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  1. Johnny-Come-Lately: Famous Dudes and Sexism

    July 1, 2012 by Miss Lemonade

    My silence screams ‘ha ha!’/And you call us wrong either way/It ‘just so happens’ to us everyday.  – Le Tigre

    Look, I’m sick of your shit. I don’t care if you’re famous and “erudite” arbitors of geek culture. I don’t care how many hits your articles or comics get, how many people know your name or laugh at your jokes. You have a big fucking problem right now and that problem is shitty behaviour. You’re all up in arms right now because someone called Felicia Day a “booth babe” but you conveniently forget that there are other, more famous Destructoid writers going around harassing women on Twitter and calling them “feminazi c*nts.”

    I see you, Wil Wheaton, who’s mad his friend got shit on and while I don’t want anyone to get harassed, much less Felicia Day, the idea that you’re just noticing and caring about gaming culture being shitty to women NOW? There’s been tons of other less-famous women who’ve been harassed before and no one gives a shit about them. Gaming and nerd culture turning on women didn’t start with Anita Sarkeesian (though that was horrible), and it definitely didn’t even start with the fucking Dickwolves debacle either. It’s always been there and the fact that nerd guys are shuffling uncomfortably and being angry about it now because it involves someone they care about finally makes me feel sick. Where were you guys when Penny Arcade was being shitty for the umpteenth time; what about what THOSE guys? They’ve been just as instrumental in being shitheads as a couple of Destructoid writers.

    If you really want nerd culture to change, you guys have to start being better people. You – the content creators, the talking heads and the guys who have thousands of followers on Twitter. Don’t sit around and huffily shake your fist at a culture you helped create by not giving a shit about this until now. Get rid of sexist language out of your peers, quash your fans going out and attacking objects of your criticism “for you” and definitely stop grandstanding and using  typically masculine arm-flailing when people say mean things about your women friends. Guess what, men have been saying mean things about any woman that dares to exist on the Internet and they aren’t all Felicia Day. There are a lot of non-successful, non-famous women that have to deal with this crap on the regular. Women you don’t have a close personal connection with need protection too.

    Protection from whom? Protection from Jim Sterling, Penny Arcade as much as a bunch of grognard nerd-types attacking via blog comments or @ replies. This is the shit palace you guys built by not smacking your bros for the awful things they say or joke about in a very real, public setting as much as not putting a muzzle on your fans. You’re mad about nerd culture attacking women? Why don’t you actually DO something about it? Women-bashing is everywhere, especially in nerd culture and none of you are doing a lick of work to help get rid of it. I’ve seen more responsible editorial staffs on blogs with a third of your budgets and twice as many women contributors. I’ve read tons of webcomics that don’t hinge on rape jokes or sexism to get their point across. I’ve seen tons of talking heads that don’t make shitty jokes with their male friends on Twitter.

    This shit doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen because men are threatened by a famous woman. It is because they’re allowed to be shitbags to women for whatever reason they choose. It is because they see us as outsiders, stealing their precious video games and rape jokes, they see us as less. That’s why the insults come out, that is why attack campaigns come out for their amusement, that’s why people are allowed to use anonymity to constantly shit on blogs like this one. It doesn’t help that a lot of them are famous, are well-known and possibly make video games.

    Sexism is coursing through your veins and now that you’ve all become “aware” of it in your precious nerd culture, take the power and privilege you have with all your fancy, angry words and put your vast empires where your mouth is. Realize how hard it is? Now you’ll realize what us nerd women have had to deal with for so long now. It’s not easy. And no one is going to pat you on the back for treating women with respect and watching what you say. This is baseline, basic human stuff here. Caring about others and how you present yourself professionally and publicly requires a much higher regard for your audience than talking amongst friends and you guys, those with so much much pull and reach need to fucking realize that for a second. You have the most responsibility to do the right thing and you need to not run around hoping people praise you for it. You should do it because it is the right thing to do.

