Feminism and the problem of harassment and sexual morality


#1

Something that occurred to me - I’m not sure I’m the best at putting it into words right now so you may have to bear with me.

Most feminists talk about various forms of harassment women are subjected to. I’ve definitely experienced my share - men who are just plain crude or entitled. The usual response from such men is that, how can they be expected to meet women? Should they just not speak to them? How are they supposed to get laid that way?

And here is where I think some of conservative morality comes in. Traditionally, approaches that implied the lady might be up for casual sex were something to tread lightly around. Implying to a lady who was not “that kind of woman” that you considered her open to that possibility was easily recognized as insulting. It equally recognized that an upstanding gentleman had more to do with his life than pursuing sex.

That’s where feminism struggles. If anything sexual is ok as long as you have consent, then there’s no particular reason why a woman ought to be offended if approached for casual sex. If there’s nothing wrong with nudity, then sending a picture of your genitals to a woman as an advance should be fine.

Mind, none of this is to say that immorality didn’t happen. It happened plenty, because humans are humans. It also doesn’t say this encompasses the whole problem. But it’s an interesting starting point.


#2

Interesting starting point, I guess.

I know feminists who find it offensive because it implies that the man has some sort of entitlement to sex with a woman and with that, comes objectifying women.

But then again you can still find flaws in that logic. If sex is a meaningless activity, then there should be nothing wrong with stuff like cat calling, instead, it’s merely just an annoyance. But I have yet to see people arguing in that way. Maybe it’s flawed, I’m too lazy to think…

However, society has started to gone downhill in that sense. Feminists used to think that prostitution/dressing immodestly is oppressive but now feminists think it’s empowering as long as they want to do it (I mean come on…a sleazy man will enjoy it even if you like it or not, why please him?). When nudity becomes more commonplace and accepted, stuff like flashing to strangers won’t be seen as harassment anymore. I remember an article written by a feminist showing her young son her genitals bc ‘there’s nothing wrong with our bodies’.

Most feminists/liberals whether they admit it or not, do sense the attack on human dignity when it comes to immoral sexual practices, imo. They just react to it differently


#3

I have read different opinions from feminists, as feminism is not united. Central issues in feminism are sexual coercion, poverty, and male domination. For example, not simply pertaining to women, is that a workplace should be non-hostile. I think it is not an issue of if a woman ought to be offended, but maybe you did not mean it in that sense.

The Pontifical Council for the Laity published in 2008 “Woman and man, the humanum in its entirety” Twenty years after the apostolic letter Mulieris dignitatem, which may help with this issue.
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/laity/laity_en/pubblicazioni/rc_pc_laity_doc_20080816_notiziario-16-2008_en.html

From the 18th century many advances have been made in the political, economic and educational fields. The theme of women has also given rise to some extreme ideological positions. The radical feminism of the nineteen-sixties was viewed as a power struggle against men in order to obtain total autonomy for women with absolute control over their own bodies. This style of feminism demanded “sexual licence” and abortion as a right, thus showing the inconsistency of the basics. Such an approach has disillusioned the expectations of many women who long for self-fulfillment.

John Paul II, always attentive to the signs of the times, published Mulieris dignitatem in order to respond to the question of the dignity of women from the standpoint of Christian anthropology. In particular, he introduced the concept of unity-duality as a key to understanding the relationship between the sexes. Today we can see that the validity of this teaching persists.


#4

Here’s a novel concept: Why not start teaching boys not to harass girls? Why not start teaching boys to respect girls? Why do some people want to blame boys for what girls are wearing to school? That’s your problem right there - some people in our society would blame girls who haven’t done anything sinful because it may “tempt” a boy who was never taught to not to look at girls “that way.”


#5

It is certainly one of the places feminism flounders. Instead if expecting better of men, it expected less of women.


#6

I feel like I should put up a disclaimer - anyone who thinks I have an issue with feminism overall should probably take a good look at my posting history. The “things I learned from feminism” thread is probably a good start. :grinning: Those that are familiar with my threads will probably just be surprised I posted something critical of feminism.

