My Life as a Dog

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Boys Stink!

I was recently at a gathering of several single adults. (Some of you reading this may have even been there.) It was a fun time and there was lots of laughs. I definitely had a good time. Afterwards though I got to thinking about something that was said somewhat in jest while there. Before I mention what was said, I just want to let you know that I'm not offended by the statement and actually generally agree with it. It might be I was not offended because I don't feel that I represent the stereotype presented.

Anyway back to the story. It was a mixed crowd with several guys and several girls. One of the girls mentioned that boys stink. Not figuratively. Literally. I don't disagree with her assessment and in fact sometimes I do stink. I dare say some boys always stink. And when I do stink I'll be the first to admit it. But for the most part I don't stink. Anyway, I was just thinking, what if I would have said that girls stink? Or better yet, if I girls were stupid, vain, or conceited? Would that have been okay? I doubt that it would have been as well received as "boys stink." All the guys there just kind of laugh and say "yeah, whatever."

It seems though in our society today that it is more acceptable all the time to belittle men in the same way that if directed towards women most would call sexist.

It reminded me of my last trip to Hawaii. On the island of Maui, we found a little shop called David and Goliath. It had lots of funny stuff and a lot that was maybe not so funny and some stuff that was just gross. But I bring this up because they had one particular line of t-shirts, magnets, cards, posters, etc that emphasized that boys are inferior to girls. Are these products meant to boost girl's self-esteem? If so I'm afraid that they are going about it the wrong way.

I am curious to see what you have to say. So tell me if you think this harmless and there is nothing to worry about, or if this is something that should not be accepted.


Kiwimommy said...

A timely post, Dog. Especially since my 12-year old son is big on equality and judging is something is "sexist". He usually has very valid points, and I've been a bit surprised at how often the sexism is towards the boys, rather than the girls.

Sorry about your experience. I understand that you weren't offended, but I think the situation warrants offense. I think there are two issues here: 1) The inappropriate nature of dissing others, especially when they are in the same room, participating in the same conversation and 2) The proliferation of media, i.e. t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc that is basically hateful, all under the guise of "humor".

#1. I think the comment made that "boys stink" was entirely tacky - ESPECIALLY in mixed company. What was the point of the comment? And the fact that it appears to have generated some kind of further conversation is really unfortunate. To make such an assessment only displays a total lack of social grace. What an awkward situation she created with one remark! I totally agree with what you wrote. What if the shoe had been on the other foot? WHAT WOULD MISS MANNERS SAY??

Now, I have to say that I enjoy a lot of stand-up comedy where such things are the norm. But that is different, in that it's a performance - not some random comment during a social gathering that puts the accused at an obvious unease - and generally, people listen to stand-up with the understanding that *someone* is gonna get dissed. Ha.Ha.

Okay, so maybe I'm a little hard-nosed to call #2 hateful - but that's basically what it is, isn't it? If there were luggage tags that read, "Girls are annoying. Beat them" would that be allowed? To me, that kind of humor is outside the bounds of good taste, much like the faux-Calvin peeing on the Ford or Chevy logo.
It seems to appeal to a certain type of crowd. But I guess it can also serve as an alert to everyone else, that the person utilizing it is a moron.

Personally, I have to put in a plug for my favorite satirist. Anne Taintor. I LOVE HER. I guess that it's a similar vein to "Boys are stupid", but not so ... overt. For example, her logos all feature a vintage-inspired image of a woman, along with logos such as "she thought of him fondly as 'Plan B'", or "all the baking soda in the world could not mask the scent of her despair", or "now that he had bought the cow, the milk was going to be extraordinarily expensive".

Maybe I'm just the pot calling the kettle black. Maybe bad taste stinks no matter how pretty the packaging. So forgive me if I take my pretty packages and go and sit in the corner. I think I may have to reexamine them.

Thanks for the perspective!

Unknown said...

Thanks Kiwi. I'm not surprised that a mother is the first to comment. It's nice to hear someone else's opinion.

I do want to say that I am certain that the "boys stink" girl wouldn't have said such a thing to purposely be hurtful. In fact I laughed at her comment too. I just find the double standard interesting.

rychelle said...

i have to admit that i have the "boys are stupid, throw rocks at them" air freshner hanging in my car right now.
i love david and goliath.
i also don't think the comment was out of line in mixed company of ADULTS.
it seems like you have a great sense of humor (hello, arrested development!)
so, it kind of surprises me that you would take all this so seriously.
(sorry, you probably weren't looking for a stranger's two cents. i'll go away now.)

Unknown said...

Rychell, don't get me wrong. I thought it was funny and largely true. And the girl that said it is a good friend and a lot of fun. My blog entry was more just something that made me think. Probably because I say a lot of things that I think are funny but maybe not totally appropriate. Stranger or not, thanks for your input.