Does a Good Guy Engage in Locker Room Talk?

locker room talk

Does a good guy engage in locker room talk?

After Kristen and I listened to the already infamous recording of Trump and Billy Bush (objectifying Nancy O’Dell, perhaps even admitting sexual assault), she turned to me and asked, “Have you ever been in a conversation like that?”

“No!” I responded, repulsed. “Absolutely not!”

Then an inner nudge reminded me of my athletic days and nights at bars and clubs with buddies. I’ve read some guys say they’ve never overheard talk like this (and note: if you’ve overheard a guy admitting sexual assault, report it!). But, many of us have heard guys talking disrespectfully of women. If you can’t admit that, you’re part of the problem.

“Locker room talk” is slang and synonymous with disrespect, especially in reference to women. For many, it’s just joking around. By definition, locker room talk is “the crude, vulgar, offensive and often sexual trade of comments guys pass to each other, usually in high school locker rooms. Exists solely for the purpose of male comedy and is not meant to be taken seriously.”

Locker room talk is more common than people think. Why? Because many guys have been in a group of friends with no accountability. Mocking and sexual conquests are viewed as masculine ideals, while authenticity and humility are nowhere to be found.

We were driving to Colorado circa 2005; a group of guys in a van heading to the slopes. One of our friends was hanging out with a slightly overweight girl. He was talking to her on the phone and hung up.

Cue locker room talk.

We started heckling him, saying he liked big girls. The roast was on. The taunting and laughing reached a crescendo, until he looked down and noticed the phone never hung up. She heard every word. Silence. Muffled crying.

Our jokes cut her deep. She was devastated. I felt sick to my stomach. I was disappointed by the fact I believed it was somehow ok to laugh along with crude humor as long as she didn’t hear it.

Demeaning women isn’t funny

…even when joking. When the light of truth finally shines in the corner, it’s ugly and embarrassing…as my group of friends discovered on that trip.

I thought of “Be Her Advocate” from 10 Ways to Win a Girl’s Heart.

Chapter 7 starts with a quote from author Michael Hyatt,

…I am convinced that praising your spouse in public is one of the most important investments you can make–in your family and your leadership.”

Why? What you say about your spouse reflects on you. When you dishonor your girlfriend, wife, or other women, you dishonor yourself.

dishonor your girlfriend, dishonor yourself

If you want to honor your spouse or future wife, how do you honor women around you now?

How often do you praise female friends, teammates, or coworkers? Do you say nice things or do a majority of your conversations belittle them?

What’s hidden will always come out

…even if you’re not being recorded.

Objectifying women doesn’t remain behind closed doors because it reflects in your actions and words.

Women deserve respect. But, in our attempts to establish our manliness among peers, do we acknowledge it?

Degrading women is inherently wrong.

Why wasn’t America equally horrified by Comedy Central’s roast of Ann Coulter? Because she’s mean, right? She deserved it. We justify misogyny on many levels. It’s ok if it’s hidden in a joke. Donald’s words seem to pale in contrast to a woman being told to “kill yourself” to her face.

The point of Trump’s locker room talk outrage should not be just to condemn him, but to look in the mirror and ask, “Am I guilty, too?”

Where does locker room talk begin?

It starts in the junior high locker room. Messing around with girls, bragging about conquests…this is what the popular kids do. To boast you’ve been further than other boys equates to a step closer to manhood.

I’m no longer a boy, I’m a man!

Boy mentality stays in the subconscious.

What I heard on Trump’s audio was a man screaming, “I am a man! Acknowledge me!” and another man laughing because he needed validation. I’ll absolutely condemn Trump’s words, but I need to remove the plank from my eye before I judge him.

How do I, as a representative of good guys, value women?

Should I remain silent during locker room talk, walk away, or stand up and say something? Should I condemn songs on the radio with equally (possibly worse) demeaning words, turn off the TV or walk out of movies during vulgar moments (even in a comedy)? Should I shut down the computer when I run across something inappropriate?

