Teaching young men “Locker Room Talk” is Unacceptable

Huge kudos to the BDN editorial board for today’s brilliant piece highlighting why Donald Trump is a pig

Age and experience have created both softening and a type rigidity within me. There are countless things I’ve come to be more patient with and a handful of things that I see as simply absolute. The latter I present to young men and boys as “just do that/don’t ever do that/allow that in your life”

Some of them are positive and universal:

  • Be patient with old people who are slow moving or who want to tell you rambling stories. Their nostalgia may not interest you, but may you be fortunate enough to live to an age where you feel you have wisdom to share with young people. Shut up. Listen and see if you can learn something. Bill Nye said it best, “Everybody in the world knows something you don’t.”

That’s the feel good version of “just don’t do that.” The private- not feel good version sounds more like this:

  • There are words you must never use. It’s a short list but it includes (God I hate censoring but for the feint of heart…) The “C word” is an absolute, never ever use word. It is only ever a hateful word. Other words you can eliminate from your vocabulary after pondering the innate double standard: slut, whore, and skank .
  • Please know that “Bitch” is best used as an acronym. It stands for Being In Total Control of Herself. No woman is a “bitch” because she tells you where to go and how to get there. Please consider the possibility that she’s right.
  • Objectifying is demeaning. To make reference to a woman by parts of her anatomy is to reject the whole and only value the most superficial aspects of her.
  • To share with other men what your sexual experiences have been and who they’ve been with is childish and completely unworthy of praise or admiration. You are portraying yourself to be more of a man by virtue of what you see as a conquest. In truth, you’re sharing something that ideally would be private and important and turning it into something that is public and cheap. No man has the right to any information you have about a woman’s sexuality.
  • Furthermore, the tale you tell is unlikely to be accurate. I asked her, she said it was disappointing and over way too soon. (Factor that into your next tale)

Here’s the lesson I want to impress upon young men the most: The obvious ideal is to be a good man. There’s so much to that. One can (and should) spend a lifetime improving upon it. Here’s what’s missing in our vernacular – be a safe man. Be a man that a woman can be completely herself with and trust that she will not receive unwanted advances, judgment, or be told that she ought not to be as she is.

Be a man who understands concepts like the glass ceiling and the fears of walking to your car in a dark parking lot. Be a man who objects to jokes that demean women. Be a man who sees any form of sexual assault as completely unacceptable regardless and independent of circumstances.

These are just the basics. Here’s the take away: Insecure men are easily threatened by powerful women (which has everything to do with why men do dumb shit and why I’m a feminist). My success should be evident to anyone who knows my life – my success is largely in that I have surrounded myself personally and professionally with powerful women.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.