The Boundless blog is a collection of unique voices addressing the issues young adults care about right now – everything from dating and faith to current events.
Listen to this week's show!
Roundtable: Setting Stretch Goals
Everyone knows that guys like to be challenged. But what kind of challenges are beneficial, and are there different challenges for different men? Our all-male panel, led by Boundless favorite Steve Watters, talks about how taking on big things now prepares you to handle the bigger things to come.
Culture: Dennis Rainey on Dating
Dennis Rainey knows a bit about relationships. As president of FamilyLife and host of the nationally syndicated FamilyLife Today radio program, Dennis has been an expert voice on marriage and family dynamics for decades. And as the father of six adult children, he’s helped them navigate the sometimes rocky roads of dating and engagement. Two things he dislikes: aggressive girls and clueless guys. Listen in to find out why.
Inbox: More Than Friends
They've been friends for years, but now he wants something more. How can he tell her he has feelings for her without risking their friendship? Counselor Roberta Perno offers advice.
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--Yes. It is certainly "Agressive Girls" and not the culture that raises them to believe that their only worth and value as a person is established by how much other people desire them are CERTAINLY the problem that needs correcting and not the massively male-dominated fashion and media industries that pump out volumes of over-sexualized crap that kids pick up and emulate.
*Deffinitely* Girls are ALWAYS the agressor. Poor Clueless Boys.
--MrsAshleyTOF, I don't think I understand what you're saying.
--One thing from Rainey's interview was interesting:
"Women of all ages want to be treated like a woman"
I suppose the million dollar question would be, "What does it mean to be treated 'like a woman'?", especially considering he makes it clear that men and women should be treated differently.
Some women like acts of traditional chivalry while others do not. Some women prefer mystery, and some prefer more straightforwardness.
Despite some of the good tips he gives I'm afraid much of it will fall on deaf ears due to the dogmatic advice regarding certain dating behaviors.
Oh, and for the record, both men and women are guilty of infidelity, almost to the point of it being at the same rate (www.businessweek.com/.../cheating-wives-narrowed-infidelity-gap-over-two-decades)
--For the "Beyond Buddies" section, the guy needs to understand it's an all-in. If he goes through with it chances are it will either go forward or she may very well not want to "hang out" anymore as Roberta says. Or it could be that she just wants things to "stay the same" but honestly, I don't think the guy can live with that. The worst thing that the girl could do is say, "Well, maybe something could happen, I need more time". Good heavens man, if she hasn't decided by additional time isn't going to do it and chances are it's just a ruse to avoid an answer.
My theory though (and many guys would probably agree with me), is that you've been put into the "Friends Zone" long ago and most likely will stay there indefinitely. If she either gives a refusal or ambiguous answer, just move on man. Fine if you want to still be friends with her, but focus your romantic attention elsewhere.
I'm not convinced the friend zone really exists. Girls make up their minds very quickly about whether they see a guy as a friend or whether there's potential for more. If there's potential for more, that only goes away if as she gets to know him better she realises they're not a good match, or because she ends up with someone else. It doesn't go away purely because of familiarity. I don't buy the idea that there's a window of opportunity that can be missed because the guy waited too long. If a guy is in the friend zone, he's probably been there all along.
The exception to the rule is if, as in this case, the two of them have known each other a long time (particularly if they've known each other since they were quite young), she friendzoned him initially but in the interim her idea of what she's looking for in a man has changed. If that's the case, then she may well need some time to think about it and look at him in a different way, because it may not have occurred to her to reconsider the category she originally put him in.
Of course, your mileage may vary. My experience may not be everyone's.
--Martha, the book promo material has such lovely sentences as "With tween girls entering puberty, what defense does your young son have against their brazen pursuit?"
and the publisher's desciption sets the stage for the book with this little number:
can u sneak out 2nite?
What a brazen question for a tween girl to text to a boy In a sex-saturated world, how can parents address the dramatic upswing of sexually forward girls in hot pursuit of their young sons? "
Look, I'm not one of the people who is likely to jump out of her skin on a feminist uprising, but this, this right here? This is rape culture.