    If you got huffy and defensive reading any of this, then you still have a long way to go. Maybe you’ll realize what you need to do now though.

     


  2. Geek Pride Day

    May 25, 2012 by Miss Lemonade

    Apparently it’s Geek Pride Day; I was only aware of this because of the errant tweets I saw coming across my various Twitter accounts. I have really mixed feelings about this kind of self-appointed holiday. Much like when people talk about “Well, when’s WHITE history month?”, the idea of geeks celebrating a special day for them when they’ve managed to enjoy their exclusion comfortably every day of the year due to their own resourcefulness is hilarious. Geeks don’t need a special day set aside because if you are a self-professed geek, you live every day like that. Secondly, the idea of “pride” in being a geek feels shitty to me.

    Leigh Alexander set out some really on-point feelings on geek culture but the biggest rock stuck in my craw over the idea of geek identity or having pride in it is just how fucking awful geek culture and how exclusionary it is. It’s still constructed and oriented towards one audience and one audience only: straight cis-gendered white men. The enforcement and policing that goes on towards anyone who isn’t that is incredible. Women have to constantly “prove” how nerdy or geeky they are to be accepted, PoC aren’t even considered nerds and don’t forget about how much you get harassed if you trans, queer/gay, or even have disabilities and try to perform as part of geek culture. Face it, a lot of us who’d be called nerds or geeks and got harassed in high school are still living out the same bullshit day in and day out from the people who were supposed to understand. By this notion alone, it is easy to see where privilege insects heavily into geek culture because it isn’t divorced from our society, as much as geeks want to pretend it is.

    So this is my feelings on Geek Pride Day: that geek pride is toxic. It’s not going to stop being that until it stops espousing the same bullshit everyone does. I cannot tell you how much my life has sucked participating in geek culture, especially gamer culture. I’ve been harassed, threatened and driven out of nerd enclaves because I’m a woman. I’ve had my identity questioned and fetishized because I’m bisexual. My interests, which should be tantamount, are meaningless because I’m commodified and sexualized on a regular basis just due to my gender and sexual preferences. Geek culture asserts falsely that everyone is valuable because we’re all alike in our nerdiness and forgets to mention that the background to this is largely masculine, white and obsessive. It’s a trap, simply put.

    If you want to feel a sense of community in this culture, then clean your shit up, nerds. Put your money where your mouth is. Make geek culture a great place to be, where we can all safely and happily discuss our love of Warcraft or build circuit boards. Stamp out harassment of women, increase visibility of PoC, kick the fucking slurs from your language, stop making rape jokes, build video games that are accessible and stop shitting all over people that don’t fit your stupid geek identity. Embrace and build a geek culture that includes everyone in a healthy, positive way.

    Until then, you have nothing to be proud of.

     


  3. Why Females Are Oversexualized in Video Games, An Original Perspective From a Dude

    May 7, 2012 by Miss Lemonade

    Okay ladies, let’s sit down and read what has to be the most facile, lazy and unexamined piece of thinking about a subject that faces us daily. I was literally jaw agape at how poorly this article was worked out and let’s face it, not surprised in the slightest. I love it when people who are not affected that much by sexism and haven’t even begun to unpack why that is try to poke at the subject of sexism in popular media. It’s like a jolly youth in summer, swinging off a rope into a lake full of contentious, murky depths and splashing around to his heart’s content without a care in the world. He has his fun then walks out and goes home to dry off.

    It must be a joy to be able to take a particularly thorny idea and not actually think about it real hard.

