In homes across America, feminist mothers are teaching their daughters a dangerous message: men — all men — are not to be trusted. “I know not ALL men are creepers,” writes Jennifer Jarvis, on popular mommy site, Scary Mommy, “but I’m teaching my daughter they are.”
The idea that all men are rapists — or that all men promote “rape culture” — is slowly but surely becoming mainstream. Angelina Chapin of Huffington Post, for example, writes that all men “perpetuate misogyny” and “have a long history of silencing or discounting women who speak up about sexual violence.” Colleges are beginning to institute programs to teach men how to stop contributing to “rape culture.” And a recent Salon article suggests that men have learned a “social script” that validates sexual harassment.
I understand that the idea of there being even one rapist out there in the world, let alone many, is a frightening thought for parents. We want to do everything we can to protect our children — particularly our daughters — from the kinds of predators that, unfortunately, do exist. But, in feeding them the lie that there isn’t a single nice guy out there — even in service of protecting them from the bad ones — we allow our daughters to form all kinds of incorrect and unhelpful conclusions about men.
If you tell little girls that men are categorically not to be trusted, you immediately expose them to danger. Suddenly police officers, fire fighters, and other good Samaritans are to be run from — instead of run to — in an emergency. Male teachers shouldn’t be listened to. You shouldn’t call your older brother to come pick you up if you’re feeling uncomfortable somewhere. Your own father is inherently evil.
Not only that, there are a whole host of relationship implications inherent in this parenting philosophy. How can a woman possibly enter into a healthy relationship with a man when she’s been taught that all men are inherently untrustworthy?
It stands to reason that women who grow up indoctrinated into the “all men are rapists” philosophy will make some pretty terrible decisions when it comes to romance. If all men are scumbags, what’s the point in holding out for a nice one? You might as well just sleep around. Why go out with the nice-seeming guy who makes you laugh when he’s certainly not as nice as he seems? Why work through problems in a relationship when any mistake a man makes must be because he’s inherently “toxic”? “My mother taught me that,” these young women will smugly declare.
Parents of little girls, stop while there’s still time. I know you’re scared. Sexual assault and rape really do happen and the thought of sending your daughter out into a world where something like that might happen to her is frightening. But, if you have a daughter, the things you have to teach her should be about her.
Teach her to respect herself enough not to engage in physical intimacy with someone she just met. Teach her to be strong enough to say no to guys who come on to her, even if they’re popular and she wants to fit in. Teach her street-smarts so she doesn’t wander down dark alleys at night, or into bars alone. Teach her to stay sober enough to keep her wits about her when she’s out with friends. Teach her that men — good men — will be there to protect her; remind her to ask for their help.
And, most of all, look into her eyes and tell her this: you are worthy of a good man. Good men are out there — lots and lots of them. Don’t settle for the first guy who seems okay, wait for the one who makes your heart sing. Men are not rapists by virtue of being men. Rapists are rapists. Good men are good men.
If “feminist” mothers teach their daughters that all men are “creepers,” I despair for the future of womanhood. It doesn’t have to be like this. Parents, this one’s on you.