A Place of Safety
I expect simple behaviours here. Friendship, and love.
Any advice should be from the perspective of the person asking, not the person giving!
We have had to make new membership moderated to combat the huge number of spammers who register
















You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > General Talk > Unconscious sexual stereotyping
Unconscious sexual stereotyping  [message #67303] Sat, 12 January 2013 18:30 Go to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13518



I have spent the last couple of days on training courses. The first one gave me reasons to think. It was an Elementary First Aid course: STCW95 Elementary First Aid - basic, immediate, and emergency response to the most common emergencies on board, including CPR. I need it to get a commercial skipper's endorsement so I can take paying passengers on boat charter trips. The course is a highly commercial course attended by many people who go on to get jobs as paid deckhands on superyachts. The attendees were pretty much ex military looking for decent roles in civvy street. There were 8 blokes of which I was the oldest by a good 10 years, and a girl, decent looking (important) and mid twenties, perhaps younger. The instructor was an old grizzled seadog.

That sets the scene, and there was an obvious dynamic of all the blokes bar one chasing the girl, who was well able to take care of herself. The old seadog instructor was my concern. He had stereotypes through and through. Oddly, we have to be very careful in First Aid about touching people, even if we're trying to help them with life threatening injuries. To illustrate this he asked the girl to lie on the floor. "It's easier to show you this on a lady than a gentleman!"

It is probably reasonable not to fondle a girl's breasts or anyone's pudenda, and it is sensible to tell the course about this. Indeed the way I have just done so is the way to do it. But this is how he described it (broadly). "Gentleman, don't touch the ladies' breasts, bad luck there. And also not in this are (indicating crotch), so there's no reason to rip her clothes of. And girls, no need to rip the boys' clothes off either!"

I suppose it was an attempt at a joke, but it got me thinking about sexual stereotypes. Academically she had a good figure, at least in jeans (I saw it in swimwear today and it needed toning, but mine needs more toning), but that doesn't make her a sex object, nor an excuse for borderline smut. Equally I don't imagine I was the only gay person on the course, and I felt that the stereotyping was socially excluding me (and him, or her).

A few years ago I;d have chatted to the principal of the training establishment about it. Today I choose not to be angry and simply see it as the old seadog's problem. He will not change. But he won't be teaching these course much longer either.

My thinking on all of this is half formed. I was wondering what your thoughts on it are.




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Unconscious sexual stereotyping  [message #67309 is a reply to message #67303] Wed, 16 January 2013 00:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Smokr is currently offline  Smokr   United States

Likes it here
Location: the burning former USofA
Registered: July 2010
Messages: 399



Quote:
I suppose it was an attempt at a joke, but it got me thinking about sexual stereotypes. Academically she had a good figure, at least in jeans (I saw it in swimwear today and it needed toning, but mine needs more toning), but that doesn't make her a sex object, nor an excuse for borderline smut. Equally I don't imagine I was the only gay person on the course, and I felt that the stereotyping was socially excluding me (and him, or her).

I see it as being too sensitive. No offense. lol
Of course, I wasn't there, and not privy to other conditions/dynamics among the group.
But for one, if you hadn't announced yourself as gay, why would he assume there was a gay man present who might be offended that his sexuality not be included in a miniscule attempt to get through a socially conditioned uncomfortable topic.
Now, of course, if he's in such a paid, professional teaching atmosphere, you'd expect better anyway, sexuality aside.
But, for the root question, your feeling excluded in that comment, I think you over-felt it. And most likely he has a certain mandate to work under, in that he is probably instructed not to bring up homosexuality in classes. And probably being an old sea-dog type, doesn't do so 'while in the workplace' in our 'modern age of sensitivity'.
Though come to think of it, he might have some pressure from above about all that 'sexual harassment' going on, so used a female as the point. You want to respond to a female victim, but be very careful about doing so.
In the end, he should have picked a male, and demonstrated that you don't need to go ripping off anyone's clothes, at least right off the start.



raysstories.com
Re: Unconscious sexual stereotyping  [message #67311 is a reply to message #67309] Wed, 16 January 2013 07:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13518



The interesting thing is that the environment he provides training for is a highly sexually charged one. Superyacht crews are self confessed participants in random sexual romps, and the cabin steward area is heavily biased towards gay men. The bunch I was with were more the deck hand brigade than the indoors brigade, but that still means that seadog instructor was careless with his alleged humour and his stereotyping.

As you say, there are better ways of handling this situation. The course was exceedingly boring and I suspect he was trying to introduce what he felt passed for humour to lighten it. He was no comedian.

Oversensitive? Not sure about that. I think a smidgen on the oversensitive side, but by no means far enough to get all offended and have a hissy fit over it and become offensive myself. I think I was more wistful over lost opportunities for the man to get it right.

The young lady, by the way, was realistic. "If I'm being resuscitated and you happen to be grabbing a boob because you're saving my life, get on and save my life!"

[Updated on: Wed, 16 January 2013 07:58]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Unconscious sexual stereotyping  [message #67312 is a reply to message #67303] Wed, 16 January 2013 09:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
saben is currently offline  saben   Japan

On fire!

Registered: May 2003
Messages: 1537



I think it just goes to show how much we're conditioned to think in certain ways. It can be really hard not to.

Even as a gay guy I often use very gendered language "god I'm glad I'm gay, women annoy me". Or jump to assumptions of sexuality based on the appearance of people (I never imagine ugly guys as gay unless they tell me, yet attractive ones are gay in my mind more than is statistically likely).

I don't think the instructor was alone in saying what he did. But he's definitely out of touch with younger or more progressive people. But even young, progressive people are still wrapped up in a whole bunch of culturally conditioned language about sexuality and gender.
Re: Unconscious sexual stereotyping  [message #67313 is a reply to message #67312] Wed, 16 January 2013 10:02 Go to previous message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13518



You are entitled to express a view that women annoy you. That isn't more than a personal statement of fact. Heterosexual men never imagine ugly women either, I suspect! Unless, of course, they are attracted to gargoyles, when anything will do.

The younger generation is hamstrung by predecessor generations. The youthful rebel becomes the older conservative. What has happened to all the hippies? Come to that, how many of the hippies were homosexual friendly? How many (in the USA) became Tea Party Republicans, I wonder? How many in the UK became hardline Tories (somewhat to the left of republicans)?

[Updated on: Wed, 16 January 2013 10:03]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Previous Topic: Perhaps a little hope here.
Next Topic: Why do we look?
Goto Forum: