Tuesday, January 25, 2011

TED Tuesday: Tony Porter's A Call To Men

If you are someone who doesn't understand what feminism is or why anyone would ever claim to be a feminist, this TED Tuesday is for you. This TED video, from the perspective of a man and father, changed how I approach the issue, especially now as a mother.

During pregnancy, I often wondered how mothering would fit into my feminist viewpoint. Or how feminism would fit into my mothering viewpoint. I had become a feminist breeder and was curious about what kind of impact this would have on how I felt about certain issues.

I knew just how to handle myself if we had a girl. All the things I would say, the opportunities I would offer her.

But oh, no. We had a boy. A beautiful boy, but in regards to my feminism... seriously outside my realm of experience. It might seem strange, but amongst all the soul-searching questions I asked myself, one that appears and re-appears often is - "How will I raise my boy to be a respectful feminist?"

To be honest, simply avoiding gender stereotypes has been hard enough. And then to add this notion of raising a respectful young person who grows up to be conscientious and respectful to all genders, while remaining knowledgeable about hurtful preconceived ideas... Well, it will be a journey we will explore together to say the least.

Tony Porter's A Call to Men TED speech came at me out of left field. As he tells powerful and moving stories from his own life, he is honest and vulnerable - he allows himself to say what I have rarely heard men say before: Don't "act like a man." The cliche to "act like a man" alone is so telling about our social climate where young boys are told that if they don't demonstrate power and control (especially over women), then they aren't really a man - and if they aren't a man, they are worthless. As worthless as what?  A woman?

Enjoy this video, and let me know what you think.


1 comment:

  1. What a great video. I started watching it and about 5 minutes I knew it was something worth sharing with my husband so we ended up watching it together. We couldnt count the number of times we have heard our boys be told "stop doing that/liking that/saying that like a girl" it gets soooo frustrating.
    As a mother of 4 boys I will tell you it has been a lot easier to empower my daughters than it has been to get people to respect the way we try to raise our sons. Its so sad/maddening. :(