To young women living in a man’s world


[Fwiw, on my former blog--before I moved my blog here to Patheos--this post did some 6k shares.]

If you’re a teenage girl, don’t you think it’s great when a middle-aged guy like me whom you don’t even know starts giving you advice about life? Isn’t it just the best when that happens?

Do you know why we men are always giving out advice like we’re the Oracle of Mt. Potbelly? Because we think we know everything. And do you know why men think they know everything? Because men are entitled and spoiled.

And the reason that’s true is because this, still, is a man’s world.

Back when a small contained fire was the height of luxury, and dressing up meant wearing your animal skin fur side out, men went out into the big dangerous world, killed dinner (usually in coordination with other men–which probably explains football, but that’s really another story), and brought it home to their women-folk, whose primary, most fundamental job was to have babies.

I know you know this. We all know things used to be real … barbaric like that. And, survival-wise, that whole system made sense: men are better at running around killing things; women are better at having babies.

But men being stronger and faster than women also meant that men could beat women up.

The whole world we know today–all of civilization that sprang in its infinite forms from the days when men killed for food and women needed to be protected and fed for months on end so that they could safely give birth to the next generation–is built upon the fact, and wholly reflects the reality, that, generally speaking (and less and less often every day, thank God) men can beat women up.

Men have a grossly disproportionate amount of power in this world. And the core reason this is true is because men are generally bigger, stronger, and faster than women.

Men aren’t smarter than women; men aren’t more resourceful than women; men aren’t more insightful than women. But they are—and certainly used to be—bigger and stronger than women.

Which means they can beat women up.

And that fact, more than any other, has defined the history and culture of the world.

If you’re born a man, you were born extremely privileged. And whenever you’re born into a privileged class, it’s easy enough to wind up thinking that you personally are the bomb. That you’re special. That you’re gifted. That you somehow deserve all the power you enjoy.

That you know things. That you’re wise.

And that is why men tend to pontificate and lecture and grandly dispense advice like Solomon the Tries. They think the world needs and wants all the hot air they blow into it.

So what does it mean to you, young woman, to live in a world still basically owned and operated by men?

First and foremost, it means that you need to be smart. A great deal, everywhere around you and all the time, will conspire to keep you convinced that you’re not smart — that what should be most important to you is being pretty, cute, sexy, perky, and all that other sort of hyper-feminine stuff that’s supposed to make men want to protect and impregnate you.

Don’t you buy into any of that. Let other women assume the role of docile second-class citizen if for some sad reason they think that will work for them. Insist on something better for yourself.

Be smart. Be alert. Don’t buy into the hype.

Pay attention to all the ways in which society (and your family, and your friends, and your boyfriends, and your teachers, and your boss, and the media, and on and on and on) signals to you that you don’t deserve what men take for granted, that you’re not good enough, that you aren’t worth as much. Smack that crap back where it came from every time someone tries to serve it to you. Don’t take it. Don’t accept the message that being a woman makes you inferior when that message is delivered to you from any large institution — like, say, via Christianity. God doesn’t want women submitting to, or being subservient to, anyone; that’s just men trying to hang onto the power they’ve always had. And don’t take it when it’s delivered to you in a personal, private way—like, say, through a would-be boyfriend or husband.

Whack that nonsense back, every time. Don’t give in an inch. If someone, in any way, tries to put you down, call them on it. Make them own that mess. And if you doing that alienates them from you, wave good-bye to ‘em. Life’s too short to spend time with anyone who ever tries to diminish you, however subtly they might do it. (And people always deliver the “You’re a loser” message so subtly you barely feel that knife slipping in. So remain alert to even, shall we say, the slightest prick.)

Let any potential mate of yours know that coming anywhere near you means changing the rules they’re probably used to. This isn’t 10,000 B.C. It’s not even 1955. Donna Reed is dead. Nobody’s out hunting woolly mammoths for dinner; women don’t have to depend anymore on a big strong man to feed and protect them.

We’re finally in a time where what really does matter, what really does run the world, is brains, character, and nerve. As the news shows us every day, men still have much more power in this world than, God knows, they should. But that’s rapidly changing. And, most importantly, things will never go back to the way things used to be.

We really are in a new time; this really is a new world. And in this world, women get to be whomever and however they want.

In your life, young woman, a lot of men who beneath their chest-pounding bravado are weak or scared will try to keep you down. Remember to always, always, always step over such men; to go around them; to ignore them; to outwork their retro-asses. Such men are part of the old. Their ideas about who you are or should be no more belong in your heart and mind than a hand grenade belongs in a child’s backpack.

