Oh internet. You let us grab onto a thought, find a somewhat fitting image, marry the two and throw it out for all to see. Most times this happens so fast we don’t stop to think about what it is that we’re actually doing. The idea started with cheesy motivational posters in office buildings showing jets and a quote about something vaguely business related.
Now we take that thought and add some snark, humor or unifying image and call it a meme.
Memes are great, they convey a sense of sarcasm the internet has not yet built a font for. Goodguy Greg, winning fist pump baby and tea sipping Kermit call to mind certain feelings. Then we add text and hope our point gets across.
I mention this because of a meme I saw shared by the Leatherhead Mafia on Facebook:
The image was first shared by “Firefighter Funnies” apparently a humor site. Leatherhead Mafia shares my opinion regarding the image.
The image is not credited and the firefighters in the image I’m sure do not know about the words added by the keyboard commando. It is a response to a Presidential candidate’s comments about how he treats women. No spin, no comment on what the candidate said, his words speak for themselves. The broader implications, however, are that if this is how the person thinks and talks when people are listening, how do they think when people aren’t listening.
As a son, husband, brother and father of 2 girls I find the comments repulsive and yet not at all surprising. This candidate has repeatedly shown they are crude and sophomoric, especially when it comes to women who either refuse to accept his advances are are not the body type he prefers.
Enter the above image into my feed.
Fuck you whoever made this.
If I can’t handle Trump’s comments I’d never make it as a firefighter? Let me guess…tough guy firefighter, big truck, sweet mustache, dirty leather helmet sitting on a pristine set of bunkers in a house that saw 3 fires last year? No, that’s too easy.
You’re the asshole at morning muster bragging about this and that, be it women, hunting, your side job. You’re trying desperately to impress me when I couldn’t care less. You banged that “slut” from the bar last night? Don’t care. Have you thought about what that makes you? Your comments offend me and I tell you so to your face yet you tell me time and time again that I’m the problem with the Fire Department today: “All talky touchy and feely…man up for once.”
I don’t need to grab women to man up.
I don’t need to brag about grabbing women to man up.
I don’t have to point out a ten year old in public and say I’ll be dating her in 10 years to man up.
I set a good example for my daughters. That is how I man up.
If I stumble in that mission, you’ll be the last to notice though, won’t you?
I am not at all surprised a person like Trump thinks and talks this way, having always assumed they can do what they want without repercussions. Case in point look at the Brock Turner case and tell me if he was a student on loans if he’s out in 3 months. There is a type of male in our society who thinks they can take what they want when it comes to women. Brock will be a Donald, bragging and trying anything he can to get what he thinks is his for the taking.
This quickly thrown together meme is not a reflection of the Fire Service as a whole. Do we talk about some crazy stuff? Yes. Will being offended at a description of sexual assault make me less of a Firefighter? Certainly not. I argue that not calling this kind of shit out when you see it is the same as accepting it.
The next time someone like the maker of this meme sits down at the firehouse table or wanders into the ambulance yard and starts spreading the shit you have to shut. them. down.
The meme bothers me almost as much as the fact that this person believes so much in a political candidate they are willing to look away from the words of the candidate and dismiss it as “firehouse jargon” “locker room talk” or, my least favorite comment “Boys will be boys.”
This is most commonly uttered by the mother of out of control boys hitting, screaming and ruining things for other kids.
No, boys will be men who act like boys unless you step in and set the example that hitting other kids randomly isn’t OK, that using hateful terms to describe women who won’t sleep with you isn’t OK and supporting a person not by backing their statement but instead trying to say that if I don’t agree I’m less of a man is not OK.
If you agree with the meme or the comments of the candidate, or dismiss it as “locker room talk” or “boys being boys” get out. Get out of the modern fire service and go tell your mother how you really feel about women. I fucking dare you.