A few years back I was walking with some friends in downtown Boise. We were approaching a group of kids in their very early teens, maybe even younger. There were a few boys and one girl. The boys seemed to be vying for a position to walk next to the single female in the group, constantly weaving in and out of the walking formation in order to be the closest to her. It was laughable and exactly what you’d expect from kids that age. Just as my group passed theirs, one of the boys came up behind the female, put his hips to her butt and grabbed a handful of her breasts; well I guess he grabbed what he could. Either way, it was a pretty shocking thing to see, especially as the girl went right on talking, seemingly not noticing the groping that had just occurred. There was no refusal, no protest, not even a playful “hey knock it off”, just an animalistic act performed by a kid who should know better but felt the need and took what he wanted.
I didn’t know if I should say something, I just stared in disbelief. I wanted to ring his neck and lecture her, which would have solidified my slope into old-man-dom. Ultimately, it just bummed me out. We all know that men objectify women and visa versa, but does it really start this young? Even younger? The fact that this kid felt like it was okay to grope this young girl in public, amongst his other friends, in front of strangers, is just mind boggling. Where does this start? Where does this false sense of entitlement come from? What happens behind closed doors?
And this girl’s perfectly cavalier attitude toward being that object? Perhaps that is why she was the only female in that pack of horny hyenas. Most boys seemed to be raised to objectify women, even if that’s not necessarily the parents’ intent. Whether it’s from their dad’s car babe magazines, the media or whatever, how can we expect to squeeze in the healthy route when there is so much bombardment from the counter?
Of course adolescence and going through puberty is a rough time but I imagine that it’s also the most pivotal time to instill worth and value and boys and girls. We have to understand that the same amount of sex we are subconsciously taking in as adults, is the same amount that kids and teens are, but they may be paying much more attention that we are. Where an adult may be able to glance past a bikini babe on the cover of a magazine at the checkout stand, a younger developing mind may be able to fixate on that image for days or weeks, until that desire is somehow fed and fulfilled.
The hope here is that our readers, as teens, would be aware of these pitfalls, aware of the disrespectfulness that can come with having these wants and desires, aware of the feelings involved when thinking that you’re simply filling a need.