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  1. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Not really; I distinctly remember textbooks in psychology and public speaking classes saying that it helps to overcome depression, boost self-confidence, etc. to a.) maintain the best possible physical appearance and b.) constantly keeping a positive mental attitude in much the same way as that Stewart Smalley skit (which is what I immediately thought of). Looking at it in the worst possible light (such as the way many of my statements seem to have been taken), this would imply that humans of both genders are generally vain, shallow, and gullible toward even their own flattery. I think of it as merely recognizing an element of a person's complex psychological processes, something that helps keep us motivated and not miserable in the face of life's difficulties and setbacks, and is equally applicable to both genders. In short, compliments, including shallow compliments on a person's physical appearance, generally make people feel better, even when they privately doubt their validity. I do recognize the potential of their having the opposite effect, much would be much along the lines I had when I first read about that weird psychological quirk of humanity.

    And in case anyone was wondering, I've never personally tried to cheer up a stranger by complimenting their looks (I am not even remotely confident enough in my social skills to attempt that), and yes I have been on the receiving end of such attempts, some apparently sincere, some which seemed to have an element of condescension-I responded to the first with a very mild ego boost accompanied by a careful reticence toward reading too much into it, I responded to the latter by appreciating the clumsy attempt for what it probably was.
    There's a difference between telling someone they have lovely hair or you like their dress, and hitting on them sexually.

    This was often, back in the day, socially what separated a gentleman from a commoner or peasant.

    Part of the education the upper (and later middle) classes had taught things like respect and human dignity, and you didn't go around making catcalls at or making boob/ass jokes at women if you had any class at all.

    You wouldn't say anything to a strange woman that you wouldn't say to a daughter, sister, or mother.

  2. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Not really; I distinctly remember textbooks in psychology and public speaking classes saying that it helps to overcome depression, boost self-confidence, etc. to a.) maintain the best possible physical appearance and b.) constantly keeping a positive mental attitude
    What if constant comments exclusively about your appearance make it difficult for you to keep that positive mental attitude? Also who wrote your textbooks/gave your lectures?
    And why do you imagine that what you think is implied (when it clearly isn't) is more valid that what is actual fact? I.e. The actual fact of many women saying it doesn't make them feel good? Do you imagine we are all lying? What would be our incentive for so-doing?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  3. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Not really; I distinctly remember textbooks in psychology and public speaking classes saying that it helps to overcome depression, boost self-confidence, etc. to a.) maintain the best possible physical appearance and b.) constantly keeping a positive mental attitude in much the same way as that Stewart Smalley skit (which is what I immediately thought of). Looking at it in the worst possible light (such as the way many of my statements seem to have been taken), this would imply that humans of both genders are generally vain, shallow, and gullible toward even their own flattery. I think of it as merely recognizing an element of a person's complex psychological processes, something that helps keep us motivated and not miserable in the face of life's difficulties and setbacks, and is equally applicable to both genders. In short, compliments, including shallow compliments on a person's physical appearance, generally make people feel better, even when they privately doubt their validity. I do recognize the potential of their having the opposite effect, much would be much along the lines I had when I first read about that weird psychological quirk of humanity.
    See, that sounds exactly, to me, like someone believing it is okay to practice amateur psychotherapy on random and unknown women. And I still don't understand how a person feeling comfortable with how they look being a healthy thing translates into someone taking it upon themselves to attempt to fix someone they don't even know by making comments about their person. Why would someone be qualified to 1.) make that diagnosis 2.) treat that perceived ailment, especially when the 'patient' hasn't indicated any desire for either service?
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  4. #194
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Then every single human on the planet is a sexist. I think that definition is too broad.
    When, then, do you consider it acceptable to treat a woman differently than you would treat a man, excluding medical issues and established intimate relationships?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    This is not going to happen any time soon because of biology. Until we have artificial wombs, women will be carrying all of the offspring. Once women are relieved of that obligation, then we might be able to achieve equality.
    Au contraire. Especially now that we have effective birth control, more women are taking the initiative with men. How a man responds depends on whether he is more interested in his ego or his goals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I've done my part. I don't open doors for women and I do more housework than my wife. The idea of a stay-at-home father does not sit well with her even though she'll make more than enough money to support our family, financially (she's a doctor, I'm just an engineer).
    Well good for you. I do hope you open doors for women when they are carrying something bulky, or even when you get there first; and respond graciously when they do the same for you. The antidote for sexism is not rudeness.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    That's about sexual attraction and flirting, though; we don't casually comment about other men's appearance because a.) we generally don't care and b.) we don't want to come across as gay. On the matter of sexism and its influence on society, more insight could probably be had by contemplating why women make casual comments on the physical appearance of other women, and why they pay attention to fashion in order to impress or compete with other women.
    We can add this to the list of sexist behavior demonstrated by women. My original list was by no means exhaustive. Of course some women simply enjoy the aesthetics and creativity of fashion, body art, etc., as do some men. Women have been taught for millennia, however, that appearance was important, in fact the way to get ahead by getting the attention of a suitable man. This mentality still figures strongly in the way women consider appearance, in themselves and others.

