The Classic Battle

One day early last week, on Facebook, I posted a picture of a male actor – you would know him, he was amazing in that thing about the thing (won an Oscar!), with an even more amazing body – posed provocatively, wearing only a micro-Speedo.   I was very pleased at the way the picture focused on his … um, attributes. When I posted the picture, I was hoping to get a bunch of likes and exploit the man, you know, as you do.

Right about now, there are two groups of readers.  Half of you wonder where the picture is, and the other half said, “Well, now, that just isn’t right.”  Okay, so there is also a third group, comprised of members of both groups, who are trying to bleach the picture of the Speedo out of their brains.

Of course I didn’t really post any picture like that.  But I have to wonder; were you more outraged over the idea that I would exploit someone for “likes,” or was that outrage brought about because it was a man?  Men don’t commonly get exploited and paraded around for their bodies instead of their talent; that is a privilege usually saved for women.  In fact, it’s expected.

I belong to a Facebook group that focuses on films from the “Golden Age of movies.”  The ground rules are simple: be respectful, no politics, no religion, and discuss classic era movies.  Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

In any group, there is bound to be the one who pushes the rules to the limits.  In this group, one guy not only pushes the limits but crosses them over and over, to the giggling joy of his caveman supporters.  He continues to  post pics of actresses in their most sultry persona and one, he even cropped to be sure her breasts were on clear display… in fact, it was just her breasts, so if he hadn’t mentioned who the actress was, there’s no way you would know. Unless you’re a breast aficionado.

Not all of the actresses he ummm … discusses … are from the classic era either. A cropped, very risqué photo of Catherine Zeta Jones, who is truly a lovely woman (inside and out from what I understand), was duly submitted for inspection and I don’t think she was even born in the classic movie era, let alone acted in any movies from that time-period.  His pics, as no doubt intended, elicit the usual responses from other men, suggesting graphically what they would like to do to the women, among other lewd comments.  The moderator keeps deleting the posts, but somehow the guy is allowed to remain.

Finally, a female member took a stand against this sorry excuse for classic movie discussion.  She made a post about how she’s tired of seeing it, that it’s disrespectful, goes against the rules of the group, and stop being assholes basically – though she was very nice and polite about it … more so than I would’ve been.  Predictably, her post was met by a bunch of men jumping on her saying,  “Just block the guy, choose your battles, it’s not important, get over it, scroll past it, let it go, grow up, stop being a snowflake,” and  complaining that she was “on her soap box,” and that it wasn’t a real problem so why complain, etc.  One guy, who I guess was trying to “help,” said “Agree with the concern, and more, but believe part of the solution is to stay calm and positive. Just breathe.”

As is the norm, although the post she made was calm, cool, and anything but hysterical, she was, quite literally, accused of being hysterical and over-reacting.  The reactions came, of course, from men who have never had to battle these types of attitudes and comments personally; in fact, these same guys are the very culprits who keep feeding the caveman’s posts in the first place.

I am sure there are lots of good guys in my group, too, just like in real life.  Most likely, they stayed quiet throughout all of this to simply keep clear of the scuffle – just like in real life.  The women, as could be predicted, came out in full force to support the female member’s post, rallying around her in true “girl power” form.

The problem is, this idiot guy and his rude followers probably genuinely don’t even perceive a problem.  But come on! Why on earth should a woman have to block someone, scroll past lewd pictures, or just suffer sexism silently? I mean, this question is relevant every day of our lives, but especially in a freakin’ group meant for classic film discussion of all places!  Then, God forbid, a woman has the spiritual fortitude to confront the men and call them out on their overt sexism … well, then she’s down-played, ignored, ridiculed, and gas-lighted.

Sexism is real, and it plays out nearly every single freakin’ day in women’s lives. Women are taught to ignore it, deal with it, cope with it, and never act on it or they’ll be perceived as “over-reacting” or being “hysterical;” it is, after all, just boys being boys.  When can women unite and finally say, “Enough is enough?” If not now, when!? Sexism is so pervasive that it shows up everywhere and anywhere, even in an innocent group on Facebook that was formed to discuss classic movies.

Granted, this is a small group on Facebook.  Alarmingly, though, Facebook tends to be an interesting and realistic mash-up of the real world. Meaning, the people who are your Facebook friends or fellow group members are representative of a small microcosm of who you would find on the street every day.

Frankly, I think I need some new friends.

23 thoughts on “The Classic Battle

  1. Gosh, some of that group sound like a bunch of dinosaurs. There’ll be others out there, I’m sure, if you look hard enough!

  2. So glad you didn’t post that speedo pic. Bleh.

    And kudos to the woman who called Mr. Lewd out for his pics and non-rule following behavior. If he really wants to continue with his choice of non- classy classic pics he needs to start a separate group taking his cronies with him — but I don’t encourage THAT “solution” either.

    Or maybe you and the other gal can selectively invite those who actually participate accordingly and non-offensively starting your own new and improved group leaving the clueluss, the denying, and the ones afraid to speak up in the dust; it may be a quite smallwr group at first but it can quality over quantity. Either of you can make it known this new group os forming and why or you can let members know by private email why they were chosen to see if they are “I’m with her” and “time’s up”.

    Kudos to all the truly classic amd classy women (and men) who weren’t afraid to speak up for what is right … Even if it is some small FB group.

  3. It stinks that too many men just don’t get it, Wendy. Too many people in general, really. Don’t try to tell a whole group how they should feel about something instead of how they state they do!

  4. The big problem everywhere is how many males are so blind to the pervasive sexism that is the lot of all women. They truly “just don’t get it”, and come out with the garbage about ignore it, etc. Until those males who see the problem speak up loudly, i doubt anything will change because women’s voices are not heard by the problem males.

    • That’s the thing, I do wish more men would stand up and say something. I know many do, but there are so many others who agree that sexism is wrong, but they don’t want to get involved. I mean, I guess that’s just human nature (look at the case of Kitty Genovese), but I sure wish it was different.

  5. Simply sticking to the intended subject matter—the “Golden Age of Movies”—should already be sufficient enough to warrant deletion of irrelevant posts and even the expulsion of those who repeatedly violate the policies of that site.

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  7. To put a different spin on this, I have a family member who is an actor. At the moment, he is in a very popular TV show. His character is a complete and total shit about 4 stone overweight, Which to be fair to him, he put on. However on one forum I am in, they found what he actually looks like (which is good looking) the comments from a bunch of women, about my family member made me very uncomfortable to say the least and I think when we objectify someone, we should also be aware that we don’t know who is reading and it could be their mums, dads, sisters, cousins, children

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