    It starts off with the notion that heterosexual men (you know, the only sexuality that exists, especially in the gaming world) are enchanted and besotted by women and all that fluffy stuff. They can’t help their natural urges and fixate on women in a sexual way. Just a function of instinct and genes! Men are nothing but their sexual desires! Aughh! Do you know what happens when you start off an article with such nonsense? I don’t feel compelled to read much farther. Not only does it center the world (and our popular media by default) in a hetero-normative fashion (gay men, anyone? NON-MALE SEXUALITY IN GENERAL?) but it presumes the fact that all our actions are largely the result of our inability to rise above base urges. Urges that we all have, right? Wrong. Not only are all humans different with their sexual desires but “urges” is a very soft way of saying “I want to not be held responsible or think about how I view people in a sexual manner.” This is a very easy road to go down and suddenly you’re well into the “I couldn’t help myself, she was wearing that article of clothing I like, and…” I’m pretty sure you all know where this is going. Sexuality and sexual proclivities are always, always the responsibility of the person, and men, you are not free from this. I know that society has trained you away from thinking you are responsible for yourselves, in favor of blaming women and your own shoddy caveman mechanics, but you are not. You are free to make choices and act in a responsible manner towards other people and yourself. Men are not obsessed with women. They want to believe that they are, because we’re this magical mysterious body of flesh that tempts them. It’s an unhinged notion that squarely puts the burden of keeping men sated, amused and “in check” on women, despite us never asking for it, wanting it or even being interested in you. It has been like this for centuries.

    Because of this, the author supposes, it’s the whole reason we’ve had power over you, ladies! It’s because we’re driven mad by your sexiness! Rarr!

    Excuse me?

    It’s our fault you’ve kept us chained down by power relationships, allowed years of religious doctrine and societal values keep us penned in? Because of our inherent sexiness? HA! It’s one of the greatest tricks of power, I’ve found, to blame it on the powerless, that it is needed to keep things in line. Men have dictated power over women because men have enjoyed it. This is the crux of it. Power is an intoxicating thing and it has been built so thoroughly into our culture that men do not even have to recognize that it is there. It wants to go unchallenged because that’s how it’s always been. Men have created laws and social structures because it’s good being on top. It isn’t because women are some superior gender (as the author claims) and men are protecting us from them, or keeping us safe. It’s that they cannot bear the idea of us being on equal footing. Men have put themselves in the power position because it’s what introduces the most control over their culture. Making a point that men have done this because of their desire for us misses the point entirely; power is far more seductive than any gender could be. Don’t mistake this. Accept your place in society, men, for what it is. It is that you are on top.

    But hey, you feminists have done some good stuff with this, right? Of course you have! We’re SO acutely aware of sexism in video games now. Yay! Sexism is totally unearthed! We can dust it off and put it in a museum now that we know what it is! Right? Right? 

    No. Sexism is still so embedded in our popular media that every time a new gaming title comes out, I scan the box art and relevant articles in the blog community to see what’s wrong with it, because I’m never surprised when it features women in the ass-and-titties pose. Face it, sexism and how we portray women is still largely unquestioned. I know this because every time it gets brought up, a huge fight in comments usually breaks out.

    It’s okay though, ladies, Gordon is here to explain WHY sexism occurs, too! Do go on, I’m all ears over here.

    First off, the point is reiterated that it’s not about power, it’s that men are sex-obsessed apes. Now, this is stuff I don’t understand. Why are men usually okay with society constantly painting them in a negative light? I think it is because they don’t want the responsibility of their choices. This is all well and good, but as someone who hasn’t been allowed choices or responsibility herself, this is gross. Why don’t men want to be seen as human beings?  It is because it makes it easier to not have to think about the shitty things they do. It exerts control over women and their sexuality, and it allows men an easy “out” for what they do. An alibi, if it were. Not criticizing this process is why we have a lot of problems in our culture. (But still, this is a function of power, make no mistake about that.)

