NOTE: This post deals with an important subject, but the more genteel among you may find some of the wording a bit coarse, for which I apologize. It’s strictly in the service of making a point.
This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and lets start trying
To make it a place worth living in.
“Land of Confusion”, Genesis
RUTHERFORD, MICHAEL/COLLINS, PHIL/BANKS, TONY
Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, IMAGEM U.S. LLC
Well, fellas, I guess I’ll have to turn in my Man Card. Because you’re not going to like at all what I tell you next, and once you read it, you’ll probably be ready to vote me right off the island.
But, I really can’t help but say it. Sorry. Actually, not sorry.
We all, each of us (including me), need to take a very serious look at how we view, think about, and talk about women.
This year seems to have been a particularly bad one for men in the news. To wit:
A college athlete recently convicted of raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster was released from prison after serving three months of a six-month sentence, a sentence handed down by a sympathetic male judge. Oh, and in the apple-doesn’t-fall-far-from-the-tree department, the defendant’s father pled to the judge to keep his son out of jail, arguing he had already paid a steep price for (his words), “twenty minutes of action.”
My alma mater is still being investigated for, as it has been characterized, the culture of rape it allowed on its campus, particularly with regard to male athletes. The administration denied a sexual assault problem even existed on campus, and is accused of trying to repress, or even retaliate against, victims’ testimony alleging otherwise.
And a candidate for President of the United States has been heard bragging about how, because he’s a star, he is entitled to his disgusting treatment of women. By now, most everyone knows the lurid details, so there is no need to repeat them here. He later dismissed these boasts as simply “locker room talk.”
And now, he faces an ever lengthening line of women coming forward to reveal their past experiences as victims of this animal’s continued pattern of sexual harassment. He now threatens all of them with lawsuits.
We’re talking about somebody’s wife. Somebody’s girlfriend. Somebody’s sister. Somebody’s mom.
Somebody’s precious daughter.
You fellas out there with a teenage daughter, how do you suppose this landscape looks to her?
Women are people, guys. They have minds and souls. They have heartaches and headaches. They have bills and deadlines. They have wishes and hopes and dreams and victories and defeats and joy and pain and confusion and all the rest of life. They are human.
Yes, they can be quite attractive; no argument there. But…
They are not merely objects that exist in the world solely for our inspection and critique. They are not just a bunch of filthy sluts, parading around in provocative clothing which might as well include, “I’M ASKING FOR IT!” on the front, in big letters. They aren’t pieces of property for us to just capriciously go and take.
They’re not just tits and ass.
So, let’s quit talking about them as if they were.
(And I don’t want to hear about the male instinct to find a suitable mate for procreational purposes. Honestly, guys, when was the last time you checked out a woman and thought, “Boy, I’d sure like to have children with her!”)
Listen, I know how we’re wired; I’m a guy. We are stimulated visually. We see all these shapely hourglass figures walking around, in their short skirts and high heels and low-cut tops and tight jeans and revealing swimsuits and on and on. I mean, we could see a woman in baggy sweats and the wheels still turn, don’t they? Imagining what she looks like underneath.
And then, we convince ourselves that every single one of them wants us. We smile at a woman, she smiles back, what are we thinking?
Oh, yeah, she’s into me!
Well, fellas, here’s the truth. Aside from being just plain delusional, that is disrespectful. It’s insulting. It’s demeaning.
And, if we’re around other guys at the time, it leads to talking about women in that same disrespectful, insulting, demeaning manner.
What kind of lover she must be. What we’d like to do with her, or have her do with us, given the chance.
Not to mention, the whole “bitches and ho’s” culture embraced by a segment of our society. I’m not even going there.
It’s against that backdrop that guys (not men; men don’t do this) feel entitled to do whatever the hell they want with women, up to and including rape.
And it has to stop.
I told you, you wouldn’t like this.
I’m not telling you any of this from up on some high horse. I’ve certainly done my share of looking at and talking about women. I’m not perfect, by any stretch. I just think I, and all the rest of us, should man up here and be more respectful.
So, am I saying, just look the other way? Never make eye contact, never smile, never say anything? Pretend they’re not even there?
Of course not.
But, ask yourself, guys, who was the last woman you looked at – who you didn’t already know – and thought of as anything other than a body?
Oh, they look at and talk about us that way, too? No excuse.
It’s just part of being a man? No excuse.
They secretly like it? They’re flattered by it?
Pretty sure that’s not true.
But, you know what? Let’s open the floor to everyone, here. Male or female, if you want to weigh in on this, I invite your feedback. Let’s hear from each other on this, and see if we can’t all learn something. (Let’s try to keep it somewhat civil, though, shall we?)
Because, it should be obvious to everyone at this time in our journey, something definitely has to change. And it’s up to us, guys, to play a significant part in fixing this problem. Because we created it.
Women everywhere are standing united to declare, “Enough is enough!”
I’m gonna stand with ’em. How about you, dude?