This, finally—now, today—is your world.

And don’t you ever let anyone tell you differently.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • Tammy Lubbers

    You’re hardly being an “Oracle of Mt. Potbelly”. Thank you, John, for some very useful advice!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I originally had Mt. Anythingthatmoves, but … no.

      • Tammy Lubbers

        Hahaha! NAUGHTY!

  • http://www.ninotchkabeavers.com Ninotchka

    This AMAZING, John. Thank you. Can’t wait to share it with my teenage daughter and my fellow moms to share with *their* daughters. Awesome.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Great. Lovely. Thanks.

  • Denise

    One word. Awesome! Just shared this.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thanks, Denise.

  • http://noisycolorfullively.wordpress.com Monica

    I’ve housed 13 children in less than two years and if it wasn’t direct domestic violence that had the children removed from their families (a surprising percentage), it was a mother who never got this message. She sold herself for a living, or she didn’t believe she was strong enough make it alone so she chose drugs, or gave up completely.

    Thank you for this message. Because when a woman does not believe she has a right to be strong in this world, when she settles for being powerless, she’s not the only one who suffers.

    Sometimes I get to work in relationship with these mothers, and I plan to have this message on hand.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Wonderful. Thank you.

  • Denise

    P.S. I wish you had a print option for this. I’d like to pass it out to my students!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Can’t you just cut and past it into a word doc?

  • http://www.crackingconfidence.co.uk Dan O’Neil

    Presumably you won’t forget the legacy that this historic behaviour and bullying has left on the nice men of the world. We sit in fear of become this monster you describe – it’s created a generation of weak men. Not physically weak, but emotionally and spiritually weak. Living in fear of anything affects who you are and your ability to be the person you want to be.

    Men need to learn that their physical strength is useful – not to control, dominate or create fear, but as a gentle force. Women want men to be strong, capable and stable, but yet flexible too – it’s quite a thing for us to live up to, especially if we spend most of our time worrying about being taken as a monster.

    • Robyn

      Dan, you’re absolutely correct. Not all men are monsters or predators. Still, according to the latest figures, something like 50% of all girls born today will be raped or sexually assaulted by the time they are 18. Even worse, it will be considered THEIR OWN FAULT, simply because men can’t or won’t control their own behavior.

      My daughter was one of the unlucky statistics–twice. Both times was by men she trusted.

      THAT’S why we sometimes have a bad attitude towards men. It’s a simple matter of self-defense, based on experience and observation.

      I can tell that YOU, Dan, are NOT one of the predators, for which I thank and bless you.

      Robyn

  • Sara

    Where was this advice when *I* was a teenager! I didn’t come into this realization til I was in my 40′s (YEA for the 40′s!) . You bet I’m going to copy/paste this and share it with all three of my granddaughters, and others too!

    Thank you for a wonderful post John!

  • http://dressmytruth.blogspot.com Jeanine Byers Hoag

    LOVED this entire post! But this sentence was my favorite…

    “So remain alert to even, shall we say, the slightest prick.”

    Jeanine

  • http://benhusmann.com Ben

    BOOM! Love it.

  • http://teenparentcafe.wordpress.com/ Kim Stephens

    John, this is wonderful. I am sharing with my daughter (and FB) immediately! I don’t want her to take one more breath before reading this post. She just turned 18 last weekend, so it’s very timely indeed. Thank you…

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ sdgalloway

    My Facebook account just made a mention on this piece. I keep wondering where the hell you were 25 years ago when I needed this type of advice. Thankfully none of us are too old to learn.

  • Holly

    You have some timing there, John.

    =)

    You have pretty much articulated what my heart has been feeling lately… No, really. As in, the past couple of weeks.

    Like whoa.

    So nice to see it in such awesome terms.

    *high five!*

  • Suz

    How is it that you consistently manage to plow straight through the politics, the emotions and the bullshit, and get right to the heart of the matter? This really is the bottom line, because everything else is conditional. You have an extraordinary brand of genius, and I thank you for using it to do good. Your understanding of human nature could be very dangerous in the wrong hands.

    Bravo! (as usual…)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I really appreciate these extremely kind words, Suz. Thank you.

      • http://teenparentcafe.wordpress.com/ Kim Stephens

        Told ya… :)

  • Kristen

    Words I needed to hear. It’s like the advice I have not really heard from any male figure at any point in my life. They are things I have had in my mind as important to remember and live by, but it’s a whole different thing hearing it from someone else..it becomes more solidified. Thank you.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      You’re certainly welcomed, Kristen.

