Question #156: How do women disrespect men? Ladies?

April 26, 2013

Throughout my shortish journey writing online, I’ve learned through comments left and conversations, that there are many people out there with opposing beliefs about feminism and where we fit in the patriarchy.

There is a common thread, however, which eludes heavily toward the notion, that it’s pretty much all up to the males to create change.

I don’t believe this is entirely true. It can’t be, if equality and respect for all is the ultimate goal.

You will get no argument from me when we discuss the fact that men have a MASSIVE (and I mean colossal) contribution to make toward shifting their sometimes-toxic perspectives – and actions – towards females. No contest.

But I also believe it’s equally important to recognise what contributions women make to this paradigm.

In my ever-enduring search for balance, I think we have to ask this question about ourselves; hence my request in the title – that it’s the women who need to answer this one.

When I helped run a media literacy workshop for the girls at my school, our visiting presenter, Collett Smart, said something right at the end of the day, which resonated with me.

It pertained to mutual respect. Collett said:

There seems to be a huge portion of the responsibility laid on boys and men to respect women, but women and girls also need to respect men.

This lead me to my following understanding:

Both genders play a role in perpetuating a state of existence.
Both men and women. Boys and girls.

Male and female.

This is a crunch issue.

Even as I write this, I find it challenging to get my own head around how to explain this without confusion; because the question has to be asked:

How do women contribute to this current (porn) culture?

How do they disrespect men?

I have one example, a clip, which I showed the girls on our workshop day to demonstrate something entirely different – how it misrepresents our girls and teaches a false sense of empowerment. It was not used to discuss respect.

But I want to revisit this clip, which shows a song and dance routine that appeared on the show Glee. The worst part is that I only saw it because the television was playing it – in its entirety – as an ad for the show, at around 7pm; when most kids (who are soaking up the uncensored world around them) are up and watching.

In my eyes, this clip deals with what I’m grappling with, in terms of mutual respect.
1. What we discussed with the students, is that the song is one that is supposed to be empowering for women. “Who’ll run the world? Girls!”
But it is ALL null and void because the main girl is in suspender belts, teeny leather skirt and over the knee black boots. A porn image…in a school. The lesson? That the only way women can feel empowered, is through sex.
The snag for me here is that sex is being showcased as a female superpower.
It’s not. None of the boys watching these girls dance will imagine them as President or Prime Minister.

No respect for women.

2. The girls dance into the classroom and we see the ‘oooh’ and ‘corrrr’ looks on the guys’ faces as the girls sexually dance and sizzle in front of them. The lesson? All men turn into moronic, dribbling, wastes-of-space, when sex is paraded in from of them.

No respect for men.

Unfortunately, statistically, the greater victims of the real-life, playing-out-porn-culture scenarios, are women; hence the very serious pressure on men to pull back on the reins as their participation is too much.

But if a female – knowing how males have been conditioned to believe they can’t restrain themselves around the possibility of sex – is purposefully sticking and jiggling her revealing cleavage in a boy’s/man’s face (for example) or is dancing with moves including grinding and bending over in front of him (another example) etc. –  is she respecting him?

What do you think?

Deep Breath.

x

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12 Responses to “Question #156: How do women disrespect men? Ladies?”

  1. Regina said

    “But if a girl – knowing a boy’s nature – is purposefully sticking and jiggling her revealing cleavage in a boy’s face (for example), is she respecting him?”–I find a few things wrong with this statement. It is true: their is a mutual disrespect going on here. Notwithstanding: the main argument made by the people promoting porn culture as well as by the cultures who demand women cover up their whole bodies and sometimes even their face is the same stated here: “knowing a boy’s nature”. It is perpetuating the “helpless boy or man” who can not master their sexuality, but is mastered by it. Regardless of the pseudo science promoted that the “male gaze” and “helplessness in the face of female nudity of certain body parts” is biological, it is NOT. It is learned behavior and learned physiological responses. It would take some time to explain this further, but it can be done. Just saying…

