Being A Man Doesn’t Mean Looking Down On Women 

Real men respect women.

By Luis Castro 

Middle school boys can be fierce. Not all of them, but most of them are.

That’s when they start getting exposed to the dirty side of life, like gangsta rap and porn, or just bad influences which teach boys to disrespect girls. So they come to think that they are better than girls just because they are masculine.

I know from experience.

On my first day of middle school I was just a shy 11-year-old who didn’t know anybody because my family had just moved to a new neighborhood. A guy named Knox caught my attention because he seemed so cool. So I studied him and caught onto his ways.

He introduced me to all the things that were “in” at the time. He taught me to be rude and sarcastic towards people. He taught me that you don’t take anything from anyone – especially not a girl!

I’m not proud of that today, but at the time I didn’t know any better. I mean, I knew I was doing something wrong, but that knowledge was trapped beneath the surface. It gnawed at me from time to time and when it finally came to light it left me in a double bind: if I chose not to be like Knox I would be a loser. But if I did choose to be like him I would be a follower who was behaving very badly. But I wanted to fit in, which led me to be a complete asshole for pretty much my whole middle school career.

Not all guys realize the wrong they are doing, I think those are the guys who end up being abusive partners.

My big wake up call came when my dad set me straight. Or when I finally stopped blocking his wise advice. He always told me to be respectful toward women. He taught me to see everyone equally. And I could only shield myself from his words for so long before my conscience kicked in.

In my early years of adolescence I made a bad decision to be the complete opposite of what my dad had taught me. But eventually his words sunk in. That is why I think parents are crucial to their sons’ development.

I did finally see that Knox was a bad influence and realized that I did not need to be rude and disrespectful just to feel masculine and dominant.

We can always choose new paths in life. I’m glad I did.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on January 21, 2020, in men, sexism and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 104 Comments.

  1. I think this post is extremely interesting to me as a women because it is an insight into how a young impressionable boy can view things and what can alter his perception as he learns and grows. One of the main things that I find interesting within this post is that the author discusses how he immediately was drawn to this other boy Knox because of how “cool” he acted and was persuaded to learn and study him. This is interesting to me because of how ironic it is that sometimes the most admirable people can end of being the most toxic and hurtful due to how they try to portray themselves to others. Almost as if they are projecting the person they wish they truly were. Another fascinating point within this post was how the authors father was a crucial factor in his development and growth, which I find very true that influences and idols can be everything. This point draws on the contradicting fact that whether someone is a good or bad influence, they can impact everything. If only everyone had a good idol to look upon and learn from, this could create a positive loop benefiting everyone.

  2. I always found it odd how when we were little we were taught that if a boy is mean to us it means they like us. It’s almost as if we’re teaching boys that it’s okay to look down on women. Then people are surprised when boys grow up and don’t know how to communicate their emotions. Meanwhile, we’re teaching young girls that it’s okay for men to act like that. That young girls are supposed to put up with that kind of behavior. I’m glad that not everybody stays with these ideas. I also hope we can teach our children better to avoid them turning into abusive partners.

  3. It’s always great to see when individuals can grow out of the mindset of disrespecting/looking down on women, especially when they’ve been taught that such behavior is okay at a young age. This blog post provides a bit of insight as to how some men are raised with the idea that women are inferior or deserving of rude and callous behaviors. It’s also very uplifting to be reminded that these behaviors aren’t set in stone just because they are learned young. They can also be unlearned at the same age range, and in time the individual can grow to respect women and treat them much better than they initially learned how to. This also emphasizes how men can support feminism, not only by respecting and treating women as people on the same footing but also understanding their struggles and helping them through such difficulties.

  4. I have a 16-year-old brother who went through this phase for a bit. He was getting very direspectful not only with his sisters but he was starting to talk back to our mom as well. We didn’t understand where this rude behavior and anger issues were coming from because our dad never taught him to be that way. It wasn’t until he raised his hand at my little sister just because she didnt want to move to another seat on the couch. My dad told him to go to his room and followed him. The next day my brother was completely different and to this day he doesn’t have that attitude with us anymore. About a month later when we went to one of this lacrosse games we saw his friends were also being disrespectful to their parents and to other people at the game. There needs to be a change in the way that we describe what a man is, so that young boys stop thinking that thye are only considered “manly” if they are rude and disrespectfu. And I completely agree that parents are a crucial part of a childs upbringing, because the ones who you see disrespecting are usually the ones with family issues.

  5. I truly will never understand or be okay with this shared experience all women seem to have to go through. Is it a right of passage for every man to go through a sexist phase? Similar to the way people like to purport that all celebrities had to go through a “problematic” phase when they begin to get canceled, I genuinely feel like almost every man I’ve ever discussed this topic with has had their own adolescent moment of looking down on girls. I’m sure this is a learned, societal behavior rather than an indication of any of their true personalities, but it hurts the same regardless of the source. Bypassing all of the unfortunate moments in elementary school when “the boys” in my class told my friends and I that we couldn’t play basketball with them because we were girls, my most prominent memory of being looked down upon was in the tenth grade. I was in an advanced math class, truly believing that everyone in my course was equal regardless of our age, not even thinking about my own gender. Unfortunately, that bubble was popped for me when a boy (that I, unfortunately, had a crush on) decided to tell me a long-winded story about how a man’s brain was bigger than a woman’s and it was a scientific fact that all men were smarter than women. While he did say this to rile me, I’m sure a part of him genuinely believed this to be a fact that he wanted to wave in front of my face as a superiority flag. Perhaps the saddest part of the story is that I went about my day only a little pissed off and tucked the memory away as if it were a funny story rather than a degrading event in my life that would haunt me and the way I looked at men in the future.

  6. This story can be very relatable to many young teens. When it comes to middle schoolboy growing up, they always want to be seen tough and masculine, so the other boys would expect them, and the girls would enjoy them and for them just to treat girls like an object. But then again, the environment of them growing up has a lot to do with it. Around that time, the brain is still developing and when it comes to men, mentally takes a bit longer to develop. Many of the liking offered around those early teenage years are usually inspired by others liking. Over time, they extend to find their own persona and find out what they really like and what they pursue in life. But this is something ubiquitous when it comes to any teenagers growing up. The best time for young boy teenagers is during the 10 or 11 years as they start to open their eyes more and view the real world.

  7. Madeline Cruz-ortega

    Reading throughout this blog I agree with what Luis is explaining, I think that men in society think they are better than women just because they’re stronger. Society has brainwashed many into thinking that being mean and rude to women is what women like, that if you’re a jerk you’ll get whatever women you want because you’re much more of a man. In teen movies, the mean boy is always the main character and he is the one who always seems to get the girl. I feel that young teens grow up watching this causing them to think being mean and rude to girls will make girls like them. I myself once got told that when a boy was mean to you it meant he liked you but growing up I saw my parent’s relationship and I never saw my father be rude to my mother so I knew it wasn’t true. However, as Luis explained kids would do anything in order to be able to fit in and not be the loser, and since the popular kids are usually the mean ones I guess being mean was what he had to be in order to be accepted.

  8. Men are the way they are no because of the way they were influenced growing up. No one is born being a certain way or knowing things, they learn that and it is something that is highly influenced by those you tend to grow up with and hang with. In this case, it seems as though this person was influenced by someone who grew up knowing right from wrong which is why the boy decides to go against what Knox is doing. There is this common phrase: “boys will be boys,” but what if it becomes something deeper and more serious when they become men? That essentially is what also influences bad/ abusive behavior which seems almost impossible to get rid of because they have these ideas carved in their minds for a very long time. Is it even possible for men to change their ways after they have “developed?” 

  9. I don’t think we as males need to fight and try to conquer each other. Neither be rude. We need to listen to each other, and that means we have to try to respect one another before judging and blocking each other off without a chance. I think that is a requirement of feminism. Sometimes it means you have to keep it down even when you want to lash out. It may not reward you during the holidays, you might not even be much proud of it. but I think you will see the world as it is. And my take-away is: we are not better than girls. And this kind of teaching should be started young I think. Respect everyone then be a man.

    • During my break hour I thought about what I typed and felt something was off. I wrote respect everyone then be a man. Everyone? Clearly a lapse in normal reasoning. I think about people a lot, and sometimes the Hereafter. I don’t believe in torture. I just thought don’t people deserve basic human rights, even if they’ve done wrong deeds? Say you read about a murder convict. Is it right to take life for life? Does this person deserve any rights? What if this person was framed? This might not make you happy but where does equality stand here. That’s what I wanted to frame. Nothing else, pardon if I had crossed any person line beyond, please.

