Don’t Let Boys Be Mean To You

My mother is a huge doormat.

Growing up, she always impressed upon me the importance of forgiveness, whether or not the party in the wrong deserves it–or even wants it. It’s no wonder that she stayed married to the same abusive man (my father) for 17 years until he died or why she was willing to let me suffer the daily torment of bullying until I was on the verge of suicide at age 13.

But that’s our burden as women: having to excuse bad behavior. Because if we don’t, when we speak up against the ones who are doing us wrong, we’re labeled as bitches, or that we’re too sensitive, or that we can’t take a joke, or maybe it’s that time of the month. Either way, our legitimately hurt feelings are just labeled as us being overly emotional, and are dismissed. And that’s wrong.

I had a bunch of guy “friends” in school, most of which thought it was hilarious to tease me and insult me nearly to the point of tears. I took their harassment and belittlement, because I knew if I protested, I would be considered too much of a girl to hang with the big boys. When I was 17, I once asked myself why I hated spending time with my friends. At age 21, I now realize they were never my friends in the first place.

But I’ve realized that no matter what friendships you think you’re losing, you have to stand up for yourself. You can’t just let bad behavior slide because “boys will be boys”. Boys will never develop empathy or compassion until we make them listen to us. So if someone is making you feel upset or comfortable, speak up. If you can see that your friend is being hurt by someone else’s words, don’t just laugh along with their abuser. We’ve been letting boys be mean to us just for the sake of getting them to like us for far too long, and it’s completely unacceptable. ~TRL

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