In case anyone ever wonders why us nanny-state liberals call for a reassessment of gender roles from the youngest ages, with a focus on equality and balance in gender relationships, all one has to do is look at this NYT article about a rise in dating violence.
What's most bothersome about this rise in violence isn't just the rise; it's that it's based on attitudes imbued from very young ages in both men and women. Men are told to defend their territory with violence, women are told they're the territory. As seemingly perfect as this arrangement would be to protect women from, say, the Huns, it works slightly less ideally when the women decide they're no longer territory. Or, hell, when they don't even break the territorial relationship, but their trip to Big Lots took longer because the power went out, which obviously means that they're dirty whore sluts who need to be taught how to properly bargain shop.
You don't break this cycle by telling fifteen years olds that abusive relationships are never okay, you break this cycle by telling five year olds to respect each other and then telling six and seven and eight year olds the same thing. You break up paternalistic, patriarchal behavior before it takes root rather than tell young men that it's really not okay to bring violence into their relationships (really!) and subsequently forcing young women to be constant vanguards against the field of abusive men who were lectured very sternly during study hall to Not Do That Shit.
Or, you know, you could follow The Other McCain's advice and solve the problem of men treating women as property and abusing them by having men treat women as property and abuse each other. There's nothing like solving violence in relationships by inserting violence into relationships!
"Experts say" -- and who can disagree with the experts? Our daughter is 19. When she was a kid, we taught her the most important lesson of life: Boys have cooties.
Why don't they teach that in schools? That is to say, why don't schools discourage the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing? Girls especially need to be encouraged to develop a sense of independent identity, so that they don't fall into the all-too-common teenage trap of thinking that their life is meaningless if they don't have a boyfriend.
Somehow, boys have the ability to develop senses of independent identity without being kept sequestered from girls - in fact, they develop those identities while, in a traditionalist framework, being giant horndogs. Why can't girls? Oh, where there's a question, there's a remarkably stupid answer, fair audience:
Whatever happened to dads and brothers chasing off pesky boyfriends? We need traditional values, a la Sonny Corleone: [insert video of dude beating up another dude to protect the honor of a woman]
So, here's how we encourage girls to develop their own senses of identity: having every male who's ever encountered them fight in the streets over who they can and can't interact with. It's much how boys, for centuries, have had their mothers engage in ritualistic knife fights after PTA meetings over who gets which prom dates. You know, if Mrs. Farnsworth hadn't brought brass knuckles, I could have gone with the head cheerleader. And my mom could also remember the alphabet past the letter K.