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October 10, 2017 1:51 PM   Subscribe

The Rock Test: A Hack for Men Who Don’t Want To Be Accused of Sexual Harassment | Are you a man confused on how to treat the women you work with? Do you feel like if you can’t say or do *anything* you don’t know what to say or do at all? Well stress no more! This life hack will have you treating women like people in no time!!
posted by I_Love_Bananas (112 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is of course assuming that I wouldn't come on to Dwayne Johnson. Which......
posted by lumpenprole at 2:02 PM on October 10 [34 favorites]


I'd feel a lot more confident about this test had Terry Crews not just tweeted that he has been sexually assaulted.
posted by maxsparber at 2:03 PM on October 10 [134 favorites]


Yeah I'm thinking of Muscles Marinara right now
posted by grobstein at 2:14 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


That's pretty good. I like it. Useful.

Given the constant fake gay come-ons that are omnipresent among some groups of heterosexual guys - "Finally, The Rock, I get to suck your dick like I always wanted!" - there might be some men for whom this will still need some extra explaining.
posted by clawsoon at 2:15 PM on October 10 [7 favorites]


I mean if the only thing keeping you from sexually assaulting or harassing women is the possibility of getting punched in the face, you need some serious help.
posted by Huck500 at 2:15 PM on October 10 [64 favorites]


For those who are tempted, this is a pretty strong case of "don't read the comments".
posted by Alison at 2:15 PM on October 10 [6 favorites]


I love this so much! For those of all of us, who can't just step into a situation that is one clear agenda, with out taking suitcases full of sub-agendas.
posted by Oyéah at 2:18 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Okay, so... 99% of the time, anyway. Still pretty good!
posted by JarinArenos at 2:22 PM on October 10


Yeah, that wouldn't have worked for the guy who leered at me and told me I had a "gifted body" at a work meeting. A guy with whom I was supposed to work closely, and a situation which was described by HR, after I recounted it to them, as "funny."
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:24 PM on October 10 [9 favorites]


I like this. However, we had a sexual harasser at work who used to tell you in great detail about how horrible his wife was and how he therefore had to have a mistress. The Rock might tell him "I don't care. Shut up." So that might work. But he also used to try to expose himself, and I doubt the Rock would even notice. He also would try to show us pornography, and for all I know, The Rock might share his taste. And he'd make remarks like "I'd like to put my slippers under your bed", which, I suspect, would make The Rock burst out laughing. So: won't work in every case.
posted by acrasis at 2:43 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


The point isn't whether The Rock would be into it or not angry enough about it or whatever. The point is if this guy were looking at The Rock, he probably wouldn't dare (or maybe just not even think to) expose himself or share pornography with the intention of demeaning The Rock, or imply that he wanted to have sex with The Rock. He wouldn't do the things in the first place.

Ideally this would be because he viewed The Rock with sufficient respect not to be a fucking dipshit to him. Just as ideally, men would not treat women like shit because they would have sufficient respect for us.

But, maybe he might just refrain because of the "pants-wetting terror" aspect, and we'll accept that in a pinch.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:52 PM on October 10 [67 favorites]


Happy-making: The Rock himself retweeted this essay, and has been retweeting supportive/positive comments about it, all day.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 2:53 PM on October 10 [152 favorites]


I’d probably ask to feel the Rock’s muscles or at least comment on his physique, so...yeah.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:54 PM on October 10 [8 favorites]


I'm a little put off at the assumption that only young, pretty women are hit on or sexually harassed at work. Last time it happened to me I was well over 40 and plus size. The harasser himself was an older man, who was apparently obsessed with big boobs. He used to hit on another older, heavier, very busty woman in the office as well. I don't know if he just liked boobs and wasn't particular about the overall attractiveness of the woman sporting them, or if he thought us fatties would be flattered at the attention (obvious, obnoxious leering; sexual comments; attempting to corner me in secluded parts of the office). I wasn't flattered. It was annoying and a little frightening.

One reason I never reported him is because I felt like if he denied it he would be believed, and would then become more aggressive in retaliation, with the addition of ugly ridicule from him for absurdly thinking I was attractive enough for him to hit on.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:57 PM on October 10 [77 favorites]


I'm a little put off at the assumption that only young, pretty women are hit on or sexually harassed at work.

I thought it was funny, but it does seem to be aimed at a particular type of sexual harasser - if anything, by making sexual harassment seem more benign because the harasser's just a guy who wants to get laid.

But of course, a lot of sexual harassment is about a lot more than that. It can also be about demonstrating your power over women by abusing and demeaning them. For example, this recent story about a geologist who went so far as to throw a female graduate student down a hill and throw rocks at her.

Of course these can be connected, because some men think that a woman who tells them no needs to be put in her place.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:15 PM on October 10 [8 favorites]


i mean how is anyone supposed to resist this tho
posted by entropicamericana at 3:21 PM on October 10 [8 favorites]


I don't want to quibble about the unquestionably positive values of this article overall, but ...
Seriously, the last kid I know who touched a cop unexpectedly ended up with his face in the cement. It was a bad night!
... I know I would have thought this threat was hi-LA-riously awesome a few years ago, kind of like that line about getting sent to "federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison," but nowadays my mental image isn't some snotty entitled punk getting what he deserves anymore. Sorry.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 3:23 PM on October 10 [20 favorites]


Incredibly difficult as it may be for the author and some readers to believe, sexual harassment doesnt only happen to attractive people. To me this comes off as doing more harm than good. Like, if you can't actually grasp the extent of the problem, please dont snarkily try to solve it.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:28 PM on October 10 [13 favorites]


