"I just think that we should choose our words very very carefully when discussing these things.. "
I agree. The trouble is though that when someone posts and thinks that they are being clear, their words may upset someone else who interprets them differently to how they were perhaps meant.
ITA that all young people need the same messages about respect and responsibility. I don't think anyone disagrees with that.
I have no intention of raising my daughters to be 'potential victims' nor of creating self-fulfilling prophesies. As a mother of girls, that comment stings: it cuts both ways. But then, I know that this is not what I am doing, just as I know that I am not raising my daughters to fear your sons. So, I can choose to be upset, or not, by such a comment. I choose not to be, as I am genuinely interested in discussion. I don't think that we are actually far apart in our thinking, maybe just in our interpretation about what one another mean. That's my guess, anyway
There is a fine line between raising children to be aware and raising them to be fearful. Fearful does not help them to be self-sufficient. But I believe that not to give them a realistic view of the world could lead them to be potential victims. In 'Protecting the Gift' there is a section about giving children the vocabulary and language to enable them to be able to talk about their bodies and so be more likely to resist abuse. I think that is vital from a young age.
As for internalized messages, it is no more desirable for boys to take one that they are potential predators than for girls to take one that they are potential victims. I do want my girls to understand about situations that could be potentially dangerous for them, and to know how to avoid them. That is just part of teaching them about personal safety, imo, and is no reflection upon the millions of good men out there, but is a reflection upon the small number of bad ones.
As for being viewed with automatic suspicion, I guess its a fact of life that in some situations men will be viewed suspiciously by women. Dh has learned this, as he has a tendency to go up to anyone and chat. Just recently, I was with him at a park with the children, but a group of women obviously didnt realise he was with me. One of the womens' young daughters was sitting near our dd, and dh tried to start up a conversation with the mother. She looked uncomfortable and moved away with her dd swiftly. Dh commented to me afterwards that he just hadnt thought how his approach would make her feel uncomfortable, but that she had done the right thing. And that he knew that I'd have done the same thing in her shoes. It's sad that a well-intentioned man can't approach someone without suspicion being aroused, but a fact of life. One of the things in Protecting the Gift that I thuoght was very true is that we can be so hung up about being polite and not offending someone that we can put ourselves into dangerous situations.
I have never really thought about it before, but I think that maybe one thing that boys need to learn is that in some situations they might make women feel nervous, and that they need to adapt to take this into account. Eg, dh would never walk behind a woman in a dark street if she looked back at him nervously and would hold back, look in a window or something and let her move away. He would never hurt someone, but she doesnt know that, does she? But isnt that an aspect of respect?
Translate that to teenagers, and maybe they need to learn about situations that might make a girl feel nervous, and that these situations are best avoided? I'm just musing here, but it seems to me that if one of my rules for my dds until a certain age (undecided until we get to that stage) will be that they go out and travel in groups not couples, maybe boys need the same rules? That way, all are protected. Is that stereotyping boys, or is it simply being practical and avoiding difficult situations for both genders?
This is interesting because its making me think about what my emphasis would be if raising boys not girls. And going back to the original quote, maybe my words here are "creating and re-creating the very things we say we are trying to avoid" but if we are to continue to discuss, that may be unavoidable? And to me, it is a shame to halt a discussion because of possible interpretations of what is being said.
(Taking deep breaths too as it's difficult when you know you're probalby offending just by discussing.