Witnessing Objectification

Photo by rockinfree via flickr

Not directly harassment but objectification.

I’m a single guy and I was at the AYD Date Auction last week to benefit the Arlington Food Bank.

Two gentlemen standing near me were conversing when I overhear #1 say to #2 “Well I’m not the one lying about where I am tonight.” #2 pulls out phone and begins texting.

One of the auctionees comes over to introduce herself. She describes what her “date” will entail and tells me, #1, and #2 about herself.

As she walks away #1 motions to #2 the breasts-hips-waist curves gesture.

#2 says “I wouldn’t know what to do with one that tall,” as he gestures as if he were honking her breasts.

Disgusted by the display of misogyny by alleged “young democrats” and now completely turned off to the idea of bidding on these women (seemed more like pimping for charity at that point) I finished my beer and left.

I probably should have said something to them directly but I doubt they would have understood.

There’s got to be a better way to raise money for worthy charities.

Submitted by anonymous on 3/15/2009

Location: Clarendon Grill

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6 Responses

  1. Golden Silence
    | Reply

    Thank you for your piece. Even though there are jerks floating around like #1 and #2, there are at least guys like you who do respect women.

  2. jeanne
    | Reply

    Yeah, they might not have understood, but it would have helped if you’d spoken up and, as another guy, set them straight about not objectifying women.

    They’re clueless, all right, but if their fellow Dudes don’t speak up and challenge their Neanderthal-ish thinking, they’re going to REMAIN clueless.

    Nice missed opportunity there, O Ally (?) of Women…

    • HollaBack DC!
      | Reply

      agree that this was a missed opportunity, but at the same time, he gave the reason why he didn’t feel comfortable engaging at that moment.

      although we know many people come to this blog with a lot of passion, this blog is designed to be a safe place (which is why we moderate comments). it is not a place to attack/belittle the person who submits an experience. we deem this person as an ally towards ending prejudice and addressing the power imbalance, like all the other folks that submit an experience.

      thanks, and keep the chatting going!

  3. Golden Silence
    | Reply

    Yeah, they might not have understood, but it would have helped if you’d spoken up and, as another guy, set them straight about not objectifying women.

    They’re clueless, all right, but if their fellow Dudes don’t speak up and challenge their Neanderthal-ish thinking, they’re going to REMAIN clueless.

    Nice missed opportunity there, O Ally (?) of Women…

    True, but this seems to be in line with a woman not speaking up against her harasser, and people jumping on her telling her “You should’ve did this” or “You should’ve did that.” Maybe that guy was too nervous to speak up, like a woman can be too nervous to stand up to a harasser.

    That said, I’m not going to jump on him for not speaking up. Maybe he will find the courage to speak up next time (if there is one).

    • jeanne
      | Reply

      Not the same thing AT ALL. This guy wasn’t the person being harassed – he’s a member of the club that DOES THE HARASSING.

      It’s old news that men who pull this shit won’t listen to women who object to it. But if their fellow men start speaking up against harassment of women, and MAKE IT AN UNCOOL, UNCIVILIZED THING TO DO, then perhaps peer pressure from within the group will start to make a difference.

      This guy wasn’t “nervous”. He just thought the guys involved wouldn’t understand. As in, “If they don’t get my point, I shouldn’t bother to explain how wrong their behavior is.” That kind of thinking won’t help women at all. Hence, my point that he missed a prime opportunity to actually BE the ally he claims.

      • hollabackdc
        | Reply

        Good points, but allies come in different shapes and forms. Yes, we should challenge each other and our privilege/assumptions in whatever setting we feel comfortable in. People have to make choices for their own safety, time, and energy.

        In the same vein, we know several women and LGBTQ individuals who don’t engage their harassers every day. And many more allies/bystanders who don’t either. Regardless, we don’t think less of those individuals by questioning their label of “ally,” which leads to more alienation and less engagement.

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