We live in a world filled with girl power. And that’s amazing. Sure, we still have a long way to go before we truly achieve feminism, but the world is changing and progressing, and I love that.
But I just recently watched The Intern and Anne Hathaway’s character made a very good point — somewhere along the way, empowering boys in a positive way was forgotten.
So we were always told we could be anything, do anything. And I think guys got, maybe not left behind, but not quite as nurtured, you know? I mean, like, we were the generation of “you go, girl.” We had Oprah. And I wonder sometimes how guys fit in, you know? They still seem to be trying to figure it out.
Instead, boys are expected to live up to masculine stereotypes, degraded when they act feminine and taught their problematic behavior is okay because “boys will be boys.” So in order to contribute to fixing that, here’s an open letter to all the boys out there:
Dear boys, you are capable of doing anything you set your mind to. Always remember that.
Dear boys, go ahead and cry. There’s nothing feminine or degrading about showing emotion. Girls and boys experience the same emotions and cry the same amount of tears, so don’t ever listen to anyone who tells you “boys don’t cry.” Crying has nothing to do with strength; some of the strongest people I know cry the most. Go ahead and let the tears out
Dear boys, you like sports? Go ahead and do it. You like art? Go ahead and do it. Do you like writing? Go ahead and do it. Never let the world tell you what you like isn’t appropriate, or it isn’t practical, or it isn’t something you should be doing. Never dive into conformity if it makes you unhappy. Do what you love the most and show your work to the world. You are capable of amazing things — but only if you let yourself.
Dear boys, the world isn’t divided into all-girls, all-boys clubs. If you like something that’s deemed “feminine” or “for girls,” who cares? What makes the world think it’s no boys allowed?
Dear boys, support one another. Please. This is so important. So many boys don’t support one another. Everyone needs support, and there’s nothing manly about teasing or making fun of other boys for liking something or being who they are. Don’t be a bully. Just because somebody’s different from you doesn’t give you the right to degrade them for it. Encourage a friend, congratulate a classmate, befriend a lonely boy.
Dear boys, if you love someone, tell them. Whether it’s your best friend, your significant other, or family, go ahead and tell them how much you love them.
Dear boys, if you like other boys, you’re still a boy. If you were born in the wrong body, you’re still a boy.
Dear boys, treat girls right. The only thing that separates boys and girls are their bodies. Girls are capable of doing anything boys can do. Respect them — look at them as more than just sexual objects. Look at them for the amazing beings they are. Don’t ever make fun of them for being girls. And as much as possible, don’t use “like a girl” as an insult. (After all, what’s so wrong with being like a girl?)
Further Reading: 8 Life Advice for the 20 Something
Dear boys, your sufferings are valid. Your insecurities are valid. Your body issues are valid. Your hurt is valid.
Dear boys, in this crazy, messy thing we call life, there’s only one person we have to impress, and that’s ourselves. Be the best you can be. Be more than just the sum of your parts. And don’t listen to anybody who tells you otherwise.
This article was originally published on Medium.