Raising Boys

“You’re So Skinny” is NOT a Compliment!

| About Ali

No, no, I don’t think I’ve ever heard these words said to ME. Even when I was young, super short and sporty, I was always curvy, or athletic. No, these words are said to my sons, all the time. By friends, kids at school, even teachers and leaders.

It seems harmless, right?

But I’m on my soapbox to tell you, IT IS NOT HARMLESS.

Would you walk up to someone and say, “You’re so fat”? Of course not. We learned a long time ago that wasn’t okay.

But skinniness. That’s totally different, right? Doesn’t everyone want to be skinny?

Actually, no. Especially not teenage boys. Or men. No man wants to be skinny. He wants to be strong, which often means “big”—which is definitely not seen as skinny.

I want to get on my pedestal today and say,

Just quit commenting on BODY, already.

Find something else, something more meaningful to say about a person if you feel the need to say something. I’ll give you some ideas:

 

“You always put me at ease.”

“You have the best smile.”

If you HAVE to say something more superficial, try…

“Dude, your hair looks awesome today!”

“Lookin’ sharp, man!”

Thing is, boys have body images, too. And skinny just hurts a young man’s heart when all he wants is to appear strong and healthy and virile.

Please watch your words next time you’re talking to a young man. Remember there’s a growing, impressionable, and so, so eager to be a man, person in there.

And young men?

If you want to read more thoughts on this subject, particularly as it pertains to women and girls, check out this awesome article.

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Being a Boy in the InstaShame World

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I remember when “girl power” became a thing. I think it was in the ’80’s … or at least that’s when I became aware of it. I think it was important and necessary. I think that we, as humans, had labored under the irrational assumption that males were superior to females and that prejudice was magnified in schools and the workforce–even at home.

But it surprises me when today I see commercials on TV, or see on Facebook, that many people believe that battle is still being fought. That females are still not equal to males. Because I’m a woman and I thought all was well. Then again, I am naive and pretty much always have been. I could have starred in that movie Pollyanna. I could be Pollyanna.

It could also be because I am the mother to sons and I think they are the ones who are suffering in today’s social culture.

There are so many aspects I could talk about here. So, so many. Boys’ “hyper” activity. Boys being naughty. Boys being DUMBER (yes, I think the trend is now that boys are often treated as less intelligent than girls–the opposite of what it once was).

Boys objectifying girls.

Remember when it was men who were responsible for pornography? The whole erotic entertainment industry was built on taking advantage of women’s beauty and their need to feel attractive. Boys and men who consumed such media were considered to be perpetuating the problem.

But let me tell you what it’s like today. Girls, starting so young I can barely guess their age, pose in front of the camera in poses that Marilyn Monroe would have been too ashamed to strike. And then they post the pictures on Instagram. Old and young, their pictures are there. And it’s not men coercing them into taking the pictures, it’s not men publishing the media. This is girls and women doing this themselves, for themselves.

And boys, men, see it all.

The girls put it there, and the boys see it. Who has the power then?

As a mom of boys, my perspective might be a little different. Because I think the tables are turned and while “girl power” is playing  loud and clear from the sound system of social media, my boys no longer have a clear, unobstructed path to becoming the sort of men women want them to be.

What a twisted web we weave … eh?

 

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