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.