A year ago I wrote a poem titled, A letter To My Daughter. I was encouraging girls to live their best lives and to not let anyone rain on their parade. I felt it necessary because it is important to uplift girls and help them make space for themselves in society. For the longest time women have been oppressed and disregarded. There are a lot of amazing initiatives for empowering our girls, however there is a gap we are missing. There is a very serious problem in our society. Our men, who are supposed to be our protectors, are now our enemies. The rising numbers of abuse cases and killings of our women are shocking. We can do all that we can to protect our women, but if the root cause is not dealt with, then we will get nowhere.
I find it necessary to write this because I believe it starts with the boy child. Just as we fight to protect and build our girls, the same should be done for our little boys. These are the very same boys who will grow up to be men who find nothing wrong with the patriarchal system, should nothing be done. As parents we are responsible for raising our kids and shaping them into better individuals. It really starts with the little things, like the allocation of house chores based on gender, this enables the gender roles to continue to damage our society. Both girls and boys are very much capable and should be trained equally to be able to take care of themselves. We need to encourage equality in households.
Our boys are emotional creatures as well, we should be aware of this and cater to our boys’ emotional needs. Men are raised to be “strong” and not show any emotions as it is believed to be a sign of weakness. This is dangerous; these suppressed emotions build up and become toxic. It is important to let our boys cry and be able to feel safe without the fear of being ridiculed. Let us have conversations with our girls and boys about issues such as inequality, abuse and sexuality. It is no use avoiding such topics, these things happen right in front of us. It’s our responsibility to change the narrative.
Our men should be our protectors not perpetrators. We need a non-violent society, to do away with macho-ness. I am not trying to “strip away” the masculinity of men, but it is important to do away with toxic masculinity. Traditions and old cultural practices have been for men and against women. There’s a saying that goes, “Traditions don’t make a man, a man makes traditions.” It is time we started new traditions. Traditions that will be in line with human rights, traditions that will create a better society.
Our boys need to be shifted in the right direction. Just as a girl is trained and prepared to be a better wife, let’s groom boys to be better fathers and husbands. Our boys need to become better men. Less aggressive, less insensitive, less arrogant. It should start at home, in the classroom. We need to intervene. If something is not done, the injustices will never end, the violence, the fear, the negativity won’t end.
Tell us: Do you agree that starting with the little things will help build a better society?