Sage Advice: Reader Offers #MeToo Advice to Women
Dear Amy: There is a side of the #MeToo movement that could be addressed more thoroughly: Setting boundaries. Girls/women need to rehearse at home and with friends how to say, “No!”
If a guy slaps her on the derriere or kisses her on the lips and she doesn’t like it, she needs to forcefully say, “Don’t ever do that again. I don’t like it.” If a friend’s husband smooches her on the lips, just say, “Let’s stick with hugs. I really prefer hugs.”
Reacting too severely when friends are involved creates a whole new set of problems. The response needs to be appropriate to the circumstances. It would be helpful if you could provide a variety of responses that we can use when advances are unwelcome.
There is an amazing spectrum of unwanted advances, with Harvey Weinstein at one end and the neighbor who gives you a smooch on the lips at the other.
Amy, please encourage women not to freak out and overreact when they can set boundaries by speaking forcefully. If boundaries don’t work – THEN freak out!
– Hugs over Smooches
Dear Hugs: I assume you mean well, but instead of offering women self-defense classes, lessons on boundary-setting or instructions on how to offer an (unwanted) hug instead of an unwanted kiss, I believe the main lesson should be directed at the people who impose these advances and assaults.
Men should heretofore just assume that the women they encounter already have a boundary around them, and that NO woman wants to be raped, groped, kissed, hugged, touched without consent, catcalled or commanded to smile – and that if any of these things happen, women reserve the right to “freak out” if they want to.
In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068