How To Raise A Son To Respect Women’s Rights
Gender sensitization should start at home. We often ask our daughters to break stereotypes and empower them to do everything a man can do, but do we bring up our sons like our daughters? No. Unless we do that, we can’t change the way our sons think. The seed of masculine dominance is often planted in our homes. It starts right from birth; the way we choose the color of their clothes, the way we decorate their nurseries, and many other factors. Here are a few tips from experts as well as parents who are trying every day to raise their sons right to make them understand that women are entitled to equal rights.
Encourage Them To Express Their Feelings
Boys are brought up with the notion that they should always hide their feelings because it is a sign of “weakness”. As a result, they are ashamed to express their feelings. When they constantly do that starting from their childhood, they fail to connect with their emotional self and end up being less empathetic. We tell them “boys don’t cry”. Various other things are taught by society which gives young, impressionable boys the idea that being a man has a lot to do with suppressing feelings. As a result, even if they are suffering from some mental condition that might require help, they won’t be too eager to reach out to others.
Teach Them To Ask For Consent
It is important to teach kids about consent — it ideally works for both genders. But since we are talking about sons here today, make sure you teach them to ask for consent especially when they are doing something with friends from the other gender. It can be about anything; in fact, start with smaller ones like borrowing a pen, going to a movie, or giving a hug. Whatever he does that involves a girl should be done only if the girl is equally comfortable in doing it. If they start early, they will realize the importance of consent and incorporate that in every action that they do as they grow up.
Talk About Female Role Models
Usually, when we talk of heroes, only the males come in our minds. But it is time we talk about female role models to our sons, too. Ask him what he wants to be when he grows up and find out women who are doing great in that particular field. It will help him realize that women and men have equal capabilities to do things. Talk about women who are excelling in various fields in general, and make him search in Google about it. It will also help them understand that men and women do the same kind of job and hence should be paid equally.
Discuss Memes and Advertisements That Humiliate Women
The seed of toxic masculinity is deeply embedded in the foundation of our culture. Hence, it is common for our sons to come across advertisements or memes that show gender stereotypes. Fathers should take the initiative here, and instead of laughing at them, they should teach the sons what is wrong in there. For example, a meme portraying one woman body-shaming another should be condemned. Advertisements that show the two genders in a stereotyped role — for example, the women doing household chores and a man going to the office — should also be criticized. Children should be taught the right lessons while criticizing them.
Encourage Them To Stand Up For Women Who Are Being Harassed
Mothers should teach their sons to respect women as they respect their mothers or female figures in their family. From a young age, sons should be taught that there is no honor in degrading women. Instill in them the idea that a true man is one who respects women and confronts and teaches those who don’t. This will help them stand up against misogynists, harassers, and eve-teasers. When we bring up our sons in this way, the world will definitely be a better place to live in. There will be fewer incidents of atrocities on women, too.
Finally, it is important to practice what you preach. When a son finds his father sharing household chores with his mother, he will grow up to do the same with his own wife or partner. They learn better by watching than by listening. Kids are innocent; they have a fresh mind that gets corrupted by our practices and teachings. So it is important that we stop teaching them that blue is for boys, pink is for girls, football is for boys, and drawing is for girls. Teach your sons right, so that they can protest against such inequality when they see one.
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