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father commented on other women

(56 Posts)
pastpresent Wed 07-Nov-12 11:45:07

This may sound as though I'm dredging up ancient history, and maybe I am, but I was thinking the other day about how I've never made the most of my looks or really pulled myself together, and out of the blue I remembered a time when my father was driving me somewhere in the car and said of a woman crossing the street in front of us, "She sure has a nice set of lungs." (I would have been a teenager at the time and this was certainly not the only time he made similar comments.) He would also point out attractive women in magazine adverts and so forth to me. My parents were and are married. Was this behavior normal? I must have assumed so at the time but now it makes me uncomfortable to think of it and I'm beginning to realize it affected me as I feel disproportionately self conscious around men, and I'm an adult (theoretically) woman.

MamaMary Wed 07-Nov-12 11:47:44

It is normal for him to think the thought, but it was inappropriate for him to voice it. Perhaps it did make you self-conscious.

LastMangoInParis Wed 07-Nov-12 11:52:56

It may have been 'normal' in that it might have been common enough for fathers to make inappropriate comments about women in front of their daughters, but that doesn't mean it was acceptable.
My father used to behave similarly, and I hated it it. It made me really uncomfortable then, and over the years I've realised more and more how much of an effect this had on me. (Even remembering the horrible nauseous feeling I had at the time. Interestingly, it was also something 'D'F liked to do on car journeys. Something really creepy about being a passenger next to someone when they're doing that.)

Of course it makes you feel self conscious - horrible feeling that when you're minding your own business, you're seen as a target for lechery from any passing male. Don't know about you, but the sense of entitlement that my dad had about doing this was also quite awful (seemed 'normal' at the time, obviously).

ShamyFarrahCooper Wed 07-Nov-12 11:53:24

We're surrounded by it on a daily basis and yes I do believe these kind of comments are damaging to young girls. I vividly remember being called a 'fat bitch' by nana (who had terrible alsheimers) as a youngster. I took it to heart despite my mum's attempts to explain my nana's condition. I've been battling a bad body image ever since, even as a size 8-10 I never truly thought I was thin.

MamaMary Wed 07-Nov-12 11:56:03

Yes my grandad once called me 'nice and plump' as a teenager and I was upset. He did not mean to upset me, if anything it was a compliment. Thankfully I haven't gone on to have huge issues around my weight. My father was careful never to make these kind of comments, thankfully.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 07-Nov-12 12:06:58

Normal. hmm 'Nice pair of pins'... 'poured into that sweater, isn't she'... 'don't get many of them to the lb'.... all pretty jocular throwaway remarks.

NovemberRain Wed 07-Nov-12 12:30:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 07-Nov-12 12:33:42

As a teenager, I wouldn't even have known that a man talking about 'lungs' meant breasts. confused

WizardofOs Wed 07-Nov-12 13:51:53

My Dad would never have commented on a woman except to say a film star was beautiful etc.

He did, however, have a collection of porn that he inadquately hid from his children so.....swings and roundabouts!

fluffyraggies Wed 07-Nov-12 14:29:13

My Dad would never in a million years have said anything like that in front of me or my mum!

He was lovely, very gentlemanly around women - never swore, walked on the outside of the pavement, opened doors, helped with your coat, etc, all automatic IFKWIM? Would never have mentioned observing boobs or legs while out and about.

Then again he didn't know where the cooker or the sink was in their house wink

pastpresent Wed 07-Nov-12 15:23:22

Cogito, I think I had to ask what he meant by "lungs." Just weird, in retrospect, and as LastMango said I think it did give me the feeling (at 16) that any man anywhere might be perving on me. I'm really glad to see this huge variety of responses BTW.

I never minded when he would speak of film stars because then it was more comments like, "Gene Tierney was about the most beautiful woman who ever lived," which were fine.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 07-Nov-12 15:30:33

I realise you're trying to make a serious point but you can't have grown up in the UK during the last 30 or 40 years and not realise that men perve over women. 'Lungs' is a pretty tame thing to say in the circumstances.

