I would like to take a minute to talk to the parents of boys. There has been a lot of attention lately about girls and what they wear. Specifically how what they wear “affects” boys and even some male staff. Heaven forbid a girl wear short shorts, or show some shoulder action. Lets all freak out over yoga pants being too “form fitting”.
Telling a girl that she can’t wear what she feels COMFORTABLE to wear because it is making boys UNCOMFORTABLE is a load of crap. If a girl feels good wearing skirts, shorts, or a potato sack, she should be allowed to wear it. This whole thing that girls shouldn’t wear clothes that might “distract boys” is absurd. We as parents, have to raise our boys to respect women. To treat them as equals, not objects. This crap only happens when boys are lead to think that they can’t control themselves because it is who they are. It is the girls fault for wearing provocative clothing. What sense does that make?
Is it her fault if she gets sexually abused too? Was she “asking for it” because she was hot and wanted to wear clothing fit for the weather? How would they feel if it was their sister? Or mother? And how is okay that men can wear shorts? Men can wear tank tops and no one freaks out…put a girl in tank top and yoga pants and everyone loses their mind.
No, this whole thing starts and ends at how they raised. If we raise our boys to think they are victims of their anatomy and they can’t control themselves then they will believe it. If however, we raise them to respect themselves and women they will. Men are not superior to women (and vise versa). Having women change the way they dress because men can’t handle seeing some leg, is putting that power in their hands. And once again, making women into objects.
So instead of having us change our skirt lengths, lets work on raising responsible, respectful boys.
Have them help out around the house. Taking away the stereotype of gender rolls is one way to put them on equal footing. My son does dishes, laundry, helps with the garden, vacuums. There is no reason to have his and her chorus.
Don’t let them say derogatory things about women, (And don’t say them yourself). In the same light, don’t let them say derogatory things about anyone. Again, it is showing we are equals. No one is better than anyone else.
Show them the great women in history. There are so many. Recently my son got into the “Who was…” series. I asked if he wanted me to get him any for the next book order. He readily replied, “Yes! Please. Just none about girls.” Wait what? Why? “Well they are boring.” Right away I set him right. I listed women who have changed the world. I also bought him one, Amelia Earhart…super cool lady! I also try and make a point of pointing out what good men AND good women are doing. When Michelle Obama was reading at the White House with President Obama for example. Or her healthy lunch campaign (though he might actually be upset with her for that.)
Don’t, as a mother, be hard on yourself. Don’t let them see that. Whether you have a boy or a girl. If they see you beat yourself up, they will think it is okay to either do it, or have someone do it to them.
Most important, teach them compassion, love, understanding. Teach them to treat others the way they want to be treated.
It is up to us to stop this from happening. It is up to us to raise respectful men.
Bonus points if they are a little weird too!