hugh_mannity 's Boobgate! linking post led to some fascinating (nauseating) reading for me this morning. I read the original post, then the "A Modest Proposal" rebuttal. I was interested by the men who responded with "but kicking a guy in the balls is not the equivalent of asking to feel up a girl's tits!" (uh, if you read both posts, that sentence will make sense).
For the literal-minded, then:
Understand, the intent of the original happening was innocent, and if it had been kept private, amongst friends, I wouldn't have a problem with it (as long as no-one asked me to join in). It was the airing of the event, the associated "omg, wonderful boobies!" writing, and the repeated self-justification that women started it, so it's all okay that sits ill with me. A private experience between friends is one thing, but a call for "touch teh boobies, it's great!" gives me the willies. Not to mention the self-satisfaction the author feels when a woman comes up to him and "timidly" asks if she's "good enough" to have her boobs groped. Argh.
Apparently, a lot of people felt the same way, a large number of them female.
But there was, of course, some objection to the "Modest Proposal" post (not much, though - I am very thankful for that, as it means most men get the satire). There was some feeling that the kick was too extreme, and that "the equivalent would be feeling men's crotches". The trouble with that suggestion is that most men would not be averse to having cute women asking to have a "quick rub" - in fact, my experience at the Cons of my youth was that most guys were begging for it without being asked. Aside from the issue that the man gets most of the pleasure in most cases (I don't know many -if any - women who get any particular pleasure from rubbing a random guy's crotch), it is not the physical act that is the equivalent, but the emotional objectification and degradation inherent in that act. Especially with the proposal that it should not be something just that circle of friends do, but that it should be expanded and made available to anyone, with those who wished to participate wearing buttons that say "yes you can".
It's all very well to nobly say "and if someone asks, they have to take no for an answer", but precisely how long would it take for someone to just grab without asking, because the button "said it was okay!"? I used to get felt up on the bus; I wasn't wearing a button there. The issue for the women who disagree is that the default for a lot of men (not just creepy-seeming ones, either) is already "go ahead and touch". No asking, just copping a feel, whether the woman wants it or not. Those men don't understand, and will refuse to acknowledge "no", because they work from an assumption that men have a right to women's bodies.
(Less than 60 years ago, a woman could not sit alone anywhere in public without a man assuming that she would like his company. It was literally impossible for a woman to tell a strange man "I want to sit alone"; he would not comprehend such a statement. While we have changed that, there is still a hell of a lot of possessive behaviour from men exhibited today.)
We don't like this state of affairs. We also don't like being called "bitches" when we object to unwanted sexual propositioning. You want us to be free and comfortable with our bodies? Stop treating our bodies like they're your property.
Men throughout history have not exactly helped us women to be more sexually comfortable - the elevation to sainthood of female virginity, the assumption that a woman who enjoys sexual experiences is a slut, and the whole rape defense of "she was asking for it" have made us women very jumpy over the years. If men assume that any woman who enjoys sex is therefore free to any man who wants her (and there are many men who feel this way - there was a whole movement in the 1960s dedicated to this idea), women get jumpy. The same goes for dressing to show off one's "assets", smiling at strangers, and oh, heck, having the temerity to walk down the street in broad daylight, flaunting one's femaleness by the very act of wearing clothes.
(The nerve of these women!)
The "Modest Proposal" responses had the feel of "finally, someone who gets it!". These aren't psychopathic women looking for a chance to beat and kill, but regular women who have to deal with the burden of being adult females in a male-centric society every day. Being the owner of the boobies that men seem to want so much is often a degrading, objectifying experience - total strangers seem to think that a woman is there for their sexual pleasure alone. Hence the huge number of stories from women who deal with sexual come-ons all the time, and hate it, because along with the sexual come-on is an automatic assumption that it's perfectly normal to say to a woman "Hey. Can I suck your titties?".
When life is a gauntlet of lewdness from men who do not "respect a woman's right to say no", and feel that they "have a right to ask anything they want", then another damn man saying "it would be so great if women would let us feel teh boobies!" makes us want to hurt something.
It makes us angry. All of this makes us angry. It makes us angrier and angrier every time a man refuses to hear that we're saying no. It makes us angry that we can't admit to sexual enjoyment without men thinking we're "easy" and treating us like whores. It makes us angry when a man takes pleasure in forcing us to passively participate in his sexual thrills. It makes us angry to be told filthy things, propositioned, rubbed on, followed, exposed to nakedness we don't want to see, and it makes us white hot angry when men claim we "like it really".
Oh yes, and we enjoy being assaulted and raped? Forced to do things against our will? Clearly. Screaming is just foreplay.
We women are trained not to fight, to be "ladylike", to be delicate, polite, fluttery, weak, and careful of the feelings of others (men). We are not really like that - we are angry, violent, strong, determined, and dangerous - just like men. The only way we differ is in our standard physical strength, but if you've ever seen two women really fight, you'd know for damn sure that we aren't safe to be around. If you make us angry enough, we will want to hurt you bad.
We usually won't, but that doesn't mean we can't.
But as long as we have to put up with sexual objectification, we will be angry. The problem is that we can't seem to express our anger in a way that will make those clueless men hear us, and really listen to what we have to say. When we're nice and polite about it, we're blown off as "making a big deal out of nothing", and when we're more forceful, we're "ball-busting feminazis".
Many of us prefer to work from a position of strength, so we put up with the "feminazi" epithet, and make metaphorical jokes about a Swiftian kick to the balls instead of flapping our hands and saying "hey, guys, we're not comfortable with this!". Take the satire literally, and you've completely missed the point. Think about the level of anger that generated the idea, and you'll be closer to understanding why we have issues with sexually charged propositions from men we're not dating.
In a world where women are constantly objectified, there is no innocence in "may I touch your breasts?" from a stranger. Not ever.
(BTW, there is no faster way to turn off a woman who is interested in dating you than to say stuff like "nice tits - can I suck on them?".)