  10. I think that there are many young boys who end up being influenced by what their friends or media tells them. Whether it’s how to act, speak, dress or behave in order to be considered a ‘man.’ Society usually tells young boys that if they show any emotion of being loving, caring, or sympathetic towards anyone then they get told that they’re being too feminine or a wuss and to ‘man’ up. Many times these days many boys get the idea that in order to be considered a man they have to look down on women, have chains around their neck, and only valuing women for their body. When in reality women should be valued for the change they can bring to the world, their strength, smarts, and personality. It’s important for many parents/guardians to teach their sons about how to respect women and to see themselves as equals, that theirs more to them then what’s on the surface and that if they see their friend(s) disrespecting a women to speak up (although it can be hard, but important) or to just be an example to other young boys.

  11. I believe not all men are rude and disrespectful but I do think that the ones that are because how they were raised or because the type of people who they hang out with like in this case. Sometimes hanging out with the wrong type of people influences us to act like them. There are however some very respectful men out there who are gentlemen and are not always mean to women. I also think it has to do with their type of mentality. Mature men tend to be more respectful and less rude. There is a belief that men can’t do certain things women do because It’s not “Manly” for example, Crying. They view that as weakness but everyone is human and everyone has feelings. It is not bad for men to express their feelings and society should normalize this. I also agree that parents are crucial to their son’s development and I believe that if a guy is taught well and has respect for their mother since little, the most likelihood that he will grow up to respect women is very high. Like you said, there are a lot of other different ways to show masculinity.

  12. The behaviors and attitudes that are portrayed to be masculine have led to be categorized as toxic masculinity. This behavior has been increasingly talked about. It is something that is learned, and happens especially in the school setting where at a young age (or at least in my own experience) we have this idea that girls should play with dolls and keep clean while the boys fight, play tough, and get dirty. Society teaches boys these forms of expression are attractive and completely normal. This ideology has been passed down from generation to generation and is learned, mostly through father figures. At times it might be learned from other boys but they also ultimately have been taught through watching their fathers. Thankfully you strayed from these attitudes and with positive influences learned the attitudes that were shown to women was bad. It takes this change in thought to influence the next generations and become better than the last.

    • Interestingly the reason why so many attributes that are considered masculine these days are also considered toxic is because with equality women have taken on more and more masculine traits, while avoiding the toxic ones.

  13. I do recall around the same age and being in middle school that boys did not have any girls as friends. In fact, the only way you would be around a girl is if she was a girlfriend. I don’t remember having guys as friends not that I didn’t or couldn’t talk to them but they were all hanging out together if for some reason a guy hung out with girls, they would think he was gay. For the most part the boys were rude or trying to be cool around others. The few of the boys that were not mean or rude had their parents had them involved in a sport or some kind of after school program. It is important for fathers to talk to their sons. I know that by teaching them respect and awareness to how to treat a girl it will be in their back of their mind it will help them act and treat others right.

  14. As a woman, I definitely remember how boys acted towards me in middle school and even in high school. In middle school, my best friend was a boy. I remember feeling like he was always in charge of me or was the dominant one in our friendship. Whatever ideas he would have, I would follow. The need for boys to feel “cool” is substantially present at that young age but I believe it is taught wrong. How does being disrespectful to girls make you cool? I’m not sure where this connection came from but I feel like it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their sons how to treat others, otherwise, they will follow however they see other boys act.

  15. It is definitely important that parents and society teaches boys to be respectful towards women starting at a young age. There is also the issue of toxic masculinity, which teaches boys that to be masculine is to be strong, dominant, and often times disrespectful towards women. This pushes boys to reject “feminine” ideas and present themselves as strong and dominant. It is important that the idea of toxic masculinity is dismantled, and that boys are encouraged to be themselves instead of heeding to toxic masculinity. Peers and parents are definitely significantly important in affecting a boy’s attitudes and perspective on himself. It is great that your father helped you to become a better person. I think that the media also has a large effect on a boy’s attitudes. The notion that men should be disrespectful to women is often perpetuated on social media, in movies, and in television shows. This notion needs to be dispelled in the media, and greater representation should be included in the media.

  16. A lot of the masculinity and toxic dominance that guys, especially in school settings display, is driven by a pressure to perform in that way. The fear of being seen as effeminate results in a rigid, hard exterior that masks the vulnerability and ability for compassion and kindness we all are capable of displaying. These stereotypes that so many guys attempt to embody hurt those around them as well as themselves in the process. By giving in to the norms, you give strength them strength, and when those norms are harmful and condone things like domestic violence, sexual assault, abuse, or derogatory insults that objectify and dehumanize women, the effects amplify in a ripple effect. The “f*g discourse” as explain by C.J Pascoe, shows that the insult isn’t as associated with homophobia as it is more a gendered insult especially in school settings that is thrown around to describe any guy that displays feminine tendencies. Expressions like “real men don’t cry” or being called a “simp” for showing affection and care towards women also perpetuate toxic masculinity. What you said about nurture and upbringing playing a large role in your behaviors and identity is very true, but there also needs to be changes in the social environment of schools and the education system in general. Removing stereotypes seems impossible but it all starts with one person not giving them the ability to control them to strip it of its power.

  17. While reading this, I remembered times within my own experience where being defiant against teachers and school staff seemed to like the “Cool” thing to do; but in retrospect, it probably made me and those who did the same look like losers. I completely agree with you with your point concerning parent’s involvement within their children’s development; especially when it comes to young boys. Of course, some parents rely on schools to set their children on the right paths, especially the parents who don’t have the time to have such talks with their boys about respect and such, but there’s only so much a school can do. Nonetheless, these heart to heart conversations are what can change a child’s entire perception of the world around them, and I agree with your insight on such matters.

  18. I’m glad you changed how you were acting towards women and acknowledged that how you were acting wasn’t okay. I’m also glad that your dad got through you on how you should treat everybody not just women. A lot of people don’t have that, I know my cousin doesn’t growing uo till he moved in with my family. Not saying that my cousin treats or treated women bad, but he was raised by my grandparents, and they are old school, they believe that men shouldn’t do chores around the house and women should do everything. It wasn’t till he moved in with my family that my mom informed him that everybody helped out around the house and that he had to do his own laundry. He didn’t protested because he also saw my dad help and my sister bf help around the house, but he did have to learn how to do laundry and how to vacuum.

  19. I understand very well what it feels like to be angered at the fact that society teaches young boys to look down upon young women. I am a young black woman and from an early age I learned that my male “friends” in school would use any opportunity to undermine and disrespect me based on their ideas of femininity. Men learn from the music, tv shows, and movies that degrade women mostly geared towards sexuality. This is of course one of the most sensitive topics for young people growing up. As you stated above, gangsta rap and hip hop usually horrifically degrades women. The lyrics songs of these genre’s call women derogatory names, and illustrate the general picture that men can walk all over women simply because of a woman’s sexuality. Many movies depict women as foolish and mindless which creates the narrative that men are better than women. In school, I hadn’t realized all the influences that were affecting men to look down on me as a woman, and sometimes even myself. As I arrived in secondary school, I learned to refrain from having close relationships with men as a way of self preservation. This saved me from feeling the sting of rejection from my classmates but in time hindered me from fully understanding complex relationships with men my age as I entered adulthood. I did not know the precursors and signs that revealed a man who could be abusive.

  20. I appreciate that Luis shared his experience on this subject. He chose to follow the lead of this boy that lacked respect for others, especially girls, in order to “fit in”. It was interesting however that there was always something that didn’t sit well for Luis. “I knew I was doing something wrong, but that knowledge was trapped beneath the surface”. Luis’ father always told him to be respectful to women, but the pressure to fit in overpowered that foundation, until it didn’t and that inner voice made him dig deeper and change his path. There are so many factors that shape and influence kids at that age: environment, peers, parent involvement, video games, social media, etc. The fact that his father planted the seed of “respect for all” at a young age ultimately helped him choose to be a more respectful person. It is unfortunate though that many kids come from unstable households (domestic violence exposure) or do not have people in their corner that they feel they can trust to go to with questions or guidance. It would be interesting to dive deeper into the other boy’s life (Knox). Why was he such a disrespectful kid? Did he have a father figure to guide him?

