Teenagers and misogyny

In a recent local newspaper article, a thirteen year old girl described a number of her experiences from boys her own age, more specifically the language they used. "Whore", "you're best suited for the kitchen", " you are f***able", etc. were amongst the least offensive of the terms and expressions they used. There were a lot worse. The girl in question said that this wasn't a result of her being specifically picked on, but simply regular words and expressions that boys made when talking about / to girls. She also mentioned that when she called them out on the use of this language, they defended themselves by calling it "humour" and asking questions like "are you some kind of feminist or something?".

Schools have of course never been an environment free from sexism, but this seems like it's taken a huge turn for the worse. From the various articles and reports I can track down by way of googling, it seems that this kind of language has gained a lot of use in considerable parts of the Western world (at least).

What do you think is causing this? Is it a consequence of SoMe? The easy availability of the more dehumanizing types of porn? A poorly expressed rejection of parental / liberal values? Simply a continuation of already existing sexism with slightly more aggressive words? Something else entirely?

And what can we do to change this? I think this is more a job for parents rather than teachers, but both sides most likely have to get more involved. But what to do? I doubt a few stern words will be enough.
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Comments

  • Sad (or perhaps not?) to say I don't think this has got substantially worse. Gendered insults and verbal abuse were commonplace when I was at school 20+ years ago. Perhaps the precise words are different, but I've no reason to think it's any worse. What is likely is that it's being challenged and reported more.
  • I'm not sure. I haven't been able to track down any statistics comparing the frequency of such abuse today, compared to say 5, 10, 20 or 30 years ago. If anyone has any data that might throw a little light on this, then I'd appreciate it.

    Purely from a personal, anecdotal recollection, I think perhaps the experience might vary. As far as I recollect my own school years (the 90s), the sexism was still clearly present, but did not take such an aggressive form. Sexism is of course always undesirable, but I think the form and level of aggression matters too. At least to some students, the harsher the language used, the more destructive the impact can be.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Excellent role models at home and school, plus plenty of discussion about what it is and why it’s wrong.
  • I'm not sure it's got worse. 50 years ago in Manchester, it was v. aggressive.
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Purely from a personal, anecdotal recollection, I think perhaps the experience might vary. As far as I recollect my own school years (the 90s), the sexism was still clearly present, but did not take such an aggressive form.

    I'm guessing that's perception driven by place and gender as much as anything else? It had calmed down by the sixth form, but the life of the one openly gay person in my year at school was made a complete misery by many of their classmates, I imagine this at least has got slightly better over the years.
  • I hear plenty of crude, objectifying comments from both boys and girls. The boys seem to be more overt about it, and more willing to make comments in front of / to the girls, but don't think for a moment that teen girls aren't ranking the boys in school on attractiveness, or making lists of which boys they want to do something sexual with.

    When boys objectify girls, it probably inevitably imports the misogyny in society. When girls objectify boys, there's no handy well of misandry to draw from.

    SoMe is social media? People are influenced by culture, for sure - but let me think back to my own school days (80s, mostly). There was plenty of porn around, although it was magazines rather than videos. There were plenty of builders heckling anyone in a skirt or with long hair. There were plenty of boys willing to make crude comments about any and every female with which they had any kind of contact. We had a new German teacher fresh out of teacher training, and comments about her sexual proclivities, suitability for various sexual acts, and which of the sixth form boys had succeeded in fucking her were rife. (I think this was all talk - although a different teacher was involved in a relationship with a sixth form boy.) There was also a significant quantity of virulently homophobic music around.

    Like @Arethosemyfeet, I don't think it's got worse. I think youth culture is more overtly sexual now than it was back then - see, for example, any music video featuring practically naked writhing women, or the discussion of sex by celebrities on talk shows now vs 30-40 years ago, but I'd say it was in general less misogynistic than it was, and that sexism is less accepted than it used to be.

  • I see that some people suggest that things haven't really changed. One thing I do believe has changed is the early sexualisation of teenagers, especially girls.

    The example from the OP came from a thirteen year old girl, who described the terms and expressions used as common in her age group. A lot of the words in question were sexually laden.

    There's a fair bit of evidence indicating that teenagers pick up more sexualized clothing, mannerisms and apparel at an earlier age than previously. I don't think that it's an entirely unreasonable hypothesis that this earlier sexualization, is accompanied by an earlier shift in language used. Words like "whore" and similar kinds of verbal abuse might have been there for a long time, but perhaps they are introduced at an earlier age than previously? After all, such words, and judgements make little sense at an age where sexuality is either a non-issue or fairly subdued.

