We forget, often enough, that most of what we learn happens when we’re young. The important things, like manners, values, morals, and core skills like speech and toilet training are all done while our brains are still mailable and building connections and pathways. This slows down as we get older, and learning new skills and behaviours becomes harder (although not impossible, it turns out you CAN teach and old dog new tricks) and so it’s important that we teach children everything they need to know about the world to stay safe and comfortable at a young age. But we all too often forget consent, and bodily integrity, and desperately try to teach those to older children and teens who often don’t care to hear what their oh-so-out of touch parents have to say. Before people freak out, I’m not talking about having the S-E-X talk with your two year old, I think in the grand scheme of things to do so would be a bit of a reach intellectually, but you can teach children about consent without ever talking about sex, and in turn we can grow a generation of children that understand that someones body is their own, and no-one else has a right to touch it without consent. We can have a generation that doesn’t see pinging bra straps and grabbing buttocks as acceptable, a generation who will never brag about grabbing women “by the pussy”, a generation where ‘kissing pranks’ are not a thing, a generation that knows that to respect someone is to respect ALL of them, body as well as mind.
We live in a society were drinking is pushed as the ultimate way to relax, unwind, and have fun. From adverts, products, banter between friends, to memes you can’t turn around for someone telling you how much fun you could be having if only you had an alcoholic beverage in hand. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times, you’re out with friends and want to leave early and you get a chorus of “Pussy!” or “Old man!”, insults and cajoling to try and get you to stay, keep drinking, and get crosseyed drunk. This is most prevalent amongst men, where your ability to drink and the amount you can consume somehow equate to how much of a man you are. Strength, virility, and masculinity all wrapped up in how many beers and shots you can drink in an hour.