This article unfortunately reminds me of a boss in a past life who always implied that if I wanted him to do the things he was supposed to do as part of his job in anything like a timely manner, I should simply loom in his doorway the way the male colleague who previously occupied my position used to and intimidate him into doing so. He would speak wistfully of the way that former colleague used his male stature to keep order. Why it should ever take intimidation for one to do the right thing and avoid behaving dismissively or even abusively toward a woman subordinate, I just can't imagine!
posted by limeonaire at 3:38 PM on October 10 [6 favorites]


If the Rock started work at my office I would definitely try to make friends with him because he's awesome. I would waste no time in asking him to hang out at the pub, I would complement him on his large chest, and would try to get him to teach me wrestling moves when things were slow at work.
posted by w0mbat at 3:58 PM on October 10 [6 favorites]


Seeing a number of men on my social media share this with a comment like, "lightbulb moment" or "if you think this might be about you you're right," etc., I'm willing to be hopeful that it is actually doing some good. It strikes me less as anything anyone will actually do, and more as a thought experiment to get unaware but un-evil dudes wise to how their perception of women may be warped.

When you tell someone "just treat women like people" they get defensive. They insist they absolutely think women are people! They don't see anyone as not people, they see everyone the same! The exaggerated example here should make it clear that hey, actually, they almost certainly do NOT see "everyone" the same, and wait a minute, maybe there's a pattern here.

And if by some chance actually picturing The Rock makes even a small number of men think twice before telling their female coworkers about their fetishes, or treating a coffee break like a date, then that's a net good.

Plus thinking about The Rock is basically a net good in anyone's day, and I'm very glad to have had an occasion to think about The Rock at length today!
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 4:04 PM on October 10 [56 favorites]


Tough crowd here as always! The author is responding to a very specific and persistent part of the harassment conversation: men who pretend to be totally confused about all the "mixed signals" they get from women, and who think "you can't say anything anymore". It's right there in the first paragraph. There are zillions of men out there who claim to have no idea how to behave around a woman to avoid committing sexual harassment/assault/rape. It's a funny way of saying "it ain't fucking hard and you do it all the time for men".

Also, the pictures are not all thin white women. I don't read the first woman as thin, or the second woman as white.

That said, the police aspect was really bad and definitely not funny. White feminism for ya.
posted by Emmy Rae at 4:06 PM on October 10 [41 favorites]


All the "I would totally do The Rock" or whatever comments are really disappointing.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 4:06 PM on October 10 [20 favorites]


So the way to stop objectifying women based on how they look and start treating them like persons is to imagine they are this dude everyone objectifies based on how he looks and that you probably know as a character we all imagine/project rather than as an actual person? I kinda think "imagine she was your daughter" is even better than this.
posted by straight at 4:06 PM on October 10 [7 favorites]


This tip isn't about fixing the fucked up guy who can't deal with women as people. It's to get them of the way and stop them from causing problems for other people. I don't think it's as bad as "imagine she was your daughter" because it doesn't rely on invoking male ownership of women's sexuality.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:11 PM on October 10 [12 favorites]


While we're on the subject:
Stop Mentioning Your Daughters When You Denounce Harvey Weinstein
posted by Artw at 4:15 PM on October 10 [36 favorites]


But it does invoke male ownership? "What if you didn't own the person you're harassing and they could beat you up" doesn't actually subvert the trope.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 4:15 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


I mean if the only thing keeping you from sexually assaulting or harassing women is the possibility of getting punched in the face, you need some serious help.

You have to start somewhere.
posted by etaoin at 4:23 PM on October 10 [6 favorites]


Imagine The Rock as a plate of beans.
posted by clawsoon at 4:29 PM on October 10 [33 favorites]


You have to start somewhere.

that is indeed a sad truth
posted by numaner at 4:29 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


As a guy with some bi inclinations who is happily married to an awesome woman, I found this test... worse than useless. I could utter a lot of stuff like "look, using gay panic to try to deflect sexualization in the workplace is a TERRIBLE IDEA," but... it's really just that I can't imagine even "straight" guys picturing Dwayne Johnson and not getting a little... distracted.

(Is that just me? Maybe that's just me.)
posted by koeselitz at 4:52 PM on October 10 [16 favorites]



but... it's really just that I can't imagine even "straight" guys picturing Dwayne Johnson and not getting a little... distracted.

(Is that just me? Maybe that's just me.)


The test has the best intentions and really shouldn't be necessary. Just don't fucking harass people, whether they're strangers or co-workers. See, it's that simple.

But yeah, even for totally straight dudes, the Rock would be distracting and comments about his appearance would flow like water.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:03 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


For those who are tempted, this is a pretty strong case of "don't read the comments".

I dunno...I'm often intrigued by the terms and framing of willfully ignorant agenda because its exposure can inform any further address of a vital issue to expand and focus a message. There is a natural tendency to seek affirmation of a meaningful expression to validate a joy about how more people "get it", but nailing down the language of deflection can provide a barrel for the most menacing of fish.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 5:04 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, it has been made clear that in fact even being a guy and totally able to kick the ass of the man doing this to you will not keep you safe, as Terry Crews has now discussed being sexually assaulted by a Hollywood executive, and it seems less like "nobody would do this to The Rock" than "nobody happens to have done this to The Rock".
posted by Sequence at 5:06 PM on October 10 [25 favorites]


... that we know of.

