Lynx, Destroyer of Worlds (with Science!) (lynxreign) wrote,
Lynx, Destroyer of Worlds (with Science!)
lynxreign

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I'm commenting about the internet!

The internet is full of dumb ideas. Possibly NSFW, text only. I'm only commenting on this because several people on my friends list have mentioned it and because emilytheslayer and I talked about it last night and I'd like to put my opinions in writing.


Apparently some nerdy people (and I qualify it this way for a reason to be explained later) thought it'd be a good idea if they could approach woman and ask if they could touch their breasts. They didn't want to be asses about the whole thing and thought asking if the women wanted to be involved was a good idea. They'd ask the women and if the women said they wouldn't mind being asked, they'd get a badge.

The badge thing is not a good idea. I can only imagine they only mean to do this at cons or similar events, but it is still a bad idea. It changes it from being a lark with friends to a peer-pressure situation. It really doesn't translate beyond an initial small group of friends and even then there could be coercion involved if just one of the people doesn't want to do it, but feels pressured into it simply because "everyone else said ok".

If they really do try to take this out of their small group of friends and especially if they try to take it into larger socety, some will be slapped and others will get the crap kicked out of them. Why? Because it will be offensive to some of the people they approach. And the offenders will act aggrieved and hide behind the newly institutionalized nature of it. If it was just one person, that person wouldn't feel as bold in his actions. However, if he can say "Oh, but wait! It isn't just me, it's this thing, it has a name, other people do it too" it becomes more defensible in the minds of some.

Can you imagine what it'll be like if frat boys latch onto the idea? The people that came up with it in the first place might not be bad people, but bad people are going to love it. It is the kind of idea I can see them coming up with in response to women insisting they have a right to not be accosted. Leering requests, persistent requests, ignored answers, it'd be a disaster.
I think if you change the source of the idea you also change many people's response to it. Here's why I mentioned the "nerdy people" thing up front: If this idea had come from imbicillic radio shock jocks Opie and Anthony (or the aforementioned frat boys), along with their "Whip 'em out Wednesdays" or "Hummer Thursdays" or whatever day it is, the responses would be disgust and disdain.

For those of you fortunate enough to have been spared either hearing the show or having co-workers who thought it was hilarious and would insist on describing it to you, "Whip 'em Out Wednesdays" or WOW was supposed to be a code that would cause women to expose their breasts on the highway. If you saw a truck or car with the bumper sticker, or even with WOW written in the dirt like a perverse "Wash Me" inscription, you were supposed to expose yourself to the driver. The hummer thing was supposed to be something about your wife or girlfriend giving you one every Thursday.

One of the big problems I have with all of these ideas, Open Source Boob Project (OSBP) included, is that it once again reduces women to objects that are there for men (or in some cases other women). It isn't about the women, it is about their breasts. The OSBP simply tries to mask it with a veneer of respect. "But we asked!" That's crap. It is a Victorian construction worker leering at a passing woman.

And yes, some of the reactions to this have been overblown, but this is the internet, that's what people do. Everyone feels they must make their opinion as strongly as they can and hyperbole results. I hope to avoid this here.

Sadly, in the end the impression I get is of some socially inept people brainstorming a way they could get some action. They've been unsuccessful in traditional methods, so they figure they might as well simply ask outright. Since there's little chance this would work in the vast majority of situations, they give it a title and make it seem more official, thus giving them something to point to and increasing the chances of success. Getting to know someone and getting friendly with them first is apparently beyond them, and this is for people who go to cons where the whole process is far, far easier for the socially inept. I don't know if this impression is accurate, but that's what it seems like from a distance.


I reserve the right to edit the above opinions for clarity.
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