A few weeks ago, after I saw the video that inspired me to write my latest article, “Creating courageous daughters and sensitive sons,” I saw a call for submissions from the goodmenproject.com seeking submissions about gender-free parenting.
Gender-free parenting is something I encourage my readers to consider. The traditional gender roles that have been with us for so long have guided girls toward higher levels of social competence than boys, and boys toward higher levels of bravery in the face of anxiety. Social competence and bravery are both honorable and valuable traits. If only we had more people who possessed both in abundance!
I also see the very real and visceral ways that homophobia is used as a weapon of sexism. Men who are strong and forthright are called leaders, while women with qualities that society thinks of as “masculine” are often assumed to be lesbians. Women who express themselves emotionally are seen as nice, kind and likable, while men who do so can be taunted for being gay.
There is ample research to suggest that women have more room to “bend” their gender expectations than men do. For many men, the fear of just being seen as gay prevents certain behaviors. The rules that men have in public restrooms dictate silence and the avoidance of eye contact. All men seem to know, usually through the use of ridicule, the unspoken prohibitions about touching, showing affection, or expressing too much care and concern.
In my article about disciplining without spanking, I argue that spanking is ineffective, and should in all cases be discarded in favor of more informative and loving methods of discipline, paired with large amounts of rewards and praise for positive behaviors. As a blogger, I am a member of several Facebook groups which talk about parenting issues. One of those groups is a group that is only for fathers. Whenever the spanking issue comes up (which is frequently), I offer my opinion. Invariably, someone ridicules me and/or my children. Apparently, if you are a man, treating your sons with love and empathy is gay! Not to mention that sometimes, I am warned that I will “turn” my sons gay with my emotional interactions.
I told my sons about this a few days ago. My one son said, “And that’s supposed to be bad, right?” Lol.
Be aware that homophobia is intricately linked to our society’s abiding interest in keeping boys blue and girls pink. Then, teach your children, with your time, words, and actions, that all of the virtues – compassion and bravery, love and assertiveness – have their place in the lives of successful, well-rounded people.
I wish you all well. Thank you again for your support.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
stock photo ID: 1644659011