Lies I Was Taught as a Child

Miriam at Brute Reason came up with this fascinating list titled “An Abridged List of Lies I Was Taught as a Child.” Obviously, now I want to make a list of my own. I will break it down into two parts, “Lies I Didn’t Believe” and “Lies I Believed.” Of course, I only believed them when I was small, so there is no need to explain to me that all these beliefs are stupid. I have figured that out by now.

Lies I Was Taught As a Child But Didn’t Believe

  • sex is dirty
  •  a mother always wants what’s best for her child
  • if a man makes less money than his wife, the situation is deeply shameful and the wife is a total victim who is entitled to treat her husband as viciously as she chooses
  • there can be no friendship between men and women
  • people who are bookish and nerdy are freaks
  • if you are not smiling and happy all the time, then you are a bad person who isn’t making an effort
  • never trust a man but always trust a woman
  • people who are gay are either sick or are simply trying to be provocative
  • you should be willing to sacrifice anything for your family (This is finally one that Miriam and I share.)
  • a rape of a virgin is a lot more tragic than any other kind of rape
  • if you don’t preserve virginity until marriage, nobody would want you
  • spousal rape is normal and people who claim to be traumatized by it are drama queens

Lies I Was Taught As a Child and Believed

  • all men are idiots, jerks and completely helpless creatures
  • marriage always makes women miserable
  • still, women have to get married (and doom themselves to horrible misery) because otherwise they would be defective
  • men don’t want sex and women have to trick them into it
  • the US is one huge slum where everybody lives on dung heaps
  • one is incredibly lucky to live in the USSR
  • a child can provoke an adult into beating him or her
  • women are, by nature, more intelligent, resourceful, valuable and clean than men
  • beating and bullying boys is acceptable and funny while beating and bullying girls is a horrible thing to do
  • the only method for a child to be born is to have a doctor cut a woman’s belly with a knife
  • if you care about fitting in and being accepted by your peers, you are inferior
  • if you care about fashion or enjoy pop music, you are doubly inferior

I invite you to mention lies that you were taught as a child. It is fascinating to observe how culture-specific such lists are. (Just compare mine and Miriam’s.)

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24 comments on “Lies I Was Taught as a Child

  1. This is interesting! Now that you mention it, we actually have a lot of these in common. But the differences are interesting, too.

    Also, it sounds like your mother had more of a hand in raising you than your father did…I have trouble believing that some of those ideas could’ve come from a dude. :P

    • “Also, it sounds like your mother had more of a hand in raising you than your father did…”

      – Actually, it was the opposite. :-) The ideas about dirty men and more valuable women are my father’s.

      • “Whaaaat? I guess I can see that…but why would men want to believe such terrible things about themselves?”

        – I guess this is a topic for a post called “Lies that my parents were taught as children.” :-)

      • “Whaaaat? I guess I can see that…but why would men want to believe such terrible things about themselves?”
        I see that all the time from men who consider themselves “pro-feminist.” I often find myself thinking “No, really, you can stop with the self-flagellation now. It’s not that helpful!”

      • I can’t tell you how many times I had to explain to people that “Women are superior to men” is not a feminist position. It is the exact opposite. A feminist position (and simply that of reasonable human beings) is that physiology doesn’t make anybody superior or inferior.

      • A feminist position (and simply that of reasonable human beings) is that physiology doesn’t make anybody superior or inferior.(Clarrisa)

        I guess you would have to define what you mean by superior or inferior because in some areas that statement just isnt true.

      • Did the idea that men don’t want sex and women have to trick them into it come from your father? This seems inconsistent with his admonition that you did not need sex and that your first boyfriend was just using you for his physiological needs, as I recall you wrote once.

  2. I find it hard to think of many that I was actually taught, or believed

    1. If you cut the web of flesh between yout thumb and your index finger you will get tetanus and die

    There were things that some friends of mine believed, that I thought were silly.

    One friend, who had ginger hair, would pull his jacket over his hair if a cow was visible, and he could not see a fence between him and the cow, because he just knew that the cow was a bull, and it would charge if it saw anything red.

    Another friend tried to convince me that fucking was ipso factor rape, which was the most serious crime in the world, more serious than murder and you would automatically be hanged for it. I pointed out that children continued to be born, so either that wasn’t true or there were an awful lot of unhanged rapists walking around, even acknowledging that the children were theirs. He then informed me that fucking did not produce children, kissing did. I thougt someone must have lied to him, but when I grew up I thougth that his parents may have tried to give him some sex education, and he had misunderstood it/.

    I think someone once told me that a black mamba could go faster than a galloping horse. I can’t remember if I believed it or not, but when I saw a very long black snake coming out of a hole in the ground I think I ran faster than a galloping horse.

    • “Another friend tried to convince me that fucking was ipso factor rape, which was the most serious crime in the world, more serious than murder and you would automatically be hanged for it. ”

      – It sounds like your friend was a proto-radical feminist. :-)

      “He then informed me that fucking did not produce children, kissing did. I thougt someone must have lied to him, but when I grew up I thougth that his parents may have tried to give him some sex education, and he had misunderstood it/.”

      – This is very funny. But also kind of sad. This gave me an idea for a new post.

  3. men don’t want sex and women have to trick them into it.

    I was told the exact opposite, i.e. “women don’t want sex unless you sweet talk them into it” and hence was very surprised the first couple of times when a girl walked up to me and straight out propositioned.

    • I spent my entire childhood listening to conversations among adult women who shared the tricks they used to lure husbands into bed. And then I spent half of my own adult life repeating the same scenario. This is why I still see the words “a man who wants sex” as somewhat of an oxymoron.

  4. Let me see. Lies I was taught as a child:

    1. A stray dog might have rabies and so should be euthanized for everyone’s good. (I think the chances of this were slim.)

    2. The world was sexless. Sex was not existent.

    3. Everyone gets treated as they deserve, and if you are not being treated that way it’s because you haven’t spoken up and told people the truth.

    4. There was no possible expression of civilization superior to ours. Everything we did was simply common sense.

    5. There were no holes in existence. Dead people went to heaven.

      • “I’m assuming it’s not true. After all, how does it suddenly get bitten in the suburbs where there are rarely any wild animals to bite it?”

        – Good point. It’s funny how some things that you learn you never even question.

  5. Almost all of those are the standard lies Americans also teach their children, except for these exceptions:

    “men don’t want sex and women have to trick them into it”

    That’s the exact opposite of what Americans believe about men and women and sex.

    And of course the America is a slum and the USSR one, of which of course we also were taught the exact opposite.

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