Is “Supernatural” Sexist?

Is “Supernatural” Sexist?

Since I’m coming off my Supernatural binge I’m gonna take the opportunity to write about something that has long bothered me.

Is Supernatural sexist?

People are often surprised to hear I like Supernatural.  After all, I identify as a feminist, if an unorthodox one, and Supernatural is supposedly the most sexist show ever.

But I don’t think Supernatural IS sexist.  Even though I’m pretty sensitive to stuff like that, I really don’t find it at all sexist.  I have literally never been offended by anything that has happened on Supernatural, except for Charlie Bradbury, an insufferable Mary Sue who was ironically written to serve as some sort of female representation.  That’s right, the only thing I ever found sexist on Supernatural was the magical talisman that was supposed to prevent me from thinking Supernatural is sexist.  Don’t do me any favors, yo.  Don’t give me a crappy character you put 10 seconds of thought into and pretend it’s for me when it’s just so you can shut people like me up.

I think Supernatural,  rather than being a sexist extravaganza, is just a show that is mostly about men, and not as much about women.  And hey, that is perfectly ok with me.   IMVHO, it’s not at all feminist to demand that shows about men actually be about women.  Women don’t need special treatment, we just need an equal shot.  Right?  If we need special treatment to succeed, if we need to force people against their will to watch shows that feature female characters, then we really AREN’T equal, are we?  We’re just LARPing equality.  I want the real deal.

I enjoy a good estrogenfest now and then just as much as the next gal, but I also like watching shows that are about dudes doing dude things too.  There are an infinine number of stories out there in the world to be told and as such it’s only natural that some stories are mostly about guys.  So?  I believe with every fiber of my being as both a feminist and a fiction writer that there is room in the world for stories that are mostly about men, stories that are mostly about women, and stories about both men and women interacting together in all sorts of different ways.  A world that features ONLY tales that involve a set number of boys and a set number of girls every single time would drastically limit the number of stories that could be told.  As a writer, I will never approve of limiting the number of stories that can be told!  We can call for and hope for AND PERSONALLY CREATE more stories that are centered around female characters and include lots of female characters without demanding that stories that are about men be altered to include female characters when it doesn’t serve the story.

In the case of Supernatural, a show that is mostly about men, a lack of a main female character is not extreme, sexist or unusual.  It is realistic.  Fun fact, there are vast, huge swaths of the world in when men do things together without the presence of women.   (Trust me, I have 4 sons and my husband is a truck driver.)  There are men – and not a few – who go days, weeks, even months without having a single meaningful interaction with people of the female persuasion at all.  It is not because they think females have cooties and they think men are superior so they don’t let stinky ol’ girls join the He Man Woman Haters Club.  It is because they’re completely cut off from them.  Men LIKE WOMEN.  They seek them out whenever and however they can.  They want to have women in their life, would love to, they just don’t.

Seriously, Supernatural fans, after watching this show for 15 years, do you think Dean, Sam, Bobby, and even Castiel aren’t SUFFERING from not having women in their life?  They are, it’s obvious that they are.  It causes them great pain to not have love, to not have female companionship, and it’s a pain that a lot of men actually kind of relate to.  It is not sexist to portray men who are isolated and suffering because of their isolation.  That isolation is, in fact a huge part of why Dean, Sam, and Bobby are so miserable all the time.  They don’t have love in their lives.  (Castiel, of course, doesn’t need that in the same way, but he still might wish to have a female friend, which he is unable to have due to circumstances out of his control.)  These guys can’t have love in their lives.  Every time the Winchesters start to pursue a relationship (even just friendship) their loved ones die or they have to leave to protect them.

This matters.  This dynamic is critical to the plot of Supernatural, it’s critical to the characters as they’ve been written, it’s critical to the greater subtext (because it’s a story that is ABOUT MEN).  If the writers stick a girl into this masculine melee to tick off a SJW box on a PC checklist, it changes that dynamic irrevocably just like it would change the dynamic of Steel Magnolias if one of the Magnolias was Chris Hemsworth.  It undermines the fundamental premise of the show, which involves men, who through no fault of their own, just a terribly unlucky twist of fate, are cast into a battle they never wanted to fight, and as a result are completely cut off from the things that most of us take for granted, like family and love and happiness.

