{116} Beyond the locker room

“Locker room banter” — it’s just, I don’t KNOW. I have no idea what male locker room banter is or isn’t.

I do know that most of the men I’ve known are quite capable of being crude and rude, especially when high on adrenaline (or booze). I’ve been felt up by a LOT of guys who were (are) friends. I’ve been raped by men I trusted. As well, popular culture (movies, tv) have heavily sold the “sexist locker room BOYS CLUB” concept. It’s a trope, sure; but a myth? Is it? I have a lot of men saying on my fb feed that it is a myth, that locker rooms aren’t like that, that ~men~ aren’t like that.

By what measure should I believe them?

I really do want to believe the best about men, especially the men I personally know. It’s not some latent misandry that causes me to wonder, “but really?” about locker room sexism. Hell, I even harbor a low-key desire to date a man again (someday later, eventually).

But when the boundaries of women’s bodies have been erased for so long, when even men who rape don’t understand until years later (if ever) that they committed a rape, when toxic hyper masculinity is the coin of the realm for “being a man”, then…no. Sadly. No, I don’t believe them.

Maybe they did not participate in it (maybe they did not see it or hear it — that could just be because it’s so common, it didn’t register). It’s possible these “good men” who claim to be “good men” really are good. I rationally believe that #NotAllMen would talk like sexual predators if given the opportunity, and it’s in my nature to give the benefit of the doubt in favor of inherent goodness.

But trust is not rational, and I was not raised in a world where men were allowed to be gentle, respectful, and kind (ironically, such behavior makes me suspicious, and given the number of times I’ve been “played” for sex, yeah, I have earned that paranoia badge). The messages I got directly and indirectly were that men were users and women were meant to be used (although it was often dressed up a lot more prettily than that). The GOP still seems to live in that world.

I understand that my trust issues are mine to parse out, but they affect how I feel and react to a presidential nominee using sexually abusive language and then claiming it’s just “locker room banter” that all men do.

Do all men talk like that? Do they?

I hope not, but how would I know?

Originally published at ::::KimBoo York.