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Can we have a general chat about raising awesome sons?

(49 Posts)
SwissWank Fri 29-Jul-16 16:22:56

How we can raise feminist sons in a patriarchy? Thoughts, suggestions?

Notheretofight Fri 29-Jul-16 16:37:18

Marking my place. I need ideas about how I can talk to my boys about inequalities without making them feel as if there is something inherently wrong with them.

Someone said to me on another thread that I shouldn't compare their behaviour to girls. Do you think it would be better to use male role models as examples to compare behaviour against e.g. do you see how that father is with his children don't you think those children are happier that they get equal time and attention from their mum and dad. Not a great example but I hope you get the general idea.

Notheretofight Fri 29-Jul-16 16:37:57

Inequality between men and women I mean.

SpaceKablooie Fri 29-Jul-16 16:41:41

Oh, I'd be very interested to hear other people's ideas about this.

DS is only 5, but he's picked up on the idea of girls / boys colours and toys etc., I suppose from school. We talk about it with him when he says something like that, and he seems to have stopped. We try to read a range of books where girls are the main characters, and we tell him about all of the jobs that everyone can do, irrespective of their gender. I think the most important thing that DH and I do is to share household jobs equally though.

SwissWank Fri 29-Jul-16 16:45:16

You can not compare their behavior to girls as a group but still compare to specific girls.

I also think there are times when you have to use "girls" as a class to explain something.

So I would say Judy, Beth and Jenny were doing really good tidying up at nursery today. Why weren't you and John doing the same?

But then I might say, "Nursery separated the girls and boys and let the girls play dollies and had the boys play with superhero action figures. Why do you think that is? Is it fair for girls to play 'mummy' and for boys to play at superheroes?"

Notheretofight Fri 29-Jul-16 16:49:50

That's helpful Space. My children's father (ex) did not do this and would not want think it important that they learn this either. Do you think that me explicitly teaching them that household jobs should be shared equally would override what they would see of his attitude? Or would he have more influence because he is a male role model?

SwissWank Fri 29-Jul-16 16:51:48

The thing is that sexism will prevail no matter what you do at home so you do need to hammer it home a bit. For example.

We watched the old Ghostbusters with ds,dd and dh and then my dh said to my daughter, "The next one will have all girls" to which my son replied... 'that's a bit sexist having all girls'.

He literally just watched the ALL MALE cast and had no issues and no comment but an all girl one (being unusual) was noticeable and sexist. He's done it lots of times before too with other children's TV. Oh it's all girls..

He is listening to me talk about equality but only seeing it when it affects him because men being everywhere is the normal situation.

So the way people say a girl band for a rock band with all female members even though no one would ever call Oasis a boy band.

Notheretofight Fri 29-Jul-16 16:51:59

Basically would they listen to what I say or copy what he does?

NutellaLawson Fri 29-Jul-16 16:53:15

"Look at the magpie. What's she doing? Oh, she flew away". My pet hate is the 'male as default' in our culture.
Or like the dad I overheard this week. "look Millie, a cow. What's he eating?"

SwissWank Fri 29-Jul-16 16:57:46

notthere have you ever heard of "Free to be you and me" it's an old book from the seventies about sexism and it explicitly explains to children in a really great way. If you can't find the book some of the cartoon version is on youtube. It's a bit retro but the kids will enjoy it if they are still small.

megletthesecond Fri 29-Jul-16 16:57:50

nothere I've explained inequality very simply so far. Explained it's historical, men are stronger than women and women have babies so the power balance shifted in favour of men working outside the home for money and it's still not equal yet. But I've also told them that if men and women are equal it's better for everyone.

SwissWank Fri 29-Jul-16 16:59:11

Oh that's a good one Nutella. I also change the sex of characters in books as they are overwhelmingly male for no reason

(lol at the man cow. I felt the same during bee movie when all the bees you saw out and about were hard male bees... Uh I think not)

MuffyTheUmpireSlayer Fri 29-Jul-16 17:02:35

Watching this thread with great interest. I have already been raising DD as a mini-feminist but I'm now pregnant with a boy and have been thinking about this a lot. I'm from a very female-dominated family and all my friends with sons are very much "I'll do anything for my little prince" so I don't really have much to go on!