Sequence: “Unfortunately, it has been made clear that in fact even being a guy and totally able to kick the ass of the man doing this to you will not keep you safe”

Yeah: lest it need saying, I have known some VERY strong women who could very easily kick my ass and who were physically more powerful than the 98th percentile of dudes, and... they were not exempt from this bullshit. It's a class and gender thing, not a physical power thing. Dudebros never expect actual physical confrontation in these situations anyway; they take it as their assumed privilege to say bullshit like this to women.
posted by koeselitz at 5:18 PM on October 10 [7 favorites]


(Maybe for that reason it's good to actually make them at least contemplate the fact that doing that to someone will make them want to kick your ass?)
posted by koeselitz at 5:19 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


All I can think of when I think of the rock is that SNL sketch where he was "helping" somebody quit smoking and his daily cod consumption. I worry about his mercury levels.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:20 PM on October 10


Honestly, if I met The Rock, I'd want to ask him to pick me up and carry me over his shoulder.


I don't know why. I just would.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:22 PM on October 10 [5 favorites]


Tough crowd here as always! The author is responding to a very specific and persistent part of the harassment conversation: men who pretend to be totally confused about all the "mixed signals" they get from women, and who think "you can't say anything anymore". It's right there in the first paragraph. There are zillions of men out there who claim to have no idea how to behave around a woman to avoid committing sexual harassment/assault/rape. It's a funny way of saying "it ain't fucking hard and you do it all the time for men".

I think that one of the reasons The Rock Idea isn't clicking with everyone is that if you imagine a woman as The Rock, yes, you'll definitely be more likely to avoid committing sexual harassment/assault/rape, but by imagining a woman who you work with as a super-masculine man, some dudes will be thinking "Soooo, in order to avoid committing sexual harassment/assault/rape, I should imagine the woman is The Rock, and just say all the awful shit I say when women aren't around?"
posted by 23skidoo at 5:25 PM on October 10 [5 favorites]


Imagine The Rock as a plate of beans.
Charismatic, muscle bound beans with a great smile and admirable work ethic...
posted by Cold Lurkey at 5:29 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


I like this very much.
posted by bunderful at 5:33 PM on October 10


I'd rather not be harassed as myself, without a potential harasser having to pretend I'm not only not me, I'm not even a woman, and in fact, I'm a large man who can tear most other many of any size apart.

I'd like to just be left alone as myself. I don't want funny "Hey guys, can't not rape? Try this weird trick!" bullshit.
posted by padraigin at 5:36 PM on October 10 [10 favorites]


I'd be like OMG! I LOVE YOUR APP! (Android) (iTunes)

(if this is your first time finding it - listen to 'classic' and 'ring ring' as a minimum)
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:39 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


Every time I read about a celebrity saying that they're repulsed by rape "as a father of daughters", all I read it as saying, is that they were fine with it happening to women they're not related to but as soon as they OWN a few themselves, it's completely different when they think of another man laying hands on their property. It's not about compassion, after all every woman is someone's daughter. It's only when these men think it might happen to theirs that it matters.
posted by Jubey at 5:44 PM on October 10 [28 favorites]


Imagine The Rock as a plate of beans.

A HOT plate of beans.

(Hot stuff, comin' thro!)
posted by octobersurprise at 5:48 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but I have to take any opportunity I can to share this: Scenes From My Imaginary Friendship With Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
posted by brundlefly at 5:55 PM on October 10 [11 favorites]


Ok, this is going to become a really weird fetish for a lot of guys.
posted by JJ86 at 6:13 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


I... don’t know what to say, MetaFilter. Maybe we could save the laffs until sexual harassment is solved? Yeah, I get that it’s kind of a funny image, but I feel we’re just shy of “I’d hit that Rock,” and, um, maybe... no?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:20 PM on October 10 [24 favorites]


For those who are tempted, this is a pretty strong case of "don't read the comments".

When you say "don't read the comments", are you talking about the article, or the comments in here?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:23 PM on October 10 [18 favorites]


Dating Someone as if they were The Rock.
posted by Artw at 6:25 PM on October 10


Cooking Dinner As If Your Partner Was The Rock

"Another six pounds of grilled tilapia, darling?"
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:30 PM on October 10 [16 favorites]


I'd build my Church on that Rock.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:37 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


I. . . am not enthused by this approach, sorry. The idea seems to be that women are harassed because they are not capable of violence, so we men should perform a sort of mental chivalry by invoking The Rock to protect them. But women are harassed, not because they are physically helpless, but because harassment is enabled by institutions and a social world that don't take it seriously. The problem is misogyny, and invoking a fantasy of physically dangerous masculinity isn't going to solve that.

Sorry for wetblanketing :P
posted by DrMew at 6:57 PM on October 10 [13 favorites]


I tried this, but I think i misunderstood something because the woman who I treated like a rock didn't seem to appreciate it? I mean I thought the whole point was that women like to be ignored and occasionally stepped on?
posted by miyabo at 7:11 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


Honestly, if I met The Rock, I'd want to ask him to pick me up and carry me over his shoulder.


I don't know why. I just would.


After reading the article, I wanted to pop in and ask..

"Which one of you ladies wants to get me in a headlock for a photo op?"

Then I saw your post.

Boo, sir, I say, boo.
posted by Samizdata at 7:13 PM on October 10


@DrMew: I'm pretty sure the author was not trying to tell men to be chivalrous, nor even providing serious advice, but was mockingly suggesting that if men are truly brainless fools who cannot treat women with respect, then perhaps it would be necessary for them to imagine that the woman they are speaking to is actually a hypermasculine man. The seriousness is in the contrast she draws between how men treat other men vs. how men treat women. The rest is comedy.
posted by inconstant at 7:14 PM on October 10 [19 favorites]


The rest is comedy.

