Raising Boys to Men in the Me Too Era.
Not just the name of a music group from the
long forgotten era of the 90’s, raising boys to men in the #MeToo era is something we need to talk about more.
When the now infamous tape was leaked during his presidential run in 2016, the view of wealthy men sexually harassing or assaulting women was not something brand new, or something shocking to the majority of women in the world. What is shocking, is that it came directly from the source, that we had shied away from it so much, that women being harassed, raped, cat-called and groped during their everyday lives was fodder for bus trips. That we’re raising boys to men that may someday be part of those conversations and laugh along.
“When you’re a star, they let you do it”President Trump, USA, on an Access Hollywood Tape about groping women.
Over the past year, as the #MeToo movement has taken hold, a steady stream of powerful men, from Hollywood celebrities to politicians to business titans have been forced to withdraw from their professional lives following allegations of sexual harassment.
While the consequences faced by the erring men has been empowering for women, it has also forced a conversation about the way to raise boys today.
The idea that our sons could one day become the very men we abhor today is a frightening thought, and something a lot of parents don’t know how to adequately tackle head-on while trying to raise boys to men.
Boys to Men – Five things to know
- DEFINE THE NATURE OF CONSENT: Boys need to learn that consent means consent, according to Dr. Roxan Saidi. No means no, and a person cannot give consent if they are unconscious.
- LANGUAGE MATTERS: Phrases like “boys will be boys” and “you play like a girl” put women on a less-than equal footing, according to psychologist Harris Stratyner. Stereotypes about how boys and girls act can unexpectedly creep into our words.
- BOTH PARENTS MATTER: How fathers treat women is important, but mothersshould model good behavior, too, Stratyner said. Degrading stay-at-home moms, for example, can teach a lasting, negative lesson. Mothers have biases, too.
- REFUSE GENDER EXPECTATIONS: The assumption that boys play with blue trains and girls play with pink dolls does not engender respect, according to mom Maria Colaco. “We don’t ever talk about ‘girls’ things’ or ‘boys’ things,’” she said.
- DON’T PAINT WITH A BROAD BRUSH: Yes, men should take accountability for their words and actions and we “should not make excuses for somebody who attempts rape” but not all accusations are accurate, said Stratyner. Not all men are predators, he said.
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