There is a rule most boys learn by the time they reach high school: Be handsome. Be attractive. Don’t be unattractive.
When it comes to attracting the opposite sex, that rule is absolute. No matter how nice, how polite, or how respectful a man or boy behaves, his level of attraction plays the biggest role in whether the woman or girl will consider him likeable or creepy.
That reality poses a problem for feminists like Hugo Schwyzer. As he explains in a recent article:
What SNL played for laughs, many men (and some women) took – and still take – seriously: Some men can’t win with women, these people believe, no matter what they do or say. This attitude is best observed in the recent backlash against calling men “creepy.” […] Others argue that “creepiness” connotes something specific: male homeliness. […] I often hear something similar in my gender studies classes. […] Whenever the subject of sexual harassment or “creep-shaming” comes up in class, someone–almost always a man–makes the case that SNL was right: the only way for straight men to safely express sexual interest in women is to do so while following the skit’s three rules. With almost invariable bitterness, these young men complain that unless a guy has won striking good looks in the genetic lottery, he’s doomed to be rejected and seen as overstepping his boundaries, no matter what he does.
This eye-rolling response is nothing new for Schwyzer. He has previously expressed a disregard for men’s dating plights and condoned unfair suspicions about men by women. Schwyzer does not see this is a legitimate issue of unfairness on women’s part. Rather, he sees the “backlash” from men against being called creepy as “an unwillingness to accept [a woman’s right to decide whose attention she wants that has] given women unprecedented power to say ‘no’ to the lecherous and the predatory.”
Yet he provides no examples of anyone arguing anything remotely close to that straw man. Continue reading