I shared this over facebook and there was a ton of response on private messages. Thought this should be shared as part of my blog.
Yet as most women will attest, street harassment is still an ever-present part of public existence. And while the women I know have had strangers yelling at them, leering, making kissing noises, and being all manner of creep for longer than they can remember, it can still be hard to know what to do when it happens. I’m a look-straight-ahead-and don’t-acknowledge-their-pathetic-existence kind of person, but a lot of my friends opt for yelling expletives back or offering a simple middle finger. It’s a tightrope of standing up for ourselves vs. offering too much attention to these cretins (factoring in the possibility of escalation or violence)–just another exhausting way women are made to bear responsibility for navigating men’s behavior.
This is not ok. How do we teach many men to be different than the way that they are?
Some really good thoughts here. Please take the 2 minutes to read the article.
When it comes to sex, there is this expectation of males, and it’s a really low one.
The ‘boys will be boys’ culture is not wrong because it’s not inclusive of women. The ‘boys will be boys’ culture is wrong because it destroys women and men. In a ‘boys will be boys’ culture, rape is funny, because women don’t matter. It is a culture that puts the hormonal impulse of the male above all else. It is an attitude that celebrates a lack of self-control and a reckless headfirst dive into hedonism. It is a culture that breathes objectification of women. It is a culture that excuses, even celebrates, the depravity of humanity.
But when it comes to sex, decency, and respect for the life, health, and well-being of another, “boys will be boys” does not fit.
It does not fit when a teenage boy gets drunk. It does not fit when a young adult drives 100 in a 55. It does not fit when a husband cheats on his wife. It does not fit when a drunk college student is raped in a back alley.
Pretty soon, a man’s ‘manliness’ is defined by how reckless he can be instead of how responsible.
It leaves us with a culture of reckless, irresponsible, ego-centric, porn-saturated males, who are fairly convinced the world revolves around them and women are simply baby-making, sandwich-making, orgasm-giving bodies. After all, boys will be boys.
If you’d like to protect your daughter, raise her in such a way that she can protect herself. Give her the tools to decipher a dangerous situation. Teach her the language of consent and how to exit a situation that makes her uncomfortable. Help her be confident about her decisions, and show her how to make good choices about the people she spends time with. Take the time and be involved in her life.
Protect your son in the same ways. And, for goodness sake, if you have good reason to distrust their judgment, make sure their activities are safe and monitored.
Above all, realize and come to terms with the fact that teenage sexuality is not a “boy thing.” Teenage sexuality is a teenage thing. Young men and young women alike are going to be curious, interested, and looking to learn more about sex.
Your daughter is just as curious as my son, I can virtually guarantee it. Yet you don’t see me polishing a shotgun when she comes over to do homework. You don’t see me posting pictures on Facebook with watered-down threats about personal harm should I find out she gets handsy with my son.
The idea of threatening young women to keep their hands off young men is ludicrous, yet when roles are reversed it’s completely accepted and even encouraged. Why? In order to raise a generation of kind and respectful men we have to stop telling our boys they’re inherently bad (but it’s not their fault because hormones).