You know, the way billions of men have lived and died throughout history.  Alone.  Of all the men who have ever lived, only 40% of them have passed down Y chromosomes that endure to this day.   This means that huge, huge numbers of men have lived their entire lives and died without being married, without even getting close, without ever having children.  They went out on pirate ships and into monasteries and joined armies where they were surrounded by men all day every day.  Except for their mothers – and a good many men, like the Winchesters, lost their mothers at young ages – and the occasional encounter with a prostitute, the existence of a whole lot of men throughout history has been one of being surrounded by all dudes, all the time.  Even still to this day tons of men are single, have exclusively male friends (or no friends), may be employed someplace with primarily male coworkers, and just don’t see many women from day to day.

Again, this is not because they’re big fat mean sexist pigs, it’s because fate has put them into a position where they have no access to women, not even in the friend zone.   It’s not by choice, it’s by necessity.  It doesn’t make them happy to be alone, and Dean and Sam Winchester, in their female-less misery and isolation, exemplify this.  Sam and Dean, as silly as it sounds, are the fictional embodiment of millions, if not billions of dudes who went out and fought the good fight and saved the world in some small way and died, forgotten, without anyone there to mourn them but their brothers.   Dean and Sam are the modern day avatars of men who died at sea and on battlefields and in jungles and forests thousands of miles from home doing heroic ass shit to bring we ladies cinnamon and safety and never even got laid as thanks for their sacrifice.

Given all this, it’s really rather asinine to demand there be a consistent “female voice” in Supernatural because Supernatural is about the male experience – particularly the male experience feeling sexually and emotionally isolated from women and having to save a world you never even get to partake in.  Shoehorning a “female voice” in there could very easily drown out a good part of what the show is even about – male pain.  And not, you wiseacre you, because women never shut up either, but because men act differently when women are present.  Men, particularly tough men like the Winchesters, rarely talk about their feelings in front of women.  Men try to impress women, when women are present, by being brave and strong and stoic.  All those scenes where Dean and Sam sit in the Impala and hash out the terrible things they’ve been through would not happen if there was a girl or two in the car with them (well, they might, but they’d be a lot harder for me to buy as a viewer.)

Men being open to discussing feelings is really important.  Men seeing other men, even fictional men, doing so is really important.  I know some feminists think it’s fun to belittle male tears but I think every human being’s pain matters and for men to talk about their emotional baggage now and then with somebody now and then is critical.   Even if you really don’t give two figs about men and their feelz, it is important ~for women~ to allow men to explore male vulnerability through fiction even out of our own self-preservation.  We all know the trope of that strong, silent man who lashes out at his wife and his kids, we all know the story of that quiet guy who kept to himself right up till the day he snapped.  Don’t stifle yourselves, my dudes.

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Supernatural is exquisitely rare in that it shows men being vulnerable with each other sometimes.  We as feminists should be encouraging that and not sitting around whining that we didn’t get enough representation.  Because normalizing male vulnerability is the cure for toxic masculinity.

But Supernatural is about more than just male pain.  It’s about male fear.

What is the thing that men fear the most?  It’s not spiders, it’s not dental work, it’s not snakes like Indiana Jones, it’s not demons, it’s not even killer clowns.

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Men’s greatest fear, programmed into them from a kajillion years of evolution, is that they cannot protect their loved ones.  Whether or not you believe gender is mostly a social construct, the fact is, biologically, right down to their very DNA, male animals are hard wired to protect their flock or their tribe or their family and desperately fear failing at that task.  And Sam and Dean, again and again and again, are unable to protect the people closest to them.  They fail in their primary mission, protecting the defenseless people who rely on them and they fail at it repeatedly.   As the song says, it’s almost like they were born to lose and destined to fail.  The amount the Winchesters spectacularly fail at their fundamental role as men is downright emasculating.  But then they have to regroup and do it all over again.  And they do, no matter how hard it is, no matter how much it costs them.  Supernatural is a story of men who cannot accomplish the one thing men want the most – to keep their loved ones safe from harm – again, as a great many men throughout history have been unable to keep their loved ones safe from harm.  But it’s also a story of men who don’t give up trying.

When you watch Supernatural through that lens, it’s incredibly moving.   Dean and Sam try and fail and try and fail and fail and fail some more.  No wonder they push women away – they don’t want to let them down.  They don’t want to get them killed.  Their lives are a train wreck, their saga is tragedy-in-progress.  The “women in fridges” trope has come under fire recently and rightfully so, but Supernatural should be held fully exempt from that criticism because women dying on Supernatural serves the greater subtext of the show – men being chronically unable to protect those they love.  The greatest fear that men have.

So if the writers decide to now cram some adorable female version of Cousin Oliver into the show and have her survive???  and become a regular character?????  that would  undermine what the show is even about.  A show about men’s isolation and men’s pain and men’s deepest darkest fear that they can’t protect the people who rely upon them would be rendered meaningless by the introduction of a character who directly undermines that subtext.  Supernatural with a recurring female character who survives indefinitely invalidates the whole entire freaking point of Supernatural.  It’s not sexism not to have a “consistent female voice”, it’s simply staying true to what Supernatural is about!

But even if you look at Supernatural from a fully female perspective, it’s still not sexist.

So you don’t like men?  You don’t care about their fear and their pain?  Ok.  Let’s talk the women on Supernatural.  One of my biggest, hugest, personal pet peeves is how we are told that cramming spectacularly beautiful, always flawless, nearly always young women into a movie or show is supposedly feminist or something.  Are you seriously telling me that putting forth women whose physical attractiveness is so far beyond that of mere mortals as to be unattainable, that are OBVIOUSLY put into a program not for me to relate to but for men to ogle (no doubt whilst comparing gals like me unfavorably) is somehow more feminist than a show that doesn’t have a “consistent male voice”?

Are you kidding me?

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Shoving a gorgeous chick at me telling me it’s for my benefit when really it’s for the benefit of thirsty dudes does not feel even remotely feminist, mmmkay??

And Supernatural never, ever, ever does that.  The women in Supernatural are average and get dirty and look gross sometimes and don’t wear that much makeup and aren’t perfectly coiffed and most of them don’t ever dress slutty unless it’s important to the character (rare).  Watching the women on Supernatural feels like a breath of fresh air to me.  They look like me.  They’re put together like women who are working hard and fighting for their life would be and aren’t running from demons wearing 3 inch heels.

Let’s take a look at some of the gals who have shown up on Supernatural the most.

Sheriff Jody Mills:

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Ellen and Jo:

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Meg:

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Ruby in both incarnations:

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While all these women are beautiful, their beauty is attainable.  It’s not Hollywood level insane off-the-charts-Megan-Fox-Margot-Robbie beauty.  They wear real clothes suitable to the job they’re doing.  They get dirty and bloody and their hair gets messed up.  Kudos to whoever does the casting and the costuming/makeup, because I for one really appreciate it.  The women on Supernatural seem like real people doing real things in a messed up world and not chicks who are prancing around on a screen for dudes to jerk it to.  The women in Supernatural feel like they are there for me to relate to and they are there to tell a story and not there for men.

And that, cats and kittens, is entirely feminist.

Beyond all that, Supernatural does something extraordinary with its female characters, something that I believe to be entirely unique.  It lets them have sex in a way that is normal, that approximates to a reasonable extent the type of sexual activity women have in the real world.  The female characters on Supernatural are sexually active without it being a gimmick.  The women of Supernatural have sex just as an ordinary part of their lives and it is not a huge deal.  No slutshaming, no virgin-celebrating, no Madonna/whore complexes.  They fuck sometimes because people fuck sometimes.

Examples?  But of course.

Lisa Braeden, Dean’s on again, off again girlfriend, had a one-night-stand with Dean, then shortly after got pregnant from another one-night-stand, had a baby on her own, raised it, we assume she had sex many times along the way with various people, and then Dean got back together with her and they lived together for a while.  Her sexual choices were not presented as disgusting or indeed in any way remarkable.  Dean had absolutely no qualms about picking it up again with Lisa right where they left off despite the fact that she’d had sex with other dudes.  Lisa Braeden was not a soiled dove; Dean wasn’t doing her a favor by going out with her, in fact he felt lucky to have her.

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Amelia Richardson was a woman who Sam had an intense fairly long term relationship with.  Dean and Sam had had a falling out and he was on his own.  She thought at the time her husband was dead, killed in Afghanistan, but later it turned out he was actually alive.  Neither her husband or Sam was consumed with jealousy, neither punished Amelia for the terrible situation she found herself in.  Her husband let Amelia decide for herself what she wanted to do and didn’t pressure her in any way.   Her body, her choice.

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One of my personal fave Supernatural women is Jo Harvelle (and one of the reasons I hate the Charlie Bradbury character so much is that Sam and Dean actually HAD an adorable little sister character that they never gushed about anywhere near how they gushed about Charlie FFS).  Jo, as many younger women do when it comes to older guys, had a bit of a crush on Dean, which Dean being Dean, reciprocated in a sexual way.  But Jo knew (please note, it was NOT that Dean was sooo wise and mature that HE knew, Jo herself was the one who knew better) would have never been the guy that Jo needed him to be, so she never acted on it.  This went on till the night before they were going into a situation where they’d likely both die.  Dean played the “it’s our last night on earth, why not?” card.  And Jo thought about it, thought about it very seriously, and turned him down.  Because sexual freedom also includes the right to say no.

