Because, well, yes. Not all men are predators. But every woman you know has had experience with men who are. Every woman. Me. Your mother. That lady in the upstairs apartment with the dog with the annoying clicky nails ALL NIGHT ALL DAMN NIGHT PUT BOOTS ON THAT THING.
All of us.
I'm not even talking about rape or threats of violence here, though of course that's part of it. It's not just being taught from an early age that we're prey animals, and we always have to be ready to fight or flee. It's that creepy fifty-something guy who tried to pick me up on a city bus when I was fourteen. The fellow writer who stared down my shirt after his third glass of wine. The mail carrier who pulled over to ask me out on a date, and when I told him I was married, argued with me. (Notice, I told him "I'm married," not "That's flattering, but no thank you." Because belonging to another man is safer than saying no.) There was the airport shuttle driver who bugged me for my phone number all the way from Hartford to New York, until another passenger entered the van.
That wasn't scary at all. Nuh uh.
I'm not saying that it's always inappropriate to pay a compliment. I was never offended by the guy who stopped me in the supermarket to tell me I had pretty hair and carried myself well, and it brightened his day--because he so patently did not want anything from me. He was complimenting, not coming on.
We can tell the difference.
If we're conventionally attractive, we're abused when we refuse to cater to men--when we don't want to be bothered when we're reading on the train or give them our phone number if they stop us on the street. If we're dyky or fat or old, we're abused for being ugly lesbo bitches, which is to say, not fuckable. Because being fuckable is the only excuse a woman has to exist, to these dudes.
It makes me fucking tired. It makes a lot of women tired.
And what you're hearing right now is a lot of tired women asking for a little fucking respect. If you haven't behaved that way, well then. It's not directed at you, is it?
If you have behaved that way?
Maybe this could be a learning experience, then.