It starts from when every little girl is young. You hear the cliché statements that have been passed on for centuries and yet no one has stopped to think (until rather recently) that this was a dangerous thing to let young girls believe—“He only pokes you because he likes you” or “Your brother is just trying to annoy you, ignore him.” Myself growing up with two older brothers, male cousins, a dad, uncles who picked on me–the list goes on–have dealt with this firsthand. I don’t think people understand how dangerous this is. If we are taught as young girls to simply put up with a man’s sh*t, how and what will we accept when we are adults?
Society as a whole tends to excuse male tendencies. Men can have a million sexual partners and no one blinks an eye, but if a woman were to do the same thing—she’d be called every nasty thing in the book. I used to talk about this oh so common double-standard with a male friend and he’d say, “Well women are held to a higher standard.” But why? Why is that men can be rude, show authority, be as sexual as they want, treat people the way they want, etc and people just DEAL WITH IT? But if a woman shows authority she’s being a b*tch, a sexual woman is a whore—you get the idea. It seems that men are never accountable for their actions and it starts when they are little lads.
This type of ingraining tells women that we just need to “let it slide.” In our adult relationships, we ignore what most people would see as red flags because “he does it because he likes me.” He acted like an a**hole at dinner because he likes me. He keeps me from my friends to protect me. He hits me because he loves me. And yes, before you think I am being over-dramatic, it CAN go that far—and more often than not it does.
We need to stop teaching our little boys that this is the proper way to display affection. We need to teach them how to properly show a girl (or boy) that they like them. Teach them to use their words. I cannot tell you how many men I have come across and their communication is awful and the only things they know how to express are anger, poking fun, or straight up bullying. I have a hard time believing that it’s merely “how men are wired.” It goes far beyond that. Society needs to understand that men are far past the stages of the cavemen when their brains were smaller and their thoughts basic. In this era, men are complex, thinking, emotional creatures. There needs to be more emphasis on teaching them how to detect and display emotions. No one should have to “deal with” caveman behaviors.
All in all, teach your sons how to behave instead of teaching your daughters to accept rude and crude behavior.