Teen Impression of Dating

I once had a dinner date with a 65-year-old man, and I went into it expecting him to be a gentleman. Instead, I was told I had a "sweet ass." When I let him know that his comment made me feel objectified, he said that I was being petty and dramatic. He had meant the statement to be a compliment. Why was I being so uptight?

Photo of a young girl and boy dating
This man probably did genuinely feel that I was being uptight. That is how normal this sort of objectification has become in our society. When young boys are taught that romantic situations should be handled with dignity and kindness, they grow into men who treat women with respect. However, these teachings have to start early because of the constant bombardment of sexual imagery in the media. Television and movies portray the modern woman as someone who is ready to bend over and receive a spanking, so is it really surprising that our young men grow up believing that this is how women want to be treated?

When Does Appreciation Become Objectification?

It's natural to want to be admired, and likewise, it's natural to look at an attractive person and feel lustful. Not knowing how to handle these feelings is what creates a problem. There is an appropriate time and place to give a compliment, and a little taste and restraint goes a long way. Imagine how different I might have felt if my date had complimented my earrings instead of my butt. It would have still given the impression that he liked the way I looked, but it would have also shown that he appreciated who I am.

How do we Teach Boys Not to Objectify?

First, it's important to raise our boys to believe that women are just as strong, capable and worthy of respect as men. We can do this by providing good female role models.

Next, we must teach manners, dignity and how to behave with class. Returning to some of the old-fashioned rules of courtship wouldn't be a bad thing.

Finally, all children should be taught about appropriate boundaries. Different rules apply to different situations. The man who playfully smacks his wife of 20 years on the butt is not in the same category as the man who tries it on a first date. We have to show our children how to adhere to reasonable social boundaries and get to know a potential romantic partner before those boundaries are pushed.

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  1. I agree! This is becoming a much-talked-about issue and it’s high time! The concerns for girls being sexually abused or assaulted in college is unprecedented! Some young men and women are starting to have open discussions at college campuses, but we need more! And good role models are so important!

  2. Thank you Debra for teaching boundaries to young women .so important . Many married women haven’t learned this skill , so how important to teach it when they are young .

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