    If teenagers do pick up this language at an earlier age, my layman's assumption is that this might influence the teen at an age where their morality is developed to a lesser extent. Hopefully someone in the field can correct me if I'm wrong (something that happens a great deal).



  • I don't know, 13 seems late for me when it comes to being dunked in a sexualized environment. And I was 13 at the end of the 1970s.

    There was a lot of sexualized crap going on in primary school, but much of it went Whoosh! over the heads of those who didn't watch much TV and etc., and some was used by and at children who neither of them could have told you what it meant. Which doesn't make it better, just shows how convoluted the situation can be.

    Truthfully, I don't remember an age of innocence. Just varying levels of ignorance.
  • HelenEvaHelenEva Shipmate
    edited April 7
    I recall "virgin" being used routinely as a term of abuse among 10 year olds, followed by a covert discussion as to what it might actually mean. Being thought "frigid" was the worst available insult - I suspect "whore" would have been regarded as a compliment but I was never on the receiving end of it so can't be sure.

    Sorry - should have said - referring to late 80s, early 90s.
  • amyboamybo Shipmate
    At 13 in the 80s, I was being followed home by older boys, yelling out the window as I walked alone. I was constantly ridiculed for my body and my clothes. And I was incredibly sheltered. I don't think that there was an age of innocence.
  • My Goddaughter got sent her first dick-pic from a classmate when she was 12. That is something which happens now, but didn't happen in previous generations. That said, my daughter, at the same school, was never sent any dick-pics - her male classmates knew that if they had a) she'd have reported them to the school, b) her friends would have made their lives a misery by laughing and making remarks such as "it looks like a penis only smaller" and c) I'd have been up to the school and nailed their balls to their desks.

    I would have gone to the school on behalf of my Goddaughter and created merry hell, but neither she, nor her mother, wanted me to.

    In terms of language and misogyny I think it was as bad then as now.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    The early teens are going through puberty which means their hormones are way out of control. I am not sure if there is any solution to it, other than affirming the girl's (or boy's) self-worth. Fortunately, most kids will get through it, though some seem to get hung up at that stage.
  • I think it has gotten better on a personal relationships level. Certainly high school teachers tell me that this is so. More educational influence about it too. More open talking about sexism, more willingness for everyone to talk about it. The comments which were tolerated in the 1960s and 70s when I was young aren't now. Even though they are made.

    What has gotten worse is the online world of explicit pornography, showing degradation of people, most often women and girls, doing and having more often done to them uncomfortable and absurd sexual things. This promotes the exact opposite direction. We have a subset of young people, boys/men, whose info about sexuality and relationships is derived from pornography and related "services" (pay for someone to "entertain" you via the equivalent of Zoom call).
  • My Goddaughter got sent her first dick-pic from a classmate when she was 12. That is something which happens now, but didn't happen in previous generations.

    'Cause when we were 12, we'd have to take pictures of our dicks (probably on the little 110 film camera that many of my friends had), send the roll of film off for developing, and hope nobody at the film processing company looked at the photos. So of course we'd never have done it - there was certainly a belief that film processing companies inspected all the photos and refused to develop dirty ones, but I have no idea how true it was.
  • FriendlyFireFriendlyFire Shipmate
    edited April 7
    I googled a bit, in the hope of finding some data indicating a shift towards premature sexualization. Didn't find any statistical equivalent of a smoking gun, but there certainly was a bit of supporting material:

    Like this article from Newsweek:
    "It's been estimated that girls 11 to 14 are subjected to some 500 advertisements a day—the majority of them nipped, tucked and airbrushed to perfection. And, according to a University of Minnesota study, staring at those airbrushed images from just one to three minutes can have a negative impact on girls' self-esteem. "

    Or HuffPost:
    "Most girls as young as 6 are already beginning to think of themselves as sex objects, according to a new study of elementary school-age kids in the Midwest".

    There was plenty more, indicating that children and tweens were quickly growing as a target demographic for a lot of companies that sell clothes and beauty products of various sorts, as that not only increased sales now, but also provided a great many loyal future customers. Take a look at some of these pictures provide by UBC as examples.