Except for how it's honestly not that funny if you're the woman dealing with it. And god forbid you're person who identifies as a woman but who has physical traits associated with masculinity, how are you supposed to feel about this so called hilarious hot take, or feel about the way people treat you based on your physicality?

It's all bullshit. Fuckin' be better to people, especially people you have power over. Don't trick yourself into thinking that other people can kick your ass or whatever, to force yourself to be better. JUST BE BETTER.
posted by padraigin at 7:38 PM on October 10 [12 favorites]


Survivors are in this thread. Male survivors are likely in this thread. I know people need to blow off steam but for fucks sake maybe just consider before you tell us how much you'd foist unasked for sexual attention on The Rock you pause for half a second and think better of it.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 7:41 PM on October 10 [21 favorites]


I was a tough crowd for this as well. I get it, I get the impulse, I get the incredibly urgent desire to find SOME way to pound it into a dude's head that women are people, and here's a handy shortcut for remembering how to talk to a person, by pretending that it's someone you already recognize as a person. But I still didn't like it.

I think the thing that turned me off was the earnestness that I saw it being endorsed with. I think if this is supposed to be satire it vastly overestimated itself & its audience. People are really going like "Oh, interesting!" or "Oh, useful!" And like. It's depressing. that a handy algorithm for remembering how to talk to a person is substituting them with another person. Preferably one who you'd imagine would hurt you if you disrespected them. We're not in a good place culturally for this kind of thing to be a joke.
posted by bleep at 7:43 PM on October 10 [12 favorites]


To all my alpha men reading this, I realize there is a huge amount of your population that agrees with me and my values.

To the other 30-45%, please stop sexualy harrasding me. Its gotten old and tiring thru the years.
posted by kiwi-epitome at 7:49 PM on October 10


@padraigin: It's literally written by a woman. The entire point is literally that treating people so inequitably is ridiculous.

A point which appears to have gone entire over some people's heads.
posted by inconstant at 7:55 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


@padraigin: It's literally written by a woman. The entire point is literally that treating people so inequitably is ridiculous.

A point which appears to have gone entire over some people's heads.


Read it, caught the byline, still think it sucks, thank you for explaining it to me but it was unnecessary. A lot of women write things in the heat of a moment that as it happens, don't make any goddamn sense in the big picture.
posted by padraigin at 7:57 PM on October 10 [7 favorites]


To criticize this piece on the grounds of "but you shouldn't need to be able to kick people's asses in order to gain respect" is like criticizing the Hawkeye Initiative on the grounds of "but those poses look silly".
posted by inconstant at 7:58 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


The Hawkeye Initiative was punching up. This is firmly "too soon" at the very, very best interpretation.
posted by padraigin at 8:01 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


How is this piece punching down?
posted by inconstant at 8:04 PM on October 10


It's not, but given that it's in response to a VERY POWERFUL MAN who mostly preyed on women who were very much in his thrall with regard to their career, the idea of making light of it is pretty goddamn dark. Those women couldn't pretend they were The Rock to get out of it.

Fucking TERRY CREWS couldn't pretend he was The Rock to get out of it! [with a different VERY POWERFUL MAN, assumably]

So, like, no. Not funny, not cute, not right now. Not when scores of women are coming forward including women who initially were presumed to be on the VERY POWERFUL MAN's home team. The guy's fucking WIFE is bailing on him. This is not really time for joking about how men can pretend they aren't being dicks to women.
posted by padraigin at 8:09 PM on October 10 [10 favorites]


Fair enough. That seems to be a very different concern from the one I was addressing before, so perhaps it's best to leave them as two separate entities.
posted by inconstant at 8:13 PM on October 10


This was funny for about 2.5 seconds but it came across as, “OMG your co-worker looks like THIS how could you possibly avoid harrassing her?? Why not consider being punched in the face as an alternative.”

For fuck’s sake why not jump straight to “I’m not going to harass this person whoever they are because that would be ugly and wrong.”

The “he’s The Rock I’d do him,” comments aren’t any better IMHO.
posted by bendy at 9:12 PM on October 10 [5 favorites]


There's a basic problem where this kind of piece basically requires leaning pretty heavily into the usual stereotypes about sexual harassment and assault, and if you lean too far you fall.

I get the intent, but this comes off pretty heavily endorsing the idea that men behave badly towards women because/only when they find those women sexually desirable.
posted by PMdixon at 9:13 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


Sexual harassment is ubiquitous and doesn't discriminate in the ways this article presumes it does.

I'm 6'7", male, over 250 pounds, and a regular at the gym. I have multiple piercings and an expression that's often been referred to as "Resting Bitch Face." My general shyness tends to come across as standoffishness or aloofness to people who don't know me.

I get harassed, too. Comments, pick-up lines, and the like, but sometimes worse. Most recently, I've hurried out of a restroom in a government building because someone wanted to masturbate in front of me.

People who harass are going to harass. There's no cut-off, no bright line of prevention. There are probably populations, groups, sub-groups, etc. who are more often targeted ore more commonly victimized, but harassment is unavoidable. Looking like the Rock isn't likely to help. What we really need is a social compact declaring that we won't stand for that kind of behavior, as well as a judicial system willing to back such a compact.
posted by Graygorey at 10:25 PM on October 10 [9 favorites]


The idea of "treat men the way you treat a physically intimidating dude that you happen to also respect" is actually pretty great advice. But the concept is totally undermined by the "oh noes because the females look like THIS" trope. The issue is not really just that men are overcome by their attraction to certain women, it's about their presuming that all women appreciate the sexualized affirmation.