    Saddest of all is that this culture of appearance is perpetuated as much by women as by men, even in its most damaging forms. It was mothers, after all, who bound the feet of their daughters in China, bound their bodies in corsets in the American antebellum South, and to this day carry out the genital mutilation of their daughters in Africa, all to ensure they would be pleasing to a suitable husband. This is what happens when appearance and obedience are valued above other qualities.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    I don't mean on a personal level. I mean going to far as to approach someone about the matter. I understand entirely personal judgments, opinions, and biases. Those are normal everyday functions for society. There is a difference between someone thinking "omg fat people should NOT wear bathing suits!" and going up to someone and saying "Are you sure you should have worn something like that?" You mentioned caring about what people wear.. but we're talking about people invading other women's (and men's) personal spaces and boundaries. So, when you said you cared, I assumed you were talking about caring enough to go up to someone and say something, mention something, question them, etc.
    Yes, some things are just not polite. As we can identify physical gestures that fall outside common courtesy, such as groping, we can also identify conversational gestures that fall outside common courtesy. Making personal remarks about appearance, weight, speech, etc. is no more polite than staring, pointing, and most touching. The fact that a man happens to be addressing a woman does not give him license to be rude.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    I'm saying that yeah, when you go flirt with a random stranger that's given you no reason to flirt with them, you risk putting that person on the defensive side of things. Maybe they welcome it, maybe they don't, but the risk is there.
    Everyone makes mistakes in trying to gauge what another person will find acceptable. The more important thing is what happens when someone does err. Does he call the woman a nasty bitch for responding with disapproval, or does he apologize and perhaps try again? Again, the tradeoff between feeding his ego, and getting what he (supposedly) wants.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    Even recently some preschool teachers are being told that they are not allowed to compliment little girls on 'how cute/pretty' they or their dresses are.. because they're encouraging the girls to focus more on their looks to 'impress' the teacher, versus trying hard in school. They found when they started complimenting them only on their school work, the girls took much greater strides to show that off versus the clothing they were wearing and the way they had their hair done.
    Another argument for school uniforms. There are the empty compliments that really say more about the mindset of the speaker, and then there are those that are focused on the receiver. These tend to be specific, as in "I like your new haircut" or "that's a very stylish jacket". I have never been offended by such comments from anyone, and occasionally give them out myself, to both men and women.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    He doesn't have to be an evil piece of shit. How many sexist men would you classify as "evil pieces of shit". Most are merely ignorant. Many men are astonishingly ignorant about what constitutes sexism, it seems. Does that mean we keep giving them the benefit of the doubt ? "It's ok, I know you're just an inconsiderate, thoughtless asshole and not an evil piece of shit. Do carry on." Actually, come to think of it, most women do do this...
    Absolutely. Someone described women as "the gatekeepers of sex", yet women frequently fail to use their selective power to encourage better behavior in men.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    The whole existence of sexual attraction is biological in nature (though the forms it takes are influenced to some extent by socialization). As for the rest, I was trying to convey the simultaneous aesthetic and physical sensations one feels when sexual attraction toward someone occurs and compare it the lack of sensation one feels without it. If you believe one is morally obliged to repress pleasurable feelings instigated by physical appearance unless one knows such feelings to be reciprocal, or be ashamed for enjoying such feelings as they occur, then so be it.
