How to minimise sexual harassment: a quick-start guide

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

Greetings! Are you a rambling misogynist cunt? Have you been informed that a particular aspect of your behaviour is creepy or in some cases downright illegal? Would you like to dismiss those killjoys who have decided that your totally normal and fine behaviour (a hand on someone’s knee in a meeting, comments about how ‘buxom’ they look today, or aggressive staring on the tube) is somehow inappropriate? You’ve come to the right place. Welcome to GOTN’s quick-start guide on how to minimise sexual harassment.

This blog (which contains references to sexual harassment) comes off the back of a Spectator piece today in which Cosmo Landesman tackles the new TfL posters informing creeps that ‘intrusive staring’ constitutes sexual harassment. I spotted his article – titled ‘In defence of staring‘ – in my timeline this morning, thought ‘not today, satan!’ but then read the first couple of paragraphs anyway because I’m a slut for getting angry. Although this brand of obviously-a-troll article constitutes extremely low-hanging fruit as far as feminist critique is concerned, it’s been a long time since I allowed myself to pluck some of that sweet sweet fruit and bite eagerly into its succulent flesh, and I figured I deserve a treat after all that porn I’ve been writing. So I stopped reading the article, got out of bed, sat at my computer and wrote a few predictions as to how the author might attempt to minimise sexual harassment. I’ve read plenty of articles along these lines before, and they usually follow a standard formula. And what do you know? I was right! Yummy! 

How to minimise sexual harassment

Plead ignorance

How could you possibly know that this behaviour wasn’t OK? It’s not like you’ve been given a training course in how not to touch women up or what specific words you should avoid ever using in order to keep these moaning harpies off your back. How are you supposed to know what ‘intrusive staring’ means anyway? Can anyone define it in such a manner as to include all instances of it yet guarantee no innocent man is ever accidentally judged to be creepier than he intends to be? Because as we all know, the way the law works is that if a woman decides a man has done a bad thing, the police immediately arrest that man and hurl him into prison without trial, ruining his life and destroying his humanity.

So if you want to minimise sexual harassment, first thing’s first: plead ignorance. Nitpick terms to within an inch of their life. Insist that those who are calling this behaviour ‘harassment’ define it in such a manner that it allows you to do whatever you want.

From Landesman’s masterpiece: “But what exactly is ‘intrusive staring’? Talking to representatives for both TfL and the British Transport Police, I discovered that there is no clear, objective definition. They say the line is crossed when a man looks at a woman in a sexual way that makes her feel ‘unsafe’ or ‘uncomfortable’… But how many seconds or minutes does it take to turn a look of curiosity into an intrusive stare? No one knows.”

Cite an instance of this law being unreasonably applied – leave out any damning detail

If you want to truly minimise sexual harassment, you need to find an example of the law being applied and then tell your readers about it in such a way as to guarantee they feel angry about such a powerful miscarriage of justice. “Why, only last week a gentleman was sent to PRISON for the supposed CRIME of simply saying HELLO to a female colleague,” or something along those lines. It’s important that your example is real, of course, but it’s also vital that you never tell the full story. Focus only on the most innocent details, and leave out the part about how the man who said ‘hello’ had his dick in hand at the time, and was fully beating one out in the middle of Meeting Room 4.

Absolutely banging example here from Landesman, who informs us that “Last month a man was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison after a woman reported him for ‘continuously staring’ at her on a train in Berkshire.” An absolute master of his craft, this guy, because he leaves out a couple of extremely significant facts about the event, which I found within 0.2 seconds on Google: 

“The court heard how at around 1.45pm on Saturday 5 March, Bullock sat next to the victim on the train and began staring at her, very intently. The victim asked him to stop staring several times as it was making her feel uncomfortable, but he refused.

“She asked Bullock to move as he was blocking her exit, but he refused again and said she would have to climb over him, while spreading his legs.

“The victim, who was visibly upset, continued to ask Bullock to move out of her way. Bullock remained emotionless and still refused.