LilacSpunkMonkey Fri 29-Jul-16 17:04:28

DS1 starts secondary school in September and I know a lot of the boys help going with are already 'alpha male' types (I know this because they're going there from my school) and I'm hoping he doesn't have much to do with them because we've had trouble with sexual language aimed at their female peers and I've had to give some of them a real telling off for incredibly disrespectful language aimed at the female teachers before they've even arrived at the new school!

DS1 is very compassionate and switched on and points out 'token girls' in films and TV shows already. He's very much mine, as opposed to his Dad (we're not together) and he's my film buddy (we love Marvel, D, Harry Potter) so we're very close. He still loves me reading to him and pulls a 'yuck' face when there's a romantic moment on TV.

I'm worried about when and how to tackle the porn thing with him, being respectful to future girlfriends and female friends, consent, etc. I don't want to bombard him too young but I'm fairly certain he's going to be exposed to porn in Y7 (on mobile phones) because DD (who is 14) told me that pretty much every boy in her Y7 group had watched porn by the end of the year. That is terrifying. They are 11 and 12 and being exposed to hardcore stuff.

I'm babbling, I know, but I'm worried.

Mamaka Fri 29-Jul-16 17:05:16

Marking my place also. Don't have much to add yet except that "just love them" as I keep seeing on other threads is, without any doubt whatsoever, NOT ENOUGH.

Ivydalegirl Fri 29-Jul-16 17:10:05

So who do you think are raising these 'non' awesome sons then ?

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 29-Jul-16 17:13:50

Or like the dad I overheard this week. "look Millie, a cow. What's he eating?"

A cow is a female animal. As with human females, cows are equipped with ovaries, uteri and milk producing glands to feed their offspring.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 29-Jul-16 17:17:06

Apologies if you intended to highlight the point the father was talking nonsense but if you meant it as an example of breaking down assumptions it's nonsense.

SwissWank Fri 29-Jul-16 17:19:30

I'm confident that was exactly her point lass.

Not sure Ivy? Have you got an opinion on it?

fusionconfusion Fri 29-Jul-16 17:19:58

Anyone not aware of inequality is likely to raise sons who may be awesome in many ways but who will perpetuate the patriarchy blindly because of socialisation processes. And those of us who are may also but at least we're going to fight the good fight.

SwissWank Fri 29-Jul-16 17:22:23

ilac porn is my biggest concern. I feel like that can undue all our good work in one fell swoop. I will start discussing it with my boys before they see it though. (I hope!)

SwissWank Fri 29-Jul-16 17:25:12

I'd hate to raise 'colour blinds' kids for example. As my kids are white and that means they don't realise that because they aren't racist that many people are dealing with racism all the time. I want them to know that the black woman colleague they have... worked her ass off to get where she was.

weaselwords Fri 29-Jul-16 17:35:16

I find TV and film a good place to discuss sexism and I pointed out that test of whether a woman talks to another woman about anything other than men and they got why I was interested in it at quite a young age. The Hunger Games books were devoured by both my boys and it was good to talk to them about Peeta's role in them.

I had quite a long conversation by my eldest's standards around consent after asking my friend when she broached the subject of sexual violence and how to stay safe with her daughter. She looked startled and said pretty much from the time her daughter started school and I felt wrong to never have talked to my son about it. I'm trying to have the same conversation with the 14 yr old but he finds it icky and scuttles off.

SwissWank Fri 29-Jul-16 17:41:30

We talk about consent but not sexual consent (still v young). The kids don't kiss or hug family they don't want to and they are told to ask before they hug their friends and to stop immediately if someone says no to any game they are playing. I personally am not v comfortable talking about sex with them and I know I will be awkward but going to have to pretend I am comfortable!

Notheretofight Fri 29-Jul-16 17:49:38

See that's the sort of thing I have to think about with my sons. My ds are under 5 and are both very tactile with me. So they will hug or grab certain body parts thinking that it's funny. With my younger one I just ignore it but with my 4 year old I have started saying we shouldn't touch people's private parts without their permission. Or its rude to touch someone's bottom or chest you wouldn't like someone to do it to you. But I always tell them to hug or kiss family members when they meet them or leave them though I don't force it if they really don't want to.

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