Driving my daughter to daycare today, she was talking to me about some of her classmates. She mentioned that a boy in her class pushes and kicks her. Instinctually, I turned around and said, “It’s okay. You know, sweetie, that just means he likes you.”
I said that without even thinking about the words. They just rolled off my tongue. This is what my parents and babysitters and teachers told me and every other little girl who has ever been pinched, pushed, bitten, or picked on by a boy. And saying it aloud, I suddenly realized how messed up that is. We’re instilling in our daughters at a very, very young age that if a boy cares about you, he’s going to be an ass and maybe even hurt you. We tell them that it’s nothing to worry about. That if a boy is rude, that means he’s pining for you. We explain it away like it’s okay, like it’s normal, and then we wonder why those little girls grow into teenagers that chase after the jerks and bad boys. We wonder why they grow into women who put up with mental and sometimes, even physical abuse.
Now, I’m not a moron. I know that telling a little girl that boys pick on her to show her affection isn’t going to single handedly transform her into a subservient, passive woman, but I can’t help but wonder what negative affects it might have. Is this why every single woman alive has dated at least one huge, raging asshole and told herself that it’s okay – because from the time we were in diapers, we were conditioned to believe that sometimes, boys act like douchebags when they’re actually trying to express interest? Did this subconscious conditioning somehow contribute to some of my own issues with men?
Either way – my daughter will never hear that from me again.