snorkel_maiden: (Leo)
[personal profile] snorkel_maiden
This post has been coalescing in my mind for a while.

1 in 3 women will be raped or suffer serious sexual assault during their lives, and virtually all of the people doing this are men. A much smaller proportion of men also suffer sexual assault and rape, and again the large majority of the offenders are men.

I don't for a second think that men are bad, or evil, or genetically pre-disposed to sexual violence, or anything like that. Some of them probably are, but then so are some women. Obviously (!) not all boys commit these crimes but if 1 in 3 women are assaulted, that's a LOT of men whose attitudes are leading them seriously astray. And if they aren't pre-disposed to violence, we (society as a whole) must be doing something wrong in terms of how we are raising these boys and how their attitudes to sex are being formed.

This problem isn't going away at the moment, which means that the 'traditional' ways of educating about sex are clearly not working. Which means that I, as a parent of a boy, am responsible for doing something different.

So what will I do differently? I will teach Leo about sex early on. Puberty is way too late; his attitudes to women and girls will be largely fixed by then. Also talking to a 3 year old about sex is dramatically less embarrassing to everyone than talking to a 13 year old! So he will grow up knowing the mechanics, but more importantly than that I will teach him about consent, and how dangerous it is to assume consent. I will teach him to ASK, and to know that anything less than an enthusiastic YES should be taken as a NO. I will teach him to think about his attitudes to himself as well, and his self respect and self esteem, and I'll have him think about living with himself if he puts his own needs over the person he wants to sleep with.

Part of my loathing of the pink / blue divide comes into this too. Boys shouldn't be learning from the toddler years that girls are different, separate, and somehow other. That seems to me to be so dangerous. He needs to learn that people are people, and that everyone owns their own bodies, and that everyone is deserving of equal respect. And again this is partly why I dress him in pink sometimes.

I don't expect there's anything particularly new about this. But I find it useful sometimes to write out how I feel about things.

Date: 2013-05-02 10:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misspotsitt.livejournal.com
I approve!

Date: 2013-05-02 10:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandokai.livejournal.com
Good ideas...

Date: 2013-05-02 02:41 pm (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
Thanks for writing about this (and for doing it!).

Date: 2013-05-02 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spoofed.livejournal.com
Yes. I have been open with the boys about sex, in an age appropriate way, from the beginning. And my biggest message to them about interpersonal relationships is "we do not touch anyone who does not want to be touched and we do not have to let anyone touch us if we do not want to". I let them see me being irate about the presentation of women and girls in most media and I explain why I am so angry. I do have some trouble pushing the "there are no real differences between boys and girls" message. I mean, I *do* reiterate that, over and over, but it does not seem to sink in. Even my younger son, aged 4 and in school nursery, says he does not like girls and that girls are silly- without being able to explain gender to me at all! When I ask him to tell me what makes someone a girl or a boy, or what girls have or do that boys don't, he has no idea. He hasn't even linked genital differences with gender yet as far as I can work out. Yet he says he doesn't like girls...

Date: 2013-05-03 12:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nakedfaery.livejournal.com
I have tried to do similar with Nathan. We've always used anatomically correct terms since birth. So if the worst did happen, he'd have the words he needs to describe it.

I've always taught him to be open and honest about his body, to come to me with any issues about sex or bodies, to know what rape and sexual assault is, how to respect people's boundaries and only touch them with their permission etc. He's still at the age where he's repulsed by the idea of sex, so I'm glad that I've taught him all this before hormones kick in. I don't discourage him from expressing emotion or nor do I encourage him to express his emotion more aggressively as 'boys are like that'.

I also think I've raised him with a healthy respect and appreciation for women. We don't do gendered toys or clothes in our house and he's pulled up on any socialised gender divide crap that he's absorbed from any other places, including misogynist swear words and insults that have made it into the popular vernacular.

I think you're doing brilliantly. Raising feminist boys can be a bit hard work, you're flying in the face of the 'boys will be boys' brigade. So rock on :-D

I've been sexually assaulted, a very high proportion of my close friends of all genders have been raped or sexually assaulted. I don't ever want my children to make anyone feel the way we've been made to feel.

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Date: 2016-01-28 02:17 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
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Date: 2016-02-14 02:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] allaboutweather.livejournal.com
Teach him "no sex before marriage" too. It worked for me when my parents taught me that relatively early on! :)

I don't agree with dressing him in pink. If he's going to school, that might lead to him getting made fun of, unless he's still a baby or toddler, then what would he care? XD

Date: 2016-02-14 02:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snorkel-maiden.livejournal.com
Teach him no sex before marriage?? LOL. You (obviously) don't know me at all. He still wears pink- he's 5, and the only comments about it have come from adults.

Date: 2016-02-14 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] allaboutweather.livejournal.com
Ah. Whatever floats your boat i guess. :)

Date: 2016-12-29 02:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] z3bulin.livejournal.com
I feel like I could have written something similar to this (and may have, on FB at one point). When we were expecting, I had hoped for a daughter, and then found out we had a little boy. And, while I know I'd have loved our child no matter what, I knew at that point that I had an opportunity to help teach my son what things like consent and equality really mean.

He turns three next month, and one of his favorite colours is pink. He has a pair of purple skinny jeans with rhinestones on them that I bought at Costco (the stretchy kind from the girl's section) that look amazing on him, and we've been teaching him things like how it's okay to say "no", and if he wants us to stop tickling him, as soon as he says "no" or "stop" we do it immediately because he is in control of his own body.

We have a daughter on the way (next month *knocks on wood*), and we plan on raising her the same way.

Nice to meet you!

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Date: 2017-01-22 01:59 pm (UTC)
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Date: 2017-04-10 02:26 pm (UTC)
clytemenstra: (Default)
From: [personal profile] clytemenstra
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