    Secondly, he says that sexism occurs because it is what they think women want. Ha ha! Are you kidding me? Gamer culture is always sold as an entirely straight, white male product. It is always ever seen as a commodity for and by straight white dudes. Don’t even come around here with this “we make this because it is what we think women want.” Look, Gordon. I’m sure you meant well. But video games are not made with women in mind or as a consideration. They always made with what men want. Male characters are male power fantasies and women characters are there with an implicitly straight male audience in mind. (This is also known as “male gaze“.) Historically the only people considered to be nerds or geeks in general were men, they still are largely considered the demographic unless something is especially demarcated “for women.” That is how othered we are by media; that everything is not created for us unless it’s distinctly shoved in our faces as such, usually involving horses, or pink, or some other thing that a male-dominated gaming industry believes we want. It is not, however, a scantily clad demon hunter from Diablo III, as hard as you want to make that argument. Granted, do I enjoy seeing women in a sexual way? Yes. I’m a queer woman, but I don’t even come close to pretending that most of the sexualized images of women I see in video games are for me or things I really want. (First off, despite liking women sexually, I do however have a sense of critical awareness and taste, unlike the men you describe in your article.)

    Thirdly, apparently women are sexualized in video games or treated in a sexist way because –drumroll please– they need feminine traits to balance out all the masculine ones! That’s right, ladies, apparently fighting or wearing armor isn’t a womanly thing to do. Being sexual is! Femininity is sexiness, and shooting guns or serving in an army isn’t. Not to speak of that frequently we’ve not been allowed to because of men and their stupid rules, but because it’s just not what we do! So we need to sexify women characters in video games up because anything else isn’t THAT feminine and men need to believe we are still women (and therefore, still able to be lusted after) even with donning armor or using a weapon or doing anything other than pouting our lips or baking something.

    The article ends on the thoughtful “of course equality isn’t about just wearing …sensible cloths [sic] but also, like, freedom and respect and social status and stuff.” (I might have paraphrased that a touch.) But since Gordon considers himself a sex-obsessed ape male, he doesn’t know honestly if this means big tits and sexy video game characters fit in with this intense paradigm shift. If you couldn’t manage it by virtue of your brain, then why did you even bother tackling sexism? Oh right, I forgot, it is because men always have the need and the right to express their opinions about things they haven’t really felt the sting of or haven’t sat down and properly thought about.

    Sexism in video games is a problem, make no mistake about that. But it is due to the power that men have, or are believed to have in both the industry and the consumer market. It is a lily-white, blanketing idea that the only people buying video games are straight white men. It is who they are created for and they will cop the same problems we have with viewing women and creating women characters that are in every other creative industry. Until we rise up and recognize this across the board and do things to make the gaming world more comfortable for women to a) be employed b) participate in c) be catered to, then we will not see a death of sexism any time soon. If we don’t recognize why it happens, why it occurs and stop shitting up blog articles and comments and Reddit with this tripe about what uninformed men think about sexism, then it won’t be going away. Before you open your mouth to talk about things, men, why don’t you ask some women about sexism in video gaming?

    You might find the answers surprising.

    Hint: It definitely has something to do with not addressing us as “females.”

     


  4. Maxim’s Gamer Girl Contest: Selling the Performances of Gamer Women

    April 11, 2012 by Miss Lemonade

    Gaming culture! Gaming culture!

    You hotbed of commodity fetishization, hobby validation and entrenched sexism!

    Thy name is Maxim’s Gamer Girl contest.

    Now, I might get criticized for saying that Maxim of all things, that barely-tasteful lady mag, is a part of gamer culture, but it sure seems to be trying very hard to parcel out its particular brand of glossy lady-selling to the neckbeard set right now. Enter in a contest that combines a nerd’s love of hot nerdy women, competition and opinion validation and you have a perfect storm of exactly What’s Wrong With Gamers.

    I tried really hard to keep my nose out of this whole thing because frankly, I’ve been weathering a long period of anti-feminist criticism and I didn’t need to shit in the faces of people that I actually know online who have chosen to compete in this whole circus. But when I woke up and saw someone I know on Twitter talking about how feminists were lashing out at her on her Facebook page for participating, I knew I had to step in somewhere.  Maxim wants this. This is precisely what a magazine wants: drama, page views and discussion. They want people to have “favorite” women and to have competitors get into “cat fights” and nerds to bicker with each other over who is better or worth more votes. It’s a really sick sad affair all around. But going to a lady’s Facebook and harassing her over her participation in said contest? Low blows.

