Male Children Sexually Harassing Female Children

August 2, 2008

Some things make me want to scream and throw things. The fact that the story I am about to tell is one of the milder things that a male child has said/done to a female child recently is one of them.

This was an interaction between myself and two nine year old children:

Female child (having misheard me say ‘miss’ to a male child): “She just called you ‘miss’.”

Me: “So there’s nothing wrong with being a girl. Besides I didn’t say ‘miss’ I said ‘mister’.”

Male child: “Yeah, there is something wrong with being a girl. Girls suck. The only reason that boys like girls is ’cause they’re hot. [To me:] Well you’re not. [To the female child:] But she is. She is really hot. She is a ten out of ten.”

Me: “…”

Seriously, what do you say to this shit? This is the stuff that makes me believe wholly in segregated education. This particular girl has to put up with this little boy’s continual sexual harassment of her. And for what? What an honour to be told “you suck but you are hot so I don’t care”. Fucking hell.

This isn’t the only story I have to tell. I have many more but am not too keen on this blog being discovered by a parent. I almost wish that I could work with girls only. It wasn’t so bad when I was working with younger kids but school aged boys are another story.


  1. Yeah, Allecto, keep screaming your rage! You are perfectly right to be angry.

    We, radical feminists, should never be silent on male violence!

    And now this is about male children doing the attack on their female peers. This is disheartening. 😦

    Fuckin’ hell, indeed!

  2. 😦

    I don’t know what to say. This makes me sad. 😦

  3. Yeah, boys that are sweet, kind, etc when they are 5 can turn into male supremacist sexual harrassing bullies by the age of 10. I volunteered for the summer at a day camp, and the age groups were 4-7 and 8-10. No crap went on with the younger group. The older group had two boys in particular who were bullies/sexists (you could tell that one was the ringleader, the other his henchman, sucking up and doing what he did for the ringleader’s approval). Again, I think of Dworkin’s Pornography: Men Possessing Women, ch. 2: Men and Boys. Explains it well. But boys separate themselves from the “hotties, fuglies, whores, cunts, bitches…” and countless other slurs against women and increasingly younger girls, at increasingly younger ages. They learn comparamentalisation–eg mom is good, but not cool; 8 year old katy is hot, but worthless–so young. Not to mention the massive effect boys’ exposure to porn, abusive men, etc has on this.

  4. Maggie, it makes me so angry. And I have to put up with it every day at work. I chose to work with kids so that I wouldn’t have to work with men. But I have to work with boys who are learning to act like men instead. It sucks.

    Celly, it makes me really sad too. Some of the boys I work with are really screwed up by having to conform to male supremacy.

    Demonista, yeah pornography is really fucking with the minds of children. And I have lots of stories I could tell about a particular child but can’t. I’m surprised that you didn’t have any problems with your 4-7 age group, because I’m seeing quite a few male supremacists emerging, even in those age groups I’ve had to deal with sexual harassment and inappropriate touching. It is so heartbreaking but at the same time it makes me so angry. Not at the children. But at this fucked up world. Girls are just not safe at all right now. And it makes me so concerned about the future.

  5. I would tell the girl about sexism in terms she can understand. She will remember what you’ve said to her because she’ll know it’s true – even if she’s not able to betray the interests of boys and men by standing up for herself, girls and women.

    Also, child-care and educational institutions must start recognising sexist bullying as such and treat it as a serious offence.

  6. I have to work with boys who are learning to act like men instead. It sucks.

    Oh, this is so distressing. I’m sorry, Allecto. 😦

  7. it was i think…4 summers ago. whoa–i’m gettin’ old 😉 so things have probably gotten worse since then. the boy i was sexually abused by when I was 4-5 was under 10, too (i think he was 8 and 9). dismissive accounts of porn’s role in rape, sexual harrassment, etc–eg ‘it’s not porn, it’s the perpetrator’s fault!’–really fall short when we’re dealing with young boys who abuse. they LEARN it from somewhere–either as a result of being abused themselves, directly witnessing abuse, or indirectly witnessing it (ie porn).

  8. That reminds me of this horrible upper-class Jewish summer camp I worked for last year. I worked with all boys, and they definitely thought it was more fun to test me than the male counselors. I had to be five times as strict to get them to listen and not run wild, and I had way more complaints from parents than the other counselors (all male). Yuck.

    Thankfully, the boys were separated from the girls. However, while the boys were very disorganized and misbehaved when they were tired/hungry/bored, the girls were, as a friend told me, an absolute nightmare.

    The camp had no dress code, so some girls were bring expensive sunglasses and purses that their parents bought them and comparing them to the other girls’ things. A few of the more “popular” girls (it was really easy to see the power structure in every group) wore things like halter tops, miniskirts, platform shoes, and fishnets. Fishnets! At eleven!

