Begin young: Jaclyn Friedman said culture must adopt a new definition of what it means to be a man: “We have to start raising boys to think girls are cool. … If we raised boys to assume that girls are fully three dimensional and human and interesting, then they will be more horrified when people don’t act the same way,” she said.
Indeed. From reading « Bitter Chocolate » way back when (on child sexual abuse in India), it’s been clear to me that the way out of this is largely in the way we raise our boys. Starting from when they are very little.
Mothers, fathers: this is on you.
Over the last year, I’ve become increasingly sensitive to two things that we do with kids that now feels very wrong:
- forcing physical contact upon toddlers and small kids when they don’t want it (how do you then explain to them that it’s wrong to do it to others once they are teenagers or grown men?)
- « romanticising » childhood friendships by making fun of (even in a nice day) « girlfriends » or « boyfriends » when our kids are three, four, five… Why does every interaction between the sexes have to be seen through that lens? And after that, we complain that our kids are « sexually precocious »…
Seriously, just like you’d educate a cat or a puppy: don’t, when they’re small, encourage behavior you don’t want to see when they’re big. 300 grammes of kitten climbing up your jeans is cute. 5kg of adult cat is not. Then don’t let the kitten do it. 4-year-old running after a little girl to kiss her: will that be cute when he’s 40? Don’t let him.