    • questionsforwomen said

      I agree with the majority of what you’re saying, Regina.
      That’s why I worded the example the way I did because it wasn’t the exposed cleavage that I wanted to focus on, but the action.
      I’m not here to say women should be told what to wear (I’ve hoped that that’s been made clear in previous posts) but aren’t some girls/women acting in a way that’s hoping to get a particular sexual response from boys/men because it’s what they ‘like’?
      I’m not a man, so I can’t know exactly what it is they feel when confronted with what arouses them – but on the whole I think we agree there’s evidence that points to the fact they like sex…a lot!
      I agree wholeheartedly that this does not mean that all men are primitive goons with no self control. In fact, I have asked the good men many times whether it doesn’t anger them that that’s the way they’re being portrayed – isn’t that disrespect?
      “Who’ll run the world? – Girls!”
      How? By seducing men.
      I think there’s a dangerous lesson there for girls seeing men only in that way.
      And of COURSE, it goes without saying, that the boys/men are getting a FAR more distorted and disrespectful view of women in this current culture that must be addressed ASAP.
      This post is just questioning our contribution, however small.
      Thanks Regina for your comments. :)

    • Doug said

      When was Regina a man, I mean one born as a man? She has no business stating anything about how MEN feel. You aren’t one, so how do you know? Observation and what you are TOLD so don’t go around telling people how men feel on the subject of sex or their lack to control it. It’s because we’re wired they way we are (men and women) that we’re here at all. You ask us to change our very natures to a point we’re no longer men, just women with penises.

      • questionsforwomen said

        Thanks for your comment, Doug.
        I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be a man and said exactly that in my comment to Regina. I don’t know if it’s harder for men seeing hyper-sexualised women everywhere (in the media, shows, ads, t-shirts etc.) or not.
        I think this is a tricky time we’re in at the moment due to what we’re being ‘sold’ about each other. I’ve always discussed how badly women are being represented, but I also feel that men are being portrayed as mindless – one that is perpetuating this Porn Culture.
        I certainly don’t want men to change their natures (and neither should women for that matter) – that would create an equally problematic imbalance to everything – but things are spiralling out of control in this current Porn Culture and each gender needs to pull back on the reins a bit.
        Thanks again for stopping by. I think it’s important to get a male’s perspective. :)

  2. Virginie said

    Hello,
    I read all your posts and totally agree with you.
    As a mother of two boys, I’m pleased though to read something about the attitude of some girls and women towards boys and men.
    Well, I noticed several time girls seducing boys to obtain something they want, but also acting as boys “owe” them something.
    Boys must take care and help those fragile creatures, loading a heavy suitcase is an example, when a girl packs her bag , she must not assume that a boy will carry it, somebody might help her but it is with kindness, not because it has to be done. Girls must not act like ” little princesses” and ask for equality. Everything, as you said is in balance. The respect must be mutual, the help must be mutual.
    Last but not least, it is too bad a kind , sensitive, polite boy is not valued enough in our world. But I’m sure your blog will help change that , pointing out the dangers of stereotyped advertisments and Tv programs for our children/teenagers . Keep up the good work!
    V.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Thank you so much for those kind words!
      I do believe that it’s the consumption monster that’s deceiving our youth about who we really are – continuously labelling (another post I’m working on) and packaging us to make money.
      I still think that women and girls – in the big scheme of things; in this capitalist and greedy realm – are the worse off; here and around the world, but I think it’s incorrect to assume, in this paradigm, they don’t contribute in any way.
      Thanks Virginie :D

  3. Collett Smart said

    Thank you for being brave enough to allow this debate on your page! It is something I don’t think that we consider often at all. Our young boys need respect and honour as much as their sisters do!

    • questionsforwomen said

      You have no idea what your words mean to me. Thank you, Collett. xxx
      And really, it’s thanks to you. It was your comment that got me finding a way to articulate something I always found hard to express.
      It was a hard one to write because I don’t want to appear like I’m not 100% behind a better life-experience for women all over the world, but we have to admit and face the actions of women, that are helping the tilt in our equilibrium get worse.
      I’m so hoping for more commentary from ‘out there’. I agree, this needs more dialogue. :) :D

