You Guys It Is HARD Telling Boys Not to Rape

low expectations

I mean, how even are you supposed to do this job? 

Fallout from the #MeToo movement continues to be one of the most polarizing topics in our current political climate. For parents of sons, navigating complex and sensitive conversations with their boys about sexual consent, harassment and assault, and respect for women and LGBTQ people is difficult enough, especially when they’re young. And, it’s only compounded by the fear President Trump is helping to spread that young men could be unjustly accused.

Here’s an idea. Just spitballing. Just throwing this out there. A suggestion for you to pass on to your young men.

DON’T RAPE ANYONE.

I mean, it can’t be that complicated, right? Let me see if I can simplify it further.

Don’t stick your dick into anyone who has not asked for your dick to be put into them.

How much more complex —

“You don’t really know how to have [these conversations], you’re not prepared for them. I don’t think that we had them when we were growing up,” says Gemma Gaudette, a Boise-based radio host and mother to two young sons. “I think going into these tween and teen years it’s like parenting on steroids. It’s this whole new level that I have not been prepared for. I’m reading books and all of this.”

I have news for you, hon.

YOU AREN’T PREPARED FOR ANYTHING.

I know parenting culture tells us that parents, especially women, have special powers of intuition and shit and that we “just know” what to do because “mommy instinct” and other such t-shirt slogans but it’s nonsense. Nobody knows what to do about anything, so you have to ask people and you have to read books and you have to figure stuff out.

THIS IS THE JOB WE SIGNED UP FOR WHEN WE PROCREATED. If we think we can just coast through our kids’ teenage years maybe we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a kid and how much help you need at the precise moment you’re least equipped to ask for or receive it.

Yeah, it sucks. Land hard, roll left, teach your sons and your daughters to respect men and women.

“I think it’s a really complicated time to be raising boys, because as a feminist I don’t want to be there saying, ‘Oh, boys are the real victims here, and feminism has gone too far.’ … But I think there are some pressures and difficulties, which are very specific to boys in this moment, and they are part of the conversation of feminism and gender roles,” she says.

I hate the framing of “raising boys is different now because you can’t just let them rape anymore.” I think of all the good older men I know, starting with the World’s Best Human, my late grandpa, who grew up in an era when you could smack women on the ass in the workplace and call them sweetie and they had no recourse whatsoever.

Grandpa, far as I ever knew, never once encroached on the autonomy of a single human soul. The idea of backing a girl into a corner and telling her she’d lose her job if she didn’t kiss him would have horrified him, as it would have horrified many people his age who I have been privileged to know. They didn’t have the benefit of #MeToo or parenting books or the idea of enthusiastic consent or numerous sexual harassment seminars.

They just weren’t RAPISTS.

They didn’t get their jollies from making women feel shitty and small. They weren’t bullies or the bullies’ best friends, and they didn’t make hobby out of talking about girls like they were dogs.

Making it seem like it’s all circumstantial — the time we lived in caused all the raping! — or the fault of their mothers not having enough conversations with them about sex — let’s blame yet another woman for men’s actions, why don’t we — not only lets the shitty men off the hook, it erases the good ones whose role modeling we really, really need right now.

It can feel like a difficult balancing act to try to empower girls to continue to fight against systemic discrimination on the basis of sex, while simultaneously trying to give boys proper attention to their specific needs.

Do they … need to rape anyone? What specific needs are we talking about here?

Making this whole thing into a story about how mommies are scared their baby boys will accidentally sexually assault someone is the most ridiculous angle I can imagine for a #MeToo piece. Think of the highest-profile #MeToo cases. They are … not situations where a well-meaning young fellow is caught unawares in circumstances not of his making. Bill Cosby drugged and raped women. Harvey Weinstein coerced and raped women. Matt Lauer HAD A BUTTON THAT LOCKED HIS DOOR SO HE COULD HARASS WOMEN. Brett Kavanaugh and his asshole friends gang-raped a woman while she was unconscious. Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin, Louis CK, none of them, like, tripped and accidentally touched someone’s boob.

I don’t get what’s hard to talk to your sons about.

A.

3 thoughts on “You Guys It Is HARD Telling Boys Not to Rape

  1. Michael Storey says:

    I have three grown sons and I am the second son of five sons. Lemme hip ya, here. This ‘I didn’t know what I was signing on to and boys are soooo, soooo much harder to raise than girls’ bullshit is just that. What an audacious act, trying to blame the child for the parents’ inability or disinterest in doing their job. How did we ever get down this shithole, where the president can endorse this culture. He is not an example, he is an excuse.

    Like

  2. Athenae,
    It really is as simple as you say.
    “NO” means, don’t do it.
    DON’T DO IT should be the default setting.

    Like

  3. azelie says:

    Whenever I hear someone complaining about how hard it is for boys I think that when we as a society are as concerned about teaching boys not to violate other people’s bodies as we are concerned about trying to tell girls how to avoid getting raped, maybe we’ll be getting somewhere.

    Like

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