Donald Trump’s latest controversy is something that didn’t really surprise anyone (coming from him) but it did shine a brighter light on the rape and sexual harassment discussion. Trump’s brand of “locker room banter” isn’t exclusive to him. That type of talk has been around since genitals themselves.
While not always as extreme, boys often talk trash about what they want and would do to women they find attractive and you can attribute that to the ongoing competition they’re involved in at an early age. By the time a boy is in middle school, the pressure is on to rack up girls by any means necessary. The insecurity that comes with growing up male and an inflated sense of competitive Neanderthal thinking follows boys well into adulthood. It then mutates into the very same philosophy just shared by the man who could be the next Leader of the Free World. Isn’t that a scary thought?
We can justifiably dog Trump all we want but from his lifestyle perspective, he’s had a long run of seeing women as nothing more than sexual achievements. Success and money are prime nutrients for a p-grabbing maniac in the making. We see this so much in sports and entertainment as well. So many women are willing to offer themselves up to wealthy, powerful men and boys pick up on that early.
Young boys see shallow men attracting shallow women with shallow trinkets and figure that’s the way the world works. Our society shows us that having a good personality is only necessary for men who are broke or completely unattractive. Everyone loves a playboy and since it’s human nature to choose the path of least resistance, boys learn that there’ s no need to deal with a woman who won’t put up with being a walking stress ball.
If this behavior isn’t checked early and corrected, I guarantee you that a young man will eventually subscribe to the belief that every woman wants to be groped by a total zero as long as there’s enough zeroes in his bank account. This fact doesn’t excuse being a sexual predator. But having an understanding of where a lot of this craziness comes from is a major part of getting rid of it.
Shaping the perspective of how boys see women and themselves is among a parent’s most important job. Merely telling them that Trump-like behavior is unacceptable isn’t going to cut it. Beating them in the head about rape culture is not going to work. Boys need to know early on that women aren’t conquests or playthings that happen to not have penises. We have to teach our sons how attractive respect and honor is. They need to know that having money and success is great but having solid character to build all of that on is what leads you to greatness.
Larry Hester is a Brooklyn-born writer who’s written for Vibe, BET.com, The Source, Complex and more. He now resides in Newark, New Jersey with his wife and son. He welcomes any parenting advice or encouragement. Check him out on Facebook and Twitter @almostcooldad.