On being a woman in the USA.

Texas Students Aren’t Buying “Datable” or Justin Lookadoo

What the kids are calling him these days.

What the kids are calling him these days. (image via lookadoo.com)

This is one of those stories that warms my heart and makes me proud of the state I was born in (neither of which happens often enough these days). I missed the whole thing, and I couldn’t let that happen to you.

So, in case you missed it…

Yesterday, Richardson High School in Texas hosted an assembly (sponsored by the PTA) wherein a “motivational speaker” named Justin Lookadoo presented his philosophies (ostensibly on dating violence) to the student body.* For a little background regarding his expertise as a teen dating guru, here are some “cool rules” from Lookadoo’s website, “R U Dateable.” (If you need to go vomit now, I’ll wait.)

For girls:

  • Dateable girls know how to shut up. They don’t monopolize the conversation. They don’t tell everyone everything about themselves. They save some for later. They listen more than they gab.
  • God made guys as leaders. Dateable girls get that and let him do guy things, get a door, open a ketchup bottle. They relax and let guys be guys. Which means they don’t ask him out!!!

For guys:

  • Dateable guys know they aren’t as sensitive as girls and that’s okay. They know they are stronger, more dangerous, and more adventurous and that’s okay. Dateable guys are real men who aren’t afraid to be guys.
  • Dateable guys aren’t tamed. They don’t live by the rules of the opposite sex. They fight battles, conquer lands, and stand up for the oppressed.

(If you didn’t vomit before, but need to now, feel free.)

Justin Lookadoo is the author of a book titled (not surprisingly) Dateable. Here’s a sample:

(Ok, one more vomit break. Ready, set, BLORF.)

How this guy gets speaking engagements at high schools is anyone’s guess. (Though it might have something to do with the fact that he claims to be a “Christian” motivational speaker, which carries a good deal of weight with some Texans. In fact, the school district’s initial response to criticism was to apologize for the “non-religious terminology” Lookadoo used to get his message across.) But though this can’t be his first rodeo, he was evidently unprepared for the reaction from students at RHS. The first hashtagged tweet came from Nate Beer, self-described “newsman.” (Beer writes for the school paper.)

What followed was a twitstorm of fairly epic proportions. Student reactions ranged from amused to enraged and back again. Here are just a few:

Parents were livid. At least one apparently created a Twitter account just to get onboard:

And Lookadoo wasn’t ready for the after-show Q&A. From local station WFAA:

Students circled around the speaker and hurled questions about his philosophies.

“Why did you tell girls to get out of abusive relationships instead of telling guys not to be abusive in the first place?” one student asked.

“I’ve done about 4,000 programs. That’s never happened,” Lookadoo confessed.

#lookadouche became a trending topic. News and media outlets picked up the story and are still running with it. Nate Beer, newsman, had to take a Twitter break because he was overwhelmed by the response (not all of it positive, I’m sure). And of course Twitter-at-large took up the cry, which is how the story came to my attention today.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that for a moment, when I heard about the speaker’s message, I was worried for these students; afraid that they’d actually buy into this bullshit and internalize it. And perhaps some did. But one thing is certain: Justin Lookadoo, misogynist “motivational speaker,” did motivate RHS students. Just not the way he intended.

Go, Richardson High School. You give me hope.

Updates:

  • Here’s a petition asking the superintendent of George West ISD to cancel Lookadoo’s upcoming speaking event at GWH.
  • Lookadoo has expressed confusion over the uproar, saying that his message at the assembly was not the same as the one in his “Dateable” rulebook. The Atlantic has excerpts from his speech at the assembly. I’ll let you be the judge.
  • *I originally stated that he “presented his rules for how to be “dateable.” I have since learned that part of the agreement with the PTA was that he would not state these rules, but it appears that he managed to get the message across just the same.
  • DallasNews has printed a letter from RHS Principal Charles Bruner, which apparently went home with students today.

24 responses

  1. Pingback: Mädchenmannschaft » Blog Archive » Bildungsbenachteiligung, Hartz-IV-Schikanen und vorhersehbarer Sexismus – kurz verlinkt

  2. Pingback: Christian Motivational Speaker Motivates Me to Bang My Head Against My Desk Repeatedly - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money

  3. J.

    You know, if nothing else (although there obviously is plenty else) a grown man using the phrase “hot little body” when addressing teens disturbs me.

    November 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    • Yeah. Ick.

      November 15, 2013 at 6:15 pm

  4. Wowzers! What a douche! Thanks for giving us the heads up, and yeah, I’m floored by the kids’ response to his “message”… in a that’s awesome kind of way! :)

    November 15, 2013 at 11:53 am

    • They really do restore my hope.

      November 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm

  5. That’s the beauty of social media. When I was a teenager and getting misogynist bullshit from people like my Sunday school teacher, I could look around at all the other girls and wonder — am I the only one totally not buying this? And I never did know.

