I'm pretty sure a lot of you have seen the video going around about the woman who walked around while secretly recording encounters and harassment that she received. If not, well, here:
I am also aware that, to some people, this can be confusing.
Why or how is offering someone a compliment harassing or intimidating or demeaning? Why or how is telling someone to chin-up, smile, cheer-up, etc. harassing or otherwise negative?
Because: CONTEXT MATTERS
Or, another question I have heard voiced, "How is the species going to perpetuate if women consider men hitting on them harassment and work toward stopping it?". Yes, really. However will women find men to mate with if they are allowed to control how men can interact with them in an environment in which they feel safe?
I realize that as a (straight) male, walking around and getting catcalled by women might be your dream come true. But, if you are seriously trying to correlate this situation to your dream as comparing apples to apples, you are not thinking this through.
There's a reason men can afford the luxury of finding the thought of receiving this behaviour as extremely positive and non-threatening.
Most males will never have to step out of their home or their place of work and worry that if they do something as simple as returning a smile to a passing stranger, that stranger may then begin literally stalking them. Nor will they have to consider that that stranger, in all probability, may be able to physically overwhelm them.
Most males won't have to think twice about telling someone "No thanks" or "Get lost" if someone is bothering them. As a female, this can escalate an uncomfortable situation into a dangerous one.
I've heard these things described as "male privilege". I disagree. I don't feel that it should be considered a privilege to walk in public without being threatened or harassed. What females need is parity. Not special treatment or privilege.
Amazingly, a lot of people keep missing the point that CONTEXT MATTERS when defending the actions of a lot of males.
Females are not simply an ass, or a pair of legs, or a pawn suddenly manipulated down the sidewalk for the express pleasure and sport of males. "Smile", "Accept my compliment and say thank you" "Don't ignore me when I'm talkin' to you", "Come on baby, why don't you speak?" aren't complimentary statements that treat the female as a whole person.
Those types of phrases are about what the male wants and what the male assumes and what the male wants to assume that the female should respond with. It's a demonstration of entitlement. There are preset responses or outcomes that are acceptable, and there are those that are not and this becomes very obvious when males become abusive or hostile because they didn't hear the message "Yes, I want you".
No, the human species is not going to die out because women get sick and tired of being unable to run simple errands without having dicks waved at them.
I'm not going to see anything wrong with a man seeing a woman he finds attractive at the store and politely initiating conversation. I'm not going to go stark raving mad because some kid in a mall spies the girl of his dreams across the Hot Topic aisle and musters up enough courage to speak TO her, not speak AT her.
THAT is not what this is about.
Actual human interaction isn't bad.
This is about males approaching females in an environment where it is inappropriate and often obviously unwanted. Where it isn't SAFE.
I've been called an arrogant bitch for straight forwardly telling males that I wasn't interested. I don't mean: "Oh, no thanks, you're ugly, you smell and I also think you're stupid". I mean: "Oh, hey, thanks, but no, not interested and I am married." Because apparently I was supposed to wait and hem and haw and pretend that it was a reallllly tough decision for me to turn a guy down.
The most common scenario has been where I say "No" the first time, thinking "How much plainer than that could it get?" and instead I get it bounced back at me with "Awww, you sure?" "Come on, nobody has to know" "Well, ok, your loss...but, if you change your mind...", sometimes to the point of my becoming so frustrated with having to repeat myself over and over that I finally have literally said "I said no, deal with it or fuck off". And of course, I'm a bitch again. And those have been the least threatening situations. Harassment? Yes. Threatening, no.
From my perspective: If I don't know you, or at least know OF you from regular visual sightings or other superficial interactions, I sure don't want to hear about how hot you think I am. Why? Isn't that a compliment?
It's not any female's job to make a male feel better about himself. It's not a female's job to validate every male's existence who compliments her. It's not my job to do exactly what you want me to do because you said that I have a great ass.
If I don't know you, you don't know me and I sure don't want our first actual meeting to be about how well you think you'd fit into my pants.
This tells me right off the bat that you are not interested in me as a person. This tells me that you most likely don't have any experience with people past their immature/not-knowing-any-better phases. This tells me that you have trouble interacting with adults, at least adult females.