One US mom has a very important message for a boy pursuing her teenage daughter—and it’s “no means no”!
It means no in the halls, and it means no on the bus. It means stop asking her out, writing her poetry and pursuing her.
Sexual health educator Dr. Lindsey Doe (aka. “Doe Eyes”) is a familiar presence on YouTube. In a recent viral video called “Dear boy who likes my daughter”, she directly addresses a kid who is aggressively pursing her 14-year-old daughter. The video is aimed at one specific individual, but it’s a lesson in consent for everyone—whether they’re a hormone-filled teen or not. Doe says she understands why the unnamed suitor likes her daughter. However, she doesn’t like how he treats her.
As she explains in the video: “Someone tells you ‘no’ in any way, and you ask again? It’s not cool, it’s not attractive, it’s not respectful—it’s harassment. My daughter has the right to change her mind and the ability to let you know if she does. Until then, I expect that you do not ask her out, do not suggest a relationship, do not talk to her about her discomfort with you pursuing her. Leave her alone!”
Doe has met with some criticism for sending a public message regarding a private issue, but I believe it’s an important lesson that needs to be learned. The trope of the cute boy pursuing the protesting girl is a common one in popular culture. We think it’s adorable when little boys chase girls, whether the girls are open to the attention or not. Growing up, we loved movie fantasies of the cool teen boy hanging out at the girl’s locker until she realizes that she does love him as much as he tells her she does. We still find Lloyd Dobbler’s expression of love for Diane Court—by holding up the stereo outside her window—as the ultimate expression of romantic love.
Our kids see it everywhere, too. Take the relationship between Stuart and Zuri on my most-loathed Disney Channel show, Jessie. Little nebbish Stuart pursues the adorable, sassy Zuri with unrelenting fortitude despite Zuri’s constant requests that he leave her alone. Even her incompetent nanny Jessie ignores Zuri’s discomfort. And the whole situation is played out for laughs.
Why do we see these off-kilter relationships constantly in TV and movies? The idea of “no means no” shouldn’t played up as comedy. The last time I checked, respecting someone you liked is an important part of any healthy relationship.We want our kids to understand that no means no—and that yes means yes. I want my daughter to know that her words have meaning and carry weight heavy enough to ward off any unwanted suitors. I want my boys to understand the same.
It’s time we retired the “romantic” idea of the young boy chasing his dream girl through the schoolyard and hallway. It’s not cute, and it’s not a sign of affection. Having a crush on someone is not license to ignore their feelings or to assume that the words coming out of her mouth are not true for you.
As Doe told the Today Show recently, she actually quite likes the young man that is pursuing her daughter and thinks he’s a good friend to her girl. It’s just too bad that he wasn’t a good enough friend to actually listen to what her daughter had to say.