    November 15, 2013 at 11:41 am

    • Yeah, this definitely would not have happened at this scale without Twitter, I don’t think. Makes me sad to think how many kids have felt the way you did and never knew they weren’t alone.

      November 15, 2013 at 11:51 am

  6. Reblogged this on FEMBORG.

    November 15, 2013 at 11:34 am

  7. Reblogged this on Note To Self and commented:
    I often worry about high school students in this country, and the awful messages they are force-fed on a daily basis. Happily, this is not one of those times. =D

    November 15, 2013 at 8:59 am

  8. the guy’s an asshole but i would like to comment on the paragraph starting with, ”don’t tease the animals … ”; Rosie … assuming we all agree on the definition of provocative, don’t women/girls who dress provocatively objectify themselves, therefore reinforcing mens internalized belief that women are objects? i’m not defending this asshole. i just wanted to comment on that one aspect ….. the culture teaches girls/women to make objects of themselves and it teaches men/boys to see women as objects. who’s going to break the vicious circle? ks

    November 15, 2013 at 6:36 am

    • I guess I don’t agree with your premise that by dressing “provocatively” (again, assuming we all agree on what that means, which we may very well not) a woman objectifies herself. I do not believe that I make an object of myself by choosing to wear a short skirt or a revealing top. I do agree that our culture often treats women as objects and that this teaches boys and girls that women are for sex. The circle is broken by each of us when we counter that message and work to teach our children that every person deserves respect and when we, as a society, make it unacceptable to treat women as objects in our media. Part of respecting people is acknowledging their right to choose–which includes what to wear. I also think it’s important to understand that our judgements of another’s choices have very little to do with them, but reflect our own programming.

      I have had to work hard to retrain myself away from judging other women’s clothing choices because I have been taught that women *don’t* deserve respect if they choose to wear something I (by way of society) judge “slutty.” I’m not proud of the fact that I have judged women based on their clothing choices, but I recognize that the problem lies not with what these women chose to wear, but with my perception of what it means to wear something “provocative.” I mean, just take that word, which means “to provoke.” In other words, she’s asking for it. I think we owe it to ourselves and each other to rethink the assumptions our training has instilled in us and banish those judgements whenever they rear their ugly heads.

      November 15, 2013 at 8:27 am

      • i would like to comment on your statement but i don’t want to give you the impression that i am trying to tell you what o think.

        i don’t feel that i have to work hard to overcome my own programming. i’m perfectly satisfied with it. women are equal to men and should be paid the same as men. we are on the cusp of what i like to think is, ‘the age of women’; that is, the stage is set for women to emerge and change the world in positive ways never even considered before.

        this is because of the dedication of past role models such as .,.. Gloria steinem, germaine greere, bella absug (sp) and so many more .,.. and unknown every day women role models like, my wife Jodi who has risen through the ranks to be the only woman on the same line of an ‘org chart’ comprised of all men despite the humiliating years she had to endure when men were allowed to make waitresses out of secretaries, make overt sexual cracks without recrimination and much more.

        i fear that the progress women have made will suffer a set back if there aren’t role models for the next generation of women … young girls … coming up. i don’t see anyone on the horizon who can fill that role. instead, i see the likes of myley chrus, professional sports cheerleaders women portrayed as helpless without men in movies.

        objectifying women is running rampant. sexual exploitation … scantily clad women on billboards, selling beer. commercials with ditzy, scantily clad blonds catering to men are everywhere. i’m concerned. i think it’s time for women to start kicking some ass like they did during the 60′s when the modern sexual revolution began. otherwise the will of men who want to subjugate women … eliminate the competition .. may overcome much of the good work that has been accomplished during the past 50 years. what a waste!

        have great respect for your courage, rosie. i think that women’s rights is possibly the most important issue facing the world. take care…. Kurt

        November 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      • Jessica

        Thank you. Did you hear that? It was the sound of the point being made.

        November 17, 2013 at 8:45 am

  9. Pingback: Would you take dating advice from this man? | word of a woman

  10. I have no words

    November 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm

  11. I’m moving to Richardson a week from Saturday. This makes the transition just a little bit easier.

    November 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    • Good luck with the move! I lived in the Dallas/Richardson area briefly, but I never met anyone like these kids. :)

      November 14, 2013 at 5:00 pm

  12. I took the quiz on the website and am Undateable! Praise the lord!

    November 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    • Oh, shit! Don’t tell your HUSBAND! ;)

      November 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      • Miche

        Heheh. I know a young woman who took the quiz and she’s dateable. Just as well, since she’s dating. I wonder if her girlfriend is dateable too.

        November 14, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    • Tim B

      I wonde rif that quiz thinks I’m ‘datable’? I would suspect not.

      November 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm

  13. Pingback: R U Serious? Justin Lookadoo #lookadouche | Kiki2point0

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