Non-Verbal Communication: When feminists deny its existence.
Last week, a mini-scandal erupted when Guy Fournier, former head of the French-language CBC, commented on a television interview that occurred the day before, in which Jean-François Mercier (a funnyman) put his hand on Pénélope McQuade’s knee (who is the host of the show) on two separate occasions. On this second instance, Ms. McQuade clearly warned Jean-François Mercier that it was the second time he touched her. Following the interview, that apparently he had not seen, but decided to comment on, Mr. Fournier had the following comments :
“Pénélope is never dressed like a nun. […] Despite the generous display they give us with their charms, particularly in summer, most young women today are indignant as soon as we notice them or that male gazes become more insistent”
“Who do these women display all their assets for? Themselves? I’d be surprised…Especially not to attract the attention of other women, who are generally very critical and stingy with compliments for each other. Therefore, it’s to get noticed by men, which is in perfect accord with the genetics of the species. But why play the victim as soon as a man takes the bait, as soon as he raises a curious eye or risks a compliment, as awkward as it can be?”
I don’t want to comment on the event itself, however, but rather on the subsequent reaction, which is much more interesting.
Pénélope McQuade responded to those comments on her Facebook page, which were then repeated in some media outlets, including Radio-Canada. Among her comments, she said that:
“That my legs were bare, so be it, but that they have a direct cause and effect link…What the hell is that?! This is when it becomes dangerous. No, Mr. Fournier, that my legs were bare does not give permission to touch them. No, Mr. Fournier, cleaveage does not give the right to stare into it either. No, Mr. Fournier, a scantily dressed woman, according to your criteria, contributes NOTHING to the, rude, vulgar, violent of even criminal acts by individuals who cannot manage what is theirs to manage. No, Mr. Fournier.”
The following day, July 26th, Lise Ravary (a news commentator/blogger for the most popular newspaper in the province), in her blog, went over the top by writing a piece dedicated to Ms. McQuade, to criticize the “sexist remarks” made by Guy Fournier. At the same time, she launched a salvo directly at me, by mentioning a Facebook comment I put on her wall back on July 22nd.
“Last week, in reaction to one of my blogs, a young moron published a long comment to the effect that rape is unacceptable, disgusting, yes, but that women do not help their case by showing more skin than clothing, that clothing is a factor that can attract a rapist, that the victim’s behaviour contributes in being chosen as a target, and I won’t mention the best ones.”
However, all I did was remind everyone that non-verbal communication also has its importance. I admit having been rather direct in my comments, but it does not change the fact that what I wrote is based on empirical evidence.
In what are Guy Fournier’s words sexist and retrograde? Evidently, it is not Politically Correct, but the fact remains that what he said is essentially true. Whoever possesses a basic grasp of Evolutionary Psychology can easily demonstrate that it’s the case.
To begin, it seems that Ms. Ravary and McQuade, like all militant feminists, ignore the very existence of non-verbal communication. If a woman’s clothing has no influence…and cannot influence another person’s behaviour, I should then be able to show up for a job interview dressed in ruined jeans and a dirty t-shirt. According to the feminist argument (which is also shared by the mass media) , the HR person should not interpret anything from this clothing during his final evaluation and therefore, should treat this candidacy on the same level as another where the candidate showed up in a suit and tie.
Let’s take an extreme example; If I decide to show up at the Saint Jean-Baptiste festivities dressed in a Captain Canada costume, Ms. McQuade and Ms. Ravary’s argument supposes that there is no chance whatsoever that my appearance might raise the risk of being the victim of a physical aggression.
As you can see, a few small analogies can prove that this opinion does not hold any validity in the real world. Non-verbal language, which clothing is a part of, communicates much more information than spoken language, or even the tone and attitude we have. Despite the fact that the results of Mehrabian’s studies are not an effective barometer to determine the importance of each form of communication, it is still evident that non-verbal is more important and supplants verbal communication when interacting with people.
A study in evolutionary psychology, called “Appearance and success”, mentions this link between clothing and behaviour, while citing a multitude of other studies that demonstrate this is the case in many fields of activity. For example, it has been proven that red and black can increase sexual attraction, by influencing the behaviour of those who wear it, as well as those who see it being worn. Also, female attraction towards males wearing red is linked to the perception of higher status.
So we know that the color and style of clothing can incluence the behaviour of others, but if we listen to the feminist dogma that our media tries to pass for reality, we should include a single exception in the case of women’s clothing. Why would non-verbal communication not apply for a woman who dresses in a suggestive fashion, for instance by wearing a sleeveless black dress that stops at mid-thigh, with cleaveage going down to the solar plexus?
Obviously, like Lise Ravary, a good number of feminists will criticize this text, calling me a moron, or using other, more hurtful epithets, because I dare defy the established dogma. Should I remind them that insult is the last refuge of those who possess no arguments? Ms. Ravary did not mention in her blog post that she never responded to any of my points, instead attacking me personally and blocking me off her account. She also did not mention that immediately after doing so, she tweeted the Montreal Police’s twitter account to advise them that I was “indirectly but clearly defending rapists” and asking them if the police would be interested in following up on that.
I do not condone sexual offenders, and I do not defend them either. A sexual assault is a disgusting act that is never justified. But by teaching our girls that their behaviour and clothing has absolutely no impact on the statistical probability of being a victim of such an assault, we’re making the problem worse. It is said that the rapist is entirely responsible of the fact that he acted upon his impulses. I agree wholeheartedly, but it is also everyone’s responsibility to not expose themselves as potential victims by having the appropriate behaviour. If you walk down a dark alleyway at 2am, your chances of being the victim of an assault of some sort increases massively. If you find suddenly find yourself in the “wrong neighbourhood” and you wear the “wrong colored clothes” it’s the same thing. If you’re a woman and you’re dressed sexy, you will attract the eyes and hands of men, and you increase the risk of attracting the attention of a rapist…It’s just a question of common sense.
So, Ms. Ravary and McQuade, non-verbal communication exists and influences the behaviours of others, despite your heartfelt wish that it should not be the case. But you should also know that between what should be, and what is, there is a world of differences…