    Does this early sexualization lead to more misogynistic (or misandric for that matter) language at an earlier age? I hear and respect the personal experiences shared here, but I still find it hard to discount entirely. If children and very young teens perceive themselves as sexual objects at an earlier age than previously, then it seems likely that it becomes a more important part of their language as well, especially given the often very competitive, "crab bucket" environment that some children and teenagers live in.

    Fixed broken HuffPost link. BroJames, Purgatory Host
  • You can actually reverse this. In my youth, the idea of misogyny, while not unknown, wasn't as discussed as it is today, and I don't think girls would object to sexualized comments. Of course, it's always difficult to trace causation, but misogyny is now in the public gaze.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    A long career in teaching High School teens has taught me that all of them can be shits if peer credibility is involved. It has probably always been so.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Of course, if you had a polaroid camera no one would know of your dick-pic. Back in the '80s, I knew of a man (not me) that would do that. Eventually, he was caught and charged with sending indecent materials through the mail to minors which was a federal offense. His defense was he would only do that while drunk. The jury did not buy that excuse.
  • TelfordTelford Ship-mate
    I went to a mixed sex grammar school in the early 60s. I can honestly say that it was not a problem. The Headmaster would have expelled anyone causing a problem. The problem has got worse because offenders get away with it.
  • I was at secondary school in the 90s, and this kind of thing was not entirely absent. I used to be made fun of by boys for being a bit of a saddo, and on one occasion this took the form of asking me a sexual question, and then making fun of me when I didn't understand and tried to give a clever answer. I also recall seeing graffiti in a public place (i.e. not in school) concerning the 'sexiness' of one of my classmates. I have no idea what the other girls did or didn't experience.

    Other than that, though, I was not in an atmosphere full of sexual harassment or that sort of thing, thankfully. I'd say I experienced more gender equality than gender inequality for sure. Other contemporaries of mine may have other stories to tell.

    On the question of social media: I think it has emboldened people to believe in things, both bad and good. It emboldens people to say that women are whores who should get back to the kitchen, and it emboldens people who very openly and actively identify as feminists - neither of which I recall being a thing when I was at school. I wonder if the same voices are speaking as before, but everyone's volume has been turned up, if you see what I mean.

    But overall I'm wary of trying to say what 'it' was 'like' in any 'times' at all. Different and conflicting phenomena coexist in society at the same time.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Being male of course I can't say what the girls' experiences were, but when I was in school (70s) this was very rare in my earshot. There were a couple of boys who were jerks but they were largely in the outcast caste.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    I went to a mixed sex grammar school in the early 60s. I can honestly say that it was not a problem. The Headmaster would have expelled anyone causing a problem. The problem has got worse because offenders get away with it.

    Likewise. Middle class privilege and landlines only.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    1962 ish, Congregational Church Youth Club, boys about 16, not from church families, actions involving the thing that gets hit about in badminton, which I did not understand. (I knew the word, of course, and filed it with various plumbing items, not human anatomy.) They managed to reduce me to tears, hiding in the loo, and no-one came to my rescue. No adult present that week, and the next I got blamed for thinking it was a dirty joke, which they would not have made, being innocent.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    I daren't ask.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    The daughter of a friend of mine needed a bra at the age of ten. Many times a day boys in school would creep up and snap the elastic. Not only was this very embarrassing, but it was quite painful.

    Her mother went to the school to complain, and was told that the girl would have to handle it by herself. This was in the 1970s.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    mousethief wrote: »
    Being male of course I can't say what the girls' experiences were, but when I was in school (70s) this was very rare in my earshot. There were a couple of boys who were jerks but they were largely in the outcast caste.
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    I went to a mixed sex grammar school in the early 60s. I can honestly say that it was not a problem. The Headmaster would have expelled anyone causing a problem. The problem has got worse because offenders get away with it.

    Likewise. Middle class privilege and landlines only.

    It was a problem. I guarantee you it was a problem. You guys weren't perpetrators or objects of such shit, so you didn't see it.

    In my very nice small-town middle-class elementary school, the abuse of a girl named Dawn had begun by the time I got there for 4th grade, age 9. Several boys would chase her, singing to the tune of a TV commercial well-known at the time (Americans of a certain age may remember the "Libby's Libby's Libby's" commercials): "If it says Dawn, Dawn, Dawn / on your dick, dick, dick / she will lick, lick, lick / all the shit off your dick."

