Tuesday, November 6, 2012

To the guys:

Can we chat for a minute? 


I had an experience today that made me feel a range of emotions, all the way from furious to sad. Now before you stop reading because this is a woman talking about emotions, just give me a minute.

I was out on a run. Minding my own business. Releasing stress, staying healthy, being athletic. Dressed appropriately. Minding. my. own. business. I ran past a couple of guys who were stepping onto the bike path. As I ran past they proceeded to make some off color comments, ending in the phrase, “Sup, girl?” 

Disclaimer: I understand this is not all of you, nor most of you, but again, please stay in this conversation.

But can we address this? From a male perspective: does that really work? Does that really seem effective?
Maybe women have made it that easy for guys. Maybe the standards for a man have been reduced to mere wolf whistles and cheesy/vulgar pickup lines. Possibly enough women have responded that it seems acceptable, but can I just say right now, it. is. not. 

I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a sister, daughter, cousin, aunt, friend. I have a successful career, volunteer in the community, and can change the oil in my car. I love fly fishing, rock climbing and art. I wear dresses, jeans, t-shirts, shorts, tanks, sweaters, boots. I scream and yell at football games, and I still hoop in a gym full of guys. And I know more than a hundred more women who are the same way.

And all of this makes me a PERSON. A human being. 

Not an object. So please, don’t treat me like one. Be better than that.

Dads, uncles, grandfathers, mentors, teachers, coaches: please value character over performance, every time. Please lead young men to be gentlemen. Demonstrate how they do this. 

And honestly, lets keep my gender accountable as well.

Ladies, be a lady. Learn what that means. Learn how valuable you are, and do not use your beauty or body to exploit anyone. Ever. Value things that matter. Like honesty, integrity, grace, wisdom, patience and compassion. Set standards and don’t bend on them. You’re worth every ounce of respect you expect to be given.

I was enraged by the comments, but also deeply saddened as well. I want better for coming generations. I want better for my brothers. Better for my little sister. For my nephews. Better for every young man and young woman I know. Because if we continue to reduce one another to objects for our own use and abuse, we will destroy each other.

Thanks for staying in the conversation.

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