There is a thin line between flirting with someone and sexually harassing them. While the first entails a playful interaction between two people where everyone keeps their hands (and other body parts) to themselves, the latter involves a forceful penetration (yes, pun intended) into someone’s privacy.
In order to highlight this very line, a woman very intelligently juxtaposed flirting and sexual harassment – “You’re comparing a paintbrush to a wrecking ball.”
Here’s my perspective on the difference between sexual harassment and flirting. pic.twitter.com/LMq0HaTdJ4
— Kate Willett (@katewillett) December 10, 2017
In her tweet she wrote,
“I love to be flirted with. I don’t like being sexually harassed. These two things are not the same, and if you’re arguing the point “now men can’t flirt anymore,” you don’t understand what flirting is or you’re just pretending not to in order to set up a straw man argument in favour of sexual harassment. Good flirting is fundamentally empathetic. It’s about building desire and it’s often pretty subtle. It’s paying such deep attention to another person’s emotions and body language that you create more intimacy with them. It’s a two-way, playful, fun exchange that makes everyone feel good. Sexual harassment is the opposite. It’s devoid of empathy and it’s about forcing your will upon another person without having any regard for their desire. You’re comparing a paintbrush to a wrecking ball.”
No one could have said it better than Kate Willett did. And Twitter took the conversation forward.
In my experience many men can’t differentiate between a woman flirting and one who is just being as friendly to him as she would be to anyone. Take small steps and pay attention to responses.
— TerryHasAnOpinon (@Terrysagirl) December 11, 2017
Just reading your description of flirting gave me that same little flush that actual flirting does, so 👍 nailed it
— Mishell Baker🌈 (@mishellbaker) December 11, 2017
Not going against this to any degree as this most closely describes what I understand to be flirting. However I still often seem to lose out to guys whose idea of flirting is much closer to what I believe sexual harassment looks like. This is not a black and white issue.
— David J (@OracleBoracle) December 11, 2017
For me the difference has always come down to reciprocation.
If someone doesn’t flirt back then stop.
— Tom Forde 🎄 (@FordWithAnE) December 11, 2017
There’s also a power dynamic to harassment. Flirting retains an equality — harassment is when one person has power over another and can exact consequences outside of the moment if thwarted.
— Robin Tiberius Kirk (@RobinKirk) December 11, 2017
If there was any confusion, this clears it right up!