Apparently, though, not everyone agrees.
The first comment reads: "Tee hee hee, violence is funny when the victim is a man!"
I'm almost loathe to get into a discussion about it, because it seems like it should be obvious to anyone with half a brain, but apparently it's not, so I guess maybe we should examine the situation being described by the poster?
Let's start by reading what the sign says. I don't think that feministing's translation is quite accurate. The English version of the sign reads:
Warning! Women defend themselves! If you leer at, catcall, or touch a woman, take into account that you might be loudly ridiculed, have a glass of beer poured over you, or be slapped in the face. Therefore, we strongly advise you to refrain from such harrassment!
Women, migrants, homeless people, transgender people, gays and lesbians are often victims of assaults. Don't look away, intervene!
So, what we're talking about are cases of harrassment. We're talking about a case where a woman is being sexually assaulted. I think that the sign makes it pretty obvious that it's not talking about cases where a guy asks for someone's number- it's aimed at guys who're threatening women and assaulting them, and then gives a warning of the sorts of responses that such actions could have- which could range from being publicly ridiculed up through physical retaliation.
So, how, exactly, are the men this poster describes victims? If you're assaulting someone, and they hit you back, you become the victim of the story?
I don't think so.
As is frequently the case in a thread like that, there are a number of "But... but... what about men?!" sorts of comments that came up. The first question raised was "Isn't this a double standard? Why is it okay for women to hit men but not for men to hit women?!"
A number of men seem to have read the poster as advocating violence against men, or as saying that it's okay for women to hit or assault men just for looking at them. I think that's an inappropriate and flawed reading of the poster.
First of all, the poster's main call to action was for people to intervene when they see someone being assaulted. It's not telling people that they should hit or pour beer on people, it's telling people to stop ignoring violence against women. The opening section isn't a call to action. It doesn't say "Women, pour drinks on men!" It's an attempt to subvert the typical warnings about sexual assault. Usually you read "Women, be careful! Don't wear short skirts! Don't show cleavage! Don't drink! Don't! Don't! Don't!" This poster subverts that and puts the warning wear it belongs- on the people doing the assaulting.
The idea is simple: if you're the sort of person who sexually assaults women, you should be the one getting a warning, not the women you're attacking. If you're the sort who gropes women, you should expect a response. Women shouldn't expect to get assaulted.
As another person pointed out, as well, there's a parallel structure involved: The various offenses are lined up in parallel with responses that are proportional in nature. If you're staring at a woman in a threatening fashion, it's completely appropriate for her to ridicule you over it. If you're being verbally threatening and harrassing someone, getting a drink thrown at you doesn't really seem out of proportion to me, and if you escalate it by touching, groping, or otherwise physically attacking someone, I think your victim is absolutely within her rights to hit you back.
The intentional mischaractorization by some readers is completely over the top. Take this choice response:
Sweet. The next time a woman stupidly stares at me, talks rubbish, or otherwise irritates me I get to dump a beer over her head and hit her in the face? Of course not.
Obviously, this get placed in the "women are children" category as women have tantrums, throw things, and hit people when they are irritated because they are actually little girls without self-control and are not expected to behave like reasonable adults. Brings to mind the wifey trowing pots and pans stereotype.
I've heard that you get out of a piece whatever you bring to it, and it's pretty clear that some of the people reading that poster are coming to it with a big chip on their shoulders. What other explanation could there be for reading a poster like that as a call for women to hit people because they're "irritated" and not as a call not to harrass women?
And then, halfway through, you get some of the really great stuff. I'm always fond of the "I'm going to take my toys and go home" argument, personally:
If you want men as allies you need to convince us that you're actually for the issues and are not just going to knee-jerk defend females accused of sexual harassment, domestic violence, or whatever.
David Gest? Ryan Haddon? It really doesn't matter whether these cases make up 33% or .033% of the total - if you want more "good guys" as allies, you need to do more to convince them/us that you're not going to be condoning the issues you're advocating when the alleged assailant is a woman. (Which is how I read this ad, grammatical attempts to explain it notwithstanding).
You know, domestic violence and assault are serious issues, and it's never okay to attack someone. That being said, it's intellectually dishonest to pretend that a poster warning that victims of assault might strike back is advocating or encouraging domestic violence- particularly when we're talking about a group who disproportionately suffers the effects of sexualized violence, while perpetrating a vast minority of said violence.
In other words: No, saying that women victims of assault might strike back is not the same as saying that it's okay for women to beat up men.
I find the argument that feminists have some obligation to make nice with men like this really annoying, and somewhat confusing. By the time this comment was posted, there had been dozens of attempts to explain and clarify interpretations of the poster. It must have been stated a dozen times, at least, that nobody was advocating for violence against men, or justifying domestic violence. What more was this person looking for? Personally, I'm not really interested in allies who are conditional in that way. If the only reason you care about sexual assault is because women are nice to you, and because they're very clear not to say things that might threaten you? Well, you're not really much of an ally then, are you?
You can't be too awfully interested in social justice if the conditions for your participation are "people never say things that make me uncomfortable and they're always very nice to me."