Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tips on Approaching Women

Fellow fat activist, male blogger, and feminist, Brian from Red No. 3, wrote this piece about the difference between attraction and objectification. The reactions seemed fairly typical- from various places I saw it posted it seemed to be (mostly) women who said "Right on!" and (mostly) men who said "Hey wait a minute... you can't tell us who to be attracted to!" (Go ahead, take a moment to face palm). Some people didn't seem to understand the difference between objectification and attraction. A few people expressed some confusion on how to tell a woman that you like her without walking up to her and saying "hey sweet cheeks, more cushion for the pushing I always say *wink wink*".  This is called sexual harassment guys. This issue, of course, crosses over with feminism as well as rape culture, so I'm going to tell you how to tell that girl that you're interested without sexually propositioning her.

First, let's set up the scene. You see a woman and you just feel the chemistry. You have to ask her out or at least let her know that you think she's gorgeous.

Acceptable places to approach a woman:
  • In a library
  • At a social gathering 
  • A book store
  • When she's with friends
  • At the grocery store
  • Online
  • Any public, well lit place

Unacceptable places to approach a woman:
  • Anywhere she's alone
  • In a confined space like an elevator or spaces that are otherwise difficult to escape from
  • On a dark street/alley 
  • At her home or hotel room (see a cute girl at the sci fi convention and decide to follow her back to her room to hit on her? Reconsider that) 

Okay- great! Got that? If you like her you don't want to scare her. I know you think she should assume you're a nice guy and has nothing to be afraid of, but chances are high that she or someone she knows has been sexually assaulted and she doesn't know you from Adam. By the way, these tips can be used on approaching men as well. While they're certainly less likely to face sexual assault, better safe than sorry and it's your job (yes yours since you're the one doing the approaching) to make them feel as safe as possible.

So now let's move on to what to say. How on earth can you tell a woman you think she's the bee's knees without telling her explicit details of your sexual fantasies? Easy! Just don't do it! When thinking of sexually harassing or objectifying someone, follow the same procedures that you would if you were thinking of raping them- just don't do it! Don't try to blame them- don't say they deserve it because of what they are (or aren't) wearing. Don't justify doing it because you "know she secretly wants it".

Things you can say:
  • Hi, I just wanted to tell you that I think you're gorgeous/pretty/beautiful
  • Hey, mind if I sit here? What are you reading? 
  • Would you like to grab a coffee sometime? (I'd stay away from suggesting alcohol)
  • Here's my phone number/email/chat- I'd love to talk sometime (Don't ask her for hers)

Things not to say:
  • You are fucking sexy as hell baby
  • If I had all night with you... 
  • I want to..... with you
  • Wanna go back to my room/apartment/house? 

Keep in mind that these rules apply on the internet as well. Sending a woman of a photo of your dangly bits is sexual harassment as much as flashing her on the street. 

But wait, you say, what is objectification anyway?

The simplest definition is treating someone like an object. Sexual objectification is reducing a person's role or being to a sexual one, disregarding their intelligence, feelings, or other aspects which make up a complete human being. Fat women in particular often get fetishized. So what does that mean? A fetish, in simple terms, is an object, body part, of characteristic that is needed for sexual gratification. So a fat fetishist is sexually attracted to a person's fat. I've seen this come across as specific body parts as well- belly, thighs, back rolls, arm fat, etc.

So, all you have to do is remember that people don't exist for your sexual gratification, and you remember that they are entire people, not just their breasts, not just their asses, not just their fat.. then you should be good!

Someone, in response to the whole idea that women shouldn't be treated like sex objects, specifically women who dare to have an online presence or post photos (on facebook, flickr, blogs, whatever!) should expect to be objectified- that it's common. Yes, indeed it is, but something being common doesn't mean it should be common. And it doesn't mean that no one should speak out against it. All you have to do is treat women with respect and don't think of them as sex dolls! A great post on tumblr said "My actions will never control your actions and my actions will ever absolve you of responsibility for the things you do and say to me." Now, with that in mind, you have all the tools you need, go ahead and approach that cutie!

One last thing- to avoid objectifying women while masturbating, try to picture a generic woman (if you feel the need to picture anyone at all), not any individual, or, at the very least, don't think of her as just her genitals.


  1. Aw this is great! Here is a man that knows how it's done!

  2. LOVE this Heather, off to share it.

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