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.
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.