The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

A Primer

Last night, I was innocently walking home, and came across a group of young women handing out pamphlets. This being Courtenay Place, you would be right to assume that it wasn’t the local Temperance League they were promoting, but the opening of the capital’s latest strip club.

Just as I was about to open my mouth to tell one of them I liked her (sparkly!) dress, around the corner came a group of men. Significantly older than said young women, and quite a lot drunker, they seemed delighted to come across such friendly and welcoming Wellingtonians.

Because the encounter I then witnessed made me angry, I feel the need to offer some reminders to…well, people in general I guess, but I suspect drunk, white, middle-aged men might benefit from this the most.

  • The length of a woman’s skirt does not imply anything about a woman’s sexual availability, marital status, intellectual capacity, or strength of will.
  • Even if it did, that doesn’t mean she is sexually available to you and/or your friends.
  • No, seriously, the short skirt and bedazzled boobs does not give you license to harass her.
  • Even if we are to assume these young women are sex workers of a sort, that also doesn’t mean they’re fair game for harassment.
  • It also doesn’t mean that they are automatically going to fuck you. Quite the opposite actually.
  • Attempting to grope a woman who doesn’t want you to is assault. No matter what you think of her legs. Oh, and that goes for “hugs” too.
  •  Seriously, you’re disgusting, and I don’t care how many rum and cokes you’ve had, calling a young woman a bitch is only acceptable in very specific circumstances. And it has nothing to do with the length of her skirt or her employment.
  • It’s pretty easy to tell when women have ceased to find you entertaining. When they’re backing away, when they’re no longer laughing, and when they’re looking at their friends, worried and rolling their eyes, you’ve crossed a line.
  • The woman glaring at you and calling you a cock under her breath? She doesn’t give a shit what you think of her, and holds you in disdain. She’s also not going to sleep with you. (And had there not been six of you and one of her, she wouldn’t have been “muttering”.)
  • How about I come to your office and comment on the size of your “hard drive”, getting all up in your personal space, and making you uncomfortable?
  • Is it really so hard to treat women, no matter what they’re wearing, no matter how they make their living, no matter what their size or hair colour or the height of their heels, with basic respect? You may disapprove of her career choice, and there are certainly reasonable arguments for that – but why does that give you the right to insult her? Why make her day worse?  That woman you just demeaned? She’s someone’s daughter, someone’s lover, someone’s friend. She could, in fact, be your daughter, your lover, or your friend. And you’ll always be just some asshole who is horrible to women.

One response to “A Primer

  1. Denny July 6, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Maybe someone should be standing in Courtanay Place handing out pamphlets listing all the above points to middle aged men. One of the problems with their disgusting behaviour is that there are no appropriate consequences – just the approval of their mates. If only the wives, partners, daughters, mothers of these obnoxious men could witness their behaviour.

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