    Biology is no more an excuse for bad behavior than is type. We have learned to manage our other biological needs within acceptable frameworks, such as eating, relieving ourselves, and going clothed in public. We can acknowledge sexual desires and enjoy the physical sensations of seeing an attractive member of our sexual preference, without acting on it publicly in the moment, just as we don't take a leak wherever we feel like it. If you want to live like the monkeys, move to the jungle.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Not an applicable comparison in the context of flirtation, and like I said, part of the motivation may be to give a sympathetic ego boost. Do you believe that it would be sexist for another woman to say essentially the same thing? If its simply due to the flirtatious aspect of things, well we already covered that.
    If someone thinks women get an ego boost from compliments on their appearance, while men get a similar boost from other types of compliments, that is sexist, whether the speaker is male or female. The culture of appearance that so many women embrace has already been mentioned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    I'm not going to lie. I have some tendencies that some would label as sexist. For one thing I do hold myself and other males to certain a standard. One of those standards is not acting like a goddamn asshole when women are making complaints about how they've been treated. Do you know the woman? Do you have a good understanding of the situation? Fine, feel free to disagree with their perception. Otherwise, if your not willing to try to understand or empathize then just shut the hell up. I can't see how any guy worth his grain of salt can come into such a situation and have some desperate need to have women understand their side of things or have a need to make sure the women involved have a deeper understanding of the situation that only they can provide. Is there a male side of this issue where sometimes guys are misunderstood? Sure. Is that tough on guys? Sure. You know what my solution is? Grow a fucking pair.
    Better yet, ask for clarification. Men should be encouraged to ask women what they found offensive about an action or comment Then they should accept the answer without argument. A man may think his comment is inoffensive because he meant no offense, but he cannot argue with how the woman experienced the comment or action in the specific situation. Women for their part should be able to answer candidly, without fear of verbal abuse. This is how mistaken assumptions get cleared up, and understanding grows.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  5. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    You're right, she's not required to give an explanation, nor am I required to accept her claim without evidence. This is a forum where lots of issues are debated. What's makes this issue so special where it deserves special treatment? Nothing. Christians try to use the same strategy when talking about religion, that it shouldn't be debated because that's rude. I have a similar response for them. Nothing is sacred. Nothing.
    You were dismissing ALL of her claims in light of wanting extreme details over one single item. And that is just ONE of the stories posted. Is the details of that one shred going to eclipse everything else? Ivy pointed out to you already.. you were focusing on one thing way too hard and discounting the rest as a result. It isn't a matter of wanting special treatment. It is tiring to hear someone say "It is ALL OR NOTHING" all the time. If even one tiny detail is not exactly in line with the entire picture, then you'll just throw the puzzle in the box. That's not what debate is about. Your point was on weak ground expecting evidence that may or may not be there. It isn't that the debate is getting special treatment. Classy to throw that very classic coined phrase that men often use to invalidate feminism though.

