Safety First: Rudenss is the Best Policy?

November 1, 2007

rude.jpg

Whoa. What’d she say to him?

M. Leblanc over at Bitch Phd (she’s the Lawyer Bitch) asks us what we think: Should you be rude to your harasser?

My policy is this: when I’m in a one-off cat-call kind of situation, I ignore it. When its random guys saying “hello” on the street for no reason, I nod or say a quick “hello” back and keep walking. But when someone follows me, touches me, or won’t go away, I believe that safety requires rudeness.

First, I’ll defend my fairly passive response to what I think of as low-level background harassment. Yeah, its submissive. Yes, it totally capitulates to the patriarchal order in which half of humanity apparently thinks they have the right to order me to smile (which always makes me wish I didn’t have teeth.) And no, I don’t have to say hello to every joker who greets me politely on the street when what he really means is “you appear to be sexually available.”

But I do it anyway because my aim in every case is to stop the interaction as quickly as possible. With low-level harassers, responding negatively, and often even merely pointedly ignoring them, has the potential to escalate the situation. That escalation is what I want to avoid. A mere “hello” back tends to do the trick.

But some Dudes aren’t content with ritual submission. They want real submission. They want to humiliate you. They want to see you sweat. Maybe they really actually do want to attack you. These persistent fuckers are the gropers, the grabbers, the stand-to-closers, the follow you down the dark street nasties, and the keep-the-conversation-going-at-any-cost salesmen for misandry.

With these guys, its my firm belief that politeness kills. Being polite show you care what they think, that they are in control of the situation, not you. And with someone more interested in real rather than ritual submission, if they are in control, the incident is NOT going to end, no matter how uncomfortable you look or how much you silently pray that they will spontaneously combust. Quite the opposite. Thats just the thing that makes these Dudes’ panties wet.

Thats why rudeness–bitchiness, specifically– is a life-saving skill. It is unexpected. If I do it right, it throws the situation momentarily out of the Dude’s control, and gives me an opportunity to achieve my goal: Ending the disgusting interaction.

With the Grip Dude I am most proud that I was good and rude; I regret only that I wasn’t more impolite.

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One Response to “Safety First: Rudenss is the Best Policy?”

  1. […] my experience is any guide (and according to MRA concern trolls, it is not) rudenessĀ  can be an effective and […]

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