Image Text: How is romanticizing stalking against feminism?
You always know the people with the classiest of URLs are going to ask the classiest of questions.
Romanticizing stalking is against feminism because feminism aims to create a world where women can walk freely without the fear of being harassed by men and where their right to say “no” is respected.
Let me tell y’all a story. So last summer I was down in the center of the city to meet up with a high school friend of mine who was working there for the summer. He called me and told me his work was going to keep him late, so it might be an hour until we could meet. Not having anything else to do, I bought a book at the local bookstore and went and sat in the small park near where we were going to meet. It’s fairly popular and always packed with locals and tourists, so I ended up having to share a bench with someone. This man and I had no interactions together, except for one moment when a dog ran up between us and jumped up on our bench, and we just laughed and sent the dog back to its owner.
After thirty minutes I got hungry, so I left to go get a snack. I was taking a pretty weird route because I couldn’t decide what to eat, but eventually I chose a burger place and ordered some fries. A few moments later, the guy from the park bench follows me in.
I try to reason with myself that maybe he just happened to chose the same restaurant as me, but a moment later he sits down at a table right across from me where he can look me in the face, and he proceeds to stare at me the entire time I’m eating my french fries. I keep my eyes firmly focused on my book, but I can still see him out of the corner of my eye and he never looks away. As calmly as I can, I text my friend to come get me and leave the restaurant. In hindsight that wasn’t the smartest thing to do, since I was no longer surrounded by crowds and now on my own out in the street, but I just wanted him to stop staring at me.
He gets up a second after I do and follows me out into the street. Now that I’m isolated and alone he asks me what I’m doing that evening. I’ve never met him before and never spoken a word to him. I tell him I’m meeting a friend and make it clear I’m not interested. He keeps pushing for a few minutes before he finally realizes that I have my phone out, ready to call for help, and dejectedly says, “I just didn’t want you to spend tonight alone.”
He walks off, and I watch him to make sure he goes all the way back to the park and doesn’t try to wait and follow me again. My friend comes, and when I tell him about this experience he volunteers to walk me to my bus stop after dinner, where we watch and wait and make sure that guy isn’t still following me.
That man thought I was pretty. He thought we shared “a moment” when we laughed at the antics of a dog. And then he thought the next logical step in the flirting process was to follow me, stare me down, and then pressure me to spend the night with him. It wasn’t romantic, it was creepy and terrifying. For a week I watched my back constantly. For a month I didn’t go back to that area, in case he might still be there. And my case was a mild case of stalking.
In a way, it resembles the stalking narratives of Moffat’s episodes. It’s stalking-lite. Look, he tells us, it’s not dangerous. These men don’t mean to harm you. Why can’t you just give them the benefit of the doubt and view it as a flirtation?
But I think these are the most insidious narratives of them all. For one, it minimizes how truly violated and afraid stalking makes women feel. It ignores the fact that stalking usually escalates and becomes very dangerous. It teaches women that they shouldn’t “overreact” when a man does something like this by portraying it as romantic. But even worse, it teaches men that this is an acceptable method of flirtation. And it teaches men that when a woman says “NO,” that actually she’s just being coy and playing hard to get, which means he should simply escalate his behavior until she says yes.
Romanticizing this type of behavior teaches men that they can make public spaces threatening to women, and it teaches them that a woman’s consent is meaningless and that “NO” is simply an obstacle to be overcome with escalating behavior. Therefore, it is contrary to the goals of feminism, and contrary to any standards of decent human behavior.
Just raising my hand as another stalking victim. It was in college, and it was some guy I met at an anime convention. I gave him my e-mail address (the university one that I never used) just to get rid of him. Instead, he found my student profile, got hold of my phone number and called me at least 5 times per day, and finally he showed up in the computer lab on campus looking for me. It’s the one and only time I ever hid under a desk in public.
It’s not romantic or sweet. It’s terrifying to know that this person doesn’t give a shit that you’re not interested, they will not give up until you give in. And it makes me sick that so many (male, of course) writers think this should be viewed positively.
