I am so proud to see this movement of trying to teach young boys how to grow into respectful men. I’m glad we are finally in a place to address the taboo issue of toxic masculinity and ripping apart the term “boys will be boys.” Hopefully over time we will see a generation of men who value women and honor equality over misogyny.
But while we place so much emphasis on reshaping the ways we raise boys to become honorable men, I would ask…
How are we showing up to teach our girls to become honorable women?
As a mother and also a woman who can claim #metoo, I’m concerned…
that we are teaching young girls that exposing your body and seeking attention is ok because “boys” need to learn to control and behave themselves.
that the term “empowerment” is becoming an excuse to normalize overtly sexual behavior before so many young minds have caught up to their mature bodies.
that simply blaming men for misogyny will be used as an excuse to avoid responsibility for the actions of many women who perpetuate these ideologies, inadvertently passing them on to the next generation.
that narcissism is being masked behind an Instagram filter with a hash tag “self-love” rather than acknowledging it’s quest for superficial validation.
that our participation in normalizing “hook up” culture prolongs the cycle of dehumanizing each other, desensitizing the sacredness of sex, and creating conflict and confusion in a young woman’s self-esteem and sexual identity.
That we are abusing a system that penalizes good fathers when emotions take flight during separation.
That we are a divided species, dwindling on different pages in this book of life, leaving behind uncertainty for the young women who look up to us each and everyday.
You see, it takes both men and women to create sustainable change. We cannot in the same breath bare all our skin, cake on bright make up, take endless selfies and say that we don’t want to be looked at wrongly or objectified, when we are in fact creating ourselves to become objects of speculation.
We cannot demand respect from others if we aren’t speaking or behaving respectfully ourselves.
We cannot shout to the ends of the earth “love me for who I am!” if we spend most of our time trying to be someone else and seeking validation in all the wrong places.
We cannot blast our breasts on social media and claim the #freethenipple movement as empowering, not expect undesirable responses, and at the same time ask our teenage girls to keep themselves covered.
Day in and day out, we are painting a very skewed perspective of who we are and who we want young women to become.
Yes, our culture has a history of men who quite frankly have been assholes. But in all fairness, there are many unapologetic women who have behaved in the same nature and used their “femininity” to lure in an get what they want from men. The only way human behavior (good or bad) continues, is if it’s consistently or inadvertently reinforced.
Let’s put it this way [at the risk of ruffling feathers]….
cat calling proceeds when women respond. Pornography is taken to the next level when women are willingly participating. “Sugar daddies” exist when there are women comprising their self worth to chase after money and status.
If we want to SOLVE the problem, we have to collectively stop being part of it. If you are feminist then you stand for equality. If you stand for equality then let’s acknowledge that we have as much work to do as the rest of the world.
Instead of spending so much time and energy focusing on the men who don’t “show up” for women, let’s praise the good men who do and ask ourselves whether or not we are “showing up” for ourselves.
I will be the first to admit that I have been guilty of all of the above. But as I learn and grow into the woman I know I have always been capable of becoming, my hope is that others will learn from my mistakes.
I firmly believe that in this life, we draw in what we put out. If you want respect, live respectfully. If you want love, BE love. If you want to be understood, seek to understand, because in the end- the greatest catalyst for change is becoming the change ourselves.
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