When I grew up, I heard mixed messages. A girl who has sex before marriage is considered promiscuous. A ruined reputation means a ruined life. And then, the warning: Boys will be boys.
With all the social advances and new laws, one would think the messages have changed. I’m not so sure. We still see double standards all the time. The battle of the sexes, the battle for equal rights, freedoms turned into license and fingers pointing in both directions.
The truth is men and women are equal in the eyes of God, and they are different as well. The first sin in the Garden of Eden brought on the battle of the sexes. Women would want man-power, and men would rule over them. Bottom line: each would want to be god.
Societies play games and make rules. Some let girls wear clothes that show just about everything at school, the mall, anywhere. Others cover them with burkas.
Girls and women want to dress and act however they wish without being told they need to fear men. But where you go and what you do matters. Even in this “enlightened” era, women still face rape, assault, sexual harassment, stalking and abuse. My father told me to “trust my gut” and to be aware of what’s going on around me. My husband tells me the same thing. Advice I heed whenever I’ve been on my own in a new place with people I don’t know. But it’s good advice anywhere these days.
Rights don’t matter to predators. Freedom doesn’t mean license to be foolish.
I read an article about conversations mothers should have with their sons, but I kept thinking, “What a mother says about men’s behavior doesn’t carry as much weight as it would from a father.” Boys – and girls – learn by example.
Here are a few important lessons fathers should teach their sons:
“Show respect for the opposite sex.”
“No matter how a woman is dressed or how she’s acting, it isn’t an invitation for you to cat call, taunt or assault her.”
“Taking a girl’s virginity isn’t a prize, and it doesn’t make you a man.”
“A girl doesn’t have to be fighting you for sex to be rape. If she’s drunk, she can’t give consent.”
“No girl should ever be considered an easy score.”
“Don’t think counting coup makes you a man. It shows your lack of character and self-control.”
The sad truth is many sons lack fathers in the home. So other men of influence need to step up and take a stand against the old adage and sickening excuse: “Boys will be boys”.