Not Even Super Woke Moms Can Get Their Teen Sons to Care About Rape Culture
As more and more rape cases pop up in the news now that we’ve all collectively decided it’s okay to talk about them, one frustrating fact remains the same: no one really knows how to get guys to stop raping.
We know how to make girls feel like it’s their fault, by urging them to drink less and wear less revealing clothes. Even Stanford University rapist Brock Turner is trying to cash in on the alcohol-and-rape connection with speaking engagements.
But the only thing we don’t seem to be doing is publicly asking ourselves why guys don’t understand rape culture and consent. Instead, it seems like conversations about rape take place in an echo chamber mostly made up of victims and potential victims — plus some dudes sprinkled in telling us to drink less without holding any actual rapists responsible.
It’s a bummer. So I’ve always held out secret hope that at the very least, the woke moms of the world were talking about rape with their sons behind closed doors. But an op-ed reently published in the Washington Post proves that even the wokest moms in the world can’t get their sons to understand rape culture begins and ends with the way men treat and look at women.
The story, written by Jody Allard, is called, “My teen boys are blind to rape culture.” Allard writes that her 16- and 18-year-old sons “roll their eyes” when she talks about rape culture, even telling her rape culture’s made-up.
I never imagined I would raise boys who would become men like these. Men who deny rape culture, or who turn a blind eye to sexism. Men who tell me I’m being too sensitive or that I don’t understand what teenage boys are like… When I first talked to my sons about enthusiastic consent, they laughed at me. “No one is going to ask a girl before having sex with her,” they said. It’s too awkward and uncomfortable. Besides, they reassured me, you can tell whether a girl is consenting without having to ask her. But then one of my sons texted his sexually active friend to ask him whether he got consent from his girlfriend before they had sex. His friend quickly replied that he had to “encourage” her to do it a lot before she finally agreed.
Nothing like some good old-fashioned high school coercion.
It gets even worse, though — Allard is a rape survivor herself, and her sons are aware of that. They just apparently can’t put themselves in her shoes long enough to understand how they have a part in dismantling rape culture.
The whole thing is a huge bummer and makes me wonder. If mothers can’t teach their sons about rape culture, who can? Also, the one thing missing from Allard’s piece is any mention of the boys’ father or any other male role model who could be educating them about this stuff. Maybe adult males could get off their asses and talk to younger guys about this?
I don’t know the answer, but it’s pretty scary to think about the fact that teen boys’ rebellion against their parents includes scoffing at the ideas of rape culture and enthusiastic consent.