Jesus fucking Christ, this shit enrages me so much. I have been stalked by a man and there’s nothing even remotely romantic about that. There is nothing even remotely romantic about standing at a bus stop in the evening in winter, trying to let him know you don’t want to talk to him. There is nothing even remotely romantic about praying he’s waiting for another bus. There is nothing even remotely romantic about that feeling of panic when he gets in after you and starts watching you from a distance just to gradually come closer and closer, until he starts talking to you again, desperately trying to get your attention and violating your personal space in order to do so. There is nothing even remotely romantic about him following you home (while you try not to run or cry, or cry and run, and you can barely breathe), just to flee when he sees a neighbour walking his huge dog. There is nothing even remotely romantic about him finding you in the crowd for the second time and hopping onto the bus at the last moment to sit next to you and try to talk to you again. There is nothing even remotely romantic about being groped and then pushed so hard you almost fall when you frantically try to get away. There is nothing even remotely romantic about being spat at through the window when he gets out at the next stop and being called a whore and a cunt. There is nothing even remotely romantic about feeling like you’re suffocating all the way home and then crying silently in the bathroom for half an hour before your flatmate gives you a pill to help you calm down, because you’re shaking so hard. So don’t you dare tell me this shit doesn’t fucking matter. Don’t you dare tell me it’s harmless and it’s just silly fiction that doesn’t affect anyone. Don’t you dare.
I also experienced a mild case of stalking. He got a hold of my email address from the CC: section of blast emails from a club we were both in, then kept emailing me, asking me to chat with him. One memorable instance involved him taking the camera we used to blog and taking photographs of me while my back was turned. I only noticed because I happened to see his reflection when I looked at a display case in front of me, and told my boyfriend at the time, who told his mother (one of our club chaperones), who confiscated the camera. And it wasn’t the first time - he had a police record for stalking another girl.
He keeps trying to contact me, even though it’s been years. Every time he gets a new email address or Facebook account, he tries to add me. I have a folder of my old email address devoted solely to collecting his emails so I don’t have to see them.
Stalking is not about love or romance. Stalking is about fear.
I have a very mild case of stalking but still just as scary. When I moved into dorms for my first year of university, I noticed that the room have a telephone. It was nice, although I had no intention of using it and never gave the number out. (Hell, I didn’t even know the number for a long time!)
One night, it rang suddenly. Confused and thinking maybe it was from campus security about something important, I answered it. It was a young man, looking for a friend. I told him he had the wrong number and hung up. 10 minutes later, he calls again. Thinking he had the wrong number again, I just laugh it off and was as polite as I could. But then he calls -again- half an hour later.
A little uncomfortable at this point, he makes it worse but not leaving me alone when asked. He says he just wants to chat because I sound nice. I make it clear that I don’t really want to talk to him, as I don’t know him, and he says he understands, and I hang up.
The next day, he calls again. This time he is more persistent. I’m trying to be polite, but I’m starting to get seriously creeped out. He asks me to meet him for “dinner and a drink” so we could “get to know each other” because I sound “like a well spoken and nice girl”. I tell him I’m not interested, but he keeps pressing. I hang up on him. He then calls again a further three times -within that night- trying to persuade me to meet with him.
I end up getting in contact with the university and closing down the phone line.
THIS, as someone who has experienced stalking.
I truly think that any woman who has worked in a mall for a long period of time has been stalked at least once to the point of involving security and/or the police. I was stalked, by the classic definition, in at least three distinct episodes. The first one, I was 17. I was terrified of losing my job, and I worked in what was essentially a fishbowl with one exit and no means of putting anything between me and another person. That lasted for four months. Every shift for four months. It didn’t stop until an older male employee of a nearby store noticed and intervened. I’ve been followed out to my car, probably hundreds of times. I’ve been crept up on while taking out the trash. And both of those were happening while I was employing normal safety measures of buddy system, etc. I’ve had people stand outside my store for an entire eight hour shift and stare at me. I’ve had to stay locked in my store for an hour after closing because the person was still waiting and wouldn’t leave. I’ve had to have police escorts to and from my store more times than I can remember. And I’m not an isolated case. Every woman I’ve ever worked with has similar stories. Shit only started getting better when I stopped hesitating to call the cops. And even then, it still happens. And when it happens at your job, you have a level of feeling powerless to fight back because it’s unprofessional and you’re afraid it’s going to cost you your livelihood.
I’ve been doing some scholarly research, and I noticed this thing that’s been really dragging society down for the past few millennia: it’s that everything is wrong with you. You are gross. First of all, your hair is gross, because it is not long and thick enough. But don’t strap fake hair to your head! That’s also gross! Also, what the fuck is up with your skin? It is so dry and scaly like a lizard (but not one of those sexy lizards)! Except uuuuuuugh, do you have to take so long putting on your idiotic woman-lotion? This penis isn’t going to fondle itself! CHOP CHOP. Now, I know all this contradictory minutiae regarding your attractiveness can get confusing (especially with your lipstick-encrusted walnut brains!), but luckily, plenty of guys are generous enough to explain what they don’t like about you in great detail. Over and over. You’re welcome.