    The problem here is the contest itself. The whole idea of gamer girls (not women, mind you, never women) seems to still firmly be rooted in what male nerds believe they should be. They are usually a conventionally attractive woman, able-bodied, most often white, with the charm of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and the gamer skills of your bros. But not TOO good, unless you like being beaten by a girl. (Ha-HA!) There have been groups of women who just want to game in peace and on their own terms, but there’s been quite a few women that are quite happy to buy into this and make it their lifestyle or profession. I ain’t mad at them. Getting ahead in a man’s world is what practical women do. It’s my job as the Dissenting Feminist to look at why we have to do these performances, full of lipstick and pink controllers, with allusions to Bastions of Nerd Culture  so that Nerd Men like us.

    It’s because Gamers are still thought of as men. Women gamers have to be sorted aside and indicated as such because women are not gamers by nature. Despite the rise of gaming across all ages in women, we’re still not a part of it. We’re sexy fixtures, novelties, and our status only lasts as long as we can keep fraggin’ and making pouty faces.

    Maxim knows that this is still what lurks in the hearts of gamer men and is preying on it. It’s also preying on a lot of our insecurities and internalized sexism as women too. I’ve seen more than a couple tweets decrying one competitor over another because X lady does things like give out special vote rewards, and this other Y lady doesn’t. The subtle implication here is that X is an attention whore and Y isn’t. It’s about continually policing and validating how women should be behaving in a large dog-and-pony show that’s already designed to make us feel bad about ourselves as gamers and women. Entries upon entries are full of drippy sex performances with peek-a-boo pictures and serious camera faces. It feels like a “meet a date” site with more Horde t-shirts. Vote on your favorite cut of ladymeat, gents, she might crawl out of the computer and gently caress your face while you tell her about your Call of Duty clan. Be passionate on the collectible women on this site and maybe she’ll give you a call on Skype.

    I’m angry that Maxim is dumping money into setting nerds against eachother and pushing the same agenda that it always has in its magazine – making money on the idea that women exist as caricatures for men to enjoy, whether it be the Hot Schoolgirl, or the sexy co-ed, or now the Game-Capable Sexpot. But shame on you if you feel like attacking the women involved for participating in this. If I had a face for competitions and it could possibly get me a bigger job or more money, I’d consider it too. We need to stop pretending that this is about “bad” gamer women or “good” ones. It’s about the whole notion of what gamer girls are and how we need to, as a community, stop selling it wholesale without any agency in our own images. We need to stop defining our womanhood by what men in the gaming sphere think. We need to stop letting dumb bro-mags run online contests under the guise of being our nerdly friend.

    Maxim is no one’s friend, least of all mine.

    Editor’s Note: I will not be linking said contest page because I legitimately don’t want to give them more traffic. You can search for it quite easily if you wish.


  5. Out, Damn’d Spot!

    April 1, 2012 by Miss Lemonade

    Something I invariably wanted to focus here on my blog is mental illness. Specifically, my own. I think one of the easier parts of feminism is letting go of yourself and focusing on the cause, but as far ableism and mental illnesses (also referred to as MIs) intersect with that, it can often be hard to talk about or discuss.

    I’ve noticed that one of the topics a lot of us (my Twitter followers, that is) talk about in relation to our own issues, regardless of what they may be, is keeping a living space clean. I say “living space” because a lot of us do not live in a house. Some of us live in apartments, or even sublet rooms. Some of us still live at home with our parents or relatives. A living space is where, I believe, you spend a good portion of your time. This can include not just the entire domicile (that we may or may not share), or just the portion we’re responsible for.

