When do guys become offensive jerks?

With all the attention on Slut Walk here in South Africa, now is as good a time as any to take stock of men’s attitudes and behaviour. At what point does being a guy stop being, well, just a guy (with all our foolishness and silliness) and when does our behaviour become offensive?

Anonymity, Plate 11

Is it ok to behave like teenagers when National Cleavage Day rolls around and ogle women’s cleavage; over gotopless.org and women dressed in revealing outfits even as we support their rights to dignity, equality and bodily integrity? Or is that a contradiction?

Clearly there are pretty distinct lines that must never be crossed. “No” isn’t an invitation to keep trying, it means no.

At what point do men become offensive? Probably when they become aggressive towards women who refuse their unwanted advances. Almost certainly when men grope women passing by. Women are not property and treating them as such is offensive too.

What is the appropriate inner picture of a woman? A chaste woman wearing a long dress, long sleeves and high neck? What should our starting assumptions be when we see women in public spaces and private gatherings?

(All these questions seem a bit like the classic no-win question: “Do I look fat in this” but they’re probably questions which many guys have.)

Image credit: Anonymity, Plate 11 by Thomas Hawk – licensed CC BY-NC 2.0







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