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Locker room talk

(40 Posts)
CaptainWarbeck Fri 10-Nov-17 05:59:55

Did anyone listen to this segment on Woman's Hour recently? Project inspired by Trump, reviewed in the Guardian.

^Four women stand on stage wearing earpieces. They hear the words of real men interviewed by playwright Gary McNair and relay them back to us. Those men – doctors, cabbies, gym bunnies and manual workers – spring into life as their words spew across the stage.
“The best thing that comes out of a woman’s mouth is your knob, I would say, aye.” “They’re only good for being in the kitchen … make my dinner then give me my hole, and then go to your bed.” For an hour the words are relentless, as the voices swirl around, reinforcing and supporting each other. Always there and never challenged. But it’s all right, isn’t it? It’s only locker room banter.

I might be naive but I'm genuinely shocked by the misogyny, and how prevalent the playwright said he found it. DH says that in his experience locker room talk happens sometimes but it's not that bad. And I believed him. But this is awful.

Why do men do it? Because they actually hate women do you think? Or is it just showing off?

I'm also interested if anyone has experience of women talking like this. I have certainly heard women objectifying men, but not in a hateful way.

I just found this segment really depressing, I don't know how Jenni Murray kept so cool.

CaptainWarbeck Fri 10-Nov-17 08:31:14


Inig0M0nt0ya Fri 10-Nov-17 08:39:36

I worked in a male environment for a few months and this sounds about right. I was fresh out of university and this was my first job.
Often the talk turned to more sinister rape fantasies, or about knocking a girl out so they could do what they wanted, but this was seen as fine because no-one was going to act on it, it was just banter. These were fairly highly qualified men, most of them married with children, real salt of the earth types, pillars of the community. Certainly opened my eyes
This was over twenty years ago, no-one gave a toss whether it was misogynistic or not, I was the only woman there so had to choose between working there or leaving. Eventually I did leave, but it was eye opening and I can well believe that men talk like this when together.

deydododatdodontdeydo Fri 10-Nov-17 08:50:48

I recently had to endure overhearing a guy talk like to his mates in a bar. His mates were nodding and smiling, but only one of them was saying these things. Men allow other men to behave like this.
DH says it doesn't happen in his social circle, probably because he wouldn't be friends with people like this in the first place.

Sarahjconnor Fri 10-Nov-17 08:58:41

DH is a factory manager in an entirely male environment. He has banned this sort of talk and some workers have actually been to their UNION(!) demanding an end to this politically correct feminist madness.

He was overruled by directors in a suggestion to ban page 3. It depresses me.

MephistophelesApprentice Fri 10-Nov-17 09:06:53

Admitting that you care for something is an expression of vulnerability.

Vulnerability WILL be punished.

Affirm the extreme degree to which you do not care and you cannot be vulnerable.

It's juvenile posturing. I avoid environments like that.

NoLoveofMine Fri 10-Nov-17 10:37:50

Thanks for posting about this, I'd not been aware of it. I've found an article by the man who organised it here:'Some-make-Trump-look-like-a-gentleman'--what-men-really-talk-about-when-they-talk-about-women.rygzjUYmV-.html

It's rather disturbing but sadly doesn't surprise me. The way I've read and heard some boys talk about girls and women even when they know they can be heard/openly on social media is sometimes horrific, never mind on their own. It's something I'm glad I've got one of my brothers to see who know challenges his friends on, it's vital men challenge other men on this as often they're the ones hearing this abhorrent misogyny. This disdain for women and girls which is so widespread is awful.

SweetGrapes Fri 10-Nov-17 10:41:37

Never heard anything like this from women. My opinion is that men are the biggest bitches and gossips when it comes to talking about women. But usually close ranks so it doesn't get out.
A few male friends of mine have told me that if I had any inkling of how men talk about women I would never speak to another man in my life (out of disgust). I completely believe him.
Also believe Germaine Greer when she says we have no idea how much men hate us.

NoLoveofMine Fri 10-Nov-17 10:48:56

I expect your friends are correct too SweetGrapes. I have some very good male friends, a couple in particular, and some of what they overhear or is said/happens at their boys' school is shocking, the absolute contempt for women and girls - and these are highly educated and privileged boys who will for the most part go on to considerable success I would think. This kind of project also exposes it and as the playwright whose idea it was alludes to in his article, it's all kinds of men who speak about women and girls like this. This has to be challenged by other men and boys, the ones who say they'd never do it and it's not all men - they can help it become fewer men because it's far too many now.

CaptainWarbeck Fri 10-Nov-17 10:54:42

Thanks all for replying, and especially nolove for the article, which was a lot more in depth then the ones I'd found.

Interesting that people's first thought was that this was more common amongst working class men. DH had a similar response, until I pointed out that it was everywhere even by his reports: a highly educated academic colleague, a man in his sports club, his best mate from school.

Good for your DH sarah, he sounds like a man among boys.

It is juvenile posturing* meph*, I agree. But it's just so pervasive. Why do so many men do this, and in my experience, so few women?

KimmySchmidt1 Fri 10-Nov-17 10:56:59

I think talk in actual locker rooms at the gym is often filled with extreme machismo because they've all got their nobs out and they are terrified of judgement - its a sort of verbal big knob. Its bloody tragic.

Men generally are absolutely hopeless at upholding their own standards among other men. Most are shells of terrified anxiety and insecurity and that's why they have such appallingly bad judgement in all sorts of ways, not just this. They are basically dreadful cowards and this is exacerbated at the gym because of all the extra reasons to feel insecure there.

Look at those two weirdos that got fired from Sky Sports a few years ago and what they said in front of Jamie Redknapp - JR obviously thought it was pathetic and offensive but he just nodded along with a grimace rather than calling it out. And then when it came out he looked like a weak idiot for nodding along brainlessly.

