Banter is not an excuse!

I’ve blogged before about the gender stereotyped things we say. Sometimes unintentionally, but nonetheless they can still have an effect on shaping the thoughts and behaviours of the next generation. You can read those posts here, here and here.

Unless you’ve been in a big brother style house, without contact to the outside world you will be well aware of the torrent of sexual abuse and harrasment reports coming out of Hollywood and other places.

This started a #metoo campaign on social media. I have to admit I was gobsmacked at how widespread the problem was.

One of the defenses used to justify this type of behaviour was “It’s only banter!”

In one way I was lucky. As a child I went to an all boys boarding school. I was a shy lad anyway so the thought of even saying hello to a girl had me petrified, never mind passing lewd and obscene comments to one. Even alcohol wasn’t enough to change this, if anything it made me more self conscious and aware.

I have to admit though, there have been times in the workplace that I would have passed comments to long standing female work colleagues that would be classed as unprofessional to say the least.

This was when I sat up and really thought about it. How many times are there that men pass comments to women that they wouldn’t say to another man, or that they would get upset about another man saying to their Sister, Mother, Auntie etc, etc.

I bet there’s a lot.

I found myself nearly saying one today.

I asked my neighbour where his girlfriend was. “Gone shopping.” He replied.

I nearly said “You’re a brave man letting her loose on her own!”

Something inside clicked and I thought, there are so many reasons that statement shouldn’t be said. So I didn’t say it.

From now on this will be my barometer. If I wouldn’t say it to a man, or like it if it was said about a female family member or friend then I won’t be saying it.

Banter is not an excuse! 

Let’s show the next generation how to talk to and treat members of the opposite sex with respect.


11 thoughts on “Banter is not an excuse!

  1. You know what, I agree…to a point! Humour and banter have a place. This is also not a one-way street. Have you heard how women on a hen party talk about men? I guess we all have different barometers depending on upbringing and personal morals. Coming out with something explicitly sexual simply isn’t banter, you’ve crossed a line. Commenting about a woman shopping on her own would be unacceptable to me. As a stay at home dad I’ve been on the receiving end of similar comments from both men and women and it’s infuriating. The #metoo campaign though….it has highlighted some shocking examples. Some of it though, well, the debate has been of pretty poor quality if you ask me. That, however, is what happens on social media. #thatfridaylinky

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said Alan! So many people use ‘Banter’ as an excuse, and it’s not an excuse. As you say they wouldn’t say these things to other men and indeed would be offended if the same thing was said to their sister/wives/girlfriends etc. Great post. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this. The banter issue is a dangerous one, as it’s a great way to shut a victim down if a bully/harasser accuses them of not having a sense of humour. So many comments, like the one you almost made, are ingrained in our society because people who take offence to them are accused of not being able to take a joke. But look at the damage that attitude has caused. You’re right to call it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post Alan recently I have been thinking what’s right and wrong to say as a man, but I agree with John it’s very much a two way street Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it works in both circles and all to often ‘banter’ is thrown around as an excuse. I worked in a place where my manager would just be rude and insulting to me but it was OK as it was ‘banter’ it is no excuse. People need to think more #ThatFridayLinky

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hate when people say nasty things and then follow with “just saying.” It’s the same as “it’s just a joke.” If someone has to end a statement with either of these two things, they should just shut their mouths because they already know they will cause offense! #ThatFridayLinky

    Liked by 1 person

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