Lifestyle

International Women’s Day: Raising Boys to Make a Change

I’ve heard a lot of ladies this week talking about how proud they are to be raising strong women; to be able to teach them about our history and how one day, we will all be equals.

I’ve seen a lot of posts and pictures and promises from mothers to their daughters about how they will work their damnest to ensure they live in an equal opportunity between the sexes world when they become young women themselves.

I’ve felt a huge amount of empowerment from mothers sharing their hopes for their daughters. Hoping they will be empathetic, hoping they will have a positive mental body image, hoping they will be fierce, hoping they will stand up for what they believe in and hoping they will be confident throughout the tide of emotions coming their way.

I have loved being on social media this week and being filled to the brim with pride on how far things have come for women.

If there is but one thing I missed, in all this positivity and striving for further change; it is what International Women’s Day should mean for men.

Why? Because the two people in my life that I most want to share my pride and empowerment with on International Women’s Day are men. My rock and littler rock. My men.

My men who support me in all that I do. My men who embrace me in my most vulnerable and emotional self. My men who promote my body confidence in a way that I never can on my own.

My men who also potentially could feel social constraints to suppress their emotions; to keep a stiff upper lip when they want to break down and cry. My men who perhaps don’t get the chance to practice empathy in its fullest form due to how they may be perceived by other men. My men who may end up showing anger instead since bottling up feelings still seems to be what the “should do”. My men who may feel lost when they are no longer the bread winner, the hunter, the provider. My men who may feel over-taken by a new generation of women as they are better educated than ever before. These women can “do it all” and “don’t need no man”.

Our boys don’t necessarily need to be told to pave the way for women in order to make a change in society. Our boys need to be better supported in the expression of emotions; to be allowed to showcase them in every way. Our boys need the time to embrace nurturing roles, to be encouraged to hug, to love and experience the joy of looking after children. Our boys need to spend a monitored amount of time of video games before they lose the fundamental ability to socialise.

My messages to Leo in relation to International Women’s Day (not an exhaustive list):

– Big Boys do cry. It’s ok to cry whenever you like because it’s a big part of ensuring you know how to deal with your feelings.

– You don’t hit anyone or anything. Not just no hitting girls. You are to be kind to all living things.

– Boys wear any and all colours that they like because colours make us happy.

– Daddies don’t babysit. Daddies play an equal role in bringing up their children.

– Boy did not do good. Boy doesn’t need to “do good” to feel appreciated in a relationship.

– Anyone can be what they want to be as long as they work hard & are kind to people.

In summary, I vow that as a part of the important role that I play in striving for further equality that I will fully support my men in the journey (as they do I). At the point when we finally focus on both genders equally then we will truly have reached a place of Gender Equality.

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