If there’s one thing I’m especially cognizant of while raising two boys, it’s making sure they have an understanding of how to treat woman, or, more specifically, how not to treat women. I want them to not discount a woman based on her gender, and to see her as an equal, not a commodity. I’ve noticed that my sons both have female friends, and I don’t like to tease about any nonexistent relationships there. (First, it embarrasses them and second, I feel that it implies that relationships among the opposite sex couldn’t possibly be platonic.) Being a woman in a predominately male field, and enjoying things that have been historically associated with things guys like, it gets tiresome to feel like I need to prove my worth. The first time I heard “wow, I didn’t know girls like to play video games”, I had to keep my mouth shut and just smile and say “yep”. I hate stereotypes of my gender. I hate that someone else once determined what I should be interested in and what I should like to do. I would like to believe that my sons don’t have any preconceived notions like this because they see how I react when I’m put inside that box. They see me choosing not to live according to some patriarchal design of what a woman’s role should be.
But it’s more than that. At some point in their lives, they will become aware of the atrocities committed against their fellow human being. My goal is that they become the type of men who will not turn a blind eye when they see these atrocities being committed, that they take action. I want them to know that it is not okay when women are beaten, raped, threatened, trafficked, or have their basic humans rights denied, and it’s certainly not okay if they come across someone who treats women poorly. If they realize that have the capability of taking a stand and working for justice, I know I will have done something right.
This post (+ my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a compensated program initiated by Women Online/The Mission List to raise awareness about the Half the Sky. All commentary and opinions are, of course, my own.