Friday, August 30, 2013

To my sons.

This week there has been a lot of hoopla over the whole Miley Cyrus and Robinto my sons - life as their mom Thicke performance on the MTV VMAs. Most of it was directed to Miley since she’s been a public figure since she was a child and in most of our eyes, she is still that child. A few days later people woke up a little and remembered, oh yeah, there was a grown-*** man on that stage with her whose only outrage after the fact was that her performance completely eclipsed his in the press. There was a blog post almost immediately after the performance from a mom to her daughter about not following in Miley’s footsteps. My first thought after reading it was “Well, what about me? What am I supposed to tell my three sons about living in a world where there will be girls like that?!” Then there was this blog post from a man to his son about Robin Thicke, and I felt better.

Then a story broke this week, that I haven’t seen blasted on Facebook nearly as much as the Thicke/Cyrus debacle, about a judge sentencing a teacher who repeatedly had sex with a 14 year old student only 30 days in jail. He didn’t get the original 15 years because the judge said that the girl was consenting and older mentally. There’s a blog post here that covers it much better than I could. But that story led me to thinking.

I can tell you all about staying away from girls who dress in certain ways. Or who act in ways that give them reputations. I can encourage you to not link yourself to them, to be polite but not encourage them.

Those girls.

My mom taught us that while boys are responsible, those girls are evil, manipulative things. They encourage boys. They throw themselves at them. They make it hard for boys to be as upright and good as they should. She accused me several times of flinging myself at an ex-boyfriend and how I was worse than a dog in heat. You’d never catch her saying that a rape victim deserved what happened, but she would also then go on to saying that those stories should be a lesson in why you shouldn’t dress or act a certain way. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not an evil or bad person, this is just one of those things that I’m finding a lot of people her generation and before think.

The thing is I was one of those girls. But girls like Cherice happen, and even like I was, because while there might be a slew of other problems, they also feel like boys their age don’t like them or can’t like them for some reason or another. Boys who go around calling them easy, or trying to just look down their shirts, or grab at them. Or worse, the good ones who may be polite to them, who may be nice to them, but who they know would never actually date them. The nice boys who listened to their moms and dads and stayed away from those girls, but were polite because they were taught to be polite.

I realized that originally that was exactly what I was going to be telling you to do; to be the polite semi-friend but nothing more. I loved those guy friends in high school, but at the same time they made it so much worse, because I would look at those guys and think “Why? Why can’t someone like that like someone like me?” Then I’d fling myself at the guys who I could get to “like” me. I would have given anything (and trust me, I tried) to get those boys to like me. I don’t want you to just be those polite boys who are making it all worse.

I want you to give those girls a chance. I don’t want you taking advantage of them, and I don’t want them to take advantage of you. But even those girls deserve a shot at being with boys that will respect them, treat them right, and show them that it doesn’t always boil down to their body or sex. That dates don’t mean groping or even making out. They probably won’t be the easiest girls to date. They’ll probably accuse you of not really liking them. People might whisper about how you’re dating a slut. You aren’t going to fix all of their problems or issues, but you will help. You will show them that they deserve more than the things and people they settle for.

But everyone deserves a chance. Even those girls.

So yeah, the world is full of girls who will dress scantily and try to rub their bodies on you. And it’s full of men who think it’s OK. But it’s not OK for them to do it, it’s not OK for you to let them, and it’s not OK for you to insult them or act like they don’t exist. Instead try stopping them and talking to them. Try to redirect them. Some may brush you off and laugh and walk away, but at least you’ll know that you tried to do the right thing, and even if she doesn’t show it, she will remember that.

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