LastMangoInParis Wed 07-Nov-12 19:31:50

There's a huge amount of difference between, say, NovemberRain's dad's behaviour (quite sweet) and 'perving'.

you can't have grown up in the UK during the last 30 or 40 years and not realise that men perve over women

hmm ... Er, no, Cogito, that's probably true. But are you therefore saying that it's OK for men to make creepy, inappropriate remarks about women in front of their daughters and their daughters (or anyone else) should just accept this, have no right to respond to this and should remain silent if it's pissed them off? You seem to be quite determined to minimise/take the piss out of what the OP's saying. Why?

RubyFakeNails Wed 07-Nov-12 19:36:37

I think its normal to some extent. My dad did this quite often but, and I can't see that this has been mentioned yet, so did my mother.

It never made me feel uncomfortable or 'perved'.

botandhothered Wed 07-Nov-12 20:38:02

My Dad did not do this. I don't think it's normal for men to make comments about other women in front of their daughters.

Themumsnot Wed 07-Nov-12 20:41:29

My father would not have made remarks like that in front of his daughters. And my husband wouldn't either. I don't agree it is normal.

ImperialBlether Wed 07-Nov-12 21:35:57

My dad didn't/doesn't do that either; he'd see it as disrespectful to my mum and us. Yes, of course he might refer to someone as a renowned beauty, but wouldn't say it in a way that meant he fancied her.

wotsDHdoing Wed 07-Nov-12 22:04:16

oh god this sounds just like my dad.
i was discussing this exact thing with a friend the other week, luckily for her her dad was much nicer than mine.
my dad constantly says stuff about womens looks or weight, all the value is put on looks, made me feel shit about myself as a child/ teenager and still riles me.
he wolf whistled at a woman in my presence once. yuck!!!!
and he chats up all my friends. yuck!
he was a university lecturer and had countless 'relationships' with his students, yuck!

and he is 69 and thinks any woman over 40 (me) is over the hill and he would never be seen 'out' with a woman over 45.
tosser. hence i am gradually cutting contact.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 08-Nov-12 08:34:07

@LastMangoInParis. I simply don't regard 'a nice set of lungs' as a creepy or inappropriate remark. Now if he had been saying 'get your tits out for the lads', 'I'd like to give her one', wolf-whistling, or something else more overtly sexually aggressive, I wouldn't like it at all and I would say so. But that was a jokey, inoffensive comment in my opinion and has to be kept in perspective.

The bigger issue is that the OP says she feels uncomfortable around men. I suspect there are other reasons why she feels that way... and that it's not going to be as simplistic as blaming her father for an 'ancient' remark.

flippinada Thu 08-Nov-12 08:49:48

My Dad used to do this sort of thing too and I absolutely hated it. One of his favourites was "as long as there's grad on the pitch, hur hur hur".

Making suggestive comments about other women in front of your daughter is really unpleasant behaviour.

flippinada Thu 08-Nov-12 08:50:10

Grass, not grad.

Wuxiapian Thu 08-Nov-12 08:56:53

Not appropriate.

I would be mortified if my father referred to a woman's appearance in any way.

MorrisZapp Thu 08-Nov-12 08:58:09

As long as there's grass on the pitch?

Does that mean what I think it means?

Boak.

Corygal Thu 08-Nov-12 09:00:33

My father does it and I loathe it.

Just as there's a difference between saying, say, 'Good morning' and 'Fuck off' to you on this thread, there's a huge gap between 'What a beautiful woman' and 'Look at the camel's foot on that'.

Guess where my DF comes in. He's criticised my weight (size 12) for years to the point where I had to break family conventions to tell him to pack it in, leches at strangers (always in cars) and only ever refers to his targets by their vulva.

He makes my skin crawl automatically - I'd be hard put to accept that's usual.

flippinada Thu 08-Nov-12 09:03:36

Yes Morris it does and yes it's revolting. Just thinking about it makes me feel queasy.

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