Kids Motherhood

What I’ll Tell My Sons About “Locker Room Talk”

What I’ll Tell My Sons About “Locker Room Talk” www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Kathy Glow

Sunday night’s Presidential debate started with one simple question that has been on everyone’s mind lately: Are the candidates modeling good behavior? While each tried to defend their behavior in the first debate, that question was quickly followed by one about the salacious tapes that were released Friday of the lewd 2005 conversation between Republican nominee Donald Trump and former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush.

By now, we’ve all heard the taped conversation in which Trump claimed he could kiss, grope, hug, and sleep with any woman he wanted. The conversation included derogatory remarks about women, including a statement about grabbing them in the genitals.

When asked about the conversation, Trump did apologize; but also dismissed the comments as “locker room talk,” simply “locker room talk” he claimed almost half a dozen times.

He then went on to say they were “just words.”

Just words.

I rounded on my almost thirteen-year-old son who was watching the debate with us. “You will never talk about women in a demeaning way.” He opened his mouth to speak as I continued, “You will never disrespect women and say insulting comments about or to them.”

“No, Mom, never. I won’t.”

And in my heart of hearts, I want to believe him.

But I also know that some boys and teenagers talk that way. They have seen and heard those comments being said about women and think it’s normal to speak and act that way. After all, they are “just words.”

I don’t believe there is any such thing as “just a word.”

Words are used to excite, incite, and inspire people. Words can be used to build a person up or tear a person down. Words give people ideas. Words move people to action. Words have emotional meaning attached to them. Good or bad, words mean something.

Words mean something to the girls who are scared to walk through the hallways at school amidst cat calls and derogatory comments. Words mean something to the women who are in abusive relationships. Words mean something to children who are being emotionally abused by the adults they are supposed to trust. And words mean something to the young boys who will take them to heart and act on the things that are being said by their peers and men they look up to.

Locker room talk isn’t “just talk” for the students of color who report that bullying has increased in the face of some of Trump’s political statements. Locker room talk isn’t just talk to young co-eds who are being taken advantage of at campus parties.

Locker room talk implies that saying derogatory things is okay if it’s kept in the locker room. But unfortunately, locker room talk is how some boys learn to treat women. And that is disturbing.

Long after the debate, as I cuddled with my sweet eleven-year-old son, I told him that some things were said by Mr. Trump but dismissed as “just words.” My son is very impressionable, and I can see him taking to heart the words of others someday.

“Guys you look up to are going to say insulting things about girls and women. Are you going to know what is right and what is not? Do you know the right way to treat girls and all people?” I asked him.

“Yes, Mom, I do,” he insisted.

But I don’t know if he will. And that scares me.

I do know that he is being raised by a man who is good and kind. He stood high among all the other young men I dated because he was a gentleman who treated me with respect. He models that respect for our boys by never mistreating me or allowing them to mistreat me.

Some will say that words only have meaning if you let them, but I think that’s a lie. I think it’s something that people say to excuse the other things they say.

I will teach my boys that everything they say means something. Everything they say illustrates their character and reveals their hearts. I will show my boys how to strengthen their character and how to have goodness in their hearts so that they will never have to worry about the things they say.

The things they say will be more than “just talk.” They will reflect love and respect, honesty and kindness, and acceptance and understanding.

Because words are just that powerful.

In or out of a locker room.

About the author

Kathy Glow

Kathy Glow is a wife and mom to four lively boys and one beautiful angel in Heaven, lost to cancer. Most days you can find her under a pile of laundry ordering take-out. When she is not driving all over town in her mini-van or wiping “boy stuff” off the walls, she is writing about what life is REALLY like after all your dreams come true. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Good Housekeeping, and Mamalode; but Her View From Home is her favorite place to be. Her blog is at www.lifewiththefrog.com. You can follow her on Facebook at Kissing the Frog.

4 Comments

  • I’m glad you’re teaching your sons to be that way towards women and girls. Too many times they are taught that when boys are together in a locker room or anywhere else for that matter it’s okay and normal to talk like that about females. It leads them to think that if they should wish to act upon their thoughts and feelings about women being only for their enjoyment, that most men won’t do anything to stop them. That’s where sexual predators are born and raised and allowing Trump to get away with saying it was just locker room talk is setting women all across this country up for a great fall. This will embolden some men to become even more sexually abusive with women and girls. After all why would an entire country forgive him for it and not them too? It’s time to start a campaign holding candidates and elected leaders to a moral high standard instead of giving them a pass or saying they’re just human like the rest of us. They are asking to run our country and represent us, not themselves. It matters to me what the rest of the world thinks of all of us and how we hold them responsible tells the rest of the world what sort of self worth we have of ourselves too. I for one don’t give them a pass and don’t intend to look the other way.

    • “A moral high standard . . .” YES! Yes, they are human, but yes, they are asking to represent us. Thanks for your comment.