    The first week I wore a bra to school, a boy snapped the back of it at recess. When I complained to the teacher on duty, she brushed it off. The first time someone groped me on the street I was 11, just up the street from where I lived, walking home from school in that bucolic small town. And crank calls were a thing -- some asshole figured out there was a young girl living at our house and called repeatedly. If my parents answered the phone, he just hung up. If I did, I got the heavy breathing thing. It kept happening until my mother was in the room when I answered the phone, saw my face, figured it out and told me to hang up, to always hang up immediately when that happened.
    And what can we do to change this?

    Change the whole culture so boys don't see girls as less than them..
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I still feel uncomfortable about V-neck sweaters after the same yobs made a point of looking down at my barely visible cleavage when I went out of the kitchen to offer the spare milk left over after the tea and coffee break to anyone who wanted to swig out of the bottle.
    Looking back, I think the minister should have asked himself why all the girls stopped attending, but since, I think, he thought of the Youth Club as providing a service to the boys of the town "keeping them off the streets", it probably escaped him.
  • The existence of a rape culture in schools is a big story in the UK following the number of stories from schoolgirls on the Everyone's Invited (link) site - a site set up in June 2020 to address misogynistic behaviour and violence against women. Schools have been advised by the DfE (Department for Education) that future inspections will test girls' safety under current safeguarding rules and schools found to be unsafe will be closed down - (link to Guardian story of 28 March). And there are concerns that certain public (private) schools are not being inspected to check these issues, particularly when these schools are featuring prominently in the Everyone's Invited stories.

    There has been some research into links between online porn and the use of coercion by men and boys - link to Guardian story of 29 March, which suggests the results are not clear cut, although this letter in response from 1 April responded that:
    our research undertaken with over 4,500 young people aged 14-17 in five European countries found a significant association between boys’ regular viewing of online pornography and their use of sexual coercion and abuse. Boys who regularly watched online pornography were also significantly more likely to hold negative gender attitudes.
    and suggest that to tackle the problem in schools means:
    [t]eachers need training and support if they are to enable young people to recognise and critique the misogynistic attitudes and values of pornography. This should be underpinned by a “whole school” approach to gender equality. ....

    Currently, only a handful of UK services work with boys who use abusive behaviour in their relationships and, as the Everyone’s Invited posts attest, girls are still too often made to bear responsibility for controlling boys’ behaviour. If teachers and schools are to address the issue of pornography and its impact on intimate behaviour, they need the confidence that comes from knowing that there are specialist services available to assist both young victims and perpetrators.

    From my experience, the ongoing harassing and sexualisation of girls doesn't seem that different in this area over the last 20 years, what has changed is the far more widely held attitude that women are there to fulfill the "needs" of men/boys. There doesn't seem to be much consideration of what the girls or women themselves would like in the relationship, or much about consent.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    edited April 8
    There's a book I've been reading on girls and puberty by Melissa Febos (Girlhood) and it shows how little has changed since I was an adolescent, as others have noted. Febos points out from her own experience how girls are often shamed into doing things they don’t want to do and then shamed for doing them. Because children so rarely are able to refuse touch or find themselves touched by adults in ways the child doesn't understand, a young girl might know at one level she has the right to say no, but has no experience of saying no and being obeyed.

    Febos talks about a concept I wish I had known years ago, the idea of 'empty consent', in which girls or women give in, or reluctantly acquiesce or agree without enthusiasm, simply because it is the easier option. Feigning consent is again something girls do because they have been conditioned to say yes rather than no to all kinds of demands, to be helpful and considerate and not cause scenes. Once a girl has given in or agreed to have sex, she is often then slut-shamed and rejected as promiscuous, or pressured to do it again and again with other boys. Where boys have been encouraged to initiate and take risks, girls have been groomed to be receptive and wait to be asked.

    Adolescence is a confusing time and boys are often pushing limits, acting together to pursue girls, competing with one another for sexual experience. A volatile and aggressive time for girls.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Yer not wrong

    Nothing has changed in the last 50 years; just made more complicated by social media
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    MaryLouise

    Spot on about "empty consent". An important understanding to get on board, not just when considering the damaging impact, not just of misogyny, but any other form of social oppression.
  • Ruth wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Being male of course I can't say what the girls' experiences were, but when I was in school (70s) this was very rare in my earshot. There were a couple of boys who were jerks but they were largely in the outcast caste.
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    I went to a mixed sex grammar school in the early 60s. I can honestly say that it was not a problem. The Headmaster would have expelled anyone causing a problem. The problem has got worse because offenders get away with it.

