Do some parents promote street harassment attitudes?

This is not actually a personal story about street harassment. It’s a theory of where people learn the attitudes.

Some things I’ve noticed about street harassment are that the men don’t care that the women want to be left alone, and that the men get angry and believe that a woman who rejects his advances is a stuck-up bitch.

This brings to mind some things my parents told me. They were overly optimistic and assumed that I was a perfect goody-goody nice guy. Whenever I asked where the best place to meet women is, they just said “anywhere”. Whenever I told them that a woman didn’t like me, they automatically assumed that she was stuck up, and that there’s nothing I could have possibly done wrong.

I’m sure I’m not the only man who heard that from his parents. I bet even rapists have heard that. Men are taught to believe that if a woman doesn’t respond to his advances, she is a stuck-up bitch, and they learn this from their parents!

My parents were also very anti-sex. My mom once told me that I shouldn’t do anything with a woman that I can’t do with my sister (yes, she actually said that, nearly word-for-word). So whenever I wanted to know how to flirt, I had to trust my peers and the media. I didn’t learn about women’s rights until almost half way through college. Once I learned about women’s rights, I stopped hanging out with the jerks who promoted sexism.

I also remember my parents constantly telling me to smile, even if I didn’t want to. I purposely frowned to rebel against them. Perhaps this attitude is learned from parents too.

I wonder if parents are the biggest promoters of street harassment attitudes.

– Concealed Weapon

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Find suggestions for what YOU can do about this human rights issue.

6 Responses to Do some parents promote street harassment attitudes?

  1. Clare B says:

    ‘Concealed Weapon’!? Seriously? Did your parents also inspire you to make subversive phallic references on a feminist anti-harassment blog?

    Sorry but this reads to me like the age old ‘blame my mother for rejecting/loving/encouraging me to behave badly towards women’. Why would you even mention rapists in this post?

    Am I the only woman who thinks this reads quite disturbingly and doesn’t feel comfortable with this post?

  2. friday jones says:

    I’ve read lots of stories on this blog and the various Hollaback blogs in which men have harassed women while children were present, either his own kids or the woman’s kids. Kids are soaking this societal misogyny up through their skins.

  3. Sue Henderson says:

    I agree with Clare that a) the nickname is totally inappropriate, and b) that the parent blaming is severely suspect.

    I actually think that the advice for a man to treat women as they would want their sister to be treated is very good – assuming that men treat their sisters with respect and wish other men to do so too. What a man may consider flirting may be an episode of harassment to a woman and certainly getting your advice from men and the misogynistic media is a recipe for disaster.

    So yes, I’m uncomfortable with this post too. I don’t see the point in referring to rapists and unless the father is a harasser in front of his kids I don’t see the point in blaming parents for harassment.

  4. k says:

    I think we ought to listen more to mens side of things. If this is how he honestly feels you need to listen to this, rather than reject how he feels and how he has been brought up. Of course parents have a huge influence on your behaviour. People aren’t just born harassers. Listen to what he is trying to say.

  5. Golden Silence says:

    I’ve got a faulty memory about this, but I have a feeling that Concealed Weapon has commented on here a few times, and I believe his name refers to some self-defense tool site that he links with his comments. I don’t think he was trying to be sexual with his user name. I hope he jumps in to either confirm or deny this.

  6. Concealed Weapon says:

    I guess the name is a little inappropriate. I’m just in the habit of using it because I’ve used it other places.

    One of the points of this post is that parents frequently assume that “my kids are perfect, the other kids are trouble”, even if they’re complete jerks. Another point is that being anti-sex can just cause the kids to look for other sources of information, which may promote sexism.

    I’m not encouraging harassers to blame their parents. Just like pointing out how the media promotes harassment is not encouraging harassers to blame the media.

    “””I actually think that the advice for a man to treat women as they would want their sister to be treated is very good – assuming that men treat their sisters with respect and wish other men to do so too.”””

    I completely agree. I think I phrased it wrong in the original post.

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