  21. This is such an interesting post to read, especially as a woman reading from a man’s point of view. From a young age, I believe boys can be/are taught to treat and see woman as objects, and it is looked down upon to show respect to woman. This can be from other classmates, the media (TV, social media, etc.), and can also stem from the lack of acknowledgment towards the issue especially for young boys and girls. When I was in elementary and middle school, I noticed the main focus was on teaching girls how to be “respectable” (wearing appropriate clothing, not showing anger, etc.), rather than teaching boys how to be respectful. While this started for many at such a young and impressionable age, it can carry on for many boys throughout their whole life. I think it is important for parental figures and teachers to acknowledge the issue, and work towards making the norm being respectful towards woman and girls, and create a better, safer environment for everyone, wether it is in the classroom, at home, or in any situation. 

  22. After reading this, I can understand a lot of the social pressures that cause boys to act the immature way they do at that age. As a male, I see this behavior in older boys as well. In the middle school and high school years, oftentimes boys try pretty hard to fit in to impress their peers at the detriment of everyone around them. This social pressure often removes the logical processing of their actions for the people around them and it often negatively affects girls. Kids are mean at that age, and as someone who moved from a different elementary school to a middle school in a new district, I could understand why it was pressuring to find a footing in a new place. During my middle school, the thought of being disrespectful to women probably did not exist in my mind. I grew up with an older sister and a mother who was very proactive in my life, so I had guidelines in place when I was that age. Additionally, I am thankful I have had so many prominent women in my life like previous teachers made that behavior unacceptable. Thus, it is crucial that parents or any adults are more hands on during this stage of a kid’s life. I am glad your father was able to guide you during this time and changed your values. Children at this age are often looking to fit in and if an adult can help guide them, it can make a big difference.

  23. As a mother to a son, I could relate to this blog. I understand that there are many outside influences that effect a young mind. For example, video games, social media, friends, and TV shows or movies. Children constantly have ideas and concepts thrown at them every day. However, I appreciated the fact that though the boy in the blog followed another boy for popularity that there was an inner voice that kept coming through, his father. I believe a strong home foundation helps to build young confident children. Maintaining an open environment for conversations that eliminates judgement is crucial for children. Children should be able to ask their parents anything without the fear of being ridiculed. I believe if there is a strong foundation at home then eventually though the child may “stray” they will eventually find their way back. Though there may be many outside influences on children, parents are also an influence. It is important that the parents be the most positive influence.

  24. As a woman, I can relate to this because I remember the disrespect I would get from the boys in middle school. I also do believe that eventually, you have to go through your worst to be at your best. When teachers used to see the boys disrespecting the girls they wouldn’t say anything because they didn’t see anything wrong with it. Most of their excuses would be “it’s ok they are young” or “they will change”. I personally think when boys are young their elders should teach them, how to be respectful not just to women but to everyone. In my perspective, most people who are doing something wrong know that they are wrong but they just go along with it for different reasons, especially at a young age. In conclusion boys, in general, do mature later than women so I believe they do need time but with that being said they should also have someone to tell them what’s right and what’s wrong so they don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

  25. I found this posting very interesting and something most people can relate too, whether they are a man or woman. I know when I was a young girl, I was often being rebellious and getting into the wrong thing because it was the cool thing to do, or everyone else was doing it and I didn’t want to be left out. My mother too finally gave me advice, and told me I do not need to act this way simply because everyone else was doing it. Eventually I learned the hard way and finally took my moms advice. I almost think its sort of necessary for everyone to go thru a rebellious phase like this, it can teach you a lot about yourself, as well as the world around us.

  26. As a female growing up, I saw this a lot in school. Boys always wanted to appear to be this way to their peers. I never understood it. Even the boys that didn’t act this way towards their peers seemed to be in the group that did and they were looked at as followers. So if you are a follower than you were exactly what the rest of your group was. A bully or just mean. I feel boys have such a hard time trying to distinguish who they want to be and how they want to be looked at during adolescence. Even now as I look at my daughters experiences with these type of children, many of the other kids avoid them. They are really the ones that are known as being mean and it is so interesting when the class is doing a project where they have to compliment each other and my child has a hard time finding the right words to say to those that are mean. I believe that these lessons of who we are begins at home. If children were taught that its okay to be nice and not mean to each other and that it doesn’t look weak in anyway we would have better friendships. I am glad the author of this blog listened to his father and heeded his advice about treating people with kindness. I also feel it can be those with older siblings that may lead to that child being mean. If a sibling treats their younger sibling mean and unkind than they go to school and subject their schoolmates to this behavior. It is ultimately the parents job to make sure everyone at home is being kind and respectful and that will be evident when they are in school and with their peers.

  27. amber rodriguez

    As a girl, I can still very much relate to this post. Being a young adult you always seem to do what you can to be liked or to fit in. anything someone sees as cool is something you feel you should be doing. When usually it turns out to be someone having a bad influence over you. As you mature you begin to notice these ways and picking and choosing the right people you want to be around who empower you. But as for boys, when growing up and learning how to treat women, it starts from ages like this. I have a younger brother, who has myself and another older sister to correct him when he’s wrong in these ways. We may seem annoying to him now but later on in life I’m sure he will thank us. We always try to make him understand some of the things he says and how he says them to be hurtful. We are always communicating about how we feel in our household as well. Whether it be our own feelings or actions taken to hurt our feelings, this way he will grow up to be a man in tune with his feelings and emotions and be able to speak on it instead of bottle it up. I find this important because as a 21-year-old female who has guy friends and romantic relationships with guys for some reason this is always an area they lack in. in my opinion, I think this is because of society’s stereotype of being a “strong, masculine man” and they “never” share their feelings. Its always important as a boy to be guided on these issues.

  28. Monique Tiscareno

    This was a great read. I am glad that Luis was able to see how Knox was leading him in the wrong direction before it was too late. Being a new person anywhere can make a person be self-conscious and cling to a person that shows them acceptance no matter who it is. I agree that parents are a huge factor in the way boys are raised, their influence should be something that is always in the back of their head even if they don’t listen to it all the time. It should act as a compass to navigate them when they feel lost. I am a single mother raising a now 10-year-old son and he knows not to disrespect women and to treat them fairly. He sees me as the head of the household and a leader in the school and head coach of his all-boys’ soccer team.

    I know that I will not always be with him so I can only hope that his growing up experience will keep him on the right track of respecting women. If it doesn’t, I hope my nagging voice will navigate him back like Luis.

  29. This article touched on some very interesting topics and the biggest one to me being the analysis of boys starting out in middle school. Of course we can see similar behavior younger and of course older, but choosing middle school speaks to a lot of individuals. I myself did not find it hard in the slightest to recall an event similar to yours. I was also new to my school as we had just moved. I was in a math class that was set back from the general math and I was placed with the “trouble makers”. The teacher would step out of the class for maybe a second and the boys were already out of their seats, grouping together. I saw boys and girls separate while I just sat back and focused on my work. Some foul words were thrown out by the boys to the girls. Sexual negative comments about the girls that no middle school boy should be saying out loud, especially directed towards one of these young girls. These sort of exchanges at such a young age shows strongly how the boys feel as though they are free to do as they please and are “cool” when they do so in front of their groups. It starts out with how we raise our boys. By setting better role models. Especially setting them straight when they fall out of line with such blatant disrespect, not to mention them compromising their own future in the process. Guidance is needed and that is something that is left out. In your case your father did step in and you talk on how much you appreciate that. When boys are left to be “fierce” as you say, their actions directly affect these young girls. They are exposed to how “boys” treat girls and talk on behalf of their bodies when they themselves are only starting to begin the conversation themselves. Talking on how you felt compelled by your social setting is one of the biggest contributors to the way men act and treat women throughout any age. Talking on middle school boys is a great way to start that conversation.

  30. I fell that so much of our surroundings have a very strong influence on our behaviors and beliefs. It is like an innate mechanism for survival. I too believe that the people closest to an individual, such as the family or the people that they live with can have a very important role in providing support and comfort, safety, influence such as setting an example or exposing knowledge. When those factors lack from the members that the individual depends strongly on, they might seek it elsewhere and to any degree, even if it leads down a dangerous path physically or mentally. Especially as a youth, the feeling of acceptance and being understood can come at many costs. If a young man seeks approval and power they might resort to unruly and overtly disrespectful behavior, towards those that are labeled as weaker, in attempt to gain respect from their peers. Similarly, among young females seeking approval and acceptance can come at a cost and undesirable actions. Having companionship and people who mutually care and respect you might not be attained very easily when under pressure as a youth, therefore individuals might choose to seek attention through easily attainable means. Even if at the cost of causing harm to others or themselves.
    I think it takes a lot of courage and self-respect to choose a healthier path, which then leads to the next step of gaining mutual respect with others.