    Likewise. Middle class privilege and landlines only.

    It was a problem. I guarantee you it was a problem. You guys weren't perpetrators or objects of such shit, so you didn't see it.
    Or, in my case, so busy trying (often failing) to avoid the notice of the bullies that I wasn't going to go out of my way to find out who else was being bullied and the forms that took. Bullies got away with a lot because it wasn't widely known who was being victimised (because, if I'd reported those who found it fun to take my lunch and throw it around I would just be inviting others to pick on me even more - or, it certainly seemed like that). And, yes if relatively minor things escape the notice of the school and parents, and/or there's no disciplining for those, then there will be escalation. The only time I was aware of any discipline being dished out was when one of the boys decided that taking stuff from the chemistry labs to generate chlorine gas would be a wonderful wheeze to mock the class asthmatic. I sincerely hope that schools today take action against bullies before an ambulance needs to be called.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Indeed - often only the target and the bully know what is happening. Bullies are usually sneaky and very charming to everyone except their targets.

    This is just as true for adult bullies.

  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Of course, teenage girls who are sexually keen for ‘action’ also exist (I know, I was one of them).
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited April 8
    Ruth wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Being male of course I can't say what the girls' experiences were, but when I was in school (70s) this was very rare in my earshot. There were a couple of boys who were jerks but they were largely in the outcast caste.
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    I went to a mixed sex grammar school in the early 60s. I can honestly say that it was not a problem. The Headmaster would have expelled anyone causing a problem. The problem has got worse because offenders get away with it.

    Likewise. Middle class privilege and landlines only.

    It was a problem. I guarantee you it was a problem. You guys weren't perpetrators or objects of such shit, so you didn't see it.

    In my very nice small-town middle-class elementary school, the abuse of a girl named Dawn had begun by the time I got there for 4th grade, age 9. Several boys would chase her, singing to the tune of a TV commercial well-known at the time (Americans of a certain age may remember the "Libby's Libby's Libby's" commercials): "If it says Dawn, Dawn, Dawn / on your dick, dick, dick / she will lick, lick, lick / all the shit off your dick."

    The first week I wore a bra to school, a boy snapped the back of it at recess. When I complained to the teacher on duty, she brushed it off. The first time someone groped me on the street I was 11, just up the street from where I lived, walking home from school in that bucolic small town. And crank calls were a thing -- some asshole figured out there was a young girl living at our house and called repeatedly. If my parents answered the phone, he just hung up. If I did, I got the heavy breathing thing. It kept happening until my mother was in the room when I answered the phone, saw my face, figured it out and told me to hang up, to always hang up immediately when that happened.
    And what can we do to change this?

    Change the whole culture so boys don't see girls as less than them..

    I never encountered such horrors at primary school (there were others...), which had a remarkable social class mix - a quarter middle class at least - and then went on to an even more middle class grammar school. What can we do? Zero tolerance. Absolutely zero tolerance. And therefore pre-emptive social, behavioural education. With an internal child-line system, by meeting, phone, letter, online, anonymous and not. Any infraction, demerit, detention, segregation, isolation. NO suspensions or expulsions. You know the drill.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Akways room for improvement
  • Boogie wrote: »
    Of course, teenage girls who are sexually keen for ‘action’ also exist (I know, I was one of them).

    Yes, I met a few, they were scary and exciting. I didnt think it was OK to be scared of sex, cos I was male. It took me about 20 years to catch up with my real feelings. But fear and excitement are kissing cousins.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Luckily 50 years ago, fear predominated

    The risk of getting knocked up ( with the inevitable consequences) put the brakes on

    It was a man’s world
  • Ruth wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Being male of course I can't say what the girls' experiences were, but when I was in school (70s) this was very rare in my earshot. There were a couple of boys who were jerks but they were largely in the outcast caste.
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    I went to a mixed sex grammar school in the early 60s. I can honestly say that it was not a problem. The Headmaster would have expelled anyone causing a problem. The problem has got worse because offenders get away with it.

    Likewise. Middle class privilege and landlines only.

