The Trouble with “Stealing Kisses”

Link to "No, It's Not OK to 'Steal Kisses' -- Here's Why"
Link to “No, It’s Not OK to ‘Steal Kisses’ — Here’s Why”

Soraya Chemaly writes*:

‘The boy kissed his classmate on the hand. He’d previously been disciplined for kissing her on the cheek and “rough housing” too… roughly. After this last incident, the school suspended him. He is endearing and he’s 6 and as so many are fond of pointing out “boys will be boys.” But, the girl he kissed without permission is also probably endearing, also 6 and not interested in his touching her. The hard and unpleasant part, for many, is the idea that her right not to be involved in his working through learning self-control is legitimate.

What really seems to be bothering so very many people is the use of the term “sexual harassment,” which is what the boy was suspended for. What if the headlines had said, instead, “Six-year-old boy suspended for bullying?”  Sexual harassment is bullying. County education officials have decided that the infraction will not be classified as sexual harassment and the boy is returning to school. What news commentators, the mother of the boy and many others debating the 6-year-olds’ classroom interaction seem fixated on was this: “Now someone has to explain the term sex to the boy, it’s just too early.” Just… really?

We’re talking to kids about sex all day, every day, without ever saying the word. We do it when grandmothers insist on a kiss and parents make children comply. We do it when we tell girls to “be nice” and “good” when they don’t want to. We do it when we tell boys to take what they want from life. We do it when we tell them that God wants them to be “strong.” We do it when we watch football games with kids on TV and spend half the game talking about players’ girl friends in the stands like they’re trophies. We do it when school administrators police clothing and use girl’s bodies as props to demonstrate violations of dress codes and reinforce heterosexual norms. We do it when we don’t allow children to pick their own clothes and chose their own hairstyles. We do it when we think it’s funny to let kids “tease” each other, even though the person being teased isn’t interested. We do it when an uncle grabs a nephew and tickles him, even though he hates it and tries to get away. Never. Ever. Saying. “SEX!”‘

*Full article linked above

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