Title IX panel tackles objectification, “locker room talk”

Oklahoma City Community College’s Title IX Education Series continued Feb. 28th with a discussion of “locker room talk” and how language can permeate in ways that many aren’t self-aware enough to realize.

titleixtalkThe diverse panel assembled to talk about the power of language and “locker room talk” consisted of Dr. Jennifer Allen, Professor of Psychology; Dr. Bruce Cook, Professor of Psychology; and AJ Crowell, E-Learning Specialist of the Oklahoma City Community College Family and Community Education Center.

Language can shape and shift society — for better or worse. It all depends on how you approach every situation with your speech.

The phrase “locker room talk” gained prominence in the second Presidential Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in October when Trump brushed off his comments of sexual assault as throwaway “locker room talk.”

“Objectification can creep into conversation usually without notion,” Allen said. “We lack empathy, yet we have sympathy.”

The panel and audience discussed how casual objectification goes unnoticed. For example, rejection of men by women, or vice versa; the rejected party feels vindicated to demean the other person for not having interest in them. This is exacerbated when online sources are brought into the equation. Not seeing a person’s body language and physical emotions while sending demeaning messages makes it easier to overlook the error in a person’s ways.

“Your identity becomes based on what others use to bring you down,” Cook said.

He said a comment about society becoming more easily offended sparked a deep discussion. The matter in question became whether we are more educated over what is more appropriate to address nowadays, or if society doesn’t like to be challenged about different viewpoints.

“Make sure you know who you are. Be responsible for your own moral. It starts with self confidence,” Sue Chilless, Adult Education and Literacy Instructor of the Oklahoma City Community College Family and Community Education Center, said.

An agreement was reached between the vocal audience and panel that self-awareness lends credence to a person’s words or actions. Education about what is or isn’t accepted can help an individual who may speak out of line without noticing the difference.

The next Title IX gathering, “Coffee & Gender,” is scheduled for March 9th.

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