An Open Letter to My Daughters About “Locker Room Talk”

Darling Girls,

Please know that you are lovely. You are strong and clever, smart and funny. You deserve nothing less than respect and honor. “Locker room talk” is an assault to your dignity and to the dignity of all women.

Never let a guy speak to you or about you in a demeaning way, and stay far far away from any boy who tries to dismiss vile and sleazy talk about women as just “a guy thing.” Such a boy might be a guy, but he isn’t a real man.

What we need to tell our daughters about "locker room talk."

“Locker room talk” as some are calling it, is not okay. It demeans women, and is often predatory in nature. Anything less than the strongest possible condemnation of sexual assault and objectification of women is unacceptable. No caveats. No shifting blame or focus. No tolerance.

I hope and pray that you know you deserve much better than this kind of crass talk – that what a guy might say about how you look defines him and not you. I hope your father and I have taught you this. I hope you know that you are so much more than some cad’s opinion of your appearance.

But there are girls who don’t know. They will see the ridiculous memes and hear the careless dismissals of  “locker room talk,” and they will think it’s okay. They will think that they have to accept it or worse that they deserve it. They don’t know that they are worthy of more, so it won’t occur to them to stand up against the sleazy remarks and the inappropriate advances and touches.

My darling girls, stand up for them. Speak up for them. Every chance you get, shut down the objectification.

And what’s more, build up other girls – girls who haven’t had parents and grandparents building them up their whole lives.

Speak up for them. If you hear something say something. Be the voice for all the girls who don’t feel like they have one.

Be someone who helps other young women to find their voice. Give compliments. Offer encouragement. Seek to empower. Don’t compare. Don’t put down. Always raise up.

I don’t believe for a minute that every man participates in this sort of disgusting “guy talk,” but apparently, there really are plenty who do and plenty more people who will try to dismiss it.

This is why women have to build each other up. Be women who do that. By word and example show other young women that all of you deserve to be treated with respect.

Sweet girls, please know that, while there are far too many people out there who aren’t doing the right thing, there are still many, many more who are. The world really is full of decent people. Look for them and help others become them.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t the discouraged. But do be vigilant. Be a voice. And be kind.

My love,

Mama

Photo Credit: David Syzdek

More by Laura Catherine Hanby Hudgens:

High School Senior at Home? Why You Need to Dote on Them

7 Totally Lame Things About Working With Teenagers 

Missing My Babies: 5 Things That Surprise Me Most 

Playdates for Moms: I’ll Mix Cocktails, You Bring Back 2004 

Teenagers: I Want to Remember These Last Times 

 

 

About Laura Hanby Hudgens

Laura Hanby Hudgens is a part-time high school teacher and a freelance writer living with her husband and children in the Arkansas Ozarks. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Grown and Flown, Parent.co and elsewhere. You can learn more about her at Charming Farming, where she occasionally blogs about faith, food, education, and family life.

More by Laura Catherine Hanby Hudgens:
A letter to My Daughters About "Locker Room Talk"

High School Senior at Home? Why You Need to Dote on Them

Missing My Babies: 5 Things That Surprise Me Most 

Playdates for Moms: I'll Mix Cocktails, You Bring Back 2004 

Teenagers: I Want to Remember These Last Times 

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