Okay, I don’t know where I am going with this, but it’s a process that’s been doing the rounds in my head for a couple of weeks now after an unpleasant afternoon in a group I attend.
There was a discussion between 2 women about a recent class they’d been attending at our local swimming pool, run by a young guy who they both talked about in derogatory terms. One of these women is older than me (I am 59) and the guy they were discussing was probably mid 20’s I am guessing. Later on in the afternoon the subject came up again and I was unable to keep my big mouth shut and questioned the assertions being made and wondered how and if this was okay. I angered the 2 women with my question and was met with varying reasons why is was okay, just a bit of fun, tongue in cheek etc and I realised that I was wasting my breath. (I often have different ideas and thoughts to the rest of a group, so no change here).
Over the last couple of weeks I have noticed more and more the photos being shared on social media of naked or half naked men, along with comments we all expect to see. It makes me wonder, is it okay to objectify men? I am not sure I have the correct word, or that I am expressing myself well, but is it okay? We have spent decades complaining about how women have been treated in the media, have been used in advertising, are plastered over men’s magazines and generally seen as sexual objects, yet we don’t appear to want to see the double standard.
When we want to educate and inform our children, we understand that modelling the type of behaviour we expect from them is as important as the words we say. Yet, I see on a daily basis that we don’t seem to be modelling to our menfolk how we would like to be treated ourselves. How can we expect them to understand what is not acceptable to us if we do it to them?
Back to the group 2 weeks ago….imagine if this had been an old man in his 60’s talking about the young swimming coach in the same vain. Would we have all sat and laughed along with the conversation? Really? I can postulate that we might have been concerned he might act on his fantasies and reacted very differently.
I believe I have some rather extreme reactions to what seems like fun and ribald humour, and that is seems OTT and yet I have to ask. When is it acceptable to objectify another human being?