The Broken Geek: Parents, No Means No on Deadpool

This weekend is the much awaited opening weekend for the movie Deadpool. In the buildup to this release, there has been a bit of controversy involving parents wanting a PG-13 cut so they can bring their children to the film. The internet has done a good job explaining all the reasons why Deadpool should not be toned down for children and why children should not go to the movie.

But what they left out was the most important reason that parents really need to hear.

Right now, your kids are at a very important stage in life where they are learning boundaries through testing them. This is the time when they have to learn to accept limits. This is the time when they have to learn to deal with the frustration of wanting something but not being able to have it. This is the time when they have to learn to accept the word “no.”

This goes beyond whether or not you think your kid can handle the gory and gratuitous violence. This goes beyond what your views are on exposing children and teens to sex and nudity. This has everything to do with making sure that when your child becomes an adult, he or she knows how to handle it when someone has to say “no” to them.

Chances are that you are not aware of problems happening in the young adult community around this issue. If your kids are so young you have to ask for a PG-13 rating, you probably haven’t even begun to worry about their behaviors 5-10 years down the line. After all, being a parent to an early adolescent it hard enough. And I know you love your kid and try to see the best in them and want to believe that they will make the right choices when they need to. But your child cannot learn how to make those right choices without help. To help your child, you need to help them to accept the word “no” and the frustration that comes with that.

Right now, there is a big problem in the Geek community, and the young adult community as a whole, regarding people not accepting “no.” There is a huge problem with street harassment, online harassment, stalking, and sexual assault. There are whole internet forums and groups dedicated to teaching your kids how to pressure, trick, coerce, and force themselves onto others sexually.  And as people have tried to stand up and say “no” to these abuses, the response has been to “doxx” (leak the address and phone number of a person and their family online), make death and rape threats, “SWATting” (call in a fake terrorism accusation so a SWAT team raids the person’s home). There has even been a mass shooting where the shooter’s manifesto stated that getting told “no” drove him to kill. You want to believe your child will never do this. But the truth is, the parents of every abuser wanted to believe the same thing.

It is not enough to believe your kids will make the right choice, you have to teach them how. You have to help them accept there are some things they can’t have. You have to help them deal with the frustrations when they are told “no.” You have to let them be upset, and let them know they are allowed to be upset. But in that, you have to let them know they still have to accept what they cannot have. You have to let them know that they will survive the frustration so that they can stand it again when they have to face it without you there. If you let them see Deadpool, you are not helping them with this.

In essence, Deadpool is not giving your kids consent to see his movie. How you teach them to handle it now will dictate how they handle consent issues in the future.

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