Yesterday I witnessed what may have been the most unnerving my family has ever managed.
It started as two years old girl hit a two years old boy in the head with a toy, to which her mom said “hey, don’t hurt your boyfriend!”. Now, I don’t need to go on about the creepy habit parents have to pair up their toddlers in romantic promise, teaching from a very young age the exact roles they’ll need to take on in their future lives (and then claiming such roles are a very natural thing that everybody carries from the moment they were born, as if no one ever encouraged it). This is, unfortunatetly, very common.
What followed, though, broke all levels of acceptable creepiness: his mom joined in on the joke, asking the boy to turn to the little girl and say “gostosa!” – which I don’t know how to translate, specifically, but it’s a very common (and very sexual) way of hitting on/harassing women around here. The boy refused to say it, and then the mom went on saying he was probably just shy at the environment, because his father taught him that word and he said it at home all the time.
She said that while laughing.
They were making their kid an asshole who took women for sexual objects – if not anything worse – and treating that as an spectacular show of his worth. And absolutely no one among the forty people crowd seemed to think there was anything wrong with that except for me.
Not that I did anything about it besides listening in shock – I’ve long learned not to battle this kind of thought coming from my family. It seems to be the only place in my life where I don’t make sense – and they don’t even take me seriously when I try. Some are better, some are worse, but generally, they would all agree it was just a harmless joke taught to a harmless two-year old.
There should be a way, though. So I ask:
Have you ever witnessed anything similar? Would you try to educate the adults involved? Would you try to reach out to the children involved?
How can we even start to make up for a generation that gets tangled in such prejudices from the start, without even being given a chance? How can we get to those brain-washed kids? Is it ever enough to make a difference?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question (or many) posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, at 3pm ET.