You’ve probably noticed a trend of women posting videos about guys making them feel uncomfortable by hitting on them or asking them out. We’ve posted a few ourselves, and have hitherto felt the debate was well-intentioned.
But have these videos gone “too far?” Is it that men can’t handle the truth, or maybe they just can’t handle rejection, or that women are using these opportunities to go viral on TikTok?
Either way, the latest example of bro backlash comes from a so-called tech guru who accused a woman at the gym of being a sex offender because she shared a video about a creepy dude who made her feel unsafe.
Is he overreacting? At least one Twitter user seems to think so. Here’s how it went down:
The video shows a woman in her car, about to talk about her day’s workout at the gym, when a man pulls up in his own car and awkwardly stares her down before motioning for her to roll down her window. Clearly uncomfortable, the woman dodges the almost immediate questions about where she lives and the other places she likes to be before nervously turning down his request for a date.
“[Y]ou saw a girl you thought was cute and now you’re planning on going up to ask her out?” the Twitter user wrote. [Y]ou wanna lose your job, buddy? [Y]ou wanna go to jail?”
“[D]ownload bumble like everybody else, you f—in’ rapist …”
Nothing in the video suggests that the woman wants this man to be fired, arrested, or even identified, and she did not accuse him of being a rapist. Twitter user “M dove emoji” is simply being massively dramatic, as men tend to get when you make them even the slightest bit angry. That ties us back to why so many women get scared when they have to turn a random guy down.
Most women — out of necessity — are well aware that men are routinely told by society to refuse to take no for an answer, and that an alarming number of them will become angry, aggressive, and violent in the face of rejection. Others might simply start stalking a woman like the one in this video, who could have easily found herself being followed by the man in the car. This is why she expressed alarm at the idea that he goes to her gym near the end.
M’s response in and of itself shows how extreme and enraged men can get even at the sight of other men getting rejected.
“The responses and vitriol towards this woman being exceptionally polite in turning down a guy who followed her to her car (!!) and asked her where she lives are chilling,” wrote one woman in a quote tweet. “It’s pretty clear, these guys want to control women and find any rejection of that as a personal threat.”
There are red flags in the video in question that many women will recognize. First, the man waits until she’s outside of the gym and in her car—isolating her and reducing the potential of witnesses. Then, he asks her if she lives “locally,” which is an invitation to offer information about where his target lives. We shouldn’t need to clarify why it’s dangerous for women to give that info out to a strange man who just approached them.
As the woman points out, he also ignores the clear indication that she wants to exit the conversation by saying “it was nice to meet you” and continues to ask personal questions.
She wonders later in the overlay text why she said “it was lovely to meet you” to him when it wasn’t, and it’s because she was scared. Because she, like most women, has seen, read, or heard story after story about women who were attacked for saying “no” or not being polite and ego-stroking enough in their rejections.
And, of course, if we do get unlucky and that man follows us home and assaults us or stalks us for years or any number of horrid things that happen to women in deeply disturbing numbers, we get blamed for it by people who say we weren’t careful enough.
There’s no way to win. If we’re scared, we’re bad mean frigid ladies who wrongly slander all men by assuming the worst. If we’re not, it’s our fault when the worst does happen. We could have sworn we just went over all this a few years ago, really. We’re tired, you guys.
And this kind of response when we try to explain, even when we’re “not woke,” is not helping:
Some of us are tired to the point that we no longer have the energy to be at all nice about this.