Stories for rebel boys

I got started on this train of thought when I was looking for children’s books to add to my new little dudes collection. I came across the book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls which features stories of inspiring women. It’s an antithesis to the traditional, damsel in distress, rescued by a handsome prince, fairy tales – the kinds of stories I grew up reading.

When I found out I was pregnant I pictured having a little girl. Little did I imagine that keeping a kid fed, making sure they have enough sleep, a clean nappy, adequate awake time, feel loved, the list goes on, is hard enough. But, amongst those things, I was going to teach her to be a strong, empowered women.

‘The Future is Female’

I saw this slogan recently and it bothered me.

There are a lot of resources dedicated to raising strong and empowered women and encouraging them to step up. We absolutely need more of this. Women are still under-represented and underpaid in our workplaces.

But what about our boys?

The future is both genders leading beside each other.

Sheryl Sandburg in her book Lean In talks about the role of men in creating the space and opportunity for women to lean in. Emma Watson, in her infamous UN speech, states that to end gender inequality we need everyone to be involved. Without our boys being raised in a way that supports equal space for both genders then the fight for equality will always be lopsided and weak.

Our boys have a privilege. But, as Mark Souter put it, when he tweeted me on this topic, they have a “responsibility associated with that position, to change / use / make room for everyone”.

As a new mother, I don’t know where to start with instilling the right values or creating space for Joshua to grow into the kind of man our future needs. Being a parent is bloody hard.

So if someone wrote stories where boys rebelled against their traditionally defined roles, weren’t scared to show vulnerability and worked in partnership with women, then I’d buy that book.

Because in order to build an equal world our boys deserve and need just as much attention.

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