A Douchebag In Paris
Awesome sauce: Jezebel posted a straight up hit trolling post from Edward Pasteck, who has some serious mansplaining to do. At length, as mansplaining usually goes. And about his douchebag opinions that Americans need to act….wait for it….like the French when it comes to our standards on male treatment of women. I suppose he’s hoping that the mansplained-to audience has no understanding of or relationship to France, or they would see directly through this bullshit, though I suppose as a mansplainer, he believes any female skepticism of what he has to say is due to their wee female brains that perceive very little, which is why they need to be mansplained at so much.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Paris. Great city. I had a blast there, rolling around town with my friend Kiki, a great friend. Also, and this is important, a male friend. Totally platonic, but not something that you’d probably assume if you just saw us walking through the Louvre together. Paris has great food, great culture, great wine, and super great cheese. I was not exposed to what many female friends have told me about Paris, though, which is the high levels of harassment you get from men if you deign to be out without your male chaperon. Doucheteck seems to think this harassment is the best thing ever:
In Paris, it seems as if the straight male attitude toward consent is that it doesn’t exist. At clubs, bars, bistros, in the street or on the Metro, Parisian men lobby very aggressively for sex. At the clubs in the 8ème, off the Champs-Élysées, and all along Rue de Rivoli, it is fairly common to watch men literally grab and touch the girls who weave through the crowd. Men often draw a finger down an unknown girl’s cheek or under her chin like a doting Uncle; they can be seen pinching girls’ noses, throwing arms around shoulders and even stealing kisses. It’s not for nothing that the French slang word for “kiss” or “make out” is choper, which literally means “to catch.”
Parisian women deny or accept these advances with a decisiveness many American women lack. Naturally, some girls in Paris walk away and reject these strong come-ons. But one can observe many of them reacting with knowing laughter; these women understand the game.
Taking women’s survival strategies and suggesting that means they enjoy having to survive is a classic douche move. “That she’s running means she likes it! Her feet say ‘getting away’, but the swing of her hips from scrambling says, ‘I love it when you grab my ass, strange dude!'”
He’s really amazingly good at being full of shit.
Whatever the result, women maneuver around male aggression to gain the upper hand. They are the ones deciding what to do with the onslaught of male desire.
That guy probably thinks the strip club is a matriarchy. He almost surely reads “Lolita” with a sympathetic eye towards the pedophile—why don’t people recognize his purity of spirit?
Parisian women seem to derive a feminist power from this chauvinism that makes them come across as strong, self-determining, and completely aware of themselves as permanent objects of desire.
I was only in Paris for a week, and I swear to god, I saw actual elderly French women, fat French women, French women who dressed pretty damn butch—the sort of women I imagine Pasbag wouldn’t describe as “permanent objects of desire” to men like himself. He lived there. Why on earth did he miss these women? It’s almost as if, gosh I don’t know, he’s a pig who thinks women exist solely to squeeze his dick and therefore women he doesn’t want don’t exist at all.
Anyway, he blathers on at length, basically blaming the fact that he can’t get laid on the fact that Americans don’t tolerate harassing women like the French do. Though, he does put a pseudo-intellectual gloss on it. I suspect if he took on harassment as a full time job, it still wouldn’t improve his chances, but I don’t have the mansplaining skills to say otherwise. But I will say that I highly doubt that men constantly harassing women in Paris is a game that everyone enjoys that is practically intended to empower women.
Why? Because I didn’t get harassed in Paris. Now, perhaps I’m in the Unwoman category that Pasteck has unwittingly created, but I doubt it. But I have heard—just recently, as Skepchick, in fact—many stories from women about the rather constant crap you are exposed to there, that Pasteck would have you believe women enjoy, including being actually followed by men. The difference between my experience and theirs was that I was always with a dude when I was out in public.
Now riddle me this: if it’s all in good fun, why not do it to women when they have a male companion around? I’m serious. If everyone agrees there’s no harm, and you’re just expressing a compliment, and she’s completely in control of the situation, why not? Surely, male companions would be expected to laugh along with the women at the compliment! If it’s all in good fun, that is. If they expect to be rejected anyway, then that surely can’t be it. But if it’s not in good fun, then the refusal to harass women that are hanging out with men is another story altogether. It implies that you find the man worthy of respecting and treating like a full human being, and also that you see women as male property—and that you’re disrespecting a man when you make comments about “his” woman. It doesn’t imply that women are in charge at all, but that women are vulnerable, and they have to borrow men’s power and men’s respect if they want to get through life unmolested.
That doesn’t actually sound as fun as this douchebag is making it sound. In fact, it sound stifling and embittering.
But hey, I’m not bagging on France. Every place has its drawbacks. They have street harassment on levels beyond ours, but we also gave the world Edward Pasteck. We’re far from innocent on the asshole-creation front.