September 21, 2016

"Strangely, my disability makes me feel as if I have license to play with and deconstruct sexuality in ways I might not have the bravery to do as an able-bodied woman."

"One of the privileges of being an outsider is that you are not expected to play by the insiders’ rules. I watch men on the street. I will watch a man visually or verbally harass women who pass him. I am invisible enough to do this. Sometimes men look at me, but the reaction is different. There seems to be some level of shame or confusion mixed with the lust in their eyes. Does this mean that I am lucky? Am I blessed to be sexually invisible and given a reprieve from something that has troubled women for centuries? Is there a freedom in not having to be privy to the struggles of the typical woman? It certainly does not feel that way.... I... would much rather have a man make an inappropriate sexual comment.... I like it when men look at me. It feels empowering, not disempowering. Frankly, it makes me feel like I’m not being excluded."

Writes Jennifer Bartlett, who has cerebral palsy, and who has — in her own words — "also always been beautiful."

42 comments:

damikesc said...

Feminism seems to be heavily invested in spending considerable time and effort convincing women that things they like they ACTUALLY don't like and find insulting.

rhhardin said...

My friends would often complain about being harassed and catcalled by the construction workers — even more so when they wore their yoga clothes.

Oooh Oooh A strong independent woman.

- modern catcall

mockturtle said...

I will watch a man visually or verbally harass women who pass him.

When I was in my teens, I thrived on the visual & verbal 'harassment'. It reassured me that I was attractive to men which, as with most young girls, was of critical importance. It would have been disappointing not to have been ogled. But I didn't want to be touched! Oh, no! Hands off! But look! And like what you see.

traditionalguy said...

That is a beautiful expression of the human condition. We live around other people that we use as social mirrors by the way they respond to us.

Good men are born to respond to beautiful women, and the older we get the more we need their intelligent inner person.

God Bless her.

Jeffrey said...

Clip-clip.

Pay me.

I'm a writer.

What? No, they're not my words, but still.

Pay me.

Rick said...

The article reminds me of men who say women go after bad boys instead of good men. Gender warriors claim such men are creatures of patriarchy for feeling entitled to women's interest. Is it the competition for attention that drives them so nuts? Or is it the culture of hate they live in?

Anne said...

Women find such attention either affirming or frightening. When one gets older and such attention recedes,then stops, it's bad news for one and good news for the other.

tola'at sfarim said...

"Visually harass" is that like odell beckham and lena dunham?

damikesc said...

Most guys who complain that women "only like bad boys and ignore good guys like me" are, generally, not terribly good guys themselves.

Women like confidence from my experience. I doubt feminism can drive that desire away.

n.n said...

The travails of male and female chauvinists, and their targets and victims, since time immemorial. The establishment of a Pro-Choice Church and avoidance policies (e.g. abortion rites, progressive liberalism) brought them out of the closet

CJinPA said...

I admit I did an image search of this writer.

She's honest about her longing. Honesty when writing about gender in popular media outlets is rare.

tim in vermont said...

Shorter: "This is what they will pay me to write, so this is what I will write"

Rick said...

Women like confidence from my experience.

Very true, but lacking confidence does not make one a perpetuator of patriarchy or demonstrate entitlement. In fact it demonstrates the opposite.

are, generally, not terribly good guys themselves.

This is very true in the sense they aren't considered good dating material. I don't really agree they aren't good people. They often have something wrong with them psychologically. But then again so do most women and we don't say this makes them not good people.

MadisonMan said...

I will watch a man visually .... harass women who pass him

I stopped reading at this point. What nonsense!

MadisonMan said...

The authors just watches the men who visually harass women. She isn't visually harassing those men at all.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Her bio.

rhhardin said...

Remember that seeing doesn't proceed outward from the eye of the beholder, but outward from the body of the babe who is sending the signal towards that eye.

It's the whistle that proceeds outward from the beholder.

Kirk Parker said...

"But then again so do most women [have something wrong with them psychologically] and we don't say this makes them not good people."

The heck we don't! Now, having something wrong with you (psychologically or otherwise) is rarely a moral failing, in that the damage was caused by circumstances or by others rather than being self-sought. So it doesn't make you not-good, i.e. evil, in a moral sense.

But does your condition make you difficult and/or dangerous to be around? Especially with the psychologically-wrong, the answer is very often Yes.

Rick said...

But does your condition make you difficult and/or dangerous to be around? Especially with the psychologically-wrong, the answer is very often Yes.

Is feeling insecure the type of condition which would make us fear someone as dangerous? I think your statement presumes an acute condition limited to a very few people. Any personality trait can become acute enough to be dangerous but generalizing outlier concerns to the mainstream isn't justified.

Owen said...

Visual harassment is (for me) a difficult concept. Even more than "triggering speech" it is pregnant with political possibilities, accusing others of sustaining an environment somehow suffused with sexism. It recalls the childish warfare among siblings: "Mommy, he's *looking* at me funny!" Because it is not really capable of empirical verification (or even definition) and can easily include just about anything, relying entirely on the "harassee" to identify it and act on it, IMHO it amounts to very little more than a Whiner Bonus Card in the great game of life.

