I recently watched The Hunting Ground, a documentary about rape culture in American colleges and universities. I may be bit late to the party, but it hit me right in the feels. I was so sad for the victims, so disgusted by the system, and quite frankly terrified; but not for the reason you might imagine.
I watched it with my eight week old son in my arms and I wept. For them, but mostly for him. I was terrified of the responsibility we have as his parents to raise a man, a good man.
I'm scared, scared that he'll look to world leaders, only see men and think that only men are fit to lead.
Scared he'll get a job and have male bosses, executives and CEOs and think only men are suited for power.
Scared he'll have a female boss and think it's a novelty or token and when she acts like a boss should act, she'll be a bitch or a slut.
Scared he'll watch TV, see billboards and magazines with sexy, young props of women and think that's what women are.
Scared his school won't have an informative and realistic sex education, so he'll learn from porn and he'll be disgusted when girls aren’t fully shaved or squeal or bend to every depravity you can imagine on screen.
Scared he'll constantly hear things like "you throw like a girl," or "man up," and these will become his own thoughts and gender stereotypes without consciously making it so.
Scared that society shames sexual women and normalises harassment.
Scared that humour masks sexism and one day he'll be that guy saying “have you been down under,” without a second thought.
Scared that feelings and emotions are branded feminine and he'll be forced to suppress them, living a half truth of himself.
Scared his gender will give him a privilege he won't ever understand so things like pay inequality, gender bias and sexism won't register unless we show him.
#WhenIWas - Women share experiences of sexual violence on Twitter. Post continues after video.
Scared that that privilege will make him feel entitled. Entitled to things, entitled to money, entitled to jobs and maybe even entitled to a woman’s body.
So I'm terrified and overwhelmed, that my beautiful boy will become a man in this world built for men.
I come from a world of strong, courageous, queen-loving men who are not these things. My grandfather, my father and my husband are the kind of men I hope he will become, but how?
Is it our sole responsibility as parents to teach him? Is the world changing quickly enough for him to have role models and examples of equality and respect in all aspects of life, or is the world just one big hunting ground?