It's come to my attention there are people out there that don't like the gender equality #likeagirl movement. To push back, #likeaboy was introduced on social media, primarily to make fun of this movement that was introduced to empower girls and women everywhere.
I have to say though, #likeaboy could serve a great purpose. There are issues that trouble me deeply as a Mom of three boys. Perhaps together we can change the #likeaboy conversation.
Meet my son Will. He's three years old. He's my sensitive boy, funny and kind. When he falls down, he needs holding an extra long time. If I speak too sharply, he'll be in tears. He's our cuddler, the one that crawls in with us every night.
I know I have to be gentle with this little soul.
Will loves his Cabbage Patch doll, Elfred. Will likes feeding Elfred, swaddling him, putting him down for "naps" in laundry baskets. I tuck them in together at night and can't leave the room unless I've given them both kisses.
The nurturing instinct is strong in this little boy.
Will also LOVES to dance. His favorite songs are "Happy" and "All About That Bass." (You know the ones I'm talking about!!)
I'm thinking about putting Will into dance. I know he will love it. I also find myself wondering how long he could pursue it before another boy calls him a "fag."
You might think I'm crazy, but my five-year-old has already been taunted about being "gay" after innocently telling some older children "I don't like girls, only boys!"
So what if he is gay?
So what if he isn't?
Only a hateful, homophobic attitude would use the word "gay" in a negative sense. When children are talking this way, they've learned it from somewhere.
I wish my son could always love his doll #likeaboy.
I wish he could always dance his heart out #likeaboy.
I don't ever want him to stop expressing his emotions #likeaboy. It's touching and beautiful.
I don't every want him to stop cuddling #likeaboy. He obviously has a strong desire to be physically close to the people he loves most.
But unfortunately #likeaboy isn't associated with any of these things in our "masculine" culture.
Please don't put my three-year-old son in a box because he likes dolls and dancing. Just let him be himself.
How long do I have? How old will he be when the harsh reality of our society grabs hold of him, squashes his imagination and creativity, and makes him put up emotional walls?
My dream for him (and all my boys) is that they can pursue their interests and talents no matter how "masculine" or "feminine" they may be without fear of judgement or social isolation.
And perhaps one day, if my son so chooses, he can become a hair stylist, go to nursing school, or he can stay at home and raise children while his partner works.... #likeaman
Yes there are many equality issues facing women today. There are also some serious issues that predominantly affect men.
- Boys are falling behind in school.
- In certain subcategories of human trafficking, male victims outnumber females.
- Ten percent of sexual assault victims are male, and they are less likely to disclose it, blaming themselves for not being "strong enough" (this does not account for prison or military rapes).
- Fighting the image of a "man's body" in the media.
- "Bigorexia" as described by the talented James Fell.
- How about the fact that our war veterans are being treated as disposable? There is no mental health support when they return home and as a result there are more deaths from suicides than there are deaths from the actual combat in the United States, Canada and Australia. TWENTY-TWO American veterans are taking their lives EVERY SINGLE DAY!
Our boys need empowering too. This why we need to change the #likeaboy conversation.
#likeagirl AND #likeaboy can be used for good. They should not be used to divide us.
And NO child should be put in a gender box.
As far as I'm concerned #likeahuman, we should be working on solving all of these issues together.
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