So my company has an intranet, and on it they post a daily Photo of the Day. Often it's something from the corporate archive, or it can be one an employee took and submitted to the intranet staff. Anyway, employees can post responses to the photo, like we can to internal news stories, etc. On Fridays the photo is a "mystery" photo--something the intranet staff cannot identify--or, I suspect, pretends it cannot identify, just to see if the rest of us can figure it out. And, for better and for worse, the Friday mystery photo has become an occasion for much humor making (or, as you'll see, attempting).
Me: [So-and-so], As a "plus-size" woman, I don't find being compared to the above photo to be at all amusing. Perhaps I read too much into it, but I couldn't let this go unsaid."
Him: Connie, along with Bender, i am also a fan. I appreciate many shapes. As far as how plus this "robot" is, i could not say, depends on robot scale, of which I am not an expert.
Me: I'm not here to start a "war," but I feel like a true fan wouldn't compare us to hulking pieces of metal machinery in the first place...it's degrading.
I just ask that next time you're about to generalize re: any category of people, just think a little more first how they *might* feel about what you're gonna say.
Him: I wasn't comparing it to a girl, i was comparing it to a robot, but yes, i know this is unwinnable.Oh, so it's less degrading to be associated with robots?? I gave up at that point.
So...wow. In his mind, machinery and robots are somehow associated with plus-size women.
Does the association somehow go away for average or thin women?
Objectifying and stupid enough to broadcast his objectifying! And can you say missing the point?!? He didn't even recognize that it was the association that I was really responding to.
(Then there's always the fact that he also broadcast Bender's preferences re: the opposite sex to the entire company. Gotta wonder how Bender feels about that.)
Talk about a big reminder of why I started this blog. Got my work cut out for me.
Now, before any of you give me that "Yeah, men are Neanderthals" business, don't even start. You know what that's called? An excuse. An excuse to succumb to the baser instincts of your nature. If that's you, ask yourself: Is that really the kind of man you want to be?
In an unrelated conversation this week, another coworker talked about a time when he considered the kind of son (in this case) he wanted to be--and started treating his mother better than he had in the past. His mother had been horrible to him and to his children, and for a long time he didn't speak to her. But, he said (and I paraphrase), "Rather than focusing on what the other person had done, I thought about what kind of person I wanted to be." And once he determined that standard and started acting toward it, their relationship improved. He concluded by saying, "Our behavior should not depend on other people." Wow.
So my challenge to you is this: Think about what kind of person you want to be. Do you want to be one who objectifies others? Who sickeningly degrades by associating a certain kind of person with inanimate objects? Or do you want to be the kind of person who treats others--all others--as unique, valuable, multi-dimensional people?
The choice is yours.