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by Abigail Van Buren

Fiancee Wants Her Intended to Halt 'Boys' Club' Culture

DEAR ABBY: My fiance 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 fiance claims the image is "photoshopped" and that he doesn't look at the pictures. This disturbs me.

I think my fiance should tell his friends not to send these images and to change the group icon. My fiance 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 fiance 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. -- TIRED OF BEHINDS

DEAR TIRED: Your fiance 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.

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