A few nights ago I was chatting with a brother 11579.60 kilometers away in the Philippines. To talk to your fellow man about your fellow Woman is a rare honour when we’ve been pushed to live in a world where we’re muted when it comes to speaking on the dignity of the other sex – a world where it seems like the only time we talk about the other sex is to amuse ourselves. I asked him if he would do his fellow man a big favour and write a few words. The man has insight – it had to be shared. He agreed. I’m thankful.
Before reading, I want to appeal to the men reading this, and the women who can drive men to think about this topic of equality we’re trying to bring to our daily consciousness: PLEASE START TALKING. Talk to the next friend you see. Keep it light. See what they think, and why; not to criticize, but to understand. It is only through open and honest conversations that we can elevate ourselves from the pits of patriarchy which we’ve been thrown to. It can be nerve wracking; we know. It’s hard to question the status quo when everything around you tells you to proliferate it, and when the problem seems to big to tackle. BE strong – try discussing: it’s SO refreshing. Send this a frirend: see what they thing. Just do something. If you have a hard time verbalizing yourself, then write here. This is YOUR forum. end us a message with your thoughts and we’ll post it; we can make this ‘MEN TALKING’ thing into a regular series. If we can’t get a discussion goin in real life, then lets ease into it by reading each other’s digitalized thoughts.
Alas, here are the words of the wise man. The bolding was my doing; otherwise, I copied and pasted them exactly as he sent them to me.
I tend to go on tangents so edit as needed sir. credits: madhatter.
A very good friend of mine had asked me to look at a photo depicting a sign from a watering hole of some sort reading: Sexual harassment in this area will not be reported. However, it will be graded.” At first I looked at it as a silly attempt to a get a cheap laugh. A sign you can purchase from a novelty store like San Francisco – some of you might get the reference. But then, I started to think about the behavior encouraged at an establishment like this. Let me stress that I’m not trying to preach as I would have found humor in something so trivial in my younger days, I’m just trying to put things in perspective.
Many, including the bar owner will argue that the sign is merely there for its entertainment value and would guarantee that the appropriate follow-ups will be conducted if they had any – the word legitimate would be inserted in their statement for credibility – claims. I say, you wouldn’t have the dime or the time. Sure there are varying degrees to which an individual can be held accountable just as there are varying degrees an individual can be victimized. I’ve been guilty objectifying women and hollering at a girl in a less than appropriate fashion – also been a witness of this more times than I can remember – and still went on about my business after my failed attempt to wow the females in question, thinking: They have a thick skin … They probably deal with this on a regular basis. But now, under the assumption that I’ve grown and matured in my way of thinking, I look back at how ridiculous it was for me say such a thing. Not to go off on a tangent, but I have a thick skin when it comes to inappropriate comments. Obviously I pick and choose my audience and spots but I’ve been in a position where something inappropriate was directed at me, but due to professional circumstances I chose to bite my tongue and brushed the whole thing off even though I felt helpless. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it believing that there were no ill intentions. What if there were?
Unfortunately, we’ve gotten to the point that we brush these things off too often under the assumption that our target will also do the same. Regardless of the individual’s threshold, inappropriate is inappropriate, harassment is harassment and objectifying is objectifying. Let’s go back to that bar, the one with the novelty sign. Is it ok for a guy to ask a girl what color garment she is wearing? Is it ok to slap a girl’s ass? Is it ok to make inappropriate advances because she is wearing something skimpy? Is it ok for a girl to endure advances all night and feel disgusted thinking about the douche trying to cop a cheap feel? Sure we are looking to have a good time but she is probably looking to enjoy a few cocktails with her friends. But we say she is asking for it. What exactly is she asking for? Your unwanted attention? Now what if a guy was getting unwanted attention? How does this double standard play out in social context? Where does the establishment draw the line? If a girl complains about the unwanted attention and advances, they kick the perpetrator out and that’s the end of it. Right? Count how many times you have witness a guy fail at picking up a girl and got away with, at best, a look of death even though he deserved a crisp palm to the face. Now ask yourself this, did he not get slapped because the female in question didn’t want to slap him. Or did she simply walk away from potentially an uglier scenario?
Today, many hide behind the marketing notion that sex sells. No matter how true that statement may be, it doesn’t seem like anybody has stopped to question the audience, the object and the reasoning behind it or the behavior encouraged by this notion and the implication of it. Many adds selling alcoholic products are somehow tied to the image of an attractive woman either drinking it in a seductive manner enticing the opposite sex to enjoy the same drink or simply put, buy her a drink. On the surface, buying a drink for a lady at a bar is part of the gentlemen’s code and nothing is wrong with that. What is up for debate is the expectations involved – dance, number, date … sex. Argue all you want but no guy is buying a drink for a girl without expecting anything in return. If you don’t believe me, just go to a club in Vegas for a picture perfect scenario. So now, men expect something in return, and women in return understand that the acceptance of a drink involves something more than just a friendly convo. Although there are RARE exceptions to this rule.
As much as I hate to say it, this type of behavior appears more and more to imbedded in us. From objectifying women in a colorful descriptive conversation amongst high school males on a public bus while a mother and her daughter are seated there, to the billboards of attractive women posing in lingerie selling unrelated products to the patrons at a local bar treating the female bartender like their personal server. It’s increasingly happening more and more. I didn’t actually give this a serious thought until my first trip to Vegas. It was my first experience with the lavish club, bottle service and having a host. I wanted to see and be seen and I knew the drill. What really blew me away was how the host treated the women. I was asked if I wanted a few girls at my table. I said sure – no brainer. He returned a few minutes later with a group of girls. We were introduced, they sat down and we had a few drinks. Things didn’t click and conversation died after a while. The host returned and asked if I was ok with the selection of girls he had so generously provided. I said no. Immediately he took the drinks out of their hand and escorted them out of the booth only to come back a few minutes later with a new group. I’m not here to boast about my righteous attitude but it literally looked like the host was handling a herd of sheep and I felt guilty, later when the effect of alcohol were long gone, for allowing this to happen and actually taken part of it. During my visit to developing countries, sex trade and adult entertainment aside, objectifying women to specific roles and profiles became more apparent. Not so much by the local population but by the foreigners. You can spot the sex tourist from a mile away wearing non-fitting polo shirts tucked in their cargo shorts, wearing sandals my father wouldn’t wear, most of them overweight and balding, either prowling on local women as sex objects or already showcasing their accomplishment of landing a younger broad while comparing the size of their wallets. The only thing they can compare in a dick measuring contest – fact. I even saw a girl, not older than 15 holding on to a guy well in his 40s … and no she wasn’t his daughter.
I can’t quite figure out if I should feel sorry for the men for having to resort to such behavior, or the women for allowing this to happen. Regardless, if everyone plays their part, no matter how small or insignificant it may be on an individual level, we can make a collective difference. At the very least, we can raise awareness and provide an avenue for discussion. Don’t take this as a lesson in chivalry, it’s just my 2 cents from the cheap seats. Maybe next time you’ll think about how you wouldn’t want someone disrespecting your wife, daughter, mother or sister, reducing their entire identity and being into a 3 letter word.