Lockerroom talk: The messenger matters

I’ve thought long and hard about what I heard Donald Trump saying on that tape.

I’ve talked about this before. I grew up using locker rooms (football from 7’th to 12’th grade, wrestling, then the military and of course, gyms since the 8’th grade). And there were my submarine deployments.

Yes, sometimes sex was described in very rough terms, often by guys saying what they were going to do with their wives and girlfriends when they got home. Sometimes people did say “OMG, so and so has a nice ass” or stuff like that.

But only once did I hear anyone suggest, even in jest, anything that would be described as sexual assault and that was done by an enlisted man in a deliberate attempt to gross me out. I admit that I didn’t handle it well; I merely suggested to the young man that he didn’t amount to much; that he wasn’t much of a threat. Instead of doing something to educate him, I decided to hurt his feelings. But, this was between to very young men.

Now what can be done? Well, this article suggests that men have to be the ones to do something about it, but I admit that this was the type of article that made me cringe for several reasons:

1. I have doubts about whether I know exactly where the line should be. There IS a fine line between thinking “wow…did you see that thong bikini” and suggesting a grope. And no, I don’t buy into this whole “rape culture” model, nor do I have a desire to be a busybody scold. No one appointed me to be the censor, no more than anyone else appointed a religious nutter to be one.

2. People do have freedom of association. My guess is that someone who is too much of a scold will end up..hanging around like minded people.

3. And here is where I really get into opinion. One caveat: I am talking about “winning hearts and minds” and NOT about “policy”. Sometimes policy has to get ahead of “hearts and minds”.
I know that when it came to hearing tough truths, it had to come from someone who is where I want to be. Women? They certainly have a right to speak their minds, but as a young guy, I really didn’t take what they said to heart, at least when it came to what I should think and say in private. The “feminists”? Mostly I tuned them out.

The people I listened to were, well, the guys who had what I wanted in life. They were those who I admired: officers with a chest full of ribbons, respected athletes, coaches, and yes, some of my STEM area professors. The “finger waggers” from “soft” areas mostly elicited an eyeroll from me.

A respected more senior male saying “hey, not cool..that is gross, disrespectful and wrong” had a LOT of influence on me. But it had to be the right messenger.

October 14, 2016 - Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political

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