You want to say Hi to the cute girl on the subway. How will she react? Fortunately, I can tell you with some certainty, because she’s already sending messages to you. Looking out the window, reading a book, working on a computer, arms folded across chest, body away from you = do not disturb. So, y’know, don’t disturb her. Really. Even to say that you like her hair, shoes, or book. A compliment is not always a reason for women to smile and say thank you. You are a threat, remember? You are Schrödinger’s Rapist. Don’t assume that whatever you have to say will win her over with charm or flattery. Believe what she’s signaling, and back off.

If you speak, and she responds in a monosyllabic way without looking at you, she’s saying, “I don’t want to be rude, but please leave me alone.” You don’t know why. It could be “Please leave me alone because I am trying to memorize Beowulf.” It could be “Please leave me alone because you are a scary, scary man with breath like a water buffalo.” It could be “Please leave me alone because I am planning my assassination of a major geopolitical figure and I will have to kill you if you are able to recognize me and blow my cover.”

On the other hand, if she is turned towards you, making eye contact, and she responds in a friendly and talkative manner when you speak to her, you are getting a green light. You can continue the conversation until you start getting signals to back off.

The fourth point: If you fail to respect what women say, you label yourself a problem.

There’s a man with whom I went out on a single date—afternoon coffee, for one hour by the clock—on July 25th. In the two days after the date, he sent me about fifteen e-mails, scolding me for non-responsiveness. I e-mailed him back, saying, “Look, this is a disproportionate response to a single date. You are making me uncomfortable. Do not contact me again.” It is now October 7th. Does he still e-mail?

Yeah. He does. About every two weeks.

This man scores higher on the threat level scale than Man with the Cockroach Tattoos. (Who, after all, is guilty of nothing more than terrifying bad taste.) You see, Mr. E-mail has made it clear that he ignores what I say when he wants something from me. Now, I don’t know if he is an actual rapist, and I sincerely hope he’s not. But he is certainly Schrödinger’s Rapist, and this particular Schrödinger’s Rapist has a probability ratio greater than one in sixty. Because a man who ignores a woman’s NO in a non-sexual setting is more likely to ignore NO in a sexual setting, as well.

So if you speak to a woman who is otherwise occupied, you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact trumps her right to be left alone. If you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override her rights.

For women, who are watching you very closely to determine how much of a threat you are, this is an important piece of data.


an excerpt from Phaedra Starling’s “Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced” (via lostgrrrls)


Can every one of my male followers read this? And please, before you get defensive (“I would never rape anyone!”) keep in mind, women being afraid of Shrodinger’s Rapists (oh my god i still can’t get over the encompassing brilliance of this phrase) is a conditioned, learned response from being immersed in rape culture and the evolution of sexism and sexual violence in our society from the day we’re born. And unfortunately, it’s very difficult to unlearn without the efforts of all genders to dismantle it. Which is where you come in.

(via lil-ith)

  1. callmeisabelle reblogged this from maghrabiyya
  2. seagulllikesthewind reblogged this from plage-schokolade
  3. plage-schokolade reblogged this from jalmotaesseo
  4. brandyland92 reblogged this from zebringerofd00m
  5. cuntriona reblogged this from mugglemakenna
  6. ayobossninja reblogged this from jalmotaesseo
  7. mugglemakenna reblogged this from ranawaytowonderland
  8. mytwisted0bsession reblogged this from fox-bones
  9. crystallpistol reblogged this from jalmotaesseo
  10. happyinhappines reblogged this from theamattashow
  11. fox-bones reblogged this from fiercefieryfeminist
  12. bunk-swoggled-by-andrew reblogged this from maghrabiyya
  13. fiercefieryfeminist reblogged this from fuckingrapeculture
  14. curiousdindin reblogged this from kinggina
  15. crayolapower reblogged this from jalmotaesseo
  16. busancakes reblogged this from mehrong123
  17. mehrong123 reblogged this from jalmotaesseo
  18. ranawaytowonderland reblogged this from feelsy-the-house-elf
  19. milkylemon reblogged this from jalmotaesseo
  20. feelsy-the-house-elf reblogged this from jalmotaesseo
  21. jalmotaesseo reblogged this from murderous-moon
  22. theamattashow reblogged this from bringmevirgins
  23. multifandomkindagirl reblogged this from assbutt-in-the-garrison
  24. iddthekidd reblogged this from maghrabiyya
  25. bringmevirgins reblogged this from gothitelle
  26. ilikecatstoo reblogged this from maghrabiyya
  27. mmm-ocean reblogged this from gothitelle
  28. derealizationrevera reblogged this from invisimort
  29. umbranvermilion reblogged this from gothitelle
  30. gothitelle reblogged this from fairy-pokemon
  31. biteswhenprovoked reblogged this from morganoperandi and added:
    Always worth a reblog.