Double double standard standard

This post was inspired by a conversation that I overheard at school today.  These two guys were chatting with each other (no women were present) and one remarked that he enjoyed walking up a staircase behind a woman with an attractive tail end (I'm paraphrasing to keep the post at least PG).  The other guy voiced his assent.  The conversation varied through many topics completely unrelated to women and their attractiveness, but multiple times throughout the one man would make interjections concerning his obsession with viewing attractive females.

This is not the first time I have witnessed/been involved in such a conversation.  It really is what straight men think about for a great portion of their time.  It's not even just the "vulgar", "profane", or "ungodly" men either.  When I was in the MTC, the 7 other missionaries in my district (that I was with nearly every waking hour of the day every day) also frequently discussed the topic as well.  They would rate women (since it'st he MTC, that would mean mostly just sister missionaries) as they walked past.  They'd do so in Japanese--possibly to avoid being overheard, who knows.  At any rate, I have heard religious men and men who do not actively participate in any religion discuss women's bodies--sometimes as if they are just objects to satisfy the man's own desires.

Our society not only supports such actions and discussions, but it encourages them.  Television and Internet commercials will use attractive women to sell their products, knowing that straight men will be enticed by such visuals.  We have game shows where a man will pick which woman he wants to date/marry based on her looks.  I won't even go into pornography, but that's another example.  Anyway, expressions of attraction toward the female body are encouraged and exploited in so many ways.

What I wish to point out is the striking double standard that exists in our society.  Men speak about women in such ways, and some women even tolerate it, but any hint of homosexuality is not only discouraged but also insulted and mocked.  I was watching a movie with some friends and at one point one man kissed another.  One of the people watching with me expressed his disgust at having to be exposed to this.  Well, I feel the same way when I hear men talking about women the way they do.  I feel the same way when I'm surfing the web reading a news article and I have to see some woman with enlarged breasts trying to sell me something.

Why is it that we tolerate such objectification of the female body but as soon as a man gives even the slightest hint that he likes another man, horror and disgust are the response?  I mean, consider what would have happened in the situation I described above if I had voiced my feelings.  That man who was talking about how fun it was to stare at particular parts of a woman's body, what would he have said or done if I told him that I liked staring at parts of his body?  He probably would have punched me in the face, called me names, or at the very least been disgusted.  My first question is, if you don't like people talking about your body, then why do you talk about other people's bodies?  My second question is, why am I--as a gay man--not even allowed to hold hands with the man I love without making people upset when all of the straight couples are allowed to do much much more in public?  A straight couple can make out on TV or a movie and no one complains.  But as soon as it's a gay couple, all the straight people in the room feel like vomiting.

I think there should be one standard for all people.  If holding hands is an acceptable public display of affection, then it should be appropriate for gay couples and straight couples alike.  If making out in a movie is appropriate for straight couples, then it should be equally appropriate for gay couples to make out in a movie.  Also, if you want to make comments about how you think certain parts of other people's bodies are attractive, then you shouldn't be uncomfortable with other people doing the same thing to you--whether they're of the same or the opposite sex.  I don't think it's ever a good idea to objectify people--whether they're male or female--but I don't see anything wrong with admiring someone whom you feel is attractive.  Yes, I understand that it's inappropriate to make explicit comments to a person about their body, since such attention is rarely wanted.  But, I'm not talking about that.  If I were even to say something as innocent as "I think you're cute" (which would be very appropriate for a guy to say to a girl) to another guy, the chances are that he would not take it as a compliment and would be offended.

So, basically, I think there are two groups of people that are being oppressed by the way our society has developed.  The first group is women, since they are made to be sexual objects to cater to the desires of men--selling things on commercials and selling their bodies as pornography or prostitutes.   Yes, it's true that when a woman decides to sell her body in one of these ways, she's doing it of her own will and if she really didn't want to do it she could do something else.  But the problem is that when she appears on TV and sells that beer using her attractive body in very little clothing, she's projecting that image onto all women in society, encouraging men to continue to believe their natural instinct, which is that women should exist for men to look at them.

The second group is gay people--male and female alike--since we are not allowed to express our emotions or their affections with each other or to straight people. I know several gay people who afraid to show any affection at all in public, unless it's in a gay club or only gay people are around.  I know of other stories where gay couples have shown affection in public and have been mocked or harassed.  This is completely unacceptable.  Certainly, there is a line of decency--people should not be engaging in intercourse in public--but, holding hands and kissing are widely accepted as appropriate public displays of affection for straight couples, so I think they should be acceptable for gay couples as well.