The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Unwanted Social Advances’

Posted on | May 20, 2016 | 23 Comments

While working on a long piece today, I stumbled onto one of those quotes that gets endlessly recycled on feminist Tumblr and, although I’d seen it often before, this time I was struck by what was wrong with it. This is from D.A. Clarke’s 1991 essay “Justice Is a Woman With a Sword”:

When a man makes unwanted social advances to a woman in, let’s say, a restaurant or theatre, and she eventually has to tell him loudly and angrily to get lost — she is the one who will be perceived as rude, hostile, aggressive, and obnoxious. His verbal aggression and invasiveness are accepted and expected, her rudeness or mere curtness in getting rid of him is noticed and condemned. . . .
Men commit the most outrageous harassments and insults against women simply because they can get away with it: they know they will not get hurt for saying and doing things that, between two men, would quickly lead to a fist fight or a stabbing. There are no consequences for abusing women.

Now, there are several things to notice here, beginning with the phrase “unwanted social advances.” What does this mean? Well, it could indicate anything from a jocular flirtation to genuine harassment, but the key word here is “unwanted.” How is a man supposed to know, prior to making “social advances,” whether his attentions are wanted or unwanted? Some guys are very bad at “reading signals” — they are socially awkward — and some guys who might otherwise be courteous and reserved become boisterously rude after three or four drinks.

What D.A Clarke seems to have in mind is the guy who can’t take a hint, who keeps pursuing a woman after she’s made it clear she’s not interested. Such behavior is rude, but is feminism merely about etiquette?

No, of course not. Her characterization of his behavior — “verbal aggression and invasiveness” — is followed by the assertion that this is “accepted and expected,” prompting the question, “By whom?”

Who accepts and expects this behavior? Don’t standards of what is considered acceptable behavior depend on the social context? That is to say, how a university student behaves in a graduate seminar may be completely different from how she behaves on spring break in Cabo San Lucas. The standards of behavior expected of a lawyer in a courtroom are different than the standards of behavior in New Orleans during Mardi Gras or Daytona Beach during Bike Week. Wherever you are and whatever the context, unpleasant situations of the sort D.A. Clarke seems to have in mind are most often caused by the guy who can’t take hint, who is also usually the guy who can’t deal with rejection.

This is why nightclubs have bouncers.

When I worked as a deejay in the nightclub business in the 1980s, part of my job was to keep an eye out for trouble so that I could alert the bouncers to trouble. Anyone who remembers the old Crystal Palace on Stewart Avenue in Atlanta knows what a rough crowd frequented that after-hours club, and the bouncers at the Crystal Palace were very rough men. If they had to escort somebody out the door, the unruly patron was likely to receive some brutal violence once the bouncers got him out in the parking lot. Those bouncers enjoyed violence, and they loved nothing so much as beating the hell out of some drunk who grabbed a girl.

So when D.A. Clarke asserts that men suffer “no consequences for abusing women,” my instinctive reaction is, “What planet is she living on?”

Where I come from, a fellow who committed “the most outrageous harassments and insults against women” was apt to get punched in the face, and he might even get shot to death. “An armed society is a polite society,” as Robert Heinlein said, and fellows don’t need to be warned to mind their manners too often, if the warning is sufficiently forceful.

You don’t need feminism to fix problems like that. You just need a pistol.



23 Responses to “‘Unwanted Social Advances’”

  1. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    May 20th, 2016 @ 4:37 pm

    What about unwanted social diseases? That is what we really should be worrying about.

  2. Kirby McCain
    May 20th, 2016 @ 4:58 pm

    What you talking about? Social diseases are the exclusive domain of charismatic guys and the special snowflakes who love them ( for a night. )

  3. Steve Skubinna
    May 20th, 2016 @ 5:19 pm

    She’s likely extrapolating from the pallid inoffensive milquetoasts she associates with to all men. Just about every man I know would go thermonuclear on another man harassing or abusing a woman.

    Just about every man I know would draw on and ventilate any man assaulting or raping a woman.

    But if you exist in a PC environment surrounded by “male feminists” you’re not really equipped to make sweeping judgements on the human condition, are you?

  4. robertstacymccain
    May 20th, 2016 @ 5:22 pm

    Well, like I said, the mildest introvert is prone to become obnoxious after three or four drinks and, if he’s socially inept (as introverts often are), his behavior under the influence may be dreadful.

  5. JeffWeimer
    May 20th, 2016 @ 5:25 pm

    “The standards of behavior expected of a lawyer in a courtroom are different than the standards of behavior in New Orleans during Mardi Gras or Daytona Beach during Bike Week.”

    No Sh*t.

    That, my friends, is what you call understatement.

