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Do I need to let this go? My fiance likes shows that are offensive to me.


thanksinadvanc

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Quick background: We've been together for 8 years, my fiance and I. He's amazing. I can't praise him enough!

 

Let's call my fiance "John"

 

There are a couple of shows John likes to watch that I never liked and recently, I realized that it's because they're pretty sexist. It's not been a big deal - I just avoid watching the shows if he happens to have them on, and if we are watching together, he doesn't pressure me to watch them. (The shows are Two and a Half Men and How I Met Your Mother -- a quick google search tells me I'm not the only person who feels this way.)

 

Tonight my fiance was watching a new show and again it struck me that the show was portraying women in a pretty demeaning way. I wondered - some years from now will people look at the shows the same way we look at racist movies and think, "Man, how could those silly people from the 2000s not see how sexist these shows are?" I recognize though that John may not see what I'm seeing as offensive - he's a guy like any other and I'm sure he doesn't think about this stuff half as much as I do.

 

So, what I said to him was, "Can you please think about the shows your watching and try and observe how women are being portrayed?" Of course this kicked off a debate between us. The show we were watching was Black Sails - I only saw 20 minutes of 1 episode but it seemed that all women were hyper-sexualized and most were victims of sexual abuse in some way or another. He truly doesn't understand what my objection is. His point of view is that we are watching a show set in pirate times, and in those times men weren't terribly great with women. My point is not about the storyline, or even the roles of the women in the show (prostitutes, sex slaves, etc). It's that the show perpetuates a stereotype of women as hyper-sexed or abused victims.

 

He was really upset and felt like I was calling him sexist. I tried to say that what I wanted was for him to become more aware and to eventually understand why those things offend me. I do hope that some day they offend him, too. He heard all that as me again calling him sexist.

 

So, we didn't come to any meaningful resolution. How would others handle this situation? Would you let it go or would you try and build empathy in your partner around the things that offend you?

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imo you are overreacting a lot, i am a woman and i love these shows as well, they are TELEVISION shows, not reality, i also love every crime show or forensic shows, does that mean i have a dark and murderous mind? of course not...i think you need to let this go and accept that everyone loves different things, if you keep nagging him about it will only cause more resentment....

i would never critize my BF or anyone for that matter about the kind of tv shows they watch... i personally cannot stand all these "reality" tv shows, but if someone loves watching them, i don't care..

and i really don't think those shows are meant to demean women

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This a pretty simple question.

 

Is him watching shows that are offensive to you a deal breaker yes or no?

 

Yes = Break up and find someone who fits your criteria.

 

No = Don't watch shows with him and do something else when hes watching a show.

 

Be honest with yourself or this "issue" which seems like something I'd shrug off may eat away at you.

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Unfortunately he'd have to stop watching MTV, music videos, football (cheerleaders!), video games, a huge number of movies etc. to get away from it.

 

Our society has gotten so much better in allowing women more freedoms and roles that are not demeaning, BUT unfortunately sexism is still very much alive and well in Hollywood and there is a thriving porn and 'flesh' industry that has an endless supply of young women willing to participate in the porn and entertainment industry in those roles in a quest to be famous and get attention.

 

In fact, the generations that have been raised since the advent of music videos in the 80s and internet have had unprecedented exposure to porn and female flesh/demeaning roles since it is so easily obtainable in ways it wasn't in previous generations. So we have made vast improvements in women's freedoms in some ways, but big regressions in others.

 

So I suspect your fiancé is like many other men of his generation where he doesn't see this as sexist because he was raised on images of women like this and classifies it as fantasy in his mind... and it is everywhere in the culture. And I suspect he watches it for the same reason a lot of men watch it, the titillation factor. Any other argument he tries to give you is really irrelevant (historically accurate? seriously?). He's in it for the guns, swords, and boobs! That is what sells and stimulates and why men watch it.

 

So my suggestion is if he says something silly like 'historically accurate', you say, 'seriously, you're in it for the swords and boobs so don't go there'. And then you accept that as a child of his culture, he will see this stuff as fantasy/relaxation and he was steeped in it as a child so convincing him that it is toxic probably won't work. If he otherwise treats women with respect, I would probably let it go, unless you see lots of other things about him where he behaves in a sexist way (as in refusing to do his share of the cooking and cleaning, saying demeaning things about women etc.). As long as that stuff sells, they will be making it and broadcasting it, and unless he really has a personal 'enlightenment' moment, you can't make him feel the way you do about it (even if you are right that it is demeaning).

