This is the third instalment in the #YesAllWomen series, you can find the first here and the second here. This entry is courtesy of my brilliant friend Tiffany, she also happens to be an expectant mother, this is her story.
5 weeks away from bringing a son into the world, I can’t help but be taken with the #yessallwomen hashtag trending in response to the Santa Barbra shooting.
The #yesallwomen content is a conversation that has taken on many iterations between myself and the hubs leading up to our sons birth. What kind of man will he become? How do we get him to emulate his father, be a respectable citizen, honourable man and example to his friends and family?
Somehow or another, as a young women I escaped the fear men culture. I was raised as a pretty badass girl. I knew I could take care of myself and that always helped. I never dated an “asshole” I always dated incredibly kind men and even in my craziest times, I managed to find male friends who looked out for me with a vengeance.
Thinking I had it all together, imagine my surprise when I was relaying these stories to my husband and he disagreed with me and all of my bad-assness. We were speaking about the potential of having a daughter down the road and how, if she’s like me we’ll be okay (I have nothing if not a healthy ego). I didn’t particularly say it was her responsibility to take care of herself but I said so long as she was strong, independent and had a head on her shoulders she’d be fine.
Hubs then reminded me that I had done some pretty stupid stuff in the past, put myself in precarious situations and had I of not had some of the amazing men in my life…perhaps I wouldn’t have been so lucky. So there it was. Yes, I was strong and independent but I had also surrounded myself with kind men who helped get me home, stood up for me in public and generally helped shape my belief that the world is inherently good and great men are all around.
So how do I get my soon to be born son to be this person? To emulate the friends I have who shown me that men can be great, watch out for women, and stand up to other jerks in public so more and more people know it’s unacceptable?
We lead by example.
I married the hubs for a reason and part of that reason was knowing that should we reproduce, the offspring would have an honourable example in his father. I’m thrilled to meet my little man and watch the kind, generous and respectful man he becomes. I know he doesn’t have a choice in this matter because if he even tries to stray from the respect line, his dad will put him straight ‘real quick. But his dad won’t be the only example he needs to follow. It will be my job to educate him on the other point of view. It will be my job to have a strong female voice, point out misogyny that is somewhat invisible to most men, and teach him to understand women are his equal -no more no less.
The #yesallwomen conversation is sad but there is no way around it. There’s only through it. And through educating a younger generation to recognize and not tolerate this behavior, perhaps we can look forward to this discussion being obsolete in another 20 years.