November 07, 2006
Last evening I went out for pizza. While in the restaurant a large group of women and their daughters gathered in one end for some kind of awards dinner. There was laughter and shrieking and the general mayhem that accompanies a gaggle of ten-year girls. Eventually they got around to passing out awards and praising the efforts of different people. After the awards I became aware that the girls were performing cheers or chants of some kind.
One of the cheers/chants that was repeated several times involved the line, “shake your booty” and an actual shaking of the booties of all performing. Even the moms got up and shook. My thought as soon as I heard and saw this was one of dismay. These ten or eleven year old girls were being objectified without their even being aware of the process. That the moms were going along with this behavior, encouraging it, and participating in it was even more disheartening.
I do not condone, nor do I support, any thinking that absolves boys or men from their actions. Males in our society need to be taught right and wrong, they need to understand the violence is wrong, and that other people have a right to personal safety. No action by a girl or women “makes” the man do anything. So, should these young girls now, or when they become young women, be molested or sexually attacked, I hold the boys or men responsible. However, teaching young girls that they can get attention by using their bodies is dangerous ground. Abstract thinking skills, the ability to understand consequences, is not something children possess. I fear that we as a society show young people a way to act without also imparting all the ramifications of those actions.