It was International Boys Day on Saturday 16th May. I know because I saw two posts about it on my timeline that day.
I wanted to say something. Am blessed with three sons and iwanted to write something celebrating the day. But I decided to hold on and put in today’s article.
I can’t lie sha, that day was eerily quiet.
No one was saying much.
Is it that it is not much of a celebration?
Is it like how we celebrate mothers more than fathers and so by extension, boys get less attention than girls?
I am not starting something by asking. I truly genuinely want to know.
It isn’t a competition. I am not trying to weigh on who is more important. Who is more of a potential victim. Who deserves more attention. No, the purpose of this is not to stir up any sort of controversy.
I really truly just want to understand.
The term ‘woman empowerment’ is one that I have been accustomed to for a very long time. The ‘plight’ of the girl child is a topic thoroughly discussed. I am part of a non-profit team that organize a yearly conference we call “Inspire for Women”. We get achieving women to speak to women in general about their journeys and possibilities. The point is to let women see that the obstacles women face in society are surmountable.
Women are obviously highly sensitized on issues surrounding their growth.
Most women are trying different things to ensure that they are financially independent.
You find women almost everywhere hustling alongside men.
There is hope for women because we have been globally tagged as ‘vulnerable’. Thus, there is a demand from a lot of quarters for representation and laid out plans to increase female participation in all areas.
The gap that exists simply because men seemed to have power is slowly being bridged.
This is a good thing.
Chances are today’s girl who is also tomorrow’s woman has a good idea of how important she is. Indeed, she knows her place in the society is right beside men.
So what has this got to do with the International Boys Day?
It occurred to me that while women are being shaped and groomed for a world that sees them and the obstacles that hindered them in the past are being removed; men are not being groomed alongside to know where they belong in the society; or how to handle the modern woman.
Did you get that?
Boys that were told they were the heads of homes, the kings, the decision makers, the alphas; the born leaders etc. suddenly find themselves floundering in a world that won’t just give them their ‘rightful’ places.
I am not saying that we need to help men out of petulance. This is not a pity party for kids that have had their toys taken from them.
I am getting worried.
I sincerely think there is an issue that has started breaking already. While women are being empowered, there seems to be a simultaneous neutering of men. An emasculation of sorts. This is not deliberate. It isn’t even the aim of empowerment. This is like a by-product.
While the re-education of the female is happening, there doesn’t seem to be a re-education of men alongside.
The boy child is still being told the same things his father was told. The boy child is still handed down the antiquated idea of masculinity. In fact, the boy child is still given the male privilege card and told to dominate.
But what happens is that the men step into the arena and find that the females are not automatically complying as they were told they would.
Today’s woman with her good earnings and sense to empower herself is one that most men see as a threat. Even if they are tied to such women; it is with the intention of still pulling out the man card to dominate them.
So you find that in marriages, when men are unable to provide, they literally become unable to function as partners. The resentment towards the wife who is stepping up is palpable. Men especially in our climes were not taught who to be when their women make more money. They fall back to traditional arguments to get women to make them feel like the men they were promised they were going to be.
Men don’t seem to be ready for empowered women. And this is just the beginning. Will we use outdated ‘curriculums’ to raise boys? For a balanced and equal opportunity society; boys must be raised a lot differently or this lack of education will disrupt entire goals.
So no, I am not saying to pander to boys. I am saying the boys need to see the emancipation of women as an emancipation of sorts for themselves. They cannot see it as a deregulation of their power. They cannot see it as a takeover. If they do, we are sabotaging the goal to make the world a better place for the female.
The boys need attention.
The boys need a redefinition of sorts.
Also, the boys must be taught how to be functional and secure in a society where females are strong.
So, to my three sons whom I love so much.
You are as special as the girls and equally important.
You are not natural monsters that seek to dominate and subjugate.
In fact, you are boys who will be men who know themselves and are strong and equal partners with the women they will have course to interact with in all spheres of life.
You are not victims.
You are not scum by DNA.
Indeed, you are a valuable gender and capable of being honorable in all that you do.
You are not men with inherent toxicity.
You are not dysfunctional human beings with a questionable understanding of humanity.
Happy International Boys Day.
The future isn’t just female. The future belongs to all of you.