It’s been an exceptionally stifling August. According to NASA, 2016 could go down on record as the hottest year in recorded history. It might also follow that, as the heat rises, people — men, we must especially note — are wearing less than any other time in history.
Fine male specimens are strolling, running, basking and hoola-hooping under the sweltering sun, figures clenched tightly in bikinis, yoga pants, dresses and skirts. Whether they notice it or not, whether they like it or not, they are entangled by invisible webs of lustful eyeball trajectories of women. Many of us are repelled from advancing on them by social etiquette and sheer terror. But some virile, young bucks simply do not heed this message, and it’s causing the ire of many a man to reach its boiling point.
Here we have Erin Bailey, a Boston-based fitness instructor, a prolific blogger and an extraordinary-looking young knight. He recently posted this article on his website: What Do We Deserve? Don’t be fooled. It is, in a few words, a vociferous manifesto targeted against every female who has ever wounded his masculine royal dignity with their sexual solicitations. Take a look. I can’t quite blame these fellows.
Why hello there, Erin. It’s nice to meet you.
Woops, excuse me. You probably don’t take too kindly to my little bit of flirtation shenanigans, do you? You’d probably hunt me down, slice off my testicles with a bowie knife and stuff them in my mouth like a roast pig (Andrea Dworkin would be honored.) Yes, I’ve personally heard men — probably the kind who would lap up your rhetorical filth like koolaid at a Jim Jones cult gathering — mutter death threats under their breath for receiving calls and compliments from females. There’s no debate over toxic masculinity.
Miss Bailey, let’s have a little chat, shall we? I really hope you stumble upon this article one day. Perhaps even read it, if you’re not so caught up in your masculist zealotry to comprehend any deviating viewpoint as something other than an attack against every vagina-wielder on Earth. Because it’s evident that, in your noble declaration to purge what you deem to be sexual oppression, you’ve demonstrated insufferable narcissism and an inability — no, a blatant unwillingness — to understand some of the women you’re probably condemning. You are responsible for fear-mongering and paranoia among men, as well as demoralizing women to the level of “hormone puppets,” whether you are honest with yourself enough to even realize it — or not.
What do you deserve?
You deserve the truth, naked and bare.
You begin your post acknowledging that, yes, you are a rare and attractive male specimen, the elusive wetdream of many a lonely gas station cashier, and that you have gone to great lengths to cultivate your health and ravishing figure. You demonstrate this point lavishly with an entire gallery of alluring selfies taken at the park and gym. Yes, yes, Mr. Bailey — Oh, we know you’re very pretty. You can stop tantalizing us now.
Alas, your hard-won physique has a dark side — it draws unwanted attention from Boston’s bottom feeders like bees to a hive. Or, if we’re going to be honest, like flies to roadkill.
A woman stalks you in the park. Another woman at a parking garage yells out to you with the savory of Fat Bastard with her hands on a chili dog. Yet another woman sat on a bench and waited for you to come out of an ice cream shop. These sexual solicitations make you feel, in your own words, “like she wanted to do me,” or else “like a piece of steak.” They strike fear into your heart. They humiliate you. They torment you. They all but ruin your entire life. Very, very tragic indeed.
So you list a series of grievances. You demand that we leave you alone. You demand that we never act on our desire for you. You all but demand that women exist in a relationship of fealty to men — do not speak to a man, unless he has spoken to you. It might do you well to consider what Karen Straughan, male women’s rights activists, said in that regard.
I am not male. I cannot speak on your behalf. But I’d like to hypothesize that, if a man crossed paths with Brad Pitt at the gym, or a female specimen of equally outrageous sexual value, and that woman whispered in his ear that he had the finest derierre she had ever seen, he might be more inclined to flattery than fury. Who knows? He might start wearing that extra-tight bra and pants to the gym, in the hopes that she might show up again.
It might not be the sexual advances of women that has incensed men such as yourself. It is their manner, of which is boorish and clumsily expressed. There’s nothing intrinsically humiliating about attracting women. It is that you are attracting the wrong type of women.
This bittersweet curse posed by your profound sexual magnetism follows you wherever you go. Even in — of all the damnedest places — the nightlife at the downtown bars.