For your edification, the good folks over at Yahoo have compiled a list of the “15 Biggest Beauty Turnoffs from Real Guys"—yet another survey of "real guys" to reinforce the precise line of shit we women need to walk to remain attractive to them (it’s the least we can do, really). Because that media trope never gets tired. Let’s jump in!
If you are looking to attract a man with your fluffy false lashes and your flowing fake mane, it is time to take a different approach. We scouted the truth and discovered the things women do that make men turn the other way. All in all, men love to see the woman underneath the makeup, so ditch the dramatic routine and go natural for once.
First of all, I am neither an empty man-socket nor a fucking venus flytrap. I am not looking to “attract a man.” I am just trying to do my stuff and then maybe meet a person who likes me because I am also a person. I didn’t want to get all serious right off the bat, BUT SORRY: Women’s grueling, lifelong, losing battle to transform themselves into magical, flawless creatures with Disney hair and 15-inch waists and massive ham-lips is not for the benefit of women. And when men say that they “love to see the woman underneath the makeup,” they’re not saying they want to see your leg stubble and greasy bangs—they’re saying they want you to be better at hiding your maintenance routine. Because the maintenance spoils the fantasy.
"My wife spends 20 minutes after the shower putting on body lotion. Apparently it has to be applied evenly. For me, it is just a time suck." -R.D.S.
TICK TOCK, WIFE! QUIT SUCKING R.D.S.’S TIME AND START SUCKING SOMETHING ELSE.
"It gets on my nerves when women take too much time on makeup. You would think after a lifetime they would have the process down to less than 45 minutes!" -Christopher
Yeah, women! You’re sooooo high-maintenance! To be clear, we definitely don’t want you to stop painting that prettier face over your regular face every day—because gross—but could you just hurry it up? You’re late for Christopher’s blowjob.
"I can’t stand when she has wet hair after the shower and lays on my pillow, I usually roll over on the wet spot." -Jeff
Okay, that one is legit rude. But "wet hair" is not solely a woman’s domain. Fun fact: Dudes are also capable of becoming wet in a shower and then lying on a bed. Equality! Look at us go!
"If she has to be at work at 6am and uses the hair dryer, it wakes me up. Then, just when I get back to sleep. She is wearing her heels in the bathroom and the kitchen. Click. Click. Can’t you wear slippers?" -Pablo
So don’t have wet hair but don’t use the hair dryer. Got it.
Also, definitely wear sexy heels (sensible flats are for lesbians, obv!), but don’t walk in them. At least not when Pablo is sleeping. If you could just scoot yourself around on the carpet like a dog with butt-worms, and then put your heels on outside in the beauty bark, that would be ideal for Pablo. Thx.
"I don’t like extensions because when you put your hands in her hair you can feel all the lumps. It might be good to look at but not to touch." -Robert
Jeez, all this hair stuff is confusing! So…don’t have wet hair, don’t have dry hair, don’t have natural hair, don’t have fake hair. GOT IT.
And, you know, Robert, when you teach women that they need to be objects to even qualify as women, then why are you surprised when they start to literally integrate with objects?
"I’m picky about oral hygiene - brushing, flossing, mouthwash. She has to brush her teeth before bed and in the morning before we kiss. That extra care once we reach a certain level of intimacy is important." -Rod
Have you tried Milk Bones?
"They don’t put caps back on things or they put it on but they don’t screw it on so when I go get something it spills." -Connor
Oh, for fuck’s sake, Connor. Women don’t put caps back on things!? This is a woman thing now? ARE YOU SURE THIS ISN’T A “CONNOR’S SISTER” THING? My boyfriend leaves his wet towel on the bed, but you don’t see me e-mailing fucking Kirk Douglas and President Obama and Bobby Flay about it.
"Those thick eyelashes that women put on are annoying. It makes a woman stick out and people know that they aren’t real. I like a woman who looks nice and natural. Regular people don’t need all those eyelashes." -Lindsay
Regular people don’t need all those eyelashes.
