So my father challenged me to call out our men. We know you’re reading because sometimes you’ll pop in, or you might message us privately, or you might mention it at a get-together. And here’s the thing: this isn’t a private girls’ club. I know those exist (and maybe must) as do the boys’ clubs (again, no judgment: we sometimes need the safety of private forums). But here we THRIVE on discourse. We love to skew a point of view this way and that until we get a broader sense of things. You guys might have different prisms through which we can look, or you can remind us that we ALL worry about the same things, not just those of us in the female orbit. We value our men. We count on your wisdom, your support, your sense of things.
So the question is: would you stand up here and be counted? Would you let us know what you think—even if you don’t agree with us? We know if you’re reading this that you are compassionate and temperate. If you don’t agree with something, or if you have a slightly different take, we won’t be offended (we only get offended at rudeness).
But most importantly, if over these next few weeks we are taking on The Conversation, if we’re examining how women are being portrayed in the media and how women’s sense of self is compromised or diminished because of it, if we want to change that, and even if we women are to blame for much of it, don’t you think you guys deserve a place at the table, a voice in the discussion?
We want to hear what you think about this stuff. We want your ideas and thoughts. Even if it means we’re forced to accept a “difficult truth” (yes, men do look at “shiny objects”), it helps get us all closer to the real truth (but they usually don’t mistake that for love, or even lust).
So I hope you’ll speak up today. I hope you’ll join us in our search for balance.
I’ll start off by throwing out a specific question—that of course, I’m still hoping our female readers will weigh in on. What do you think of the pervasive sexualization of women in the media? Does it have a subtle, shifting impact on how boys and men (and girls and women) look at women? Or is it harmless fun that doesn’t actually filter into our private expectations or our bedrooms? This isn’t a trick question, I swear! In its simplest sense, many men I know truly prefer their beloved woman fresh-faced, no makeup, no fancy clothes, despite the fact that it’s the rare media image that portrays a woman like that. So what do you think?
Deb: There was an article yesterday in the Globe and Mail entitled “Thinking Outside the Boxers” and it was basically raising this question: “with so much porn and negative portrayals of women in the media, does it affect a young boy’s view of sex and relationships?”. Are these young boys poised to treat women like objects? I was thinking about it from both sides, this very interesting question. I also wondered if some young women start to act the way they think is expected of them, which is why everywhere I turn, in television and the media at large, the skank meter is up to 11. I got to thinking about my own son and his friends and cousins that I know well. They are, of course, exposed to these things but I think a greater force is at work which prevents them from painting all women with the same glitter body paint. I think they see by example in their homes and the homes of their friends how a real man treats a real women and how a real woman treats a real man. They learn by example, respect, and equality. This way they are able to see porn for exactly what it is, and whether or not they engage in watching this type of thing, they are aware of its place in the grand scheme of things. It is not a real way of life. To a degree, it is theatre. Smart boys know this. So do smart girls.