I got this message from a dude on an online dating site: hey sexy one got a big booty
After the punctuation captain inside me did a few head rolls, here’s what this message stirred up in me:
At some point (likely more than once), this guy learned that this way of thinking about and speaking to women works. He saw other guys do it with success, or he just fumbled around on his own and voila, a lady turned her head and actually responded. This way of relating to women was affirmed and proven effective, which is why he keeps doing it.
And that, we can do something about.
Yes, I was very tempted to spend a significant amount of time calling him an objectifying douche face (among 14 other things), but instead, I’d rather explore questions like this:
When was the last time a guy in my family or circle of friends and colleagues said something that I “let him get away with”?
Did I tell myself it wasn’t my business, or my place to challenge him?
Was I afraid he’d turn things around and label me ‘over-sensitive’ or say I can’t take a joke?
Even if we never directly experience sexual assault or harassment, we are all swimming in the same waters, so ignoring that teenager’s “joke” or overlooking your co-worker’s comments about a celebrity’s weight or worse, your weight – these apparent non-actions are, in fact, active.
Every time I don’t speak up about the things happening in my community and circle of friends, I am helping archaic definitions of masculinity and femininity thrive.
We have a responsibility to one another.
The bar doesn’t get raised by some invisible contraption. WE are the bar-raisers. We raise expectations and teach our sons and brothers and lovers how to honor us. We create our standards, and teach our daughters and sisters that they are worthy of their own. And there are ways men teach us, too. We’re all always learning and growing.
It’s so easy to label someone as ignorant and write them off. It’s harder (and the work of true transformation) to look at our own history and behaviors and the ways in which we ever-so-subtly have made certain ideals and actions okay, simply by being silent about them.
We are always making a contribution. Is our contribution raising the bar or keeping it where it is?
Say how you feel. Question someone’s ‘joke’. Point out the hypocrisy, the sexism, the ageism. This is how the bar gets raised. One honest, loving (likely uncomfortable) conversation at a time.
Nobody said this soul centered life would be only puppies and caramel. Some days it requires a deep breath and ovaries the size of watermelons (figuratively, not literally – ouch).
Melons and courage to us all, lovelies. #melonsandcourage