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Trust me you're not alone in not liking certain things your OH enjoys / watches. The only difference is other people probably don't let it bother them that much! I totally what what you mean because I think in general our society is brainwashed and sexism / misogyny is so common in media etc that many can't even recognise it when it's right in front of them! Good on you for having strong opinions on it but you obviously love this guy and are happy so don't let some s***y show ruin it for you I mean if he starts acting like a sexist pig because of them then you have issues but if not, maybe just count your lucky stars he's not into some horrible weird porn or something and it's only tv shows that you have to put up with! By the sound of it he was offended by your implication that he was being sexist by watching / enjoying the shows therefore he really doesn't intend to offend you with it and probably doesn't really put much thought into sexist messages that might be coming accross from these shows. Hope you can find a way around this / try and overlook it x

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Honestly there is absolutely nothing wrong with your opinion, I'm similar in many ways as well. However, forcing opinions onto people isn't going to work. If you are one to judge people based on their likes and dislikes, then you are going to find it hard making friends and building relationships.

What is important is that he is not watching How I Met Your Mother because of the sexism, he is watching it for the comedy.

 

If he is sexist in real life, and treats you in a chauvinistic way then that is not because of the television shows. You're not going to change the way he is with you by censoring what he can and can't watch. The fact that you didn't mention how these shows affect his behaviour, which leads me to believe they don't.

You could say the same thing about violent horror films as well in this respect. If someone enjoys watching poor teenagers getting hacked to death by a masked killer, it generally doesn't make us worry that that person is secretly a psychopath.

 

It is just opinion, and both of yours are valid. I don't think it's fair to parent his television watching habits, as it wouldn't be fair to force you to watch them either. You'll have to watch television separately and let him watch what he wants.

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You really need to let it go, or you will lose a great guy over something that to most people means zero.

I myself love those shows, and I don't think they are sexist in any way. Yes, they show beautiful sexy women, I like that because I can admire a beautiful woman without feeling jealous (I'm straight btw). Sex and sexy sells, so it is basically everywhere. It is the way society works these days. If a guy told me he was uncomfortable with me watching Two and a half Men, I would look at him like he was out of his mind and tell him to never, ever cross my path again!

 

But if you have a problem with this, then leave him. Just don't make him give up things he likes, that's not right. You can't tell an adult what he can or cannot watch on TV, for God's sake! This is what my Mom used to do when I was 5-6 years old, cover the TV set with her body whenever 2 people were kissing, lol. So watch out how you treat your guy, or he will resent you and dump you very soon.

 

And please work on your self esteem. If some pretty women on TV can make you this jealous, I hope you are aware gorgeous sexy women exist in the day to day life as well, so what are you going to do, not allow him to go anywhere by himself? Blindfold him? You really need therapy.

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I think you need to let it go. My boyfriend listens to a lot of radio shows that I find stupid or offensive. I watch a lot of crime shows, which he finds either boring or gory. You can't let this sort of thing bother you or else you will go crazy. You also don't have to like everything your SO listens to or watches on TV.

 

As long as he treats YOU right, that's all that matters. Yes, you're offended with some portrayals of women on these shows, but it doesn't mean that he is watching because he AGREES with the portrayals. He probably likes the humor and the jokes. Just like how I like to watch crime shows because I like mystery and forensics, not because I LIKE the idea of people getting murdered and hacked up. There's a big difference.

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I can't believe what I'm reading, is this really how far love has fallen, is love that easily disposable that there's people who would even consider leaving the one they "claim" to love over their choice in tv shows!

 

Almost makes me sick to be honest. (shaking my head in disappointment). It's posts like this that really make me question if love has a chance this day and age when people are so willing to throw something so special away over trivial things such as this.

 

If we've become that disconnected gawd help us all.

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I can't believe what I'm reading, is this really how far love has fallen, is love that easily disposable that there's people who would even consider leaving the one they "claim" to love over their choice in tv shows!

 

Almost makes me sick to be honest. (shaking my head in disappointment). It's posts like this that really make me question if love has a chance this day and age when people are so willing to throw something so special away over trivial things such as this.

 

If we've become that disconnected gawd help us all.

 

People who believe that their SO should be JUST like them, have the SAME values, the SAME sense of humor, the SAME taste in art (movies, shows, music), the SAME ideas, etc. will get up in arms when their SO likes something that they don't.

