How many times have you heard someone (including many dating and relationship experts) say a variation of: “To find a good man, look for someone who is good to his mother?”

Unfortunately, just because a man loves and respects his mother does not mean that he won’t disrespect or violate you. Too many men view their mother as the exception to the rule of seeing women as objects to be used, enjoyed and discarded. Many have also been taught that only “good girls” (for which his mother is often the model) are worthy of respect and protection; all others are bitches and hoes who deserve to be used and discarded. Others have been taught—by their mothers—that no woman is good enough for them, and therefore none are worthy of respect.

Practically all boys and men are taught to disrespect girls and women, by other family members (including our parents), music (and not just hip-hop), movies and television, and even from the pulpit. For example, when male pastors preach celibacy and purity, the message is primarily aimed at girls and women, not boys and men, for whom such virtues are seen as unnatural, at best.

We must go beyond teaching our sons to love and respect their mothers, to teaching boys to respect and protect all girls and women, not as objects to be possessed, controlled, and exploited, but as fellow human beings.

This includes recognizing and honoring girls’ and women’s sovereignty over their own bodies. Most boys (including me by the time I was 12) are taught that we are “hunters”, and that girls/women are meant to be conquered and captured, by any means necessary—and that our manhood depends on it. This must change.

Until we teach our boys (not just our girls) healthier gender-role models and sexual responsibility, girls and women will continue to fall prey to mistreatment by boys and men.

A Grown man knows that all women are deserving of protection and respect—not just his mother, or “good girls”—because they are human beings, not objects to be hunted, acquired, controlled, used and discarded, until “the right one” comes along. The Grown Zone standard is not how a man treats his mother, but how he treats all people.

 

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