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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
*That* Post

This one, here.

Yeah, about how wonderful it would be if men could ask women if they can grope them in public.

(Oh, later, he says that more women than men participated in the groping as well as the being groped, and that there was reciprocity available (to a degree), but the original post? Makes no mention of either of those. Just how healing it is for a guy to finally be allowed to grope a random woman's breast, just as he couldn't do in high school!)

This was a small event - other people attending the same convention had no idea it was going on.

And it makes me cringe. Please note: I have few worries that any stranger is going to come to me to ask to fondle my breasts. There's the modesty thing. And the apple-like figure. And the fact that I'm middle-aged. I'm a billboard for "Don't touch." (And yet, I've been randomly hugged, unasked, at conventions. Not a pleasant experience.)

But that's not important - a young woman with large breasts who chooses to wear revealing clothing still has the right to not be pressured into this situation. And there will be pressure. Social pressure is one of the strongest things we have - it's what keeps consumerism going. And women are pressured to be compliant, too. Or you're a prude. Or a bad sport.

In this case, there seemed to be no problems - it was small and self-selecting and well-policed. Women who took part spoke up in favor. Even so, he's focused on the assets, not the person. And there seemed to be women coming to him for validation that their breasts were good enough.

If this sort of thing took place in a home or a private party with the rules spelled out loudly everywhere, I would not have the slightest problems with it. It still feels like objectification, but in a private party, presumably that would be their choice. I'd also hope there would be full reciprocity involved.

What worries me, though, is not *just* the potential triggers or the fact that it's inherently unequal. It's the potential for abuse - yes, these were, apparently, tiny and well-controlled events.

It's that theferrett has a huge following, and there will be people who see this and think, "cool!" and try to make them larger events at conventions - too large to be ignored. It's out. It can't be put back.

And this will make some conventions very hostile places for many women. And it will also open those conventions up to litigation. And that worries me even more than that it exists at all.

Comments
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yeah... just... yeah

It reads like a junior high school boy's wet dream, doesn't it?

Boobies! For the asking!

What upsets me about the situation he was in, regardless of whether it was self-selected or not, is that women were coming to him and his friends for validation about their breasts.

By the end of the evening, women were coming up to us. "My breasts," they asked shyly, having heard about the project. "Are they... are they good enough to be touched?"

Just. No.

Exactly.

That's not sexually freeing. That's digging the hole deeper.

I am just sick that I ever read and recc'd his Home on the Strange webcomic now. Disgusting sexist pig.

I've read what I consider his column, but I never got into his webcomic.

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

I have no problem with this.

I've been going back and forth in feelings about it, and writing about them in various places (hernewshoes made a post yesterday, and most of my comments are there, I think). In certain contexts, I can see where it would be fun and friendly, but I can far too easily envision too much pressure being placed on women to participate, and the whining...

...okay. There have always been people in fandom, mostly clueless guys, who have never quite been able to get past the "She hugged him, and her, and him, and him, and him -- so I can claim a hug, too." What happens when one of those guys asks, "Can I touch your breasts?" and someone says no -- or when the third woman says no to him? Or when the fifth woman does, and they're alone in a hallway?

I know, this sounds cynical, and like I have no faith in most men, but... well, my experience has been that there are some who are not good at taking no for an answer. Plus the peer pressure on younger women.

In another world, perhaps. But not here, not now. And as one person commented, it could get large and messy, with people hauling out videocameras, and pressuring underage women, and, and, and... I want to say that it sounds good, but I remember how much pressure I was under, as a cute-in-some-ways twenty-something with boundary issues, when I first got into fandom. Heck, I had boundary issues into my thirties.

Also, as other people pointed out again, even in his post, he went from politer language ("you can touch my breasts" or something along those lines) to "boobs" and "groping," and that squicks me.

I was, due to childhood abuse, one of those girls who developed early, and didn't stop developing until the proportions got a bit ridiculous, so since I have been doing Renfaires and Cons for the last twenty or so years, I've got rather used to being a bit of a wank focus in certain situations. I've learned not to let it bother me, because I really can't make someone not think something in the privacy of their own underwear, however there is, and always has been, a line. Disrespect is WAY over that line, and walking up to me and asking to fondle me is nothing less than flagrant and aggressive disrespect. And like the child-of-a-trucker I am, my response to disrespect is crude, insulting, and laced with violence.

"Wow, I'd really like to touch your breasts."

"Isn't that funny! Because the instant I saw you, I felt I really wanted to break your nose with my elbow, then smother you under a rug! Shall I go first then?"

You should always go first.

I love the way you've tagged this. I shall borrow.

Be my guest.

I dunno. I think mainly I'm sad at how this turned out. Cos it looks to me like some dumb fun between friends that got away from itself and got stupid.

If he'd spoken about it in an adult way and as something that might be fun in private, instead of a manifesto for the world, yes.

Still squicks *me*, but I squick at a lot of things.

Wow. That guy is an ass. On the up side, I love the tag.

Thank you!

Yeah, I just...maybe I still just don't get whatever this thing was, but I found myself reading the linked post and thinking, "Oh, shut up." Not an intelligent response, I know. But I I just don't buy that anybody really needed or got all that much out of this incredible experience of getting to rub some woman's breasts or get your own touched. Why the huge exaltation and explanation of how it didn't degenerate into anybody trying to take off somebody's bra or suck on their nipple? If somebody started a thing about "Can I touch your hair?" I'd think it was just as ridiculous.

It just does sound like something rather silly cloaked in mumbo jumbo about being progressive and daring. And yeah, women coming up and asking if their breasts were good enough? Of course they did! Sure the women who were originally involved were all strong and confident and whatever. It's no surprise it filtered down to girls looking for validation and whatever.

It just seemed like a silly moment of mild thrill that on its own can't support half the stuff read into it. But like I said, maybe I'm just not getting it.

It's the idea that boobs should be open domain. Or something.

This guy is serious?

I can't really address this without thinking like an Orthodox Jew who is increasingly out of step with the rest of the world, but...

Ick. Seriously, ick.

There's only ick here, trust me.

Fannish Girls Gone Wild!

That's what it sounds like to me - go up to a buncha suggestible women (drunk, or in a fannish context with its deliberately different code of sexual ethics) and ask to touch or see their breasts.

In fact, reading an LA Times profile of Joe Francis, the brains (?) behind the Girls Gone Wild videos, some of his excuses sound just like the stuff Ferrett and his pals are saying. Francis gets signed waivers from every one of the women who "perform" on his tapes, and pays them with a T-shirt or panties or a hat. Ferrett doesn't even do that much, just gains LJ fame for being a prevert.

I see the same crap about "empowerment" and the same approach to women in a situation he thinks is more amenable to this kind of behavior than, say, random people passing the public library.

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

I'm honored.

I can only agree with you. He may have some women agreeing with him, but none who came up with the idea. His ignorance in even thinking the question is ok!

There are people amazed that it's even wrong to ask that of total strangers. That boggles me.

It sounds like something that might have been relatively harmless and fun thirty years ago, when fandom was much smaller and for the most part, people knew each other or were at one remove via FOAF relationships.

But, as with the difference between a small village and a metropolis, there are behaviors that don't translate well, and this is, to me, clearly one.

I won't say that I don't see the attraction of what he proposes, but I'm not on the end of the behavior that's likely to be hurt. Therefore, survey says, if you're going to act this way, just keep your hands in your pockets and your mouth shut and try to pass for civilized.

It would probably be harmless and fun today, in the right context - in which everyone knows that the question can be answered "no" without penalty, and, if yes, would stop at the immediate request of the one being touched.

And that there was true reciprocity.

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