Missing. The. Point.
posted by desuetude at 11:04 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


I think this is satire and not necessarily a realistic suggestion that everyone should try.

But that said, it sure would be nice if there was a way for Certain Men to find a way to treat women (any women, regardless of cute/single/straight, whatever) like they would treat men, i.e. not a possible dick receptacle, not seeing her through that eternal prism of I Could Put My Dick In That.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:14 PM on October 10 [5 favorites]


When you see this article, replace the author in your mind with Mallory Ortberg.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 11:21 PM on October 10 [9 favorites]


When I read the headline I assumed that it referred to an actual rock, an object , rather than an objectified male.

The thought being that more respect might be forthcoming from a man for an igneous or sedimentary deposit than a woman, sad to say. Rocks are hard, impervious and most importantly not usually treated as sex objects.

'Don't be awful' is a difficult message to get across to the people who most need to take it on board, I hope this article has some positive effects to that end.
posted by asok at 2:48 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]


It's a funny way of saying "it ain't fucking hard and you do it all the time for men".

But do they? My experience with men in gender segregated environments is that they will say horrible shit in front of men, even the ones that look like the Rock.
posted by corb at 5:05 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


Some people are responding to this as actual advice, when I think the intent is to lampoon a very stupid argument people make in the harassment conversation, about how hard it is to not harass people.

If you see it as advice meant to be taken, yeah, I can understand the negative reactions.

I'm a woman who has experienced sexual harassment in every workplace I've ever been in, so it's not like I just take this stuff lightly. But I'm sorry to hear it hit a lot of people in a bad way instead of a funny way.
posted by Emmy Rae at 5:15 AM on October 11 [5 favorites]


I'm taking a walk instead of replying to this thread the way I want to, because all the 'haha I'd hit it though!' style comments here about The Rock have disgusted me.

I'm so tired of you assholes who decide you just can't help yourselves. YOU CAN. YOU NOT BOTHERING TO IS PART OF THE PROBLEM.

All the women who are coming forward, all the people who are reliving their own traumas and troubles and you just CAN'T HELP YOURSELF, your joke is so funny though! Haha, I'm on Metafilter so everyone must know I'm not like those other people!

No, asshole. You know from being here that ironic racism is awful and you know why, and how it must feel to read. So you know funny-haha harassment goes the same way.

DO BETTER.
posted by pseudonymph at 5:17 AM on October 11 [22 favorites]


corb and greygorey, the fact that men are frequently awful to each other does not make irrelevant the fact that men are much worse to women, especially when they have power over us, which is often.
posted by Emmy Rae at 5:20 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


And, greygorey, your harassment experience sounds horrible. I'm so sorry that happens to you.
posted by Emmy Rae at 5:34 AM on October 11


I think it's wrong to read this as focusing on The Rock's size or physical strength, or what you would or wouldn't dare to do with him around. It's more about breaking down a certain subconscious perspective that men have on the world.

The fact that The Rock is an actor is important. Men learn from actors that whenever a woman you find attractive appears on screen with you, there's like a 95% chance you'll end up together. If you're standing on screen next to a man, though, especially if it's The Rock, you're much more likely to be working together.

As a man raised in this environment, it can be hard to understand this is something you've learned, and how you came to learn it. If someone confronts you, saying you're being sexist, you'll get confused and defensive. "I was just doing what seemed right to me! I didn't mean any harm by it!"

The genius of this article is that it doesn't confront you using words or argument. It evokes the feelings of woman-as-romantic-destiny and man-as-competent-partner directly as you've been trained to feel them. It's hard to argue against the fact that you do feel that way when you see a woman's face, and you do feel that way when you imagine working with The Rock.
posted by panic at 6:07 AM on October 11 [9 favorites]


corb and greygorey, the fact that men are frequently awful to each other does not make irrelevant the fact that men are much worse to women,

You misunderstand me. I'm saying men say horrible misogynist things in front of other men, so "just say what you would say to men" is not a solution to misogynist harassment, at least a portion of which takes place in the form of "saying horrible shit about actions with women."
posted by corb at 6:13 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]


I'm saying men say horrible misogynist things in front of other men, so "just say what you would say to men" is not a solution to misogynist harassment, at least a portion of which takes place in the form of "saying horrible shit about actions with women."

the point of this article was to address the things that men say to women, though.

You're right that men will say misogynist things about women to other men. However, there's a difference between

"If you're famous you can just grab women by the pussy."

and

"Yo, babe, how about you and me go back to my apartment and make sweet love?"

This is a tongue in cheek way of getting men to stop the latter kind of statement.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:19 AM on October 11 [4 favorites]


I took it as satire too, and satire is a great tool for poking at unconscious assumptions. Like anything it's not perfect. If it works for a lot of people though, that's good. People it doesn't work on, for whichever reasons, probably need something else and there will always be a subset who Just Don't Get It (Maybe Because They Don't Want To).

Maybe for that reason it's good to actually make them at least contemplate the fact that doing that to someone will make them want to kick your ass?

