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Saturday, March 17, 2012

How does a boy grow up to be that kind of man?

My nephew's middle school was under lockdown one day a few weeks ago. An eighth grade boy came to school with a gun. Being an eighth grade boy, he of course showed the gun to his friends and told them his plan: to scare the girl who turned him down when he asked her out.

Lucky for all, the boy's friends told their teachers. The principal confronted the boy, made him empty his pack and took the gun. I'm not sure if the principal is brave or stupid, but that's another blog.

The incident made me wonder: What makes a boy think that's an acceptable response to being turned down by a girl? Does he really think all girls have to say yes to him? And what kind of man will this boy grow up to be?

That was three weeks ago. Right about the time Rush Limbaugh was calling a young college girl a slut for being responsible about her own health and body. he started an avalanche of misogynistic legislation and rhetoric from right wing-nuts, the moral "but-only-to-impose-my-version-of-morality-on-others-but-it-doesn't-apply-to-me" majority, and various other legislators and activists who must have failed both health and biology classes.

This sudden eruption of Orwellian "big-brother is watching" legislation that considers women as nothing more than a machine to produce babies made me wonder, what could bring a man to the point where they feel so very threatened by females that they have to ensure women are forced into submission with regard to childbirth?

If you doubt that this is going on, here's some of what's in the news:

  • Limbaugh called a college student a slut for being on the pill, even for medical reasons.
  • Perry turned down federal funding for prenatal health care because it comes from the same pot of money as Planned Parenthood.
  • Arizona's senate has passed legislation allowing doctors to lie to women about dangers to their own health, health problems with the fetus (including stillbirths) in case the woman might possibly consider abortion.
  • Pennsylvania's governor proposed a law mandating an ultrasound prior to a woman receiving an abortion. ("But the woman doesn't have to look," according to the governor.)

This should scare the crap out of any logical, sensible, sane American with opposable thumbs and capable of abstract thought.

What's missing in all this, of course, is the male side of the equation. Women don't become pregnant alone. If women are out there having sex for recreational purposes, aren't men? I don't see these same legislators and windbags calling for equal responsibility and risk by males. And why is it okay for them, but not for the women? Women who have sex for reasons other than reproduction are "sluts" according to Rush, but when he brings back vials of Viagra from his DR vacation (I guess the Dominicanas are too smart to have sex with Rush), that's okay. Does anyone really think he was planning to use all that Viagra for reproductive purposes, only? And, if he was, how much money did he leave behind in the DR for child support?
Just an aside to Rush...if you're going to argue morality and God's will, then isn't erectile dysfunction God's way of saying he doesn't want your genes passed on?

Which all brings me back to the original questions: What can bring a boy to think threatening a girl's life is an acceptable response to being turned down for a date? Does he really, seriously think all girls have to say yes when he asks them out? And what kind of man will a boy like that grow up to be?

In the past month, we've seen the answer to that last question pretty clearly. I'd be willing to bet all of these men proposing legislation designed to "put women in their place" were the boys who girls did turn down all through junior high and high school. Girls picked up on their creepy need-to-dominate -girls' vibe. And it fueled the little boys' warped need to "show" these girls who's boss. They grow up to be men who are still incapable of coming up with a sane, rational response to women who are smarter than them, women who flee from their creep-vibe, women who are strong enough to say no.

Little boys who react so disproportionately to a girl saying no, who think all girls should do whatever they say, who couldn't (and still can't) hide their misogynistic, sadistic streak, so girls shun them, grow up to be men like Rush Limbaugh, Rick Perry, and Tom Corbett. Little boys who never learned any other way to deal with disappointment than pulling out the guns to "prove" they're big men.

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