"My wife doesn’t dye her hair often enough. I don’t like to see those dark roots." -Anonymous
"I wish my girlfriend would get a manicure more often instead of doing it herself. She is pretty low-maintenance." -Shaun
First of all. I find it hard to believe that Shaun can even tell the difference between a salon manicure and an at-home manicure, unless his girlfriend has some sort of tremor-inducing palsy, or multitasks by combining nail maintenance with trampoline practice. Which means this whole thing is just about signaling—Shaun wants to be with the kind of woman who gets her nails done at a salon. Nevermind the fact that going out to get your nails done can eat up several hours a week (I presume he also wants his girlfriend to have a career and a social life and to take care of her family and do her taxes and maintain her home and feed herself and possibly sleep once in a while), and can cost hundreds of dollars a month (I also presume Shaun is not footing the bill).
And second of all, let’s all just take a second to note that women have now been criticized for being high-maintenance, maintenance, and low-maintenance.
And third of all, MAYBE SHE JUST LIKES DOING HER NAILS BECAUSE IT’S FUN. Sometimes women get to make our own decisions and do things because those things make us happy.
I can’t believe we’re even still having this conversation, but dudes, LISTEN: Women’s bodies, even ones into which you get to stick your penis, are not yours. Women have the right to be gross, to have hair, to be slow, to put on make-up, to not put on make-up, to wear fake eyelashes, to smell good or bad, and to be human beings. Women are not your dog our your lawn or your living room, you do not get to prune and groom and design us, and negotiating things like hygiene and style within a relationship is a matter of mutual respect. My right to do my own nails does not stop where your personal boner for trimmed cuticles begins.
Also, women: If you are single, it is not because your fake eyelashes are too bushy or Kevin doesn’t like cucumber lotion. This shit is an oppressive waste of your time. Here’s my new beauty tip for everyone on earth: Go read a book or something.
AU: Loki gets detention for lipping off a teacher,
When he gets there he finds some familiar faces who have also gotten detention
avengers breakfast club!au?? yes pLEASE
I didn’t realize how much I wanted high school!Avengers until right now.
someone message me if this comes into existence
It was a chilly Saturday morning at East Shields High School. Saturdays are never a good day to be at school, which is why teachers think they’re perfect for detentions. Seven students had been assigned Saturday detention this time, and the headmaster, Mr Nicholas (nicknamed ‘The Fury’ by the student body for his formidable temper), was currently lecturing them in the library.
‘Saturday detention is meant to be a punishment, not a social event. There will be no talking, no making friends, and no having fun. I will be in my office across the hall, and if I hear so much as a peep out of any of you miscreants, I will personally ensure that you spend the next month in detention. Your task for today is to write me an essay about who you think you are. I expect at least two pages by the end of the day. The door between my office and the library will remain open at all times, am I understood?’ Mr Nicholas glared at the students, and received blank faces in return.
‘I repeat, am I understood?’ he said loudly.
The students chorused ‘Yes Sir’, and he left the library in satisfaction.
Immediately, Tony Stark tilted his chair back and lit a cigarette. ‘This is so bullshit. I could be working on my car or my robots today, but instead, I’m stuck in a stupid library. On a Saturday. This should be illegal. I might sue.’ He looked across the room, and winked at the only girl present, Natasha Romanoff. ‘Hi. Tony Stark.’
Natasha rolled her eyes and looked away. She never said much, but was one of the most attractive girls at East Shields High. All anyone knew about her was that she was incredibly athletic, holding several of the school’s track records.
Tony shrugged and blew cigarette smoke towards the ceiling. Steve Rogers, clad in his ever-present letterman jacket, was sitting in front of him and caught a whiff. He turned around angrily. ‘Do you mind? Not all of us want to die a slow and unpleasant death like you do.’
Tony looked at him. ‘Well, not all of us have a stick up our asses like you do. I’ll do what I like, thankyou very much.’
Steve glared at him but left the obnoxious teenage genius alone, knowing it was useless to try to reason with him. Tony Stark was notorious at East Shields, having pulled so many pranks he should have been expelled in his freshman year. But he won the school numerous district and state academic awards each year, so his sins were mostly forgiven. He’d ended up in detention only because he had caused an explosion in his shop class, which broke several windows, rendered the classroom unsafe to use, and landed his teacher in hospital suffering from nervous anxiety.
‘So, everyone knows how I ended up in here, but what on earth did the rest of you do to piss off the Fury?’ Tony asked, blowing smoke rings into the back of Steve’s head.