I'm a tall, strong woman and have kind of taken that on as one of my contributions to poking jerks with "hey yeah maybe not such a good idea Einstein." As in, because I'm a woman, I get dudes who do that furtive eye contact and quick sadistic smile before "accidentally" body slamming you while walking/running. (Fellow women, if you've been "accidentally" run into by dudes but not noticed the glance and sadistic smile, start watching their faces and making eye contact. You'll see it. They do it on purpose.) I adapted some Tai Chi into a last-second swerve where I drop my shoulder, have my weight on the foot that's beneath that shoulder, and stand back up when I slam into them so THEY'RE the one bouncing off like a bowling pin. You don't have to be tall or strong to do it, it's all about putting them off balance, which doesn't take much. I've done it to men bigger and stronger than me. Oh is their reaction glorious. Then there's the "hey fucker you may not have noticed, but I could kick your ass" eye contact given to dudes who think they can just push me out of the way in public. Works great too. Only if you feel it though – not recommended if you're not feeling it. Guts know of what they speak. I've told off a few men while sitting down as well, jerks who invade your space and then tell you you're being rude for taking up space? You know the type. I glare right back at them and say, "yeah, hi, I'm here, feel free to ask politely" without budging and so far it's made all of them STFU.

I don't even try to be polite to assholes any more, if someone invades space and raises my hackles, then it's my hackles they're going to get, they can fucking deal.
posted by fraula at 6:37 AM on October 11 [9 favorites]


I feel like you can break down the above thread of conversation into a theme that I notice a lot in my own organizing which is

1) group of people traumatized by the oppressive system (ie rape culture/the patriarchy in this case, racism in most of mine) expressing the need for sensitivity and care in language and triggers

2) group of people affected/oppressed/personally know and or believe the stories told by people traumatized by the system expressing the need for much more nuanced and simultaneously aggressive language because they realize it's a big fucking deal and the culture shift needs to happen now instead of in some slow, procedural later - usually folks who actually organize/work in policy/etc

3) group of people affected somewhat by the oppressive system who see the value in practical thought exercises for the oppressors as some diffuse, ephemeral cultural shift or believe they've found adaptive mechanisms on an individual level that they believe that groups/communities/societies could adopt more broadly because it's worked for them. usually not folks who organize (not always; usually not organizers who self-start but maybe join another group). usually people who post this stuff on social media a lot and talk about it occasionally and maybe really like safety pin boxes or go to the occasional march but committed, sustainable activism on this axis of oppression is not their extracurricular hobby

4) fucking English majors or something who care more about interpretation and reading comprehension than understanding where people are coming from in the sociocultural framework? I dunno what your deal is but like Derrida and later Foucault said, context is important and focusing on whether or not people are getting A+'s on comprehending the author's intent (or, at least, your interpretation of the author's intent) is missing the wider sociocultural context that people are approaching from

my usual takeaway from all of this is shut up or put up because the people doing real work in dismantling this oppression are usually the ones with something more nuanced to say. also, it's always, always, always better to listen to people who are telling you to your face that certain modes of expression here are traumatic so even though you feel some strong need to express some pithy opinion, you should start practicing that thing called emotional labor and hold off
posted by runt at 7:06 AM on October 11 [6 favorites]


...perfect is the enemy of good, maybe? We can't look at this one message for its own merits and intent, and rate it on that?
posted by Artful Codger at 7:15 AM on October 11


uh, either i didn't hit submit on other computer or my apology got deleted because a mod assumed bad faith or whatever, but i truly did want to apologize for my shitpost upthread
posted by entropicamericana at 7:42 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]



corb and greygorey, the fact that men are frequently awful to each other does not make irrelevant the fact that men are much worse to women, especially when they have power over us, which is often.


Heard. If this is something that happens to me, I can only imagine how much more common and how much more pervasive it must be for people who are perceived as more vulnerable than myself, which I failed to articulate in my earlier comment.
posted by Graygorey at 7:56 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


the point of this article was to address the things that men say to women, though.

You're right that men will say misogynist things about women to other men. However, there's a difference between

"If you're famous you can just grab women by the pussy."

and

"Yo, babe, how about you and me go back to my apartment and make sweet love?"

This is a tongue in cheek way of getting men to stop the latter kind of statement.


But if they switch to the the former statement, it's just as bad or worse being a woman on the receiving end of it. At least the 2nd statement is actually asking, the first one sounds like a threat of real sexual assault. But getting past this specific example, the horrible way men talk about women to other men is not necessarily preferable to the way men talk to women to their faces.
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:03 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


fucking English majors or something who care more about interpretation and reading comprehension than understanding where people are coming from in the sociocultural framework?

Ironically, my experience studying/working in English departments gave me more experience of sexual harassment in workplaces than anything else I've ever done. You'd think it'd be the job working as a teenage waitress at a golf club full of rich old men, but nope! Academia is awful.

Anyway, I read this as a pretty obvious "what the fuck is WRONG with people who do this" piece framed as jaunty self-help, in the same vein as those "10 great rape prevention tips!" lists that get passed around every so often ("Use the buddy system! If it's too inconvenient for you to stop yourself assaulting women, don't go out in public without a buddy who can stop you instead!"). Kind of baffled that so many people read it at serious well-intended advice. And I'm not going to say it's above criticism, nothing is above criticism. But, ehhh... saying that people should shut up and listen to those really affected by this kind of fuckery is great, but as a broad principle it works less well when you're separating out 'people really affected' from 'people not personally invested in this' entirely by whether or not they're responding the way you feel they should be.