The thing I’m talking about here is why we consider such things “harassment” at all. As such men would say, if any sort of sex is ok between two consenting partners, what’s wrong with approaching a woman with a naked sexual proposal? He saw her, he likes her, he wants to have sex with her, so he approaches her to see if she’s willing, openly stating his desire. She gives her answer, yes or no. (This is of course leaving aside the number of men who think “no” means “persuade me” – it’s not a complete analysis.) It has no more deep meaning than a street vendor approaching to see if she wants to buy his wares. If they want to enjoy each other’s bodies and think no more of it, as long as everyone is on the same page there’s no issue.

But most woman would in fact experience a man approaching them for such a thing as harassment, and I think that calls for an answer. I find it hard to think of how casual sex (and the approaches conducive thereto) can exist at all, without objectification, yet feminism often says casual sex should be ok.


#7

I think the idea of what you are missing is that an “unopressed” woman would be responsive to a male. There is an idea that women are harassed because men cannot behave nicely and if they did women could be open to all of these ideas.

Now, that’s truly repulsive, but that’s what I feel the message has been to my peer group from feminists.


#8

This is Xantippe (the regular Family Life poster) not Xanthippe (the recently returned poster)–this is my first day posting on the new forum. Apologies for not knowing the current quote function.

DL said:

“The usual response from such men is that, how can they be expected to meet women? Should they just not speak to them? How are they supposed to get laid that way?”

One thing I’d say to that is–how is this working for you? Do even 10% of women respond to these overtures positively? If 10% respond positively, that means 90% are annoyed or frightened, but 10% is a really high estimate for cold approaches. Everything I’ve heard about pick up artists suggests that it’s more like low single digits, with a lot of the heavy lifting being done by alcohol. The only way those guys have any sort of “success” is by pestering industrial size quantities of women. (And this, by the way, is why those approaches are not very flattering–sensible women know that it’s spam and that the guy has just been shot down by a dozen previous women and that he probably feels like he’s scraping the bottom of the barrel with her.)

Another issue is location/situation. Is the woman at work in a service position where she has to be nice to everybody and could lose her job if a customer complains about her? Is she on public transportation or an elevator and literally can’t get away? Does she have on earbuds and is working on a computer with a pile of fat textbooks next to her, with her eyes glued to the screen? Survey says that that woman does not want to meet new friends or have fun right now.

I feel like there’s also a failure to put the shoe on the other foot. Let’s say you’re a guy in a big city, and another guy approaches you to make friends with you. He’s a complete stranger, new in town and doesn’t know anybody and he’d like to go have coffee with you, maybe have somebody to shoot baskets with. So, gentleman, how do you feel about that? Do you want to go shoot baskets with your new friend who seems really eager to spend time with you? If not, why should some strange woman be delighted to meet you?

Likewise, about the sending of genital photography–how often does that “work”? How often does it gross women out who might have been otherwise open to getting to know a particular guy?


#9

Sadly feminists tend to regard any suggestion that women should follow Christ in terms of sexual morality or modesty as simply examples of male oppression. Even if the same or similar obligations are placed on Christian men.

They also regard any specific aspects of morality which can only apply to women (by virtue of their sex, physical design or ability to become pregnant) as even more oppressive.


#10

SusanneT,

The problem is that there is a live double standard on sexual morality, which you’ll frequently find on CAF. People see that and quite reasonably resent it.

A guy will have been around the block a dozen times, returns to his faith, and now only a virgin bride is good enough for him–ideally 20-22 years old, homeschooled, athletic, and looks like circa 2000 Angelina Jolie. And she’s going to need to keep having a baby ever other year, cooking, cleaning and homeschooling non-stop with no help, while still looking like circa 2000 Angelina Jolie. (Spoiler alert: women who get on the covers of magazines almost never live that lifestyle–and even they need a good hard airbrushing.) Or alternately, a guy has a porn habit and is a major pervert, and only an ultra-submissive virgin bride is good enough for him.

These expectations are closer to fetish than holiness–and it’s utterly unrealistic.

