Ms. Melissa Atkins Wardy writes at length on her blog Pigtail Pal & Ballcap Buddies about attitudes towards boys and girls and how it connects with street harassment. She starts by describing a threatening incident that her daughter’s friend went through, and connects it to the culture at large:
“The way the incident happened, there was something about her that this guy felt made it worth his while to engage with her in a very threatening manner. In this encounter, she wasn’t simply walking by on a sidewalk and he chose to cat call her. In this instance he put himself in her path, stopping her in her tracks thereby treating her as an object to be moved or disrupted, as opposed to an autonomous human being with thoughts, feelings, and purpose. […]
“From infancy boys are taught to be rowdy rock ‘n roll bad boys who are little masters of the universe and tiny stud muffins.
“From infancy girls are taught to be sweet and pretty, things to be adored and kept beautiful while pleasing everyone around with the sweet prettiness.
“These messages are all over media, apparel, toys, and are relayed by people who interact with our children. […]
“Unless taught by his family, a boy is less likely to learn from our culture that girls and women are worthy of respect and equality or that aggression does not make you a man.
“Unless taught by her family, a girl is less likely learn to offer herself as a whole person rather than a sexual object or that she can be many things without needing the approval of men. […]
“By the time they are teens most boys will have seen very little media that respects women and most girls will have seen very little media in which women ask for or take respect. Then we consider all of the advertising they have seen up to this point, the vast majority of which shows women as objects to be used for male sexual desire. […]
“So when I […] think about my friend’s daughter being harassed while she is out for walk I, [sic] also think about how this fits into the big picture in how we raise or children and what messages we choose to accept or reject. I think about how I try to teach parents to see the forest through the trees, and that while one gendered item or media component may seem trivial, it all adds up to a deep, dark forest we have to shepherd our children through. We also have to teach them how to find their own way, because we won’t always be by their sides.” [emphasis added]
(Quoted at length to fully reproduce the point.)
Kudos. Because patterns of behavior matter, and patterns of abusive behavior need to be nipped in the bud.