  • Mindy

    :::::catching my breath:::::

    Wow. As others have said, where-oh-where were you when I was 16? I am copying this to my FB page and to both of my daughters.

    John. I am in your debt. This is brilliant.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Well, bless your heart; that’s so kind of you. And I’m very gratified that you’re showing it to your daughters. Best to them.

  • Amy

    Just this past Sunday I had this discussion with my 8 year old daughter. I introduced her to the songs “Just a Girl” by No Doubt and “Stupid Girl” by Garbage. We had a good talk :)

  • Don Whitt

    “That you deserve all the power you enjoy.” Unabridged.

  • Mark Lattimore

    John, we have agreed and disagreed in the past but you knocked this one out of the park! My nearly teenage daughter and I are having this ongoing conversation now. She is beginning to realize that boys are basically stupid. “Remember to always, always, always step over such men; to go around them; to ignore them; to outwork their retro-asses.” Great advice. Thanks for writing this.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thank you!

  • cat rennolds

    And remember, ladies, men are physically more powerful because that’s who women select for mates, being as they can bring us more food, protect us more effectively, and even carry us when we are whale-sized with pregnancy and cannot run away from lions.

    We outnumber them and outlive them. We train them when they are young. And we cause their brains to completely cease to function during our peak reproductive phase. So why have we let them convince us we are the inferior sex?

    They didn’t. WE did. Mother to daughter to sister for centuries. Be nice, be quiet, be sweet, and be obedient. Make him think you think he’s All That, or he will go find someone more pleasant, and you can try to catch your own food when you can’t even bend over to pick up that root. Oh sure, that sweet wimpy guy over there will help you in peace time, but fat lot of good that does when the Vikings come a’raidin’. Smile and nod, honey, smile and nod.

    • Don Rappe

      Very astute. As the Bible says: “In His own image, male and female, made he them.”

      • Don Rappe

        Damn those Vikings, little Norwegian guys about 4′ 11” tall, full of herring and berzerking like beJesus. Had a preference for blondes, I think.

        • cat rennolds

          you’d go berserk too if you were stuck inside all winter eating herring. I don’t grok the Biblical quote in this context though. too many things you could be saying.

          • Amy

            I can sum that up in two words. Mead hangovers. Well, that and lutefisk.

          • Donald Rappe

            Interesting to me that after about 6 months I can no longer figure out my own comments. I suppose I was thinking it takes 2 genders to make a species. Who could know?

  • Alex

    Great post! I love it. My father also made sure I knew how to keep the world from knocking me down. One small correction though. In Ye Olde Cave Dwelling Times, the men would go out for days, even weeks, looking for game while the women did EVERYTHING ELSE . That includes gathering food and most likely fending off predators. Most archeologists agree that most of what people ate in those days was gathered by the women, who looked after each other and the children while the young men were away and the old men snoozed by the fire, and that the meat was an important but not main part of the diet. Just sayin’.

    Hasn’t changed too much since then, really.;)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      What you say here about everything prehistoric women had to do is precisely why I used the word “primary” just where I did, relative to defining their roles.

      • Alex

        Mr. Shore, what I was referring to was this bit here..”all of civilization that sprang in its infinite forms from the days when men killed for food, and women needed to be protected and fed for months on end so that they could safely give birth to the next generation.”

        Any woman who’s been pregnant (and was young and/or fit at the time) will tell you that this doesn’t render us helpless and that we would be able to feed and protect ourselves adequately (and each other). I worked at a strenuous job right up until the day before my twins were born, and I was nowhere near as fit and healthy as women in pre-history would have been. While there’s no evidence of the popular myth that early societies were matriarchal, there’s also no evidence of your statements either. I’m NOT saying you were being insulting, don’t take it that way, but I’d say instead that all of modern civilization sprang from when we stopped being nomads, settled down to farm, and men decided they owned whatever they could claim, including other people. Throw in the development of Judaism and then Christianity and then Islam, of which many leaders in these religions have maintained that women are weak and evil, and I suspect you’ve got yourself the starting point of when women began to lose any power and standing in society. It’s waxed and waned since then, hitting a real low point in the 1950′s that we’re still recovering from. Merely supplying the woman’s POV on this since you seem genuinely interested, for which I have infinite respect for you.

