Today I want to talk to you all about respect.
A particular kind of respect.
First, however, I have a short anecdote to explain why I feel this is important.
A while ago I was stuck with a group of millennials who were listening to some pop music. I’m not against pop, but I am against pot, which I’m pretty sure got referenced once or twice. The real problem came when some songs featuring guys talking about getting…you know…with girls, came on. More than once a song that I considered highly inappropriate played.
I promise I was not listening by choice, I was stuck. With that clarification, I’m going to be kind of vulnerable with you all.
Deep breath: Those songs, sung by both girls and boys who were right by me, made me feel embarrassed.
It was humiliating as a woman to hear young men singing about that sort of thing with me right there.
I’m aware that guys will talk about it a lot to each other, but usually guys who will talk about it openly in front of girls are perceived as rather jerk-ish, to put it mildly.
These weren’t even bad kids I was hanging around. That was the worst of it, they were totally unaware that anything they were saying might bother someone. At least to the point of embarrassment.
That’s why I’m posting this, because in the moment, I couldn’t say how I felt properly, but now I think this is worth discussing.
I wish I didn’t have to explain but here goes:
Young men (and old) whether or not a girl shows it, she is going to notice how you treat her and other girls. How you talk about them; how you think about them. And she may not care, even if she should. That’s because a lot of girls are treated like crud by the other men in their lives and there’s nothing you could do to fail her worse than that, so she may think you’re okay.
But that doesn’t make it okay.
You may be a great guy, but if you even so much as joke about certain things, it will send a certain message. That’s all I’m going to say about it.
It’s not my place to tell men or boys what to do, but they should know that any healthy girl will have standards to measure by, and no girl wants a guy to take her purity lightly.
Please don’t think I’m overreacting. I fully understand that often teens just don’t think about songs or jokes as indicating their character, but they do.
I also understand there are probably some guys out there just as uncomfortable with this as I am. Good on ya, in that case.
Young women: Guys need you to have a problem with this. I know that sounds strange. But men cannot read our minds. If we act like we’re cool with the total crud these songs are singing about, and like it’s fine to hear the guys around us spew the same things out of their mouths, then the guys are going to think we are fine with it.
Simple as that.
I don’t like to have things said in my presence that imply I’m a slut; because unless I was, why would I be okay with hearing this?
That’s not overstating the case. The fact that we don’t know this as a generation is an indictment against the kind of morals we’ve been taught, but it is not an excuse.
I’m not thanked for saying things like this to people’s faces, I doubt they would thank me for writing it either, but nonetheless, it has to be said. And by more people than me.
We need to treat each other and ourselves with respect.
By the way, my complaint was written off as just my opinion. But I assure you, there are lots of people who share it. Unfortunately, none of them were present when I objected. But they are out there. Some of them will probably read this.
I don’t really know if I can change someone’s mind about the kind of stuff they listen to, but they at least need to know how it will sound.
And it doesn’t matter whether it bugs one girl, or a million, because it’s still wrong. It’s dishonoring to any girl to make her feel that she’d being reduced to a sex object. In song, in life, or in thought.
So just…don’t do it. If you have any real respect for girls.
And girls, we need to stand up for ourselves and stop making this an okay pastime. If more of us made an issue of it, it’d be less frequent.
But I don’t want to get too preachy, so I’ll end on that note.
Thanks for reading and until next time–Natasha.