“Other passengers in the carriage also started asking Bullock to move while the victim phoned the police, but he continued to refuse.”

Claim that you know loads of women who actually like this…

Didn’t you used to work with a lady who had a filthy laugh, and used it every time someone in the office smacked her on the bum? Now’s the time to roll out this ancient anecdote! Because if one woman likes it, that means all women should tolerate it, lest they ruin the fun for the one-or-two members of the sisterhood who have learned coping strategies to deal with misogynist behaviour are actually up for a harmless laugh.

“All of my female friends have stories about creepy men pressing up against them, copping a feel or making lewd comments on the Tube. But I’ve never heard them complain about inappropriate staring. And yes, some of them have been stared at, but for them it’s not a big deal.”

…and actually sometimes it’s the start of a great romance

Kisses at the end of work emails? Brushing up against someone on the tube? Glancing at a woman’s tits across a crowded bar? Flopping your cock out in the cheese aisle at Sainsbury’s? Those uppity feminists might call it harassment but actually don’t you know many happy couples who met in exactly this manner? If these woke snowflakes get their way, no couple will ever have the chance to fall in love!

“In a world where we can’t look at each other with a hint of sexual interest, what happens to love at first sight? It will have to go.”

Assume this is the thin end of the wedge

If you’re no longer allowed to stare at women on the tube, what next? Not allowed to glance at them in a lift? Compelled to cast your eyes forever downwards on the off-chance you make eye contact? Forced to wear a bag over your head in public to avoid ‘offending‘ anyone? Where does it end?

“If we’re not careful this same intolerant climate will extend into people-watching – and we will lose one of life’s great pleasures.”

Blame the victim

Whether we’re talking catcalls, staring, bum-gropes or actual rape, there’s one point that is always relevant: if they want to avoid harassment, perhaps these women should consider not being so goddamn sexy, eh?

 “As one young, much stared-at beauty told me: ‘Surprise surprise, men look at sexy women.’”

Got it? Great! Naturally there are other tactics you can throw into the mix if you like: claim you ‘can’t say anything these days‘ or – as Landesman has so creepily done – do a kind of ‘social experiment’ where you deliberately engage in this scary behaviour then claim that because no one called the police on you in this instance, it’s clearly fine and everyone’s making a silly little fuss about nothing. Broadly though, the important thing is to take the actual problem (men using intrusive staring and other aggressive behaviour to make public spaces feel unsafe for those they want to harass) and make people feel silly for giving a shit about it. Whether you’re twisting anecdotes, comparing harassment to consensual behaviour, finding women who think it’s OK or blaming the victims, you’re now ready to go out into the world and minimise sexual harassment wherever you find it.

Huge thanks to point-missing tube-starer Cosmo Landesman. This fruit was delicious, I loved it. *throws core in the trash*


  • Purple Rain says:

    Excellent rant!

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    Wow, that article. :O Hadn’t seen it before, and well, yikes! Especially the ‘social experiment’ bit…

    For what it’s worth, I actually do try to avoid making eye contact with women I don’t know in public, though not because I think someone might arrest me for it. I’m conscious that it makes many women uncomfortable; and it makes *me* uncomfortable too. (Also true with men, though to a lesser extent.) I’m hardly unusual there; as all Londoners know, avoiding eye contact with strangers is basically standard operating procedure on the tube.

    But we all know that criminal harassment requires a bit more than just making eye contact with someone. And I’m sure this lovely Cosmo chap knows that too.

    And for anyone who doesn’t understand how someone just staring fixedly into your eyes can be creepy and disturbing… have they never seen The Shining? Or almost any other horror movie?

  • EuphemiseThis says:

    This was a brilliant read! I couldn’t get past the but where he called one of his ‘friends’ a “young, much stared-at beauty”

  • EuphemiseThis says:

    I mean, I didn’t read all of his article. Obviously I read all of yours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.