This Establishment is Not Responsible

Our U.S. government has turned into the ultimate 80’s movie where the popular kids do awful things to the nerds in fear of being kicked out of their elite group. I’m waiting for that hero part of the movie where the cool kid realizes it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, groups and clics don’t matter. The hero gets control of his or her mind and rides off into the sunset on the back of the lawnmower wearing the nerdy kid’s cowboy hat (Can’t Buy Me Love shout-out).

OMG! Maybe that’s what we need…maybe we need an ’80’s movie love story where Mitch McConnell falls in love with Nancy Pelosi and now they understand each side’s struggles and they pull the country back together and people can start having rational conversations again.

fullsizeoutput_4db4All of us need to start realizing the way we were raised as far as what’s just “boys being boys” needs to change. I was watching The Devil Wears Prada and in that movie, she said no as the guy kept kissing her, she said she had too much to drink, he kept kissing her, and then move to the next screen and they had slept together. He has showered and looks very happy with himself, she has mascara under her eyes and looks hungover and upset. I felt very different now watching that scene than I had when I first saw it several years ago. The idea that it’s romantic for a woman to keep saying no politely and the man thinking it’s a challenge to keep trying. This message that you see over and over again in movies and read in books, it’s not okay. It gives the wrong message to both sides. So is the answer telling girls and women to not dress a certain way, to not drink too much, to not put themselves in the position for these things to happen?

The problem is that as a girl or woman, you could be dressed conservatively and not be doing a damn thing and shit still happens. This past week, my daughter was walking past a table of 7th grade boys during lunch and one of them shouted, “look at that booty” and all the boys started laughing. She felt objectified and wanted to hide. She was wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

In 5th grade, a group of boys I knew cornered me in an empty classroom and held me down to snap my bra. In 7th grade, I was sitting on a merry-go-round with a friend and two boys on bicycles came up to us and said to me, “you have fat thighs but I bet you have a nice c&^t”. That was the first time I heard that word. I was wearing a big t-shirt that covered the leggings I was wearing. I did have one of my legs sort of bent next to me, so maybe I should have remembered to have my legs crossed at all times in the off-chance that at some point in time boys ride up to where I am sitting.

Point being, I remember all of these moments. How they made me feel. How they forced me to face my reality, made me grow up a little each time it happened. These moments are burned into my brain. Do you think the boys remember?

As we get older and actions become more serious than bra snapping and lewd comments, we relive those moments, thinking through each moment…did I lead him on? I drank way too much. It’s my fault. I should have known the way I was acting seemed like I was asking for it. I should have said no louder. I wasn’t forceful enough. I didn’t fight back enough. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I didn’t want him to stop being friends with me. We relive it over and over and try to pinpoint where we went wrong to cause this to happen to us. All this and the guy walks away and just adds the number to his overall count and says things like, “thank goodness for insecure women or I never would have gotten laid”.

We teach the people without the power how to behave, how to regret their actions, how to take responsibility for it, but when do we teach the people WITH the power how to f’ing behave? Yes, women are angry. Yes, I am angry. And the men that love and respect women are angry too. The MEN…the good men who learned how to respect women and stand by our sides and our daughters’ and sons’ sides. It’s on us people, the men and women of this world that know the difference between right and wrong. We have to teach all of our children how to become decent human beings. We have to hold them accountable for bad behavior.

I don’t have a son, but if I did I would teach him to not intentionally keep feeding women alcohol to make sure they are good and drunk and then try to take advantage of them. Does anyone tell boys that? Don’t keep pushing sex on them if they are drunk and saying no, no matter how quietly they are saying no. And if you do, that should haunt you for the rest of your life. It shouldn’t be a number in your list of conquests that you are proud of.

And no, it’s not right when women falsely accuse men of sexual assault. But if a man doesn’t really understand the definition of “sexual assault” how will he ever know if he is being falsely accused? It’s not a difficult definition. I know, love and respect the men in my life that understand it. In the least, if the women have to be haunted by these moments in their life and they have to be careful of their surroundings and watch their actions every step of the way, shouldn’t the guy have to as well?

So maybe Trump saying he worries more for the young men in this country who could be falsely accused, maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that will keep the young men from saying inappropriate things, listening when a girl says no, keeping their hands to themselves until it is completely clear they have consent, avoid drinking too much, avoid getting girls too drunk. Maybe it’s time for these young men boys to be scared too. Because girls and women have had to live with fear on a regular basis. Fear of being raped. Fear of no one believing them. Fear of their actions having caused the situation. Fear of people thinking they are to blame or having every possible misstep thrown in their face to justify they were asking for it. And then having to live with the guy ending up being treated like the victim in all of it. Heaven forbid the people with the power have to face a little bit of fear and discomfort in their life.

4 thoughts on “This Establishment is Not Responsible

  1. Amen, Gina!!! I am so 😡! So sad that the world is not a safer, more supportive place for women and girls! We cannot pass on this! I fear it will be a hard battle for a long time to come😢. We must KEEP ON and stick together. Thank you for your post.😊

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  2. You just wrote all the things that have been in my mind the past year. One question that comes to my mind a lot is “what is the best response” to the boys who say “nice booty” when walking by. I’m trying to think of a response that would make them see how ugly it is, and become self aware, in an extremely confident, badass, and calm way. I have memories similar to yours and to your daughter’s. As you know, I have a 3 year old daughter and want to prepare her with strong and confident responses. My mom said things implying it was my fault for what I wore or gave advice about how I should change so they don’t do that. I’d like to do something different for my daughter. Any thoughts?

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    • The response is the tough part. As we are seeing right now, we have to stay calm in our response otherwise we get tagged as angry and emotional. I think as we continue to join together and realize this treatment is wrong, we will have the confidence to stand up and say just the right words to cut through. I keep working to instill that confidence in my girls and make sure they know they have a voice and they should never stop standing up for what’s right. I definitely don’t have all the answers but at least we are more awake now than we’ve ever been before and that is powerful. Thanks so much for your thought-provoking comment, Amie.

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