    It was a problem. I guarantee you it was a problem. You guys weren't perpetrators or objects of such shit, so you didn't see it.
    Or, in my case, so busy trying (often failing) to avoid the notice of the bullies that I wasn't going to go out of my way to find out who else was being bullied and the forms that took. Bullies got away with a lot because it wasn't widely known who was being victimised (because, if I'd reported those who found it fun to take my lunch and throw it around I would just be inviting others to pick on me even more - or, it certainly seemed like that). And, yes if relatively minor things escape the notice of the school and parents, and/or there's no disciplining for those, then there will be escalation. The only time I was aware of any discipline being dished out was when one of the boys decided that taking stuff from the chemistry labs to generate chlorine gas would be a wonderful wheeze to mock the class asthmatic. I sincerely hope that schools today take action against bullies before an ambulance needs to be called.
    Ruth wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Being male of course I can't say what the girls' experiences were, but when I was in school (70s) this was very rare in my earshot. There were a couple of boys who were jerks but they were largely in the outcast caste.
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    I went to a mixed sex grammar school in the early 60s. I can honestly say that it was not a problem. The Headmaster would have expelled anyone causing a problem. The problem has got worse because offenders get away with it.

    Likewise. Middle class privilege and landlines only.

    It was a problem. I guarantee you it was a problem. You guys weren't perpetrators or objects of such shit, so you didn't see it.
    Or, in my case, so busy trying (often failing) to avoid the notice of the bullies that I wasn't going to go out of my way to find out who else was being bullied and the forms that took. Bullies got away with a lot because it wasn't widely known who was being victimised (because, if I'd reported those who found it fun to take my lunch and throw it around I would just be inviting others to pick on me even more - or, it certainly seemed like that). And, yes if relatively minor things escape the notice of the school and parents, and/or there's no disciplining for those, then there will be escalation. The only time I was aware of any discipline being dished out was when one of the boys decided that taking stuff from the chemistry labs to generate chlorine gas would be a wonderful wheeze to mock the class asthmatic. I sincerely hope that schools today take action against bullies before an ambulance needs to be called.

    I doubt that I'd get away today with what I did to the school bully. I hit him very hard and he took a very very long time to get up. . No more problems.

    I'm not proud of it, I just didn't want to subsidise other people with my dinner and bus money.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Ruth wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Being male of course I can't say what the girls' experiences were, but when I was in school (70s) this was very rare in my earshot. There were a couple of boys who were jerks but they were largely in the outcast caste.
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    I went to a mixed sex grammar school in the early 60s. I can honestly say that it was not a problem. The Headmaster would have expelled anyone causing a problem. The problem has got worse because offenders get away with it.

    Likewise. Middle class privilege and landlines only.

    It was a problem. I guarantee you it was a problem. You guys weren't perpetrators or objects of such shit, so you didn't see it.
    Or, in my case, so busy trying (often failing) to avoid the notice of the bullies that I wasn't going to go out of my way to find out who else was being bullied and the forms that took. Bullies got away with a lot because it wasn't widely known who was being victimised (because, if I'd reported those who found it fun to take my lunch and throw it around I would just be inviting others to pick on me even more - or, it certainly seemed like that). And, yes if relatively minor things escape the notice of the school and parents, and/or there's no disciplining for those, then there will be escalation. The only time I was aware of any discipline being dished out was when one of the boys decided that taking stuff from the chemistry labs to generate chlorine gas would be a wonderful wheeze to mock the class asthmatic. I sincerely hope that schools today take action against bullies before an ambulance needs to be called.
    Ruth wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Being male of course I can't say what the girls' experiences were, but when I was in school (70s) this was very rare in my earshot. There were a couple of boys who were jerks but they were largely in the outcast caste.
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    I went to a mixed sex grammar school in the early 60s. I can honestly say that it was not a problem. The Headmaster would have expelled anyone causing a problem. The problem has got worse because offenders get away with it.

    Likewise. Middle class privilege and landlines only.

    It was a problem. I guarantee you it was a problem. You guys weren't perpetrators or objects of such shit, so you didn't see it.
    Or, in my case, so busy trying (often failing) to avoid the notice of the bullies that I wasn't going to go out of my way to find out who else was being bullied and the forms that took. Bullies got away with a lot because it wasn't widely known who was being victimised (because, if I'd reported those who found it fun to take my lunch and throw it around I would just be inviting others to pick on me even more - or, it certainly seemed like that). And, yes if relatively minor things escape the notice of the school and parents, and/or there's no disciplining for those, then there will be escalation. The only time I was aware of any discipline being dished out was when one of the boys decided that taking stuff from the chemistry labs to generate chlorine gas would be a wonderful wheeze to mock the class asthmatic. I sincerely hope that schools today take action against bullies before an ambulance needs to be called.

