Welcome back to Thursday, as Jodi at The Noise of Boys and I take turns with our True Tales from the Pink & Blue Trenches series. We’re going to change things up here at True Tales, as we begin to focus on the good, the bad, and the ugly side of parenting. With two toddlers each, we are both “newbies” on this journey, and we’re going to chronicle it for you as we go, learning, loving and laughing.
This week, it’s my turn here at Home on Deranged, and I recently had an experience that I shared on Facebook. It really stuck with me, this notion of Sup Sluts, and I felt the need to write about it. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m right. But raising children these days is a frightening predicament. You have to watch where they go, who they spend time with and hobbies that they decide to undertake. I don’t think the world is an evil place, but sometimes, it’s full of people who don’t draw the same boundaries that we do. And so it is that my Lord of the Flies neighbor made me rethink Sup Sluts.
Recently, we stopped by the local convenience/gas station to fill up the car. As we pulled to the pump, I noticed a very familiar looking pickup truck at the pump across from us. In order to appropriately tell this story, I’m going to first give a little background. So I hope you’ll forgive a little trip down memory lane.
When we first moved into our current neighborhood, there was a house on the street that had a huge jacked-up pickup truck constantly parked on the street; a decrepit Jeep in the backyard that never seemed to move; about 4 different sets of jet skis, that also never seemed to move; very tall grass in the backyard; and one little yippy dog.
Oh, and teenage boys. At least four, five, maybe six of them. Occasionally a couple of teenage girls would also be there, but not often. No adults. At least none ever seen outside.
Thomas and I took to calling this house, “Lord of the Flies,” since it seemed to be inhabited by as well as cared for only by teenage boys. Which didn’t seem like such a great plan.
Over the last 2+ years, cars have come and gone. The jacked up truck is gone, replaced with a gorgeous, full-size white Toyota Tundra with custom wheels, custom rims, and the coolest LED lights contained within the headlights. I admit it: I was jealous the first time I saw them. They scroll through about half a dozen different colors. They serve no useful function on the truck whatsoever, but they are seriously cool.
Back to the gas station story. As we’re approaching the pump, I say, “Isn’t that one of the Lord of the Flies?” Thomas looks and says, “Yep. No one else has those crazy headlights.”
At first, in an attempt to be all cool and stuff, I say, “Maybe that’s how guys talk to each other now. You know, head nod and say, ‘sup slut?'” My husband looked at me like I’m the most naive person he’s ever seen. “Guys don’t call each other ‘sluts,'” he clarifies for me. Oh, alrighty then.
Then I take the time to look at the person driving this truck. It’s a boy. Honestly, he had to be 16, just legal enough to drive the car. If I think about how long that truck has been in the neighborhood, it’s only been in the last 6 months or so. He’s got the flat bill ball cap on his head, and is skinny as many teenage boys are.
He couldn’t possibly have put that there, on his window for the world to see and judge, because he thinks it’s a funny way to reference women, right?
When I got home, after dinner, I couldn’t help it; the former reporter in me had to know: what the hell is Sup Sluts? I found the Facebook page of Sup Sluts, essentially, a street riding team. They do motorcycle stunts and tricks, and live the biker lifestyle. In other words, not what this kid was doing, and not a group that would be in the least bit interested in either this blog and/or the opinions of its owner.
Instead, as I searched Google for images related to Sup Sluts, so you could see this rather benign decal, I got to see a whole lot more. I doubt I seriously need to tell you what kind of things I got to see on that page. And then I just felt worse and worse and worse.
Because our girls are going to enter that world one day. The world where calling someone a slut, being called a slut, being asked to act like a slut, or being accused of being a slut is a real scary option. Where women are only valued by the way they look, not the way they talk or think or write or sing. And I had to stop. I had to walk away from the icky, ugly Internet and go watch my sweet girls play innocently in our living room.
I dread the day that is coming. And whether Sup Sluts cares about me and my opinions or not, I really wish they would find a better name. Something that actually has to do with street racing or motorcycle trick riding, not archaic derogatory terms applied to women, rarely in a positive way.
What do you think? Am I overreacting? Is the word ‘slut’ used too often, too inappropriately? How would you react if your son or daughter decided to put one of these decals on their vehicle? Share your thoughts/tips/advice with me in the comments!