Thursday, June 03, 2010

DADT, Communal Showers, Socialization and Bullsh*t.

I'm thinking again today about willful ignorance and intellectual dishonesty.  I have to accept that some of the ignorance isn't willful but is, instead, just unfortunate.

One of the things I'm confronting in my head is a situation were a friend tried to make the case for what it, in essence, a stall tactic.  I usually am comfortable with letting events play out on their own time line.  I dislike those who chant "Change!  Now!" with utter disregard for the context in which they demand change.  In this case, though, I have to face the reality that if the change is not implemented soon, if not immediately, then the political reality is that the environment will prevent any sort of action in the future.  Change has to happen now or it won't happen at all.

I am reminded of a child being told it is time for bed.  "Five more minutes?" the child keeps asking.  If the parent gives the child another five minutes, then another, and another, soon enough the child will have achieved his goal of staying up as late as he wanted.  Someone in this relationship needs to be the parent.

In this case, the "Five more minutes" bullshit is over.  There's no reason for Five More Minutes, and the request for Five More Minutes is disingenuous in that it's intended not for the stated case of examining the situation but is instead intended to delay action until any sort of action is impossible.

I call Shenanigans.  I call Bullshit.

I'll be clear: I'm talking about the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.  It was a stupid law when it was written, and it's a stupid law now. 

In that same Five More Minutes conversation, I was asked a good question: if it's no big deal for gay and straight men (or women) to shower together, then why not have coed showers?

Well, OK.  First, I think, one does not join the military for its accommodations.  Second, we need to examine human nature and cultural socialization. 

In the Human Nature part we have to keep in mind that some things are hard wired into the human brain.  We all have a sexual nature of some sort.  Perhaps I'll get into the discussion of Gay to Straight being on a continuum and not a binary.  People are naturally sexually aroused by *something*. 

The Socialization part is that we are trained while we are children and into adulthood that sexual behavior is most widely accepted only in certain circumstances.  It is beyond rude, it is socially unacceptable to express sexuality in an inappropriate, especially unwanted, manner.

So, why not coed showers?  Mostly it's because of that social convention.  The majority of humans are on the Straight end of the scale and, as such, would experience some sort of sexual reaction to a coed shower.  Our social conventions do not train us for this situation and as such the nature would be un-checked by training and conditioning.  Would it be anything more than awkward?  In most cases, no.  In enough cases, though, the fragile constructs of personal and sexual identity would be challenged enough to cause problems such as unwanted attention, harassment, or in worst case, assault.

So, then, wouldn't this happen between gays and straights in a single-sex environment? 

I don't think so.  Same-sex socialization is very different than opposite-sex socialization.  Children are trained and conditioned to be together, separated by biological sex, from a very young age.  Even as children are developing and discovering their own internal nature of their sexuality, they learn that the environment in which they operate does not allow for, and will not tolerate, unwanted sexuality.  Guys, think of how terrifying it was to even consider the unfortunate situation of "popping a boner" in the gym shower during high school.  Misery.

Will there be any sort of unwanted attention, harassment, or assault?  Of course there will be.  There always will be.  For a small portion of the population, the socialization is incomplete, ineffective, or plain old wrong.  Those people in those situations will always be present in some manner, and their behavior will always be unacceptable.

Here's where the ignorance plays in, I think.  A lot of people still think of homosexuality as some sort of perversion and still consider it in the same category as sexual predatory behavior.  They think that a gay person is more likely to commit some sort of assault than a straight.  I suspect that if the crime statistics carried that kind of information we'd see that's not the case.  Nevertheless, because some people think that the Gays are Out To Get Them and are Deviants and Predators, they should be segregated. 

That's Bullshit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay--BUT...What about protecting those who are gay from those who are gay preditors? I agree with what you are saying for the most part but after a certain period of time our socialization is going to change and we won't have the same rules keeping us in check. I do not want to be objectified by anyone--gay or straight. I think DADT should be repealed but I also think military "accommodations need to be adjusted some how to afford more privacy to all personnel don't directly in a combat situation.