TO GET ORGANISED (and out the door in time)
EASY STEPS YOUR FAMILY The holiday’s over and it’s back to the daily grind. That means getting everyone off to crèche and work with no major meltdowns (and on time). It can be done! These expert tips will get your family running like a well-oiled machine
In the days of your own schooling, you may have been told that a boy who hit you or pulled your hair or otherwise touched you did it “because he likes you”, and that that explained and excused his behaviour. If you think about it, what does that message actually teach our children? It’s really jam-packed with subliminal attitudes. For a start, it tells girls that they don’t have a choice in deciding who may touch their bodies and when. It teaches boys that they don’t have to ask permission to touch someone, that you may coerce them, and that violence is acceptable.
Says Joanna Schroeder on website babble.com via goodmenproject: “Boys are perfectly capable of respecting other people’s bodies, possessions, and space. But every time they hear us excuse their bad behaviour as part of boy life, they learn that they are not only above the rules, but also that boys cannot control their impulses.”
Consent is a hugely important principle to teach boys, as well as girls,
You may have heard the term “rape culture” and wondered how it applies to your life. It’s what happens when we shame victims of rape (by asking what clothing they were wearing or how much alcohol they had to drink, rather than simply blaming the only person who did something wrong: the rapist). It’s when we “slut” shame – making women feel bad for having consensual sex, while similar rules do not apply to men and boys.
You can try to teach your boy that it is not only a woman’s responsibility to protect herself from men, but that it is everybody’s responsibility not to behave in ways that other people need protection from. Do not comment on what women are wearing in a disapproving, “slut”-shaming way.
Think about whether you teach your boys to protect women and your girls to be modest. As you begin to decode media messages, you may notice this insidious attitude everywhere – even in a schoolyard rule that girls must enter the classroom first. (Why should one gender be separated and given special treatment?)
Fathers sometimes joke that, when you have a girl, you need to acquire a “shotgun” to scare potential boy suitors away. Let’s examine the attitudes that make such a joke work: it suggests that boys are always bound to be the sexual initiators, and the girls’ job is to resist that sexual contact. This leaves no space for girls to discover and explore their own sexuality, in their own time. And it certainly suggests boys are sexually incontinent, unable to control their desires. It also artificially rushes boys and shapes their interactions with girls, even though they may have had no particular sexual desire for or intention with a particular girl. Lastly, it assumes both children are heterosexual, while they may not be.
These attitudes suggest it is standard that boys will try to “take” sex and girls must try to “resist”, but need male protection in the forms of their fathers to do so.
It is, of course, much more difficult and frightening to figure relationships out mutually, on a case by case basis, as individuals. No wonder we often revert to stereotype instead of showing our vulnerabilities and risk