  31. If you think you are amazing because you are a man or woman, if you feel you are everything, then you are a selfish person. Conversely, I believe that no one is a bad person or a good person at first. The achievement of these consequences is influenced by the surrounding environment, friends, family, teachers, etc. And most importantly, I think it is how a parent or others educate our children. As the author also said in the article, if it were not because of Knox’s negative instigation or influence, he would not believe Knox or even make a wrong decision to hurt others. According to what the author has said, he didn’t want to hurt others, but it will make him look week if he doesn’t do the same thing as others. Therefore, the correct education and influence are critical. Especially parents, because how the father treats the mother at home is a good example. Only in this way can children know that men have to be gentle with women, just like how women love men. Slowly, afterward, men and women will treat everyone around them, sensibly in society.

  32. While I do think that there’s growing pains and learning to be done by both sexes, the early pubescent years of males tend to have, as Luis noted, a more “black or white” trend to them with little gray areas. It’s interesting to see how geography, wealth, and other sociological factors play into this: I was born into a fairly poor family who lived in a no-so-good part of Baltimore, and at a very young age there was a sense that mothers, especially single mothers, were to be respected — and feared if you did something wrong. My family’s life had some fairly significant changes in the next few years, and as we moved up the social ladder during my prepubescent years, I saw some significantly different viewpoints about gender equality and gender roles. In these types of discussions, it’s important to contextualize and understand that children, especially during preadolescence and puberty years, take a significant amount of social cues from their surroundings.

  33. This article really shows the importance of why men should be taught at a young age to respect women. It’s very difficult, although not impossible, for someone to change their mentality once they’ve gone a long time thinking a certain way, so it’s best to start young.It is important that they receive the right kind of influence, because they can latch onto and imitate bad behaviors fairly quickly. Parents,teachers, and friends are all responsible for shaping how a young boy thinks. It’s an all too common story that boys who want to fit in are pressured by older or “cooler” boys into acting a certain way towards other people, especially girls. They do this because they don’t want to been as losers or outsiders, especially if they’re new to a school. These same boys are taught that being mean or dismissive of a girl will somehow prove that he likes her which could have negative consequences in how girls view themselves.

  34. I wish that more men would be comfortable enough to verbalize their inner conscience on the subject of women. This is a very open and remorseful lesson learned on behalf of Luis Castro. I agree that it is imperatively important for parents to raise both sexes to be respectful towards others, but I also think it is very important that a good dad relays his messages to his son(s), not only verbally, but also through action. Middle school is volatile for any sex, kids get ugly in personality, they start to explore more provocative ideas such as dating, sex, kissing, status not only with your peers but also with the girls they choose to pursue. Peer pressure is huge in middle school, and honestly I think parents can do their utmost best to support, guide, direct and teach their children but around this time kids look more for peer support than parental. This is why it is more important for parents to continue to teach and support their kids and keeping an open dialogue, firm but fair approach through this awkward time. Teenagers already feel out of place, they go through so many changes and it is a critical time for self esteem to either raise above or fall to the floor. The sheer acknowledgement of Luis Castro identifying that he knew better than to treat girls in a bad manner is actually really positive to hear, even if at first he didn’t make the best choices at first. We all live and learn in this life. Girls have called boys “gross”, “weird”, “ugly” or make comments that they “burp”, “spit”, and “have no sense of style”. As we get older though our inner voices get louder and if the people in our life have raised us to be open, compassionate and kind these moments of bad choices begin to happen less frequently. This argument is for both sides, parents should be raising their children to be strong, independent and open minded.The patriarchal mentality should be a thing of the past and for the men that haven’t come to terms with this yet, hopefully they have a strong wife who can guide them out of it and show them what a partnership is.

  35. I relate to this story tremendously. I learned to call girls Bitches when I was in second grade. As a seven year old, I didn’t know what it meant. My friends and I would hang out after school most days, in a mixed group, but at Recess and Lunch we strictly segregated ourselves; boys and girls. I don’t know why. When the boys got bored, we would approach our female group, but they would have nothing to do with us during school hours – Until we started calling them Bitches. Then they’d leave their social group and chase us around the playground, like we wanted. Eventually, that stopped working, so a friend of mine began the tradition of slapping a girl’s butt while insulting her, in order to get the reaction we wanted. This behavior was accepted by all parties, and the game continued through elementary school, under the supervision of faculty who did nothing to stop it. When we all hung out together after school, nobody brought it up. It was just the way things were. By the age of seven, sexual violence and gendered slurs were normalized in our heads, as a casual part of everyday life.

    Men and women both deal with sexual topics and issues at a young age, a process sped up further with the prevalence of smartphones in schools. It’s despicable how flimsy education on the subject is, when it’s one of the topics that most affects our everyday lives – I had no option for a gender studies class until college, and even then it’s not a requirement. So much of what is now common sense to me was unavailable until I was twenty.

    • This is all very interesting. I have seen studies of childhood that have shown that well neighborhood kids will play together in a mixed gender group that pretty much never happens at school. But what you describe is certainly eye-opening. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Serena Delgadillo

    I feel like everyone can look back at their middle school years and be embarrassed about a couple things they might have done. I grew up with an older brother who I got to watch go through this faze of toxic masculinity as well. I know that especially since this is the age where everyone is going through puberty, they all want to be accepted, and also have a lot of friends. It’s easy for kids to try and follow someone around like Knox to feel like they’re in control, when in reality they’re just being disrespectful. It sucks because at this age it can cause girls to think that they are “less than” or that if a boy is mean to you it means they like you. It’s great to see someone go through this and grow into their own person. Life is always about learning new things and being able to have a parent present to guide you is so helpful.

  37. Unfortunately we live in a society where there still are places around the world that believe in the backwards treatment of women. The title of this post caught my attention because it is something I have repeated many time to all the men in my life. I am of many women who grew up with a father who was raised was these ideals. My mother was also raised with these ideals, but was more defiant (I’m convinced that’s where I got my rebellious streak from) and would speak back to my father on many occasions about this misogynistic attitude. These instances proving to be the reason I also started calling out him out as well.

    I sincerely believe that we won’t actually start seeing any substantial change unless there is some sort of institutional and structural change that would eliminate gender bias. I often think about the opposing societies that have followed a matriarchal style and how they would look at our society.

    The catch being that even in matriarchal societies they do not belittle nor look down upon men and rather look at them as an equal. This goes to show even more that the constant mistreatment and scorn that women receive has been and still is a method suppressing rather than actual truth.

    • Your last flight brings up an interesting point about language. But we call matriarchal societies are really partnership societies, but we don’t really have a language for that. We need to change the language.

  38. There are so many instances in life in which family expectations and social pressures really play an extreme role in how a person acts and who they choose to become. I grew up in a family with two older brothers and my mother and my father were raised in households that definitely had the patriarchal 1950’s mentality. The women take care of the children and do the housework, while the men go to work. Even though in both situations the women did everything and still managed to balance being great mothers while keeping their sanity. I feel a large majority of how a boy/man treats a woman is a testament to their parent/s. The parent’s relationship with one another (as husband and wife), as well as how they teach their son/s to respect women are both imitated by the boy in childhood as well as in adulthood. The child sees that relationship day in and day out and they learn from what they see. That’s why it is so important to display respect to your partner, because even when you think they aren’t watching, they are. I see this so much with my 3 year old son and my husband and I try to emulate respect to one another and love. He sees this in our relationship because he so often treats his friends and cousins (which majority are girls) with kindness. You can try to tell someone how to act a million times, but if you aren’t practicing what you preach then the son will get mixed signals. I’m certainly not saying we are perfect, but we try. As a child I did not always have the healthiest example from my parents of how a man should treat a woman and I see some of that spill over into my brother’s relationships with his girlfriends. I feel as though once something has been ingrained into your mind for so long it’s hard to break the mold or to even realize that there’s a problem. I feel that is how our society is. The precedent has been set and is ingrained into our culture and it will take a lot of effort to change the narrative of how men should treat women. It’s not impossible to do, but it will take time and there are absolutely wonderful respectful men in this world and I bet they had great parental examples. This is all true to say for women and respect as well.

  39. I understand there is an immense wave of peer pressure to be “one of the guys.” And you are right, parents hold a great responsibility towards their children’s development. We could also argue that it is a chain reaction and boys are simply conditioned that way because of their dads, grandpas, and great grandpas. Educators could also be blamed for not teaching compassion and equality among peers. However, there comes a time when we are old enough to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong. Each individual is accountable to their actions and breaking the pattern of looking down on women. Therefore, I am glad you woke up, learned from your mistakes, and rectified yourself. It takes more courage to follow your heart and be a gentleman than to follow the “cool” kid and be accepted by wrong-doers. Ultimately, it makes you a better person for showing respect towards others.

