Rob Jenkins - 08/09/09
Double standard leads to bruised ribs

When it comes to objectification of the opposite sex, society definitely has a double standard.

I'm talking about a real double standard, mind you, not an imagined one, like the media's perceived over-reporting of Republican politicians' infidelity and under-reporting of Democrat infidelity. That's not a double standard. It's just that Democrats' having affairs stopped being news around 1960.

The double standard I'm talking about is that women - nice women, people's wives and mothers - can objectify men without any negative repercussions. Not so the reverse.

For example, the other day my wife and I were discussing the fact that women generally don't feel amorous as often as men. This is not, by the way, because women don't often feel amorous but because men always do.

Anyway, in explaining why she's sometimes not in the mood, my wife made the following statement: "Some days I'm just not interested. It wouldn't matter if Hugh Jackman walked through the door."

Oh, OK, now I understand. Thanks for clearing that ... Hey! Wait a minute ...

Of course, her statement is perfectly in keeping with what I've personally observed in movie theaters.

Take the above mentioned Mr. Jackman. (Please. Take him anywhere but Gold's Gym.) Several months ago my wife and I went to see "Australia," which stars Jackman and Nicole Kidman. There's one scene in which Kidman's character suddenly comes upon Jackman's while he's performing his evening ablutions - all damp and, of course, bare-chested.

Every women in the theater, my wife included, let out an audible gasp. It sounded like this: "Ooohhhhh!" The last time I heard her make that sound was ... come to think of it, I'd never heard her make that sound.

I heard it again just a few weeks ago, though, when I took my family to see the new Harry Potter movie. Among the trailers was one for the next "Twilight" installment. I'm sure most of you have seen it by now. The Jacob character - you guessed it - takes off his shirt. And all the women in the audience go - you guessed it - "Oooohhhh!"

Now, getting back to my claim of a double standard, imagine for a moment if an actress like Jessica Alba or Megan Fox appeared on screen wearing a revealing outfit. (I know that's difficult to imagine.) Would all the men in the audience make appreciative noises at a decibel level of, say, 125?

No, they would not. Because if they did - if they even let escape a barely-audible sigh - a sharp, well-placed elbow leading to severely bruised ribs would be the very least they could expect. They might very well find themselves sleeping on the couch.

And they might also find that their beloved was not feeling very amorous for some time to follow. Not even if Hugh Jackman walked through the door.

Well, maybe then.