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But the one that takes the cake for me is Annie Hawkins.  Annie was a Hunter, like Dean and Sam are Hunters, who went missing.  In the process of looking for her, it is revealed that she had slept with Bobby, Dean, and Sam at various points over the years.  It was funny, but it wasn’t painted as funny in a “ha-ha slut” way, it was funny because life is funny and people are funny.  It wasn’t a laugh at Annie’s expense at all.  And Annie wasn’t a throwaway disposable character.  She wasn’t a woman in a fridge, she was an important part of the plot.  Even though she was only in one single episode, she was a fully-fleshed out 3 dimensional character, not a punchline.  She was neither punished nor celebrated for her sexual choices.  All three of our heroes cared about her and valued the time they’d spent together, but it was just that nobody needed to marry nobody or nothing.  It was a really nice way to illustrate that women have sexual histories just like men, we have sex for all sorts of reasons including that we’re in the mood to.  I wracked my brain and I couldn’t think of a single other show that had ever featured a non-slut woman having sex with three different guys at various stages in her life as a non-joke plot point aside from Supernatural.  Totally a feminist moment for me.

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Final analysis – Supernatural is not sexist.  Far from it.  In many ways, it’s downright feminist.

Look, here’s the thing.  We live in a world full of oodles of people who think they get to have everything JUST the way they want it all the time.  If they aren’t the absolute center of the universe in everything all the time they pitch a fit and moan and complain and make demands until someone gives them fan service.  But fan service sucks and intersectionality is impossible.  It just isn’t possible to produce a book or a movie or a show that is fundamentally about men and male pain and male fear and then decide to flush that away to make a show about some extraneous woman designed by a focus group instead because some people have loud mouths.  Because HEY, it would be an entirely different show if the writers did that, and I suspect a very much inferior one.  Plus, despite being a show about men, Supernatural does a pretty fantastic job of bringing us strong and relatable female characters anyway!  Don’t fix what ain’t broke!

Long story short, I think it’s fucking ridiculous – and antifeminist – to pretend that a show is anti-women just because it happens to be pro-men.

Supernatural is NOT SEXIST.   The atomic feminist has spoken.

If you want to see my take on adding a female character to the Supernatural universe please check out my (long) short story Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl.

 

a rock and a hard place

a rock and a hard place

In the media recently I read of a plan to encourage Uber drivers to spot victims of sex trafficking.

While some of the advice given was sound (watching for bruises, fear, controlling behavior from the people a woman is with) a lot of it crossed a line into slut shaming.  Looking for scantily clad women, unprofessionally dressed, wearing too much makeup, and being too talkative/flirtatious were all supposed signs of sex trafficking.

This is obviously outrageous.  If a woman goes out in public dressed like a whore and acts like a whore it doesn’t make her a whore.  And even if she is a whore, she should still be treated like a human being.  Her status as a sex worker doesn’t mean she requires the “help” of a nosy Uber driver.  If a woman is not showing active signs of being in serious trouble, butt the eff out, yo.  As some may recall, I’m of the opinion that it’s a woman’s business if she’d like to trade on her sexual favors for personal benefit.

Men are confused right now about women and sex.  I have sympathy.  Because on the one hand women, including me myself, often point out that it can be scary to be a woman in the world, that men sometimes put women into positions in which they feel a sense of discomfort or outright fear over seemingly mundane interactions.  Guys feel like they can’t flirt, can’t ask a woman for her number, can’t even ask her if soy milk is better than almond in the grocery store, without getting called a rapist, practically.

