Monday, 11 July 2011
I follow a blog that has recently been swept up in a furor over some sexist comments. Basically, a female speaker at a conference was in a lift on her way back to a hotel room when she was propositioned by a male. She politely said no, and went on her way. Next day she went online and gently asked guys not to behave this way. So far, so reasonable? Well apparently not, as a positive dust storm has blown up concerning how we sexualize women and by so doing demean them. Now I freely admit to being torn on this issue; on the one hand I recognize that nobody has the right to proposition somebody in such a clumsy, overt manner. For what it's worth, I'm too much of a coward anyway, but that's not the point. The point, so far as I can tell, is how we strike a balance between harmless interaction and behavior that steps over the edge? Now as a person with about as much social tact as a dog with a cushion I am not the font of all wisdom here, but it seems to me that the majority of relationships find their own level? We interact differently with some people than we do with others. I've some friends where double entendres lace every conversation, whilst with others I make a conscious choice to respect their boundaries and reign my natural mischievousness in. This appears to work fairly reliably, so I'm inclined to conclude that behavior needs to be modulated until any given interaction finds it's feet. Now I adore women. I am obsessed, fixated, in thrall of you. I always have and I always will be, and you can take that as a compliment. I am attracted to most women in either one way or another, which is to say that I can always find qualities to admire. Note that this doesn't mean that I am objectifying you, just that I love the gender differences and enjoy spending time with you. Growing up with two older sisters probably removed some of the mystery and I've alway felt comfortable in your company, which is something I'm quite proud of. To be sure, I've said my share of clumsy and risqué things down the years, but anybody who knows me has long since figured this is just part and parcel of my slightly deranged personality. I'm predictably unpredictable, and if this is a problem for you then nobody is under any obligation to spend time around me. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. To conclude, there's a good chance that there will always be a certain dynamic when male and female interact. This to me seems normal. Trick is, know where the boundary is, respect the other person and their persona, and be mindful that we all come to the party with different baggage and pre conceived ideas. If a women has been the constant subject of harassment I don't blame her for being sensitive on the matter, no more than I blame a man who has been wounded at the hands of an ex-partner. This isn't a one size fits all world, so be a little self aware.