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Don’t forget the boys

1
As a mother of two daughters, I definitely count myself as a feminist but I find myself moving away from using the word feminism and instead using the words equality and fairness. Why? Because I am also the mother of two sons and I want them to know that anything is possible for them, just as it is for their sisters.

I am so proud to live in a time where where young girls are being encouraged in to previously male dominated careers, that the gender pay gap is under a microscope, that sexual harassment is being called out, that mothers can go back to

SelfishMother.com
2
work, and, with hard work, my daughters can go on to do anything they want. They know that strong and determined women have pathed the way for them to do so and that they should continue that legacy and the fight by standing up and being counted, by having a voice and knocking through hurdles put in their way. But while our girls are being built up and empowered, are our young men being overlooked? There is currently a mental health crisis so it’s so important that we teach them that they matter too.

75% of suicides are committed by men. A few weeks

SelfishMother.com
3
ago, a 26 year old reality star took his own life. A man who, through the eyes of social media, had fame, money, looks, popularity and a supportive family. It appears that the only thing he lacked was the emotional ability to guide himself thorough the pitfalls of the life that had become his. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last that find themselves lost and unable to communicate their way to safe space.

Girls are brought up to be in touch with their emotions, to talk, to cry, to nurture and to share their feelings and, because of this,

SelfishMother.com
4
there are less of them feeling like there is no option but to end their own lives in the dark times. Women naturally rally around, bring wine, chocolates and tissues. We coddle each other and empathise and help process negative feelings. We handhold, both physically and emotionally and guide each other through.

Men tend to internalise and distract. Trips to the pub, talk about football, playing golf or video games. They drink beer and take each others minds off things. They avoid the processing of emotions, meaning that the issues are still there,

SelfishMother.com
5
unresolved. So surely, just as we are telling our girls that they can DO anything, we should be telling our boys that they can FEEL anything. That talking about how you feel is healthy, having a journal is a great outlet, that it’s ok to cry sometimes or that wanting a hug doesn’t make you weak but actually aids the ability to be stronger.

Teaching boys about being sensitive and empathetic is surely key in allowing them to create meaningful relationships both with their own selves and with others. Inviting conversation about feelings or allowing

SelfishMother.com
6
them to play with dolls may actually help them become a great and confident husband and father in the future. These qualities can sit quite happily alongside a boisterous nature and a want to play with cars and trucks, without detracting from their ‘masculinity’.

Despite there being a drive to get girls interested in STEM subjects, there is no such push being aimed at boys to get them in to care-giving roles, such as Nursing. There is still a stigma attached to those that want to take up those careers or those that want to stay at home with their

SelfishMother.com
7
children or take shared maternity leave. So let’s start empowering our boys to feel however they feel, to be kind and nurturing, to be empathetic and caring because that is what will not only create better mental health in our young men but it will create men who appreciate, lift up and empower the women in their lives.

Kids should know that gender doesn’t matter when it comes to your likes, dislikes, your ability and skillset, the toys you play with, the colours you wear and that each and everyone of us has the right to feel equal.

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- 29 Mar 19

As a mother of two daughters, I definitely count myself as a feminist but I find myself moving away from using the word feminism and instead using the words equality and fairness. Why? Because I am also the mother of two sons and I want them to know that anything is possible for them, just as it is for their sisters.

I am so proud to live in a time where where young girls are being encouraged in to previously male dominated careers, that the gender pay gap is under a microscope, that sexual harassment is being called out, that mothers can go back to work, and, with hard work, my daughters can go on to do anything they want. They know that strong and determined women have pathed the way for them to do so and that they should continue that legacy and the fight by standing up and being counted, by having a voice and knocking through hurdles put in their way. But while our girls are being built up and empowered, are our young men being overlooked? There is currently a mental health crisis so it’s so important that we teach them that they matter too.

75% of suicides are committed by men. A few weeks ago, a 26 year old reality star took his own life. A man who, through the eyes of social media, had fame, money, looks, popularity and a supportive family. It appears that the only thing he lacked was the emotional ability to guide himself thorough the pitfalls of the life that had become his. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last that find themselves lost and unable to communicate their way to safe space.

Girls are brought up to be in touch with their emotions, to talk, to cry, to nurture and to share their feelings and, because of this, there are less of them feeling like there is no option but to end their own lives in the dark times. Women naturally rally around, bring wine, chocolates and tissues. We coddle each other and empathise and help process negative feelings. We handhold, both physically and emotionally and guide each other through.

Men tend to internalise and distract. Trips to the pub, talk about football, playing golf or video games. They drink beer and take each others minds off things. They avoid the processing of emotions, meaning that the issues are still there, unresolved. So surely, just as we are telling our girls that they can DO anything, we should be telling our boys that they can FEEL anything. That talking about how you feel is healthy, having a journal is a great outlet, that it’s ok to cry sometimes or that wanting a hug doesn’t make you weak but actually aids the ability to be stronger.

Teaching boys about being sensitive and empathetic is surely key in allowing them to create meaningful relationships both with their own selves and with others. Inviting conversation about feelings or allowing them to play with dolls may actually help them become a great and confident husband and father in the future. These qualities can sit quite happily alongside a boisterous nature and a want to play with cars and trucks, without detracting from their ‘masculinity’.

Despite there being a drive to get girls interested in STEM subjects, there is no such push being aimed at boys to get them in to care-giving roles, such as Nursing. There is still a stigma attached to those that want to take up those careers or those that want to stay at home with their children or take shared maternity leave. So let’s start empowering our boys to feel however they feel, to be kind and nurturing, to be empathetic and caring because that is what will not only create better mental health in our young men but it will create men who appreciate, lift up and empower the women in their lives.

Kids should know that gender doesn’t matter when it comes to your likes, dislikes, your ability and skillset, the toys you play with, the colours you wear and that each and everyone of us has the right to feel equal.

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