What will you teach your son?
It was the shock heard ‘round the world.
The social media blitzkrieg was as fast as it was fierce: twenty-year-old Brock Turner, Ivy League student, all-star swimmer, and vicious rapist, was convicted in Santa Clara County Superior Court of three felony counts of sexual assault – and sentenced to a mere six months in prison by a judge who deemed him “not a threat” to society. In the aftershocks that rocked Facebook and temporarily put a halt to bottomless arguments about who should pee where and who to blame if your kid falls into a gorilla exhibit, a heartbreaking letter that the victim read in court to the judge surfaced, as well as a letter from the father of the rapist defending his son. These letters broke our hearts, but for very different reasons. How, I thought, holding my own two-year-old son a little tighter, does a little boy with big blue eyes and a heart of gold grow up to be a violent criminal who forces himself on unconscious women behind dumpsters?
The nature-versus-nurture dilemma is as old as humanity itself, and certainly older than social media. Are there men who are just intrinsically evil? Absolutely. But if there’s one pernicious and odious myth that abounds in certain circles, it’s this: that only sociopaths commit rape, and therefore teaching one’s sons about consent is offensive, dehumanizing, and demoralizing. (You know what’s offensive, dehumanizing, and demoralizing? Rape.)
So how does a man become a monster? To borrow a phrase from South Pacific — you’ve got to be carefully taught.
Teach your son to devalue women
Be sure to teach your son that women are either virgins to be placed on pedestals or whores to be fucked behind them. Teach them that women are good for baby-making and sandwich-making and not much else. Under no circumstances teach your son that women are autonomous individuals with their own hopes, dreams, feelings, needs, and desires. Teach them that men who like sex are studs, but women who like sex are sluts. Teach him that women have a sacred obligation to guard men’s eyes and not distract them or lead them into sin, and that if a woman downs a drink too many or flouts a skirt too short, she probably had it coming.
Better yet, teach him to devalue everybody
It’s easier to raise a rapist if you teach him to dehumanize others who are different from the get-go. If you want to make sure he devalues all women, it can be helpful to make sure he also devalues and distrusts most other races, religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. Don’t forget people with disabilities and people whose opinions differ from his own. “Different = inferior” is the critical lesson to convey here.
Teach him that boys will be boys
Teach your son to be as hypermasculine as possible. Since the dawn of time, men have bludgeoned women over the head and carried them back to their caves to procreate — so why should he be any different? Don’t let your son wear pink, watch My Little Pony, or enjoy artistic pursuits. Mock him if he does. Force football and video games on him. Make it a moral issue and kick up a big fuss about it, so he knows why being a p***y — or worse yet, having one — is unacceptable. Be especially careful to laugh off his more aggressive or undesirable behavior and never demand he take others’ feelings into consideration — after all, “boys will be boys.”
Teach him that he’s entitled
Try to practice ritual self-effacement and put your own needs aside for years on end like a 1950’s housewife. Be sure to teach him that no one else’s needs come before his and that no one else’s feelings have validity. If at all possible to compare him favorably to a sibling at every opportunity, be sure to do it so he feels as superior as possible. Don’t teach him about consent or bodily autonomy; let him snatch things from other children and bully people mercilessly. Don’t make him apologize when he picks on or hurts others, physically or emotionally; it could damage his ego. Try not to dole out any consequences for his actions when he misbehaves — that could give him a healthy sense of perspective or instill in him the idea that other people have inviolable rights.
Teach him that violence is the answer
Let him explore the world around him by pummeling his friends and siblings with minimal intervention from you. Teach him that “real men” resolve arguments with a punch in the face, and to never trust a man who hasn’t been to war or at least in a barfight. Encourage an interest in violent books, movies, music and video games to the exclusion of things that are beautiful and lovely. Extol only war heroes and fighters in his presence and never cite the virtues of figures or principled peacemakers such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. Let him view such figures as weak-willed and pitiable. He needs to understand that it’s okay — and sometimes necessary — to hurt other people in order to get what he wants.
Teach him that be needs instant gratification
When he demands something, give it to him immediately. Always. No questions asked. Teach him that “no” is relative and that with enough persistence, it might become “yes.” If at all possible, raise a spoiled, self-centered little brat with a solipsistic view of the universe.
If you need further assistance in raising a rapist, one need look only to Brock Turner’s dad for more helpful attitudes to impart. So you see — no need to birth a sociopath! If you follow these simple rules, in a brief twenty years, you too can unleash your failed experiment on unsuspecting women everywhere and destroy countless lives in the process.
Donna is a freelance writer, actor, director, sound designer, digital editor, behavioral therapist, and professional dilettante living in northern New York. She enjoys theater, film, psychopathology, gross overconsumption of caffeine, and hanging out with her toddler. You can follow her on Instagram at @shesgotthewritestuff or her author page, Donna Shute, on Facebook.