As a society, we must move beyond the crippling practice of raising girls differently from the way we raise boys. We must stop telling our boys that “Boys will be boys” and allowing them to walk away from chores and other responsibilities, because, as some parents proclaim, “They simply will not do what they don’t want to do. So I do it for them.” Or worse yet, some mothers placate their sons by doing everything but eating for them, and either doing the same for the husband or nothing at all for him, only for her son. This practice sends an absolutely unacceptable message to boys. Then there are parents who assign their daughters to their sons as something akin to handmaidens. They clean up after the boys, prepare their meals, and wash their clothes. Why? It’s good practice for a girl learning how to “take care of her husband” later. Now, this isn’t the situation in all American households, of course, but it is probably true in far more homes than not.
When boys are given curfews and girls are required to be in before dark, the message sent is boys will be on the prowl and girls are the prey, so they should come in before the shadows fall. If girls are caught outside, some risk strict punishment or, many times, a foul reputation from the neighborhood and larger society. The underlying notion is Girls should be at home, learning how to be acceptable in society and in school. A girl’s reputation, after all, is ever at stake. If girls are head strong, opinionated, free thinkers, and independent, they chance being dubbed one of a string of tasteless names: hoe, fast, wild girl, wild child, whore, floozy, Jezebel, heifer, skank, skeezer, and bitch. If I gave myself more time, I’m certain I could brainstorm more.
When we, as a society, assign hard-and-fast gender roles to boys and girls, socializing boys to think that they are superior to girls, that they are privileged and girls need to accept this belief as fact, and that boys deserve more of anything material, pay and otherwise, because boys become men who will be the breadwinners for their families, we continue to safeguard sexual exploitation and violence against girls and women.
And we must not tolerate religious leaders and others in the public spotlight who tell us that a woman needs a man to control her or else she will go astray. Leaders who propose rigid rules for females and fail to uphold any rules for males propagate the crippling message: Inherently, women require men to guide them and help conduct their lives.
Gender roles and misogynistic socialization send the message that if girls and women fail to behave as Society dictates then it is admissible to wield the strong arm of masculine superiority. After all, girls and women shouldn’t dress suggestively or else they deserve rape. If they aren’t in the company of men, they’re more likely to be targets for assault. If they smile flirtatiously, they were begging for whatever happened. An opinionated wife warrants a husband’s bad behavior. Like children, they refused to do as they were told. Bodacious female behavior constitutes grounds for punishment. So Society, having already socialized boys in the way it does, sets the stage for boys and men to justify doing what they must to demand girls and women “walk a chalk line.”
I’m on a RANT! We’ve got to do better, worldwide!
Today, I was walking down a major street, passing a gas station, and a car pulled up near me. Like a fist, a voice
smashed the serenity of the bird songs and the hum of traffic and articulated: “GET YO’ FINE AZZ OUT OF THE WAY!”
Thank the Divine it wasn’t a blow. Thank the Divine it wasn’t dusk. Thank the Divine I wasn’t hit or forced into the vehicle. Blessings abound in every moment.
Ours is a “Culture of Rape.” To many men, girls and women are here to sexually satisfy, to brutalize, to
support them financially, and to be ride-or-die bitches. To these abusive men, a girl or a woman doesn’t have to dress in any particular way to warrant abuse.
This is how I was dressed today as I walked. So no, what stimulates abuse is an abusive mind, a violent intent.
Some might say there are women who might have found the comment today’s “sexy” street talk. If so, those women need to rethink self respect. I found the hurled comment disrespectful, verbally violent, in poor taste, rude, nasty, and ugly. As I continued to walk, my eyes remained straight ahead, although I was keenly aware of the voice and the car’s proximity to me. I didn’t give the man the satisfaction of a gaze, and he eventually pulled the car out of the gas station’s entrance and into thin traffic.
We must stop seeing this behavior as attractive. It isn’t. This is not the kind of man a self-respecting woman should want to come for her. If she should come across one like this, KIP. Keep it popping. He will be the bane of her existence, if she bows to this sledgehammer lunacy. A lesbian, I wouldn’t want a woman who behaved like this man.
All I can do is put my finger to my chin and ponder, when will Society begin taking responsibility for its gender woes?
Love & Light