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Thirteen Ways to Avoid the 'Why'

Robin Alexander

Posted on June 13, 2018 15:23

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After a weekend binge-watching “13 Reasons Why,” I woke to find that Trump had indulged in macho name-calling, saying that Trudeau "acts hurt when called out." He practically accused Trudeau of being a “sissy.” Bryce Walker himself could have written that tweet. Clearly the comparison doesn’t end there. The show is a brutal dramatization of systemic sexual harassment (I don’t want to reveal too much), as well as bullying, and I was mesmerized. Now, a few suggestions I need to make.

It really IS impossible to get teenagers to talk to adults, which is why peer counseling is a thing. The only complete sentence my first son uttered to me during those years was “What’s for dinner?” (the response to which determined his mood for the evening). Other than that, he grunted. Not all Neanderthals are inherently dangerous — this one turned out terrifically. BUT, adjustments are needed:  

    1. Girls: you are the prize (and trust me, it’s a prize they cannot live without). So, you ought to be making boys jump through hoops just to get a “hello” and a smile. Females can have the ultimate civilizing effect, a fact well-documented since 411 B.C.E. when Aristophanes’ Lysistrata was first staged.

    2. Somewhere there’s a mathematical formula proving that the fabric of society is jeopardized when “girl need for male attention” > “boy need for female attention.”

    3. This social fabric only holds with strong buy-in from girls, hence the importance of “sisterhood.” Boys have no business defining the rules or keeping the scorecards. That’s our job. Mean girls out. Female power in.

    4. Dads need to gently verify the harsh truth about Neanderthal teenage boys, having formerly been one.

    5. AND dads must be there for their daughters. The need for negative male attention decreases if she has you.

    6. Dads also need to define masculinity in honorable terms, without objectification and violence.

    7. Everyone needs friendship, yet there’s a fierce layer of shame below the surface keeping us lonely. New character traits to work toward: risk-taking, authenticity, vulnerability and the courage to fail.

    8. Reject exaggerated male tribalism, falsely labeled “loyalty.”

    9. Athletes are not the only heroes. So are artists, scientists … and nice people.

I’m NOT blaming the victim, but let’s decrease victimization as much as possible. So, girls:

   10. Never put yourself in a situation where you give up control — physical or psychological. Don’t get so impaired that you are unable to fight or exercise judgment. Only experiment in a “safe place” (for example, your own home with girlfriends and no chance of uninvited guests).

   11. There’s no reason to be in a boy’s home alone unless you can clearly acknowledge to yourself that you’re willing to have sex with him.

   12. Do not hang out in secluded places with groups of Neanderthals — I mean boys. Wait for further evolution.

   13. Do not trust anyone you just met even if he’s your best friend’s cousin, no matter how amazing the “connection” is. The bogeyman does not present as scary; he’s nice and attentive and often cute as hell.

The prototypical bully is frequently the sexual abuser, whether high school guy or president. He applauds macho behavior and belittles anything “female.” So girls, it’s time to establish the correct order of things.

And parents, as researcher/storyteller Brene Brown counsels, our job is to say to children: “You’re imperfect and wired for struggle, but you’re worthy of love and belonging.” Amen.

Robin Alexander

Posted on June 13, 2018 15:23

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Source: Quartz

Las Vegas, Nevada "We want to believe that we are thinking, rational people and on occasion tangle with emotion, flick...

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