Dear Young Men,
This past week, I heard these words from a young man on the cusp of entering adulthood, “Isn’t the woman’s job to cook and clean?”
I had to wonder if I had heard him correctly. Would a young man, born and raised in the last twenty years, actually believe that statement to be true?
Within minutes of addressing his statement, another teen spoke up. “Well, what if the girl deserves it? I mean, what if she just keeps saying and doing things until…well, until you just have to (he punched his fist into his open palm)!”
How was this possible? Two teens with such incorrect assumptions about a woman’s role and their right as a man in one room. I was both bothered and disappointed. What exactly are we teaching you? Where is this misinformation coming from?
Because of this, I decided to write this letter. I want you to know that these views are not ok. If you believe that it is ok to sit around while your wife or girlfriend takes care of you, I guess I cannot blame you. You learned this behavior somewhere. If you think it is ok to hit a girl, for any reason, I am not as inclined to understand how you can think this is acceptable. Perhaps you have your reasons, however, so I’m here to talk about that.
Maybe you see the men in your life hit women when the woman is “misbehaving” or “being pushy.” Perhaps you have learned from the television shows you watch or the music you listen to that it is ok to treat women with disrespect. We all know that information is out there. There is music that degrades women and tells you it’s ok to “put them in their place.” Movies and advertisements portray women as weak individuals whose only job on earth is to look good and take care of the men in their life.
You are taught to never take “backtalk” from your woman, to allow your woman to “disrespect you,” or to tolerate her having a mind of her own. Even in 2017, we are still portraying women as the weaker sex, here to do the bidding of men.
I am here to tell you that is not the case! A strong man is one who has a kind heart. A brilliant man is one who is tolerant. A loving man would never lift a finger to hurt those he claims to love. A patient man is virtuous, and a real man treats those around him as equals.
If you believe that it is a woman’s place to cook, clean, and raise kids, or that you have the right to tell your wife/girlfriend how to act, what to wear, who to talk to, or what to do, you have been misinformed. If you believe it is your right to hit a girl when she talks back or bothers you, you are wrong. If you believe that the portrayal of women in music, videos, porn, and movies is an accurate description of what a real woman looks like, you should take some time to get to know real women. Few women look or act that way in real life.
And if you know all these things to be true, then I applaud you, your parents, and your community for raising a fine young man.
There will always be people, women or otherwise, that do not treat your right or deserve to be in your life. You have the right to walk away. Neither a woman or a man deserve to be abused by another. It is up to you to make the right choice.
When you treat those around you with respect and kindness, you will draw the right people to you. If you find yourself in the company of a woman who treats you badly, believe that you deserve better and walk away from that relationship. You, too, deserve happiness. Remove yourself from situations that make you feel that you must use physical force or unkind words. They are not worth it. And if you choose to be in a relationship with someone, remember that there is no situation in which it is ok to physically, or verbally, attack that person.
You are better than that. Don’t allow our society to tell you that you should behave in that way. Love your girl, work with her, be a team, and show her that you deserve her love in return. In this way, you will live a happy and fulfilling life with a woman who gives to you without force.
Respect and love cannot be forced or demanded. A real woman will give back what is received. If she knows she is loved and cherished, she will bring you more happiness than you could have ever wished for.