Friday, March 21, 2014

Boys Harmed by "Hookup Culture"

Earlier today I came across an article talking about the "hookup culture" and how is it also detrimental to the adolescence of  boys and not just girls.  I have always found it interesting the way the girls and women are more often portrayed as the only ones harmed in a situation, especially if it is sexual.  Men are always shown as the aggressor and women are almost always shown as the victim.  Of course in a bad situation, there can be a victim on both sides. 
As a mother of a  three-year-old boy, I have been trying to learn all that I can about what boys go through as they grow up to be able to understand and talk and most importantly listen with understanding to issues I admittedly don't know much about. I grew up in teenage girl hell, and never had any brothers. Although the majority of my friends were boys we didn't spend a large amount of time talking about feelings.
I have found that this is the trend also with men my age as I am single. It is not rare for me to get 3 or more messages in a week from people that I do not talk to on a regular basis saying something derogatory or asking for a nude photo out of the blue. I have at times received some extremely negative and downright rude responses when I do not oblige. 
I have also found that given my past experiences, I reached a point in my life where I found it hard to envision a man with really connecting on an emotional level. I know this was one of my issues in dating in the past.   I also know that some of this stemmed from my own childhood in the "tough love" approach taken by my own and many other fathers around me at our age.  If you aren't bleeding, you aren't hurt.  If you aren't puking you aren't sick.  If you were to see my father cry, the Earth must have shattered, etc. 
I have been so blessed to have the opportunity to try to learn even more from the eyes of my son. I have already (at a mere 3 years old) felt pain from the words and actions of one of his friends as directed towards him. I hope that I can do my best to teach him to be gentle with other people (any crush/dating prospects) but more importantly to be gentle with himself and to be confident that it IS manly to rise above situations and to have feelings. I hope this does not scar him during adolescence and I know it is a fine line to walk during some points in his life, but by being an understanding person, life will be much more satisfying and fulfilling and his connections with people will have so much more meaning and be long lasting in the long run. At least that is my hope anyway, I know that boys are very different from girls, and I am in a constant state of learning even in my "old age." I am just hoping to be able to do the best that I can to give him life long tools to feel the least amount of hardship with a single mother. 
I am very sad to see how much the "social" connection is disappearing with the younger generation. We are social creatures by nature and we need to have that face to face contact, and be hugged and loved in person, not over a computer screen....
The biggest negative comment I have about this article is as I stated before that in addressing the harm that the "hookup" culture is having on boys, it never really addresses the fact that some of them may be feeling guilt or regret or may also be feeling violated, and it NEVER painted any of the girls as the aggressor, when I know that they are out there in a lot more abundance than anyone is really talking about. 

If you are interested in reading the original article, it can be found here: Experts Say Boys Also Harmed By Hookup Culture

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