Motivational Speaker’s Controversial Dating Tips Outrage Dallas High School

Justin Lookadoo (courtesy Justin Lookadoo)
Justin Lookadoo (courtesy Justin Lookadoo)

A thirty-second quiz, "Are You Dateable?" on Christian motivational speaker Justin Lookadoo's website, which is geared toward teens, provided me with sobering news, "U R not datable." Lucky for me that I'm a grown woman and married, but some kids and parents at Richmond High School in Dallas were outraged by what they called his anti-girl message during a program he gave called "Dateable, it's a Character Thing" on Wednesday.

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Lookadoo, who speaks at schools and church youth groups nationally, was invited to speak by the PTA. During the assembly, some students heckled him and others took to Twitter to challenge his message.

Afterwards, about twenty kids surrounded him and criticized a page on his website which has separate lists for girls and boys on being dateable. The girls' list includes advice such as "Be mysterious. Dateable girls know how to shut up," and "You're a girl. Be proud of all that means. You are soft, you are gentle, you are a woman. Don't try to be a guy." The boys' list advises, "Men of God are wild, not domesticated. Dateable guys aren't tamed. They don't live by the rules of the opposite sex."

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One parent, Jaime Clark-Soles, an ordained minister and professor at Southern Baptist University, says her 16-year-old daughter Chloe informed her the day before the event that Lookadoo was rumored to be speaking, but that his name was never officially announced. After the event, she says Chloe returned home deeply offended. "This person was brought in and given access too thousands of students to speak about dating and relationships, including sex, and he has no absolutely no professional credentials to do this in a school setting," she tells Yahoo Shine. "It's highly problematic and needs to be investigated." She adds that that message was so gender biased it made her extremely concerned for the LGBT kids in the audience who are, as she points out "statistically more vulnerable to depression and suicide." She says its shocking that she had to sign a permission slip for her daughter to listen to a speech by President Obama during school hours but had no advance warning about Lookadoo's program besides a "robocall to the home phone 5 minutes before the event saying that my daughter could opt out of going."

On Wednesday night, Richardson High School Principal Charles Bruner sent out a voicemail message to parents saying, "It was not the intent to offend anyone, and I apologize to those who were."

Lookadoo says his message is being misinterpreted. "One of the mothers who wasn't at the program said I promote rape culture," he tells Yahoo Shine. "[I say] 'Girls, if you are ever in an abusive relationship, if he calls you fat…if he lays a hand on you, get out of it. That's empowerment." He says his basic message to teens is, "Girls, do not compromise who you are to get a date. Guys, stand up and be man, don't' just sit there playing video games, do something with your life." He adds that the students who approached him after the program weren't objecting to the actual content of the program but to some of the views on his website and that after more than 4,200 school speaking engagements, "I've never had this kind of a reaction."

One of comments that particularly disturbed Clark-Soles was Lookadoo's assertion that, "girls are the most vindictive creatures on the Earth." He acknowledged he does use this rhetoric in his speeches to public school teenagers. "Girls are the most horrible, vindictive people this planet has ever seen," he tells Yahoo Shine. And explains how when he says that in his programs, "every grown woman in the room nods her head, because they have to deal with girls drama." He continues, "At any level, if you are a woman, there a lot of women who are going to rip you down." While Lookadoo says he preaches a message of empowerment to young women, its hard to find the girl power message in that statement.

Lookadoo says he's received some emails from Richmond High School parents praising his program on Tuesday. When Yahoo Shine called to remind him to send excerpts for this story, he had already left to catch a plane to his next speaking engagement.

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