Have You Discussed Sexism and Objectification with Your Teen?
A Newport Beach, California high school is under fire this week after news emerged that junior and senior male students are running an NFL-like "prom draft," which ranks female students and has allowed boys to pay as much as $140 for a first-round pick, according to officials. Corona del Mar High School principal Kathy Scott sent an email to parents after she caught wind of the "bracket" for the June 7 prom.
Meanwhile, The Daily Pilot interviewed students who made it seem like the intent of the draft is to prevent infighting and controversy that usually comes with who asks whom to prom, and it's apparently about "camaraderie, a fun thing to do with the guys." Yep. What a shame that these male students believe it's okay to bond by objectifying their female peers ... Equally as skin-crawling: “A lot of the girls respect the draft and stick with those dates,” one student said.
Adding insult to injury, Scott said, "I am sure that the intention of this ‘draft’ is not to be harmful, but it may be." What?!
As easy as it is to put this all on the students' shoulders, there's clearly a lack of discussion at home that led to all of this. This eye-rollingly clueless incident at Corona del Mar is a sign that conversations about respect and sexism need to be happening between parents and their teens -- not just in Newport Beach, but everywhere.
Parents need to be sitting their daughters down and telling them that this sort of behavior is not to be tolerated from guys. And it's certainly not cute or romantic or endearing to be demeaned and reduced to a "draft pick" (or piece of meat, you know, however you want to see it).
They need to be telling their sons that girls aren't prizes to be won, to be bought and sold like stocks or commodities. They can put whatever sweet, mushy label on something like this that they want. Call it camaraderie 'til the cows come home, or a way to head off jealousy or drama down the line, but ultimately, it's just plain twisted and not to be tolerated.
In the meantime, Corona del Mar High School doesn't seem to be taking any sort of disciplinary action against students involved in the draft, but Principal Scott is urging parents to speak with their children and "discuss the seriousness of this type of activity." Well, that's at least a place to start!
Have you discussed sexism and objectification with your teen? How?