Newsflash: oppressive gender roles hurt men too. The second we swaddle a baby boy in blue, we start to tell them what they must be – and we never really stop. This method of making a man is so terribly effective that even a 9-year-old boy can tell you exactly how aggressive, strong, and stoic he’s expected to be.
Whether he wants to be those things is a different story.
When a group of Grade 4 boys at a White Ribbon conference were asked to make a list of the things they didn’t like about being boys, their answers were more enlightening – and crushing – than an hours-long academic discussion about patriarchy could ever be:
“Suppost to like vilence.”
“Not suppost to cry.”
The most powerful statement – “not being able to be a mother” — was expanded upon in more detail in the original article:
He explained that when you see commercial for a baby dolls, it’s always girls playing with the dolls and how boys don’t get to be mothers.
I said “…but you could be a Father? That’s what you could do…be a dad!”
He looked at me with a confused look like I spoke in another language.
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