If I’m blessed with a boy…
If I’m blessed with children and a boy in particular, I’m going to make a conscious effort to teach him emotional awareness, much in the same way I’d teach a girl. I think we have to take responsibility for the sort of society we want to live in and it starts with how we raise the next generation. I find the #metoo environment perplexing, not because many of the stories don’t ring true, but because of the reaction of many of my male counterparts. There’s a knee-jerk emotionally triggered defence mechanism, which I no longer find frustrating; I just find perplexing.
It was when speaking through issues with my younger sister, that I realised we don’t actually raise boys teaching them how to pursue women? How to make sure the women are comfortable and truly enjoying their advances? What’s appropriate and what isn’t? Instead, we focus on the young girls on how to defend themselves, putting the societal onus on them to be more aware than their male counterparts. I believe in men, at least the men I engage with and love, do grow in understanding of all this through respectful open conversation. So, no, it doesn’t come naturally to many men, but it also doesn’t come naturally to women to be hyper-aware of predatory behaviour either and how to deal with their emotions in those circumstances or how to even act. All these behaviours need to be taught, there needs to be an education around it and in my honest opinion it starts in the home and as a woman, I believe if we want to ensure the narrative isn’t co-opted by those using it for personal gain or twisted to the point of irrelevancy, we need to start engaging the men in our lives on the truth about how certain behaviour has made/makes us feel and why, as well as ensuring we teach both our sons and daughters what is/isn’t appropriate during that grey area of sexual pursuit.
Some of my male friends have pointed out that the same “tactics” seem to offend women in different ways and there seems to be a different standard for different men. I never used to understand why they brought up this point, but I think it is about emotional awareness. Yes, if you take the time/know how to read if a woman is genuinely into you or wants you, then of course, IF the woman does want your advances, she may react in a positive way, where she otherwise wouldn’t, if she didn’t. What she bases wanting your advances on or not, is not really the point. Nobody is obligated to being sexually wanted. I find less women feel that they have a right to attention from men, in the same way men feel they have from women.