A lot of men (and probably other genders, but mostly men) like to creepily hit on people (usually women) in contexts in which it’s not ok to hit on people. (Eg: on the subway).
Girls start experiencing this before they’re considered old enough for sex ed.
Creepy men regularly do this in a way that’s slightly deniable.
Like sitting way too close. Or asking an almost innocuous thing. And it feels really horrible to be on the receiving end, but it can be hard to put your finger on why. And if you object, the man who started it will try as hard as he can to say you’re being unreasonable. Often, bystanders or people you tell afterwards will empathically agree and tell you he was just being friendly and that didn’t have to be rude.
This is not your fault. It’s not your fault that creepy guys are awful to you, and it’s not your fault that people punish you for refusing to cooperate with their creepy actions.
There is usually no polite way to object. Because they manipulate the rules of politeness so that you have to be rude to say no.
It’s ok to be rude in that situation.
Being in that situation doesn’t mean you’re a rude inconsiderate person. It means you’re asserting an important boundary in the only available way.
Most of these guys know exactly what they are doing. It’s not innocent awkwardness. It’s a different thing. It’s doing something they know they can probably get away with denying that they’ve done.
(People do sometimes do this kind of thing by mistake, too. But it’s not ok then either. And most people who do this, know damn well what they’re doing.)
I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. When I was in high school, a chaperone for a field trip asked me what underwear I was wearing. Middle aged men asked me to get dinner when I was canvassing for political candidates. We need to tell young women that this shit isn’t okay.
Reblogging for the concrete example. This is one of the kinds of things I am talking about. It’s really important for girls (and boys, but especially girls since they are the main targets) to learn how to see this creepy aggression for what it is.
Girls: you’re not imagining it, and you are not alone. It’s not ok, and it’s not your fault.