My name is Skeptic Turtle and I'm a prude.
Everybody please say it together: "Hi, Skeptic."
Thanks. Hi. Yes. I admit it. Growing up Catholic must have been part of it. My folks were pretty open minded, but then again my mother would mutter about men with long hair needed to get hair cuts and about girls who dressed too provocatively.
Starting with that upbringing, I added feminist theory in college. I read Mary Daly, Catharine MacKinnon, and Andrea Dworkin and took their theories to heart. How does a young heterosexual man with hormones reconcile Andrea Dworkin? Let's just say I didn't date much for a couple years.
Andrea Dworkin mocking me
I was the campus radical who was also anti-drinking, anti-drugs, anti-sex. Yeah, real fun at a party! Since those days when I had everything figured out, I've loosened up some. My inner prude still rules.
So when I hear a six year old singing Sir Mix-a-Lot's Baby Got Back, I don't know how to respond. Initially, I find it troubling. Little kids. Sexuality. Body image problems. Entrenched gender norms. I find this confluence troubling.
I check myself. Is it really a big deal that a kid is singing about big butts? Does it do harm to her or others? Am I being a hypersensitive, humorless bore?
Sure that song encapuslates messages I don't wish to direct to my children. Is the solution to get offended and try to suppress? Kids are going to get all sorts of undesirable messages. Perhaps the focus should be on counterbalancing with other messages that deal with body image and sexual roles. Is it really a big deal that some guy likes to talk about how big butts get him hot and bothered?
This morning a friend brought to my attention a local event coming up called the Skirt Chaser 5K. It's a promotion for a sportswear company that makes sporty skirts. All women participants are required to wear the skirts and get a three minute head start. The men get to try to "catch" the women. Get it? Ha! Ha! Ha... Wuh?
Nothing like finishing up being literally chased by dozens of sweaty men for half an hour and then engage in some cheesy dating games! Now that's icing on the cake!
Am I just being a humorless prude again? So what if someone wants to organize a consensual event that involves some light battle of the sexes meet a dating game show?
It's a question of degrees, but this run crosses the line. Violence in relationships and workplace sexual harrassment continue to be problems in our communities. How can a public event that celebrates "skirt chasing" not be a slap in the face of women in the community who have undergone unwelcome advances from skirt chasers or dealt with men who have figuratively or literally run them down? Didn't the phrase "skirt chasing" stop being funny about 30 years ago?
I get it. It's a clever idea to promote skirts sportswear, but that doesn't make it inoffensive. Maybe I'm a prude. But I wish the PR people for this sport skirt company had a few more scruples.
Oh, and kids under 13 can participate and it costs more for women to enter (because they get a skirt!) Baby, you've come a long way!
The Skirt Chaser 5K has already been held in 5 cities this year and will be held in 7 more. To see if your community is hosting one, check out the website.
A total of 3,174 people have participated in the first five races of this year. Women have outnumbered men almost 2 to 1. In all but one race at least one woman has been able to outrun all the men.
I did a scientific poll of Facebook friends on the matter. People were split on whether it was offensive, but they overwhelmingly thought it was stupid.