Boys simply *can't help themselves* against the onslaught of tween girls! They're mere clueless innocents in a culture that's pitted against them. They simply can't help but see girls as the sexual objects of temptation that they obviously are.
Give me a break.
I know this book is targeted at helicopter parents of boys in their early teens (But with "questions to ask your daughter" too! After all, if you come at her like the gestapo, maybe, just maybe she won't text a boy asking if he can "sneak out 2nite.") but this is just so sad to me. SO sad. Why can't we just teach our daughters to be women and our sons to be men? Why do we have to instill this "Us v. Them" rhetoric in them in their early childhood -- and why, dear goodness why, is that being advocated as good parenting!?
Boys AND Girls should be neither sexually agressive nor clueless. There shouldn't be a guidebook to protect your sweet innocent sons from those NASTY daughters of Eve, any more than it should be taught that every man is looking to rape you until proven otherwise (the other side of the pendulum we sometimes swing too far).
And WHEN 12 year old (that's tween. 12 years old) girls are sending those texts -- they are far too young to understand the implications UNLESS they have been DELIBERATELY taught those implications by being the victims of abuse themselves OR by being subjected to material above their age range through no fault of their own. But you know, publishing a book that on it's jacket makes 12 year old girls into monsters seems like a VERY incendiary way to get parents to haul out their pitchforks. It will probably sell a lot more copies than a book titled "Preserving the Innocense of Childhood in an Adult World: How to teach your Tween to handle our Hypersexed Culture." Which has the same basic premise (and I hope is more the tone the book takes than it's PAINFULLY awful desciption on the website) as I would assume the message of the book has -- without demonizing either gender.
Basically: Captializing on Parent's fear and young girl's sad misfortune while casting boys as just poor pitiful victims is gross.
--Mrs. Ashley: because as women/girls we are pretty much responsible for all the evil in the world. Eve committed the first sin, our society started downhill after women got the right to vote, etc, These poor, pure men don't stand a chance. (end of sarcasm).
--@MikeTime but setting the standard comes from the man. Women think all men are pigs because many are pigs. We have to start by treating the girl right respecting her. How do you think a girl that's been mistreated for years by men feels when a guy confidently shows her how a man should be? We start right here right now as Christian men. The whole purpose of being Christians is to reverse the flow of cultural influence. But to say "everybody's doing it so why bother" isn't the right answer. It's hard to be a Christian and it's getting harder but it starts with us.
You lost me when you equated seduction with rape and further when you attempted to argue that protecting a young person against seduction is an insult to every member of the opposite sex.
Reality is that there are 12 year olds who are sexually active and there are surprisingly young females who have discovered that sexuality gives them power over boys. That this is only a small percentage of them does not give you an excuse to deny that there is any danger at all, or that parents who seek to protect their boy children are engaging in gender-warfare.
We have always tended to guard our daughters, why not our sons? Or is that contrary to the feminist mantra?
"You lost me when you equated seduction with rape and further when you attempted to argue that protecting a young person against seduction is an insult to every member of the opposite sex.
Reality is that there are 12 year olds who are sexually active and there are surprisingly young females who have discovered that sexuality gives them power over boys."
How is Ashley equating "seduction" by girls with rape by boys? The thing is, a twelve year old cannot legally consent to sex, because they cannot psychologically understand what is truly involved. That they may have sexual experience does not invalidate this. On the contrary, a child who is sexually experienced is by definition a victim. A victim of specific adults who have failed her, of a sex-saturated culture. To speak of young girls "seducing" boys, is not possible, because seduction requires agency and responsibility. Even if girls seem to be "asking for it" by mimicking behaviour of older seductresses, as it were, they are children, and cannot understand the meaning of their actions, or their consequences. However sophisticated they may appear to you, they are children, and it is any adult's resonsibility to relate to them on that basis.
Now, to stigmatise their behaviour, to 'slut-shame" them (horrible, horrible expression), to blame them for any sex that may result from that, is to completely misread the situation, and to fail in our role as adults. To deal with this in terms of a sex war between boys and girls is deeply destructive. By playing a blame game, we are not helping. We are abandoning girls, and creating the conditions where boys/ men, may feel justified in extracting sex from them. Which is statutory rape. Which is rape. a particularly vile form of rape, the rape of a child. Hence the term "rape-culture".
