Parenting

Mother Says Her Teen Sons—Good Boys—Are Culpable for Rape Culture

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The two sons in this mother’s lament might not know anything about how it feels to be rape survivors, but they do know something about enduring emotional abuse. One day perhaps they will write to other men about their emotional wounds from being raised by a mother who insists that they own responsibility for the sins of men they’ve never met and do not aspire to be.

My sons are good boys, just like thousands of other good boys in America. They understand consent and they won’t rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. But they aren’t allies in the fight against rape culture because they refuse to acknowledge their own culpability when they call a girl a slut or a whore, laugh at a sexist joke or remain silent when their friends talk about their own questionable sexual behavior. And in this broken system, anyone who isn’t with us is against us. Particularly, and especially, men. Even my own sons — even yours.
The whole thing is here. This is monstrous mothering. In finding her sons responsible for the sins of others she shackles them to the worst desires, whether they have them or not, and cuts them off from absolution.
The knowledge that forgiveness is possible gives us great comfort. How depressing must it be to be told that no matter what a “good boy” you are, you are still to blame? You are not forgiven. Apparently it is suicidally depressing according to one of this mother’s earlier posts.
I also have my practical worry about assuming the worst of men. When mothers, and women in general, assume that all boys are budding little rapists, then what if, for some, the soft bigotry of deplorable expectations then leads them to own the slander? If we only see them through men’s base desires, if being a “good boy” will not absolve them of culpability, then why fight those base desires? Be the monster they expect you to be because the physical satisfaction and the bit of revenge you get out of it is all this crap world has to offer you anyway. It’s a horrid position, but one that has logic to it. Beat a boy down enough, make his life miserable and hopeless, and that just might make some sense to him.
I’m sure the mother thinks she is doing some public good, berating her sons for all men — in public, note, writing under her own name — but really, she is publicly exposing them so she can advertise what a good woman for women she is. She sees her boys as a means to her ends, not full humans with aspirations or autonomy. Hopefully these boys have a grandfather who can intervene on their behalf.
And hopefully, the Washington Post will reassess aiding and abetting this slander of two minor boys. Did the older son consent to public declarations of his private medical information? Medical professionals could lose their license for such a privacy breach. While the law might give the mother an out for violating his trust like that (so many of our modern notions hinge upon mothers having ultimate ownership of children, and it is unclear when that ownership ends), newspaper editors and publishers do not enjoy such privileges — or shouldn’t.

It’s not just the sons, either. The Washington Post is using the mother’s emotional issues for ratings and clickbait. This writer is a single mother of seven because she has no interest in having a man around after three failed marriages and finds the idea that she might want a man around insulting. (Again, how worthless must that attitude make her sons feel?) She has published articles about marrying a narcissist and her estrangement from her own mother. The accounts attest to one who uses public shame as a weapon against her family and denial as a shield.
From her don’t-want-a-man-around article in Good Housekeeping last May:
I didn’t expect to be single forever. I imagined myself going to therapy, getting myself together, and finally (finally!) meeting the man of my dreams. But now that I’ve been single for so long, I’m not sure why I wanted a partner to begin with. I’m happy and fulfilled on my own, and there’s no one to throw a wrench into all of my well-laid plans. My household runs smoothly, there’s no drama or chaos, and for the first time in my adult life, I am free to be unabashedly and unashamedly myself.
She published that statement of no drama or chaos a few months after her son’s second suicidal episode. She either just makes stuff up for gullible editors or sees the world not as it is but through her own rose-colored, “men stink” glasses.
Leaning towards the making-stuff-up option, she has alternate accounts of what she has told her sons about her status as a rape victim. In one account it is something she’s never told them. In another it is a piece of information they know, like they know how she used to be a reporter.
Of late, journalism has faced a credibility crisis, one that has come into sharp focus with sex issues. Rolling Stone is still defending two lawsuits, one of which was just denied dismissal. The Washington Post knows this. That paper broke the Rolling Stone fiction. Of all papers they should appreciate the need to publish accurate stories. But, of course, there are more clicks and advertising dollars in publishing the musings of a matriarch of a family in crisis. Hence, this “thought provoking” public shaming of a suicidal teen and his brother has been picked up by other publications like the Denver Post and Bangor Daily News.
Clicks count. Boys don’t.