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Jeanne Phillips

Fiancée wants her intended to halt ‘boys’ club’ culture

DEAR ABBY: My fiancé is in a group chat with a dozen of his friends. They are all professional men in their 30s with families. They regularly send each other pornographic images. This includes the group “icon,” which appears to be a solicited picture of a woman’s behind with the group name written on it with permanent marker. My fiancé claims the image is “photoshopped” and that he doesn’t look at the pictures. This disturbs me.
I think my fiancé should tell his friends not to send these images and to change the group icon. My fiancé disagrees. He says it hurts no one and it’s OK to do in a private chat. I don’t think it’s so private since this is on the phones they use in public and it’s in a group chat. It also hurts women by distilling their worth to looks.
Hasn’t the #MeToo movement and ongoing shift in our culture shown it is sometimes men’s responsibility to end this “boys’ club” culture? I want my fiancé to talk to his friends since they all live apart, but I want to convince him he should take a stand against this degrading attitude toward women’s images.

DEAR TIRED: Your fiancé is not going to change his friends’ behavior by doing what you are pushing him to do. I have it on good authority that this is not uncommon behavior among “guys” these days, the equivalent of old-time barber shop talk, reading men’s magazines and looking at Playmate calendars — all of which have been transported to the digital platform. The members of the chat may talk about sports, cars and tech gadgets as well as about women — typical things men discuss when they’re together. Unless they are using their phones to solicit extracurricular sex, I don’t think you should be censoring their use of them.

DEAR ABBY: Our 25-year-old granddaughter is engaged to be married to another woman very soon. Her parents told us she is gay a few years ago. She’s very independent and will soon have her medical degree. She has been away at college. When she’s home she visits us, but we have never been able to talk about it with her.
She knows we don’t condone something we believe is wrong. We are torn between going along or continuing to ignore the issue. Can you help?

DEAR NOT IN FAVOR: If you feel you can change your granddaughter’s sexual orientation by telling her you disapprove of her being gay, forget it. It won’t work and may drive a permanent wedge between you. It might be helpful if you talk to her and let her explain that her sexual orientation isn’t something she “chose” — it’s part of who she is: an intelligent, caring, accomplished individual who is dedicating her life to helping others. While it may be hard for you, keep an open mind and listen to what she has to say.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.


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