    Let me tell you, cleaning sucks. I don’t think it has to be said that everyone on the face of the planet, MIs or not, usually do not leap at the chance at cleaning things. But add to the fact that people might have anxieties related to cleaning, or fixations, or are working through depression and it suddenly becomes a losing battle to try and do it every day. Add to that fact that a lot of people who suffer from mental illness are acutely aware of this fact? Not having a clean house is practically seared into our brains as “abnormal” and that we’re falling right into the perception that people have of the mentally ill. It sucks. It really does.

    I have conflicting problems: I have an intense anxiety about things not being clean and cluttered. But I also sometimes do not have the mental energy to clean. You can see already why this might be a touch problematic.  In my mind, a slight amount of mess means my house goes from 0 to Hoarders without much reflection that it is not. I like my living spaces fairly cleaned up, especially my computer desk. The problem arises though when the entire house has gone un-picked up for days and I am in a mushy, depressive slump. It just adds to the guilt, the anxiety and all the other things that woefully come with it. This isn’t new ground, even for the Internet. The responsibility to make things live-able, especially when I have another person inhabiting this place, is a crucial one.

    So what do I do? I cannot say that all my tips and tricks will help you. I specifically have anxiety issues and bipolar disorder, and that might not work for you.

    • Do a little bit each day – it is so easy to let stuff pile up, especially if you are busy. Doing one chore or something easy every day not only keeps something clean (which is mentally rewarding) but it also lets the entire place from falling apart. It also lessens the work done when you tackle a bigger task like cleaning the stove-top or the bathroom.
    • Organize – having things in a certain spot not only helps with me being able to find stuff, but it also means it’s easy to put everything in a place. It creates “flow”, which I think is organizational speak for “you can’t sit on the floor eating ice cream with a plastic shovel with your shoes in the sink.”
    • Break it down – take bigger tasks and make them into lots of little ones. It means you can come back and not feel overwhelmed if you have to stop.
    • Schedule (or not) – This is one of those suggestions that is fairly polarizing. Some people work amazingly well with a schedule, others don’t. I like a schedule to some degree whether it is a deadline (“Get this done by this date”) or a regular day to do things. Being flexible does help though, which is why I give myself a couple of days leeway on even weekly tasks.
    • Get help! – This is pretty crucial if you have a partner, housemate or significant other living with you. Ask for help. It’s not a big deal. I know how it feels you should be able to maintain an entire household but some days you can’t. It’s not bad. You’re not a bad person. Sometimes this might mean, if you can afford it, getting a cleaning person. I do not have a cleaning person but I know some friends of mine who do. That’s okay! Sometimes we don’t have enough time (or spoons, or whatever) to clean.
    • Admit defeat, do it gracefully – don’t cycle yourself into a guilt spiral if you don’t get to clean stuff. Cleaning is something you can do when you feel better. Shaming yourself doesn’t get it done nor does it make you feel better.

    The Problem With Cleaning and Media Perceptions of Mental Illness

    One of the biggest pressures I think those of us with MIs face with regards to our living spaces is that it the easiest way to appear “normal” – so much advertising and media, especially aimed at those of us who identify as women, is focused on a tidy home. It’s what we as women need to focus on! Whether it is the latest product for cleaning, or some way to make our lives easier to clean, a spotless home is considered central to a woman’s value and her public life if you believed ads. As a feminist, especially one with a mental illness, it’s pretty easy to see how society focuses on clean homes as a way of conforming to feminine performativity and how mental illness can cause us to spiral down when we cannot perform a basic task expected of us. It afflicts us in all stages of life: a single woman with matted hair and lots of cats, a married woman who shames her husband. I could talk a lot more about just the basic problem with regards to women and MIs, but I feel that might be a longer blog post for another time.