 

Yes, I like having SOs who are a lot like myself (I don't believe opposites are good for each other) but it's lunacy to expect that you will see eye to eye on everything.

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i totally understand where the OP is coming from however I think OP also have to remember that its a TV SHOW

 

I argue all the time with the guy I am dating about all types of topics because we love to debate and because we both have differing views on just about everything. My advice is to say something about the topic you both can agree on, which can kill the heat. I admit if they are really passionate or really upset, that might be hard to do but thats why it's important to have one coolhead in a relationship, not two hotheads.

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>>who would even consider leaving the one they "claim" to love over their choice in tv shows!

 

I think the problem here is people need to find a balance between what each finds acceptable (about all kinds of values in life), and if the people are too far divergent in their values/educations/beliefs, then all the 'love' (i.e., infatuation/attraction) in the end won't compensate for it.

 

For example, let's say the guy is a beer swilling, sports watching, uneducated, 'Girls Gone Wild' watching kind of guy who hasn't read a book since high school. And the girl is someone who is working on a Master's Degree, enjoys intellectual pursuits, and is very brainy. They can initially have a physical attraction, and may share some fun times, but in the end most people who are that mismatched will break up once the intial physical attraction that many call 'love' has passed. Enduring/true love only happens with time and when people are fairly well matched in terms of goals, values, and perceptions.

 

So that is why the OP needs to evaluate how far apart their value system is. If they are compatible on multiple levels and he maybe watches one or two shows she doesn't like a week, she should let it go. But if he's a machismo jerk and she's rather educated and more enlightened socially, it won't work in the end and she's better breaking up with him.

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Since you say you have no problem with him watching them as long as you don't have to watch with him and you gave no clues that he acts sexist towards you... what is the problem? All you need to do is CALMLY express yourself to him. Tell him that, though he may not understand himself, those shows bother you because of their themes towards women. Express to him how happy you are that he doesn't seem to exhibit sexist signs himself, and that you will do your best to be more open about it. If you can show him that it bothers you but that you don't hold any grudge towards him, he may be more receptive to your concerns. Don't do this as a way to manipulate him into not watching them anymore, but this way he may understand you better and that is what is most important.

 

That, and just be glad he doesn't watch Game of Thrones. That's about as boobalicious as it gets... and it's AWESOME.

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My point is not about the storyline, or even the roles of the women in the show (prostitutes, sex slaves, etc). It's that the show perpetuates a stereotype of women as hyper-sexed or abused victims.

Then what's that portraying the men as? You inadvertently portrayed yourself as a sexiest with that comment. The men are not being portrayed in any better a light if they're holding slaves and using prostitutes and oversexed kittens now are they?

 

In my book they're being cast just as despairingly.

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I'd have found something else to do with my time and not waste it on telling a grown man what he can and can't watch.

 

I think you need to back off. You're not going to settle societal ills on him and his viewing habits. If you dont' like the shows, then you dont' watch them. But telling a grown man what he may or may not watch in his own house is a bit motherish and controlling.

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I can't believe what I'm reading, is this really how far love has fallen, is love that easily disposable that there's people who would even consider leaving the one they "claim" to love over their choice in tv shows!

 

Almost makes me sick to be honest. (shaking my head in disappointment). It's posts like this that really make me question if love has a chance this day and age when people are so willing to throw something so special away over trivial things such as this.

 

If we've become that disconnected gawd help us all.

 

who said it was special? Not all relationships should work out.

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I think the issue here, OP is tht you see him watching these shows and cannot understand why he can't see the portrayal of women as damaging.

 

I think that you need to come at this a different way.

 

I agree with you 100% that these shows are extremely damaging in the way that women are portrayed. In fact, anything created by Chuck Lorre is almost garaunteed to be extremely offensive to the female gender.

 

The problem is that these issues are systemic and 99% of the population no longer notices them.

 

But here's the thing, that being said, I LOVE "How I Met Your Mother" as well as "The Big Bang Theory". I think because I am more aware of what I am watching, that I use these shows as a way of starting a conversaiton with others about the problems inherant in modern portrayals of women with the hopes that more programming will come on that portrays them in different, more positive ways.

 

Instead of getting angry at your boyfriend for liking these shows, why not turn it into a conversation? Watch the shows with him (without insulting them or him for liking them) and even allow yourself to laugh at some jokes (trust me, it's not all awful).

