Sexual harassment shouldn’t be the norm

I was reading another depressing article on harassment of women the other day, this time involving jogging. It’s depressing that women can’t even go out for a run without getting cat-called or sexually harassed but ultimately not surprising, and as parents we have a responsibility to make sure we raise kids who know that this sort of behaviour isn’t okay.

When parents let their kids play 18 rated video games or watch 18 rated films, the criticism of the exposure to violence is often the first one that is raised. As a 40 something parent myself, with a long term interest in both films and video games, I’ve long been of the opinion that the sexual violence and attitude towards women in both video games and movies is as much of a problem, if not moreso, than the violence.

If ten year olds are banging prostitutes, and then stealing the money back off them in GTA, or watching 20 year old girls play the love interest to an ageing 50 something action star in a movie, is it small wonder that this only reinforces the attitude they have of women as nothing more than sexual objects that the freely available online porn gives them? Yes, porn obviously is responsible for a lot of the objectification of women that boys and men are exposed to but when the mainstream media reinforces it rather than contradicting it, what are impressionable people supposed to think?

It’s insidious- watch any awards ceremony, interview with athletes, and you’ll see the man asked about his performance/work skills/etc, while the woman will be asked about what she’s wearing, how she balances family life with work or other completely different stuff.

I’m not in favour of ruining childhood and I know I had a free run on a lot of stuff when I was younger but there is definitely something to say about the innocence of childhood.

Reminds me of the old joke:

I was having sex the other day, banging away, when suddenly I stopped mid-thrust and stood really still.
“What are you doing?”
“Something I learnt from online porn. It’s called ‘buffering’.”

It’s funny but does highlight the pervasiveness of online porn and how it affects lads. It reminds me of an article I remember reading about the effects of porn on men- one woman said she had a boyfriend who always withdrew and wanted to ejaculate over her chest/face because he thought that’s what was normal. Yes, that’s the most ridiculous (and probably grossest) thing you’ve read today but I’ve no reason to believe it isn’t true and that’s what makes it all the more depressing.

What is required is a sea change in attitude, something that has to start with us and our kids.

It needs to be done now.