In “Not Interested? Then Don’t Give Him Your Digits,” [published Oct. 21] Thomas Mott told women he would prefer if they were blunt with men. In that spirit, perhaps he will appreciate this analysis: Mr. Mott’s opinions are ill-informed and sexist. It seems he has made the unfortunately common mistake of pontificating on why women behave certain ways while failing to consult women.
While women have made great strides in our society, many women (including myself) have found that we cannot tell a man “no” without fear of consequences. If women are too nice, as Mr. Mott claims, it’s because we have been taught all our lives that we are expected to be nice, and to be anything else invites pushback. Many women have, at one point or another, attempted to tell a guy no only to have that no disrespected. That disrespect may be subtle, such as a man telling a woman that she should just give him a chance. It may be more bold, ranging from calling her a “b****” to yelling at her. In extreme circumstances, it may even involve criminal behavior such as stalking or physically harming her (the Tumblr “When Women Refuse” documents instances of this kind of abuse).
Most women would love to let a guy know she’s not interested and have that be the end of it. Contrary to Mr. Mott’s opinion, he is not initiating the idea of honesty in dating (as if it never occurred to women that being blunt is an option). However, our personal experiences have taught us being blunt may not go well for us, and we can never be positive what kind of reaction our bluntness will get. So many of us play it as safe as we know how: we give out fake numbers, we text just enough so that the guy believes we “gave him a chance,” we try to let him down easy. We don’t enjoy doing it, but we’re more concerned about our safety than the guy’s feelings.
If Mr. Mott wants the status quo to change, he should discuss how to eradicate sexism and male entitlement. It is a waste of his time to lecture women on how to behave in a dating world where men are avoiding hurt feelings and wasted time, while women are avoiding harassment and physical harm.
Shaney Swift, Class of 2012