Open Mouth, Insert Foot
Here’s what happened…
What’s the Big Deal?
Interestingly, this clip reminds us that no matter how far women have come in their struggle to be viewed as equals, there are still those who will not hesitate to remind the world that even in a democratic nation, women can still be reduced to a “boob” joke. Many have commented on the various social mediums that women can’t take a joke and that this is just another example of how we are now too “p.c.” But here’s the thing. If the pilot leading the airstrikes against ISIS had been a man, would the same person have made any jokes about him? Would any news anchors have made any jokes regarding his sex?
Just imagine how it may have sounded…
“I’m surprised he found the targets since he most likely refused to ask for directions.”
“Of course he would be able to hit the targets, guys practice with their joysticks all the time!”
“Would that be considered ‘balls on the ground’?”
Of course we would not have heard any of those jokes. Why? Because it would have detracted from this important historic moment. Not to mention, where’s the fun in demeaning and degrading men who are from a patriarchal society anyway? I mean, they’re the ones who are supposed to be the macho, strong ones anyway, right? I mean, it’s only funny when we see weak, little women try to be strong leaders. How cute.
Well, not really.
Those who fail to recognize why these comments are not okay are the same ones who fail to recognize that in many regards, men and women are still being held to different standards. And that just isn’t right.
First Apology – Are You Kidding Me?
As expected, Bolling’s “boobs on the ground” comment pissed a lot of people off…including his own wife. Here’s his apology...
Second Apology – Much Better!
So what can we learn from this?
First, understand that when you do or say something that comes across as offensive, it doesn’t matter what your intent was. All that matters is the result. Never start an apology with, “If I hurt you…” Of course you hurt the other person! Otherwise, you wouldn’t be sitting there looking like a jackass and the other person wouldn’t be upset, waiting for an apology from you.
Second, recognize that when a member of a group of people who have historically been marginalized and treated as second class citizens (aka “the weaker sex”) is publicly degraded and that group becomes pissed about it, it’s not the group that’s being “too sensitive.” It’s not the group acting like it can’t “take a joke.” It’s not society being “too p.c.” It is the person who made the degrading remark being an ass. Period.
Third, listen to the feedback and learn from it. Rather than having your apology come from a place of explaining yourself to be understood, try first to understand. If you come from a place of understanding, then you will be open to learning why what you did or said was offensive.
Fourth, when you apologize, admit that what you did or said was wrong. If you don’t believe that what you did or said was wrong, then your apology isn’t an apology and it certainly won’t come across as an apology. The other person will see right through you. It will show in your posture, your hand gestures, your facial expressions, and your words. Admit the wrongdoing and be sincere about it. And if you still don't think you're wrong, then review the third step above and do more listening than talking.