Written by Ade Holder
There is no doubt we live in a world where a lot of people are trying to do the right thing, a lot people are doing the wrong thing and don’t care and there are also a huge number of people that mean well but are worried about getting it wrong. In fact, many of us are expending a huge amount of emotional energy trying to support causes and change but is this energy going to the right places? When it comes to gender equality, sexual harassment of either sex, exploitation and objectification it all gets rather complex! Obviously sexual harassment of any kind is terrible but where is the line drawn when it comes to objectification of the opposite or same sex?
The hen do
There was once a time, many years ago where the men went out on a stag do, which meant the pub and maybe something a little naughty by way of a stripper, and the hen do was basically a night in with the girls or a few drinks in the local. Since then the world has thankfully changed and a hen do is as big a deal, if not bigger than the stag and women are at liberty to do anything they feel they want to. It is as common for the girls to hit the go kart track before heading back to a hired party house as it is for them to go to a spa and much more in-between.
While men these days seem to be shying away from traditional strip clubs and strippers for stag dos it seems the ladies are still quite keen on a member of the opposite sex playing some kind of scantily clad role in the proceedings and why not?
What kind of nudity are we talking about?
Rather than the traditional and slightly old-fashioned male strippers of the Chippendale era, it is very popular to have naked or semi naked butlers servicing drinks and helping with party games at hen parties these days. But there are also options for a hunky chap to pose and help run a life drawing class or cocktail making. All fun and all rather naked for the pleasure of the guests.
Where does the modern woman stand on naked men at a hen do?
The question is a potentially challenging one for people who are very keen on gender equality and the associated issues. While it is now considered poor taste in many groups for men to have half naked women to ogle at and flirt with in any location, is it ok for women to do the same?
Are these men being objectified?
Are they offended?
Well it seems not.
Are they happy to do it?
They certainly seem to be.
Is it different for men?
In many cases women are fighting for equal rights they do not yet have and as such are in a minority or at least on the back foot. Men do not suffer this problem so are, by default, one step ahead in many areas. This situation then leads to reasoning that it is OK for women to objectify men but not OK for men to do the same back because men are doing so as part of a wider power position and women are not. You may not agree with this and there are a million and one issues surrounding it, but this could be why it is OK. For many women, however, it is fine for men to look at ladies in this way and vice versa.
The “bottom” line
Without disregarding the political and gender issues, it is important to tick a few boxes when thinking about this for either sex. Are the people being paid, are they part of an established company, are they safe, are they happy and comfortable and do they control the situation? If all of the answers are yes then perhaps women and men should be at liberty to have naked men, women and trans people in whatever clothes or state of nudity they wish to be in at their party.
It is important for women to appreciate that not all men are the same just as women are not. Just because one muscle bound hunk feels confident with nothing on there are many who feel the opposite and many even feel threatened and body shamed by these chaps. Just like women, men are faced with images of largely unobtainable physiques on a daily basis. If both sexes remember this and keep it in mind, why not enjoy a hunky butler at your hen do or maybe your stag do!
Ultimately should we be expending such massive amounts of energy trying not to objectify each other, be sexually interested in certain body parts or to remove images of topless men because other minorities find it offensive? Or should we be seeking out deep and hugely troubling social justice like child trafficking? Or should we be trying to address the enormous migrant issues in the middle east, plastics in our oceans, climate change and modern slavery? Perhaps it is simply easier for some people to harbour some mild outrage at a naked lady who is safe and happy doing her job than it is to address the sweat shop clothes they are wearing and the fridge full of plastic!