Absolutely LOVED LOVED LOVED this piece in The New York Times.
We’re now more likely to tell our daughters they can be anything they want to be — an astronaut and a mother, a tomboy and a girlie girl. But we don’t do the same for our sons.
It’s soooo true. Society spends so much of its time telling boys to be tough and resourceful that we forget to tell them what it means to be a decent man. Ive never read anything that puts the problem into such a good context before. Basically, the article (which is well worth the read, if you can get past the NYT firewall), says that we shouldn’t be assigning the gneder roles to boys that we do. Let them play with dolls and dress in pink clothes, if they want. We’ve developed stereotypes that that’s not OK, but it hasn’t always been the case.
We treat girls differently to boys from a very early age. I remember that my brothers almost never had to wash up or do chores after dinner, but my sister and I did all the time. We also got scolded all the time about doing our homework and staying out late, but they never did. We had to go to church on Sunday, they got to play football. At the time, i didn’t think to much about it. It was just the way it was in our house, and I guess we all turned out allright anyway.
But now I realise that it’s a bigger problem than just in my family. If everyone’s doing it, then generations of men will grow up thinking that they’re somehow better than women. Or at the very least, they’re different. And they’re not. We’re all the same.
Why shouldn’t my brothers have had to do the same share of the housework as my sister and me? What made them so special? (Don’t get me wrong – I love both my brothers, but I don’t think my parents did them any favors. If they don’t learn to value the role that women play in our world from a very young age, I think it’s a really difficult thing for them to learn later.)
Do yourself a solid and read the piece. And if you’ve got a boyfriend or a husband, make him read it too. The world is never going to change for girls until we realise that the feminism problem starts at an early age.