    The internet isn't just a rough place for women, it's a rough place for everyone. But what happened here was hardly rough. No one threatened her or called her names. Someone dared to challenge one of her claims. Oh, the humanity!
    First you say she'd be in welcoming arms. Now you're saying it is not safe anywhere. So which is it?
    I didn't say it was rough. You made suggestion she ought to post elsewhere. I said where is it that's safe and effective to her needs? Your response is that there isn't a safe place and that nothing here should warrant her move. I don't get it.

    Did you really mean this? If a male boss fires a female employee, that's harassment if it was unwanted? If a female driver crashes into my car, is that harassment because she's a different gender? If an overweight woman sits next to me on the DC metro, with parts of her body spilling over into my seat, that's harassment because it's unwanted? (this last one has happened to me many times).
    Again, your focus on detail is in extremes. "I HAVE TO BE A BODY BUILDER AND EAT NOTHING BUT CHICKEN BREAST OR I WONT BE HEALTHY!!!!" I come here on my free time and will. I am not detail oriented like you are. You'll just have to get over that. We're talking about a subject of interactions outside of business situations (an exception you made yourself when referencing talking to women) and forced interactions. It is reasonable to assume this fact given the context of the thread. This point is weak at best, and trying to somehow imply that I am far more extreme than my context was talking about--with my previous posts supporting evidence otherwise.

    I do find it sad, but it's not something I can change, so I just opt out. All I'm missing out on is small talk with random strangers
    This is a sad mentality. I've had some really powerful, amazing moments from total strangers in few fleeting seconds just reaching out on the thought process alone that they *can* do something. Maybe you cannot change everyone's mind, or anything. But you can do *something*. Everyone can do something.

    Are you talking about groping? If you are, then I would agree that a sense of entitlement is probably at the heart of their behavior. But if you're talking about just words, I don't know. I've already talked about poor socialization, but that has been dismissed as an explanation. I would hesitate to claim to know the motivation behind the actions of so many men I've never met. I could speculate that some men might have a particular motivation, but to claim that all men have a particular motivation? I like Carl Sagan's philosophy: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
    Words are powerful. They make the difference between rallying people and rioting people. How can you say words have no influence on further actions? Where is the evidence for that? Because there is a shit ton out there saying the contrary.

    As I already stated, we cannot know for sure the measures of individuals. But so many women, across so many boundaries, and so many documentaries made on the issue.. This is not extraordinary evidence enough? This isn't enough? Cat-calling isn't an obvious degradation of a woman who never asked to be called for?

    I've linked documentaries before on this forum regarding the sexism issue, if you'd like I can provide a few examples again, but I don't find it necessary. I feel you'll just keep picking apart small pieces of sentences to avoid the bigger issue: that there IS a problem of sexism displayed towards women as a whole on a daily basis, and that them even talking about it ignites passionate debates and even anger from men. (This is not to discredit sexism from women towards men, but the topic between the two of us is Ninja's comments, so I'm keeping it focused.)
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  6. #196
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    What if constant comments exclusively about your appearance make it difficult for you to keep that positive mental attitude? Also who wrote your textbooks/gave your lectures?
    And why do you imagine that what you think is implied (when it clearly isn't) is more valid that what is actual fact? I.e. The actual fact of many women saying it doesn't make them feel good? Do you imagine we are all lying? What would be our incentive for so-doing?
    No, I don't believe you are lying, I merely take anecdotal evidence with a grain of salt, especially when such anecdotal evidence is delivered in the context of being exposed to instant vilification and internet backdraft when expressing a contrary, challenging or skeptical opinion.

    Is it your assertion that no woman would respond to a partially flirtatious, partially sympathetic comment in much the same manner as I did in my own experiences? If not, are you saying that most would not (which is supposition without evidence), that women who do so are wrong to do so and should have their responses invalidated, or that the irritation/discomfort of a minority of women supersedes the mildly positive reactions of the other women on a utilitarian basis?

