The topic of how parents handle their male and female children’s sexual activity differently put the spotlight on gender bias in the March 13 episode of ABC’s Blackish. In the episode titled “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” Dre and Bow come to grips with the maturation of their older children.
Though Andre "Dre" (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow "Bow" Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross) believe themselves to be the ultimate progressive parents, the problem of treating children differently because of their gender plays out in the double standard presented when they first realize that their high school son Junior (Marcus Scribner) has become sexually active.
Dre is extremely proud and even takes the news to the morning meeting roundtable at his workplace. The men are busy congratulating Dre over Junior’s experience while the only woman present, Lucy (Catherine Reitman), tries to explain to the men that the young woman involved with Junior must also be considered. They brush off her explanation that women are people, too.
Bow reminds Dre to talk to Junior about using protection with his girlfriend and he briefly asks Junior about that. Dre considers his job done at that point. They are appalled to find out that Junior soon breaks up with his girlfriend and assume it is his fault. The thought doesn’t enter their minds that she would dump him as they automatically leap to the conclusion that he used her and dumped her. Wrong. Turns out she wanted to lose her virginity before going away to college. When she did, she dumped Junior. Junior is too embarrassed to tell this to his parents. Yes, this story is as bad as it sounds. It is embarrassing for everyone.
Though Bow is also proud of her son’s entrance into sexual life, she breaks the news to Dre that their daughter, Zoey, is also having sex. Even though she is away from home at college, Dre is shocked and unable to accept this information. He takes this knowledge to the conference table, too, and Lucy is amazed at how the men react completely differently with Zoey. They speak of her in terms of damaged goods. Lucy walks off and then she is finally able to explain some basic reality to Dre about the sexes in the company break room.
Lucy: Did you come in here to eat your feelings about your daughter having sex? 'Cause I'm eating my feelings about being called a whore at work. Again.
Dre: It was so much fun talking about my son having sex. It's ruined now that I know that Zoey's doing it, too.
Lucy: Oh, 'cause seeing it through your daughter's eyes made you realize that women are people?
Dre: Exactly. It's so weird!
Lucy: What I think is weird is how men only seem to care about a woman's point of view when they suddenly remember they have a daughter.
Dre: I do care about women. All I was doing was celebrating my son.
Lucy: And what about the father of the guy Zoey was with? Can he celebrate his son?
Dre: Where is that son of a bitch? I'll celebrate him. I know that sounded festive, but I meant it as a threat.
Lucy: Uh-huh. How about you help me kill this cake instead?
Dre: You know, I never realized that every girl is somebody's Zoey.
Lucy: Yeah. That's why getting through the day is so hard here The way the men in that conference room talk about women? It's so demoralizing. It's like they're monsters.
Dre: Hey, hey. Wait a minute. I'm in that conference room. Am I a monster?
Lucy: You're like monster adjacent.
Dre: I'll take that.
Lucy: But you don't have to be. And neither does Junior.
Dre: Junior. I've told him all the wrong stuff. I got to go.
Lucy: Yeah, oh. Or you could stay here and help me change the culture- Ah, forget it. This is what I get for voting for Trump.
There it is – a random, token reference to Lucy voting for President Trump. I guess she deserves her poor treatment from the men in the office because of her vote. Sure, clearly it is Trump’s fault that men are dismissive of women because that never happened until we became Trump’s America, right? ...President Bill Clinton, anyone?
In the end, they realize that they are like every other set of parents in the world – parents treat male and female children differently because they are different. Even progressive parents like them, which is a very rude awakening to them. Lefties are not nearly as special as they think they are. But, we could have told them that all along.