Paul Henry did an interview in a restaurant and at one point commented on a woman at a neighbouring table saying she had ‘the perfect titties’ and exchanging some further related thoughts with his female publicist. The feminist brigade have responded with outrage while white knights such as Brian Edwards have also waded in. Readers’ responses seemed about evenly divided. Many noted the hypocrisy of feminists who would criticize a male for ‘objectifying’ a woman but never mention that women also frequently comment on men’s physical attributes. It seems that if ‘objectifying’ comments are made with poetic, indirect or euphemistic language by men or if made by women using any language, that’s ok. Others have disputed the idea that most women might be expected to find admiring comments like that unwelcome. After all, attrractive women wield a great deal of power from their sexual appeal and can easily turn that into significant profit, so why would they object to men’s admiration of the physical appeal they work so hard to bolster?
We believe everyone has the right to state they are offended by Henry’s comments or anyone else’s comments, and to express their preferences regarding how others behave. However, demanding that others conform to your preferences is a step too far, while irrational, false and/or socially destructive responses deserve to be challenged. (more…)