Monday, January 7, 2013

Unsolicited Advice for the Dads

Over the weekend, I encountered an unfortunate post over by there at the Facebook which purported to help women protect themselves against rape.  Here's a link to an article that explains pretty well how toxic and wrong the post was.  But the thing I want to talk about here is how the vast majority of sexual assaults are not committed by masked strangers who grab your ponytail (seriously... this post advised women not to wear ponytails.  Sigh).  The vast majority are perpetuated by someone the victim knows. And the vast majority go unreported because we've spent so much time and energy telling girls and women that it's probably her own fault it happened.

So what I'd like to say here is that while self-defense, muscly, strong stuff is a valuable and worthwhile skill (for both genders, not for nothing), arming your daughter with a fundamental appreciation for her own sexual agency is likely going to be much more beneficial.  Teach her stuff like this:

1. There is no such thing as blue balls.  He will be fine.  And he's being a dickhead manipulator by trying to make her feel guilty.
2. If she feels weird or uncomfortable in any situation, she should not be quiet about feeling weird and uncomfortable.  She has a right to feel uncomfortable.  She has a right to her own feelings.  If he's a good guy, he will stop what he's doing because he is also interested in the person attached to her body.  If he's a bad guy, he will not stop what he's doing and will instead try to persuade her that she shouldn't feel weird and uncomfortable.  This is a bad guy.  She should smack him upside the head and leave.  And then tell her friends about what a giant loser he is.
3. Sex is not currency.  It cannot be owed.
4. Sex is something people share, not something one party gives to another.
5.  And, Dads, here's a big one:  do not ever, under any circumstance, refer to a woman as a whore or a slut.  These words are violent, they are hateful, and their only function is to undermine female agency, to diminish women as a whole. Think of them the same way you think of the "n" word.  They are not good words.
6. And last, but not least, don't be mean to her boyfriends when you meet them.  That's so not cute.  It just means you don't respect her ability to make good choices.  If you respect her choices, then she'll learn that her choices should be respected.  See 1-4 for why this is important.

There you go.  Knowledge is power and all that. Respect your daughters, respect your sons.  And don't call that lady who cut you off in traffic a dumb whore.  Give her the respect she's due: call her an asshole.