(The golf club was also awful, by the way. Everywhere is awful.)
posted by Catseye at 8:18 AM on October 11 [6 favorites]


saying that people should shut up and listen to those really affected by this kind of fuckery is great

I was more writing about the people who were responding to the 'how could you not hit that' re: The Rock comments in this thread who were saying that that's rape culture, that they've heard that shit before, and it is somewhat triggering
posted by runt at 8:33 AM on October 11


But if they switch to the the former statement, it's just as bad or worse being a woman on the receiving end of it.

Okay, they say that the best way to kill a joke is to explain it, but that's what I'm about to do.

The idea behind switching a woman to The Rock in your head was to get you to ask yourself: "Would you say 'yo babe, let's go have sex' to The Rock? Probably not. So don't say it to a random co-worker. QED." The joke was NOT "Okay, if it was a chick you'd hit on her. But it's The Rock, so just switch to talking ABOUT other women instead."

The idea was not to get guys to switch flavors of misogyny. The idea was to get guys to realize what the difference was between "friendly banter" and "creepy come-on". If you aren't comfortable saying it to The Rock, then it is a creepy come-on, and you shouldn't say it to a woman, either.

....Everyone get it now?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:43 AM on October 11 [9 favorites]


the people who were responding to the 'how could you not hit that' re: The Rock comments

Oh yeah, I’m with you 100% on that being fuckery all of its own. Just wouldn’t take that so far as saying anyone talking about the author’s intention or whatever is being dismissive towards the structural oppression at hand.
posted by Catseye at 8:45 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


If this thought experiment helps take even a dozen men from "don't be awful to women, yeah, I know already, I'm always such a gentleman" to "oh wait there might be some sexism in the way that I think about this" then I'm ok with it existing. I know it's not for every audience (and it's certainly not for metafilter) but sometimes less-than-ideal tactics are what it takes to reach people in a much less perceptive place. Changing people's perceptions is a whole lot less straightforward than some of y'all give it credit for.
posted by mosst at 8:59 AM on October 11 [4 favorites]


If this thought experiment helps take even a dozen men from "don't be awful to women, yeah, I know already, I'm always such a gentleman" to "oh wait there might be some sexism in the way that I think about this"

Right. There's a reason the author specified her audience in the first paragraph; this isn't presented (this fucking English major will leave out intent and merely report on presentation of the text) as a guaranteed cure for deeply sociopathic, power-tripping assholes. It's directed to the people who just haven't thought about anything all that much before, because they haven't had to, and now they're mad that they have to, in the author's words, "do that dreaded thing known as 'any amount of work at all'."

This kind of dude thinks he's already basically fine and he's mad that it might take more than One Easy Trick for him to actually be basically fine. So she is mocking their intellectual laziness by giving them the One Easy Trick.

And no, this kind of dude does not encompass every harasser. But there are a LOT of this kind of dude, and most significantly, there are a lot of him in nominally liberal circles where this kind of article has a chance of making some inroads.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:24 AM on October 11 [13 favorites]


I had assumed the test would be more along the lines of "Would the woman you're interacting with be safer/more comfortable/better off if you were replaced with a rock?" I guess the capital-R Rock version isn't bad, though...
posted by Rallon at 9:39 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]


I’m a woman in tech and I laughed my ass off at this. There is an increasingly common reaction to the tech industry/Weinstein type BS of “well then I guess I can’t ever be alone with a woman because how do you even interact with someone of another sex without accidentally hitting on them!” which is a frankly absurd statement so I saw this as an appropriately symmetrically absurd “answer” to that. By no means do I actually think this is the answer to rampant misogyny and harassment in male-dominated environments, nor do I think the author intended it as such. Needs a sarcasm tag maybe.
posted by olinerd at 10:07 AM on October 11 [20 favorites]


I think that often the problem isn't that they lack judgement as to whether or not their behavior is inappropriate, but more that they think they can get away with it.
posted by Daddy-O at 10:09 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


To be clear, my issue is with the 'I'd hit it' jokes, not the linked piece.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 10:11 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: The Rock is a plate of beans.
posted by mule98J at 10:53 AM on October 11


Well, if your ability to get away with harassment is the only thing that determines whether or not you're going to harass someone, this article will just get you all worked up and angry. Frankly, anything with even a whiff of questioning their worldview will be met with the weird aggressive display of their fragile moral ego that they use as a defense mechanism.

Maybe that person can be brought around some day, maybe not. But there is lower hanging fruit out there so I'm fine with treating that a-hole as an obstacle rather than a human being. Just keep them from doing as much harm as possible.

This is more for guys that are closer to the edge of not being an asshole. Like the character Teddy Sanders in Neighbors 2. Though it's still not fair that a group of women have to put in the emotional labor to illustrate it for him, at least he learns a little something and will cause slightly less harm going forward.
posted by VTX at 11:11 AM on October 11


This is more for guys that are closer to the edge of not being an asshole. Like the character Teddy Sanders in Neighbors 2 yt . Though it's still not fair that a group of women have to put in the emotional labor to illustrate it for him, at least he learns a little something and will cause slightly less harm going forward.

Then what's the problem?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:15 AM on October 11


I think that often the problem isn't that they lack judgement as to whether or not their behavior is inappropriate, but more that they think they can get away with it.

From my own experience, it's more complex than that.

There is a certain class of men that functioned very well with Rules On What You Could Say To Ladies. They generally didn't say the crass things they were thinking to women they thought of as Ladies, and they generally still don't. Ladies were characterized by being virginal and delicate and largely decorative bric-a-brac, who magically transformed into a Mother and Wife upon marriage and progeny, and who were also treated with kid gloves. I think it's really fucking important to note that men of that class had zero fucking difficulty in treating those women with respect, just like, today, they have zero fucking difficulty treating married women of a certain class with respect today.

