by Avery Hudson, George Washington High School
Growing up, I remember being told that when a boy was mean to me it meant that he liked me. Why are young girls being taught to justify being degraded by a boy? I still notice stuff like this with my generation today. When my seventh-grade sex education teacher told us that “boys will be boys” as well as “we cannot wear revealing clothing walking down the street because we are asking for it.” There are many more stories but I am writing today about how women in positions of power challenge the egos and masculinity complexes of some men and how it translates into sexual violence and abuse.
I have been recently very active using my social media platforms to raise money for Breonna Taylor. Originally I pledged to donate one dollar for everyone who called the mayor’s office in Kentucky and demanded justice as well as call for the arrest of her murderers. I challenged the people who had been viewing my story yet remaining silent. I began to be harshly criticized and cussed out by a few of my male peers. Telling me that my actions are useless and that what I was asking people to do would have no effect. In addition, the most common negative response I got was that I was being too bossy. That what I was doing was rude and insensitive and would hurt people’s feelings. Most commonly, I was told that if I were nicer, then more people would call. It made me wonder if I would have gotten the same responses if I were a boy. Why were actions that I intended to be perceived as straightforward or directional perceived as bossy or rude? The way boys are raised subconsciously implant this mindset that women cannot inherently deserve respect. This is similar to rape culture. Rape culture is the way society, media, and pop culture normalizes the objectification of women and their bodies. Some examples of rape culture can be seen in song lyrics that talk about having sex with a woman without consent, sending girls home based on their outfits because it is “too distracting”, society’s tendencies to victim blame, and so much more. Rape culture translates into women becoming targets. Rainn.org tells us that one out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Identically, nine out of ten rape victims are female. I challenge our generation and the following generations to raise our children to believe and respect women. In addition, I wish that the women of all generations could feel like what they wore didn’t determine their respect, when they were violated they would be believed, when they were denied a power position it wouldn’t be because they would be too emotional during “their time of the month”, and when they were straightforward they wouldn’t be called bossy.
Madonna once said, “I’m tough, ambitious and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, Okay.”