Sorta speechless

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Warning: strong language and mature themes ahead.

It’s not often I’m rendered speechless, but it’s happened tonight. And while I usually wait to get home before I blog, I had to stop what I was doing and grab my phone to write this. It’s not even about the library, really, but how times have changed. (Get off my lawn!)

Two related incidents to share: a group of teens – all boys, and whether that has anything to do with it, I don’t know, but I’m just relating this for the record – were making noise in the hallway and generally being loud, so I stepped outside to ask them to quiet down. Not in a stern way, but just in a “Hey, it’s a little loud, could you lower your voices please” kind of way.

What response did I get? A “suck my dick” from one of the boys. Which – okay. I’ve heard worse. And my boss was there, so she called security, and I went back to shelving. (This probably was the same kid who responded in the exact same way when a coworker asked him to quiet down the other day).

Not 20 minutes later, I was taking books to the teen space, and saw two teenage boys walking toward me. One of them had on a shirt reading “It’s not going to suck itself.”

I’ve seen classless t-shirts before, and I’ve heard slurs and swears, and it’s not even the disrespect that gets me, though that could be its own post. Nope, it’s the blatant misogyny, the way to respond to females in power and to broadcast to the world how little respect you have for others. Would the “suck my dick” guy have responded the same way if there had been girls in the group? Not that I can ask them to respect me when they can’t respect themselves, of course. To demonstrate that kind of sexism and overt unnecessary dominance shows their insecurity.

Frankly, if that’s the best statement they can make in a situation, in any situation, to respond with a sexist command and to broadcast sexism in their clothing, it doesn’t deserve a response. So I’m going back to work.

/rant over

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4 responses »

  1. I was sheltering near a store when caught in the rain and saw a guy wearing a shirt that said “Show me your tits”. I wanted to go up to his lady-friend (he and a woman passenger drove up to the store…he went in, she stayed in the car) and tell her she could do better…felt confident of that even w/o knowing her. then he came back out, stood in front of the car, and kept pointing to his shirt and grinning like an idiot. she shook her head “no”….thankfully. but I still was left wondering how such much women put up with and to what extent it fuels objectification and other gender-unfriendliness.

    sadly, I could see way too many teen girls standing (likely silently) with either the group or the duo you encountered

    I hope you don’t have to deal with that group of children (more child-like than most of your clients, I would wager) again.

  2. Sounds like a bulletin board or program in the works?! How liberal is the library? Can you call a program geared to teenagers, “Suck my —–?” And then have a dialogue about sexism, heterosexism, power, men ending rape, etc?

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. And, can I please reiterate just how proud of you I am. I’ve never given enough thought (or credit) to the impact librarians can make but am totally seeing that now.

    Change the world, woman!! I know you can do it!!

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. Thank you both for your thoughtful comments! I wish there were something I could do in the wider arena. Perhaps if I knew the kids – I know a few patrons better than others – I would chat with them individually and try to find some motivation behind those shirts. Unfortunately, though, I can’t imagine that they would have any articulate reason for why they’re so great. In truth, I can’t imagine that anyone would have any articulate reason as to why they’re so great.

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