I am a strong and proud feminist. I know the title has some draw backs, some negative connotations for people, but I still use it, why? Because that is exactly what I am by the true definition. I am a proud woman who wants equality. When it comes to being a feminist mama there are definitely many things I hope to teach my children as they grow. Both my son and daughter will learn they are equal and respect one another.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women will be raped at some point in their lives, 30% of women were between the age of 11 and 17 when they were first raped, and 63% of rapes are left unreported. We have a problem and teaching boys to respect women can help change this problem dramatically.
Yes, women can be the offender towards men, and I will be writing about teaching girls respecting men as well.
It can be hard to teach respect to our children, in a way we see fit, when society has its own set of standards. We see movie producers, politicians, even now the President of the United States performing horrendous sexual abuse and bragging about it. Our boys will see these and unless we teach them differently, they will think these actions are okay.
How do we teach boys to respect women?
Surround them by good, respectful, men.
Our boys, like all children, often learn first by example. Surrounding them by men that are respectful to women is important. This also means their father, if present in their life, should lead by example. They will follow their father’s lead first. Also, teachers, coaches, extended family, mentors should all show the same qualities.
As mothers, show your boys respect for yourself.
How we speak about our own bodies and other girls or women will be heard.
Be open to them about sex.
Speaking with our boys in a very accurate and open manner about sex is very important. Teaching them that sex is natural and should be mutually pleasurable. Talking to them about the good and bad about pornography, the differences between pornography and reality. Talking to them about consent, no means no, and women have every right to change their mind even at the last second.
Respect people not just girls
Really, although we do need to teach our boys to respect women, it’s not just about women. We need to teach our boys to respect people. Respect men, women, trans, any and all genders, respecting different races, body types, and abilities. To do so that means we need to do the same.
Speak up when you hear unacceptable behavior
We should not allow unacceptable, sexist behavior, happen. This may include calling out the cashier at the store or the man or women behind you in line. Calling out your own behavior when you just are not thinking and say something you probably shouldn’t. Even, calling out your child or their friends on their behavior when they do or say something unacceptable.
Teach them to be feminist
Feminist really should not be a negative title to hold for men or women. Men can and should be feminist along with any woman truly wanting equality.
Do not wait.
When we hold off certain lessons because we think our boys are too young, we miss valuable time. Boys understand and are very impressionable from a young age. Do not wait.