Banter is not an excuse!

I’ve blogged before about the gender stereotyped things we say. Sometimes unintentionally, but nonetheless they can still have an effect on shaping the thoughts and behaviours of the next generation. You can read those posts here, here and here.

Unless you’ve been in a big brother style house, without contact to the outside world you will be well aware of the torrent of sexual abuse and harrasment reports coming out of Hollywood and other places.

This started a #metoo campaign on social media. I have to admit I was gobsmacked at how widespread the problem was.

One of the defenses used to justify this type of behaviour was “It’s only banter!”

In one way I was lucky. As a child I went to an all boys boarding school. I was a shy lad anyway so the thought of even saying hello to a girl had me petrified, never mind passing lewd and obscene comments to one. Even alcohol wasn’t enough to change this, if anything it made me more self conscious and aware.

I have to admit though, there have been times in the workplace that I would have passed comments to long standing female work colleagues that would be classed as unprofessional to say the least.

This was when I sat up and really thought about it. How many times are there that men pass comments to women that they wouldn’t say to another man, or that they would get upset about another man saying to their Sister, Mother, Auntie etc, etc.

I bet there’s a lot.

I found myself nearly saying one today.

I asked my neighbour where his girlfriend was. “Gone shopping.” He replied.

I nearly said “You’re a brave man letting her loose on her own!”

Something inside clicked and I thought, there are so many reasons that statement shouldn’t be said. So I didn’t say it.

From now on this will be my barometer. If I wouldn’t say it to a man, or like it if it was said about a female family member or friend then I won’t be saying it.

Banter is not an excuse! 

Let’s show the next generation how to talk to and treat members of the opposite sex with respect.

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