As a society, we’re not serious about ending violence against women. We pay great lip service to the idea, but we aren’t willing to interrogate the ways in which we have accepted gendered violence in our everyday lives.

We teach boys this general message about how they’re supposed to “respect women” while writing off all behavior that is blatantly disrespectful (and dangerous) toward women as “boys being boys.” It starts young, when every hair pull, pinch, slap, push, and shove boys exact on girls is written off because “boys will be boys” and that’s how they flirt. No, that’s how they hit girls. Any message to the contrary only further perpetuates the idea that all of this is OK.

Then they get older and any time they get into a physical altercation with a girl, we spend more time asking about how they were “provoked” than what they should have done instead of putting their hands on a girl.

Then they become adults and the police and lawyers and judges downplay the seriousness of their offenses. And they get to say “that’s not the person I am” or “I take full responsibility” and voila, they’re completely absolved.

Where the fuck is the respect?

Why teaching “respect” won’t end violence against women

It should be pretty obvious why this fails, right? If the reason you shouldn’t hurt people is because you should “respect” them, then the moment someone loses your respect, they become vulnerable to violence from you. Some losses of respect are legitimate (i.e. the person did something very bad and now you don’t respect them), some are not (i.e. the person violated gender norms and now you don’t respect them), but regardless of what they did, they don’t deserve violence.

And some people are never considered “respectable” at all, because we don’t consciously include them when we say things like “respect women”.

(via brutereason)

A woman who says “No thanks, I’ll sleep on the floor”; a woman who freezes up and tenses at your touch; a woman who says “I really don’t want to” and “We really shouldn’t” and “We can’t” and “Please at least wear a condom” is not saying yes to you, and if you would like to pretend that that is unclear, you are a liar, you are being disingenuous, you are lying and you know it.
Mallory Ortberg, "What counts?" (via dolorimeter)
I’m pretty sure you have witnessed it, but you may not have recognized it as street harassment. We have been socialized to believe that interactions between men and women are about men being predators and women being prey. We’re so used to seeing these dynamics where a man is approaching a woman, and is being somewhat insistent about it, and we see women kind of smiling. Women have been socialized to believe the same thing, that you’re supposed to be nice to a guy who’s doing this, and even if you don’t like it, you’re supposed to appear that you do.
For as long as there’s been a mainstream feminist movement, there have been corporations eager to capitalize on women’s desire for empowerment. And simply saying men and women should be treated equally isn’t the slightest bit risky in an era when the economy demands that nearly all women work outside the home and the biggest pop stars in America embrace the term feminist. But empowerment conferences are less a product of this friendly brand of modern feminism than they are the result of changing media business models and the rise of superficial corporate do-gooderism. Consumers are so wary of traditional advertising that one of the only ways for brands to make an end-run around skepticism is to claim, “Hey, we’re doing some good here.” As Unilever has learned with all the free press its “body-positive” Dove ads have gotten, women’s empowerment is a great theme for conscientious advertising — Bitch Magazine co-founder Andi Zeisler calls it “empowertising.” You-go-girl ads appeal to a broad demographic, but unlike championing, say, stricter environmental regulation, they put the onus for change on women themselves, not corporations or society.
We never say that all men deserve to feel beautiful. We never say that each man is beautiful in his own way. We don’t have huge campaigns aimed at young boys trying to convince them that they’re attractive, probably because we very rarely correlate a man’s worth with his appearance. The problem is that a woman’s value in this world is still very much attached to her appearance, and telling her that she should or deserves to feel beautiful does more to promote that than negate it. Telling women that they “deserve” to feel pretty plays right in to the idea that prettiness should be important to them. And having books and movies aimed at young women where every female protagonist turns out to be beautiful (whereas many of the antagonists are described in much less flattering terms) reinforces the message that beauty has some kind of morality attached to it, and that all heroines are somehow pretty.