Monday, March 23, 2009

And what is our culture doing to our precious boys?



It is important to recognize that objectifying girls and women affects boys. And what is our culture doing to our precious boys? They are just as fragile and malleable as our girls. Perhaps the biggest action we can take, is not to ONLY focus on our girls. Because we recognize the problem with our girls. It's everywhere. You can't make a trip to the grocery store without being assaulted with visual images - whether on billboards, magazines and in the way girls are dressing.

So, how can we raise our boys to respect their sisters, their mothers, their friends? I think that is where we have to start. Not just with our girls, but with our boys. Not only do we have to be their filters, but we have to have age appropriate discussions with them, and start the conversation. And we have to shake ourselves awake - out of our inertia, brush off our laziness or reluctance to address this, and go after the media where we can. Our children's self esteem is on the line here. And if things are going to change it has to start with us.


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21 comments:

blognut said...

You are exactly right. We have a responsibility to our boys as well as our girls.

Kalynne Pudner said...

Amen! I remember hearing of a group of male college students who had charged the university with sexual harassment (the current legal definition is any word/gesture/touch/behavior of a sexual nature that creates a hostile working environment). The specific offense? Allowing the female students to attend class in revealing outfits (halter tops, Soffe shorts, mini-mini skirts, bare midriffs, etc.).

Jen said...

Very good point, JCK! As parents of boys, we have a responsibility to teach them to respect females, and to realize that their worth is more than looks and sex appeal. I think the change has to start with us.

Manic Mommy said...

It's every bit as much our responsibility to raise our boys to respect women as to make sure our girls are respected.

Cafe Pasadena said...

They need a father & mother to teach them - both perspectives.

If they hang out only with other males for too long, it increases their odds toward destruction - to others and/or themselves.

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

This has been something that has been bugging me for a while now. Boys and girls learn so different and these days schools are all geared toward how a girl learns--sitting still and doing crafts while boys like to move!!!

Kizz said...

I think it was Jen Lemen who wrote a bit about this last year in relation to her trip to Africa. I'm supposed to be in bed already so I haven't looked up the link but I remember it moving me.

Kizz said...

I couldn't go to sleep without finding the info. Here's the link to the post I wrote that has the Jen Lemen info in it:
http://117hudson.blogspot.com/2008/07/i-think-lot-about-kids.html

painted maypole said...

just yesterday MQ and I walked into a class my husband was teaching at church to drop something (requested) off, and realized it was all boys when the other teacher said "shhh... we have girls on the premises" I made a joke that they should have a "no girls allowed" sign posted, dropped off the item to my hubby, and left. Later I apologized for interrupting what I knew was a sex talk with junior and senior high youth. (the girls were off in another room...) But hubby said it was good. He asked the boys to imagine how he will react in a few years, when MQ is their age, and the boys are looking at her inappropriately. Objectifying her. Treating her as if she is there for their enjoyment. He asked them to imagine how they will feel when they are fathers and boys look at their daughters that way. And encouraged them to treat all girls the way they will want their daughters to be treated. He thinks it made a great example.

flutter said...

I think it is just as tough for boys, I really really do

Angeline said...

Totally agree, and it has to start young, beginning with behaviour and tone of speech.... before deeper values can be 'injected' into them...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You're right about the importance of talking to both boys and girls. For me lyrics are key--I don't stop them from listening, but we talk about the words and the message.

It's also so important that their male role model both show them how to treat girls/women and talk to them explicitly about it.

barbra said...

AMEN!

happygeek said...

I've often thought about locking them in their rooms till they are 18. But apparently that's not possible.
So we talk. We talk about respect a lot.
My husband models respect to our boys and we model what a good healthy relationship looks like.
We carefully filter what comes in the house and when we can't screen what they see, we talk some more.

Janet said...

I'm right there with you. I only hope I can do a good job with both of them.

Ginaagain said...

And how do we help the boys who have been raised to respect women but are finding that the girls they date don't respect themselves? It's not a new problem but in my house it's the issue I'm most focused on as I catch glimpses of my teenaged son battling temptation.

skywind said...

Whether it is a boy or a girl, have been affected by the surrounding environment.
Health information
Humor & Fun World

phd in yogurtry said...

I so agree. Girls AND boys need education and awareness. And we want Dad to be a good role model, backing up the message that Mom is trying to teach.

Andrea Frazer - Pass the Zoloft said...

I am with you on this. I am also proud to say that my kids are best friends. My son worships my daughter and vice versa. I always tell them that they are the best friends they will ever have. It's crucial that Stink be kind to Pip so that she chooses someone as awesome as him for her mate one day should she choose to get married or whatnot. I am not saying I'm a perfect parent. And yes, they argue. But mostly it's pure love, and I'm so proud of that.

Margaret said...

According to the book Odd Girl Out, the worst thing you can call a boy, especially my middle school, is a girl, in other words boys define their budding masculinity as that which is not feminine. Things that are too feminine are "gay," boys that are too feminine are "fags." I think one of the best ways to help boys treat girls (and boys) with respect, is to help them not to be homophobic. When my kids hear something or someone described as gay, I've taught them to say "gay is not an insult."

Reluctant Blogger said...

I think talking has limited impact. I remember my parents talking to me but I learnt to appear to listen but didn't really. I thought my parents were from a different planet. But I did take on board the way I saw them behaving without having to think about that. And when that is repeated year in year out some of it rubs off.

For me, I think that is most important for my children to see good role modelling. I don't live with their father but we are together a lot and talk about all sorts on an equal basis. We do much the same things in life - similar status workwise, both have our competences and incompetences none of which are gender specific. I hope that they see that their role in life is determined by their desire to do something and ability in that area.

But who knows? it's too early to say. I try to be a relaxed parent and don't stress too much.

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