13 May 2015

Women: Are we just naive optimists?

So you all know that I work with a whole bunch of men.

I feel like a lot of the men I know (from outside of the office) would be completely scandalized if they heard how the men at my office talk... to each other, to me, about their wives, about women they hardly know.

Today, two of my teammates had a conversation (which I was obviously listening to as we had just had a conversation about a different topic) that sounded like this:
Guy 1: Oh yeah, ______ (girl's name)... I wonder what she's doing now?
Me: She's a manager in another department.
Guy 1: Oh my gosh what if she became our manager...
Guy 2: Yeah that'd be crazy.
Me: Why? Half of the population is women, you know.
Guy 1: Because she's so hot, that would be awesome.
Guy 2: I don't see what the big deal is, but you would never get any work done.
Guy 1: Yeah so true.... I'd be staring at her ass all the time.
Me: What would your wives think about this conversation?
Guy 2: Oh they don't like it... they know.
Guy 1: Yeah... our wives get mad when we say stuff about women.
Guy 2: Yeah, it's like they actually believe there are men out there who don't do that.
Me: I mean....
Guy 2: See! You're a woman, of course you probably believe that too, but let me tell you.. EVERY guy thinks about this stuff and talks like this.
Guy 1: Yeah our wives are just like you, but let me tell you, I've NEVER met a guy who doesn't.

Relatively speaking, this was a pretty tame, PG Rated conversation compared to the other things I've heard. I don't want to be spoken to or about that way, and I would be even more upset if I heard anyone talking that way about my friends. Why is a woman's body so much more valuable to men than her mind? And for these men who are married, what makes them think that they can objectify another woman and that their wives should be okay with it because they're committed to their wives minds and bodies and souls. Am I the only woman who would be really upset if my spouse made a comment about another woman's body, either to me or to anyone else?!

What really frustrates me is their understanding that this is how it is and has always been, which is used as an excuse to perpetuate it.

So now I'm of course thinking the worst about every guy I know, because here I was all along thinking the men in my office are a particular breed of hedonist. Someone prove me wrong!!!

St. Joseph, pray for us.


  1. Hey Brittany, I don't know if I could prove you wrong, but I have some theories that could explain the situation, even if it doesn't justify it.

    I think most men, if not all, have visual temptations. Men with character have custody of their eyes to avoid this occasion of sin. Men who are growing in holiness pray about this, and if they fall, they go to confession and try to change their lives.

    On the other hand, while men's visual temptations look awful from the outside, the inside of a man's heart shows a more complex story. I think a man's initial response to woman is emotional (and I think C.S. Lewis says something along this line, too). It's the emotions and emotional chastity that men struggle with first, and the physical/sexual come later. But in our culture, and especially between men, the expression of most emotions is socially punished. The expression of anger and sexual desire is more socially acceptable among men. So, when a man has an emotional response to a woman, and he's not emotionally mature and confident, he's not going to tell his buddy that he's distressed (and perhaps feels guilty, if he's married). Rather, he'll vent his feelings by making "lighthearted" sexual comments. Again, this doesn't justify the objectification, but maybe it explains it. And then, of course, some men are just plain perverts, but I think that's a minority.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Ross.
    I was wondering what you'd think about this post.

    I'm mostly saddened that so many of the men I know are incapable of the ability to recognize a desire (physical, emotional, whatever) and think rationally about that desire (is it good, bad, neutral?) and act on their rational thoughts. All of this happens so quickly and they just settle on base sexual objectification.

    A question I have for you though: Almost every woman in my office dresses and behaves modestly... is there anything that can be done to support them or encourage them to use their higher faculties?