It could have been just something on Twitter or Facebook, but the last several days there was quite some online attention brought to sexual harassment (in general) and how subtle the signs can be for both parties involved (of which one of them might not even know that they is involved).
Even when the discussion would have been about rape only, the question would still be "according to whom"?
Communication is the key, but sometimes it is not possible to speak OR (like I mentioned in a previous blog post here) not possible to REACH the mind of the other who is involved in order to make them take you seriously and respect your words and/or body language.
During these days on Facebook (and possible also Twitter?) I have seen a few stories of men who have been harassed themselves, or who put out there that they "might have overstepped", because there are so many hashtags in their group of friends saying "MeToo" out of solidarity and to raise awareness of the magnitude of the problem. I want to say 3 thing about this:
1: Harassment can be subtle and many people can feel mentally violated just by being seen as a sexual being (by strangers or good friends) without feeling sexy or horny themselves at the moment. It is very uncomfortable to be seen like that (even with clothing, and even when nobody is physically touching you). Someone, with their body language, can put a disgusting idea in one's head, which makes one feel uncomfortable and unsafe, because one feels that there are different intentions flying around in the environment.
2: as said before, and as I read from some statements of (mainly the privileged) men in my friend-network, it could have been the case that they were guilty of this kind of harassment, but nobody really pointed it out to them. And really: how should they, when they have been taught that they are objects of desire and should always be "safe" and at home before dark and never be alone and, and, and… This way women might often feel that they are at fault. And they often have heard from the people who are not aware of the harassment, that they (what they feel) make things up about the intentions of the other.
I simply I have no answer to this type of unfortunate miscommunication, but I do believe, that for both sides it has something to do with the time of behaviour in society that is seen as "normal" and even "admired" or "praised" by repetition.
And no, nobody has to mansplain what is feels like to be observed in a particularly uncomfortable way, knowing that the we the other sees you is very different than the way you see yourself.
And no, compliments are not always good (surprise!) because the way I see it and experienced it, a compliment is speech act in order to get something done or to make a particular connection. Usually, it does the opposite of "comforting" someone or make someone's self-esteem higher. The latter will never work that way; it is a slow process that works form the inside. It is a matter of self-development and for self-development to work out, one needs time and safe social space.
3: So far, I enjoy the naturist community for providing space for vulnerability without unsafety, among like-minded human beings who re-think (because it is sort a societal minority) the implications of nudity and the language of the body.
Of course the people in the naturist community are "normal people" too, in the way that there are sexual beings in this community too. It is just that I think I could notice how people seem to be more respectful and polite than in the textile world…
I would describe myself as a sexual being, but only in the right moment in the right context (which, in my experience, does not happen very often, unless I am so "polite" to adjust to the wished of someone who does not understand my many ways of saying "no", until I get tired instead of angry, and reluctantly, but verbally and physically "agree" to continue the way the other desires to at that moment).
When I am among naturists, however, I can feel free and not judged. When someone looks at my breasts, it does not feel like harassment to me, but it is something compared to reading a text on someone's clothing. Especially, because nothing is said about it and there is still the same politeness and respect as before; nothing has changed, nothing is imposed, I don't feel objectified or unsafe.
—> How come that the difference in experience is so big?
Oh, I have an idea. Maybe it is because of expectations and the collective consciousness: I expect that I have nothing to fear in the naturist community, until proven otherwise.
Whereas in the textile community, I have been taught and am expected to feel unsafe and vulnerable target until proven otherwise..
Would it really be all about internalized expectations?
Also, I was wondering if there are people in the naturist community, who have the same or a different opinion on the "MeToo" stories on social media, when comparing it to the naturist community.
Nothing is "perfect" (regarding sex or communication?), I am aware of that. And also the naturist community is sometimes mixed with the (usually equally respectful and polite) libertine/swing community, but there is something different about these people…
Some different culture?
Some different mindset?
Some different expectations from human interactions?
—-> Please, why do I (so desperately want to) believe that the societal minorities who are more open and vulnerable (naturists, swingers, polyamorous/relationship anarchists) towards other people (strangers and friends) than random people who have experienced harassment?
I am aware that I just made huge assumption and generalisation here.
Please, if you have felt harassed in the naturist/swingers/polyamory/libertine community, I would say "MeToo" and openly and non-judgmentally listen to your story if you are willing to share. I will share mine too, in the hope that we can understand where our limits are and how to communicate them to other people from the same culture.
Of course it is easy to call some people "fake naturists", but name calling will not solve the problem we have internalised in our collective behaviour, in our collective consciousness of what is "normal", what is "innocent" and what remarks or looks are "harmless" in what context.
I am looking forward to read your thoughts on my thoughts.
(wow, that sounds rather intimate, doesn't it..?)