  4. Mechelen D'Souza said

    As i was reading through this post all i could think about was my frikken dance party costume!! I’ve spent hours trying to look for something girly but not “sexy” as every girl costume is named. Staying true to myself i decided to search for two characters from my favourite childhood movie , toy story. After searching high and low i cant find any girl versions of woody or buzz. Im not playing the blame game because everyone has a choice, but i believe the reason why girls look so extremely tarty at dress up parties these days is because its easier to find costumes that arent creative and grabs the attention of boys than actually dressing up as a character. Its sad to see that men and children can have normal cute costumes and girls always have to be “sexy” its not fair and it pisses me off. But, i havent given up, im going as buzz even if i have to cover myself from head to toe! By the way, you’re writing some awesome stuff! Keep it up :) xx

    • questionsforwomen said

      I HEAR YOU!!
      When Lourdes turned 6 she wanted a Superhero party as she wanted to go as Spiderman. Well, she did…but only after we visited the boys’ section because the ONLY thing on offer in the girls’ section were princesses and fairies. That’s it. Everywhere.
      I’ve also noticed that, as an adult, when you look for costumes, it’s sexy nurse, sexy cleaner (???) sexy WHATEVER! Again, every single costume choice was so limiting when I’m the one who wants to go as a pirate!
      I know it’s easier to find costumes like that. So sad.
      You stay true to yourself, darlin! I LOVE that you’re going as Buzz. And I tell you what – there ain’t NOTHING sexy about the 70s dress I found for the dance party!! Hilarious!
      PS Thank you so much for the compliment. The blog’s a little slow, but comments like yours lift my soul.
      xxx

  5. Regina said

    I still maintain the fact that sexual behavior (while it is no doubt based on biological instinct) is also learned. It is not an instinct that is in need of a visual stimuli, an idea perpetuated by society. A blind man can make love to a woman, even if blind from birth. I have been told that they are actually wonderful lovers. It is a complicated subject, no doubt. For example, if a woman was to walk through a village of some tribe in Africa or South America (where women go topless every day and never cover their chest, or sometimes any part of their body) she would not be considered an object for” arousal or seduction” for doing so. Growing up in Europe I experienced as a child being at nude beaches, The attitudes of men and women seemed much healthier to me then if you go to a beach at Miami or so these days. To me it is more about seeing the human body as something honorable and sacred. Nudity is not pornography, instead the objectification and distorted views of the human body is. And yes, I believe boys and even men can grow up to master their sex drive in a healthy way versus letting it master them. Of course women have a responsibility too. Yet when it comes to young women growing up in this culture where there are learning that to be desirable and receive the attention which (most) young people desire: they need to use, constantly improve on and master their “sex appeal”, at least according to the images and attitudes they are bombarded with on TV, in magazines and just about everywhere they look. We do live in a “rape culture” where often times the question is : what was she wearing?, why was she even at this party drinking?, was she flirting? etc Those things don’t cause rape, rapists cause rape. The pressure on girls is devastating these days and many of those girls just think it is “normal” to be objectified, the only way to get attention and they loose self respect along the way. Research has shown that girls who behave “seductively” as described in “the initial” question above, have extremely low self esteem (even though their actions may appear to signal the opposite) . They are told the lie that being seductive towards men is “empowering”. They don’t think they are “disrespecting men” (that’s for women and girls in the middle east and so to be told) , they think they are “giving them what they want” I think we all need to take a step back and take responsibility for our own thoughts and actions and how we might contribute to this “Porn culture”. Even if we don’t participate, we need to reevaluate and speak up to protect our vulnerable boys and girls who are learning to respond to those lies. Fortunately more and more men are waking up are standing up to sexism, countering hyper-sexualization and reevaluating their attitudes towards women and girls. This is a good video to watch, at the end she shares how we all can make a difference: http://collectiveshout.org/2013/01/watch-sexual-objectification-explained/

    • questionsforwomen said

      Wow, Regina. Spot on. That was so well articulated.
      I think it’s exactly right that our young boys and girls are so very vulnerable and that we need to educate, educate, educate – and be a force combatting the waves of porn culture inundating this pop culture – aka Porn Culture – aka Rape Culture.
      Thanks so much for that. Awesome. x

      PS I’m friends with a few of the Collective Shout women – an amazing group. :)

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