Have another part of the conversation
When we talk about prevention now, we focus so much on building up girls to be strong women. Most of us – at least the ones who are talking about prevention – know the potential a girl can hold, even when the world at large still doesn’t realize wonderful things girls can do and be if they are raised in an environment that challenges, encourages, and supports them . But what if we’re missing a really big part of the prevention conversation? What about boys?
In yesterday’s blog, we called attention to a great group, A Mighty Girl, where they are demanding the change AND offering up some solutions. There’s another great group doing similar work with resources for raising boys with awareness about the harmfulness of gender stereotypes, The Achilles Effect, whose mission is to discuss “the impact of male and female gender stereotypes on young boys, raising awareness of these stereotypes among parents and caregivers, and promoting gender equality.”
What would prevention look like if, from a young age, ALL children learned about equality? If it wasn’t just about building girls up to be strong and tough – more masculine – but encouraging all children, no matter their gender, to be caring, confident, kind, smart, strong, funny, all sorts of awesome, and completely themselves? What would power look like then, since we know sexual violence is really about power and control? Would we still have the kind of environment that enables us to grow children into adults who cause harm? Or would there be a tremendous shift?
Think about what the current discussion about gender equality is telling us. Who is it helping? Is it harming anyone? Are we having the whole conversation, or only part of it? Are we really promoting equality, or are we still saying that all things “girl” are still less-than and all that is “boy” is better, just in a more roundabout way?
Demand the change by thinking critically, adding more to the conversation, asking more questions, and creating more possibilities for what ALL children can be.
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