Those conversations matter

So, you may or may not have seen that 4 Melbourne University students found themselves embarrassed recently when one of them accidentally added a female acquaintance to a group chat on Facebook the four of them were having.  You see, the chat was about the female that was added (who therefore saw the content of the chat, including the history, even though she was swiftly removed when her presence was noted) and the theme of the chat was basically how attractive she was. 

Doesn’t sound too embarrassing, at first. Except when you read the language and terminology these “men” were using to express their “admiration” of her >> this is where I vomit in my mouth a bit <<

One of them shared a photo in the chat, taken from her personal fb page, of her sitting on a bed in a white dress taking a selfie. 

“She’s a very attractive girl,” says one of them, only his chosen expression of that sentiment is “I’d throw her on that bed.”

Then another chimes in with, “Bring her to Thailand. We need a bike.” Cue guffaws of male laughter. 

Finally, a love struck romeo asks for some advice on how best to approach this girl, who two of the participants have never even met, and is given the advice “Show her where you piss from. Works 9/10 times.”

…….

You know, I actually believe these guys when they say that they were just having a harmless conversation, that they think they respect women, they were having ‘a joke’. They don’t sound like woman-haters or scum of the earth. 

They sound like a lot of men. And how devastating is that. 

This is a real, terrible example of the culture of blind eyes we seem to have going on when it comes to the disgusting way women are viewed by some men. 

I had a conversation with my husband recently about how, though I believed he would never speak about women in disrespectful, abhorrent ways, I was certain he had been present during those types of conversations and not spoken up against that type of talk. Not said to his peers, “Hey mate, tone it down. No need to say xxx/talk like that.  It’s pretty shit form to talk about her that way.” And he admitted it. It’s ‘not what blokes do’, to speak up for absent women. “It’s just talk.”

“But,” I reminded him, “That girl they are speaking of so horribly…that girl might be your wife – your mother. She could be your sister. She could be your daughter. Wouldn’t you want someone to eat up for her?” And the reality is, the way we are going, it’s inevitable that my tiny, innocent, beautiful girl will one day be the victim of this vile type of men. So, what can we do?

It’s no use me, a woman, piping up during one of those conversations and reprimanding the offenders. Firstly, I’m unlikely to hear it and secondly, I’m just a woman, after all! It’s pretty obvious those guys don’t value feminine opinions too highly so anything I said would at best be ignored and at worst make me their next victim. Nope. I think the only hope we have for exterminating this deep seated view held by some men, that it’s OK to speak about women with a total lack of decency or respect ‘as long as you don’t know them’, is for the good, decent men in our lives to speak up for us.

Maybe – just maybe – if enough decent men stand up and show that they don’t think it’s ok to label women as sluts, whores, bikes they can all ride, pussy they can grab – even just in ‘casual conversation’ – maybe those asshats will rethink. Stop. Keep their comments to themselves. Even – and this is a massive stretch, I know it – reassess their own morals and values and realise their behaviour is wrong. 

If enough of their peers disagree with their behaviour, the behaviour will start to disappear. It won’t happen quickly but it could happen. Guys who speak so poorly of women are usually ones with fragile egos and the opinion of their peers matters a lot to them. Let’s use that against them and turn the tide.

This isn’t about man vs woman. This isn’t a man hating stance. 

This is about good person vs bad person. It’s an asshole-hating stance. So girls, talk to your decent men and get them on board. Guys, next time you hear an asshole conversation – imagine the girl they’re talking about is a woman you value and speak up for her. Cause I guarantee, some other place, with some other group of assholes, she is the girl they’re talking about, and it needs to stop.

Now.

#speakupforher 

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