Being A Man Doesn’t Mean Looking Down On 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.