PSA: This is not an attack or an attempt to blame mothers for anything. This is simply an observation of very common dialogue shared between mothers and their daughters and an attempt to make mothers aware of how they could improve the way they communicate with their daughters.
It’s a Saturday afternoon, you’re chilling on the couch in an oversized t-shirt and some sweats. You aren’t expecting any visitors today, but to your surprise the doorbell rings. It’s a male friend of the family. You’ve known him practically your whole life. You say hello, give him a hug, and then your mom pulls you to the side and whispers “go upstairs and put on a bra.”
Let me make myself perfectly clear: THIS. IS. SEXIST. Whether you realize it or not, whenever ANYONE is in the presence of a man and a woman and they tell the woman to go change, they are saying three things. 1. That because of what she is wearing, or lack thereof, they believe the man will sexualize her 2. That her clothes, or lack thereof, are the reason for her being sexualized and preyed on by men and 3. That changing her clothes is more important than telling a man he is being gross.
Let me again make myself perfectly clear: MOMS I DO NOT BLAME YOU. The only reason moms tell their daughters to “go put on a bra” when male company is over is because they are aware of the over sexualization on women’s bodies. Women between the ages of 16 and 19 are FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. This means rape is affecting women who are still living with their parents! Do you realize how serious this is? TEENAGE women are the ones most affected by sexual violence. So I understand why when a man walks into your home, your first instinct is to make sure your daughter is wearing a bra. Mothers just want to protect their children, and because of the attack on women; this is how moms have been forced to protect their daughters. However, have you thought about the subliminal message that “go put a bra on” sends to your daughter? Instead of telling the man to leave; you tell your daughter “cover up, he’s coming.” In that moment, you are telling your TEENAGE daughter to change her clothing instead of telling the GROWN man to stop sexualizing her.
I know that moms will do anything to protect their children so to any mom reading I will leave you with this: telling your daughter to cover up might protect her in that MOMENT, but what it is protecting FOREVER is a society built to make women feel guilty for being victims of decades of sexual violence.
Every mother, every WOMAN, has the power to change the way women’s bodies are stigmatized as “too sexual.” It starts with changing the way we think and speak. Women, we must make an effort to be extremely conscious of what and how we communicate with each other.
Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
Who said it? KEN SAID IT!👏🏾