We live in a double standard world. When do we take a stand? How many men will stand up against porn? As a guy, it’s confusing. Some of the same people who judge Donald, support pornography. What if we all stepped up to accountability?

Good guys have to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

What if we only talked honorably about women?

Who do you spend time with? You will ultimately resemble your friend group. Do your friends engage in locker room talk? Or, do you walk with men who encourage each other and build others up?

I also wonder, “Am I the type of man that inspires respect and honor?” Would someone be compelled to engage in locker room talk with me? Or, does my demeanor stir reverence?

A good guy doesn’t need to engage in locker room talk. He doesn’t need to impress others. But, does he need to speak out and point fingers at others? Does he condemn those standing by their lockers?

Perhaps, after some thought. Maybe after washing his hands and looking at himself in the mirror.

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17 Responses to Does a Good Guy Engage in Locker Room Talk?

  1. Pepe October 9, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

    How would you feel if someone said you have absolutely no authority to be writing on Christian issues because you paled around and engaged in fat-shaming locker room talk? In fact, because you did, you should shut down this website and find a new profession.

    • Kris Wolfe October 9, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

      Did you read the article all the way through?

    • Ty October 9, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

      What? If the standard is that only those who have never done wrong may write about Christian issues, we would have an awfully hard time finding something to read.
      Consider Saul, later Paul, who was one of the most ruthless persecutors of early Christians. He ended up authoring a third of the new testament. Did he have any authority to write on Christian issues because of his past?
      I’m not sure that’s how this works.

  2. Juulesy October 10, 2016 at 12:08 am #

    This is a bit tough one for me. I believe I am fundamentally a good guy. I certainly don’t need to impress friends at the expense of a woman’s honour but surely not all locker room banter that fits within the definition above can be considered dishonorable?! For instance when talking about this one girl I’d say how I’d love to spank that bitch! The term ‘bitch’ used actually quite affectionately and the act of spanking is not used in a violent context and we’d have a laugh and leave it at that. This sort of banter is fun and I wouldn’t want to give it up unless of course I’m mistaking this for a different type of ‘dishonourable’ banter? Usually I wouldn’t give a toss about the sort of stuff that has come out of the Trump recordings but that guy just stinks on so many levels I can’t imagine that particular one was just harmless banter.

    • Kris Wolfe October 10, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

      You bring up a point worth discussing. Nowadays, it seems like you should always act as if you’re being recorded…the possibility isn’t far off. I don’t know. Overall, it’s a good thing to filter what you say. My goal definitely is not to increase a sense of shame on guy talk, but to reinforce a habit of speaking honorably about others.

    • Tim November 13, 2020 at 9:39 pm #

      Its because you are always being recorded, before even thinking about who you’re hurting here on earth think about how your relationship with God is suffering, if calling your brother stupid is as bad as murder in the bible then so is locker room talk when being demeaning about someone

      I am just saying that if you have owe nothing to no one and what you always base yourself on is your values then knock your self out because we’re easily influenced and our values changes and loosen with time but God never changes, just know where you stand

  3. Yehuda October 13, 2016 at 4:28 am #

    In the Judeo-Christian calendar, Yom Kippur(Day of Atonement) was observed, yesterday. YESHUA BEN YOSEF/JESUS (Jewish) and Shaul/Saul/Paul (Jewish) observed this high holidays. After the death of YESHUA HA NOTZRI, Shaul/Saul/Paul and his immediate followers continued to observe Yom Kippur, because he was a Pharisios(Greek for Pharisee) and his immediate followers were Jewish! I make the aforementioned statement, because many Goyim (Gentiles) believe Torah/Pentatuach and Tanakh (Old Testament) has very little application to followers of YESHUA BEN YOSEF.

