In honor of International Men's Day yesterday, Twitter user @MrPooni tweeted a photo of a list of things that 9-year-old boys said they don't like about being male.
-Not being able to be a mother
-Not suppost to cry
-Not allowed to be a cheerleader
-Suppost to do all the work
-Suppost to like violence
-Suppost to play football
-Boys smell bad
-Having a automatic bad reputation
-Grow hair everywhere
The list comes from a workshop held in 2012 as part of the White Ribbon Campaign -- a worldwide movement of men and boys seeking "to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity."
In this workshop, White Ribbon's community engagement manager Jeff Perera gathered a group of 50 fourth grade boys and asked them "what do you like or dislike about being a boy?" The participants complained that boys are "not allowed to be a cheerleader," supposed to "like violence" and "play football," and not supposed "to cry."
But in his reflection on the event, Perera says he was particularly struck by the first item on the list: "not being able to be a mother." He tried to talk to the boy who came up with that response.
I said “…but you could be a Father? That’s what you could do…be a dad!”
He looked at me with a confused face as if I just spoke in another language.
My mind raced as I wondered just how many of these fifty boys had physically-present but not emotionally-present fathers or role-models, or had fathers who were present at all. If they did hang out, they did little more than throw the ball around.
We need more Maps to Manhood.
It's time to teach our sons that being a present father is masculine.