And we have some things to answer for in that regard, ladies, we surely do.  We’re conflating WAY too much and we need to do better both to be less oversensitive and more empathetic to male concerns.  Because if decent guys can’t even approach us without getting their dicks whacked with the indiscriminate hammer of social justice, demanding they have no reaction whatsoever even as we’re parading around in front of them wearing come-hither expressions and even more come-hither-y clothing, well, that’s a pretty awful position for us to put them into.  We women shouldn’t both perpetually whet the appetite without offering a reasonable chance – not of success, of course, but a reasonable chance of being treated like a human instead of a horny sewer rat.  Men should to be able to approach women they’re interested in without fear that they’ll be destroyed in perpetuity, having their names added to “bad men” lists for trying to reach out to a woman they like, who they thought maybe liked them in return. *

It’s just not a nice thing to do (and nor is it safe for us to do that, because at least some of those guys are not decent guys; bad guys are not vampires, they don’t wait for an invitation.) Pretending that we women are soooo delicate and fragile that we’re destroyed over being asked out when we didn’t wanna be or by clumsy unwanted passes that are easily shut down and that men are usually way more embarrassed about than we are, be is ridiculous nonsense that’s setting the cause of feminism back decades if not a century.  And doing it while we screech “girl power” and prattle on about how tough and strong we are is straight up bullshittery.

Men are confused ostensibly because me saying “women should be able to ride in a Uber dressed like a slut” and “men need to be more aware of the reality that men can frighten women even in non-sexual situations” at the same time seems from their perspectives, an awful lot like me giving women a pass – saying we should be able to act however we want and men just have to suck it up, avert their eyes, and pray not to get a boner like a 12 year old in gym class.  Worse, they can’t even ask us out because we’re too delicate.

I’m quite sure it seems to men like women want to eat their cake and have it too sometimes.

But these things really are not the same at all.  These two beliefs can coexist and if one sets aside their 27 piece set of matching baggage to take a look at them without larger cultural demons whispering into their ears, it’s pretty obvious IMVVVVVVHO.

I think it’s ok to occasionally gently remind men that their very physical size and presence can be threatening to women.  I honestly think men sometimes forget that is the case.  They’re used to being in their own bodies and navigating the world in a certain way, so what feels normal and natural to them may be upsetting, even frightening, to another, smaller person who happens to be nearby.  It’s ok to remind men that some women actually have been assaulted or abused in the past and are even more sensitive to size differences and personal space than the average woman is.  It doesn’t mean we’re indiscriminately calling you rapists to issue this reminder, it just means that maybe it’s worth thinking about now and then.  Because you ARE bigger and stronger than us and sexual assault IS an actual thing that happens far too often.  After all, people give warnings about not standing under trees in lightning storms and getting hit by lightning happens way less than sexual assault does.  It’s not personal, guys.

It’s also ok to say that women should have the right to go where they wanna go, do what they wanna do, and dress how they wanna dress without inviting being narced on big mouthed Uber drivers.  I mean really, are we at the point already in our society where this drive to “protect women” is manifesting itself ALREADY as a prohibition not only women’s sexual freedom, but their clothing?  It’s been like a year of #metoo, I was hoping it would take at least 10 till this happened.  At this rate we’ll be in burkas before 2020.

If you, my masculine friend, can accept those two things, I will lay the following two things on the table:

It should be ok to occasionally, delicately, tactfully, and graciously point out to women that some of the stuff they’re #metooing about involves minor and unintentional gaffes by otherwise decent men who meant well and innocently mistook kindness for romantic interest. (SOME of the stuff!!!  Use your best judgement, of course, and if a woman says she felt uncomfortable in a situation, please respect that). Some women want to both be able to exploit their sexuality to the fullest extent while still playing the victim card whenever it suits their personal agenda.  Sadly, I think this has devolved in a troubling number of cases into a saga wherein rich and/or cute guys get away with just this side of anything while ugly and/or poor guys are getting a rape whistle blown for bumping into a woman on a subway.

It’s also ok to occasionally point out (without being tarred and feathered for it) that while women should of course be able to dress and act however they want, there are real world consequences to doing so.  The way one ornaments their body particularly for females, is a method of non-verbal communication.  And unlike many subtle forms of non-verbal communication (frowny faces, crossed arms, sighing) the clothing we choose speaks very loudly and clearly and the messages we send may not be the ones we intend to.  Social disapproval, judgement, and unwanted attention from men (even otherwise decent men) are the natural consequences of sending mixed messages about one’s sexual availability.   It’s kind of like the “men need to be more aware of the physicality of their bodies” argument.  Maybejustmaybe women need to be more aware as well, and no one ever taught most of us about that.  We were taught about not wearing white after Labor Day and not mixing red and purple and not wearing socks with sandals, but I never once read in Seventeen that I might be sending a non-verbal invitation for male attention by wearing provocative clothing at inappropriate times.

(Aside, I would also point out that many men love – even feel entitled to – women dressing in a sexually suggestive, non-modest way.  Indeed, a good many men pressure women in a variety of ways to dress immodestly even when the women themselves would prefer not to.  But that’s a very complex issue best investigated in another post.)

