Sunday, December 7, 2014

Yes Means Yes, No Means No: How to raise a son in our confusing culture

That Rolling Stone article fiasco about the alleged gang rape at UVA reminded me of an issue I hadn't touched on for some time. Teaching our aspergean sons about dating, sex and appropriate relationships.

By the way I am not one who finds the feminists obsession with "rape culture" here in the US over dramatized. Yes, women have it better here at this time then ever before, but sexism in our culture does exist, even though we do not hang to death rape victims as adulterers as they do in Iran. (Read HERE) Truth is everything isn't as cut and dried as some would have you believe. The overwhelming majority of males are not rapists waiting to happen. And yes some females consent to sex and then have second thoughts and cry rape. On college campuses women are told that if they had imbibed alcohol (even one glass of wine) then they couldn't consent to sex (legally not true). Hence even if a youngwoman consented at the time, it was rape if she had drunk any alcohol. What in fact are youngmen supposed to do with that? (Mothers Must Speak Up For Their Sons on Campus) (College Rape Overcorrection)

How do we explain the rules to our aspergean sons? And yes, I think that one of the biggest fears that every parent of a son has today is that some girl will falsely accuse your son of rape. (The FBI says  2% of rape claims are false, the same for other felonies.) That one never really goes away. Now whether there are more rapes on college campuses than in society I am not certain. Though, I do tire of the professional grievance mongers, who refuse to deal with the real issues that the everyday woman faces, but promote inaccurate statistics. They do us all a disservice. HERE.

Meanwhile, teaching about sexual relationships is something that has kept me up at night. How do we teach our sons, who have trouble reading social signals, when it is appropriate and not appropriate to touch a female?  Honestly, many have made fun of the rules and regulations proposed by California about sexual relationships on campus. But in truth these rules may actually be helpful for our sons. Yes means Yes law. (The violation of due process in the law are problematic, but the idea of continual affirmative consent during sex really isn't a bad idea.)

Temple Grandin has said, that because she finds sexual issues confusing she has elected to remain celibate. That is not something I would like for the boys. A healthy sexual relationship is part of a healthy and full life. Of course you can have a great life without it. But I think it's something that shouldn't be feared as far as our children are concerned. Rather a way needs to be found to explain the elements of a sexual relationship in a rational manner. If that can actually be done. Yes the emotional avenues are difficult, but that like everything is something that too can be learned and processed. Nothing I think is really beyond our children's reach unless they want it that way themselves.

Listen we taught the boys the meaning of the word "no" at an early age. When they reached high school they were also taught what is and is not a sexual assault. (Honestly considering sex education starts in 5th grade schools should make that part of the curriculum.)  We taught them that in fact kissing someone without their consent is not OK. But what do you do when you are faced with a television commercial that celebrated "a bullied boy" going into the prom and kissing the prom queen without her permission while she was dancing with her date? Feminists cried "rapey" and critics said "man haters." Hubby and I said, "that the commercial was not cool, no way."

What do you do when music refers to women as whores, bitches and denigrates females only seeing them as their ladyparts? What ever happened to singing about "love" not "fucking?" What ever happened to culture being uplifting, not bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator? What ever happened to honoring others and respecting their humanity? It is not only the purview of feminists to think of women as equal human beings to be respected. It is not only the purview of feminists to think of women as equal human beings to be honored. (By the way, Beyonce spreading her legs while she sang at an awards show is not feminism, and neither is it feminism when wearing a niqab when singing about Ferguson.)

Treat women as you would like them to treat you. That is it in a nutshell.

Now, luckily the boys despise modern music. They really don't like the "save-me-teen-female-vampire- angst" either. They don't get beauty pageants and quite frankly don't understand what is going on with their peers.  I think it must be confusing on some level, when they are inundated with this anti-women rapey culture, but then told on the other hand that they should not think less of women or hold women down. I know it confuses the heck out of me.

For what it's worth, both boys consider themselves  feminists and do not understand society's obsession with such anti-women, anti-equality cultural realities.

So what does it mean for the future and how they will interact with girls. They know girls in school. They know girls when they worked. Does it make it harder for them to interact with girls on any kind of a romantic level, all these rules and regulations? Honestly, yes it does. (CM2, along with every undergraduate at his college, had to do an online program about sexual assault and sexual harassment this year.) Will it keep them safe? I don't know. Do the rules intimidate them? In some ways yes it does. But better to be intimidated by the rules then fall victim to them.

Note: no I do not talk about aspergean girls and the issues they face when dealing with dating and sex. But the rules of self-respect, self-esteem, equality, and honor all come into play, as well as the general idea of awareness and self-protection.

Some books to start with on the issue:

Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships, Dr. Temple Grandin and Sean Barron (generalized but a good place to start)
Preparing for Life, Dr. Jed Baker (small unit on dating and sexual relationships)
The Guide to Dating for Teenagers with Asperger Syndrome, Jeannie Uhlenkamp

Read: Turning Boys into Men, Fighting Society's Emasculation