Of course, they also had a class of women they viewed as "fair game" - those outside the protection of a man or a respectable friend- who they harassed and treated badly.

I strongly feel that men's sexual harassment in the workplace is less about sex and more about cementing the lowering of status of women who enter the workplace, who are viewed as forfeiting the protection those men think their gender offers them.
posted by corb at 12:41 PM on October 11 [18 favorites]


Sexual harassment, sexual assault, molestation, rape, etc are not crimes of attraction or romantic feelings gone wrong, they are crimes of violence, of hate, of disrespect. I completely agree Corb, a lot of it is punishment in the office.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:00 PM on October 11 [8 favorites]


[Parasite Unseen approaches Woman on Street]

PU: Your undeniable athleticism does not sufficiently mask your limited and unimaginative move set.

WoS: Excuse me?

PU: A standing elbow drop is a terrible finisher.

WoS: I'm have no idea what you're talking about.

PU: I'll admit that when you started using the dragon screw transition into the sharpshooter, it was pretty cool... but your promos relied too heavily on homophobia and misogyny, and every time you come back to the company you immediately undo the progress that they've made in terms of ending that.

WoS: I'm leaving now.

PU: I'll never forgive you for what you did to Mick Foley at Royal Rumble 1999!
posted by Parasite Unseen at 5:51 PM on October 11 [6 favorites]


I would have been fine with this, would have thought it a funny, sarcastic peice trying to "explain it like they're 5" how men can interact with women without hitting on them/harassing them. But making so many references to how attractive these "cute, young" co-workers are, just really pissed me off after awhile. It seems like the author thinks harassment only happens to people under twenty or only matters if it hsppens to attractrive women or something. It was funny, until it wasn't.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:46 PM on October 11 [2 favorites]


The thing about satire is that it needs to be clearly satire in order to function as such, otherwise it risks just coming across as the very thing it's trying to criticise.

And insisting to people who are taking issue with this article that "it's satire" when it's not entirely clear what it's even satirizing is borderline gaslighting.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:27 AM on October 12 [5 favorites]


While the article was overly focused on young, attractive coworkers, the logic still works for others. E.g.:

"You need the newest sales figures from Mildred. She's older. Waistline spreading a bit. Not young and sexy anymore, if she ever was. She never smiles. Let herself go - just look at that hair. She's been in accounting for eight years, so you're pretty sure she lacks ambition and must be a pushover. You're thinking, she'd be grateful for any attention from a hot-blooded guy like you. But think again.

"Here's what you should be seeing - Mildred isn't unkempt, she is too busy with real problems to give a damn what you think of her shirt. Got no time for chatting and giggling at the office; she's fixing bigger problems than who got the last donut. She has skills you've never even imagined, and she knows exactly who to call for any problem she can't deal with herself - and there aren't many of those. When serious trouble comes down, Mildred fixes it. Don't be one of the things Mildred has to fix."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:22 AM on October 13 [6 favorites]


I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today!: “To be clear, my issue is with the 'I'd hit it' jokes, not the linked piece.”

How can you have a problem with one and not the other?

article: 'If you have trouble not being abusive scum to women, imagine women are the Rock, because you totally wouldn't hit that!'

people here: 'But... I would?'

I mean: I totally agree with where you're coming from, although I do think it's unfortunately somewhat complicated. I can see some problematic things about this, and I like your formulation that publicly announcing one's sexual attraction to another person is "foisting unasked for sexual attention on them." At the same time, I think this is difficult because there's nothing inherently sexist or exploitative in telling another person privately: "hey, I actually find the Rock quite attractive." Being open about finding other human beings attractive isn't wrong in itself. The main problem, as far as I can tell, lies in the fact that Metafilter is not a private conversation, it's entirely public, and a statement to the effect that "I find X sexually attractive" here amounts to a public announcement visible to everyone in the world, including the person you're talking about.

In any case, I'm sorry if I caused any offense by my comments here. I agree that we should at least try to avoid the implied ownership of "I'd hit that" style jokes that you talked about very cogently upthread, and I'm not happy that I was part of that in any way.
posted by koeselitz at 10:31 AM on October 13


article: 'If you have trouble not being abusive scum to women, imagine women are the Rock, because you totally wouldn't hit that!'

That's not the message I got; it was closer to, "if you have trouble not being sleazy to women, imagine them as the Rock, because if you were sleazy to him, he'd pound your ass into paste and you damn well know it. Use the same self-restraint around women that you would around a guy who could tear your arms off if he were angry at you."

It has nothing to do with whether you find him attractive. The guys saying, "but I'd totally do the Rock!" are not saying, "I'd totally grope the Rock under the table, and keep doing it even if he pushed my hand away."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:48 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


I think it's more that everyone respects and admires The Rock. Possibly too much.
posted by Artw at 3:10 PM on October 13


I just think people can hold their tongues about their sexual desires in a thread about harassment. I think people can stop, think, and consider "maybe this isn't actually the time and place to talk about my attraction towards a celebrity." Maybe that's foolish of me.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 3:23 PM on October 13 [8 favorites]


I think it's more that everyone respects and admires The Rock. Possibly too much.

At this moment in time, perhaps we should be more admiring of Hollywood men who aren't pigs? A low bar, I know...
posted by Artful Codger at 8:38 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


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