Stop the excuses
Our beliefs about male and female relationships are learned, and can be passed onto the next generation.
Before we can have conversations with young people about disrespect, we might need a moment of honest self-reflection. This can mean confronting our own beliefs about boys and girls or men and women, as these can form the basis for our reactions.
We might be surprised to recognise some of the most common ways we excuse disrespectful and aggressive behaviour. These include:
- playing down disrespectful or aggressive behaviour (“don’t worry, it wasn’t that bad”)
- accepting aggression as just part of being a boy (“boys will be boys”)
- blaming girls (“it takes two to tango”)
- raising girls to accept disrespect (“it’s okay, he probably did it because he likes you”).
It is these seemingly harmless phrases we say in front of young people that can be interpreted in ways we don’t intend. To discover the hidden meanings of common expressions that can excuse disrespectful behaviour towards girls, check out the excuse interpreter below.