    • Don Rappe

      Very good point. They are often now called gatherer hunters because gathering is essential and hunting is a luxury. Men seem to have been kept around primarily for reproductive purposes and otherwise a luxury. Except for defense. Men developed an articulated shoulder which is inferior for toting tots, but excellent for flinging rocks at lions. All other evolutionary details that distinguish homo sapiens from the other large primates are changes in the female. Being able to hurl a projectile with accuracy at speeds near 100 mph.leads to a form of attack otherwise known only to eagles. The fondness for stones seems to have led to other forms of stone tools. Protection from lions may have allowed women to slow down, stand up and stretch. Oh oh! I’m starting to get aroused!

  • http://annajoy5.blogspot.com Anna Joy

    John

    My first reservation while reading this was the first thing you addressed. Men tell us too much stuff. They think they know what it’s like to be women. They don’t. Not to get all feminist on you there….

    But thank you. Thank you for being a Christian man who realizes the bullshit; That also knows there IS no man behind the curtain. Or, if there is, he’s a dipshit.

    Some feminists would chafe at the idea of a man giving women the “permission” to reject all those lies, but you know what? Sometimes, we need it. Because every piece of media, and christian culture, and snippet of written history is male dominated. Sometimes, a man verbally conceding some power to young women/women in general who have to work through so much bullshit to get to the truth is a blessing to see. We’re not there yet, culture needs to change big time. But this is a really encouraging start.

    So yeah. Thanks! By the way, I totally stole your the premise of I’m OK–You’re Not in one of my blog posts a couple days ago! lol.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thank you for this, Anna.

  • Rebecca

    Right on target, as usual. Thank you, John. I wish I’d had this essay back when I was teaching junior high; my girls could have used it.

  • http://n/a Douglas Johnson

    Since I now have two very young daughters of my own, essays like this tend to hit me at a much deeper level than they used to.

  • DrBobbi

    Thank you for this. Bravo. Well done.

    Now will you please write one for boys, about how respecting girls and women and refusing to buy into the superiority BS will give them fuller lives, too? Because it’s important to empower young women (or remind them of the power that is their birthright that the world WILL try to snatch from them), but I get a little weary of females being told that the work of feminism is up to us. Rape prevention, for example: nearly always aimed at women: don’t dress too provocatively, don’t walk there alone after dark, don’t drink too much or leave your drink unattended, etc. All reasonably good advice but not nearly as important as making sure males understand that it is NEVER acceptable to use force or coercion to get sex, and no woman ever owes them anything. Sheesh.

  • Cricket

    I love this. I really do. But I am afraid. As the mother of three boys, I am afraid of the message coming across in so many mediums that says that “Boys Stink” (Yes, I’ve seen it, on a t-shirt). I’ve seen a lot of boy-bashing, and it’s being embraced. And I don’t like that, either.

    My sons are 14, 11, and 9, and they are some of the wisest, sweetest, most open-minded, understanding, respectful, and compassionate human beings I’ve ever met… male or female.

    I’m all for empowering girls. I wish girl-power was a theme while I was growing up; Lord knows with a Narcissistic/Borderline mother and alcoholic father, I could have used it. But please, do not let it be at the expense of our boys.

    I fully expect that my boys will grow up to continue treating their female classmates, coworkers, parters, and family members with the same love and respect that they are showing even at this young age. Please be careful to not counter that with “female-ism”.

    I leave you with this cute story: Six years ago, our house exterior needed painting. My husband works more than the required 40 hours per week, so I took this chore on myself. With three boys in tow, ages 8, 5, and 3, I made the big trip to the local home improvement warehouse store. The (male) clerk checking us out took a look at our goods and remarked, “Looks like Dad will be painting this weekend!” To which my incredulous eight-year old son replied indignantly, “Uh, NO! MOM is painting the house!”

    Young PEOPLE, finally, THIS is your world. Let’s not break certain sterotypes just to form others.

    God Bless You :-)

    Proud mom of BOYS.

    • Suzanne

      As the mother of a son AND a daughter, let me applaud both of you. Yes, our daughters need to claim their power, but so do our sons. In many ways, I’ve found my son more constrained by gender stereotypes than my daughter in a society that’s increasingly ready to embrace female doctors and priests (I’m one of the latter), but really struggles with male nurses, ballet dancers, and stay-at-home fathers. I long for the day when we finally learn to celebrate all our wondrous variety, male and female, and finally live into the words of Genesis: “in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.”

      Suzanne

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I should write a similar post for young men.

