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Thursday, December 14, 2017

SALLY MORRIS: ARE WE TEACHING BOYS THAT IT’S OKAY TO ASSAULT GIRLS?

It was just an endearing, hilarious little video clip.  At an elementary school wrestling match between a little girl and a little boy, both aged 5, the 2-year-old brother of the little girl misunderstood the “fun” and “competition” angles and when he saw another boy appearing to assault his older sister he broke free and ran in to stop the “fight” and save his sister.


Yuk, yuk!  What a laugh, right?  A real knee-slapper!  How cute!  (Which means, “how silly” to a kid.)


I submit that this 2-year-old boy got it right and all the adults, teachers, parents, principal, the whole shebang, got it all wrong.  What on earth are we doing here?  The Columbus City, Indiana, elementary school needs to stop holding wrestling competitions between little girls and little boys.  Why? You may well ask.  Because what we are doing is teaching boys - from a very early age - that there is nothing inherently wrong with assaulting girls.  What does this say about our culture?


At age 5 children are fairly equally matched for size and strength.  For a few early years girls can even out-grow boys and show more strength.  But eventually these children grow up.  The differences in the relative strength of men and women, on average, becomes more disparate.  The average woman has only 66% of the average man’s lower body strength and only 52% of his upper body strength.  What we train our little boys to do with little girls might not be so cute when these differences develop in adulthood.


Am I making too much of a big deal of this?  I don’t thinks so.  We have been groaning through a season of exposees of powerful men abusing women (and boys).  We have seen this everywhere - from media stars to athletes to entertainment executives, actors, conductors and directors.  We have seen it skew our very politics - with Senator Franken resigning (let’s hope he means it) and the election of the first Democrat to the US Senate from Alabama in 25 years due to the Roy Moore scandal.  Now, the same day we read of the little boy hero, we also read about a middle-aged Kentucky state legislator who ended his own life after denying that he had assaulted a teenage girl.  Obviously something is wrong with our culture.


I completely agree with kids’ fitness, and while I have always opposed competitive sports in schools (schools are for teaching academic disciplines, not for entertainment), intramural workouts are acceptable.  “Tournaments” where we pit little boys and little girls against each other is completely wrong.  At what point do we finally teach boys not to attack girls?  It seems this is something we should be very interested in figuring out!  No one taught Franken or Weinstein or Spacey.  No one apparently reached Clinton or Trump.  We have a crisis in this country - our girls are increasingly exposed to violence and imposition by men.  Young boys aren’t safe either.


Here is a better idea:  self-defense classes for everyone.  This is a real deficiency in our schools.  If we are going to have rooms set aside for physical training of any kind let them be used to teach girls and boys, too, how to defend themselves.  


Yes, the little boy IS very cute but his determination not to let anyone hurt his sister is NOT “cute” - it is highly commendable, if only instinctive.  His instincts are what we should be encouraging, not laughing at.  Think about it.  If you have a daughter you want her to be strong, of course, but she will NEVER be as strong as the men she might encounter who might want to wrestle with her later on.  What message are we sending our kids?  Especially our sons?  


 

JIM’S TRUCKS

 

 

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