Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How to teach boys

Aunt B over at Tiny Cat Pants has an awesome post about Masculinism 101 and how men need to be the ones to change rape culture. (I've said it before- women have been trying to prevent rape for eons, if we haven't come up with the perfect way of walking, acting, dressing or never leaving the house yet- then there is no way for women to prevent rape).

In comments the question was asked:

It gets fairly difficult for to differentiate when you start talking about date rape. Or a sex act that occurs when both are drunk. That’s harder to define, no? Is it rape because the law says a party can’t consent when drunk? What if the party really meant to consent? What if the party consented when drunk but felt guilty [about being drunk, about the sex] the next morning? What if the party wouldn’t have consented when sober but got up the nerve, so to speak, when drunk?

THOSE are the kinds of situation that scare the fool out of me as the mother of a son. What do I tell HIM to ensure he is safe?
Well, as the feminist mother of a son, lemme tell ya.

When Kid was very small, I started teaching him about consent. When we would roughhouse or tickle fight, one "no" was all it took for me to stop. And I taught him that one "no" was the line I drew at him stopping. Period. End of game. We both got to say when it was too much and those boundaries were absolute.

I taught him this not just because it would help him pay attention later in life when things with girls start happening, but also as a way for him to judge the behavior of another grown up and to give him a kind of toolbox for dealing with Catholic priests or Boy Scout troupe leaders. If he was secure in the knowledge of his own bodily autonomy, then he would be better able to judge when someone was trying to take it from him.

Now that the Kid is of an age where girls are very soon to be The Most Important Thing In The Universe! I can take those experiences and show how they relate to sex. Consent must be an absolute "Hell yes" and anything short of that is a "no". "Maybe" is a no, saying nothing is a no, "I don't know" is a no, "Not now" is a no- and not an excuse to ask again five minutes later. I am teaching my son that the only good way to enjoy pleasure is when both people are ready and happily excited about it.

I did hear one super rad idea at TCP though. If you want to make sure the girl is willing and able to have sex, ask her to put the condom on for you. I am definitely adding that to the lesson plans. And that is how you teach boys not to be rapists.

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