For those of you women who rightly or wrongly complain about men ogling, flirting aggressively, catcalling, or even fondling, allow me to share why those stories make me furious. (This is in no way intended to trump, only complement).
I’ve always believed, likely (as is so common in my life) due to the influence of superhero narratives, that when we have something special, it should be respected. Honed. Shared. Whether it’s because of our brain, our body, or something else, it should be acknowledged.
In my life, I have found that people have sometimes related to my positivity and optimism as a resource. They have taken advantage of it and have sometimes given very little in return.
This can make someone feel used, feel very much like a sucker. It can lead to resentment and serious hurt. It can make us feel, in Willy Loman’s immortal words, like a piece of fruit.
A beautiful woman who finds herself treated with a lack of respect is having something special, something valuable, be treated as something to be taken for granted.
When others have something special, it’s incumbent upon us to recognize that it is their choice to give it. We have to respect that they are like us, humans with feelings and needs. As Kant famously argued, we can’t ever treat another person merely as a means to an end. If we are going to do so, we have to respect their right to consent, and as a corollary their right to decline.
Any time we see someone treating someone else like an object or a tool and not as a person, it is our duty to stand up and say something. That’s including men with their friends, customers and bosses with workers, and any kind of people who are impinging on the generosity of others.