As a mother of two boys, I often think about what they’re going to be like as teenagers and beyond. I think that’s pretty normal for all parents. You try and educate them on how to be decent human beings, and then send them off into the the world to be who they’re going to be. You try and teach them manners, proper grammar, patience, morals, values, faith, etc. some of it sticks, some they just kind of make up as they go along. You hope you’ve talked about all the things that are important in the world, and the shit that will keep them out of jail, the things to talk to random people about, and the important things to scream from the rooftops.
So, when I think about what I would like my boys to be like when they’re teenagers and beyond (or even a few years from now), I see them being decent human beings. Yes, they’ll probably cuss a little (have you met me?), and possibly get sent to the principle’s office for being argumentative or questioning their teachers (again, have you met me?). But, if that’s the worst of our issues, I would be over the moon. Those things I can handle, I’ve been there, done that.
I see these things on the news, like the recent shooting in California, and I think to myself “those poor parents.” Not just of the victims, because hi, horrible. Cannot even fathom outliving my children. But I feel for the parents of the shooter (which may make me very unpopular). Like, how horrible to get THAT phone call?! Yeah, hi, your son just shot a bunch of people then shot himself. No, we aren’t totally sure why he did it, but here are some videos on the internet of him ranting about stuff. Oh, and here’s a 140 plus page manifesto about it all.
No thank you. I cannot even imagine being those people right now.
And then, to actually watch those videos and read the words your own son wrote only to find out he did this because girls weren’t paying attention to him? That’s like, icing on a very fucked up cake.
All of this has sparked a discussion on Twitter under the hashtag #YesAllWomen. And it’s been interesting, to say the least. It started as a way for women to share their fears. Things like
And as a woman, who also happens to be a survivor of sexual assault, who also happens to be a mom… This issue hits home for me. Yes, most of the women I know (including me at times) worry about strange men. Yes, ALL of the men I know and keep close to me are good men who do not think of women as objects. They wouldn’t be around me if they did. And I agree with 90% of what’s being said under this hashtag.
It’s an issue. It needs to be discussed. Do I think objectifying is a one-sided issue? No. I think there are women out there who objectify men. Do I think this is a feminism issue (which is what people are calling it)? …..
Before I answer that, let me say this:
I believe that women can do anything they want. And if they can do it as well as men, they should be paid the same, treated the same, and entitled to the same benefits.
Men cannot birth children. Yes, they help. Yes, they can be just as important in a child’s life as a woman can. But the fact of the matter is, they’re just not equipped to actually, physically push a child out of their body. So, men cannot do everything women can. Does this mean they should be treated differently? No. They are no less of a person (or parent) because they’re not equipped to do something a woman can.
Having said that, I believe that people are people. And everyone deserves respect until they give you a reason to take it away. And even then, respect them enough to let them live their own life away from you. Treating a person like they are an object (whether man or woman) is not okay. This discussion started because this person wanted to stake claim on another person. Male or female, it doesn’t matter.
The fact of the matter is this: assault happens to both men and women. Either way, it’s not okay. And either way, there is a fear. This particular incident has sparked outrage with women, and rightfully so. No one wants to live in fear.
Think about this: had the situation been different, and this person was gay, would the same outrage occur? If the shooter were a woman? Maybe, maybe not. Hopefully we will never know. For now, thus situation is what it is, and there IS a discussion happening… Which is the important thing.
It’s a teaching point. Especially for those of us who have children. For me, it’s a discussion I will have (and was planning on having anyway) about loving yourself and not seeking your whole worth from other people. It’s about being respectful of everyone, regardless of our differences. It’s about making sure my sons will never, ever see another person as property, or their right to own/touch/manipulate. It’s about teaching them an outlet for their anger and frustrations, a healthy outlet.
I’m saddened by the events, and the “reasoning” behind them. I’m saddened that there are those out there being cruel to people just trying to express their fears. But I’m glad that there’s a discussion happening, I’m just saddened that it took tragic events for this to even be talked about at all.
I tell O all the time to remember “A person is a person, no matter how small*.” Thank you, Dr. Seuss. We may all do well in remembering that.
*It seems sort of counter intuitive of me to say this, considering my views on other things. However, I really do believe that regardless of age/race/gender/etc, we are ALL people.