Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Pecs" - A Sexual Inequality

Pecs: Slang for the pectoral muscles, muscles of the "anterior chest" (the front of the chest). The Latin "pectus" means "chest."

That's the definition of "pecs". I don't have any, never did, even when I ran about 14 miles a day and did a hundred push-ups each mile, I never developed "pecs." But this is not about me, nor my lack of "pecs". It is an observation which I have made recently, and while it's not really disturbing in any way, it does lend creedence to the question of whether we can ever achieve true sexual equality.

Lately, I have overheard men telling other men how much they admired the other's "pecs." No problem there, I'm not homophobic, or anti-gay. Just curious about this custom and how it plays out in the social sphere where men and women are involved.

Imagine this scenario, if you will; Marvin is at the gym and he tells Adam, "Nice pecs." Adam is pumped! After all, he's been working hard on those muscles, looking for that definition and form reminiscent of Superman. Nearby, in the same gym, are several women working out. They can tell Adam he has nice "pecs." No problem there. Adam is now preening like a Peacock! This woman has commented on his terrific "pecs." Adam is now feeling like a stud!

Now try the reverse. Adam and Marvin,(remember Marvin?) are both working out and notice that Trish is looking fit in the area of her "pecs." Seeking to compliment her, Adam approaches and says, "Hey Trish, Nice pecs!" Whack! Slapped in the face like a red headed stepchild! And she has good "pecs" so the blow hurts. What went wrong?

I have never heard a woman comment on another woman's "pecs." They have them, of course, but you just can't work it into a conversation. It's kind of like having Howard Stern tell a woman, "Great rack!" The only difference is that the women who seek out the compliments of Howard Stern are not really interested in their physical prowess. They are more interested in being the next centerfold somewhere. The women who work out for health reasons are different. They have a legimate goal which they are pursuing. The question is how to compliment a woman who is achieving her goal in this area without getting smacked.

With no real "pecs" of my own to boast about, this is not an issue which is of grave concern to me. No one is going to comment on my pecs, unless they are asking, "What happened to your pecs man?" I can't imagine being back in high school and having had a friend say something about my "pecs." I can imagine the sound of a wine bottle being broken over their head! But times have changed, and men commenting on men's bodies is no longer taboo in today's society. I just wish the ERA would get passed. There are several women out here with nice "pecs." They need to know that their efforts are not in vain, but rather appreciated by all.

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