my followers will eat your followers
And make them starv!?
I wanna go and make ramen but I don’t wanna wake up my sweet landlady that is sleeping in the next room. Such a hard knock life…
Curling up with some Vernon Lee, I went looking for the Sargent portrait above and instead found a page of notebook watercolours by Lee/Paget’s activist cousin Alice Abadam: A Suffragist’s Cycle Tour in the North. I love her tiny watercolour portraits of fellow suffragists, onlooking crowds, and her jeering opponent.
(By the by, what an excellent website, and what a handsome photograph.)
I thought this was a take at Harry Potter as older… Hmmmm.
Art creds to: liquidsouldesign on deviantart
Image Text: How is romanticizing stalking against feminism?
You always know the people with the classiest of URLs are going to ask the classiest of questions.
Romanticizing stalking is against feminism because feminism aims to create a world where women can walk freely without the fear of being harassed by men and where their right to say “no” is respected.
Let me tell y’all a story. So last summer I was down in the center of the city to meet up with a high school friend of mine who was working there for the summer. He called me and told me his work was going to keep him late, so it might be an hour until we could meet. Not having anything else to do, I bought a book at the local bookstore and went and sat in the small park near where we were going to meet. It’s fairly popular and always packed with locals and tourists, so I ended up having to share a bench with someone. This man and I had no interactions together, except for one moment when a dog ran up between us and jumped up on our bench, and we just laughed and sent the dog back to its owner.
After thirty minutes I got hungry, so I left to go get a snack. I was taking a pretty weird route because I couldn’t decide what to eat, but eventually I chose a burger place and ordered some fries. A few moments later, the guy from the park bench follows me in.
I try to reason with myself that maybe he just happened to chose the same restaurant as me, but a moment later he sits down at a table right across from me where he can look me in the face, and he proceeds to stare at me the entire time I’m eating my french fries. I keep my eyes firmly focused on my book, but I can still see him out of the corner of my eye and he never looks away. As calmly as I can, I text my friend to come get me and leave the restaurant. In hindsight that wasn’t the smartest thing to do, since I was no longer surrounded by crowds and now on my own out in the street, but I just wanted him to stop staring at me.
He gets up a second after I do and follows me out into the street. Now that I’m isolated and alone he asks me what I’m doing that evening. I’ve never met him before and never spoken a word to him. I tell him I’m meeting a friend and make it clear I’m not interested. He keeps pushing for a few minutes before he finally realizes that I have my phone out, ready to call for help, and dejectedly says, “I just didn’t want you to spend tonight alone.”
He walks off, and I watch him to make sure he goes all the way back to the park and doesn’t try to wait and follow me again. My friend comes, and when I tell him about this experience he volunteers to walk me to my bus stop after dinner, where we watch and wait and make sure that guy isn’t still following me.
That man thought I was pretty. He thought we shared “a moment” when we laughed at the antics of a dog. And then he thought the next logical step in the flirting process was to follow me, stare me down, and then pressure me to spend the night with him. It wasn’t romantic, it was creepy and terrifying. For a week I watched my back constantly. For a month I didn’t go back to that area, in case he might still be there. And my case was a mild case of stalking.
In a way, it resembles the stalking narratives of Moffat’s episodes. It’s stalking-lite. Look, he tells us, it’s not dangerous. These men don’t mean to harm you. Why can’t you just give them the benefit of the doubt and view it as a flirtation?
But I think these are the most insidious narratives of them all. For one, it minimizes how truly violated and afraid stalking makes women feel. It ignores the fact that stalking usually escalates and becomes very dangerous. It teaches women that they shouldn’t “overreact” when a man does something like this by portraying it as romantic. But even worse, it teaches men that this is an acceptable method of flirtation. And it teaches men that when a woman says “NO,” that actually she’s just being coy and playing hard to get, which means he should simply escalate his behavior until she says yes.