    Another problem is that a lot of the gross, exploitative reality TV shows out there often pick on people with MIs or other problems (like being poor, ya!) so that it reinforces the notion that you’re a terrible person if you have MIs and live in a pigsty. It conflates all MIs with “unhealthy” levels of cleanliness. The aforementioned Hoarders does this quite well. Hoarders is one of those shows I really need to not watch, but I succumb to the temptation sometimes when it’s late at night and I’m up on Netflix. It is to my anxieties that most horror films are to children – I watch it through my fingers sometimes. But what I’m ultimately left with is how much TV plays on the idea that people with mental illnesses are unable to function normally all the time. While this might be true for some people, a great deal of people manage a couple portions of their lives (if not all of it) in a typical fashion. Mental illnesses can disable our ability to function in some areas, but not all. And if they do? That’s part of dealing with an illness. I just feel that so many reality TV shows profit off the idea that crazy people are all living in gross nest of our own excrement, and don’t really empathize with how someone on that show might get that way. Hoarding is part of a complex network of psychological pitfalls and anxiety. It’s one more way that media fails at representing those of us with MIs in a responsible, realistic fashion.

    I’d really enjoy it if advertising and popular media didn’t fixate so heavily on our living spaces being the clear shame and identifier of our lives. I’d really love it if we didn’t exploit those of us with MIs for popular entertainment. I’d love it if I didn’t feel so compulsed to keep a house spotless because I’m a woman, and didn’t have such issues with it because of my anxiety.

     


  6. How To Talk to Women and Not Be Creepy

    March 20, 2012 by Miss Lemonade

    This originally was posted to my Tumblr. I’ve made slight edits for clarity or grammar where neccessary. I’ve decided to start this as my first post on the blog in dedication to International Anti-Street Harassment Week (March 18th-24th, 2012). – ed.

    I was talking on Twitter about how I was approached tonight when standing with my friend at a bus-stop downtown by a creepy guy. A male acquaintance asked me how he was being creepy, outside of “unreciprocated flirting”, with genuine curiousity. This is the difference between myself and men – I don’t need to explain how someone is creepy to other women. They just know. They know that when I say creepy, I don’t need to spell out what that means. Saying that I’m creeped out is enough, you know?

    So guys, I’m going to do you a solid and lay down some education.

    You don’t realize it but situations you put yourself forth in to a woman can come off really creepy and even scary. You don’t realize this because a woman has to always guess a guy’s motivations if she has no idea who he is and he’s just coming out of nowhere to talk to her. We don’t have the luxury of assuming that he’s harmless. What seems nice to you can be rude, creepy, or even terrifying to someone. This is good advice for anyone, but statistically speaking, women have a lot more problems dealing with this kind of behaviour and I’m also a woman so this is speaking from personal experience. Creepiness in guys makes me go from neutral to “should I be running away right now” mode.

    Now, I’m sure you know a lot of women who aren’t scared of men. How scared a woman is of a random man talking to her is not your business, ever. If she is scared of every guy, that’s her choice. Get over it.

    1.) Pick a good place.

    This means in a situation where socializing usually occurs is a safe bet. People go to places to socialize and be around other people and generally are more pleasant and less threatened by your presence. Bars! Mixers! Coffee houses! Parties! Areas of group activities or events like concerts or sporting matches! These are great places to talk to people.

    Places that you find people to be solitary, lost in thought or generally quiet on the lower end of “good.” Museums, libraries and such are examples of these.

    Places that you are forced to be out of sheer necessity (especially alone) are not ideal, if downright terrible places to approach women randomly. People don’t like you intruding on a place they HAVE to be or NEED to be at because there’s no way to leave or else they have to stop what they need to be doing to avoid you if they feel uncomfortable. Workplaces that are front-facing (interacting with customers or clientele), bus stops, grocery stores, etc. These are bad because not only is a woman usually alone but there’s nothing that predicates a social interaction AT all. Talking to someone or coming up to them and forcing a non-standard interaction with someone working (unlike asking for help or for product information) or breaking them out of a standard errand or routine is not only rude but can be very off-putting or scary. It says you don’t understand social rules very well or their business being there.

