Man Grabs Women's Breasts; Hilarity Fails to Ensue

by Aunt B. of Tiny Cat Pants

In a nutshell, Pith in the Wind is the blog of The Nashville Scene (which is supposed to be our alternative weekly, but I've yet to figure out what non-normative Nashvillians the paper thinks it speaks for and to) and Tracy Moore is writing at Pith about the man who is running around the Vanderbilt University neighborhood grabbing women's breasts and running off.

Things in this part of town are very tense. I walked two blocks to lunch today and passed three police cruisers and two officers on foot. There is a real fear that the man's behavior will escalate (though, of course, what he's doing is bad enough).

How are they handling it over at Pith?

Well, it's a veritable smorgasbord of ridiculousness. Shall we run down the menu?

1. Check out the title of the post—"Fat, Pathetic Dude Grabs Boobs, Runs." I think this is a two-fold problem. One part of the problem is that, as of the time I'm writing this, this guy is still on the loose, so women in the neighborhood need an accurate physical description of him. The information Moore gives us is this: "A man in his early 30s with 'brown hair with a scruffy mustache and a beard' who weighs between 200-230 pounds." Let me just point out that, without giving us any idea how tall the perpetrator is, we can't know if he's fat. A guy who's 6'4" and weighs 220 pounds is going to look a lot different than a guy who's 5'4" and weighs 220 pounds.

But now, Moore has given us "fat" as a descriptor. We should, then, be on the look-out for a fat guy. But what if he's not fat? What if he's tall or muscular? Now woman are looking out for the wrong type of man.

Second, since there's nothing from the description to actually indicate that the guy is fat, why is it important for Moore to call him fat? I think it's because we're back to that old canard that the only guys who "need" to run around grabbing women's breasts are guys who otherwise couldn't get women. And, of course, we're all supposed to get that no woman would ever actually consent to being with a fat guy, so what other choice does he have?

2. Women need to cover up in order to protect ourselves. "Just a quick reminder to cover up the jugs if you're 'hanging out' around Vandy's campus." I think the problems with this are readily apparent to even the newest feminist, but let me reiterate—this guy is running around assaulting women. He needs to stop or be stopped. This will happen when and if he changes his behavior or the police catch him. It will not happen just because women around campus change our behavior.

3. You probably no longer have "Viable Boob Relevance" after 23. "All the leering, scanning, glancing and sizing up gets old by the time you're 13, and yet, you've still got at least 10 more years of viable boob relevance to go." Apparently, some folks still believe that only young, sexy women are "worth" assaulting.

4. Having boobs and/or a vagina gives you power over men. I don't know if there's an actual resurgence of this idea or if I'm just noticing it more, but I keep seeing this idea that, because heterosexual men are sexually attracted to women, women therefore have power over heterosexual men. And I'm trying to understand that maybe it feels this way to some heterosexual men (and, in Moore's case, some women), but in terms of my own experience, when those men feel that you have some power over them, that's when they feel compelled to assault you in order to prove their dominance, to prove that you don't actually have that power. Seeing Moore joking about 13 year old girls having power over men just serves to illustrate how ludicrous the idea is.

5. Some men just can't help themselves. "Sure, any properly socialized man knows boob-grabbin' is ridiculously out of line, and yet, the world is littered with ample bosoms. Take a weak manchild, his mind already a couple melons short of a fruit salad, tempt him with whimwhams everywhere he goes, and what do you expect?" I keep waiting for men in general to get outraged by this idea that they're monsters that have to be "properly socialized" in order to behave, otherwise, they'd just run around succumbing to their every urge, hurting people willy-nilly without consideration for anyone's feelings but their own. But I think that level of misandry is hard to face. It's tossed out there so casually, like it's just a fact (and serves well the men who do want to behave monstrously, so there's reason to continue to perpetrate it). Still I hate it and wish more men would see it for the deep insult it is.

I get that Moore is trying to be funny. I'm even going to go so far as to say that someone (though clearly not Moore) could write something very (bitterly) funny about a guy who goes around grabbing boobs. But I think the reason her post comes across as mean-spirited and not funny is that she doesn't actually succeed in lampooning the perpetrator.

In her attempt to skewer him, she hits women, fat people, and men in general, but he remains unscathed.

That bugs me. But it bugs me more coming from the "alternative" paper. I mean, seriously, how is any of that an alternative to what we see in the media every day?

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