  40. To begin with, let us first acknowledge and universally understand that men exists today only due to women’s ability to given birth to human being. A woman is just as a human as men are with each of them having slightly altered body structures. Any human – men or woman deserves to be treated equally with respect, kindness and without any perceived personal preferences/notions. Mutual respect as they say is all or nothing proposition and works both ways. We will find both men and women, who may/will practice misogyny and misandry respectfully to a severe extent but need to learn to forgive them for their lack of education/disrespectful behavior towards others. No one gives us either men or women any right to objectify or vilify any sex whatsoever. Doing so is exhibiting sheer weakness on our part.
    Gone are the days of the patriarchal era where men controlled everything forcing women to stay at home. The women of today in many parts of the world are equally or even smarter than men on average by being more independent in terms of both decision making and taking care of themselves while being educated and astute. The days where women were kept restricted to their families until they were married off are long gone. But having said that, there are still some countries in the world, where the respective religion favors men much more than women, who still face hard time while not having the basic permission to even study. Many men in the name of showing bravado and macho behavior treat women as weak and mere sex objects, where they can do anything to them. Many movies and rap videos are sheer examples of such promotions resulting into non-required obsessions, when young boys and girls watch and follow them.
    Having taken basic courses on Sociology, Psychology and Neurology, while there are no neurological differences between the sexes, there are sociological differences in terms of how we are brought up. Being brought up in the USA, I can easily visualize that the basic social behavioral and developmental differences between the sexes; these differences being more intensified and promoted by our gendered culture more than anything else. When children are born, they do not inherit these differences, but they learn them from their respective families and environment and upbringing, and they are a result of what we expect a boy or girl to be. In many countries as opposed to ours, women and elders are way more respected by men but that is driven more from their respective cultures and upbringing. There are always exceptions to the norm but in general most men in those countries including the media do not treat women as sex objects. Looking at US, there is simply no dearth of news involving scandals in corporate companies, news media, Hollywood, presidencies about males associated with sexism and lewd conduct. It seems to indicate a certain sense of male celebrity status in their sense of their perceived power over females – which is grossly wrong and should not be tolerated. While many educated men have learned to respect women and the level of their inherent ego has subsidized dramatically than was the case in the past, a lot needs to be done in our country to consider and treat women fairly from all respects.

  41. I’ve seen clips of people cheering medical workers at hospitals, but this particularly just warmed my heart. Idk if you saw this yet or not, but heroes honoring heroes….love it.

    • Yes, there are a few heartwarming things that have come out of this coronavirus. Thanks for sharing.

      I hope you are still doing well with your essential job. I hope you all are wearing masks and gloves. It’s good for you and for customers, you might remind employers.

      • yeah I am. Luckily my place has done well to protect employees and shoppers. They have workers constantly sanitizing carts and all throughout the store. Sanitizing wipes are in different spots so shoppers and employees can work. I wish it was longer, but up to 4 weeks allowed for leave of absence. I’ve been staggering them so that I don’t use all up in case it gets worse next month or just don’t know how long this will be. The good thing is that other workers are wearing masks and it seems like the memo has gotten to people in the city now as more than half of shoppers I see wearing masks. So that makes me feel more protected too.

        My store also implemented where the weekday hours are now cut or closes earlier now too. They also have tape to show for members 6 feet distance and signs telling members to keep 6 feet distance all over the place, and coughing in tissue or arms, etc. They have plexiglass cough shields at cashier part and also at membership desk and tire center. They have the door person who checks receipts, where there’s a table and shield and worker doesn’t touch receipt, but instead members put receipt up to glass and employee just looks through and quickly checks that way. Instead of cashiers touching peoples member ship cards, the cashier has the member hold up membership card where barcode is and scanner with scanner gun. More important, the limit of # of people has been put in place and that was one of the most important things to me as people would fricking just all cram into the store and cause a huge gather which we don’t want. Yes there it’s busy on weekend but much less and just more spaced out. The reason is they just implemented this weekend how members can only have one other person with them. So only 2 people at most per membership entering the store.

        They’ve also did changed in the break room as it felt like all this stuff doesn’t mean anything if employees aren’t social distancing in the break room. I know it’s hard as I like to sit with my buddies I work with. But they put two tables together and tape so that only two people can sit at a table, 6 feet apart, kiddy corner from each other and signs on the table instructing for co workers to set that way. I thought that was important, as this doesn’t mean much if co workers are all sitting 4 or more at a table together and close together. They got rid of the tables for food court and very limited menu. People can only get food from calling and pick up basically so there’s no line. I feel a lot safer after these changes. I plan to take more time off again soon, just trying to spread it out and be careful in the meantime. Speaking of heart warming and where you see the good come out of people during hard times. Did you see the clip of the young boy, getting food for the elderly and creating his own food packages to bring to many elderly people. I mean what a heart of gold.

      • they also are paying employees from march through may, $2 added to the wage for all employees for working during this time. I don’t know if it technically counts as hazard pay, but that helps too. I like how cuomo said they will do a fund for first responders. You said you’re involved with politics. When this is done and over, I wonder if you can influenced or be apart of something nationally to help nurses, medical staff and first responders. I was talking to my mom and she agreed how they deserve a long vacation for all this and after all this. I would fund and I think many others to do something for medical workers and paramedics, etc.

      • I’m glad you have a really good employer! That’s so important. One benefit of working is that you’re not so socially isolated. I’ve been talking to some people who are really struggling with the isolation.

        This video?

        Using his allowance to help others. What a sweetheart! Good can come out of tragedy, can’t it?

        I work on poverty issues and have been communicating with Congress members. Encouraging things like this (to prevent widespread poverty and economic collapse):

        – Increased unemployment benefits
        – More generous paid sick leave fully funded by the gov.
        – Banks offer loans to cover lost revenues for small businesses — the federal gov forgive loans if the companies don’t lay off workers

        Because of the threat of economic collapse, and neither side knowing who will win the presidency, it’s easy to get both sides to do what’s right for a change.

        Hope you have a nice day 🙂

  42. Granted there are 40 something older adults than can be immature idiots too, like a corona virus party had somewhere and big spread due to that. I know I generalized, but still, younger adults can still be more impulsive and immature which can be harder to get them to get the bigger picture.

  43. “Luckily most people survive at least and don’t even need hospitalization but worrisome for those who do and potential hospital overloading. ”

    It sucks though because I really don’t know how it would be for me. I have an auto immune issue. Luckily it;s more often foods that are an issue, but it’s basically a complex, wacky immune system. So I wish I could feel good about it, but it’s such a question mark for me. I could be the 80% and it’s mild for me as I’m young, I have a good heart, lungs, no diabetes. I’m strong, athletic and something must be good with my genes because I’ve always looked like 5 years younger than I am.

    But I could just as much be in the percentage to where it’s severe for me. I’m scared about the pneumonia, because that’s inflammation with lungs and I’m hoping the virus doesn’t trigger that because of my immune system being more sensitive to have an auto immune response which could cause the pneumonia. I’ve been very careful, but I think I’d have to have a lot of vitamin C and zinc helps too. But also go strict on having no sugar if I got sick from this and have nothing but all top anti inflammatory foods, which could help. People don’t realize how much food can trigger inflammation or make things worse.

    We all know about the crazy politics and what that has caused from all this. But citizens have to do their part. I know you;re doing classes all online now as classes are still in session. I wonder if online or in person before classes went online, if you talked to your students. I know you’re not a parent, but I know teachers and professors can have quite the influencing effect on our youth. I think that’s what many teachers find meaningful with their job and why they perhaps wanted to be teachers. But it;s so important for everyone to avoid mass gatherings and use social distance and cover their coughs properly, etc. And yes, people of all ages can be selfish and not do it. But teens and college students because of that age, feeling invincible and what comes with the age, immaturity. It;s such a challenge. I hate this, but as hard as it is for me, I know how hard that would;ve been for me when I was 18-21.

    Parties, clubs, at that age and immaturity, young adults are just more impulsive and live and let die mindset. Did you talk or have talked or stressed the importance and just bite the bullet to your students? Did they understand the bigger picture? Did you see how beaches were full from spring break with college students? Florida didn’t have that many cases yet, I just saw today it;s surging and the big spreading area came from the beaches there. I read now how spring breakers now feel regret over it. I know they didn;t mean to do this, but I saw clips of them not caring and how they would be fine. That;s true for the most part, but they failed to think that it;s not just about them, its the elderly they are near and could be asymptomatic or mild and not know they were sick or get the infection.

