I was thinking today about how often when I tell guys that it makes many women uncomfortable to hear what they think of us sexually when we have no preexisting romantic or sexual (or, often, platonic) connection, they respond with things like “SO WHAT ARE YOU SAYING I CAN’T FIND WOMEN ATTRACTIVE” or “WHAT SO NOW IT’S A CRIME TO THINK A GIRL IS HOT”.
I think it’s crucial and telling that in these responses, men are seemingly unable to distinguish between the thoughts we have about people and the thoughts we have about people that we share with the people they’re about.
And it’s interesting how in most other situations, it’s not exactly a radical idea that sometimes you might not want to share your opinion about someone with that person. We’ve all made the peace with annoying relatives or incompetent coworkers or, for that matter, people we find UNattractive.
It’s only when it comes to a woman’s appearance that a request like “Hey, please don’t make comments like that to me, it makes me uncomfortable” is met with hyperbolically defensive comments like “WHAT SO I’M A TERRIBLE PERSON FOR FINDING YOU ATTRACTIVE?!”
Often, clear communication and honesty are very important. Other times, keeping your thoughts about people to yourself is absolutely necessary to avoid freaking people out and destroying social situations. There is no reason why a random woman on the street or a coworker or whoever needs to know your opinion about her appearance. IT IS OKAY TO HAVE OPINIONS ON HER APPEARANCE, positive or negative. That doesn’t mean they need to be shared.
sure except im a little leery about the part about it being okay to have that opinion… your need to determine whether or not your women friends or women in general are attractive (whether before anything else, or even as part of the friendship) is a little wacked, and i have never seen a man’s judgement of a woman’s appearance not factor into how worthy of his time he thinks her to be, no matter how platonic the relationship is…
I suppose so? But I’m not really willing to tell people what they can and cannot think. I do believe that right now, many such thoughts are mostly automatic anyway, and that they will probably start to diminish as people’s paradigms shift and feminist ideas become more and more mainstream and internalized.
Right now I would be happy if people would learn not to say everything they think.