By Paige Stewart
While I was watching an episode of Suits, one of the main characters, Harvey Specter, said a phrase that triggered me. He said “I never take no for an answer” and something clicked.
The term “never take no for an answer” is drilled into the heads of children so much so that it plays out into adulthood. When we are little and we don’t get what we had hoped to, especially when it comes to goals, our parents always told us not to give up, if we push and push — eventually we’ll get what our hearts desire.
Now, as adults, when someone says “no” we automatically get this feeling of “oh, how can I convince them? No isn’t acceptable. ”
Ask any girl, that slightly tipsy, pushy guy in the bar who just won’t stop asking for her number or if he can buy her a drink is viciously off putting. When she starts saying “no” more sternly, his true colours begin to show and he becomes aggressive, pushing even harder and maybe even grabbing her.
I’m not sure who else freezes when they’re terrified but I do, and that is so dangerous. Instead of being able to run away or even punch the waste of space in his face, I freeze.
Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not just men. Some women can also be a pain in the ass when it comes to understanding “no”, although my encounters have predominantly been with the opposite sex.
This problem is now so wide spread that people have designed “Consent Condoms” — yes, it’s an actual business. These products are designed in order to remind the person opening them to make sure they have consent. While this may be a good idea, it’s saddening to think that as a society we need such a product.
Back to the point of this article, which is to help people realise that we can actually help the future generations to respect each other and obey boundaries. But the problem comes in when parents teach children “no means no” when they say it but then to “never take no for an answer” when someone else says it.
It’s okay to teach them that giving up on dreams isn’t okay, but when it comes to other people their wishes NEED to be adhered to. So many lives are ruined by the fact that some people don’t understand boundaries and if it’s too late to teach the present generations, let’s start with our children and enable them to be the generation who takes no for an answer.
Originally published at www.funkyfeminist.com.