Sunday, October 21 , 2018, 7:01 pm | Fair 68º

 
 
 
 

Louise Palanker: Why Are Boys Ignorant About Feminism, the Need to Text, Sister Fights

Question from Chloe S.

Dear Weezy. So I just need to rant to somebody but all my friends live their lives for boys and would change who they are in a second just to get a boy’s attention! >_< I posted a photo on Instagram about feminism and it got half as many likes as one of my group pics or pictures of my pets or even a freaking SELFIE!!!! The thing is all the people who liked it were girls!!! And I know a lot of boys in my grade follow me and def. saw that pic. But chose not to like it because of the topic!!!

Why are so many boys so effing ignorant!!!??? Sometimes boys (even 50-something male teachers!) make sexiest comments in class and it annoys the heck out of me!!!!! Ugh. Doesn’t it just bother you that people don’t see how much of a problem inequality is between genders is??!?

Weezy

I greatly admire your idealism and I think you are a person who will go far and achieve much with her life. Yes, it bothers me, but I have gained a certain amount of either understanding or complacency regarding this issue. You can decide which after hearing me out.

I accept and understand that the genders are different. I don’t believe that complete “equality” is attainable, necessary or realistic.

Is there equality between dogs and cats? Cats get to roam around outside without a leash. They go up on the furniture. They can stay home alone much longer. It’s not that you value Fluffy more than you do Fido, (Does anyone ever actually name a dog Fido?) it’s just that cats and dogs are different.

OK, so now you may be glaring at your screen and bellowing, “Are women supposed to be the cats or the dogs here, Weezy!? These are two different species! For the love of Mother Nature, Google it!”

Women are neither the cats nor the dogs. It’s just that I do so love analogies and I am attempting to convey that women have always been and will always be different from men.

Women, after all, carry the baby. Additionally, hormonal factors cause men and boys to think, feel and act differently than girls and women. They are biologically programmed one way, and we another.

On top of which, you are living your life online. Any boy who “likes” a post about feminism is subject to the teasing and ridicule of his friends. You have not lived one day as a boy. You do not know what it’s like.

Yes, some boys and men make ignorant, sexist comments. Their mothers and their fathers should have raised them better than that.

Girls and women deserve respect and protection and, if you think about it, throughout the ages, they have received a lot of it. “Women and Children First!” A lot of men made the ultimate sacrifice in protection of women.

If you want to enrage a boy or a man, say something about his mother or his sister. Mothers, sisters, daughters, all women are almost holy to most men.

Herein lies the conundrum for men and boys. The creature they most adore and sanctify is also usually the one to whom they are sexually attracted. In order to “prove their manhood,” they must “win her,” if you will. That is really confusing to boys and men.

So, before you identify men as the enemy, really try to empathize. In an increasingly civil and cultured world, men and boys have the same hormones fueling them, and they face almost the same societal pressures to Be A Man as they did thousands of years ago.

Publicly “liking” a feminist post is not something that a boy will be ready to do until that boy feels OK about himself as a man. However, don’t get too discouraged. If you speak to any kind and decent boy one on one and you make your point, he is likely to agree.

When you hear a sexist comment coming out of the mouth of a teacher, you can raise your hand and say, “That feels offensive to me, as a female and as a person.”

Yes, people should fight for equality between the sexes when it comes to human rights, opportunities and wages, but perfect equality may be a unrealistic. And so the struggle continues.

What is reasonable? What is just and fair and respectful? We must continue to strive for better communication between the sexes. This is not a battle. It’s a collaboration.

And just maybe the word, “feminism,” which excludes men and makes our fight for equality feel like a fight against men, should be replaced with the word, “Humanism.”

Why don’t you encourage your male friends to watch Emma Watson’s speech before the United Nations:

(United Nations video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Brit

I'm in seventh grade and I always feel weird texting guys. They are my friends but I feel if I text them they will think I like them. I don’t know what to talk about with them either. I just feel awkward texting guys and I don’t want to do it.

Weezy

Why do you feel the need to text your guy friends? Do you have something to say? Do you just want to make a connection? Are you bored? Are your friends texting boys and wondering why you are not in on it? What is it, exactly that you are seeking?

You kids today (Oh, no. I just became the angry neighbor lady!) are really our first generation of social texters. This is all fairly new. At the dawn of texting, each text cost too much money for kids to just be texting away 24/7 the way many kids do now.

I call this The Constant Conversation. It’s not good. What is happening is that most of what you are texting is a bunch of fluff. It is pulling you out of conversations with people who are present and into a lot of nonsense that is pretty meaningless.

“Hey, what R U doin?”

“NMU?”

“bored”

“​IKR?”

OK, so what have you accomplished through this exchange, other than missing whatever was going on right in front of you? Lives have been lost over these trivial transactions due to texting and driving or people walking into poles or manholes.

Text a boy only If you have something to actually say to him.

“Hey, great book report today!”

“Are you going to the basketball game?”

“The special theory of relativity describes the behavior of objects traveling relative to other objects at speeds approaching that of light in a blender. JK. Light in a vacuum. ; )”

JK. Unless you are really good at physics and that is what you wish to text. Bottom line, there is no urgent need to text a boy. You can talk to him when you see him.

Here is Dr. David Greenfield talking to Harry Smith about teens addicted to texting:

(CBS video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Avery

Me and my sister fight all the time. We got in a huge fight and now we won’t talk to each other. I don’t want to be the soft one that apologized. That’s just how me and my sister are. If you apologize, you’re the weak one. What should I do?

Weezy

You and your sister have this completely wrong. The one who apologizes is the brave and the strong one. If you can learn that during your childhood, you will have a much easier time getting along with everyone in your life.

Walk up to your sister right now and say: “I am sorry. I love you. Let’s get past this.” Do not attach a disclaimer to your apology. Do not say: “I am sorry, but you really ticked me off.” Simply say: “I am sorry.”

The only thing stopping you is pride. So take a deep breath and remember that if you can muster the courage to do this, that should make you very proud.

When two people fight to be right, they are both are wrong. Go apologize now and have a peaceful weekend together.

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (Family Band: The Cowsills Story is currently airing on Showtime Networks), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Our Place, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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