    • I did some quick research and one article said that those with rheumatoid arthritis may be more susceptible coronavirus/pneumonia but I saw another article which said that people with autoimmune problems are generally not at higher risk for coronavirus complications because their immune system are actually too strong, not too weak. Hopefully that will give you some comfort.

      I do wish that people would use their brains and not do things that work to infect themselves and others. I guess that’s why in California the “shelter at home” directive begin on St. Patrick’s Day – keep people out of the bars!

      But we can’t control other people, we can only control ourselves. So maybe being generous and forgiving them might help our own immune systems.

      I saw an article comparing two young women in similar situations where one survived and the other didn’t. They were both doctors, whose immune system’s are overly taxed by the amount of disease they routinely encounter. Both in their late 20s. Both married with a young child. The only differences I noticed were that the one who didn’t survive was more overweight and she was also more worried, more of a sense of dread. The one who survived thought that a positive attitude would help and she tried to be cheerful. (That only worked for so long because she was in such dire straits after a while.)

      I guess we can follow all of the directives about 6 feet apart, handwashing and where we can’t do that, have the best immune system we can by eating healthfully, exercising, and being generous toward other peoples foibles and finding joy in everyday life.

      And since you work handling a lot of packages I thought I would send this along: “Don’t panic about shopping, getting delivery or accepting packages”


      The coronavirus that causes covid-19 “was detectable . . . up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.”

      The key word here is “detectable.”

      but the reality is that the levels drop off quickly (so) The risk is low.

      I hope you feel better 🙂

  44. You’re college is in California so on the west coast that has been hit hard I believe. From where I’m at, colleges, and universities have closed down and going online. As you can see with sports shut down. I know colleges in the West coast have closed too. Has your college or university closed down? This is a crazy time. I believe the media goes too far sometimes with going to worst case scenario about coronavirus, but it’s something needed to contain and US fucked it up. It’s so irritating where I keep hearing, more tests coming, yet still not there. And you’re wondering when the hell it will be up to the amount needed when each week that’s not the case. Dr faulchi said it will be next week or next 2 weeks. Some states like ny doing their own, but ridiculous much smaller countries can do so much more tests than ours when it’s more essential for Us given the huge population.

    • Yes, all of the schools are going online for the rest of the year in my area. Next to New York and Washington state we have the highest coronavirus rate.

      We had a plumbing emergency where all of our floors have to be replaced. I’m hoping Coronavirus won’t stop our getting the project done.

      Worried about the economy but if people are hospitalized and dying in droves that hurts it too.

      We could Reverse 2017 tax cut for billionaires to help small businesses, unemployment insurance, food stamps etc in this crises… (Or after we get a Democratic Congress — doubt GOP Congress will do this)

      Hope you are okay.

      • yeah I am, just nervous because I work at one of the essential stores so they have to stay open and dealing with the damn hoarders shopping. The government didn’t help this or the media that caused such panic for people. Obviously you want to stock up, but the hoarding has taken away from people who need it. It also causes the business to go to another level. They say social distancing and no mass gatherings. Well that doesn’t happen when the number of shoppers normally at a grocery store or BJS or Costco is quadrupled from the usual business. It’s nerve wracking as an employee at the front end or having to go over that way because it’s so busy and moving away from your other position to be all hands on deck and in the fire zone.

        I feel for the workers who didn’t sign up for this or may be elderly or health conditions now hoping to not get covid. They have cdc signs telling shoppers to keep distance and cover their coughs and cds sample people are sanitizing and wiping carts down and other part of the store which is good. But people can be slobs and have no manners so you hope somebody doesn’t cough and doesn’t cover like they should or cough on their hands and then frickin touches the products or cart. I’m careful when shopping or anywhere I go and wipe things down and have hand sanitizer in my car. I wear gloves when working too, but it’s not fun. My brother in law is hurting so a lot of people are hoping their small businesses get helped. If I got take out food, I would purposely go to local places and would give a big tip to worker and I heard others doing that. My brother in law is hurting because he sets up and has a passion for music. He’s a very good musician, lead singer and has been. He did commercial plumbing, but wanted to run his own business. So he supplies bands and concerts with equipment and sets up and was quite busy. But obviously nobody will want to have mass gatherings and that’s restricted, so no concerts, so that is hurting him.

      • Such tough times right now and no real good answers on how to deal with it. You are lucky that you don’t have to worry about losing a job but you do have to worry about dealing with potentially contagious customers. And it seems like going shopping in and of itself can be a problem since the virus stays on surfaces. Luckily most people survive at least and don’t even need hospitalization but worrisome for those who do and potential hospital overloading. And then having to choose who lives and who dies. Meanwhile the economy goes in the tank. One silver lining is emissions are down which can be helpful for climate change and if people start telecommuting and teleconferencing that will go along way toward stopping emissions. Apparently when 40% of the population guess the virus there’s basically a herd immunity. But if you get there too quickly you’ve got mass deaths and hospital overload. Since my plumbing problem was an emergency and they had to get the tile up to prevent mold I have very little flooring right now Downstairs. And I’m hating that.

        Take care! Good to hear from you.

  45. I read this blog post again and have some more to say on this topic.
    I have noticed that in this era misogyny is still a problem, however I can noticeably understand that women, men, and companies (mostly the younger generation) are working hard to instill more empowerment in women. Through advertisements, diversity hiring, and social media encouraging more women to speak up. Going back to my original thoughts on this, I previously spoke about how popular music these days definitely have influence on young people and their mindset. But the other day I was listening to the radio (yes, I still listen to the radio). I heard about 3 or more songs about women empowerment. A few of the artists I heard of were Meghan Trainor, Jennifer Lopez, and Nicki Minaj. The songs that I heard mostly idealized equality for women, spreading the message that women aren’t put on this planet to please men and take commands. This was really exciting because young girls and boys will listen to the top hits of this generation and will hopefully have an impact on the way they think and lead their lives! Incase anyone was wondering, the songs are called “Dear Future Husband” , “I Ain’t Yo Mama”, and “Feelin Myself”.

  46. Rightly said Madam. Women or Men should not demean the other sex to appear more dominant. Being Respectful and Being Assertive are completely different.
    However, you have every right to defend yourself, be safe and make the misogynistic bullies behave, if they try to bully you. Don’t think about rudeness in such a case.

  47. While its never okay to be a mean person, I believe being young complicates things. Middle school is a terrible time for most people in some way, and shouldn’t be a reflection of them once they grow up. I was not a mean person growing up, but I knew several people who were. Almost all of them are much better now and have grown up from that past. If you can look back and grow from those mistakes, I believe it can completely redeem yourself. Many people have a difficult childhood or try to follow in the footsteps of someone. Middle school and high school are great times to learn about yourself and become your own person, overcoming those past actions. I would never hang on the past and only use it as a reference to better yourself.

  48. I agree middle school is the age gap where young boys and girls get introduced to more hardcore things. From the perspective of a female I can agree that boys tend to be more carless about the feelings us girls have during that age, considering the fact that most girls are growing up to be young women at that age getting their menstrual cycle and feeling more insecure about their bodies. It makes it easier to be put down by word or actions of boys. It is also the age where girls start to become curious about boys and relationships making themselves easier targets because they just want to be noticed and therefore take anything from boys. It’s sad to think of the boys that don’t have a parent or guardian to guide them to the correct path because like mention this can be the leading cause to abusive men in relationships. A lot of times men that didn’t have someone to look up to tend to go down a different path then the ones who did.

  49. I can agree with you when you say that middle school is that time of life where you are exposed to many different things, and it all happens so quick. The pressure of fitting in, and feeling like you belong there. Unfortunantely, it is also the time where girls are growing, physically, and mentally. Speaking from experience as well, getting viewed as sexual at such a young age is scary, and so uncomftorable. There is not enough awareness of how much it still happens today. Along with the peer pressure, boys tend to rely on their friends as role models. Some how they feel the need to follow the same exact steps when it comes to disrespect. I have seen kids I went to middle school with do that exact thing, and it’s as if they got brainwashed and could never see themselves NOT be like their friends. Fortunate for you that you had someone, which was your father, to teach you right from wrong. A lot of times males tend to get critized for seeking help, because it is not considered “manly”. Middle school is the age where both boys and girls are learning about themselve and surroundings, they should be able to do safely, and freely.