These four things are all equally obvious to me.  Yet I often feel pressure as a woman to put my head down and embrace this in-between position that’s the worst of all worlds from my perspective – favoring every aspect of the misunderstanding before us that benefits men.  The default position ends up being that men have the unquestioned right to go through life without ever considering how their physical presence affects women, yet women need to guard how they dress and behave always.  Men “deserve” women who keep themselves up and fix themselves up however the man sees fit, and yet men are owed sex no matter their own appearance or level of personal cleanliness.  Women should put up and shut up with minor #metoo offenses and even not so minor ones.  I do at times feel that men go through the world wanting to define the terms of every male-female conflict in whatever way most behooves them.  #yepallmen

Believe it or not, women are not these coldly calculating entities that are plotting and scheming to inflame male sensibilities by dressing like sluts and then denying deserving men sex out of sheer spite.  That’s a fiction.  If such women exist, I certainly don’t know any.  Women dress up because we want to look cute and that’s really pretty much the whole entire thought process involved.  And at the same time, yeah ok most men are not Harvey Weinstein.  But some of them are, and some of them are worse, and that’s an important distinction.

I look around and see women being held responsible for supposed stereotypical behavior that no woman actually does while men say again and again “well not all men do this thing that actually quite a few men totally did, feel sorry for me”.  While I do feel sorry for them, truly (as a conservative person I know it sux to be always held accountable for things you didn’t do) at the same time it feels like this huge terrible double standard.  Women are not only all held accountable for things other women did (let’s be honest, at least some women are cockteases and some don’t put out that much and others have cheated on guys and gotten pregnant without permission and made men pay child support for kids that weren’t even theirs and all manner of scumbaggery) we’re held accountable for things that are totally made up, like that we’re out to provoke men so we can turn them down and laugh.  Even as the same time men demand a pass from us even considering they could potentially do things that really quite a lot of other men actually did.

What it boils down to is this – I simply do not believe that men are that dumb.  I wrote a big long thing about that concept but long story short, I think a fair number of men embrace stupidity as a defense when in reality they just want to do what they want to do whenever and however.  And a healthy chunk of men get off on doing stuff to women that women don’t like.  A healthy chunk more don’t get off on it, but do feel entitled to push the envelope as far as they can – bullying, manipulating, guilt-tripping – women into sexual situations that they don’t want to be in or into agreeing to sexual experiences they have no interest in.  And that is yuck.

If you sit next to a woman on an empty bus in such a way that she cannot leave without climbing over you and start demanding her phone number, uncool.  If you’re asking a woman out and ignoring her body language ~regardless of how she is dressed~, uncool.  If you corner a woman anywhere and continue talking to her if she seems uninterested, even if you’re in public, uncool.  These things aren’t sexual assault.  Of course they’re not.  And it’s wrong that some women have tried to conflate the two.  It’s wrong that men are made to feel like they can’t do anything right and are getting mixed messages from society and from women at large.  But they are still yuck!

Please, if you would be so kind, my dudes, please keep in mind that women feel uncomfortable in situations men don’t, because sexual assault happens and most of us are tinier than most of you.  It’s not because we’re playing games, it’s not because we’re being meanies and snickering over withholding things from you that you desire, like our time and attention and our phone numbers.  It’s because we’re scared, and we all have reason to be.  Some of us have more reason to be than others.

Sexual assault is by any reasonable metric a worse thing to endure than feeling a little butthurt over gender stereotypes.  Stereotypes suck, but they’re words, and I’m told words don’t really hurt like sticks and stones and unwelcome gropes.

Thus, it’s not only ok, but a necessity for some of us girl-type-people to push back on that now and then, even if it reduces my “cool chick factor” by some percent.   Even if it makes my conservative man buds scratch their heads.  That’s why I keep the “Feminist” in my name even though a lot of people take umbrage at a conservative feminist.  I’m a woman and I advocate for women and my needs/wants/hopes/desires and other womens’ needs/wants/hopes/desires do not always mesh identically with the needs/wants/hopes/desires of men, utterly aside from political stuff.  At times women, even supercool conservative women, need to advocate for a position of gender-based reality that transcends inexact political definitions.

Because with so many things, the extremes on both ends are ridiculous and incorrect and the truth is somewhere in between.

* At least till such a point in time as women become more accustomed to, and comfortable with, the idea of being pursuers rather than the pursued.  Personally I’m not there yet.