Home » The Sunday Column

Our Children Need Us…

20 October 2015 Posted by No Comment

Phone as hand“Boys give love to get sex. Girls give sex to get love.”

She was just seventeen. And yet, you will not find a more phlegmatic insight. The patriarchal strictures within which we operate are understood. Women and girls know their place. They learn early that they haven’t been invited to the party. Their role is to either entertain, or clean up after us men. If they enjoy this, then it’s merely a happy side effect. We don’t care. At least, generally, we’re taught not to care. We’re men.

The discussion around why girls and boys share naked pictures, predominantly of girls, underpins our reality. The woman is a commodity. A thing. Something to exchange and trade and exploit. The naivety of some of the victims is also indicative of the messages that our young girls are bombarded with from the moment they find themselves in this man’s world. Play with the doll and the tea set, the makeup kit, the playhouse. Learn, prepare, be molded into that ideal of woman. Listen to what you’re told. Don’t question it. Don’t challenge it. This is the way it is.

Those who struggle with this stereotype are allowed… depending on how hard they struggle. “She’s a Tomboy” is an anticipated breath away from “she’s a lesbian.”  Venus Williams plays Tennis like a man, and the fastest Sri Lankan on record looks like a man. Muscles disrupt our idea of femininity. Not cool. Not sexy. Not for us real men. Who wants a woman that is physically stronger? Bugger must be gay. Who do you think wears the trousers in that relationship? I have to make the decisions. There is only one Captain of a ship.  Ask the patriarchs of any religion. Ask Moses why the Tenth Commandment includes the neighbour’s wife among his other possessions. So then why are we surprised when young (and not so young) men and boys indiscriminately share the pictures of a girl that sent them to her boyfriend?

She should have known better of course. Really? And how should she have known this better? The objectification of women is not wholly dependent on the demented media that glorifies the gap between her upper thighs when a girl is standing upright. Surely self esteem and body image remains secure despite this ridiculous-ness provided our children learn to value themselves at home… Yet, what do we mean by value? Some may even argue (and have) that it is this very value ascribed to their bodies that encourages young girls to share their picture. Surely there are no ugly fat pictures out there. Why would a girl do that to herself?

Why does she? If you’re told that you’re ugly all the time by what you see on TV, in films and online, and perhaps even at home, then when a good looking boy wants to see a picture of you naked, it makes you feel… fabulous. He sees how beautiful I am. He sees past my big butt, he even finds it sexy. He makes me feel so good about myself. And then, he shows the picture to his friends. At first I’m…. Scared. What if my family sees it? I’m angry. I hate him. Then, he tells me that his friends think I’m very sexy, hot, that I have a gorgeous body, and I forget to scream at him for betraying my trust. I just hope my family doesn’t see it. They know of consequences, but are they the right ones?  What would you do to her?

What do our daughters learn at home from us? What have our sons learnt, that sharing the naked pictures of girls they purportedly love, become a norm? Revenge porn machang.[1]

It’s okay to share if she breaks up with you, or even cheats on you. Even if she doesn’t, if you won’t believe me when I tell you about how much of a stud I am, then I’ll prove it to you. Look at this picture she sent me today. Just before she got into the shower. Don’t call her a slut. Not yet anyway. She’s still with me. For now.

Some young men are taking on the challenge of acquiring pictures of young women who are reluctant to share, or just haven’t, yet. The sole purpose of the exercise is the picture. The multiple I LOVE YOUs and DON’T YOU TRUST MEs are only a means to an end. Once acquired, it is passed around on whatsapp like a trophy, to the victor his spoils. Any wonder that holy books are replete with incidents of rape during conflict. It is our shared history. This is what we boys to men do.

The accumulation of these trophies, the categorizing and constant thirst for more, even by threat and blackmail, shouldn’t surprise us. Children are quick studies. They have to be to survive. Who are they studying? Where do they learn that it is okay to force a girl to remain in a relationship on the threat of disclosing her pictures to her family, her father? They recognize the shame of the man who couldn’t protect his offspring. He knows she knows that he will be livid. He would be livid if his daughter, sister, mother was idiot enough to share her naked picture with a boy soon man.

We need to be there for our children. We need to change the way we approach our sons and our daughters. We have to let them know they can come to us, yes, but beyond that do they know what we think about the boy who shares the picture and the girl who takes it? How much of the blame have we placed squarely upon the often diminutive shoulders of the girl? Do we blame the boy at all? He’s a boy! Of course he’s going to want to see you naked. What were you thinking?!

Why did she say “Boys give love to get sex. Girls give sex to get love.”  Social anthropologists, psychoanalysts have grappled with the question to this answer. Perhaps it is time we struggled with understanding the answer instead. Our sons and daughters have learnt the way of the world. So then, is this the way we want the world to be? Would we have it any different?

Our children need us. Our children need us… to change.

The Cyber Crimes Unit of the CID may come a knocking. Don’t delay.

————————————

If you’re are a victim of cyber exploitation call 1929 for support from the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) or email us trust@grassrooted.net or inbox us on Grassrooted

[1]‘The word “revenge” suggests that there is a legitimate reason to lash out and that’s not present in these cases. And the term “porn” suggests the victim intended [the images] would be distributed publicly—that’s just inaccurate. Those terms also invite judgment and questions about the morals or the appropriateness of the behaviors of these women when, in fact, they’re victims. I prefer the term cyber exploitation because that’s really what’s happening here.’

Revenge Porn Has Met Its Match, and Her Name Is Kamala Harris (California Attorney General), 24th June 2015

 

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.

*