When my daughter was younger, many of the relatives would greet her with “Come give me a hug.”  “Come give me a kiss.”

I was having none of that.

I told people that it is her body, and it doesn’t matter if she’s only a year old, she didn’t have to hug or kiss anyone.

I got a lot of grief for this.

I didn’t care.  I stood firm.

My Husband was embarrassed. He was not happy with me. I didn’t care.  I would have gotten divorced if I had to.  I was holding firm to what I believed was right.  To expect a hug or a kiss from a child is wrong- and it doesn’t matter who you are.

There are a lot of people who think I am dead wrong.  They don’t consider it harassment, but I do.  And in my reality- what I believe is the only thing that actually matters.  And that was the tenet I was taking in raising my daughter.  I made sure she knew that it was her body, and anything to do with it required her permission. That if she said no, and someone didn’t listen, she was to come to me immediately and I would take care of it.  And you can imply your own meaning to what I meant by “take care of it.”

See- here’s the thing.  Though we might all agree that harassment is bad, and that it means that someone is put in an uncomfortable situation because of their gender- we all have different levels of tolerance, and a different subset of what specifics make up harassment.

  1. A 5 year old child chases another with the intent of kissing them.  Is this harassment? I think so.  I also think that no child should be suspended because of it- that a direct conversation about touching someone else without their permission is in order-
  2. A teenager constantly calls, texts, mails, emails, mails another.  While the doer might not constitute this as harassment, the one on the receiving end often does.
  3. An adult manages to be at the gym at the same time as another adult- they manage to be at the same place at the same time.  Is this harassment?  Well, it is if one of the adults feels this way.

So here’s the thing.  Men, women- young, old….. they need to discuss these things.  it doesn’t matter if you are 100% positive that no one you know would ever be a harasser- these things must be discussed.  There must be open and honest dialogue about the different ways that people feel. Because everyone feels different about everything.

Why?

Say your child is totally respectful of all around them.  What if they have a friend who keeps texting someone- if the textee is not responding, does your child know that they should talk to the texter about how their actions might not be seen in a good light?  About how the other person might feel uncomfortable?

Now- let’s give a personal example.  I worked for a very long time in a male dominated industry.  Men were lewd and vulgar on a daily basis- not all, but I’m going to say the majority.  but, all were complicit in this behavior.  Including me.  But, this behavior did not bother me at the same level that it would bother others.  I felt that it was just a bunch of people letting off steam when faced with high levels of stress.  But I never felt threatened because of my sex- I never felt that I didn’t get a fair shot at things.  Now, there were clients of ours that did not want to work with a woman.  Technically, that is harassment- but I let it go because I always figured there would be other opportunities and other clients.  But that was me.  Another woman?  Who knows.

And what about a situation at a party, or a place where people are trying to meet other people?  One blogger friend said that he just doesn’t complement any woman other than his wife, for fear of someone thinking it’s harassment.  But how do you talk to someone you are interested in sexually?  Obviously, we know at some point people engage in sexuality intoned banter…..but what are the new rules about how one engages in this?  I have a friend who was dating the first time after divorce- he literally asked the woman what parameters their flirtatious banter could take.  He actually said, “is this form of discussion acceptable to you?”?.  And it makes me wonder, is this really why Tinder has become so popular?  Is Tinder giving people the OK to say, yes- there is a possibility that this “relationship” could end up in a sexual way, and we’re both pretty OK with that because we are using this app?

So- I think we need to discuss, in a non harassing way- what we should do to stop harassment.

Who wants to start?

 

Advertisements

24 thoughts on “Perception

  1. I’ll start. We must teach our boys — and our girls, of course — how we behave respectfully, in spite of and especially during those years when hormones are raging. Hormones are never an excuse. We teach our girls to stand firm in who they are — and to say “no” without feeling ashamed, embarrassed, or pressured. Most importantly, we as adults must model this behavior — we must live it. We have to speak out when someone says something that is demeaning, even and especially if they couch it as a joke. Even when it’s hard to take a stand — and really, it’s more important when it’s hard to take a stand. Our kids are watching.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The statement you made is the one all children should be taught; “Anything to do with your body requires your permission.” We need to teach children, adults alike, how to set boundaries. How to speak up, be firm and direct. Say no, stop, that make me uncomfortable, it is not okay, and not be apologetic for it. We also have to teach understanding, compassion and respect. Because without those the boundaries will always be crossed. For example: I may not understand why you feel that way but I respect your position nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree that we might st begin teaching children at a very early age that they have a say in who they kiss, hug, etc. I’m much better at understanding this now than I was when my kids were little. I don’t even ask my grandkids to give me a hug and a kiss. (They always do, though–those are the best!)

