Radical feminism is devaluing maleness, masculinity, and boyhood. How can we arm boys to handle the cultural attacks on their very nature that they will face?
Last week, an interesting screen cap came across my Twitter feed. It was a Google search, with the term “how to raise a boy right” in the box. The first result was a Google list from a Thought Catalog piece, which is hopefully a parody, “7 Tips on How to Raise a Boy Right (Feminist Style).” In the piece, the author includes the following “tips” for raising a boy right: abort him, don’t breastfeed him, teach him to check his male privilege, teach him to be ashamed of his boyish ways, don’t assume he is straight, remove any father figure from his life, and make him a feminist who respects women. When you change the Google search term to “how to raise a girl right” you get a list from BabyCenter.com: “10 Tips for Raising a Confident Girl” which include encouraging assertiveness, prepare her for sexism, and encouraging her to play sports.
The original article may have been parody, but the fact that it – and not a positive list on how to raise a boy right – was the first search term to pop up on Google shows a sociocultural fact that has been going on far too long in our culture: the attacks on men, boys, normal boyhood behavior, fatherhood and traditional masculinity.
Don’t believe me? Here are just a few examples:
- At the University of Regina, in Canada, men are encouraged to “confess” the “sin” of hypermasculinity.
- By the time boys reach high school, one in five boys will be misdiagnosed with ADHD for normal boy behavior and given powerful drugs to “normalize” them.
- Only 17% of men are single custodial parents, which reflects stats that 80%+ of women get full custody. Meanwhile, the percentage of “dead beat” moms is higher than “dead beat” dads, and men are often on the hook for child support for children who aren’t even their own.
- Males are routinely denied due process when accused of rape and sexual assault on college campuses; one such case lead a student in Texas to commit suicide recently.
- Some radical feminists claim all men are rapists, and openly fantasize about putting men in camps, or prisons, or shooting where they would let women check out and return their loved ones like “library books.”
- Late feminist Andrea Dworkin said that all heterosexual sex is “patriarchal” and “coercive and degrading” to women. The view that PIV (penis-in-vagina) intercourse is rape still crops up in radical feminist circles.
And now imagine if you will a parody article about “how to raise a boy right” that mockingly advocated abortion, or neglect, but replace “boy” with “girl” or some other demographic group. The social media mobs would be apoplectic. But men? Meh…it’s okay…because patriarchy. Or something. It should be noted that after this made the rounds on social media, the search results changed slightly. The parody article was still the first result, but the bullet points were no longer visible on Google’s results screen:
So here, in an attempt to bump the satirical piece from Google’s top search spot, is how you raise a boy right:
- Love him from day one.
I was a mom from the moment I saw the little pink plus-sign on the pregnancy test. I had nine months to nourish, care for, and grow a special bond with my sons that no other person will have. I loved them from the second I knew they were coming, and I do whatever it takes to give them the best life possible.
- Let boys be boys.
Boys don’t sit still. Boys need activity, outlets for their energy. They learn differently from girls and have inherent strengths. Let them play cops and robbers. Let them squirm in their seat. Let them get dirty and utterly exhausted playing outdoors. Let them be loud and boisterous. Give them groups of boys to play with, and boy toys – trucks, soldiers, balls, gloves, air rifles. Will every boy gravitate to these toys? No. But we live in a society that actively discourages these things, despite boys’ inherent nature. We send a message that normal boy behavior is actually abnormal, and we drug boys into behaving more like girls in the classroom instead of incorporating physical activity or other outlets for energy into lessons.
- Let boys play sports.
Let boys play rough contact sports. Let them hunt. Let them camp and hike and run around outdoors. Stop coddling and bubble-wrapping boys to “protect” them. Sports and outdoor activities provide healthy outlets for their energy and their normal behavior. Encourage these interests.
- Encourage him to embrace his masculinity.
Masculinity is not “toxic”; it’s normal and healthy. Especially when directed into productive outlets. Masculinity is what builds roads and cities, it’s what goes to war to defend this nation, it’s what picks up the trash every week regardless of the inclement weather. The same people who lament that masculinity is “toxic” wouldn’t last a week in a construction or combat zone; they need safe spaces to protect them from words, after all.
The most important, productive outlet for masculinity is to be a protector and provider for a family. Yet feminists have demeaned fathers and fatherhood, telling droves of men they are not needed or wanted (except for those child support payments). Feminism has done more damage to women, children, and families than supposedly “toxic” masculinity ever could.
- Teach him to be a gentleman.
Teach your son to open doors, both in buildings and in cars. To let women go first. To say “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir.” Teach your son that women are wonderful creatures worthy of love and respect. A man’s natural instinct is to protect and provide for women and children…encourage that. Feminism discouraged gentlemanly behavior as patriarchal and sexist and the result was…awful men who don’t know how to treat women appropriately. Time to change that.
- Tell him he’s accepted as he is, and encourage him to be open with his thoughts and feelings.
Boys need to hear that they are loved and accepted just as much, if not more, than girls do. Especially in a world where they’re told they’re “privileged” or “rapists” or somehow defective for being a boy. Encourage him to share his thoughts and feelings and to express himself, if he wants. It’s not contradictory for a man to express his feelings and still retain his masculinity. And, if he doesn’t want to share at a particular moment in time, let him know you will listen if, and when, he does.
- Prepare him to face feminist nonsense regarding boys, men, and masculinity.
Boys need to know that a subset of feminists and their allies will attack and dislike them simply because they were born with a Y chromosome. Nothing they will do will ever be good enough: every action will be rape culture, every word will be patriarchal oppression. Teach them that these attacks are a reflection on the person leveling the attacks, not them, and teach him how to combat these attacks smartly.
- Get involved with your schools, communities, and colleges/universities
Parents need to work to instill boy-friendly policies in schools, communities, and colleges or universities. Especially at the college and university level, policies that deny men due process are running rampant and arbitrarily punishing men, often based solely on accusations. Only when parents take back these cultures and protect our boys will these policies and behaviors that target them stop.
Naturally, your mileage may vary with these suggestions; incorporate them as you see fit. However, it’s time we stopped letting this anti-male mentality permeate our culture. It’s time we encouraged our boys to accept themselves as they are, rather than as how feminists want them to be. Our boys deserve better than to be defined by those who despise them.