January 17, 2012
maybe puberty isn't just dramatics
Do you read the Style Rookie?
If not, you should consider it. I especially loved her most recent post.
She makes such a great point about the value of pre-teens and young teenagers. I mean, every person, at any age, can offer valuable contributions to the world around them. But it's especially hard to be taken seriously when you're young and hormonal. And as a result, we tend to look at young ideas as naive and silly. We dismiss them immediately because how can one know anything at such a young age? They haven't had any life experience. They don't know right from wrong yet.
But, don't they. Haven't they? Didn't we?
She posts a video from a 13 year old youtuber on slut shaming. While I had never heard the term before, I am very familiar with the topic and sadly, the ridicule.
Between the ages of 11 and 12, I was one cute cookie. Thin and tan, i had long dark hair and a big, friendly smile . I was outspoken and confident. I wore short shorts and cute tops. I had lots of girlfriends and ran with the popular crowd. I was loving life! Until...the slut shaming started.
Girls I knew well and others I'd never met started calling me and my friends sluts. Sluts?! We hadn't even kissed any boys yet! There were notes passed about us, poems written and distributed to our classmates. The word slut, skank, hooker, bitch, pig and the like were often whispered, yelled, tossed at us like we were nothing. And where did it come from? Who started it? How had it become acceptable and fun, even?
I'm sure that even after all of the teasing I experienced, I employed my fair share of it on others. It probably felt good to get back at someone else. It's a horrible game kids play. And it doesn't end when you turn 18. Adults do it too. So why do we think we're so much better, experienced, or wiser than our younger counterparts?
Sure, we may have learned some things along the way to adulthood that they haven't encountered yet. But the learning starts early and they know their own truths. They've experienced a lot already.
I can only hope that I remember to give my kids a lot of credit. That I hear them out and take them seriously when they talk. And in turn, maybe they'll take me seriously when I tell them that name calling is never OK, that the golden rule should always apply and that they are not sluts regardless of what the kids are saying on the playground.