Okay ladies, let’s have a little girl talk. Entertain me on this, will you?
Say your boyfriend or crush is talking with you, maybe walking down the hall, and casually places his arm around your shoulder. Besides possibly passing out because your crush is actually talking to you—and touching you (gasp!)—would you feel offended? Honestly, would you feel violated? Maybe you’d think nothing of it besides the simple fact that you’ve built enough of a genuine friendship that reflects how close you’ve become. Or maybe it depends on the character of the guy and the nature of the relationship.
Well, just when you thought the male-female interaction couldn’t get any more awkward or complicated, think about this comment from actress Helen Mirren. Both men and women are buzzing about her recent interview with the Daily Mail’s You magazine, in which she claims a man putting his arm around his girlfriend signifies “ownership,” basically insinuating that it infringes on a woman’s sense of individuality and independence.
Extreme or spot-on? What do you think?
Here’s what I think about the male-female physical interaction in general.
Ladies, any time you feel violated or disrespected verbally or physically in any way, you should most definitely speak up for yourself. I don’t care how cute he is or how popular he is. You are worth being treated with love and respect in the highest regard. We do live in a generation where sexual gestures are being used aggressively and are widely accepted among young women who value attention over respect because they’ve lost sight of their worth. You are the one who shows people how to treat you based on the boundaries you keep and what you allow. That is a fact.
Now back to this whole arm-around-the-shoulder thing. I don’t believe just any guy should be able to hang all over you as he pleases. No way, that’s your personal space! But I do think that some guys mean well and that’s something you can discern about his character—and that includes how respectable his behavior is toward you and others.
Just don’t let Helen Mirren catch his arm around you anytime soon.