    I doubt that I'd get away today with what I did to the school bully. I hit him very hard and he took a very very long time to get up. . No more problems.

    I'm not proud of it, I just didn't want to subsidise other people with my dinner and bus money.

    I imagine that you became very popular as well.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    I think the class tangent may have legs so I'm going to split the thread.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited April 8
    Ruth wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Being male of course I can't say what the girls' experiences were, but when I was in school (70s) this was very rare in my earshot. There were a couple of boys who were jerks but they were largely in the outcast caste.
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    I went to a mixed sex grammar school in the early 60s. I can honestly say that it was not a problem. The Headmaster would have expelled anyone causing a problem. The problem has got worse because offenders get away with it.

    Likewise. Middle class privilege and landlines only.

    It was a problem. I guarantee you it was a problem. You guys weren't perpetrators or objects of such shit, so you didn't see it.
    Or, in my case, so busy trying (often failing) to avoid the notice of the bullies that I wasn't going to go out of my way to find out who else was being bullied and the forms that took. Bullies got away with a lot because it wasn't widely known who was being victimised (because, if I'd reported those who found it fun to take my lunch and throw it around I would just be inviting others to pick on me even more - or, it certainly seemed like that). And, yes if relatively minor things escape the notice of the school and parents, and/or there's no disciplining for those, then there will be escalation. The only time I was aware of any discipline being dished out was when one of the boys decided that taking stuff from the chemistry labs to generate chlorine gas would be a wonderful wheeze to mock the class asthmatic. I sincerely hope that schools today take action against bullies before an ambulance needs to be called.
    Ruth wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Being male of course I can't say what the girls' experiences were, but when I was in school (70s) this was very rare in my earshot. There were a couple of boys who were jerks but they were largely in the outcast caste.
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    I went to a mixed sex grammar school in the early 60s. I can honestly say that it was not a problem. The Headmaster would have expelled anyone causing a problem. The problem has got worse because offenders get away with it.

    Likewise. Middle class privilege and landlines only.

    It was a problem. I guarantee you it was a problem. You guys weren't perpetrators or objects of such shit, so you didn't see it.
    Or, in my case, so busy trying (often failing) to avoid the notice of the bullies that I wasn't going to go out of my way to find out who else was being bullied and the forms that took. Bullies got away with a lot because it wasn't widely known who was being victimised (because, if I'd reported those who found it fun to take my lunch and throw it around I would just be inviting others to pick on me even more - or, it certainly seemed like that). And, yes if relatively minor things escape the notice of the school and parents, and/or there's no disciplining for those, then there will be escalation. The only time I was aware of any discipline being dished out was when one of the boys decided that taking stuff from the chemistry labs to generate chlorine gas would be a wonderful wheeze to mock the class asthmatic. I sincerely hope that schools today take action against bullies before an ambulance needs to be called.

    I doubt that I'd get away today with what I did to the school bully. I hit him very hard and he took a very very long time to get up. . No more problems.

    I'm not proud of it, I just didn't want to subsidise other people with my dinner and bus money.

    I tried that.

    He nearly put me in hospital in response.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    Indeed - often only the target and the bully know what is happening. Bullies are usually sneaky and very charming to everyone except their targets.

    This is just as true for adult bullies.

    Ain't that the truth. And they don't like it being pointed out that one of the techniques of the bully is to trash the reputation of the victim so they are not believed when the bully lies about themself being the victim.

    I am still wondering why the apparent adult victim of an adult bully joins with the bully to trash the person who went out of their way to try to get help for them from the heirarchy.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    A matter of different aspirations

    Moral: expect no gratitiude
  • Ruth wrote: »

    Change the whole culture so boys don't see girls as less than them..

    I'd happily sign up for such a future.

    I think that perhaps a key issue here is treating girls for the most part the same as boys, which is something our culture recently has gotten worse at.

    Toy stores are color coded to the extreme, pink for girls, making the distinction between male and female one of the first that children are exposed to. While there certainly were "toys for boys" and "toys for girls" in the 80s and 90s as well, then the distinction has become a lot more visible and is catching on to continually new markets. (Exhibit A, this bible for girls....)

