â€œIâ€™m calling you a slut, slut, because you are one.â€ The young man hissed his judgment at a female companion as they walked through a local Target parking lot. There were six teenagers in the pack, Iâ€™m guessing one or two years shy of having their driverâ€™s licenses. Â They were being boisterous, as if wanting attention and yet defying anyone to give it to them.Â Â â€œYouâ€™re a bitch,â€ the young man concluded as the group drifted off.
I couldnâ€™t hear what the female said in return, or if she said anything at all, but I felt my whole body cringe. Why was it okay for him to be talking to her like that? Why did she seem nonplussedâ€¦as if she heard those words all the time? Why did she choose to hang out with that group? How does she feel about her value in this world? Where would todayâ€™s condemnations take her going forward?
As I drove home I questioned my awareness of todayâ€™s cultural standards. To be clear, if this is considered normal conversation Iâ€™m glad Iâ€™m from a different era. As a mother of twoâ€”a son and a daughterâ€”I constantly brought up the importance of mutual respect. Name-calling was not allowed. I pushed them to express their feelings without resorting to derogatory terms. Even labels like â€œdumb,â€ or â€œstupid,â€ which seem almost innocent compared to â€œslutâ€ and â€œbitch,â€ were not okay. Was I, am I, out of touch?
7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance in school and relationships (http://www.heartofleadership.org/statistics-on-body-image-self-esteem-parental-influence/). Where does it start? More importantly, where does it stop?
I recently came across this quote, â€œIt’s not what you call me, but what I answer to.â€
~ African proverb ~
And so I pray young women, midlife women, and wise women will only answer to those who uplift and see their scared worth.Â Â We need to accept nothing less, because we are not less. Ever.
Believing in womenâ€¦the best part of my day.
So true Gail. Let’s hope that young woman put that guy firmly in his place. It must be hard to be growing up today….and I feel so old saying that LOL
I can’t imagine that spirit of yours being old, Lynne. But yeah, there are norms in today’s youth that I can’t comprehend. Are we not teaching respect? Are we not role-modeling respect?
Laura Carlson says
Perfectly stated, Gail…I am sad to read about the young couple and the demeaning way he spoke to her…It is always hard to hear about such sad behavior…I believe that people, in general, should treat each other with dignity and respect…I love your advocacy for women, as I believe the world needs more and more of the feminine principle…Thank you for your thoughts and empowering messages…
Thank you, Laura. Sometimes I’m simply aghast that in 2015 it’s still a struggle for women to be treated with respect. Slut? Whore? Why is it we can’t choose how and when we want to be sexually active without being punished?