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Space for Rent: Look but Don’t Touch

Tweet of the Day: Alisa Valdes: Anti-feminist romance not so romantic


Sounds simple enough, every responsible parent makes sure their children learn the difference between admiring an object and manipulating without permission. I am tempted to make a straight line analogy between this and the idea that no woman “asks” to be rape. That is, just like object in a store can be gawked at that doesn’t mean you have the right to steal it. And even if a woman stands before you naked, that doesn’t mean that you can “take her” without her permission. Except that analogy breaks down rather quickly. Human beings are not inanimate objects. The damage done by sexual assault is not merely physical, like all abuse, it is deeply psychological as well.

It also breaks down in that maybe the woman standing in front of you naked wants you to “take” her and that a man who “fails” to “take the opportunity” will certainly be seen as less of man. I think the difference lies in the related but distinct visions of Men in society. The first is Man as Pursuer  as the initiator of  sexual/emotional encounter. The flip side of that is Man as Predator, as the one that captures or takes the price. Which in turn feeds to and from the twin perceptions of Woman as Object of Admiration (and the caps are intentional) versus Woman as Prize to be won or conquered. The desire to be admired is an human one, independent of gender or sexual identity. We want the praise and admiration. But Woman as Prize is the objectification of women if not the sublimation of women as a object/goal. Doesn’t matter who she is, what she wants (or doesn’t), “getting her” is an end unto itself and that, as innocent as it may seem, opens the door to sexual assault.

Men are transformed from simply individuals with enough confidence to express their opinions/desires into predators who will stop at nothing to get what they want/need.

Am I exaggerating? Perhaps. But I don’t think so. True, as expressed in a recent post, sexual desire can be used to manipulate and hurt others, but that never gives anyone the right to harass or assault another person.

Which makes, “Look by Don’t Touch”, a valid rule to live by.


One comment on “Space for Rent: Look but Don’t Touch

  1. Thoughtful write up. The line is a thin one, isn’t it? To me, an initiation of conversation to determine which I want to be is smart. I do want to be pursued and taken by a man I desire, but I want to be asked first (in whatever way asking needs to be done. Verbal or through interaction and observation of body language). To take without engaging me first is unacceptable. That’s happened to me on more than on occasion.


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