‘It’s none of your business, Stark.’ Steve said.
‘Sure it’s my business. I’m stuck in here with you all day, can’t we at least sit in a circle and share our life stories, so that we walk out of here as better people?’ Stark made puppy dog eyes at the rest of his fellow teenage hooligans. ‘Like what on Earth did Little Miss Perfect Athlete over here do to end up in Saturday detention?’ He turned and looked at Natasha until she tossed her head and acknowledged him.
‘You really want to know how I got myself a Saturday detention, Stark?’ she asked. Tony nodded eagerly, anxious to hear the gossip.
‘She’s only here because of me.’ A voice from the back of the room made everyone turn around. Clint Barton, a stocky teenager with short brown hair, was sitting in his chair trying his best to look apologetic. He was also sporting a black eye, oddly enough. ‘It was mostly my fault I guess. Tash, I tried to tell the Fury -’
‘Oooooohhh’ Tony mimed a swoon. ‘Barton called you Tash! Is there something the two of you haven’t shared with the group?’
Natasha rolled her eyes. ‘He sits next to me in Algebra and tried feeling me up. I punched him in the face.’
Clint looked offended. ‘Jesus, it was an accident! Is it my fault I tripped and landed on you?’ He might have gotten away with that excuse with the teacher, but the telltale smirk on his face left little doubt about the veracity of his tale.
‘Don’t make me blacken your other eye, Barton’. Natasha snapped and turned back to the front.
‘Mmm, feisty. I like it.’ Tony grinned. Now he was getting somewhere. He turned to Steve Rogers again. ‘And you, Captain All-American Pretty Boy, what did you do?’
‘Not that it’s any of your business, Stark, but I decked someone in the break between third and fourth period. Some kid was bashing the hell out of some freshman, and that’s just not right. So I stopped him.’
Tony just looked at him. ‘And now you expect the Nobel Peace Prize, am I right?’
Steve looked annoyed. ‘Whatever, go to hell Stark. At least that kid didn’t end up in hospital because everyone just stood by and watched it happen.’
Tony went quiet after that. He might be a nutcase but he still respected people doing the right thing. There were still a few kids left he hadn’t interrogated yet, the quiet, studious Bruce Banner sitting two rows in front of him, and the two Odinsson twins, tall and muscular yet polar opposites.
Rumour had it that the younger one was adopted, and he hadn’t taken the news so well. That was putting it lightly, as others said he’d practically gone mental when his parents had told him. They had to be some pretty weird parents though, considering the names they’d given their children. The older one, with blond hair, was called Thor, and the younger was Loki. Apparently they were named after Norse gods or something crazy like that.
‘So, what did you two do? Kill some Vikings? Wreak havoc on Mount Olympus?’
Loki gave him a slow, patronising clap. ‘Well done, Stark, you’re maybe half right. But Mount Olympus was the home of the Greek gods, not the Norse. And killing Vikings had to be postponed until next week on account of getting Saturday detention. And no, before you ask, I’m not going to tell you what I did. Figure it out for yourself, genius.’
Thor only grinned. ‘I don’t care, I’ll tell you. Some kid bet me $20 I couldn’t smash a school desk to pieces. I might have gotten myself a Saturday detention but at least I’m $20 richer for it.’ Tony looked impressed and Barton gave a low whistle of astonishment. His brother just rolled his eyes.
Now the only person left was Bruce Banner, who had just been quietly observing the conversation. Everyone turned to him and he was caught off-guard. ‘I didn’t do anything special. Just skipped school too many times and got caught.’
‘LAME’ proclaimed Tony. Natasha looked confused. ‘Hang on, aren’t you top of basically every class? How are you that smart if you’re skipping school?’
Bruce snorted. ‘You think this school can teach me anything? It’s a joke. No real focus on science or mathematics, just all the sporty crap you jocks do.’
‘Hey that’s a bit unfair – ‘ started Steve. He was interrupted by a loud booming voice from the principal’s office.
‘I HEAR TOO MUCH CONVERSATION AND NOT ENOUGH ESSAY WRITING. I SWEAR TO GOD, IF I HAVE TO COME IN THERE…’
Guys who try to use the “Are you on your period?” as way to end an argument always amuse me. Because it gives me the excuse to lean in close and whisper.
"I started my day by waking up in a pool of my own blood. Is that how you’d like me to end yours?"
All the awards to Adam Hills.