To the blogosphere:
Great column, Dan, as usual. I definitely am going to forward this to my guys, and blog about it and share it. It really, really, really needs to be said.
However, I do see one glaring omission. You have concentrated on many things under the umbrella of 'media', but I think television needs a big section of its own. Every day people allow into their homes shows like 2 & 1/2 Men, Big Bang Theory, According to Jim, and countless others. The tradition is carried back to the inception of TV, with George Burns & Gracie Allen, I Love Lucy and All in the Family.
Both men and women watch and laugh at these shows which scream WOMEN ARE INADEQUATE. In 2&1/2 Men, the two female characters are 1) a *****y ex-wife and 2) a obsessed stalker. Both of these are grotesques at which the audience laughs hysterically because they 'identify' with them. The closest to real they get is the biker housekeeper, but even she is a caricature with very little depth.
In Big Bang Theory, the only permanent woman character is a buxom beauty always scantily or tightly clad over whom the other four male characters constantly drool. Her job is to walk on stage, say something witty, get the guys going, and then leave so they can make lewd comments or jokes about her. Can you see that character actually appearing in an entire episode in loose comfy sweats and her hair in a ponytail? Let's get real!
TV is so insidious because too often it dictates acceptable societal norms, and these sitcoms and those like it preach that it's really cool to mock women---just about as cool as it is to lust after the fake stuff. And, worst of all, it teaches *women* that this is the sum total of their worth or their lack of it. We need to stop piping this sewage into our homes wholesale. We need to stop blithely exposing our children to it and indoctrinating them from birth.
Don't even get me started on Glee.
Oh, and, thanks for my word of the day. I'm not certain I can even pronounce pulchritude, but it's an absolute keeper.
To my family:
Okay. I'm going to go out on a limb here and speak up because this really hits home with me, especially the last comment on the first page and the replies to it.
Dan's blog today talks about the way men send messages to women. It has been said time and again and far more profoundly by our apostles and prophets, but it can never be said enough. Read it. Be honest with yourselves and own up that you do it.
I know the post is about ogling women, but the principle is the same when it comes to mocking them. Admit that you make jokes about the women in your lives and their perceived inadequacies, whether physical or otherwise, and open your eyes to the harm it does to them. I am going to stick out my neck and say, I truly, truly, truly hate it. To be mocked by a perfect stranger is nothing. To be be made the brunt of jokes by people one loves and respects is crushing, especially when it regards something you have really put yourself into. To actually work up the courage to ask them to stop and then be completely ignored is devastating.
I don't care how hilarious or absurd something seems. I don't care how clever are the pithy remarks or how much people laugh at them. The person mocked will probably laugh to make a good show of it, but the barb sticks and worms its way under their skin. The fact that that person trusts and loves those laughing makes the burn that much deeper. Let's try offering up sincere spontaneous praise to the women in our lives---to the people in our lives, especially those we love and cherish. I know we don't want our loved ones skulking around us like an abused dog trying to avoid another beating, but how can those people believe we do love and cherish them if they feel they are treated as such?
I know it's 'our way', but it is not all harmless fun. Perhaps we could take a little detour from the beaten path for a while and see how that suits.
Guys, build up the women in your lives, especially your daughters. Keep them on the pedestal where they belong. There will be influences enough to knock them off it. You be the one to restore them and teach them how they should expect to be treated. What you say and how you treat them does stick, especially in your daughters. So many of the comments on Dan's post today repeat time and again how their fathers were the ones who planted the seeds of self-worthlessness in them. When little girls grow up with their father's disapproval ingrained in them, (even in jest) no amount of husbandly support will ever completely obliterate it---if they're fortunate enough to find such a husband, rather than be drawn to more of the same.
Just my two cents. I guess this post really probed a tender spot. Or, perhaps this is just a really good opportunity to voice some things that have been on my mind of late.
Please share. Please speak out. Please be an instrument of change. You might be surprised at how large your sphere of influence may be.