In the wake of the 21st century, we’ve heard the screams of a movement; feminism. Now, the ideals of this movement is not particularly threatening if viewed on its own merits. ( we’ll talk about extreme feminism some other day) However, when juxtaposed with the ideals of the other sex, it’s a sorry sight. We’ve channelled so much resources and attention towards empowering the girl. And by some sad twist, ignored the boy. I mean, why shouldn’t we? He’s a boy right? He’ll be fine. But is he really fine? Life thrives on balance, you disrupt it and voilà you got yourself a problem bigger than the one you’re trying to solve. Such is life.
When we hear a girl being mutilated or assaulted, we rush to her aid. We are quick to protest, and rightly so, “girls are humans too.” Now let’s flip the coin, we do not think of saying, “boy lives matter,” when they’re assaulted. Even when we say it, it is not without a skeptical smirk. Invariably, the boy becomes invisible and dies in silence because historically, our society cheers the boys on to take her bullets and carry her wounds on her behalf. Boys die in other for the society to live. We teach them principles of altruism, they’re taught to never cry, “men don’t cry,” they’re taught to “put it together.” They are taught to “man up,” whatever that means. We bribe them by calling them “heroes” and “brave”
Why do we turn a blind eye to our pathetic boy crisis? Statistics show that boys are falling behind girls in school. There are more boys with suicidal tendencies than girls. Suicide is a reflection of our inability to train, groom and encourage our boys in a constructive way into manhood. There are more psychopathic boys than girls. And the truth remains; boys who are hurting, hurt us.
What then are the challenges that has over the years, plagued our boys? First, let’s consider what I’ll call the dad deprivation syndrome(DDS). When we have boys with less father presence, they’re more likely to be less assertive, less likely to be empathic, and more likely to engage in vices. Look around, there is always a greater possibility for a boy from a broken home to go into crime or other social vices, than a boy from a functional home. Let us not also forget the fact that our generation is churning out more ‘single mothers’ than before. But beyond the challenges of an actual father absence, there is the challenge of an absently-present father. A father who believes he’s just the provider fullstop. He’s so consumed by his career and his need to provide that he’s there, but unfortunately he’s also not there. There are also fewer male teachers in the primary schools. So, invariably the boy grows up not having a clear cut picture of what a man really mean. No male role model whatsoever, which matter of factly isn’t his fault.
If that is not enough, there is the challenge of lack of purpose. Historically, the boy/male is wired to either be a warrior, breadwinner or both. Over time, the feminist movement has drastically and beautifully expanded the scope of the girls’ purpose from the old “raise children only” to being able to raise children, raise money and do other things at the very same time (which is a great thing.) But where has that left the boy? No one stepped out to help expand the purpose of the boy child in an equivalent way. Instead they’re taught to “earn money,” “earn more money” and to “earn even more money.” Or alternately; be a loser. Feminism movement has introduced the girls to professions they otherwise weren’t so comfortable to ventured into, like; the scientific and technological sector, engineering, medicine etc. However, nobody opened up the boy to the care-giving professions like nursing, being a primary school teacher etc. When we eventually and I much add accidentally see a nurse who’s male, we call him ‘male nurse.’ Very sad.
We need to open up our boys to roles they have not considered. They need to be taught that it’s okay to engage in a profession they truly love despite the perception people may have about them. They need to be taught that being a man is much more than making money. Society is changing, the paradigm is shifting. While our girls have adapted to this change, our boys need to be taught to adapt also. Our boys need to be taught that it’s okay to cry occasionally, and it is not a sign of weakness. Our fathers should make an effort to be hands-on dads, to understand that there is a need to be intentional about raising their sons the exact same way the mothers are intentional about raising their daughters.
Finally, all we need is love. If we must fight, let’s fight for humanity. Let us save a human specie that is gradually going extinct. We owe our boys an apology, for we have failed them. We need to raise the societal blindfold over eyes and do better. For inside everyone; irrespective of sex is a human being. Our boys weeping right behind that tough facade we have built for them. Let us save our boys. Let us save our world.
Thank you for coming to my TED Write. 😀😁