Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Teaching Our Teens To Be Respectful To Women!

The sexual predators are coming out of the woodwork. Not a day goes by now without a new story about a famous celebrity, politician, businessman, teacher, professor, you name a profession, accused of sexual harassment or assault. Did you know that  1 in 4 teens has been sexually harassed, and 1 in 5 college women have been sexualy assaulted, but very few report, being afraid of blowback from their peers, their administration, and fear of being victimized for a second time. What the hell is going on with these young men? A researcher and alum from the Harvard graduate School of Education was on the Harvard Campus recently and relates this anecdote."  I was walking on campus and a male Harvard student walks by and says to me: "Damn, you're a sexy bitch." And this is one of our "best and brightest."  So, I guess this is the way young men say hello to women now.

Yes, we need colleges and middle schools and high schools to set better policy about sexual harassment but that men feel permission to speak like this to women means we are not doing a good job at teaching our sons and daughters that this is not OK. Here is what I think.


  • Now that kids are getting smartphones at earlier and earlier ages, (getting one at 8 years of age is no longer an exception) boys now have easy access to pornography at a very early age, way before they even have access or readiness for the actual experience with a real live girl of their own age. Research has shown that these early images and sexually provocative language can literally make brain connections. Just like learning a new language, this now becomes their language of sex, and communication with women.

  • Now that kids can download apps where they can use extremely sexual language when texting and snap chatting each other, that disappears in 5 seconds, safe from parental supervision, sexting has become the norm for communication. As in "hey sexy bitch." Do this starting at age 8 or 10 or 12, it becomes your go-to language.
How surprising can it be then, for boys who have had the freedom to look at misogynistic porn and use misogynistic language talking to their "bitches," go off to college thinking this is how women like it! And by the way, adding fuel to the fire, these "bitches" think hearing that language from boys is no biggie,  

This is where you come in. Your kids need you desperately to let them know this is not alright, and not safe. They need you to monitor what they are writing so when you see this kind of language, you can talk to them about it and let them know it is not OK. You might need to say to your teen; Hey how would you like it if I said to your mom, hey bitch you're f##kin hot, Or mom might say: "how would you feel if your dad talked to me that way." Don't mince words or language when you are talking to your teen. Say the words they are using, say them out loud, make them uncomfortable and embarrassed, how else will they hear how demeaning and ugly sexually explicit can sound when it is used as a "hello, what's up?

If you want your teen to go off to college and life acting respectfully towards women or demanding respect if they are a woman, that takes work. It means saying no to apps that allow them to develop bad habits because no adult is giving then the other side of the story. It means disabling safari on their smartphones for young boys too young to understand and too impulsive and horny not to access porn without your knowledge. 

Think about it this way. When your kids were young, you understood that they had a developing brain, and you knew that the most important thing you needed to do was to stimulate it by providing experience; reading, talking, singing, etc Your teen's brain is in that same stage of development, it is open to stimulation. Make sure that what it's feeding on is healthy and safe, and respectful!

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