Last Sunday I was babysitting a 5 year old girl who asked me what I did the previous Saturday night. Wanting to not go into too much detail about my weekend, I told her I hung out with my friends. She went on to ask, “Were you with your boyfriend?” My boyfriend? This little girl was asking some pretty personal questions. “No I don’t have a boyfriend,” I told her. “That’s sad, I have a boyfriend. His name is Knox,” she grinned.
I obviously knew that my definition of a “boyfriend” was vastly different than hers. But, I decided to ask her anyway. “What about him makes him your boyfriend?” She told me, “he tells jokes, he chases and pinches me, and he sits next to his friends at lunch.” Pause. “His friends..!” He doesn’t even sit with her at lunch? What?! That’s all it takes to be a boyfriend nowadays?
I then started to wonder who gave this little girl a fictitious idea of what a boyfriend is. Is it adults? Do we not teach girls the appropriate way a male should treat them? I know she’s only 5 years old and maybe I am making too big a deal out of this, but, c’mon…she’s smiling and calling someone who doesn’t even sit next to her at lunch her boyfriend. If she thinks this at only 5 years old, what is she going to think at 20 or 30? That it’s perfectly acceptable for her boyfriend to go out and cheat on her every night? Probably!
I suddenly felt the need to take a poll and find out some of the things that we were taught when we were her age. No surprise, the women I asked gave rather similar answers. Here are the top 11:
- Boys have cooties.
- If they are mean to you it means they like you.
- Boys play rough.
- Boys don’t mature as fast as girls.
- Boys aren’t as smart as girls.
- Boys work.
- They think it’s funny to fart and burp in public.
- They aren’t very clean.
- Boys like a nice girl.
- They show their anger more than girls do.
- A boy will ask you to marry him when you get older.
Besides the lack of hygiene, we are taught that guys aren’t all that special. Right? Women are smarter, more mature, nicer, cleaner, the list goes on and on. And still we are more inclined to give men the power. We wait for them to ask for our number, ask us out on a dates, propose, etc. I don’t know about you, but that makes no sense to me. I believe it goes back to the list above; somehow we are taught to hold men up to a rather low standard and to be perfectly okay with that.