Does ESPN 700 represent not only the men of today, but worse, predict where men will be when my nieces and nephews grow up? Will my nephews become these men? It breaks my heart, but I’m worried the standard ESPN 700 sets isn’t that far off from the norm of men. And while it’s entertaining watching them resist admitting how disgusting they are, at least they admitted it passively by refusing to talk on air with Beauty Redefined.
But let’s back up. This all started when Beauty Redefined heard about the “Hot or Not” contest ESPN 700 runs. And I’ll be honest, I didn’t even care that much the first time Beauty Redefined posted on one of their contests. I went over and “liked” it out of general agreement, but have never spent much time or energy trying to change anyone. I know people don’t change. And old people are especially resistant to admit they’re wrong. So I figured this is a losing battle. I wasn’t surprised when men stopped commenting as Beauty Redefine posted on that first picture – a sign of fear. Maybe they don’t want to be the first one to be defiant when faced with an emotional dilemma they aren’t sure which side they’re on. Maybe Beauty Redefined was the stick in the mud that made the “game” not as much fun because it suddenly became more than a “man cave event.” Whatever happened, the comments stopped (at least briefly while I watched).
Then the next week a man or two replied saying they agreed, any many more, now undeterred and certain if ESPN 700 posted another “Hot or Not” obviously didn’t care that women were demanding respect. “So what the hell? If those guys think it’s still cool, it must be cool, right?” I swear I can see the juvenile letter jackets coming together in the locker room. “Let’s circle jerk, guys, and decide what’s cool!”
And now Beauty Redefined has been passively dismissed. Banished to the uncool table, Mean Girls style, circa 7th grade.
It’s sad, really. I think sports radio/TV guys represent the job many men would love to have. Their job is talking about sports, and many times even talking to and being in the presence of sports stars. Hey, I’m a college basketball fan. When I go to games, people say I’ll probably be arrested for my conduct if a player gets close enough. Mostly that’s a joke. Mostly. And I think all of that is natural. Both me, seeing the appeal of these sports guys, refined and excelling at a very competitive, challenging sport. And them seeing women for as much as they know them through the media (which is mostly looks). The thing is, my perspective doesn’t carry over into my real life. Yet, I watch as looks are a central region men choose their partners. (We won’t get into how these men feel about some of the women they choose based only on looks after a few years with them. The women aren’t bad, but how compatible are you with someone you ONLY think is hot?)
The flip side of the coin is I also have closeted friends and know many guys who ONLY see women as sexual objects do that to make themselves appear manly. And as an offshoot because they only see the beauty and sexuality as prescribed by the media. That is the only part they understand because they aren’t attracted beyond the surface (or, even at the surface, but popular media tells them they SHOULD be, so in an effort to “fit in” that’s how they act). I love my closeted friends. But when they pull this stunt, I want to shake them and say, “WE ALL KNOW!” But I’m digressing. Because I’m not using homosexuality to punch the guys at ESPN 700 or their commenters. And I won’t even pretend I have the power to make them stop doing what they’re doing. I just think it’s ironic that they, in an effort to be all tough and manly, are prescribing to a common “in the closet” technique used by guys who aren’t quite ready to admit they’re gay.
Beyond all of this, the thing that infuriates me most is this objectification of women likely translates into their real life. It’s tough to do something consistently and not have it turn into normal thought. Have you seen how Westboro Church brainwashes their children? After awhile the “God hates the military” crap comes naturally. The same is true with any mindset you adopt, even casually at first. I’ve watched it happen with my guy friends who start out joking about a woman’s looks, then eventually see woman as ONLY looks. After awhile, they become intimidated by women who actually have a brain and challenge this behavior. This is what happened today. Beauty Redefined called into ESPN 700 when they were told they could defend their stance on the “Hot or Not” debate. After holding, not only did they “dismiss” them, saying Hot or Not wasn’t sports related, but they also mocked them on the air, saying something flippant about objectifying their show and how if they objectified women, they wouldn’t put Ricky Lake up. And then laughed and said they weren’t letting them talk. What are you guys? Emotional wife abusers? Sheesh.
First, Ricky Lake, if you’re out there, you’re beautiful! Not that you should care what anyone thinks of your looks. People still say, “You go, girl!” And I still laugh and think of your show. You started a talk show revolution! And then kicked some ass on Dancing With the Stars. Get it.
Second, why have someone call in just to dismiss them? Obviously it was a power move. They used their position of power (the person who could or couldn’t deny airtime) to backed Beauty Redefined into a corner. And then laughed. Is this the 7th grade lunchroom? Grow up. Wherever your moms are, they have to be embarrassed. And hopefully you guys don’t ever have daughters, because they will be raised to believe they’re worthless, will have no ambition, and will sleep around with men just like you looking for unconditional affection daughters need. Oh and they’ll never find it and will live their life unhappy. “Thanks, Dad.” I’ve seen this with girls whose dads are objectifying pigs. Their poor daughters have no self-esteem. And never expect men to respect them for who they are. It’s sad.
If for no other reason, I want this crap to stop. Because it’s not fair to bring your daughters into this mess.
I know men are scared of women like those who created and run Beauty Redefined. They’re scared of women finally saying, “ENOUGH! I’m more than how I look!” They know we’re smart, powerful, motivated and care about people. That’s all you need to be successful and have a fulfilling life.
Are you guys popular? Sure, you’re “famous” as dictated by a very small segment of the world. And you’re using that fame to feel powerful. Probably because you think power equals happiness. But the truth is you’re small-minded men who have no real respect for anyone around you. Living a shallow life is un-fulfilling and is probably over-compensating for what you’re lacking emotionally, mentally and physically. And to be intimidated by women who are realizing their worth in this world is pretty pathetic. Meanwhile, you’ll continue to use this defense mechanism to lead what is probably an unimportant, uninspired life. At some point, if you haven’t already and are just hiding it, you will realize there’s more to life than this. Sure you can all gather round the radio, scratching your balls, guffawing about who’s hot and who’s not to feel superior. But at the end of the day you’re lonely, sad and pathetic. And will never have a real relationship with anyone until you realize people, men and women, are more than surface.
And you guys are too, ESPN 700. Even though someone in your life has obviously hurt you, you deserve to be treated better than you’re treating others. I’m sorry on behalf of whoever hurt you, causing you to shut off the part of your soul that would welcome a fulfilling, enjoyable life. Just because one woman hurts you doesn’t mean all women are bad. And just because you’re unhappy right now doesn’t mean you have to compound the unhappiness by getting in the first punch. You are important. And you can live lives that are bigger than the way you are acting. And if you did, you’d find real happiness.
But in the meantime, continue objectifying women and bonding over manly laughter. And continue telling women they’re worthless beyond their looks, or worthless BECAUSE of their looks. And don’t worry, we’ll continue on, realizing that even though you’re outwardly hurtful, you’re inwardly unhappy. And we will seek out men who aren’t asshats, leaving you guys to squander in your own mess (literally). In the end, you lose. Not that it’s a competition.
OK, let’s be real. You’re sports talk guys. You know everything’s a competition.
Update (1/19/12): Beauty Redefine posted about this event, too. They’re much less emotional and much more factual than I am. It’s a good read. I recommend it!