Friday, August 14, 2009

Off Topic: Women need not cover their breasts on planes, but men's Speedos at a theme park are banned: another double-standard where men come in last

Stick with me on this one. Here are two relatively trivial incidents that are nonetheless kind of a microcosm of the double-standards in how men and women are treated in 2009. It shows how women don't tolerate a whiff of discrimination, but whatever happens to men is just fine -- that is, if women say it's just fine.

Incident number one: Two years ago, Southwest Airlines found itself in the center of a feminist brouhaha when it told two women passengers that their outfits were inappropriate to fly. One of the woman at the eye of the storm, Kyla Ebbert, "offered to pull the top of her sweater over her breasts and pull her skirt down as far as possible. A compromise that was finally agreed upon." But the issue wouldn't go away and the Sisterhood took up her cause. Well, we all know what happened: "Southwest Airlines Co. says it is apologizing to a young California woman who was told her outfit was too skimpy to fly, and it's using the brouhaha as a marketing ploy — announcing a "miniskirt fare sale." Chief Executive Gary Kelly "declined to give his opinion of [the young woman's] outfit, and said the airline needs to 'lean towards the customer.'" Kelly said: 'We don't have a dress code at Southwest Airlines, and we don't want to put our employees in the position of being the fashion police,' he said, 'but there's a fine line you walk sometimes in not offending other passengers.'" In order words, her breasts were showing and we don't like it, but, hey, we lost the public relations battle on this one.

Now to be certain we're all on the same page, Ms. Ebbert's breasts were exposed. Heterosexual males from a certain age up are generally aroused by the sight of female breasts. Please note I am not suggesting that is sufficient reason to force women to cover-up.

Incident number two: Fast forward two years later, to this month. Britain's most popular theme park has banned men from wearing the dreaded Speedos. "The company said today that a number of men had been sporting tight trunks in its waterpark during the recent hot weather. It went on: 'To prevent embarrassment among fellow members of the public and to maintain the family friendly atmosphere at the resort, bosses have taken the extreme measure of banning these tight trunks from their popular waterpark located within the Splash Landings Hotel. . . . the style itself is not deemed public or family friendly, and therefore we are requesting that male swimmers wear more appropriate styles such as boardshorts."

A female friendly publication gave the ban the light-hearted treatment.

Another female features writer applauded the move: "The tight-fitting trunks are, apparently, 'not public- or family-friendly'. Hear, hear. Let's be honest: no man, of any age, in any state of repair, looks good in Speedos, not even a ginger George Clooney."

Imagine if a male writer deigned to applaud Southwest's move telling the woman to cover up -- because he didn't want to see women dress that way. What do you think would happen to him? He'd be fired, that's what would happen. The Sisterhood would demand his testicles on a silver platter.

That same female writer used the Speedos incident for a little de rigueur male bashing: "But it's strange, isn't it? Sometimes men are moaning wimps, and sometimes they want to show exactly what they're made of."

You tell 'em, sister!

What lessons do these two distinct incidents teach us? Please understand, I have no dog in this hunt. I wouldn't wear Speedos. But the fact that I don't approve of them doesn't mean I should dictate my opinion to the men who like to wear them. And that's the whole point. Some irrefutable truths are apparent:

First, while most males above a certain age are aroused by the sight of female breasts, it is fair to assert that far fewer females are aroused by the sight of a man's bulge.

Second, some women like to wear skimpy outfits that show their breasts; some men like to wear Speedos that show their bulges.

Third, when women are told to cover up on airplanes, obviously because their attire will engender arousal among the male clientele, the feminists have a conniption. (Please note it is unlikely that a man would complain about female passengers' skimpy attire -- the whiners would almost always be other women.) The airline backs down, because the issue is framed in terms of discrimination against women.

Fourth, when men are told to cover up, obviously because some women think the sight of male bulges are "gross" (not "arousing," mind you), everybody is just fine with it, no one dares scream "discrimination," and the arbiters of all things gender-related -- the cackling hens who write features for major dailies -- have given it their blessing because they don't want to see men wear Speedos. Never mind what the men want. Men who want to wear Speedos are to be ridiculed.

In our society, men are the ones who dream up almost every innovation, and take almost every risk to implement them; men are the ones who build essentially every building and almost every furnishing inside them; and men are the ones who risk their lives to protect and rescue our citizens from every kind of harm. But make no mistake, men don't rule society. Women do. Women dictate what men are permitted to do, and women refuse to allow men to dictate to them. And if there are double standards that favor women -- and there are plenty -- nobody cares. If men complain, they are "whiners."

These two incidents -- as silly as they might seem -- hold a mirror up to modern day gender issues, and the picture isn't pretty for men.