A week ago, I listened to Episode 580 of Savage Lovecast. For those humans who aren’t familiar with it, it is a podcast wherein the host, Dan Savage, gives relationship advice. At the top of the show, he gives a little rant and these are often political in nature. This episode the rant was on relationships. Click on the link below to get to the audio.
I found a few of the things he said problematic. One sweeping generalization he made was that women live with the fear of being victims of sexual violence daily. He was heavy-handed in driving this point home. I am a woman who has been sexually assaulted. I have close friends who have also been victims. However, none of us walk around in constant fear. I don’t look at all men as if they are potential predators or people to be feared. Are my friends and I a minority? Are most women actually in fear? Daily?
Furthermore, it is not a terrifying experience for a man to come up to me and ask me out. Dan spoke of a man thinking he was asking a woman out in a non-threatening way but a woman perceiving it in a completely different way. I find this contentious. Is there such a huge disconnect? Yes, men and women often communicate differently but I do not believe the gap is so extreme.
Would Dan have men be so afraid they won’t say the exact, perfect words, that they say nothing at all for fear of inadvertently being threatening? In many ways, it is hard for men to speak up already. Putting such specific constraints on how a man is to speak seems like it would only discourage them from saying anything at all.
Lastly, I disagree with Dan about the type of world we live in. (Perhaps he is speaking of the whole, entire world. For the sake of this post, let us assume he’s talking about America.) We do live in a world where women can say no. It is men’s responsibility to hear no when it is said and it is women’s responsibility to realize their own power and be comfortable in that.
What are your thoughts?