Dear Justin Lookadoo: Enough with the sexist 'dateable' rhetoric
Justin Lookadoo's 'R. U. Dateable' quiz and lectures encourage girls to be silent, needy, and sexy while favoring boys who are wild, insensitive, and dangerous, prompting two psychology professors to issue an open letter imploring Mr. Lookadoo to stop fostering gender stereotypes.
Dear Mr. Lookadoo: We (along with most of the internet) recently heard about your presentation at Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas. The students’ outrage shed light on your views of the “dateability” of children and how rigid, harmful notions of gender roles are supposedly espoused by God.Skip to next paragraph
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As mothers, university professors, specialists in the field of psychology, mental health, sexuality, and gender for almost 20 years, and yes, Christians, we are taken aback by and incredibly disappointed in your message.
You say on your Facebook page that you spent “a lot of time” studying and you are “always researching and finding the edge that will make (your) programs current and relevant.” That seems strange because what you teach about “how gender differences impact the development of the human brain” doesn’t seem to be supported by any of the most recent research in either psychology or neuroscience. Hmmm. Don’t believe us? Check out Dr. Lise Eliot’s and Dr. Janet Shibley Hyde’s research. It’s all there, Justin, just waiting to be discovered. Ever read Illusions of Gender by Dr. Cordelia Fine? You might want to look into that as well.
In your speech at Richardson High, it has been reported by a young woman in the audience that you emphasized gender stereotypes that are harmful to both men and women and made negative comments about girls in general. For example, you are quoted as saying, "Ladies, I'm going to say this in the nicest way possible....you are the most horrible, awful, vindictive creatures this planet has ever seen." You then go on to detail the differences between girls and guys as males being there to lift each other up while females "spend the rest of your life trying to kick every other girl down." If you said this in an assembly where one of our 14-year-old daughters attends school, we hope and pray that she would get up and walk out or call you out for spewing blatant, archaic, shame-inducing, misogynistic, hate-filled rhetoric. (Just like the daughter and friends of Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles.)
Listen, Justin, we not only have daughters, we have also worked with adolescent girls and young women in a variety of educational and clinical settings for many years. We can say with utter confidence that your assessment of them is glib, superficial, and dead wrong. Since you show a complete lack of understanding of child development, we wanted to offer you a lesson. Both boys and girls have to develop conflict resolution strategies, learn to navigate difficult relationships and adopt more effective ways to handle disagreements as they get older. It’s part of the process of maturing. You know, where you sidestep the juvenile reflex to make grandiose, sweeping generalizations of others under the guise of humor or in order to shroud your own insecurities.
On your website’s “R U Dateable” quiz, as long as a girl provides answers that keep her silent, dishonest, and malleable to the whim of boys, she’s dateable. Well, we took the quiz, and much to our dismay … in your eyes, we are completely (gasp!) undateable! How will we break it to our husbands?
You say that your message has “reached over 1,000,000 students across the nation” through your “thousands” of speeches and “#1 best-selling” books. We need you to know that your version of things serves to perpetuate grave misogyny and rape culture. There are too many examples to list, but here is a select sampling:
“Please, please don't tease us. To show us your hot little body ... and then tell us we can't touch it is being a tease. You can't look that sexy and then tell us to be on our best behavior”