TeenPacters Speak Up: Part Ten, TeenPact and Relationships

TeenPacters Speak Up: A Series by Between Black and White

HA note: This series is reprinted with permission from Between Black and White. Part Ten was originally published on May 24, 2013.

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Part Ten: TeenPact and Relationships, by Kierstyn King

Everyone is told, no crushes are allowed to happen at TeenPact (because you can “allow” a crush to begin with).

Boys are told, to open doors for women, to let them go first in line, and to treat them like they’re delicate little flowers. Essentially, boys are taught to treat women like objects who are helpless and can’t take care of themselves. Girls are told to accept these gestures, always, even if they’re unwanted. Never turn them down.

Some of this is Tim Echols forcing southern manners down everyone’s throat, and some of it is perpetuating the idea that women are “the weaker vessel”. It’s hard, as a courteous person, because, having boobs means I can’t practice common courtesy on a human level. I’m not allowed to open a door, trade my place, give up my seat for someone who’s a boy because then it is interpreted as a slap in the face to them and their efforts at (forced) chivalry. This tells women to expect “special” treatment because they’e seen was weaker, and teaches men that women are weaker and need help to do basic things.

We’re supposed to let the men take command in setting things up, in making decisions, and whatever even if we disagree or have a better one. We can’t just assert ourselves and say no like normal people, because we need to learn submission.

In what I like to call the 2007 Speech From Hell, Tim Echols started by going on a raging tirade about “effeminate men” and I’m pretty sure he worked in how homosexuals were evil too. He said that it was an abomination to god and he was really angry with any man he saw who didn’t act manly enough for his liking. He listed specific examples (that I thought were ridiculous) but I can’t remember what they were now.

Then, he turned his attention to women, he singled us out and spent far too long on another tirade.

He talked about how we need to grow up and get married (fast! young!) so we can start breeding an army, because that is what we women are supposed to do. Our job in life, our job to further the cause, is to create more people and train them to make the changes that (hopefully) our husbands will have started to make. If we did that, god would be happy, we would be fulfilling our roles as women — because that’s just how it is. Women are not supposed to actually lead, women’s place is in the home, behind a man, who is supposed to be bringing the nation back to it’s christ-centered roots (don’t get me started).

Well before that point I had sworn off marriage, because a life of doing nothing but being pregnant and teaching children with the hope that they would be passionate about the thing I was and want to do the same thing just sounded horrible and unlikely. When he singled out all the women in the audience I felt embarrassed, ashamed, sad, horrified, and broken.

Because I had been told by my parents that what Mr. Echols was conveying was indeed my purpose, but I didn’t want that. I never had. It sounded like hell to me, though I would never have used those terms. It sounded just….the thought of it crushed my soul, and I was hoping TeenPact would be the place I didn’t have to fit that mold, but I was so wrong. I knew that once I got married I would have to go into that box — so I swore it off, and in case that didn’t work, I resolved to do all the things I wanted to do before I got married. Remembering that speech still devastates me and kills that thing that it killed before over and over again. I think maybe it was hope.

I felt completely broken, like a failure, because while every other girl was sitting there, raptured, already sold on the idea of getting married and having kids and getting permission to get married young, I was devastated, because that was just not the life I wanted – not the life I felt I was supposed to live.

I was supposed to do what they wanted me to do, without question, because a guy said it. I was never supposed to think.

And yet, thinking is what saved me from that fate, so: Thank you, TeenPact, for introducing me to my thinker-husband, my thinker-friends, and our sense of knowing we can indeed change the world, and reverse the lies and beliefs you perpetuated that only serve to enable the abusive environments we escaped from.

Because of you, maybe we can make that change.

To be continued.

2 comments

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    My comments on this over at Beyond Black & White:

    I also felt so guilty will “allowed” crushes to form. I felt so bad and unworthy.

    What is this? The Anti-Sex League from 1984? Where sex was “Our Duty to The Party” and nothing more?

    In what I like to call the 2007 Speech From Hell, Tim Echols started by going on a raging tirade about “effeminate men” and I’m pretty sure he worked in how homosexuals were evil too. He said that it was an abomination to god and he was really angry with any man he saw who didn’t act manly enough for his liking. He listed specific examples (that I thought were ridiculous) but I can’t remember what they were now.

    (Godwin’s Law Warning)

    Hypermasculinity. A psych term I first heard (and heard defined) in a 1943 OSS psych profile of a certain A.Hitler. Strip out anything “effeminate” until all that is left is aggression, domination, and power, firewall what’s left as far as you can, and call it Masculine.

    “CLOSE YOUR HEARTS TO PITY! ACT BRUTALLY! THE STRONGEST IS ALWAYS RIGHT! THE WINNER IS NEVER ASKED WHETHER HE WON FAIRLY! ALL THAT MATTERS IS TO WIN!”
    – General orders to the German armed forces for the invasion of Russia, June 1941. (The author of these words (named in the last paragraph) also saw “effeminate men” and homosexuality as an abomination to his Hypermasculinity.)

  • When I was at National Convention, I once came to the lunch line late(r than all the other girls). The girls always get first place in line, and so they had all gotten their food and were off eating. I came late, so I silently took my place at the back of the line like any normal person.
    You would have thought I was Moses the way those boys fell out of the way, all but pushing me to the front to get my food so that they could be allowed to eat. They were teens and of course starving and more than one rolled their eyes as they let me pass.
    I didnt ask to go before them and I did not want to keep them from eating, but they were forced to let me first, even though they had the salad tongs in their hands already.

    I think it fosters a lot of ill-will along with gender inequality and sexism (and rape culture).

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