Introduction episode for season two. A look back on my own adolescence, a story from the past few months and a call for parents and educators to join the conversation on boyhood masculinity.
Breaking the Boy Code began in March 2018, or the summer of 2017, or April 2014 depending on your parameters. But some part of it has its roots in an underweight boy with too many bracelets and long blonde hair—because if you had asked me when I was young what I thought about gender stereotypes and rules about masculinity, I would have had a lot to say.
I learned at a young age that some things are not allowed for boys, and some things result in violence that I wasn’t ready for. I was told I was doing it wrong. I was told I was a girl. I was called a fag before I knew what a fag was. As I navigated the winding path of both resistance and adherence to the rules of masculinity, I went to great lengths to hide or change parts of who I was. And while I had some great teachers, I also had teachers who were unprepared to intervene on homophobic violence in their classrooms.
I’m now an educator, and I’ve seen firsthand the impact of committed and authentic relationships with boys. Boys are saying: ‘We want change. We want these kinds of conversations about masculinity, about mental health and relationships, we want to be supported by committed educators who spend time with us and help us create a space to explore who we want to be.’ So as parents and educators we are part of something better than what we experienced when we were young.
“There is a systematic mistreatment underlying boyhood, and those of us responsible for its design and maintenance—not boys themselves—must fix its flaws. We will find ready partners in boys themselves, who have a keen interest in being seen as they are, hearts beating loudly behind the masks they must wear.” — Michael Reichert
Together, we are breaking the boy code.
Michael Reichert, How to Raise a Boy →
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