I repeat: no twelve year old child is a seductress. By definition. An adult's first instinct, when they witness sexually provocative behaviour in a child, is to burn with compassion. And then to step in, firmly and kindly, to allow them to remain children.
And don't you kid yourself. No twelve year old girl has any meaningful power in this world. No twelve year old sexually provocative girl has any power. She is a child who has been badly failed by the grow-ups whose responsibility she is. This is not about girls v boys. It is about adults protecting children.
And incidentally, the argument you have presented is one used by pedophile adults to justify sexual relations they have had with children. A child's behaviour never makes it ok to have sex with them. It is entirely and completely beside the point.
It is a classic straw-man argument. You start by misrepresenting your opponent's argument, claim that they are over-reacting on the basis of that misrepresentation, and use that as the basis for dismissing the legitimate argument.
One does not have to claim that seduction is the equivalent of rape in order to argue that seduction in sinful and harmful, yet Ashley seems to have made that false connection for the purposes of her own argument.
To your other point, I have both observed immature females using their sexuality to get a reaction from immature boys. I've had it tried on me - not that it was going to work because I was both older and deeply averse to being manipulated. Whether you have experienced it or not - and as a woman, it would be unlikely that you had - the ability of girls to use sexuality to manipulate their male peers is real and it is not an error to call it "power".
If you live in a culture that is not hypersexualised and in which young people are taught manners, self-control and modesty, then consider yourself blessed. But don't pretend that it is the same everywhere.
I am not "mirepresenting" the opponent's argument. I am disagreeing with its basic premise. The basic premise being that little girls are "seductive". Because seduction requires a girl to understand what she is doing, and to freely choose that course of action.
I am not denying that girls may exhibit sexually provocative behaviour. I am not denying that that behaviour may be disturbing/ arousing to males.
I am denying that what she is doing can be termed seduction. Even though she may have started having her period, she is not ready physically or psychologically to have sex. She is not sexually mature. That is what you must understand.
She may have observed that sexually provocative behaviour may get a response from the opposite sex. But basically, she is playing with fire without truly comprehending what it is. Like a toddler who keeps on throwing things on the floor. this behaviour may be annoying to the parent, and the child needs to be guided into growing out of it. But it does not have the same significance as an adult doing the same thing and expecting others to pick up after them. To punish a toddler as if they had the understanding and degree of responsibility of an adult will only crush them. I am not denying that behaviour should be adressed. I am arguing that it should be adressed in a nurturing and age-appropriate fashion.
I am sorry that you have experienced females using their sexuality to attempt to manipulate you. If those females were underage, your primary reason for not giving in, after your desire to honour God, should be out of a desire to protect them. As the children they are. You should respond as a father figure. Not primarily out of annoyance about being manipulated. At the forefront of your mind you should have the realisation that there is a power differential between you as an adult, and this girl. That you are not on the same plane at all. However arousing she may be. It is not her responsibility to protect you. It is your responsibility to protect her. Because she is a child.
Or to put it anoyther way. If a young girl behaves in a sexually provocative manner, it is because she is hoping for a reaction/ attention. It is not because she is really horny and craves full-on sex with a male heaving over her. Sorry to be so graphic, but if she does get to that point, at that age, it would be completely destructive for her, of her inmost being. That is the tragedy of a sex-saturated culture.
Therefore, the response to the sexualisation of pre-teens is not to call them names no woman should ever be called. It is to give them the wholesome love, attention, affection and boundaries that they are owed as children. That is for adults.
How should boys respond? Well they need to understand that if a girl is doing that, it is because she is missing something at home. They should be taught to have compassion, and also to take that behaviour with a grain of salt. These girls are not sexual connoisseurs dying to initiate them into things they (the boys) do not yet have much grasp of, but are starting, or about to start, developing curiosity about.
They, like all teens, male and female, need to learn how to insist on having all relationships on their terms, according to their values of love and respect. To offer respect to all. And never to put up with lack of respect in a relationship. Sometimes, they will need to say that explicitely. And sometimes, they may need to walk away. Until the message gets through.