 

Once he can see that you aren't just opposing them for the sake of it, talk to him about the issues that bother you. Make it clear you are not demanding he stop enjoying the show, but that you want him to understand what it is about them that offends you (and women). Make it about issues. DOn't make it an argument. A conversation might help to get him to see a different perspective and while he still might enjoyt the shows, maybe he will also come away with a different viewpoint on women in media.

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Personally I don't think either show you mentioned puts any gender in a good light at all, OP.

Two and a half men, in particular (I can't bring myself to watch the Ashton Kutcher ones) portrays Allan in a terrible light. It is constantly making jokes about him being awkward and unworthy to women because of his divorce and money issues. In reality, it would be sad to hear of a man who can't get a good job, has to move in with his brother and be a single parent and good role model (yet fails) to his son. Yet we are supposed to laugh at his pathetic life. Charlie, however is supposed to be a hero to men. Someone who is lonely, drinks, takes drugs and has constant meaningless sex to fill some kind of void is someone that Allan is left being jealous of, even though, of the two - he is probably more worthy of finding love and success.

With How I Met Your Mother - Ted is actually left looking pathetic by being the hopeless romantic hoping to find love and a meaningful relationship, yet

it is Barney who actually finds it before him - and like Charlie, in the other show, he is way more successful with what Ted wants out of life through being dishonest and cruel to others.

It shows that men are unworthy for being caring, or loving and instead should be hardened, cruel, perverts in order to get what they want.

 

BTW I am simply playing devils advocate, part of my major is women and how they are portrayed in the media, I'm not looking to rustle any feathers. The scary thing is, in these shows I can also find child abuse, homophobia, racism and sexism (of both genders) if I really look hard enough. The type of major I study can really ruin films and TV shows for a person if they let it.

I am yet to find any "perfect" show that has absolutely no discrimination in any of them - I could probably even find reasons to be offended at your favourite TV shows as well. Stereotyping in comedy shows is what the majority find funny, or satisfying. As long as his behaviour is not reflected by any of them, there is nothing to be worried about. It's just TV, enjoy it - it is there for your entertainment. If you don't enjoy it, then turn it off but he doesn't have to match your opinion on everything.

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It's entertainment so women are hyper-sexualized for a reason - because it generates ratings. TV shows and movies do a very poor job of reflecting reality - if he wanted that then he would probably be watching documentaries. Do you use makeup? Do you buy lingerie? By your logic I could take issue with your purchases because you are supporting companies that hyper-sexualize women to an even greater degree in advertising - because that's all you are getting there - pure sex appeal. We are all bombarded by this on a daily basis.

 

I think you need to lighten up and stop giving him grief over this. You are probably coming accross as very irrational and naggy to him and it is eventually going to backfire on you.

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People who believe that their SO should be JUST like them, have the SAME values, the SAME sense of humor, the SAME taste in art (movies, shows, music), the SAME ideas, etc. will get up in arms when their SO likes something that they don't.

 

Yes, I like having SOs who are a lot like myself (I don't believe opposites are good for each other) but it's lunacy to expect that you will see eye to eye on everything.

 

 

Might as well marry yourself, then you have none of those different values, ideas, taste in art etc... bs to deal with =)

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I agree that it is lunacy for you to br shoving your values down a grown man's throat about what is wrong with what he watches on network tv. I watch some of them and would not accept anyone else with such an attitude trying to make me change my viewing habits.

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I could maybe see your point if he was forcing you to watch the shows on your time.

 

But, in this circumstance, yes you should ABSOLUTELY GET OVER IT. If it were me, I would not say another word about it, except to possibly offer an apology.

 

Unless your husband has a neilsen box, he is not "supporting" sexism in any appreciable way.

 

And if he is not sexist against you, or other women, then what is it to you?

 

I watch a show called Shameless. It contains a host of characters that are about the closest to the OPPOSITE of my moral spectrum as you can be. It is DESIGNED to shock and offend. And I don't have a problem with it, because it is a freakin TV SHOW. It's entertainment. It's not a template of how I live my life and never will be.

 

I mean, I assume you have watched shows where people get murdered, right? Almost impossible to avoid. The average person sees over 200,000 violent acts on TV by the time they are 18. Does that mean you "endorse" murder?

 

The whole idea that people close to you should to be offended by the same fictionalized works as you do strikes me as completely absurd.

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