I don't doubt that ogling is a thing; that "visual harassment" may include more than looking (postural changes, calls and whistles, gestures); that men do look at women. And sometimes women look at men! How 'bout that? Grow up, folks.

I hope this writer can find a better way to approach this issue.

Quaestor said...

I didn't know CP made people stupid.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Good for her: she's less dramatic about the trivial than the able-bodied women who also write such pieces. It's a viable niche for her.

Since she faces real, unearned obstacles in her life, and doesn't expect to wield power commensurate to her misfortune, it's less annoying and more interesting to read her woman-on-street hot take.

Contrast her behavior to that of young+beautiful Michelle Fields (rightly expecting almost every thirsty man to bend toward her like a daisy to the sun).

Yancey Ward said...

I don't think the excerpt does the essay justice. I was surprised when I read the whole thing.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Every time I hear complaints about men simply looking at women I start thinking about the custom of someone of an inferior caste averting their eyes from someone of a superior caste. (Or social class.) The very act of looking at a superior caste is polluting them.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Oh, and I think its pretty obvious that guy that tried to get her into his car was planning on raping her. She should have got his license number and called the cops.

Titus said...

One of the best parts of living in a city is walking around and being checked out and checking other people out.

Unknown said...

One of the things in life that always makes me smile is when someone who has a disability is out in the world living instead of hiding. If it is wrong I am sorry, but it is just so uplifting to see folks not let their adversities define them or rule their lives.

JAORE said...

"There seems to be some level of shame or confusion mixed with the lust in their eyes."

This mind reading trick seems most prevalent in liberals.

William said...

It was noted here earlier that many men found Mama Cass attractive. If Mama Cass, why not someone with a CP problem. For every woman with a disability there's a man with a fetish. If worse comes to worse, she can always snapchat with Anthony Weiner.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

From the article's comment section:

"Wow. It sounds like you want the companionship of a nice decent male who finds you attractive. Nice, decent men don't sexually harass women."

Another way to put it; be careful what you wish for.

Why do so many women want abusive assholes and deny they do?

gerry said...

I will watch a man visually or verbally harass women who pass him.

STOP THE VISUAL ABUSE!!!

This just goes to show that even horrible neurological diseases cannot prevent one from being a hypersensitive asshole.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Coupé: It didn't seem to cause any brain damage

Oh, so that happened to you later in life?

ALP said...

I've had my share of catcalls back in the day. As I got older and more confident, instead of always ignoring them, I began to respond in a friendly manner to the more benign sounding catcalls. They would say "Wow you are beautiful woman" and I'd smile and say "Thanks! You have a nice day." They would smile back...and that was it. I got a compliment, he got a bit of attention. Takes all of 5 seconds...done and we both go our separate ways, each a little bit cheered.

Fucking feminists and their inability to rub a few brain cells together, which would enable them to apply a bit of discrimination to each situation and recognize when its a harmless bid for attention vs. the truly aggressive and scary.

Still having nightmares about the earlier post about that woman distraught over her two son's inability to STOP misogyny before they graduate high school.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Unknown said...

One of the things in life that always makes me smile is when someone who has a disability is out in the world living instead of hiding. If it is wrong I am sorry, but it is just so uplifting to see folks not let their adversities define them or rule their lives.

This is why I'm hoping Clinton doesn't back out of the debate.

Too soon?

buwaya said...

When I was young and slim (er) and had more hair I would get plenty of female attention.
It was hard, dealing with all the sly hints, stares from groups of girls giggling with each other, blatant flirting, unsolicited backrubs and the like, but I powered through.

sinz52 said...

From Mad Magazine 50 years ago:

WOMAN: "I want you to know that I never kiss a man on the first date."

MAN: "Since those are your principles, I will respect them."

[After dinner and a movie]

MAN: "Good night."

[He starts to walk away]

WOMAN: "The least you could do is TRY!"

Doug said...

Cerebral palsy is not her only disability.

Trần Thị Phương Linh said...

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Xmas said...

I like the gentrification dig in there. It's as if she doesn't realize that the only way you can get pre-ADA buildings to be handicap accessible is to gut them and completely remodel them. It's my favorite rip on New York to say every quirky place people like in NYC is not ADA compliant.

Deodane said...

The oddest part of that piece is the reference to her "mother’s umbilical cord".
See it's not my fault. My genes are A O effing K. It's the fault of my mother and her darn umbilical cord.
It sounds really off. I think the umbilical cord belongs to the person who's umbilicus it extends from.

Bad Lieutenant said...

gut them and completely remodel them

Which they should in many cases do, or raze them to the ground and rebuild. Opposed to "authenticity" is a fifth floor walk-up in a dumbbell floor plan that is twelve feet wide at the ends and seven feet wide through the "handle". Completely undesirable floor plan.

These tenements could be replaced with externally identical buildings having far more modern and valuable conveniences, including elevators, postage-stamp backyards combined into a much more inviting commons (pools, tracks, etc as desired), and most importantly, non-miserable floor plans.