--"The thing is, a twelve year old cannot legally consent to sex, because they cannot psychologically understand what is truly involved. That they may have sexual experience does not invalidate this. On the contrary, a child who is sexually experienced is by definition a victim. A victim of specific adults who have failed her, of a sex-saturated culture. To speak of young girls "seducing" boys, is not possible, because seduction requires agency and responsibility. Even if girls seem to be "asking for it" by mimicking behaviour of older seductresses, as it were, they are children, and cannot understand the meaning of their actions, or their consequences. However sophisticated they may appear to you, they are children, and it is any adult's resonsibility to relate to them on that basis."
“To speak of young girls "seducing" boys, is not possible, because seduction requires agency and responsibility. Even if girls seem to be "asking for it" by mimicking behaviour of older seductresses, as it were, they are children, and cannot understand the meaning of their actions, or their consequences.”
So a minor male can't seduce a minor girl because he does not have agency and responsibility? He does not understand the meaning of his actions?
If a male and female below a certain age have sex, BOTH of them are committing an illegal act. Are they both victims or only the female?
"Even though she may have started having her period, she is not ready physically or psychologically to have sex. She is not sexually mature. That is what you must understand."
The problem is the age of puberty is young nowadays. First period is no longer at 15 years old for many today. These children are sometimes sexuality mature enough to bring babies to full term at 12 years old. Granted they are high-risk pregnancies but they are pregnancies nevertheless. It is terrible what is going on.
"If those females were underage, your primary reason for not giving in, after your desire to honour God, should be out of a desire to protect them. As the children they are. You should respond as a father figure."
If you are an older non-related male, my legal advice is that you should get away from her because you are near a powder keg. Let a female talk to her and be a mother figure to her. As an older male, I would stronger urge you NOT to bring up her sexualized behavior towards you. It is not a situation to be near for a lot of reasons. A kid with that mindset could claim they were touched or hit-on by the evil man. Think of being around a child soldier carrying a fully automatic machine gun. Regardless on who gave them the gun and why...get away! That is my free legal advice.
"Or to put it anoyther way. If a young girl behaves in a sexually provocative manner, it is because she is hoping for a reaction/ attention. It is not because she is really horny and craves full-on sex with a male heaving over her. Sorry to be so graphic, but if she does get to that point, at that age, it would be completely destructive for her, of her inmost being. That is the tragedy of a sex-saturated culture."
Once again the problem is that we have kids going through puberty too early combined with a sexually commercial society that can propagate itself through advanced technology. We have twelve year olds being coming sexually activated and giving birth.
--I would agree that any 12 year old trying to be sexual (boy or girl) would be doing it under false expectations and not fully understanding what they are doing but it doesn't change the fact that they THINK they know what they are doing. If a boy or girl is using their imagined sexual power to manipulate someone else that is still dangerous to someone else their age. They're still trying to abuse their power. They just don't recognize it's a power they don't have control of yet. An adult shouldn't feel seduced by such behaviour (that's sick), but what does a fellow 12 year old think or feel? I imagine it would be tough for them to step back from that. We can't underestimate the power of peer pressure--especially at that age. I think that's what the book in question was trying to address. Maybe it shouldn't have made it about boys vs girls but addressed it in a more general way. I would tell my son that a girl who was hitting on him doesn't really know what she is doing, but that even if she did, it would still be wrong. He doesn't have to be led by others or by his own hormones. I would teach my daughter (if I had one) the same.
I just think we need to recognize that women DO have the ability to manipulate men with their sexuality. Of course men can be rapists or blame their own sexual sins on the woman but we do have that power. We can make men look, we can hold the promise of sex over a man's head like the proverbial carrot. It only works when the man is NOT a rapist. There are bad men and women out there who use their sexuality for evil. To paint either with such a broad brush is wrong, both morally and factually. It's simply not true of either.
I know as a woman it is easy to feel so sensitive on the topic because there is a rape culture mentality out there but not everyone adheres to that. And it is a shame that a few bad apples in either gender has made it hard for men and women to see eye to eye. I hate the "us vs them" these debates turn into it. But then, the book of Genesis says that this would be the result of the Fall. The battle of the sexes goes on...
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