Romanticizing this type of behavior teaches men that they can make public spaces threatening to women, and it teaches them that a woman’s consent is meaningless and that “NO” is simply an obstacle to be overcome with escalating behavior. Therefore, it is contrary to the goals of feminism, and contrary to any standards of decent human behavior.
Just raising my hand as another stalking victim. It was in college, and it was some guy I met at an anime convention. I gave him my e-mail address (the university one that I never used) just to get rid of him. Instead, he found my student profile, got hold of my phone number and called me at least 5 times per day, and finally he showed up in the computer lab on campus looking for me. It’s the one and only time I ever hid under a desk in public.
It’s not romantic or sweet. It’s terrifying to know that this person doesn’t give a shit that you’re not interested, they will not give up until you give in. And it makes me sick that so many (male, of course) writers think this should be viewed positively.
Jesus fucking Christ, this shit enrages me so much. I have been stalked by a man and there’s nothing even remotely romantic about that. There is nothing even remotely romantic about standing at a bus stop in the evening in winter, trying to let him know you don’t want to talk to him. There is nothing even remotely romantic about praying he’s waiting for another bus. There is nothing even remotely romantic about that feeling of panic when he gets in after you and starts watching you from a distance just to gradually come closer and closer, until he starts talking to you again, desperately trying to get your attention and violating your personal space in order to do so. There is nothing even remotely romantic about him following you home (while you try not to run or cry, or cry and run, and you can barely breathe), just to flee when he sees a neighbour walking his huge dog. There is nothing even remotely romantic about him finding you in the crowd for the second time and hopping onto the bus at the last moment to sit next to you and try to talk to you again. There is nothing even remotely romantic about being groped and then pushed so hard you almost fall when you frantically try to get away. There is nothing even remotely romantic about being spat at through the window when he gets out at the next stop and being called a whore and a cunt. There is nothing even remotely romantic about feeling like you’re suffocating all the way home and then crying silently in the bathroom for half an hour before your flatmate gives you a pill to help you calm down, because you’re shaking so hard. So don’t you dare tell me this shit doesn’t fucking matter. Don’t you dare tell me it’s harmless and it’s just silly fiction that doesn’t affect anyone. Don’t you dare.
I also experienced a mild case of stalking. He got a hold of my email address from the CC: section of blast emails from a club we were both in, then kept emailing me, asking me to chat with him. One memorable instance involved him taking the camera we used to blog and taking photographs of me while my back was turned. I only noticed because I happened to see his reflection when I looked at a display case in front of me, and told my boyfriend at the time, who told his mother (one of our club chaperones), who confiscated the camera. And it wasn’t the first time - he had a police record for stalking another girl.
He keeps trying to contact me, even though it’s been years. Every time he gets a new email address or Facebook account, he tries to add me. I have a folder of my old email address devoted solely to collecting his emails so I don’t have to see them.
Stalking is not about love or romance. Stalking is about fear.
I have a very mild case of stalking but still just as scary. When I moved into dorms for my first year of university, I noticed that the room have a telephone. It was nice, although I had no intention of using it and never gave the number out. (Hell, I didn’t even know the number for a long time!)
One night, it rang suddenly. Confused and thinking maybe it was from campus security about something important, I answered it. It was a young man, looking for a friend. I told him he had the wrong number and hung up. 10 minutes later, he calls again. Thinking he had the wrong number again, I just laugh it off and was as polite as I could. But then he calls -again- half an hour later.
A little uncomfortable at this point, he makes it worse but not leaving me alone when asked. He says he just wants to chat because I sound nice. I make it clear that I don’t really want to talk to him, as I don’t know him, and he says he understands, and I hang up.
The next day, he calls again. This time he is more persistent. I’m trying to be polite, but I’m starting to get seriously creeped out. He asks me to meet him for “dinner and a drink” so we could “get to know each other” because I sound “like a well spoken and nice girl”. I tell him I’m not interested, but he keeps pressing. I hang up on him. He then calls again a further three times -within that night- trying to persuade me to meet with him.
I end up getting in contact with the university and closing down the phone line.