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. highheelsrunaway reblogged this from oktobergoud
  2. 1strule2ndrule reblogged this from evanpoopers
  3. deathsbinky reblogged this from attackontessacrossing
  4. mc0range612 reblogged this from god-tiermeulin
  5. evanpoopers reblogged this from stydiass
  6. yamirenamon reblogged this from brokenheartsnbones
  7. attackontessacrossing reblogged this from rixali
  8. queen0ftragedy reblogged this from arseniccupcakes
  9. spinninghallways reblogged this from mythotica
  10. someoutoftuneguitar reblogged this from indierocknroll-for-me
  11. flamesandyoutubers reblogged this from ox-britishmadebrownsugar-xo
  12. isildili reblogged this from nocturnalgreenkitten
  13. whateverimjustasandwich reblogged this from savvyliterate
  14. english1muffin1 reblogged this from writerlyn
  15. dingorising reblogged this from darquingdragon
  16. fandomdoodler reblogged this from circusmaster
  17. fleetfootfox reblogged this from housequeer
  18. lost-in-azeroth reblogged this from teenachuran
  19. crosshonneonna reblogged this from thepageofhopes
  20. perfectlyimperfect2 reblogged this from arseniccupcakes
  21. pathwalker32 reblogged this from charlotteiq
  22. thelonmower reblogged this from shrimpwonder
  23. learningtobealiveagain reblogged this from vangoghsdaughter
  24. mermaidshayna reblogged this from thepageofhopes
  25. simplisticjoys reblogged this from logan-scales-aura
  26. mythotica reblogged this from writerlyn
  27. charlotteiq reblogged this from savvyliterate
  28. sixsixfuckingsix reblogged this from rubenesque-as-fuck
  29. stoneclaw reblogged this from thepageofhopes
  30. sweetnkinkynerd reblogged this from polyverse
  31. beyond-still-roses reblogged this from wolfie-mcwolferton
  32. thesparkcollector reblogged this from lainathiel
  33. keakuki reblogged this from stydiass
  34. hrh-gwen reblogged this from thepageofhopes