‘Men are trash’
If there was one phrase that was consistent throughout 2017, it was this. All duly justified, of course, considering how men across the world have reinforced it. But is there really anything to be gained by just quoting this line time and again? Change demands action. And I, in all sincerity, feel that we can bring about a revolution. Most men aren’t sexist or misogynist by choice, they’ve been brought up that way, with years of patriarchal conditioning.
So many men I know, who were misogynist due to their background or upbringing, have changed the way they think when they attended college and got to know women. This brings me to admit that we can break this chain of thought, with some efforts from our side. Here’s how we should do it.
1. Ask your sons to help in the kitchen
Little boys should be given work, such as helping their mother around the house, especially in the kitchen. And what better way than to set an example? Fathers should wash dishes and help their wives, which is what the sons will see. The message learnt here? That taking care of a house isn’t only a woman’s duty.
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2. Get your sons all kind of toys and enrol them in classes
Not saying that boys should play with dolls, but they should also not be taught that dolls are solely for girls. They should be given the liberty to pick toys they’re naturally inclined towards. And apart from sports, they should be enrolled in classes like singing, dancing, art or creative writing, which are otherwise seen only as women’s fields.
3. Point out the sexism
Most men have to be taught equality and feminism. Don’t give up on them as a lost cause, especially if you see good intentions in them. I’ve had a lot of friends who were otherwise misanthropic but slowly learnt where they were going wrong when they got to know feminists.
4. Educate them
Educate our men, about menstruation, birth-giving, and what exactly goes down in being a woman. Many of them never know about it unless they get a girlfriend or wife and then it all comes down to the woman to teach them, and even then it becomes very difficult for them to accept it.
5. Teach them the concept of respect
‘Respect women’. No, don’t respect a person just because she is a woman. Learn not to disrespect her just because she is a woman. Teach them standards, and then to respect people according to that. And most importantly, show them how to do it. Tell them to respect women even if they’re not their mothers, sisters or wives. But because they’re human beings.
6. Co-ed environments
When men are surrounded by women who are not family, they’ll learn how to work well with them and respect them. Men really should have female friends, considering most of them look at the opposite sex only as romantic partners or family. Platonic relationships between men and women are important.
7. Introduce them to art and literature, especially by women
Men should have more female idols and role models. Make them watch movies where the lead character is a female and introduce them to books written by women authors. Show them that women are as capable as they are and are equally worthy of being their idols.
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Any change takes time, but we are more than capable of bringing it about. Let’s support each other and grow because that’s what feminism is about.
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