I don’t like to criticize other people’s parenting. What works for one family may or may not work for another family, and that’s okay. I don’t think there’s any single correct way to raise a child. Most of the time, the kids turn out pretty okay. So having said that, let me say this: parents of sons, you have failed.
Granted, not every parent of every son. But broadly, generally, yes. All of us have failed. We were so wrapped up in raising good, strong girls that we neglected to raise good, strong boys. It’s not enough to have good girls. We need to have good boys.
There is a pervasive, virulent, and (most frighteningly) casual sexism in this country. In this world. And I don’t just mean in the workforce where women still only make about 77 cents for every dollar a man makes doing comparable work, although there’s that. And I don’t just mean in trashy pop music where women are “bitches” or “hos”. Everywhere, in everything, in our very language itself, it is implied that women are less.
“Nancy-boy.” “Grow a pair.” “Don’t be a pussy.” Even, conversely, “she’s got balls.”
This doesn’t begin to cover it. And so many people don’t realize that this is a problem. They don’t realize that calling a woman a “slut” as a form of disagreement is unacceptable. They don’t understand why a woman would resent a man telling her what she can and cannot do with her own body. They don’t understand why She-Ra is sexist but He-Man isn’t. And women who speak out against sexism are called man-hating femi-nazis, dykes, sluts. They are told to shut their mouths, learn their place, get back in the kitchen. When women speak out against aggressive sexualization in the media, they are asked by detractors why then haven’t they themselves buzzed off their hair, taken off their makeup, worn figure-covering clothes. They are asked, basically, why don’t they look like men.
Is this hyperbole? No. This happens every day. Do you wonder why there isn’t gender parity in the worlds of science and technology? This is why. And this is why. And this is why. And this is why (NSFW).
So yes. We need to raise up tough, smart girls who can stand up for themselves and prove that they’re just as good. But please, for the love of God, we need to raise boys who won’t make them. Parents of sons, can we all work on that?