      • Debb

        Please do. I have four children – one daughter and three sons – and while I totally agree with telling girls not to take the ish given to them, I also know that a lot of girls take these ideas and twist them into thinking they need to put boys in their place. Gender politics is a very hot-button issue and not something that is going to find equality easily. I remember my oldest son when he was 4, being with me while a sibling was in emergency and suddenly turning to me with the most beatific face, exclaiming excitedly “Boys can be doctors too?!” I laughed… and then I cried. We have spent so much of our time highlighting the ability and successes of females, but have done little to support and encourage the gifts/abilities of boys. I think it’s time a new path was taken.

    • DR

      Love this, so important. There are so many wonderful boys out there. Thank you for this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elissa.marcelle Elissa Marcelle

    an excellent post!!! This great for any person, but I’m a 19 year old transsexual woman and this something that I’ve been trying to learn since beginning transition. It’s challenging for we of the trans persuasion because we are raised with the gendered rules of one side and then have to unlearn a lot to be able to find our true selves. The youth are the future, and this has never been a truer statement. It’s incredibly important that we make this world the best place possible for future generations so that they can reach their full potential.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Lovely. Thank you, Elissa.

  • Joanne

    I want to weep, this is so perfect. Although I also have a son and I think that something could be said to boys about not letting the jerks get you down. Everyone needs to be the best version of themselves that they can be. The best thing is near the end when you tell young women to go AROUND such men and you do not tell them to go THROUGH them. Going through takes up valuable energy, you’re never going to win the verbal war with these guys, so just side step them.

  • Rob B

    John.. as a man who has raised a daughter to be all she can… and not with the whole “despite men” thing…

    I cannot believe you have posted this …

    Men have not been the recipients of any more ‘privilege’ than anyone else… we have been chastised to make war, make peace after said war, provide, be strong, never fail, never lose, be bigger, stronger, and more powerful… Yet we still have the cross to bear of just being who we are…

    Seems as if we men are blamed for every evil in the world…

    We seem to forget that Eve was the first sinner…

    Yet we are still held in the bondage of Adam’s sin…

    Nothing has ever changed…

    You are not helping it to….

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Strain yourself to imagine, Rob, that, yes, I have posted this.

      • delta

        Thank you for posting this. I am heartened to read that a man does understand what young girls through old ladys go through. Thank You.

    • DR

      Rob,

      As a woman in the workplace who works on an executive level for the last 15 years, I can assure you that you are wrong. But me saying that won’t matter because as a man who is operating unconsciously within the privilege that you have as a male? You don’t have to even choose to read this and believe me, to be willing to even see it or adjust your belief at all. You can simply revert to the (rather petulant), “I’m at fault for everything” sweeping conclusion that in reality, is a choice you make to not have to face the discomfort that something like this brings to your table.

      But don’t worry. I’ve hired a lot of women like your daughter. I can teach her how to love men – respect men – and also understand how to navigate within the male privilege that dominates corporate America.

      • Diana A.

        Thank you, DR.

      • Janey

        DR, I’m with you. Men don’t even see it the privilege that surrounds them, the unspoken expectations, the invisible doors that are opened only to them.

        Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen many Christian business organizations advertised in my large U.S. city.

        Three times, I’ve signed up. I’ve never gotten a phone call. It’s clear they don’t want women. One time I called them and was told I would have to drive 40 miles to the only group that would be open to a women. Amazing. And just for the record, I am a leading executive in my industry and control millions of dollars.

        I find it offensive that Christian men treat Christian women like this. Are Christian men so weak and pathetic, and Christian women so alluring and diabolical that our mere presence in a group causes men to sin? Should I wear a burka? (I’m middle aged, so I guess I should be flattered.)

        For the past 10 years, I have been regular part of several secular business associations. Those men have been more wonderful, helpful, generous, loving, and supportive than my Christian brothers. (And no, none of us have ever had an affair.)

        I can see that the Lord wants me in secular business organizations. I am able to make contact with people who would never darken the door of my church: a wide variety of atheist, Buddhist, and gay entrepreneurs.

        I’m posting this anonymously because I would never want to admit publicly that I feel this way. It would hurt my career. So on the outside, I’ll just act as though I don’t notice the slights.

        • DR

          Janey I think this dynamic exists outside of Christian circles but it’s certainly influenced by it. And traditional Christian theology certainly can fuel the misogyny and sexism that’s still quite rampant in our culture.

          I couldn’t agree more with the ridiculous assertion that I’m somehow responsible for men sinning because I have big breasts and don’t wear a baggy sweatshirt. I understand the spirit of that but my body is amazing (the female body in general, though mine isn’t bad!) and I’m not going to be ashamed of it because men are somehow aroused in ways their brains can’t control. That’s their brain’s fault, not mine.