    Approaching when she’s all alone somewhere, especially somewhere remote (like a parking garage or sidewalk on an empty street) is a really, really bad idea.

    2.) Pick a good time.

    If a woman is talking with a friend, try to be polite and don’t interrupt her conversation. That’s just good manners, but this goes moreso when she’s in a non-social place (bars and whatnot are hard to NOT interrupt someone talking, or even hear them talking in the first place).

    Time of day is also important. Night-time and not in a social place? I know for me my hackles are raised a lot more. Daytime usually has a lot more people around, alert. It feels safer (which is not necessarily true for everyone) but night time preys on a lot more fears than not in most people. Places are more deserted, things are harder to see. Do the math.

    3.) Watch her body language…

    Don’t be an idiot and assume that just because she’s not telling you to away and splashing her drink into your face that you’re allowed to stick around and talk. Is she smiling genuinely? Is she not making eye contract with you? Body posture, tone and other non-verbal communication is pretty important. She might even give you her name or phone number (sometimes fake, sometimes not) just to get you to leave.

    4.) …and what she says! 

    If she has some excuse to bail, if she asks you to leave, or isn’t really talking to you extensively, just cut your losses and stop talking to her. Especially if she asks you politely to go. Even if she doesn’t ask you politely, leave her alone.

    5.) Have a conversation.

    Assuming you’re keeping said rules above in mind, know that leading off with asking for her number, intimating that you’d like to do something sexual or flirty or you like how she looks without any provocation is kinda creepy and weird. It says to the woman that you don’t really care about how she might feel about that, that your motivations are probably not innocent, pure or even safe. Presenting your thoughts so bluntly and up-front, in an unvarnished way, is demeaning and even a bit predatory.

    DO NOT EVER WHISTLE, CAT-CALL, USE A PET NAME OR SHOUT AT A WOMAN FROM A CAR, STREET CORNER, PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT. THIS IS HARASSMENT. DO NOT USE SLURS IF YOU DON’T GET A POSITIVE RESPONSE.

    6.) Don’t touch her or get up in her space.

    Everyone has different levels of comfort when it comes to touching and personal space invading. Anything more than a handshake (unless she’s already giving off signals that she’d rather stick her hand in a blender) or a shoulder tap is over the line. Being closer than a foot or so, especially if you’re in violation of one of the rules above is no-no. The closer a guy gets to me, the more I become alert and ready to bolt. A lot of men are more physically imposing and you don’t even realize it – sometimes you are taller, sometimes you look scary or have more body mass than us. Sometimes you just smell really bad.

    7.) Being drunk or high makes you forget said points above. 

    If your good judgement goes out the window when you’re drunk or high, maybe skip approaching people regularly. Especially if you get angry easily.

    8.) Enthusiasm is awesome!

    A woman who appears genuinely enthusiastic or welcoming that you are talking is easier to spot than guessing (and guessing wrong). It means she appreciates and welcomes your presence.

    9.) Rethink how you view a woman in general.

    Realize that some of the reasons I had point out said points above are because a woman is not there and does not exist to be asked out, give you her phone number, or need to hear her opinions on how she looks. You are not entitled to these things. You will not die if you don’t get to do these things. Respect a woman’s right (hell,everyone’s right) to privacy, personal space, and mental peace when out and about.

    10.) Don’t tell a woman you don’t know to “smile.”

    I’m not here to look happy all the time, fuck off.

    Now, I know that some of this is hard and some of you are probably angry that it all sounds so complicated and “does this mean I can’t talk to women EVER? GOD!”

    If you can logically work out things in a contextual manner and judge situations for yourself, this should be a piece of cake for you. If someone thinks you are creepy, guess what, deal with it. If being even a tiny bit mindful of what you do is really too hard, then yes, don’t talk to women ever. Please. We thank you in advance.