    We have to make sure our kids see others as humans with fears and feelings. The best way to do this is through our own actions. I wish I could say I’d excelled at this. My kids are very fair-minded adults, though. So maybe I wasn’t a total failure.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with you. I never thought about it the way you explain. I taught my kids to shake people’s hands but never to kiss or hug. The only time my son refused to shake a hand was because the person was wearing a Dodgers hat and he was big Angels fan….lol….but it was his choice…that person was going for the wrong team…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t think we’ll ever stop it, but I think we can teach each other how to set boundaries and how to compliment well. It’s a crazy world where a man can’t give a genuine compliment because he does not want it to be taken the wrong way. IMO, “Nice blouse” is acceptable. “Nice boobs” is not.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have to agree with everything that you’ve said. I don’t think a child should EVER have to hug or kiss anyone they don’t want to. I grew up with huge family get-togethers and we were always expected to hug and kiss everyone, which I hated. Most of the people there I really wasn’t close to and not only that, I was very shy. When I think back to those days, it does seem like a lot of it was harassment, and if you didn’t do it, you were looked down on. That’s not right.

    I have a 7-year old who is very shy and just like me when I was her age. There are times we go places and she doesn’t want to talk to people either. I don’t force her to. I don’t even understand why people have to push kids to talk to them either. If they don’t want to, they shouldn’t have to. This may sound wrong, but it’s the way I feel. I could go on and on..

    As far as harassment, we definitely need to educate our kids how to act and also what is considered harassment. I do feel the message has been lost and they need to be prepared for the world. Great post. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m so with you on everything you wrote. I was the shy kid. My daughter is a shy kid. If you tell your kid to go against their personality and be “chatty” how can they believe you if you tell them that they are great the way they are and don’t need to change? You can’t send mixed messages. The message from a parent has to be clear and consistent. Parenting is so hard, and you have to make sure your focusing in the right things….respect, empathy, be happy with yourself….

      Like

  7. When I was growing up, in the early 50’s, I don’t recall that we ever had to hug or kiss people. It seems like it has become the norm in the last 30 years or so (I could be wrong.) I don’t think a child should be required to hug or kiss anyone if they don’t want too…. especially if they are shy.

    I do think all this harassment begins with the parents and how they raise their kids, what they see at home and what they are exposed too… when I was growing up you just didn’t talk about sexual harrassement but today, this generation has the ability to speak up which I think says a lot for them feeling comfortable and being allowed to do that.

    Recently there was a guy I know on FB who posted a meme about HC. The quote with a picture of her said, ‘ I’m not saying Hillary is ugly but all her male friends are rapists and she has never been raped. ” Well, of course, I took offense and said that this was offensive. His response was the meme was about the company she keeps. I told him it is still about approving rape. Of course, I did change his mind but I reminded him that he had a daughter and that he might want to rethink his posts.

    I find it hard to believe that anyone would post something like that with all the #MeToo’s being posted lately but obviously this man thinks he is above it all and just doesn’t get it. But it won’t stop me from telling him my opinion if he is going to post something on social media.

    Keep up the great posts!!!! All very thought provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was born in 64 and I was totally expected to kiss and hug whatever relative came over. It was the norm back then….I think all my friends endured the same treatment.
      The thing is, your friend, he doesn’t realize it but he is a harasser. The problem is, no one thinks they are a harasser, and until people own up to it, even to the,selves, nothing will change.
      Thanks for great comments!!

      Like

      1. When I was little, I was expected to say hello, give everyone a hug and kiss, say good night and disappear to my room. And be quiet about it. I remember many times that I heard the phrase, “Children are to be seen, but not heard.” usually followed by, “But we don’t want you hanging around either.”

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I tend to read posts out of order because I’m a day late. So I read your most recent post before this one. I really don’t think you need to backtrack from anything you wrote here. As a male, I’m not seeing any broad generalizations here that offend me. The fact is, no matter how we slice it, workplaces are male-dominated. And I say this having come from a mostly female profession (librarianship). We still have a long way to go. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s