Hashtag Me Too for Boys: the Rights of Young Men
It All Started with a Kiss
Well, Maybe Not...
One of the news stories I came across recently - I don't own a television - caught my attention. I was not taken aback by the fact that an established Hollywood performer requested a kiss from a contestant on a TV show. As I mentioned earlier, I don't own a television and gave up the medium many years ago. I believe that what is put out on the air is detrimental and that the media culture is slowly ebbing away at the the social fabric of our society. That's another issue.
On this program, a well known musical mogul - Katy Perry - continued to coerce a young man to come over to her, even though he protested and said that he did not feel comfortable approaching her. She then forced a kiss upon him - his first actually. The man stepped back and attempted to perform and politely requested a glass of water - and offered gentle protests to what just happened.
Many people found this amusing, most probably because Perry is female. Had the roles been reversed, I am certain that there would have been protests, the host would have been fired, and the contestant would have probably enjoyed the benefit of a more than comfortable economic settlement.
There are those that are calling the behavior sexual harassment even though the young man says that it is not. Let's look at the situation in another light: if a young starlet had gone to an audition and a male judge - twice her age - had called her over and asked her to sit on his lap or touched her in anyway, there would be definite protests. Many of the participants in the Me Too movement are making similar claims, from events that have happened decades ago.
Why no one is speaking out about this situation, given the demands for equality in Hollywood, is more than troubling. The Me Too movement has vilified men and deemed guilty those who haven't even been charged. There are many men who have not been able to defend themselves from their accusers. What happened with Perry played out on television, in front of an audience.
The need too for a Me Too movement for boys goes much deeper than just a kiss. Young men now are being told that they are guilty for being men and that they should feel accountable for what someone else (a female) thinks they might possibly do. The fact that the young contestant seems to defend Perry and deflect any accusations of harassment demonstrates the fact that men are not permitted to see themselves as victims, because of the social stigma that only men are perpetrators.
I'll share some examples of ways in which boys have been violated by those who are in positions of trust, but the messages that are being sent to young men and boys today is terribly unhealthy.
Should Katy Perry be punished?
Some Teachers Caught in Compromising PositionsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Sexual Harassment Affects Boys Too
When a teenager has to deal with situations of a sexual nature this causes confusion, particularly when the person who is initiating the contact is an adult. The sex drive is a natural compulsion and when puberty is reached, the body's hormones are active. The feelings are good, but there are social messages which conflict with these sensations. An adult who is much more experienced can cause irreparable damage to a young mind because at that age, the emotional maturity required to handle certain situations is not there.
I have read that many males have claimed that they wished they "had a teacher like that" when they were in school and this response really is not healthy. It sets a poor example for students who are in school to look to. Young boys today, especially, need good male role models who are not going to encourage irresponsible behavior. When a boy is taught by a female teacher that sexual relationships between an adult and a teenager are permissible when the two give consent, this sends a terrible message. The boy who will one day become a man who follows the same syllogism that was taught to him when he was younger will certainly be punished for pursuing an underage girl.
And the men who are envious of these boys, I have to wonder about their current practices. As a society, we need to evaluate our attitudes towards violence and sex and part of this is encouraging healthy behaviors in our younger generations. I wish I would have had good adult models. There were some but they were few and far between. Unfortunately it was the older kids who engaged in questionable practices - making choices with substance abuse, unsafe sex that resulted in pregnancies, drinking and smoking - who seemed to be the ones that reaped the most attention.
Most of those kids who seemed to live the wild life, end up unsatisfied and often a member of social welfare organization.
Boy's Are Often Guilty by Association
Certainly one of the potential outcomes from the Me-Too movement is that it automatically vilifies men based on biologically designated, gender stereotypes. Men, because they have a penis, have the potential to offend and are the only gender, because of their biology,that do offend.
This is a lot of pressure to grow up under and as is seen in the example of the inappropriate teacher/student relationships that are quite ubiquitous today, men are not the only perpetrators.
A boy shouldn't have to feel guilty because someone (a female) thinks he "might do or say something" that she doesn't like. Boys need the opportunity to grow and experience their own happiness. Whether this is in the classroom, the playground, a nightclub or the workplace, males need safe spaces and deserve the same respect attributed to females. Males need to be able to respond to the false accusations by females who are angry, or disturbed or perhaps overly careful and choose to blame an entire gender.
The pressure to be a human in today's world is hard enough and boys have been marginalized drastically through the past decades. There are no more Boy scouts, men cannot have their own rest rooms or locker areas, and two or more boys in one area is often viewed as a gang. Academically the performance of boys has slipped: more are going to prison than graduating high school; the number of males graduating with college degrees has dropped by almost 50% in the last 30 years.
Is it any wonder that young male children are being diagnosed as bipolar or being prescribed medications that damage their brain chemistry. I can imagine what it must be like growing up for some of these men in today's world.
Rob Lowe makes Jokes about it.....
This Is Not to be Anti-Female
This is not to be written as an anti-female piece. Certainly there is a good deal of validity to the Me-Too movement. The fact that it is coming out of Hollywood is another story altogether, but there are still elements there that represent serious problems with our society's sexual values.
There are some women however who go into certain situations and actually are the initiators. It should also be said that often there are men who are exonerated from their behaviors: Pee Wee Herman is caught in a movie theater and is arrested and ruined while Rob Lowe films himself molesting underage girls and laughing about it and is exonerated. There are double standards with who is picked and chosen as the offender.
However, a woman should be able to go into a casting call and not be concerned that someone with sinister intentions is going to violate her. A woman should be able to pursue a job and not have to deal with requests for favors or other types of harassment.
That works both ways though and boys need to be told that they have a voice too regardless of how they say no. Boys and men need to be respected for their right to say no and when that is violated there should be accountability.