We are lucky to live in a society where the objectification of women is not only frowned upon, but quite simply considered unacceptable. So, if we are absolutely-not-going-to-enter-into-discussion-about-the objectification of women, why on earth is it okay for women to objectify men?
I recently attended a ‘Ladies Night’ fundraiser, where about halfway through the night, a young girl wandered around the tables, asking if people wanted to donate money so the male entertainer would take his shirt off. I said no, and was promptly scoffed at. But, seriously, no, I had no interest in seeing him take his shirt off and I’m sure he probably didn’t want to be squealed at by hundreds of drunk women who were at least ten to fifteen years older than him… at least. But, money was raised and the shirt came off, and yes, there was screaming.
The only saving grace with that example was that it was a private function and the audience was limited… Not the case with last weekend’s Telethon. When is Channel 7 going to realise it is tacky, not funny, to dare guys to take their shirts off on national television? It’s not just the act of the shirt coming off, it’s the way they go about it, and it’s the audience that bothers me. Men and women alike on the panel, senior news presenters who quite frankly should know better, encouraging the audience of mainly teenage girls and their parents to scream and holler for the men to get their kit off. Why are we encouraging such behaviour, especially on a show that is intended to raise money for the kids, and therefore has a lot of kids watching? What values are we instilling in these children? It all seems so backward to me and it certainly doesn’t add anything to the telecast of what is otherwise a fantastic display of a community coming together as one.
The whole mindset and ensuing activity is so hypocritical, and I think this is what is frustrating me the most. Women have fought for equality for decades, why are we now encouraging the exact behaviours we have been trying so hard to eradicate? The behaviours we (rightly) consider to be belittling to females… why are we seeing more and more that whatever is good for the goose is not so for the gander? More often than not when out for a few drinks, you’ll see a woman grab the backside of the male waiter assigned to her table. It’s more commonplace for women to ogle the guys walking past them at the bar. It’s more of a regular occurrence to hear crude remarks coming from the squawky voice of a chardonnayed woman, than that of a man. If a man did any of these things, they’d likely be ejected from the premise and there would be an all mighty uproar at his disgusting and demeaning behaviour. But when it’s a woman inflicting the degrading acts, it’s considered funny.
Objectifying others is not something that is cool, it is not something we should be encouraging our children to do – and we all know they see more than we think they do. So it got me thinking, what example are we showing them? Is it okay to behave this way, and to be treated this way in return? We always teach children that they should treat others the way they would want to be treated. Or am I making assumptions about what adults teach their own children? Personally I think we are opening a massive Pandora’s Box by going down this path… Just ask all the women in the generations before us what it was like for them growing up. Let’s not be the reason this all happens again.