There’s a major sense of entitlement, and a failure to ask–why do I believe that I deserve an ultra-submissive ultra-chaste ultra-domestic virgin bride, when I myself bring so very little to the table?


#11

I think there are umbrella rules on accosting strangers that apply to making sexual overtures to strangers.

This is going to sound very chilly, but I think that there’s a general understanding that (especially in large cities) people in public places want to be left alone. While they might be happy to give you the time or have a very brief conversation at a checkstand, 99% of the time, people are not out there on the street, in McDonald’s, on the subway, at the grocery store or wherever looking for their new best friend/next boyfriend or girlfriend. They’re busy, have significant others, don’t feel safe, or just don’t feel like dealing with a stranger.

People who want to find a new best friend or girlfriend or boyfriend need to work harder at increasing their pool of acquaintances and being more socially active, rather than just pestering random strangers they have nothing in common with. It’s very common on CAF for single people to talk about their desire for a spouse when they don’t have any real life friends. This is putting the cart before the horse.


#12

Before there can be much consensus there needs to be an agreed upon definition of feminism.

If you can agree to define feminism as the advocacy for the political, economic and social equality of the sexes you are then left with the much more difficult task of defining what equality looks like.

When looking at equality when it comes to sexk two people can have a difference on the moral question of pre-marital sex; but, the feminist mindset is going to be that regardless of that opinion there needs to be equal social repercussions for both sexes. So, if it is socially acceptable for men to have pre-marital sex than it should be equally socially acceptable for women aka: no slut shaming. If it is unacceptable to have pre-marital sex than both parties should be equally reprimanded the community aka where is the talk of virgin grooms?

As to the question of feminism and dick pic/harassment if you are on equal footing I’d hazard that feminism would allow you ONE SHOT. So, a man gets one chance to ask for sex and if the woman says no then he leaves her alone. The problem is that men aren’t only asking once.

Also, men often aren’t on equal footing. Frequently requests are from men who are in a position of power over the woman or in a position where they are placed in esteem by the woman. Bosses, religious leaders, older adults - this disparity in standing creates an uncomfortable environment for the woman and almost immediately puts obvious sexual advances into the harassment category. As evidence by increasing stories of female teachers and relationships with male students this is by no means a male-only problem; but, that’s precisely why feminism is so important. Feminist ignores the gender of the victim and focuses on the root cause of abuse.


#13

That sounds sensible.
This topic may be one of the few times when the addage, criticise my morality but not my style actually applies.

That is, approaching a woman for sex, while distasteful for many does not seem to be intrinsically “harrassment”. That is more about poor skills/understanding of context and apprpriateness I am thinking.


#14

I think this is much of the issue here. Feminism’s kind of going in the wrong direction when it comes to sexual morality. There’s often been a general issue of treating men’s sins as excusable or even the fault of the woman, where it’s ok (or at least understandable) for the man to sleep around, watch porn, masturbate, and so forth, but if the woman does such a thing she’s treated as perpetually damaged goods. That’s not right. We should both be expecting everyone to live up to proper behavior, along with extending Christian forgiveness where appropriate. Neither treating men’s behavior as excusable, nor treating women as permanently stained, is right.


#15

You are right we should expect equally high standards from both sexes in line with the issue which are relevant to that sex (90% of things are the same but there are differences).

But feminism works on the basis that expecting anything from women is in itself oppression !


#16

Sounds like a great idea. When do we start the classes teaching urban youths not to shoot each other and members of the “religion of peace” not to launch holy wars against the nonbelievers?


#18

It is an interesting question. I would say that it is harrassment when the woman is approached, rejects the pursuer, but continues to be approached after she has rejected the advances of the pursuer. I know some people who will not believe that a woman means “no” when she says “no”.


#19

BadLt… message was flagged? The hate squad needs to stop flagging everything. This is really getting silly.


#20

Careful, the hate squad may flag your message

I 'liked your message.


#21

Insinuating that the Catholic religion is one of sexism is pretty close to being against the rules of charity. Personally, I don’t think it crossed the line but it’s pretty darned close.


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