  7. #197
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    See, that sounds exactly, to me, like someone believing it is okay to practice amateur psychotherapy on random and unknown women. And I still don't understand how a person feeling comfortable with how they look being a healthy thing translates into someone taking it upon themselves to attempt to fix someone they don't even know by making comments about their person. Why would someone be qualified to 1.) make that diagnosis 2.) treat that perceived ailment, especially when the 'patient' hasn't indicated any desire for either service?
    Because they have an urge to help when moments of spontaneous sympathy hit them, and either they fail to think their actions thru, or their anecdotal experience leads them to believe such compliments help more than they hurt. And I guess it just doesn't strike me as something I should view as more offensive than complimentary or well-intentioned (the thought that counts, etc.), even when I wanted to be by myself or sensed some element of condescension (which does not necessarily overwhelm or invalidate more altruistic motivations).

  8. #198
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Is it your assertion that no woman would respond to a partially flirtatious, partially sympathetic comment in much the same manner as I did in my own experiences? If not, are you saying that most would not (which is supposition without evidence), that women who do so are wrong to do so and should have their responses invalidated, or that the irritation/discomfort of a minority of women supersedes the mildly positive reactions of the other women on a utilitarian basis?
    We're not saying men are villains because they said a girl was too pretty to frown. We are saying the motivations for instinctively selecting those words are coming from a source that man probably doesn't want to be associated with--at least in public eye. And it is important for men to know that.

    We use the word "Terrific!" to describe a great event--something awesome. Terrific means something entirely different. The definition does not define what it is in reality. The definition is that vague comments about a woman's appearance are not healthy or helping her really in the long run. That doesn't mean that women live in that environment. Of course I don't reply to, "Your Halloween costume was hot!!" with a "You sexist asshole! *groinpunt!!*" But is that saying that I sincerely mean it when I say "thank you"? No. I am just saving face. That isn't the world I live in and I know it. Yelling at someone for a compliment, even a misguided one, doesn't really do anything for me. But. I didn't REALLY enjoy it. It didn't make my day. It was empty, and thoughtless, and clearly they noticed none of the effort I put into the costume itself--just the perceived idea that I did it all to look good for others.

    There are women that just simply accept that that's how the world is. Everyone does what they need to do to survive and thrive. Some women survive by refusing to accept stereotypes and norms. Others embrace them. That's human nature--and regardless of the fact of whether a higher thinking level should warrant it or not.
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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Because they have an urge to help when moments of spontaneous sympathy hit them, and either they fail to think their actions thru, or their anecdotal experience leads them to believe such compliments help more than they hurt. And I guess it just doesn't strike me as something I should view as more offensive than complimentary or well-intentioned (the thought that counts, etc.), even when I wanted to be by myself or sensed some element of condescension (which does not necessarily overwhelm or invalidate more altruistic motivations).
    I'll have to try to remember that men are entitled to tell me what to do with my face because it's for my own good, should the occasion arise.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  10. #200
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Is it your assertion that no woman would respond to a partially flirtatious, partially sympathetic comment in much the same manner as I did in my own experiences? If not, are you saying that most would not (which is supposition without evidence), that women who do so are wrong to do so and should have their responses invalidated, or that the irritation/discomfort of a minority of women supersedes the mildly positive reactions of the other women on a utilitarian basis?
    To echo what has already been written, it is not so much the content of any single flirtatious remark, but rather the fact that so many men seem to fall back on this type of interaction with women.

    Say I went to a job interview, and the HR person told me she was impressed that my resume and cover letter had perfect grammar. I might accept it as a compliment. Now I'm hired, and my boss consistently tells me what good grammar I have. I move onto another department and, guess what - I have great grammar. I consider leaving the organization and go on more interviews, and every time, the one thing they point out is my good grammar. By now I should start wondering: with all my education, skills, and experience, why is my grammar the one thing consistently complimented? Doesn't the rest of it matter? Or maybe grammar is the only thing I'm really good at. Fortunately that is not my actual experience of professional life, but it is easy to see how when comments are skewed in a specific direction, even if it seems positive, it can quickly give rise to insecurity and self-doubt. How many women are "complimented" into believing that being pretty is all they are really good at?
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