January 20, 2020
A new breakthrough in what we want in men and have to teach our boys is to have an open heart. The old-style man kept his feelings bottled up, only to explode when he was drunk or as things got overloaded. The worldwide prevalence of male violence towards women has recently become disturbingly evident. Why is it always linked to sex? Time for us to question ourselves, do we have a different set of rules for raising a son and daughter?
Indian parents unconsciously accept the gender stereotypes and restrictions. Quite often we keep a blue theme for boys and pink for girls on special occasions. Are we promoting gender inequality? I feel as parents we have failed in raising our sons as independent men.
All parents are happy to raise their daughters as independent women. We feel so proud when our daughter grows up, finds a job for herself, cooks for herself and others etc. But, are we ignorant about our sons? What are we teaching them? In our quest to uplift women, we have concentrated our focus only on women-how to educate them better, how to make them independent, how to ensure that they can survive without the help of any man. All these things are absolutely right and need to be done. But we need to educate our sons also rightly. Parents of boys should inculcate in them the concept of respecting human beings. They should be made to understand at a young age that they cannot touch somebody without their permission or pass personal comments. If this idea is cultivated early in a boy, he will never
ill-treat a woman.
As parents, we have a responsibility of raising a generation of braver and more respectful men than before. Parents must keep a check on the media. Many TV shows and movies portray women as weak subjects who forever need rescuing. Stop saying 'You know how boys are' or 'boys will be boys' or justifying rude and irresponsible behavior. Teach them to express their emotions freely. The mechanism of crying is fairly similar, regardless of gender. If your son is crying, give him a hug and appreciate his sensitivity. Encouraging boys to talk about their feelings and discussing their dilemmas will make them stronger men, not weaker. They will be more sorted and never see them as very different from women. Must make a mention, there are a few responsible sons who help in household chores and are better in delivering their duties towards women.
The new understanding of boyhood and the better kind of man we can create is going to change our world. I think if we start to raise boys and girls the same, then we would eliminate sexism. Same toys, same games, it would be a worthy and admirable effort. Teach your son and daughter to cook together, so that in future when the need arises they can manage themselves. As a society, we must create a man as a stronger person, more capable of dealing with problems or troubles, when it arises.
All men are influenced by their upbringing influence and social environment. Sadly sexual assault and abuse has become very common. The celebrities, politicians and other well-known men still continue to harm women. It is an important but fragile moment. The media’s coverage of sexual harassment and assault appears to be a turning point. But, for real change to happen we all need to change and restructure the cultural beliefs that we have internalized consciously or not. Let us empower men to behave well with empowered women.