Objects…of our Respect

Recently, the radio station whose morning show I always listen to ran an internet contest:  pick the bikini you want their “Rock Girl” to wear at a local boat show.  Hearing that made me realize we still are an incredibly sexist society.  No radio station has a contest to pick which banana hammock their “Rock Dude” wears to a boat show (let’s hope it stays that way.)  Despite all the advances women have made over the last fifty years toward equal footing with men, our society still treats them largely as objects.  No further proof is necessary than this coming Sunday.  I’m sure GoDaddy.com will have at least one or two ads running during the Super Bowl, and you’d have to be living under a rock to think they’re really selling domain registration.  Not that men can’t be treated as objects too.  It’s just carried out more blatantly against the fairer sex.

Since I became the father of a daughter, I find myself much more conscious of how I look at women.  When I was in high school, I had a crush on a girl a grade up from me.  She was one of those early-bloomers who were so well endowed that they need not consider a guy who’s age didn’t have a “2” in the tens column.  I tried wooing her with flowers, notes, all kinds of stuff.  It never dawned on me to actually talk to her, to get to know her as a person.  What would have happened if I’d taken advantage of the time she actually gave me a ride home from school to really talk to her, start a friendship, get to know her, treat her like, you know, a real person?  Who knows, but I’m sure she’d have thought a lot more of me than she did with the approach I was taking.  I’d made her into an object to be won, not a person to relate to.  Would I want some guy thinking that way about my daughter?  Hardly.  I would hope she’d react the same way my high school crush did:  a polite but clear stiff-arm.

Today’s media makes it harder than ever not to treat people as objects.  But every woman or man is a child of God, a person with hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes.  They’re also all somebody’s son or daughter.   Those of you who are parents, next time you catch yourself paying too much attention to a person’s physical endowments, stop and ask yourself if you were that person’s parent, would you want someone thinking about your daughter or son that way?  Those of you who aren’t parents, realize that when we fathers of daughters joke about sitting on the porch with a shotgun, it’s only half joking.  Respect the person as a person and it’s a lot harder to view them as just an object.  Even if it’s Danica Patrick during the Super Bowl, telling you where you can register your website.

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