The funny thing is, out I was out for lunch with my cousin and her DH a few weeks ago with my DH, and her DH made a few old fashioned housewife type gags aimed towards building a rapport with my DH. My DH is so conditioned out of that way of thinking (he works with very high flying women and gets on well with them, I work in a highly paid profession, he does too and has no insecurities on that front) he looked at the bloke like he was mad and didn't even understand what he was saying. And we laughed about it after because DH didn't even know he was doing it, it just came naturally to be baffled and ignore it. But if the banter had been sexually explicit I bet he would have gone along with it.

i don't really understand the social need to fake-laugh at something which is offensive that you don't actually find funny - men otherwise seem to take the piss out of each other all the time, so they could easily rip someone for making a bad joke, but they don't seem to make fun of mates who go on about this particular stuff.

I also think boys have a natural tendency towards the gross, whether its aged 3 sifting about in mud and snails or aged 23 thinking up the grimmest most grotesque sexual fantasies they can - they are just basically a bit gross.

All of these things make them inferior and backward I'm afraid - but its their choice to be like that, and they have to put up with being judged for it by men and women if they are found out. And they all know that if they do it and it comes out in public they will be pilloried and ridiculed, lose their job etc etc.

I think a lot of men are shocked by it, but not as many as youd think.

CaptainWarbeck Fri 10-Nov-17 10:58:06

This has to be challenged by other men and boys, the ones who say they'd never do it and it's not all men - they can help it become fewer men because it's far too many now.

I totally agree. And I think possibly this kind of behaviour is even more common around the leaving school age - where young men are pushing the boundaries of what's acceptable, just like toddlers. Other men need to step up and draw a line in the sand when a comment crosses the line.

thedancingbear Fri 10-Nov-17 10:59:45

I'm a man. I've played men's amateur football for 25 years for a number of teams with quite different demographics, and have rarely to never heard stuff like this. I've certainly never heard comments about rape, women belonging in the kitchen etc.

I recognise that this experience is not universal and I have no doubt that it happens, but in my lived experience it is very much not the norm. If it happened with the bunch I currently play for, I'm pretty sure it would be called out without exception.

MephistophelesApprentice Fri 10-Nov-17 11:00:14

Why do so many men do this, and in my experience, so few women?

Because wanting to be desired by women gives them power over you, and someone having power over you is vulnerability and Vulnerability Is Bad.

Pretend you regard women as trash and you pretend they have no power over you.

As for why so few women in your experience? Very few men, in my experience, behave like this. It's entirely possible you have simply chosen a decent group of friends and colleagues.

CaptainWarbeck Fri 10-Nov-17 11:03:44

its a sort of verbal big knob grin

MephistophelesApprentice Fri 10-Nov-17 11:03:59

Addenda: I'd theorise that men in locker rooms are feeling extra vulnerable - nudity/erroneous assumptions of sexuality - and therefore need to reinforce their non-vulnerability further.

Purely theoretical. I don't go to locker rooms, and struggle with contempt for those who do.

Postagestamppat Fri 10-Nov-17 11:05:07

I think it is form of male bonding. I can hazard a guess it is aiming to prove that they sexually interested in women (not gay) and are dominant. I have been privy to such conversations and disgusted by the men involved. But also noticed that the same men mostly acted responsibly towards their wives/girlfriends. I think men can compartmentalize their behaviour to a larger extent than women (not saying it is good thing - just an observation).

hollowtree Fri 10-Nov-17 11:06:49

I think it's just showing off.

Not all men are like this.

NoLoveofMine Fri 10-Nov-17 11:10:11

I think it is form of male bonding.

This would be no excuse even if it was the case. If demeaning and degrading women and girls is necessary for "male bonding" they'd be better of not partaking in it. It says a lot about how normalised misogyny is in society that it's the default go to topic for "male bonding". It's pernicious and damaging to all women and girls.

CaptainWarbeck Fri 10-Nov-17 11:11:19

dancingbear I find your comment reassuring, I do. And thank goodness for men saying that this is not the norm for them, and that it would be called out if it happened. We need more groups of men like this.

But talk of women getting back in the kitchen, and rape jokes, and talk of 'smashing her back doors in' etc, this is all stuff I heard as commonplace at school ten years ago. And those kids were repeating what men around them had been saying, I guess. I hear it less now because I have more choice over who I socialise with.

I do think though, like this man is trying to highlight, it is far more common, and far more accepted than we like to think.

NoLoveofMine Fri 10-Nov-17 11:11:36

If it's "showing off" then a lot of men obviously think "all men are like this" seeing as men so often default to this kind of talk with other men. The only people who think it's all men are the men doing it, which is far too many men. Those men staying silent when they hear it, rather than challenging it, are perpetuating their idea that all men are the same.

CaptainWarbeck Fri 10-Nov-17 11:13:55

I think men can compartmentalize their behaviour to a larger extent than women

But why on earth should they be behaving like that in the first place, let alone being lauded for being able to compartmentalise it?

NoLoveofMine Fri 10-Nov-17 11:17:48

But why on earth should they be behaving like that in the first place, let alone being lauded for being able to compartmentalise it?

Exactly. This kind of talk should be considered completely unacceptable by men, with those who talk of women and girls in such disparaging terms firmly challenged.

CaptainWarbeck Fri 10-Nov-17 11:18:19

If it's "showing off" then a lot of men obviously think "all men are like this"

God, exactly. Nolove you talk an awful lot of sense for someone so young. If men didn't expect to get a laugh, or kudos when they spout misogynistic comments, they wouldn't do it. It must be the majority view, surely, or it just wouldn't happen.

DeleteOrDecay Fri 10-Nov-17 11:18:49

I think lots of excuses have been made on this thread for men’s shitty behaviour towards women.

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