          Go for the secular companies. They are lovely people and while privilege in al its forms exists everywhere, there’s a different kind of awareness and accountability outside of Christianity. As a matter of fact, Christian theology will often just rationalize it, even make it part of the formal way of doing business. Creepy.

          • Janey

            Thanks, DR.

            I couldn’t agree more. I’ve solved the problem by owning my own company, which has been quite successful over the decades. Entrepreneurship is probably a good solution for women with strong business skills.

            –Janey

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Best exchange ever.

    • mike moore

      Rob,

      “Men have not been the recipients of any more ‘privilege’ than anyone else.” REALLY, DUDE?!

      The problem with responding to the complete and utter dumbfuckery of your comment is deciding which parts of thousands of years of global history, patriarchal civilizations, and religions to throw back in your face.

      So let’s go with an easy question: do you live in alternate universe or are you just smoking some bad weed?

      (Oh, and when your daughter asks why, in America in 2012, she makes $.77 for every dollar her male counterparts earn, be sure to be explain how it has nothing to do with male privilege. Instead, just blame it on Eve.)

      • Jill

        Oh, there are not words enough to describe my delight in finding this reply now. I will be living off the glow of this one for a while. Mr. Moore, I salute you.

        • Jill

          One year, one hour, and one minute later, apparently. Sheesh.

  • http://wanderingwit.blogspot.com Candice

    Fucking brilliant.

  • Georgiana

    Yes, thank you for writing this. I have posted it on FB for my nieces. I hope they take this to heart and NEVER EVER EVER put up with any man treating them as less than they are – beautiful, intelligent, and capable young women. Because men will try. (Maybe not all, but a lot will… Believe me, I know.)

  • http://twitter.com/#!/poppajohnz Poppajohnz

    This is wonderful – I wish I’d had this when my own step-daughter was growing up. Thankfully she is smart enough to have figured it out on her own but John, please, write one for the boys too. We sure do need it.

    • Kate

      Yes, I will share this with my 12- and 14-year old sons. As an intelligent, independent single mum, I am able to model much of this for them. The problem is that they also live half-time with their father, who is a 21st century cave man, using money and power and position to try to bully his current wife and me into the places he believes we belong. My sons are amazing young men, and I am trying to teach them all they will need to know so that they can change the world for the better. But how do we inspire our sons to be the sort of men who will treat women as equals when the role models they have are not so enlightened?

  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.brucato Satyros Phil Brucato via Facebook

    Shared. Well-said. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Purr.Neigh Beth Glover via Facebook

    i’m going to share this with my daughters too, and thank you very much for this prescient piece.

  • Valerie

    Hear hear!!

  • Leslie

    Thank you for this. I’ve felt frustrated from time to time in the world we live, but have never been able to express that in any real way. No one wants to be — as Rush Limbaugh put it — a “feminazi.” :) But, you seem to “get it” better than I ever had. Not just what it feels like to be a woman in a male-dominated world, but also what it feels like to be any less favored (non-straight, white, Christian male) group. Kudos for that. I really admire your compassion, humor, wisdom, and humility. I, too, am excited about our evolving cultural and gender mores. Even in my 26 years, I’ve seen so much evolution toward a more tolerant, equitable society. There’s never been a better time to be alive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anne-Kinney/1584673840 Anne Kinney via Facebook

    Love it, love it, love it.

  • Nancy Johnson via Facebook

    Great post, Mr. Potbelly! ;^)

  • Summer

    I am sharing this with my 6 year old, and will pull this out for years to come. Thank you John!

  • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.parsneau Michelle Parsneau via Facebook

    Wonderful! Thank you, Mr. Shore!

  • Bmac

    Thanks John. I look forward to better world for my daughter and I’m so glad that there are men out there like you (and my husband) who refuse to stand with the sexist Neanderthals. Keep up the good work!

  • Gemmie McFiddle via Facebook

    Yay !!

  • Numa

    This made me cry…

    I’m a 15 year old teenage girl and I wish more of us could understand this, because it would help so many of us.

    I love it! :)

    • Jill H

      Numa, I LOVE that you found this and commented on it! I’m very glad to meet you, and thank you for helping me to find this beautiful post as well. Hugs to you, Jill

  • HappyCat

    I would’ve added the advice of getting as strong as you can. A women in good physical shape is stronger than most people expect. Self-defense should take the place of PE in middle-school and high school.


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