Whenever I venture outside, especially during the summer, I expect to hear objectifying comments from a few directions before I reach my destination. Sad, but nonetheless true. I don't like it but I generally shake it off, except one of those I heard today. It wasn't what was said but who it came from.
A young child , probably not more than eight (my own son is this age), was yelling comments at me like “D***, you're hot”, “Hey lady, come here”, and the obligatory whistle. Wow, really? Where did he pick that up from? He had to have heard it somewhere.
I don't want to immediately judge and say it came from the parents because it may not have. Perhaps he saw someone else do it. I don't know where this kid got the lesson on objectifying women in that way, but wow is that dangerous or what? It's also not the way a young child should be looking at a woman or even a girl (or boy).
First off, it's simply a disrespectful act and if he is already doing it this young, it could become a habit. But what terrified me more is that this kid could do that to the wrong person – a pedophile . And where were the parents? You tell me. Him and presumably his siblings or friends were outside an apartment building in a group with no adults around at all.
I did what should be done in response to that kind of behavior – and because adults shouldn't be speaking too much to kids they don't know. I ignored it. But not everyone would respond in that way.
I have no idea of where this little boy may have learned this behavior. However, it did prompt me to warn parents to watch what their kids are exposed to. Parents, please supervise your kids – and please don't teach them to objectify people. Teach them to respect them instead.
*I originally published this elsewhere (no longer published there).