To Touch a Woman’s Body…

10 Mar

 

According to a post by Nico Lang, the only reason a man would ever touch a woman’s body is because he feels entitled. Here is the actual quote:

When a man touches a woman without asking, he’s doing so because he feels entitled to access to her body.

Being the equalist I am, I wanted to see how folks really felt about this, outside of the context of sex and gender. We give men a lot of slack about the things they do and the things they don’t do. The unfair part is that we don’t hold women to the same accountability. Naturally, I took the issue to Facebook and simply posted:

When a woman touches a man without asking, she’s doing so because she feels entitled to access to his body. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

The responses varied, and I was ever so proud of some of my friends for some of the things they said. Often enough, it’s okay if a woman does it but not okay if a man does it…and that’s not okay!

One friend responded with this:

If it’s a touch on the shoulder, or elbow – the places it’s generally socially acceptable to touch someone – then I wouldn’t agree with the statement (nor would I if the pronouns were reversed). If it’s a more provocative touch, then I probably would agree with it – we’re raised to think men want sex all the time and will welcome any advance, after all

Another friend answered this, bringing to question the definition of the word entitlement:

Isn’t anytime anyone does anything it is out of a sense of entitlement? If we didn’t feel we had the right to do it, or to have it, most of us wouldn’t be doing it.

This one I liked, too:

I don’t think anyone should be touching other people without their ok. If we are to tell men they aren’t entitled to touch a woman, women should be held to the same standards.

And I applauded this one:

As a gut reaction disagree because the patriarchal norm has perpetuated the myth that women aren’t inclined to see men as object, it’s “supposed to be” the other way around. However, continued consideration leads me to be very unsure because there are soooo many factors. So really this becomes a “all women like cats and suck at driving/all men are good a math and like sports” sort of thing.

No one really fully agreed with the statement, but no one really disagreed with the statement, either. I think clarifying the definition of entitlement might help.

Entitlement: the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment

We have a couple ways we can swing our original quote. Unfortunately, no one responded once I posted the definition of entitlement (I think they were onto me at that point). If we sub in the first half of the definition, it leaves us with

When a man touches a woman without asking, he’s doing so because he feels he deserves to access to her body.

or

When a man touches a woman without asking, he’s doing so because he feels that he should get to access to her body, when others might not.

I think the word entitlement is a little loaded, because you don’t necessarily feel that privilege covers it. I am of the mindset that no, we do not touch each others bodies because we feel we deserve to. We touch each others bodies because we are inherently physical creatures that are striving to make a connection.

Touch serves many purposes other than those serving the agendas of sex and power. A touch on the shoulder can mean hey, this is important…listen! just as a grab of the hand could mean don’t step out in front of that car. A pat on the back can mean good job! A hug can mean thank you. We all strive for the human connection, and the reason we are lacking it is because we’re becoming a culture of hands off without asking. To other cultures, it is not only normal and acceptable, but a kiss on the cheek during greeting is welcomed.

It is stupid to ask to hug someone, to hold someones hand, or even to kiss someone. It is very important that we learn how to read body language, because it is more important in this age of technology than ever before, but it is also okay to say no in whatever fashion you feel appropriate for the situation. Someone comes in for an unwanted hug? I don’t like hugs, sorry/thanks! A date tries to kiss you? Head turn. Someone tries to hold your hand? Pull your hand away, and tell them I’m not interested. 

 No matter how interested in doing any of those things I am, except maybe hugging, I would probably tell them no simply because they asked. I have enough awkwardness in my life other  than having someone asking me every damn time they wanted to hold my hand.

The final thing I will say about this article, is that at one point the writer states

In an office environment, such unwanted touching constitutes sexual harassment (although a great number of women decline to report it, due to factors like social pressure or fear of workplace retaliation.)

Maybe I’m in the minority here because I don’t consider touching like this sexual harassment, but if another member at my work asked me to make a sexual harassment claim, I would decline to report. My decline, however, would have nothing to do with “social pressure” or with “fear of workplace retaliation”. And I think this statement is very presumptuous.

Do you agree or disagree with the reason behind a man’s touch being due to entitlement? Do you feel the same way of a woman’s touch? Do you think we should ask before every touch? Why or why not? Do you have a different solution rather than just asking?

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One Response to “To Touch a Woman’s Body…”

  1. buddy71 March 10, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    no one is entitled unless the person being touched has given consent to be touched. that being said, there does seem to be a “socially acceptable” form of touching. but not everyone subscribes to the social norm.
    i, as a male human person, rarely will touch a female without asking, unless the touch is for the safety of that person.
    i do have women touch me and i have not given them permission, but they seem to think it is OK, or maybe they are flirting?
    i have had to tell my female supervisors not to touch me, like them were giving support like on my shoulder or back. but, i work with nurses and i am a nurse, and we can be a touchy type. lol
    going into any one persons personal space, and touching does that, can issue problems as it is the perception of the person being touched that is important and not the intent of the person doing the touching.
    great post!!!

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