    The more we hammer in the message that girls are completely different, the more likely they are to behave different, and the more likely boys are to perceive them as something different. I'm not denying that there are some obvious differences between cis-boys and -girls, but the degree to which we hammer in that message in very young children today is rather extreme.

    While there's a lot of things we can't change by way of legislation, I do believe there's room (or should be room) to limit gendered marketing for children to some extent. The more children experience sameness with people of a different gender, the more likely I think that they'll at least limit the amount of sexist expressions at a later age.

  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    The gendering is getting worse in some respects but better in others. This is largely because the manufacturers have cottoned onto the fact that little boys also enjoy playing with certain toys that are traditionally coded female, like tea sets and vacuum cleaners. My son got a cleaning cart for his birthday (vacuum cleaner, mop, brushes etc.) and it is his favourite thing ever. It is turquoise and orange.

    This isn't necessarily any enlightened gender politics, I don't think, so much as seizing the opportunity to make money.

    Clothing is another matter.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Schools have of course never been an environment free from sexism, but this seems like it's taken a huge turn for the worse. From the various articles and reports I can track down by way of googling, it seems that this kind of language has gained a lot of use in considerable parts of the Western world (at least).

    I'm not sure I buy this. It seems a lot more likely that, like other forms of sexual harassment, it "seems" a lot more common because people are more willing to talk about it and call it out. In other words, the idealized past is a product of under-reporting and a code of silence, not better behavior in earlier times.

    I'm also skeptical of claims of earlier sexualization of girls, given the way young women in the past were heavily conditioned/trained for their future roles as wives.
  • Crœsos wrote: »

    I'm not sure I buy this. It seems a lot more likely that, like other forms of sexual harassment, it "seems" a lot more common because people are more willing to talk about it and call it out. In other words, the idealized past is a product of under-reporting and a code of silence, not better behavior in earlier times.

    I'm also skeptical of claims of earlier sexualization of girls, given the way young women in the past were heavily conditioned/trained for their future roles as wives.

    I certainly agree that sexism was strong in the past as well, but sexism was (as you say) aimed at manipulating girls into becoming future wives. It's the "whore or madonna" - thing all over again, where girls now are pushed towards a role that's closer to the "whore" than it once was.

    It's not a complete shift. I've heard women mention that they feel / felt a pressure both to be sexy (clothes, makeup, behaviour), but also at the same time chaste. But it's still a shift, than I think might change language.

    Under-reporting might be a very real thing though. I've appreciated the many personal stories shared in this thread, which certainly suggest that , and I'm open to the idea that misogynistic language might not have changed that much at all. But I'd still love to see some kind of comparative data (year X compared to year Y), even if only for a fairly short interval of years. I haven't been able to find any, however.

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Crœsos wrote: »
    I'm also skeptical of claims of earlier sexualization of girls, given the way young women in the past were heavily conditioned/trained for their future roles as wives.
    I'm not going to argue that things were better in the Victorian era than now, but I'm prepared to argue that over the past forty years progress has been one step forward one step back, on particular in the eighties. I blame Reagan and Thatcher. More to the point, I blame toy manufacturers and other purveyors of segregated children's goods and merchandising.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Crœsos wrote: »
    I'm also skeptical of claims of earlier sexualization of girls, given the way young women in the past were heavily conditioned/trained for their future roles as wives.

    I certainly agree that sexism was strong in the past as well, but sexism was (as you say) aimed at manipulating girls into becoming future wives. It's the "whore or madonna" - thing all over again, where girls now are pushed towards a role that's closer to the "whore" than it once was.

    I'd argue that the concept of "wife" is inherently sexualized as well, given that non-consummation has long been considered grounds for annulment. In other words it's not a distinction between "sexualized" and "non-sexualized", it's the difference between approved sexualization and non-approved sexualization.
    Under-reporting might be a very real thing though. I've appreciated the many personal stories shared in this thread, which certainly suggest that , and I'm open to the idea that misogynistic language might not have changed that much at all. But I'd still love to see some kind of comparative data (year X compared to year Y), even if only for a fairly short interval of years. I haven't been able to find any, however.

    That's the problem with under-reporting and codes of silence; by their very nature that data simply does not exist. For example, no one believes that various religious organizations started abusing children and covering it up in the early twenty-first century. We assume that this is longstanding behavior that is only coming to light now because various religious institutions are losing their ability to silence the victims. I'd argue that the same is true with various forms of sexual harassment, both by teens and adults.
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