  6. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    May 20th, 2016 @ 5:43 pm

    VodkaPundit made a joke about what is the difference between a PUMA and a Cougar? A: Three cosmos.

  7. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    May 20th, 2016 @ 5:44 pm

    or two. If they were good the first night.

  8. kilo6
    May 20th, 2016 @ 5:48 pm

    I haven’t heard that phrase since the last time I saw West Side Story:

    Gee, Officer Krupke
    …In my opinion, this child don’t need to have his head shrunk at all. Juvenile delinquency is purely a social disease!
    Today the 0bamaites would say probably “justice-involved youth”

  9. Quartermaster
    May 20th, 2016 @ 5:58 pm

    Just because it’s expected, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

  10. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    May 20th, 2016 @ 6:12 pm

    You know what feminists think an “unwanted social advance” is for a man? A: Breathing

  11. Jeanette Victoria ?????????
    May 20th, 2016 @ 6:22 pm

    I suspect the woman who wrote this is ugly …..I sing karaoke, I get hit on all the time. I’m flattered after all I am over 60 and fat. I’m not the least bit offended. Neither are most women who aren’t of the loony left

  12. Animal
    May 20th, 2016 @ 6:28 pm

    Huh. When I read the title, I thought this was about my last year of college.

  13. JT
    May 20th, 2016 @ 6:36 pm

    Also possible that she handled the attention awkwardly, and got the disapproval because she pitched a fit. Then she projects that response onto all women as well.

    Just like a socially aware man knows how to avoid going to far, a socially capable woman can reject most guys without resorting to hysterics.

  14. JT
    May 20th, 2016 @ 6:38 pm

  15. Fail Burton
    May 20th, 2016 @ 6:45 pm

    If Twitter had bouncers it’d be feminists being tumbled out on their hindends in a very high ratio compared to men. In fact they are the one’s who make inflammatory “them’s fighting words” comments men understand is a thing not done. Then, when men push back, feminists cry like babies.

  16. Steve Skubinna
    May 20th, 2016 @ 7:10 pm

    Plus, they’re totally liberating and actually enhance your sex life!

  17. Joe Joe
    May 20th, 2016 @ 7:21 pm

    I was watching some reruns of” WKRP in Cincinnati” last night and realized that the Herb Tarlick’s behavior would now be perceived as being part of “rape culture” (and not just boorish.) The fact that the other men in the office didn’t approve of Herb or do as he did would not mattered.

  18. RS
    May 20th, 2016 @ 7:46 pm

    The problem she describes, to the extent it is not being overstated as a result of modern feminist biases, is that modern society has eliminated all the old courtship rituals. (If I may be forgiven for using a term from a bygone era.) Those rituals and rules set up very definitive standards of behavior for both men and women. They were understood, left little if anything to be misunderstood and woe betide anyone who deliberately violated them, especially men.

    But those rules were deemed “stodgy” and denied “freedom,” thereby preventing the attainment of the Nirvana known as “self-actualization,” and thus, they were purged from social consciousness. Although the rules prevented, in large part, the sort of incidents Clarke bemoans, they were somehow a part of the Patriarchy’s nefarious plot to subjugate women.

    So, in their stead, we have a free-for-all; a hook-up culture fueled by alcohol and the absence of social stigma or shame. Yet the feminists wonder why men misread cues; they try to equate regret over an ill-advised drunken tryst with rape; they bemoan the inability or unwillingness of men to commit to relationships.

    To which, we respond with words of Dr. Watson: No shit, Sherlock?

  19. robertstacymccain
    May 20th, 2016 @ 7:57 pm

    “… modern society has eliminated all the old courtship rituals.”

    All rules and customs, every expectation of Christian courtesy — gone! All gone!

  20. Craig Loehle
    May 20th, 2016 @ 9:46 pm

    In a social setting where getting drunk is good, and where you might in fact get lucky from being rudely forward, such behavior receives positive feedback (ie is rewarded) and thus continues. Perhaps don’t hang out in such places (oh, is that slut shaming…).

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    May 21st, 2016 @ 1:08 am

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  22. Jeanette Victoria ?????????
    May 21st, 2016 @ 2:07 pm

    Well no one is raised to be a lady anymore it really isn’t that hard to defect a creepy come-on. There is one guy at the bar I sing at who gets a big kick out my clever one-liners to such guys.

  23. News of the Week (May 22nd, 2016) | The Political Hat
    May 22nd, 2016 @ 3:45 pm

    […] “Unwanted Social Advances” While working on a long piece today, I stumbled onto one of those quotes that gets endlessly recycled on feminist Tumblr and, although I’d seen it often before, this time I was struck by what was wrong with it. This is from D.A. Clarke’s 1991 essay “Justice Is a Woman With a Sword”. […]