While pumping iron at the gym a couple of weeks ago, I heard a public service announcement on the radio that cautioned against “relentless, aggressive texting” as a form of abuse. You can read the full transcript of the commercial here.
My first reaction was to chuckle. As a species, we evolved to hunt deadly game with sharpened tools, smash in our neighbors’ skulls for chances at more land and mating opportunities, and murder the offspring of our enemies so that their genes would not be preferentially passed on over ours. Society works to control these impulses for the most part, but the idea that writing innocuous words on a computer screen can be compared with any real “aggression” is laughable.
All humor aside, though, this commercial being broadcast to millions of people reflects growing issues in our society—namely, female victim mentality, lack of ownership of one’s actions, and the expectation for others (white knights? society? the police?) to solve personal problems of a girl’s own creation. Even the name of the website is a joke — “that’s not cool,” a slang quasi-shaming term rather than anything reflecting a legitimate legal or societal problem.
The commercial in the gym was clearly geared toward women who are receiving “creepy” texts from men. Here’s an example of a “textual harrassment” scenario they have on their website (emphasis mine):
I started texting this guy I met a few weeks ago. At first it was good, but lately he’s been sending me messages ALL the time. If I don’t text back right away, he totally freaks out. When I’m out with my friends, he texts asking what I’m doing and what I’m wearing. We’re not even dating, and it’s like he thinks he can control me. I like the guy when we hang out in person but he just cannot stop with the texting. What should I do?
Notice the bolded points. The girl freely initiated texting. She responds sometimes, and continues to see the guy despite texts that make her uncomfortable. Then she complains about not being able to solve her own problem. Over the past decade clueless men have been inundated with a wealth of technology that gives them perceived access to women, but they are unaided in the set of invisible social rules and responses that must be adhered to, lest we incur the wrath of the Creepiness Police.
It’s true that men bear some responsibility for being socially adept enough to take a subtle “no” for an answer, but our society conditions them that dating should have to be an American Gladiator obstacle course where they triumph over numerous obstacles and perceived lack of interest to finally win the girl. Those of us with social awareness can see through the pretty lies of this paradigm, but the vast masses still see dating success stemming from overcoming external, rather than internal, obstacles. Men are told they should fight to for a woman’s attention, encouraged to do so by women, and are then punished for it by campaigns such as this one.
Women in our society enjoy the dynamic described above because it gives them the best of both worlds. They are painted as the prize to be achieved while basking in the ego-affirming attention of thirsty simps, but are simultaneously shielded from any downside of their carelessness with the feelings of other humans. Instead of having to deal with problems of their own creation, they can pull the “creepy” lever and report him to law enforcement or publicly shame him for his indiscretions. The worst thing is that other women will applaud them for eviscerating beta males, as in the case of this unfortunate basement-dweller.
Ladies, do you really want to stop “textual abuse”? I present to you a simple action plan. Instead of visiting notcool.org and asking the government, law enforcement, or the mob mentality of the thirsty masses to solve your problems, here is how you can be an independent, empowered woman and refuse to create a problem:
1. Stop giving out your number
It’s been well established that modern-day girls give out their numbers even to men they are not interested in. Perhaps this is because they know they’ll be bailed out if some “creep” doesn’t play the texting game exactly the right way. The first step to making your phone a “safe place” is limiting access to it. Women supposedly have better social feel and perception of non-verbal cues than men do. Time to put it to use for things other than manipulation.
2.Don’t lead men on
If you’re a girl, you’ve undoubtedly given out your number to a guy you’re only lukewarm about, texted him a bit, and decided you weren’t interested. Of course he texts you three times for every pithy one-liner you lob his way, but hey—it’s kind of fun! This guy is interested in you, and you weild a certain amount of power. Cut it out. Keeping a man’s hope alive after you’ve decided he’s not a romantic prospect directly produces the kind of harassment you purport to dislike.
3. Be upfront about your lack of interest
If a man insists on sending what you consider to be harassing texts, even after he obtained your number some other way and you didn’t respond lukewarmly or positively to his initial volley, send this exact message: “Hey — I’m really not interested. Please stop texting me.”
I guarantee that these simple steps will eliminate 98% of the “aggressive texting” cases, most of which stem from a harmless but socially-unaware man who has been led on for the girl’s attention and enjoyment. In the rare cases where it fits a pattern of actual abuse or stalking, it will inevitably manifest itself in other actions that are actual grounds to be reported to authorities.
Ladies, it’s time to stop soliciting attention from all angles and then following it by playing “let’s you and him fight” between thirsty simps and the government, media, and law enforcement. In the world of “textual abuse,” you are victims only because of your own actions.