With the recent resurgence of the “Me Too” hashtag, and seeing almost every single one of my female friends, business partners, acquaintances, etc. post just the hashtag, or be brave enough to tell their story, it really got me thinking. Especially as a mom of two young boys. How do we raise these boys to be the difference, be the light, and be the support for the women in their lives?
When I posted my “Me Too” it brought back so many painful, embarrassing, and hurtful memories…and I found myself once again blaming myself for things that had happened to me. I was a well-endowed 12-year-old, and I can clearly remember being cat called as I walked home from school. I was in elementary school for god’s sake, and still, these men would shout disgusting things at me. Could they not see from my face, from my backpack, from my very awkward clothing, that I was very underage? Apparently not. And it wasn’t just men that hurt me and made me feel ashamed. I have a very vivid memory of a female teacher in high school who slut-shamed me in front of my entire class because I had a little cleavage showing (which wasn’t hard because I have cleavage in almost everything). She had me stand up in class, asked other kids if they thought my outfit was appropriate (the outfit I was super excited to wear by the way), and then said I shouldn’t dress like a slut because boys would get the wrong idea. This is the society we live in people! I switched out of her class the same day. And I won’t go into the darker experiences because I’m just not ready to discuss those on a public platform. It was hard enough to discuss those with my therapists and my husband.
I remember starting our family and praying for a boy so that our daughter wouldn’t have to experience things that I had growing up. How shitty is that? But now that I have my two boys, I constantly ask myself if I am raising them to be respectful of women, because it’s such a HUGE responsibility in my eyes. They are only 6 and 3, but I already see the way that society is shaping them, from the sexualization of everything to talking to them about what friends say at school. Us as parents have to fight all the things that they are bombarded with, in order to be Men, or be Cool, or the “locker room talk”. It’s absolutely ridiculous, and even more absurd is the way that no one wants to talk about it or bring it into the open as a discussion. We are very open in our household and we already talk about taboo (in society’s eyes) topics in an age appropriate way, so I do have hope that my boys will be amazing partners to whoever they are with in the future and stand up for the girls and women in their lives. I am so lucky to have a husband who is the epitome of an upstanding male and will help with guiding these boys. Thank god he grew up with 5 sisters and an amazing mother who taught him to be awesome!
Do any of you boy mommas have advice or wisdom? Thoughts on raising boys to not become an offender of the “me too” statistic?