  50. I do not know what to say about the age of eleven should know some which is wrong and which is right. It means I am not trying to blame at all. I think if I were in your shoes at the age of eleven, I will neither follow the way they taught nor influenced. One reason I believe is all are human beings and no one is above other whether a boy for his masculinity. At the same time, I also consider for the peer pressure as well as appraisal of masculinity because I cannot avoid the gendered division and gendered power given to male. In fact, male has physically and socially constructed power. Although men or boys must not condemn or not behave like the gang Knox do that they are better than girls. At that point, what I realize is the role model and teachings for the perceptions towards gender is very important for the whole life. I have been coming across with many myths that masculinity as a power at all time. Men are taught to seek power for success of his life including financial life, marriage life, family life and so on. Usually, men are characterized of having greater potency, competence, and more manipulative role. But, seeking of power must be in a correct way _ not pressing on girls or women or not taking advantages over the other sex. Humiliation on girls or women is not a practice for boys or men. In hiring for a position, the differentiation of sex is not acceptable.

  51. Growing up I believe that there is a need to teach young ones how they should treat both women and men. Many grow up lost and never had anyone teach them nor did they have anyone to look up to. This then leads into abusive relationships as they get older which then becomes a bigger problem as they continue to grow. Masculinity is indeed a big important factor that plays a huge role in today’s world/ society and for so long it has been. It is a big problem in middle schools because of the fact that boys seem to think that they are way better than girls. This is why they tend to look down on them and think it is fine to treat them the way they do. Many at that age do not know any better and they do it to try to fit in and be perceived as “cool” by their peers.

  52. This post shows us how important it is for men not just to treat women with respect but towards everyone. I am a girl and I remember from my middle school years, boys would be mean, they would say inappropriate things and even do inappropriate things. I never understood why but when I think about it, the only boys who were like this were the “popular” ones. Eventually some of the other boys decided to be the same way just so they won’t feel left out or feel like a loser, it is a desperation of wanting to fit in. Coming from a Hispanic household, we were always told to treat everyone with respect, but when it came to the boys of my family, they were always told to never disrespect a woman and to treat their girlfriend like queens. It is very important for young boys to have role models to teach them values that will help them out in life.

  53. This is very true about having role models to look up to and teach kids how to treat people and how to not treat them. Some people who don’t have good role models sometimes come out on the bad side, but some still become respectful people in spite of their lack of guidance. I think it depends on the character development in a person, but having a respected and knowledgeable role model can have a great impact. Kids don’t know right from wrong and they need guidance to learn how to treat women, as well as men, with respect. If kids are being taught by unwise peers to stand dominant over women, the world will not continue to progress. Some pop culture, like you stated, can influence toxic masculinity and kids need an adult to help them realize what they should avoid and what’s okay to follow. Similar to how this is titled, just because one is a man does not deem them to look down on females. Learning that the opposite of this is true is a step down the wrong path of morals.

  54. Growing up in a household with all men showed me a lot about how a man should treat a woman. I grew up in a house with my dad and my 3 brothers. As I am the youngest of the 4, I always saw how they would treat their girlfriends with love and respect. I knew that this is the way I would want a man to treat me one day and that I wouldn’t settle for anything less. Nevertheless my brothers didn’t always treat women with such respect. When they were all in elementary and middle school they were so mean to girls. For some reason they thought that they were above them. I think that this comes from trying to fit in with the other boys and trying to seem “cool” to one another. After a while as they grew older they seemed to realize that being disrespectful to girls isn’t cool at all. When they were in high school that’s when I started to see a change in each of them for the better. Now they all have a strong admiration for women and what we go through everyday.

  55. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who had a GOOD time in middle school (what we used to call “Jr. High”). From what I recall, brutality, both verbal and physical, flowed pretty freely in all directions.

    Has any society figured out a way to avoid it?

    • Are used to be puzzled by the desire to escape rebirth and achieve Nirvana by Buddhists and Hindus until someone explained, “would you want to have to relive middle school over and over again?” So I get what you’re saying.

      I did hear of a new middle school that was making a real effort for all of the kids to get to know each other and appreciate each other. I can’t remember exactly how they are doing it but all sorts of activities. I hope it works! (Maybe that sort of thing helps when it’s a new school?) It’s in a community with a particularly high youth suicide rate, though, so I guess that tells you something.

  56. I believe the vast majority of males respect women.

    • I think they do, too.

      But I also think that in some circles, especially among fraternities, or in circles of friends like my student described here, there can be some pressure to disrespect women.

  57. My parents divorced when I was about three years old. From my experience being raised by a single mother, it is undeniable that my love, respect, and appreciation for women came from the love, strength, perseverance, competence, and honesty my mother showed as she raised me. I was always comparing what she did for me to what little my father did for me. I was able to see my father on weekends but then came a time when I stopped seeing him all together. Even when I did see him, no memorable moments were conceived, I just wanted to go back home. I was developing a respect for women through my mother’s actions, and a suspicion to what it means to be a man through my father. I continually developed this respect for women because of what my mother was able to accomplish as an immigrant in this country, only setting her worlds apart from my father, reinforcing what a woman is capable of. Looking back at my early school years of elementary and middle school, I never wanted to do anything to upset my mother. I surely made mistakes as a kid, as we all do, but never did it cross my mind that by being a boy I had to prove to others my masculinity or show dominance. After all, without my father in the picture much, all the masculine examples came from uncles, older cousins, and friends from the neighborhood I grew up in, with none of them having much to say or follow after. I didn’t grow up in the best area so all the older kids did things my mother wanted me to stay away from. I still hung out with the older kids in my neighborhood because they had younger siblings that I would play with. There was a part of me that still wanted to emulate what they were doing but at the end of the day I knew my mother would not want me to go down these paths. There was so much disrespect and ignorance that the males around me displayed towards women that it did not register in my head how they were capable of acting in such ways. A lot of kids in my area lacked supportive father and mother figures so this likely played a significant role. As a man in my early twenties being able to reflect on these things now, I give respect to not just women, but to the people who gets things done through honest hard work and lead with love and respect. It is this notion that leads me through life as a young man, eventually to become a parent, a father of my own.

  58. Unfortunately misogyny is still widely common throughout the globe. I agree with Luis, the elders in young boys lives really do affect the way they look at women. But despite the adults in the kids lives, pop culture plays a huge part in this too. Ever notice how most male rapper songs include calling women the b-word, hoe, slut, etc. And even encourage the act of cheating and lying to them. If kids are listening to this kind of music (which is sadly super catchy and made by some talented people who can’t channel their talent into another direction) then what influences will they carry with them? Males will encourage their friends to treat their girlfriends with less respect, because when they DO give respect, they’re considered “whipped”. Yes, it’s the bare minimum to just respect women and should be easy. But the fact that society makes it hard to reach this bare minimum is something our generation needs to work on.

  59. I think that the upbringing of boys definitely defines who they are as men. I can say that since I was fortunate that my father is very respectful to my mom and the fact that I have an older sister already gave me an idea of how I thought women should be treated. I think that in society that a lot of people try to give men this slap on the wrist or “look the other way” type of treatment for being rude and obnoxious just because they might be bigger and stronger than women. I think also it has a lot to do with the environment too. For instance, if a boy grows up with his parents being in an abusive-marriage he will be more than likely to follow in those footsteps and think that it is normal and okay for him to do the same things. Lastly, I think how this attention or want to be “cool” clouds the judgement of a lot of boys to break those habits early too.

  60. Hello I enjoyed this post very much. It just comes to show that no matter how cool and big and bad one might want to be remember the sensible guidance our parents advice. For they are truly giving advice to better you and not to make you the disrespectful cool guy in the schoolyard. It is true that young men especially those in their early teens need they guidance of a father figure when other miscreants are calling them out. Young girls too need father figures in this time also. The advice from their fathers helps them to not choose the boys that feel treating and speaking to females that particular way is perfectly fine, when its not our young generation needs to be taught that we need to respect one another no matter gender that everyone is equal. All adolescents need to adhere to our parents words of wisdom. For they are truly giving guidance to better us and not to make you the disrespectful cool guy in the schoolyard as “friends”do. Thank you for sharing your post with us.

  61. Middle school in this era is so wild according to my sister. From a 7th grader getting busted for selling drugs, to her own friend telling her that her boyfriend hit her. Times are changing and teens are trying to become adults. Most of kids start of shy in middle school because it’s a step up to getting a bit more of freedom. Of course any kid is gonna want to be considered “cool” therefore it is more easier for them to get into drugs and all that stuff. Teens at that age don’t really know that there are eventually consequences/ repercussions for their actions. Just like Luis, many students are blinded by this fake hierarchy that they created themselves, that they would do mostly anything to become known. That is why it is so important to have a figure who kids respect, for them to have someone to guide them. I just wonder how Luis would’ve turned out if his dad would have been the same as the kid he was trying to impress. Parent influence is so important and definitely shapes the way kids are in the future.

