Defensive & Confused Post Kavanaugh

The fallout from the Kavanaugh nomination has again brought into focus a number of issues raised by the “Me To” movement that impact on how men and boys behave and should behave in a gender equal world.   Men and boys are clearly on the defensive and confused.  Is it time for men to apologize for our Y chromosome and accept the notion that we are predisposed to sexual assault and abuse of women?  Instead, how about some practical advice:

Boys –  A recent article in the Washington Post entitled “What Boys Really Need To Hear” told about a mother who instructed her son, “Do not ever, ever  think that  because you’re both drinking and you both think that it’s consensual that it’s necessarily  okay.”  Her intent was to warn her son that when the girl woke up in the morning she could then declare that their encounter was non-consensual and that her son would face an accusation of sexual assault.  This is what we should be teaching and telling our boys about their sexual behavior:

Fact: teenage boys, especially between 14 to 17, and even young men until 25 do not have their brain based inhibition controls fully developed and are at most likely to engage in risky behavior

Fact: alcohol reduces inhibition for both boys and girls

Fact: inhibition makes decisions about consent even more imprecise

Fact: boys face the risk of false accusations while girls face the risk of not being believed

– bottom line if either of you are drunk sober up before you have sex

– no means no without exception

Men – Sweden, the country on top of the food chain for gender equality is facing some new realities about how far social engineering can change gender roles.   Yes, Swedish dads do get paid paternity leave and spend more time with their children then the typical American dad.  That’s great, but in Sweden women do more child care and tend to take more time on maternity leave even if it does have a negative impact on their careers.   A clear message that gender equality does not mean that men and women view their life’s journey in the same way.   Equality means equal opportunity not that we have to make equal choices.   Some practical advice:

Fact: you do not have to apologize for the actions of sexual abusers, they are the minority, most men treat women with respect

– be cool, we are in hypersensitive times so be extra mindful about your casual remarks and behavior towards women especially in the workplace

– when discussing gender issues with women validate what you hear as being real for that person, even when you disagree, before giving your point of view

– maintain your confidence as a man displaying the best of masculinity

One thought on “Defensive & Confused Post Kavanaugh”

  1. I strongly agree that we need to better education with both boys & girls regarding sex & alcohol. As a father (I only had a son), I do remember talking with him about sex, and about not mixing alcohol & cars, but I did not talk with him about alcohol & sex.

    Another piece of advice I would give to men & boys is to not generalize it to males. As you point out, most boys and men are respectful toward women. So if you are treating women well, there is no need to feel defensive.

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