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Men Are Sharing The Moment They Realized They Had Been 'Creepy' Toward Women, And I'm Glad They Saw The Light

Here's to new beginnings.

We unfortunately live in a society where women are objectified on the daily. It's easy to point fingers at the male-dominated media, or strangers who catcall on the street, but the truth is...the perpetrators are often the men we know.


While we still have a long way to go in regards to respecting women, a recent Reddit thread made me feel hopeful. Reddit user u/rocketbot99 asked men who used to be "creepy" toward women (and have since stopped), "What was it that made you realize you were creepy that prompted you to change?"


Here are some of the top-rated responses:

1. "Talking to women, becoming friends with women, changing my circle of friends, growing up, learning empathy, and the final nail in the coffin was sobriety."

2. "Hearing women complain about something and thinking, Oh shit, I've done that. It seriously has helped me improve on a lot of things."


3. "This sounds weird to me now, but I actually grew up in a household that valued back, neck, and shoulder rubs. I did this for a long, long time to people I was friends with (men and women). In my head, it was just a way of saying I cared. In retrospect, it undoubtedly gave off a super-creepy vibe.

"I stopped once I saw it in the context of someone else doing it to a woman and her facial reaction to it. Then it just clicked."


4. "In middle school, I was a mid-puberty, horniness-stricken little perv. I didn’t do a good job concealing it, either. I would always get really close to my one friend because I liked her at the time, and looking back, it was so wrong to do.

"It took me taking a look at what they were probably thinking and how my behavior affected them to really stop being creepy. Hindsight helps a lot."


5. "Learning that pickup artistry is a massive grift meant to gamify social interactions with women for men who are socially isolated. Every pickup-artist tactic is just weird, toxic emotional abuse. Not only does it not work, but if it DID work, it would be morally abhorrent to do it."

6. "Growing self-awareness that I wasn't the center of the goddamn universe. I went through a chasing-potential-girlfriends-too-hard phase in my young adult years — including mistaking simple offers of friendship and work colleague status for actual interest.

"It wasn't 'stalking' level and it never reached the point of discipline (or even commenting), but it was probably to the point of being a little unprofessional and uncomfortable for the girl involved."


7. "I figured out that my being gay doesn’t change things. I never made a point to be careful about not making women uncomfortable because I always knew that I had no sexual intentions toward them and that they didn’t need to worry about any advances or anything.

"Of course, that didn’t mean they knew that; or if they did, it didn’t change the fact that I’m a man and there are appropriate ways to behave around people."


8. "It took me recognizing that I was addicted to alcohol, tobacco, pornography, and sex. I had been aggressive toward women and objectifying them since I was a child. I think this happened because I was exposed to sex at such a young age. I thought all relationships were supposed to be how the movies and shows were, so I just emulated what I saw.

"Once I got sober, I realized how much of a monster I was and took the necessary steps to really implement change in my life. Lots of therapy. Lots of crying. Self-reflection as to why I was emulating that specific behavior, and quitting my addictions. It’s been a journey, but I’m happy to say that I’ve been in a loving, committed relationship with proper boundaries for a year now."


9. "I realized that I wasn't a knight in shining armor, and they weren't princesses to be adored and saved. Instead of trying to ingratiate myself with them, I stopped giving a fuck and just started casual conversations. If they gave curt responses and standoffish body language, I politely exited the conversation and moved on."


10. "I realized they weren't laughing because I was funny, they were laughing because they were scared."


11. "When I broke up with my first serious girlfriend, I was totally heartbroken. I called her all the time and cried on the phone. I even threatened to kill myself and told her so. This went on for some time. Eventually I threatened again to kill myself and went to bed drunk. I woke up to a voicemail from her, crying her eyes out and begging me not to do it.

"I was so ashamed about my behavior. I realized in that message what I had become. It was absolutely her right, as it was mine, to end a relationship at any time for any reason, without being hounded and traumatized by the ex. I was evil and toxic."


12. "I used to do that smirk thing when talking to women. I thought it projected confidence, but then someone I worked with told me I should watch the creeper vibe, so I had to take a hard look at my mannerisms. Man, that must have been scary and off-putting. I’m sorry I did that, everyone."


13. "A girl told me she wasn’t interested because I did something creepy and she felt uncomfortable about it. I had no idea it was a creep move at the time. I’d never had that feedback, and I’m very happy she provided it, when she could have just ghosted and moved on.


"For those wondering, it was Facebook stalking. My young, ignorant self thought it would be cool to surprise her with my knowledge, because that showed I cared enough to learn about her. The real boundary crossing was me asking about other guys she’s friends with who made flirty comments on her pics."


14. "One of the most eye-opening adages that helped me immensely was, 'Men are afraid women will reject them; women are afraid men will kill them.' That helped me to change my interactions in a way that was less likely to set off alarm bells in a woman’s mind."


15. "I'm not the creeper. My friend was. We were out at a bar and he walked up to a girl and brushed her hair with his hand. How he explains it, he started to say, 'You have beautiful hair,' then got punched in the face by the girl and kicked out of the bar.

"We met him at the car after about 10 minutes of realizing he was gone — blood all over his face and just ashamed. I was with my wife and we were both confused as to why he would touch a stranger. He is now married and not a creeper. That was the night that opened his eyes to realizing that women are equals and not toys."


16. And finally, "Reading many posts on Reddit about how pervasive a problem it is for women to have men leer or subject them to microaggressions. Hearing it all named, and hearing how unsettling it is for people, made me reexamine some of my behavior toward women. Please do keep taking about it — it works!"

Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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