#MeToo, what a powerful message. Spreading awareness and supporting woman to stand up and say it’s not OK, and more importantly that they are not alone; we are not alone.
It’s not OK to be randomly touched, called at or made jokes just because of our gender. It is an incredibly important message and a topic often discussed amongst my friends when we think about raising our girls to be strong women. Helping the next generation of woman to stand up and know what’s acceptable and how to deal with what isn’t. I am so conscience raising my daughter to believe in herself, to know that success and self worth are not tied into appearance or others’ view of us. To dream big and know she can be whatever she wants to be.
However, where do our boys stand? Are we doing them the same service? If we want a world where woman are respected then we must also teach our boys to become those men. To know what’s acceptable behaviour and to help them express themselves articulately and gently,without others questioning their masculinity. This starts early!
A boy throws something or hits someone, “boys will be boys”!!
A boy pulls a girls hair in the playground, “he must secretly like her!”
A boy gets angry and lashes out, “that’s how boys deal with emotions!”
A boy is sensitive or cries, “man up son.” Or worse, “Don’t be a sissy/ girl”
This is totally ridiculous, and a completely taught concept!
If we live in a society where boys can’t cry, feel empathy, or know how to respectfully play with girls he might like; how on earth can we expect them to be men who know how to treat women?
#MeToo is liberating women but we need to challenge the way we, as a society, create boys, who become these men.
We have all experienced statements like ‘You know he doesn’t know how to express himself’, ‘He is only angry because he’s upset’. ’You can’t expect a man to know where the washing machine is’. Why? Why do we make excuses for men? Where is the accountability attributed to men’s actions?
What does this teach our sons or daughters? That ‘boys will be boys’?
Our boys are better than this! They are just as able to be accountable, to act in an appropriate way, to know how to treat women. To make excuses is doing them a disservice. My son is already thoughtful and polite, he is 2, and I expect this to continue to when he becomes a man.
It may seem a strange issue to discuss for a baby massage teacher, but it is so relevant, as our ways of talking about our boys and girls starts in infancy. Girls break wind and we joke “that’s not very lady like”, boys look at a baby girl and we joke “he’s a lady’s man”. This of course, is not meant with any subtext, but it does shape the world in which girls are one thing and boys another. The start of which behaviour is allowed and which isn’t, based on gender.
Our children are always watching; they are sponges. Whilst we may be aware of how we raise our girls to overcome these issues, it is our boys we must support to be the men who know what’s OK. Men who are not excused with the saying ‘boys will be boys’. Men who treat women respectfully, are gentle, appropriate and know that we may be different yet we can still be equal. To change the view of being masculine and male is to not be accountable or responsible.