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Really Annoying Things

A Purple Straw Hat
I've blogged about the debacle that was EverNote for me: I adopted it to fix a problem with Notes (that Apple has since completely corrected), and it was sufficiently problematic itself that I used it less than I wanted to, thus it was less helpful than I wanted it to be. When I made a conscious effort to use it, the sync feature blew up in a really, really, really bad way.

From this (and other data that I won't bore my poor readers with here), I conclude that I often deal with low-level irritation by avoiding it. But if I decide to override that instinct to avoid, I then may become truly incensed.

From the Winter 2013 issue of Bitch magazine comes this turd of a paragraph on page 56:

"Elisabeth Eaves ... thinks that as a woman there's an extra dimension of caution that you're always aware of. "Is this person sitting too close to me? Is he following me? Men have to worry about physical safety too, but as a woman you're always conscious of this sexual dimension. I'm sort of looking forward to being an old woman because it will be interesting to experience life and travel with that element gone.""

Ageism, straight up. Because "old" or "older" women are not subject to overtures and advances, wanted or otherwise, right? I mean, _really_, we all know that only [insert] [adjective] [here] people are ever flirted with/hit on/sexually assaulted.

There are a _lot_ of problems with articles in this issue. I'm wondering if they have been present for all the years (decades?) I have subscribed, or if I'm newly sensitive to them.

I feel a very mild interesting in understanding _how_ you can get to be over 40 (which Eaves presumably was when she made that remark) in the 21st century and still think that "old" or "older" women are not participants in sexual dynamics -- at any rate, that Eaves will someday still be able to travel but _won't_ be subject to sexual overtures. Because I remain unconvinced that that ever happens. If you think no one ever hits on you, you probably missed at least some of the initial steps in the process. Maybe a lot.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
ethelmay
Aug. 3rd, 2013 05:56 am (UTC)
I think the worst thing about that description is the conflation of sexual interest and harassment. Not. The. Same. Thing. I suppose people must have various levels where they notice that kind of thing -- in my case, I don't feel that I've had a lot of undue attention since I was, geez, sixteen or so, and certainly by now I refer to myself as having reached the age of near invisibility (though obviously that doesn't necessarily apply to the kind of criminals who actually assault people, and I sure as heck don't consider myself less of a target for property crime).

The street harassment (which was always, always from guys at least ten years older than I was, if not twenty or more) started around eleven, was at its height when I was maybe fourteen, and went WAY down as soon as I was old enough to be somewhat less self-conscious and more self-confident (even though by any ordinary standards I was much, much better looking than I had been earlier). Basically almost all the guys who were bothering me were looking for a chance to scare someone (that deer-in-the-headlights look was what they were really after), and that's why most of them went for young girls -- not so much real pedo/ephebophilia.

Incidentally, I have hardly ever had a non-harassing stranger try to chat me up (two or three times from women and maybe, maybe twice that many from men -- ever). Admiring glances, yes, slightly meaningful "What a nice day" remarks, sure (neither of which I mind). But between the people who find me forbidding-looking and the people who find me dull, mostly I don't get bothered. Or maybe I'm being oblivious, dunno, but either way it's no skin off my nose. It seems pretty obvious to me that other people (and not just the conventionally attractive) have quite different experiences, though.

walkitout
Aug. 3rd, 2013 01:39 pm (UTC)
conflation vs ageism
They are both problematic, certainly, and you are right that sexual interest and harassment are not the same thing. However, enough people confuse them (in both directions: thinking harassment indicates interest, or thinking interest is a form of harassment) (and by confuse them, I mean specific incidents) that I'm reluctant to really go after her for it.

Your observations about street harassment are roughly a match for mine in terms of worst years. However, I never attributed it to deer-in-headlights or whatever. I just assumed that once I was 16, I experienced it less because I drove more and took public transportation/walked less, and also that in general as I got older there was a lot less thatsjustthewayitis and a lot more menneedtoknockitthefuckoff when it came to whistling and calling out commentary.

I was absolutely appalled by what I encountered in Paris in 2002 vs Amsterdam the same year. I won't go back until I have reason to believe they've gotten that under control.

To be clear, I think our interpretations of why things changed are in no way incompatible -- I suspect they are both true.

Edited at 2013-08-03 01:42 pm (UTC)
ethelmay
Aug. 3rd, 2013 08:53 pm (UTC)
Re: conflation vs ageism
Yeah, in my case I didn't drive to speak of until I was in my late twenties, so it wasn't that. My middle teens were also when a lot of the dive bars on Broadway started closing or becoming gay bars, Volunteer Park became a gay hangout, etc., which probably lessened my exposure to one particular swath of drunks.
walkitout
Aug. 4th, 2013 03:02 pm (UTC)
Re: conflation vs ageism
I sort of love the idea that gay culture developing on Cap Hill created a less obnoxious street environment for you. ;-)
ethelmay
Aug. 4th, 2013 02:53 am (UTC)
Re: conflation vs ageism
Okay, so I just looked Eaves up and she has written a book about her experiences working as a stripper. I wouldn't be surprised if that affects her degree of ageism.
walkitout
Aug. 4th, 2013 03:06 pm (UTC)
Re: conflation vs ageism
Possibly. But there is so much ageism built into our world, particularly the idea that older women are asexual/unattractive/"safe" from (unwanted) advances, etc., that I don't know that one needs to do much to produce the remark attributed to Eaves -- I think one needs to go to at least a little effort to figure out how wrong it is prior to the potentially rude shock that there is no age at which the world of sexuality ignores one.
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