I don't like to get into political debates with friends, family, listeners, or readers. Usually nothing good comes of it. But if I may weigh in on this...
It has nothing to do with candidates or who I'm voting for or who you're choosing in a few weeks. It has to do with a headline that I read about locker room talk, saying something to the effect of:
"Guys Will Be Guys. Live With It."
I've worked in a predominantly male dominated field for all of my adult life. I don't know the exact numbers but there are a lot more men on the radio than ladies. I've spent a lot of time closed up in a closet sized studio with lots of men. So yes, I've heard guys talk. A lot of guy-talk. Unfiltered. Vulgar. Raw. Macho man. Lady loving. Caveman grunting. Who has the bigger truck, paycheck, or genitalia....Male-speak.
What I've never EVER heard any male colleague of mine say, however, was that they would go grope or force themselves on unsuspecting women whenever they felt like it. Never.
In fact, all these different "men" that I have known over my years in the radio biz- these men with bikini clad calendars on their walls and tons of adoring female fans- would be the first ones to call another dude out on that sleazy behavior.
There's a difference between being a manly man who loves the female body and a creep.
I perfectly know it can go both ways.
When professional wrestler Ryback visited our studio last year, I politely asked if I could give his rock hard arm a squeeze. I said it jokingly, as I've many times admired the likes of the male bicep. It's my favorite. That's not a hidden fact. I've said it into a live mic, full well knowing that thousands of people would hear my true inner thoughts. I love a man's arm.
So I asked him if I may have the honor of a little squeeze. Not his butt, nothing below the belt, just one arm. Yet, I asked.
He obliged. Then just for fun, WITH HIS VERBAL CONSENT, I gave it a little smush (which didn't smush at all).
My own doctor even asks before coming near my lady bits. And hell, I'm paying her to reach in there.
So no. I don't think it's ever ok to think so highly of yourself that you feel entitled to go around grabbing and groping people's body parts. For one, it's rude. Who do you think you are? Two, it's illegal. There's a name for it: sexual assault.
Admiring another beautiful being is one thing but keep your hands to yourself unless you're invited to touch. There's a big difference between admiration and total disrespect. There are boundaries. Your wants and urges don't trump (pardon the term) someone else's rights. So why would you brag about doing that?
Maybe you do. Or maybe you think there is nothing wrong with this type of narcissistic mentality. If that's the case, please stop. You're better than that. We're better than that. Or maybe we aren't. Not yet. But we can be. Society NEEDS to be.
It's going to take standing up and saying, "That's not ok." At first, you might be standing alone. But I have nieces and nephews and best friends with young sons and daughters, and they're watching and they're listening. I know some of them are reading this, too. They're learning from what we're teaching them. We've got to teach them to be better.
To be respectful.
To be kind.
To be responsible for their actions.
To be "man enough" to take a stand against things that are outright wrong.
To know that the things they do or say (while they can speak freely), have consequences.
To know how they treat people is a direct reflection of themselves.
It's called character.
It's not just "talk". Locker room talk or otherwise. It's character. We build it ourselves. And that is what we live with.