Because while girls have gotten more and more choices and options and ways of expressing themselves in the past oh, 100 years or so, boys have not.
Boys even have fewer choices of names, as more parents choose androgynous or boy’s names for their daughters, and names only move one direction, once a name becomes a girl’s name, it never moves back to being an option for boys.
Girls can wear overalls and like bugs AND paint their nails.
As the song goes, “Girls can wear lipstick, and they can wear pants, they can….”
Boys? They can wear striped shirts, or solids, or plaids. Not that it’s all about clothes, but it’s emblematic of the larger issue.
It’s socially acceptable for girls to have a range of feelings, while boys are literally told, “boys don’t cry.”
And it’s hurting them.
Boys need better role models.
Boys suffer too. Look at the changes in GI Joe’s body, from the 1960’s to today. He went from attainable to unattainable, as bad in that way as a Barbie doll’s unobtainable body. Along with this, the number of boys suffering from body dimorphic order has increased.
I may seem like odd choice for an advocate for boys. I’m a woman and have devoted most of my volunteer life to girls’ causes. But I’m also the mother of a boy and I’m married to a grown-up boy. And I care about the world and the future.
Both boys and girls need to know about the amazing women in the distant past, the recent past, and the present who have done really cool things. Both boys and girls need to see men who are caring for the earth, caring for themselves and caring for each other. Boys can cry, boys can and should have and express their feelings. Boys can and should be nurturers. Men should be able to be the primary caregivers of their children if that’s the right choice for their family.
Girls and women have a lot more choices. There’s more work to do, yes. And there’s even more work to do for boys.
The first season of the podcast includes mostly women, and please know that more stories about men are coming and that the podcast, the blog and everything we do here at Being Bold is for boys, girls, and families, listening and learning together, with examples of Being Bold!
P.S. Want to read more on the subject? Time Magazine has an essay called How to Raise a Sweet Son.