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Boys into Men

Over the past few generations, we’ve been actively fighting to elevate women in our society and even the playing field, both at home and in the labor market. Many would argue that we’ve still got a long way to go, but as I said in my post 60s Board Game Spotlights Rapid Social Change, we’ve come a long way in my lifetime. The “practical feminism” of my mother’s era, in which women fought for an equal playing field, is something we rarely see anymore. I sometimes wonder if the push will ever end, and what kind of effect it’s already having on society as a whole. I’ve also been wondering if we can lift women up without pushing men down? I believe we seek balance, but the scales seem to be tipping crazily.

Those who believe it’s still a man’s world cite a gender wage gap that may not be as wide as claimed.

The recent push to expose powerful men who have made unwanted sexual advances toward women makes one wonder if there are any good men out there. It sounds callous to say it’s always been that way, but it has.

It’s time for those practices to change and for the men who assault women to be held accountable. No question. As we clean house of the men who have abused their power over women, that opens the door for new individuals to step into those roles.

But how do we keep this from happening in the future?

Would every man abuse a position of power over a woman, if given the opportunity? How many men are holding their breath, waiting for an accuser to come forward for something they once did or said?

Speaking as a writer who spends a considerable amount of time inside my character’s heads, I believe one way to help our society evolve is this: focus on our boys and raise better men.

In my series for young adults, my protagonist Tommy Bailey is a good boy who is on his way to becoming a good man. A caring man. A leader. Someone you can count on.

Are there cads and misogynists in my books? Of course. But I allowed them in so my hero to shine by comparison. I want my female readers to appreciate his good qualities, and seek them among their peers.

If we give more examples of good men in YA books, we’ll reinforce the standard we seek for strong, honorable, good men to stand alongside the strong, honorable good women we’ve been nurturing to shape our future world.

This article by Benjamin P. Hardy, which appeared in Medium last summer, is one of the best articles I’ve read on shaping boys into men: https://medium.com/the-mission/10-habits-that-change-boys-into-men-3f434453a3d2

 

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