Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Men in Bras

Lemon and Curtis: "Some Like it Hot."
During a long breakfast conversation at the seashore, we got into what people are wearing on the beach.

Though I'm not much of a beach guy, I'm a big ocean guy. Love to be in the water or on the water, but sitting on the beach, not so much. This week, I did some beach-sitting and I was pretty surprised by some of the beach fashions in the "family town" we occupied.

So, maybe the conversation started with my discovery that, some time since the last visit I  made to a beach (maybe ten years ago? -- actually sitting on the beach, that is...) it became okay for girls from twelve to fifty to pretty much not cover their posteriors. I've never been prudish, but I do kind of wish the starting age for this kind of thing were, say, twenty... Nevertheless, the beach is more cheeky than it once was... (Thank you. I'm here all week. Don't forget to tip your bartenders...)

Then my son said something that immediately presented itself as the basis for my next (this) post:

"It's 2019. A dude could walk onto the beach wearing a bikini bra and no one would even notice or care."

Interesting, isn't it? This is what he's been sold, and it is a lie. The lie he's been force-fed for many years, in school and online and on TV, is that everyone -- or at least mostly all -- are okay with gender-role negation. But it just isn't true.

Most ladies are "straight." Most straight ladies would rather see their men in pants than in dresses. Most men are "straight." Most straight men would rather see their women in dresses than in mechanics' coveralls.

I think the statements above are pretty indisputable. And nothing in there is evaluative, when it come to gender roles. It just happens that it is so. Most people are (to varying degrees) are in favor of traditional gender indicators at least. But I think it is safe to say that very few people on the beach, if any, would see a guy in a bikini bra and either not "even notice" or "care."

When I see those young girls in thong bikini bottoms, I immediately judge their parents. I admit it. I wonder how they could allow their daughter to go to the beach, at such a young age, in such objectifying attire. But here's the thing: I evaluate the parents, but I would never say anything to them. She's their daughter, not mine. I can think what I think, but I can't always say what I want.

And that is similar to what is going on when our fictitious fellow traipses onto the beach with a bikini bra on. People think various things, like (and remember, these are voices given to different kinds of  hypothetical people, not me):

"What the ____ is wrong with that guy?"
"Good for him!"
"What a (slur)."
"Did I see what I think I just saw?"
"Well that makes no practical sense..."
"He's just doing that for attention."
"I hope his dad is not alive to see that."
"I think it is adorable."
"I hope my son doesn't see this..."
"That is a mental condition, right there."
Even thoughts as dark as: "I'll kick his ___."

Etc., etc., etc....

See, just about no one would see that and "not notice" or "not care. One way or the other, everyone who saw him would notice and they would care/be upset or -- least of all, I think -- be supportive (pardon the pun).

If I don't tell the parents how wrong I think it is that their daughter is wearing a thong bikini, it's because it is not my right to say it. So why would the people on the beach appear to my son in the light of modern Internet myths? Why would they seem not to care or notice?

Because they are afraid to say what they think. Or, at the very least, they don't want the hassle that saying what they think will create.  It's the only reason. It's now fashionable and easy to speak out in support of "difference," but it is an invitation to be loudly attacked and eventually shunned if you go the other way.

Take that as you like, but the fact remains that the fear that we have generated as a world society is the reason why everyone seems to not care about the turning away from tradition. It's a kind of false data report: "Look, that guy is wearing a bra and no one even cares! What a great world."

Um, no. That simply is not what is happening. I wish it were just about propriety, like my parent-judgment, but it is not. We are afraid of the consequence of the consequences of speaking up, so we act contented, like Stepford wives...

Of course, some of the thoughts I represented ought not to be said or even thought. But some are not harmful, and not just the ones in support of our bra-donning friend.

Just as Donald Trump is creating an illusion that the whole US is racist and hard-line conservative, so are media and social media creating the illusion that no one cares about tradition. We haven't lost our individual opinions; we just fear expressing the ones that don't fit onto the log-flume of the loudest voices.

I, for one, made it clear to my son that his perception is wrong. They care; they are just bullied into not speaking out loud.

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