As I sit down to write this letter, I can feel anger boiling up within me.
I am angry that some of our nation’s most important male role models degrade and sexualize women and yet retain their place as role models for you, me, and every other man in this country.
I am angry that the world your little sister is growing up in so often chooses to turn a blind eye to sexual assault and, even when discovered, chooses leniency when issuing consequences.
I am angry that there aren’t more men in the world who treat women the way they’re supposed to be treated: as equals.
The truth is, son, our world desperately needs you. Your sister and your mom need you. Your future girlfriend, cousin, and wife need you.
They need you to be a champion for women, to treat women with such dignity that others hold your treatment of women up as the ideal. They need you to fight against the boys in your school who will mock girls’ bodies and who will try to portray women as nothing but an outlet for a man’s sexuality. They need you to fight the uphill battle alongside women for equal pay, equal representation, and equal opportunity.
I want to prepare you as best I can for the journey ahead of you, starting with this list.
Son, this is how to treat women:
Do not place expectations on girls to be the cheerleader in neighborhood football or to relegate their playtime to dolls or, when you are older and married, to cook, clean, and take care of the children.If she wishes to do these things of her own volition, then by all means, she has every right to do so. But women are not subject to our expectations of them.
Many people will disagree with you and may even mock you for refraining from using porn. But it will be one of the most important decisions that you make in your life (and I do not say this lightly).
Son, if you can make this world a better place for the women around you, you will have lived a good life, and one that I can be proud of.
I love you.
It takes a village!
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