Social media has done a great job at shining the spotlight on people’s unjust and all around bad behaviors. In many cases, the spotlight has influenced entire movements that attract the support of hundreds of thousands of people who share in the experience. One of the most discussed movements today happens to be the #MeToo movement, where women began taking a stand and fighting back against sexual harassment and sexual assault that unfortunately many women are subject to.
As a woman, I can unfortunately say I’ve experienced sexual harassment, and I can also unfortunately say that I still notice a lot of problematic “boys will be boys” teachings young girls are fed to excuse the boys’ bad behavior and how they interacted with females. When these behaviors are excused instead of corrected as young boys, that leaves the potential for them to grow into men who don’t understand how to value and respect women.
As young girls, it is important to be mindful of certain behaviors and attitudes that are held when it comes to interactions between the opposite sexes. It’s time to put an end to the excuses and start teaching better behaviors. When you know better, you do better.
Excuse #1: He’s only doing it because he likes you.
When I was a little girl and little boys would hit, shove, and kick, kick the girls, it seemed every adult followed the same script and would say “he’s only doing that because he likes you.”
Yes! Adults are actually teaching young girls that physical abuse is normal and okay because that just means he likes you.
This can’t continue to be normalized to where young girls that hold this belief grow to be young women who associate abuse with affection.
Excuse #2: It’s natural for boys to be curious and desiring of girls’ bodies
Sure. But boys also need to be taught boundaries, that girls are more than their bodies, and curiosity or desire doesn’t mean it’s ok to touch or comment on a female’s body.
Excuse #3: Boys only have one thing on their mind.
I notice this common belief excuses a lot of inappropriate sexual statements, with the advice to just ignore them often being taught to girls. Encourage boys to express more of other things on their mind (yes, they do think of other things), and if their minds happen to be on sex, that may be an opportunity to teach when it’s best not to speak your mind, especially if your thoughts are disrespectful.