    They (the girls) would typically pick one or two girls who was the punching bag. Where the boys would just ignore or pick someone last if they didn’t like them, the girls would accuse the outcast of being stupid, ugly, fat, and poor. They’d suck up to the female counselors and make themselves out to be “good”, so that the outcast and the rest of the girls who weren’t as concerned with labels, makeup, miniskirts, and boys would be punished for everything. I lived through that when I was in camp and school, being very bookish and painfully awkward, so seeing the other female counselors buying into that little power game was heartbreaking. Way to raise a new generation of shallow monsters guys.

    When the boys and the girls were together, the girls would immediately turn on the “flirt” mode. They’d turn into simpering characitures of themselves, and even the most tom-boy of them would play up the “damsel in distress” thing for the boys. The boys, of course, encouraged it by gossiping amongst themselves who was the hottest girl, and who was the fattest and most ugly.

    Then the rest of the adults would coo and goo over how cute the pre-teens were being, and I just wanted to projectile vomit everywhere.

  9. When I was in the final year of primary school (age 11) we went on a school trip. And one of the girls then said some of the boys in our class had said they were going to rape her, so this isn’t that new sadly. The sexual abuse of girl children by boys is actually quite common, it’s just that we don’t hear about it. And inevitably of course this is learnt behaviour, it doesn’t just come from nowhere.

  10. allecto, I am so sorry. I’ve seen on some US blogs that mothers are coaching their little girls how to talk back to this sort of demeaning, porny nonsense. The bigotry of the little boys is so essentially mindless that a good self-affirming statement back from a little girl can confuse them. Although you, in your position, have to be very careful what you say, I don’t think you would get in trouble for simply stating that all girls and boys are equal–that no one “sucks,” although rudeness does!

  11. Good to hear about those mothers, Level Best! Ours told us the harassment was flattery.

    What amazes me (like everyone else) is that all of this has filtered down to *such* young ages and that it has intensified in such a blatant way.

  12. Not to defend the little boys sexism but young girls also essentialist sexist things about boys at that age as well. The key is to call them both because they are both learning how to navigate gender and power at the age. He at the age of 9 is only mimicking what he has been taught is acceptable and is not responsible in the same way that a grown man would be responsible for such commentary. If you ever want to stop patriarchy the key is to correct little boys and explain to them why what they said was wrong without making them feel attacked because children at that age are just looking for guidance.

  13. Renee, I think you have a very idealistic view of male children. By the age of nine boys are already very well aware of their social superiority. They hate girls and women. They treat their mothers and female child carers with utmost contempt and disrespect. This particular child is incredibly rude and aggressive and has learnt that it will get him what he wants, when he wants it. No amount of consequences will stop him from treating us female carers like shit. It was amazing the difference in him when a male worker, who was incredibly rude and aggressive, came to our centre to teach the kids self-defense. He listened to the male fuckwit, wasn’t rude at all, complied with instruction etc. He definitely knows the deal. He knows that women aren’t worth shit and the aggressive men rule the world. I don’t hold the 9 year old responsible. I hold this fucked male suremacist culture responsible. But I disagree that anything I say or do would have any effect whatsoever on his masculinised mind. He doesn’t listen to anything the female carers say anyway.

  14. Jacob, are you pro-radical feminist? I didn’t understand what your last comment meant, but I am not interested in a clarification unless you know what radical feminism is and support it’s aims and intentions. Thanks.

  15. I am a pro-radical feminist and I was merely respectfully suggesting that your earlier post indicates that you also have a very idealistic view of male children, but have simply chosen a different set of ideals to assign that group.

  16. I haven’t chosen to assign ideals to male children. I have no idea what that even means. And I don’t think I view male children idealistically. I hope I see things as they are. I have helped to raise my 2 male siblings, from the age of 13 I was changing their nappies and taking care of their needs, supporting them emotionally and physically. They would not be alive if it wasn’t for me. When I was twenty I started caring for children professionally, which I have been doing for seven years now. I have worked with, and cared for a hell of a lot of male children, so I do think I know a little bit about what I am talking about. And what I am seeing from the behaviour of boys, disturbs me deeply. I don’t know if you are questioning my experience or my views, in fact I don’t even know what you are trying to say.

    Perhaps I used the wrong word. Perhaps I meant unrealistic. Because really Renee’s ideals are very, very similar to my own, we just have different ways of going about getting there. I fully respect her right to believe in male children’s capacity for change, I just don’t see it working. The male children I see being indoctrinated into patriarchy know enough to know that women’s voices are not worth listening to. Especially ‘ugly’ (and I mean that in every sense) women like myself.

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