Virtual Spaces And The Men Who Demand Ownership Of Them

For those of you who have been following my continued harassment on Facebook – I want to share something with you.
 
“Beard said she would not block her opponents because “it feels to me like leaving the bullies in charge of the playground. And it’s rather too much like what women have been advised to do for centuries. Don’t answer back and just turn away”.”
 
For those who haven’t – I’ll give you a run-down. Four days ago yet another random Facebook guy hit me up. I know a lot of you just don’t respond to messages from random men online because well…shit, we all know where that usually goes.
 
For me, however, Facebook is my primary method of obtaining, contacting, and communicating with my customers when selling chicks. Indeed – despite my ads being posted on several Australian and local classified websites and poultry sites – Facebook accounts for 86% of my sales.
 
When a random man contacts me – there’s a good chance that he just wants birds from me.
 
He started with ‘Hi’. I asked what I could do for him. He attempted to flirt.
 
I immediately, instantly chose to use this man as a test subject. I wanted to try something. I wanted to create a demonstration of what happens when women do the things people won’t stop telling us to do when men approach us. What happens when we exercise those thoughtful little tidbits of advice against the men who refuse to leave us alone? It became obvious quite rapidly that I wasn’t going to be able to do all of this with this one man, but I had to start somewhere.
 
So the moment it became obvious to me that he was after more than dinosaurs – I said, “Thank you, but I’m not interested.”
 
He flatly ignored me and continued to pursue me.
 
I responded with, “Please don’t contact me again.”
 
Now…I’ve been told by a number of men that gosh if only we were polite in our rejection they’d accept it! What’s wrong, men? Why isn’t this working for me? I mean it’s what you -told- me to do. You told me not to be “bitchy” and to let him down easy because, as we all know, men have egos made of tissue paper.
 
Not nice enough? Oh well. Maybe direct will work.
 
“Do not contact me again. Stop.”
 
He laughed. He continued. Being told abruptly to leave me alone seemed like a challenge to him – and then the fucking game was -on-.
 
I resorted – from this point on, to try one single thing. I was going to respond to every thing he said – Every. Single. Thing. with “Go away.” I would refuse to engage him except to -constantly- reject him. I would give him nothing else that he could work with. Just utter rejection.
 
I wanted to see how many times a woman had to express her wishes before he listened to them.
 
Answer? Who knows. So far I’ve told him to go away over 60 times.
 
That’s it. “Go away.”
 
How’s he reacted? Exasperation. Demanding that I tell him why. Demanding to know why I don’t want to speak to him. Mostly he mocks me, calling me names. A couple of times he’s threatened to kill me.  Am I scared? No.  This isn’t a new thing for me.
 
I respond with “Go away.”
 
Now I come to another thing that women are often told to do.
 
“Block him.”
“Ignore him and he’ll go away.”
 
Like Professor Beard – I refuse.
 
It’s a common sentiment – this telling women to block the men who harass us online. Something about it has always bothered me though. Something about it made me feel profoundly dirty and I was really only able to put into words why after I started this.
 
Asking a woman to block a man to stop the harassment against her – is asking her to concede the space to the man that he is demanding. When we block the men harassing us, we’re letting them take little virtual spaces from us – and that’s nothing new. That’s what’s been happening since the dawn of time. Men see women as existing in their space – at their behest – and when we block them we’re saying, “Fine. Take it.”
 
I refuse. I refuse to be pushed around by this man – or any man.
 
I refuse to be escorted in public.
 
I refuse to pursue self-defense classes because as people remind me “It’s your duty to protect yourself.” (It is no one’s duty to prevent their own assault.)
 
I refuse to alter the way that I live my life for fear of the men whose space they think I occupy.
 
So I’m going to keep telling this man to “Go away” until he’s so tired of my persistence and my refusal to be moved that he shuts the fuck up and wanders away. But I -will not be moved-.
 
Nor should you.

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