Is approaching women fundamentally unethical?

I’m baffled about why I SHOULD. What I mean is, I don’t understand the moralil argument in favor of it.

It seems like a pretty simple issue to me. If I find someone attractive and approach them, then it is perfectly reasonable that I might cause them some level of distress when I do: awkwardness or annoyance or creeped-out-ness. I don’t presume this level of distress would be large, nor do I think it’d necessarily happen 100% of the time. But the moral calculus here seems very easy: I can do something that is reasonable to cause some level of distress and have no positive outcomes, or I could refrain.

Furthermore, as I said, I’m a man. I believe that men have a moral responsibility to keep from doing anything that causes sexually relevant distress in others. (It’s not that other genders LACK this responsibility, but for men in our society it’s especially important.) With this in mind, I can’t imagine any possible justification for me possibly ever approaching anyone in that way, in any context.

This also applies to finding someone attractive. If I see someone I think is hot, I’m likely to show a bunch of nonverbal, subtle signs of this, even if I try not to. The object of my attraction could very easily pick up on these behaviors and feel that same distress. I consider this slightly more forgivable than approaching someone, since it involves behaviors I can’t directly control. But since I’m aware of the possibility, don’t I have the responsibility to cut these feelings off at the at the pass as much as possible?Is approaching women fundamentally unethical??

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Most Helpful Girl

  • This is literally a easy thing to figure out. Read body language. If she looks at you and smiles, there's a pretty good chance she's attracted. If she doesn't... well, don't bother.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • The thing you’re arguing is that approaching someone might cause them distress, with little chance of a positive outcome. With your utilitarian outlook, where one should attempt to cause as little harm and promote as much good as possible, it is more ethical to not approach someone.
    I see where you’re coming from and if you were right, I’d totally agree with you. But here is where I think you are misguided
    This isn’t a one-sided equation. You’ve essentially erased the potential interest and agency of every woman out there. You are starting from the presumption that women are merely receptive to people who may or may not approach them.
    While women may not be doing the approaching as often as men do, that doesn’t mean that they’re standing around doing nothing. Women who are interested in being approached put quite a bit of effort into being approachable. From the way they dress to the way they signal to people they’re interested in that they’d appreciate someone coming to say hi, women are as active in the ol’ mating dance as men. Their work may not as be obvious to an outside observer, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
    Many women are painfully shy. They may well be dying for someone to come talk to them but are absolutely terrified to make the first move, so starting a conversation would be a net positive, while leaving them to quietly kick themselves would be increasing the amount of distress in the world.

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Have an opinion?

What Girls Said 1

  • This doesn’t require that much thought. Chillax!

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What Guys Said 6

  • For most of us, dating is a source of joy and not a source of distress. But. . . if you don't want to date, I never discourage guys who want to drop out of the competition.

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  • Welcome to being single the rest of your life. This is way over thinking it. People can express interest in each other, its human nature. If you don't like it or want it, then rebuff them. Eileen aren't made of paper, they can handle themselves in these situations just fine.

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  • The trick is learning to shrug it off when a girl pisses herself because you approached her.

    So you caused someone distress.. big deal. If you want to get anywhere in life, you'll have to do that a hell of a lot anyway.

    There will be girls who'll be legitimately attracted to you. Don't give up on them just because some insects are afraid of you.

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  • "If I see someone I think is hot, I’m likely to show a bunch of nonverbal, subtle signs of this, even if I try not to. The object of my attraction could very easily pick up on these behaviors and feel that same distress."

    By this logic anyone can feel distressed about anything because they can just start interpreting things as distressing. True feelings and emotions can't really be cut off unless you perform some sort of ridiculous brain surgery. And that in and of itself would be self-evidently unethical. By overthinking these sorts of things you are condemning yourself to a life of loneliness and isolation.

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  • I like being introduced to women by a third party much better than a cold one on one approach.

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  • Ah, the pitfalls of progressivism.

    My initial reflex is to just tell you how much I laughed at this and leave it at that, but whatever, I’ll engage with this. Did you consider your own distress in that equation?

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