    Yom Kippur is day where one repents and seeks forgiveness, for pass transgressions. It is also believed that the actions of this day determine the level of prosperity of the coming Judeo-Christian calendar year. Gossip and course words must not be tolerated; yet, no one is perfect. This is why we seek atonement or repentance.
    In addition, the Rabbinic Sages of the Oral Transmission (Talmud) considered ruining the reputation and dignity of a human analogous to murder, because once a human being’s dignity and reputation are ruined, it is very difficult to impossible for that person to regain dignity and a good reputation. It becomes more challenging for a person whose dignity and reputation has been ruined, to earn a living and create a prosperous life.

    If we are stating we the creations of the G-D of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, we should not engage in “locker room’ vocabulary. We must forgive those who direct their locker room vocabulary towards us. Furthermore, we are required to attempt to restore the dignity and reputation of any human being who has transgressed us. For example, I am guilty of using profanity and coarse language, when speaking of others, from which I must repent and seek forgiveness. I have had profanity and course language directed towards me, from which I must repent; seek forgiveness, and repent.

    I hope I am making my position clear.

    • Kris Wolfe October 19, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

      Thank you for your insight and information. I agree that we should seek forgiveness and repent as well!

  4. VitaBrevis October 20, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    Shows like ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Girls’ are the female locker room brought into the living room on a weekly (if not nightly thanks to reruns) basis. I own a beauty parlour which I used to stand-in on reception for when our receptionist was on holiday or sick, and once the women got used to me i.e. forgot I was there, the stuff they said, from all ages of customer during their treatments, was frankly shocking to me to hear as a guy – and I don’t consider myself naive.

    In my teens there was a lot of locker room talk about women, from teenage boys with no experience of the opposite sex, trying to sound otherwise. It’s part of growing up.

    It’s one thing as a kid, but as an adult you’re going to come off a bit immature if you’re still at it. Trump sounded like an idiot trying to impress a younger man with his braggadocio. But to this day friends will still express an ‘opinion’ on woman’s looks and if they’d date her – as women do with men.

    This is a two-way street, locker room talk, and women are very bit as “guilty” if we’re looking to dish out shame and reprimands.I’m all for a better world, but if you’re going to give women a pass on their bad behaviour, and pretend like it’s all just a male problem, then we’re never going to get there.

    • Kris Wolfe March 31, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

      In agreement, Vita! If we create a culture of honor and respect, it demands everyone treat and talk about others with the same integrity.

    • scarol April 5, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

      No,the majority of women do not talk about men (sexually) with the same level of disrespect. They may be guilty of gossip and other nasty things, definitely, but not banter about “what they’d do” to said man. At most, women will say “I’d go home with him”.

  5. Jennifer Rene Owens November 20, 2016 at 1:06 am #

    Thanks. I just think this is awesome. Women need male advocates, too.

  6. honorWhenNoOneIsLooking March 27, 2017 at 11:47 pm #

    The people in the comments making excuses are despicable and part of the problem. I don’t talk about men as if they’re sexual objects. I even scold myself for thinking lustfully about men. And I’m not in a romantic relationship with anyone. The fact is that humans have very little character and most are narcissistic. Also any guy who refers to himself as a good guy is almost certainly an a-hole like the guy in the earlier comments talking about wanting to “spank that bitch”. Like really, that’s disgusting.

    • Kris Wolfe March 31, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

      Some comments slip past me here and there, but I deleted some of those inappropriate ones. A good guy talks about everyone with honor and integrity. That’s the measure of one.

  7. Sarah December 24, 2019 at 3:07 am #

    I really appreciate this post. I’ve struggled for most of my life with feeling more insecure around most guys, and it’s always been a mystery to me as to why that is. But I’ve been trying to figure this out for awhile now because I know there are some great guys out there and I don’t want to miss out on being friends with people because of my own insecurities. Anyways, through the process I’ve realized that a lot of it stems from growing up hearing so much locker talk from guys. I’ve come to realize that hearing some of the things said that some guys might consider “funny” or “just joking around” has affected the way that I’ve viewed myself, though I never wanted to admit it. Ultimately, just wanted to say that I really appreciate this post, and it is a good reminder to both guys and girls (since it definitely goes both ways) to always be treating one another with value and respect!


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