Let's say you live in San Francisco. And let's say you have a female friend who is a great chef. We'll call her Josie. She has run her own restaurant, and is currently adjunct faculty at City College in the restaurant and hospitality program. In her course, students run a mock restaurant - they staff every position at that restaurant from chef to line cook to host to server to busser. And, for 3-4 weeks, their restaurant is open to the public 3 nights a week.
Josie is really proud of the work her students have done - she uses facebook, twitter and whatever other social media she's good at to invite her extended network to come to the restaurant.
She says things like 'the food is great!' and 'the service is exceptional' and 'the men are all wearing tight pants and their butts look a-maz-ing!'
What's your reaction in this hypothetical scenario? Is it 'Awesome! Nothing like some well formed glutes to get the ol' salivary juices flowing! I'm booking a table for tomorrow!' or is it 'hey wait a minute - aren't you their professor? Josie - doesn't talking about your students bodies in this way violate a code of ethics or professional conduct or something? As your friend, you might not want to announce that tight pants/amazing butts thing on a public forum.'
I'm hoping it's something along the lines of the 2nd response. I'm aware that parts of the first response may also cross your mind. I know that a lot of us like looking at well formed bodies, and that we sometimes discuss those well formed bodies with our friends.
Here's the key differences though. 1) public forum and 2) professor student relationship and 3) did I mention public forum?
Here's a real situation - there's a community college in the Bay Area, outside of San Francisco, currently running a production of a swashbuckling play with sword fights, and from what I can gather on public forums, costuming from the era of the piece, so that means women in corsets and lots of cleavage. The director of the piece, who I don't know personally, but we've got some mutual facebook friends, is adjunct faculty at this community college. On a facebook group, he has described his piece thusly: 'Boobs and Swords! Send me an haiku about swashbuckling and win two comps! (limit 10 pair per performance. Ten pair of what? Comps. Pervert.)'
And with this simple phrase, he's communicating to the larger community that the men are valuable for what they do (those swords and the swashbuckling) and the women are valuable for what they look like (that's the boobs part of this whole thing). On a 1) public forum and 2) as the director (professor) describing his actors (students).
Some people have said 'so what?' to this whole thing. Others have sent angry emails to the director's supervisors asking for him to lose his job.
Where do you fall on this spectrum?
More importantly - if your reaction to the hypothetical scenario is different from your reaction to the real scenario - why is it different?
I'd love to hear answers to those questions in the comments.