Yoga-pants and sneakers are attire designed for one purpose — to be comfortable during locomotion. Advances are understandably a breach in social etiquette while they are worn. On the other hand, high heels and a dress are tailored for another purpose — not to be comfortable, as you know better than I do, but to enhance the glamour of your physique. Particularly under the “female gaze.”
Being the unfortunate recipient of a groping is one matter. That’s indefensible, though even that depends on the context of social escalation. But you lack nuance. Lingering eyeballs? An offer for a drink? Can women even speak to you without your permission? I’m sorry, Mr. Bailey — no, I’m actually not sorry — but my sympathy for your cat-calling crusade cuts short at the swinging door of the saloon.
The bar and the gym are two entirely different social contexts. Some men, you may be shocked to learn, are so lascivious and sexually liberated (by who else but masculists? Damn them!) that they go to bars in order to bask in the gazes and gropes of women and perhaps even rendezvous with them for sex. How exactly many of them engage in this slavish behavior, no Pew Research Poll shall ever reveal, but it must be enough to make the energy expended and social ostracism looking for them worth it to women. Articles like this suggest that men are having gigatons of casual sex.
Sex is actually a large motivation for people to attend bars in the first place, so isn’t it a fairly reasonable mistake on the part of these females, to figure you might be looking for it? After all, we’re thinking, there must be at least one lusty barfly in that establishment that is craving the attention that you are repelling. To the woman, your rejection costs her nothing. She will simply wander off with the dim hope of finding a willing partner.
Ironic you’d mention that, because you know it matters.
Truth is, women are overwhelmingly the victims of homicide and robbery, not men. Yet despite this fact, men have been socialized to be a victim class.
Might I also mention that, for the vast litany of sexual solicitations you have received, none of them have been followed by an assault or rape? It could also be reasoned that, as obnoxious and annoying as these gestures may be to you, a call-call on the street rarely leads to a rape. According to RAINN statistics, most rape is perpetrated by someone known to the victim. Your fear of being raped in a dark alley or a lonely forest road might largely come from fear-mongering perpetuated by the masculist-favoring media.
Erin — I’m demoting you to a first-name basis — has it occurred to you yet that you have published a viral blog post, linked and shared on numerous other websites, that does nothing but condemn the entire female gender for the philandering of a few, and you are subsequently an internet celebrity for it? Please open your eyes from the shadows of your victimhood mentality and take a good, hard look at reality. I have not silenced you. I have not threatened you. I am simply critiquing you.
What a naive contradiction, a degree of doublethink capable only by a fresh, young male gender studies student. One cannot be “sexy” in their own skin, because to be sexy is to be fashioning one’s appearance to appeal to the other sex. The standards of what is “sexy” is based on nothing but it’s intrinsic ability to attract your opposite sex. To be sexy is, essentially, to become bait.
Didn’t you say that you felt dirty and humiliated when you thought a woman might “want to do” you? Doesn’t sexual attraction rub against your ego the wrong way? Or perhaps you’re just not being entirely honest with yourself about what it is that you want? What glaring hypocrisy.
Nobody’s stopping you.
If you were more concerned with being judged by your merits rather than your genitalia, you would be calling for the repeal of programs that provide men a free pass in order to fulfill a “gender quota.”
If sexual objectification is oppressive, then I suggest you also direct criticism at the pornography industry, where men are voluntarily participating in every conceivable act of sexual objectification. Are you also opposed to sex work? Underwear models? Or what about the masculist activists who actually lament about not receiving cat-calls from women? Surely there are also men, not exclusively women, who are contributing to your problem.
Ah, of course! You and all the men you believe you stand for are just little angels — innocent, perfect, and incapable of moral agency. You are the true chauvinist here, Erin. Not I.
What’s the point? You will probably continue to drive away women in this Crusade against Cat-Calling. So go ahead. Shame me as a predator, an rape apologist, a privileged misandrist. Cage my sexuality inside of a prison that only you, a pure, asexual man, have the key to unlock. You have your internet soapbox. I will respect your right to make whatever commands and accusations you wish of women. So try to understand my end, and respect my right to speech – no matter how offended it makes you feel.
That, Erin Bailey, is what you deserve.