my son.

  36. Since I moved to California from Europe (spent most of my life in Hungary, France and the UK), I’ve been thinking about this issue of equality. I feel equal when I can wear a sexy dress and not be considered “unprofessional”. I feel equal when I can simply tell a man “don’t touch me” instead of feeling like I need support not to be harassed. Yes, it’s a fine line between harassment and advances in good faith. As humans, I think the best choice would be to learn to pay attention to each other and speak up when we want to. Yes, laws and regulations are great. But I want to live in a world when we all respect each other and practice direct communication. Not because it’s the law. But because it’s the best way to live.

  37. […] Changes from Within offers 10 ways that men can combat sexism in public. […]

  38. […] 10 ways men can combat sexist entitlement. […]

  39. […] published on Change From Within and cross-posted here with their […]

  40. […] thttp://changefromwithin.org/2014/06/26/10-ways-men-can-combat-sexist-entitlement-in-public/#more-218… […]

  41. […] and guy who thinks he can pull off a soul patch Jamie Utt also cited it in one of his recent “musings,” which was then picked up by a few websites. The Huffington Post covered it twice, and some […]

  42. […] yourself is interesting. Men occupying too much space in trains is one example. It even has a name: “Sexist entitlement”. According to Jamie […]

  43. […] Jamie Utt: 10 Ways Men Can Combat Sexist Entitlement in Public http://changefromwithin.org/2014/06/26/10-ways-men-can-combat-sexist-entitlement-in-public/  […]

  44. […] Jamie Utt: 10 Ways Men Can Combat Sexist Entitlement in Public http://changefromwithin.org/2014/06/26/10-ways-men-can-combat-sexist-entitlement-in-public/  […]

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