I have played many sports over my lifetime: soccer, rugby, badminton, golf, tennis. I have been a member for more than 30 years of different gyms. So, I have heard a lot of locker room banter among men of different ages, classes, education levels, nationalities.
When that talk turns to women, there is a commonality. There are exchanges about how attractive a certain woman is and sometimes comments about this or that part of her anatomy or character. There are assessments and judgments. And there’s usually a bit of fantasy, especially if the woman is a public figure, an actress or a singer. (“God, what I’d like to do with her.”) And sometimes some of the remarks can be crude. I’ve noticed that happens more often with younger men. As most men age the banter changes to become softer or turns to other subjects.
But I have never heard any man say that, as a matter of course, they feel compelled to kiss and actually kiss an unwilling woman or to grab her genitals. I’ve never heard any man say that their status as a “star” or “boss” or “manager” or any other position of power entitles them to be a sexual aggressor and to get away with it.
I have never heard any man brag to another man that he tried very hard (“like a bitch”) to have sex with the other man’s professional colleague, a married woman, and then demean her body.
When a man does say these things, he is not just indulging in locker room banter. He is describing actions, his own past and present behavior. He is relating sexual assaults on young women. He is saying: “See how powerful I am and what I can do without any consequences to me.” And when he says how he can’t help doing these things, he is revealing a deep and abiding compulsion to abuse women.
It is not a defense to say that other guys do it too or that Bobby does it more than I do. We are each personally responsible for our own actions.
And it not a defense or an acceptable justification to say that boys will be boys. Especially when you are 70 years old. When does a boy become a man?
No man wants his daughter or sister or wife or friend to be abused and exploited in this way. And no man wants his son to see this kind of behavior as admirable or a model for manhood.
If you do not understand these things, you are not yet worthy to be called a man. You are a predator.