  62. I wonder why Knox was like that in the first place. To clarify, why he was misogynistic at a young age. Possibly bad role models? Possibly the “gangsta rap and porn” as you mention. I have a feeling, if he treats all females like that, he would treat his mother like that, too. But, we do not have the whole picture, so maybe he’s an orphan, and lacks a mother figure and/or motherly love. I feel sorry for Knox that he believes/ed that women should be treated with disrespect to look “cool.” But I also feel irritated that nobody spoke up to him, set him straight, in your words. And, yes, as you say, those are the types of boys who grow up to be abusive.

    Usually, in my experience, kids who are this disrespectful, not only to women, but to anyone, are not taught how to respect. They are not taught the importance and basic human communication and social skill that exists in the value of respect. Not just externally displaying it. And the ways it could externally be shown are more obvious, not raising the voice in verbal altercations, not being rude and mean to others regarding their beliefs, or looks, even if what they say or how they look is not your cup of tea, respect is the basic kindness everyone deserves to have and to show in return. Internally, it is a type of justice, to me; it is an indication of a good moral compass. Thank you for sharing your story.

  63. Your post has a lot of relevance to my life right now, I am a parent of a middle school boy and we have come across the delight of the school change as my son enters the roller coaster of hormonal fun. He is learning from his friends (and i am sure passing his knowledge on too) how easily you can access websites with adult material (be it sexual or excessive violence). He has a new found fun with testing boundaries of language use at home around his younger siblings and feeling the power that language has over other when you use it to demean them. My son is generally thought of as a good kid, his explorations are normal, but require constant policing and intervention. He is not allowed to use words he does not understand the meaning and origin of, we openly discuss these between my husband, my son and myself. We talk about how certain words make us feel or situations where they are or are not appropriate. I am learning a lot about my husband and his language use as much as my own and what urban dictionary has to say!

    Being a fierce middle school male is about learning who you really are amongst all the personalities popping up around you, trying these personalities on and discarding them. As a parent, my job is to help them see how that personality affects those around them, how they treat others can be how they can expect to be treated themselves. Respect for all people and their choices, reminders that we are all human and trying our best and helping them navigate the terrible world of language. It doesn’t help that I am british as even a fanny pack to me is something to snigger at.

  64. Years ago, I worked with kids at a day camp at a zoo. In order to keep all the kids together, we had colored wristbands that would change from day to day. One day, I had a dad approach me shortly after drop off, and ask why his son had been given a pink wristband. “It’s just the color every child has today, it’ll be different tomorrow”. He still demanded that his son have a “manlier color”. I couldn’t change the band, but after I called the color ‘salmon’ he was magically ok with it. His son was 4.

    The huge impact that role models have on young children is often forgotten by parents. The people that our children look up to shape their worldviews and can lead to damaging subconscious bias.
    The author of this post was lucky, he was able to escape his toxic thought pattern and listen to his father. I can only hope that the boy at the zoo is able to do the same one day.

    • Interesting story. Thanks for sharing.

      It shows how symbolic our world is. The same color is OK if you call it salmon. And many years ago part of the United States actually associated pink with boys (because it was thought such a robust color) while the more “delicate“ blue was associated with girls.

  65. I think that this post goes to show just how important father figures are in policing their young sons or other young men. Fathers are just as important as mothers in the process of young adolescents becoming good, respectable adults. Especially for young men they need father figures to look up to, to see how to treat women the right way. Young men, especially around middle school time where they are beginning to go through puberty, look around at others around them to try to be the most “cool” or most manly amongst their peers. Many times they go to the extremes to gain that popularity or notoriety amongst their peers just like the above example with Knox. Although I didn’t go to most of those extremes to gain popularity in my adolescent years, I do remember trying in other ways to gain popularity or trying to impress my friends. I made my middle school football team and I tried to sit with guys older than me to try to seem more “cool”. Fathers are so important in guiding our young men to not only be comfortable with who they are but with treating women with respect and dignity. I had a feud with my next door neighbor, a girl, and we both were pretty nasty to each other at times. My dad ultimately stepped in and had a talk with me to tell me that some of the things I was saying and doing weren’t right and to stop immediately. That girl and I are friends now but without my father stepping in and teaching me that lesson I don’t know what my behavior could have escalated to.

  66. This is interesting because it’s not just boys who need a father figure around but sometimes girls need a father figure or a male role model around. Influences or not, I’ve heard it said over the years that boys who only have their mothers and no appropriate male influences or role models are more likely to go off the rails a bit because of the lack of a father figure but there is also the idea that if our fathers are going to teach us these things they do have to practice what they preach or that’s how I see it anyway or how I feel at any rate. There is the notion also that children who witness abuse in the home are more likely to act out what they observe knowing full well what they are observing or have observed is wrong. In the olden days violence in the home was kept behind closed doors and sometimes we’re too blind to see what damage we are doing ourselves by hanging out with the wrong people but this is not so much gender specific it goes both ways.

    • Children definitely turn out better when they have two parents. There is more emotional and financial support. And different parents have different types of personalities which children can learn from.Of course, children can’t turn out just fine when they have a single parent like I did and most people think the Kennedy children, John and Caroline, turned out exceptionally well. But more support is better.

      The most important thing is to have a parent or parents who are emotionally healthy.

  67. The question I have and never really followed the studies and idk if you know, but whether abusive men can be rehabbed. I’m not talking about pedophiles, I hate how lenient our justice system is on some men or some crimes. But it seems like pedophiles and molesters never rehabilitate. But I’m talking about abusive asshole guys, as in domestic violence. I know men avoid seeing their problems or trying to fix their problems and our culture causes men to avoid getting help. The reason I ask, is while I’d love these assholes to rot in prison. The reality is that, that will not happen many times, so rehab is important. What happens is guys may get restraining orders which really doesn’t do shit, or they may go in jail if charges are pressed by their Spouse. But it’s usually just for a short time and then they are back and more angry and abusive to their partner when out. T

    he fact of the matter is that, unless the man is dead, in prison for a very long time (which would be too late, as that seems like it would only happen if such man kills his spouse/children or rapes a woman), he will be free to continue his rampage. It’s hard to women to leave such situations, but even if a woman manages to get away and he eventually gives up on finding her. What do you think will happen? That woman might be fine, but such abusive men will eventually date or marry another woman and then so goes the cycle again. As much as I like this dudes to just be in prison and stay there, the reality is that it rarely happens. So it seems like preventative stuff where you have guys who have gone through things talk to the trouble male youth and like try to prevent that path. But you also need counseling to be more socially acceptable for such troubled men to work out such issues so this cycle of abuse can stop and get to underlying issues causing it. I don’t know the stats on if it works. There’s stuff for people addicted to drugs or alcohol or they are because of underlying problems, but even these people who manage to be sober for many years. They have to maintain constant focus to not have a drink or smoke and start the downward spiral again that they continued to stay sober for so long.

    • From what I understand men can be rehabilitated from behaving abusively if they are motivated enough, but most aren’t motivated enough.

      It also depends on why the person is behaving that way. This student of mine behaved that way because he was trying to be cool and fit in and he had a sense of manhood when he was younger that was associated with abuse and dominance. A person can make a mental shift and behave differently in that case. Without it being too difficult. But when people act abusively because they have undergone abuse themselves they need more therapeutic work to get over the root problem. That can be done but it usually doesn’t.

  68. When I went to primary school in Scotland boys and girls were equal. There wasn’t the slightest hint of anyone being disrespectful to the opposite sex. That continued through secondary school and beyond.

    • So glad to hear that!

      My experience is that most boys and men are good and decent human beings. But boys are more likely to be socialized to show toughness and dominance, which is not so pleasant for other people (male and female alike).

      • Boys showed their toughness through inter-male aggression, but remained respectful towards girls.

      • Interestingly, that’s how you see it in the animal kingdom as well. There the boys fight over girls.

      • There used to be pubs where women would not enter. There were never any fights in any of these places. Although fights can be attributed to biological reasons such as men becoming more jealous of dominant males when their female partner is near ovulation or for mate preference shift reasons, it seemed to me at the time it was more camaraderie based.

        It was ironic that the safest pubs were the strictly male domains where the tough guys hung out.

      • Hmmm, that is interesting.

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