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Toilet training boys August 25, 2009

Posted by Andreas in Life, Parenting.
1 comment so far

I wrote this for Parent24.com a while ago:

Toilet training boys

Dads should be responsible for teaching their sons toilet etiquette. I say this as the father of two boys who has unwittingly sat down on a toilet seat sprinkled with little boy wee far, far too often. So believe me, I understand the magnitude of the challenge.

If you’re unconvinced, let me paint you a picture that might change your mind. Remember the last time you went to a night-club or pub bathroom. As the evening progresses, levels of inebriation skyrocket and toilet bowl marksmanship takes a precipitous dive. The place turns into an apocalyptic nightmare from hell where just to get to the sink you have to wade through putrid puddles of what you hope is mostly water.

The culprits are men whose fathers neglected to teach their sons how to pee straight.

Mothers, quite frankly, just aren’t equipped to do the job – what do they know about the mechanics of urinating out of an external appendage? Besides, women clean up behind men enough. This is one area where fathers can bring their unique expertise as men to their parenting commitment. Single moms, I suggest you rope in a sympathetic male friend or relative.

I think my 8 year old son Benjamin is fairly representative of the pre-teen crowd. Since he is forever busy with incredibly important activities he always leaves matters until the very last possible moment, then rushes into the bathroom and generally does a shoddy job of relieving himself because he’s already halfway out the door to get back to his incredibly important activity. Fathering advice for little characters like him would simply include getting them to develop a rudimentary sense of forward planning and slowing down to do things properly.

Beyond that the problems males have with peeing tend to be a combination of personal attitude and applied physics which can be summarised as follows:

● No man or boy ever has as good an aim as he thinks he does.

● Accidents happen.

● Even the most dead-eye practitioner has absolutely no control over random toilet bowl ricochet and splash back.

So what is a concerned father to do? Here are three basic practices to inculcate in you sons:

1. Sit down to pee.

2. If you do have to stand, in the name of all that’s hygienic, lift the seat.

3. Clean up your mess.

While propositions 2 and 3 should be self-evident and uncontroversial, I should perhaps unpack number 1 a little bit. Take a close look at the toilet in your bathroom. Even a bloke with half a brain will realise after a few moments that it was designed to be sat on. Obviously I’m not talking about urinals here. Personally I think the individual variety is just about acceptable, but the perpetually smelly, multi-user, gravity-driven types should be banned outright.

I got Benjamin’s 10 year old brother Josef to wee sitting down from when he was very small and it worked perfectly. Frankly, he didn’t know any other way. Until his uncle showed him how to do the business standing up, that is. Thank you very much, buddy!

Yes, of course there are situations when standing up is more practical than sitting. When you’re in the forest, say, or on top of a deserted mountain, but while we’re in civilisation, can’t we just all agree to take a seat, please!? Women around the world already do it with great success and fathers could do worse than teach their sons to follow their lead.

So if you’re a dad looking to make a practical contribution to your son’s development, why not pay a little attention to his bathroom habits and help him get to grips with some of the bits he might be struggling with? You might think it’s a thankless, behind the-scenes job, but if all of us fathers play our role, the world’s bathrooms, both private and public, will be better places.

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Anarchic Parenting January 4, 2009

Posted by Andreas in anarchism, Life, Parenting.
3 comments

I know, I know… I’ve been a poor blogger for quite a while now. Just been really busy with other…stuff. I’m hoping to become more active in this department again in the new year – not a resolution, you understand (not very fond of those…) – but I do have a couple ideas that might be fun. For the moment, here’s a story on alternative parenting I wrote for Cape Town’s Child magazine a while ago:

Anarchic Parenting

There is a list of house rules stuck to our refrigerator door that includes amongst other points: “We clean up after ourselves” and “We are nice to each other and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’”. What’s unusual about the list is that it wasn’t written by me or my wife, Sam, but by all of us together – which explains why there’s also “Parents help kids when they need help” and “No buying lions”… You see, we think of ourselves as anarchic parents.

For most people the word “anarchy” invokes extremely negative images of chaos, mayhem and violent lawlessness. Whenever I mention it in conjunction with our approach to parenting, even my best friends stare at me in disbelieve. For them, the idea of anarchic parenting conjures up nightmarish visions of out-of-control teenage mobs rampaging through the streets like crazed soccer hooligans.

The reaction is understandable, of course – it reflects the popular meaning of “anarchy”. It has very little to do with the political tradition of “anarchism”, however, which forms the basis of anarchic parenting. Anarchists, also called libertarians, believe that human beings are capable of achieving their fullest potential if they are allowed to have as much personal freedom as is possible without infringing on the personal freedom of others. As an anarchic parent it is perfectly reasonable for me to ask my seven-year-old son Benjamin not to play his recorder right outside my office door while I’m trying to work, but I have to be similarly respectful of his nine-year-old brother Josef’s rights when he stomps into the lounge during a rather rowdy late-night party exclaiming “Excuse me, you are making altogether too much noise and we can’t sleep!”

Anarchists reject a culture built on hierarchical, top-down power relationships, but place as much emphasis on peaceful mutual cooperation between the members of society as they do on maximising individual freedom. Anarchic parenting is founded on the same principles. Clearly this won’t work for everybody, but it does provide an alternative for parents who find many aspects of the mainstream model of child rearing rather stifling and incompatible with their personal and political philosophies.

Original virtue over original sin

Libertarians argue that most conventional approaches to raising children are based on a very negative view of human nature which assumes that kids are naturally born “bad” and that given half a chance they’ll only look after their own interests and will turn out to be lazy, mean, selfish and even violent adults. This is reminiscent of the biblical concept of “original sin” and it’s the parents’ role to “improve” and “civilise” their children. Anarchists, by contrast, have a more positive or at worst a neutral opinion of human nature, claiming that rather than original sin, there is “original virtue”.

American educator and parenting author Alfie Kohn says “kids need to be guided and helped, but they’re not little monsters who must be tamed or brought to heel.” The Austrian-American libertarian psychologist Wilhelm Reich believed that kids have an innate tendency towards self-regulation and that truly internalised positive values such as “goodness” and respect for others and one’s self can’t be imposed from outside, but are the result of an inner conviction that is based on the experience of interacting with other people. In the words of progressive Scottish educator A.S. Neill “self-regulation implies a belief in the goodness of human nature; a belief that there is not, and never was, original sin.”

But does self-regulation work in real life?

I do crave McDonald’s food sometimes”, Josef admitted the other day, “it just smells so good! But I don’t want to have any.” Having been positively addicted to fast food in the past myself I completely understand his predicament. We’ve talked about it as a family and some time ago we watched the anti-McDonald’s documentary McLibel together. Since then Josef hasn’t touched the stuff. It’s not that we refuse to buy it for him, even though we’d rather not, but having found out the facts, he’s decided that fast food isn’t good for him, for other people or for the planet and that he’s going to try to steer clear of it.

Why should our children have to earn our approval?

Kohn is critical of the fact that too many interactions between children and their parents are akin to economic transactions that leave kids thinking that they need to earn their parents’ approval and love, while parents end up “buying” obedience through threats, punishments, bribes and rewards. He emphasises that above all, children need their parents’ unconditional love and respect. “Kids need us to love them for who they are, not for what they do”, he says. “They shouldn’t have to earn our approval.”

Sarah Fitz-Claridge, the co-founder of Taking Children Seriously (TCS), a libertarian parenting movement and educational philosophy, argues that most traditional interactions between adults and youth are based on coercion and that fixed rules such as “the parent is always right” are simply irrational. TCS postulates that it is both “possible and desirable to raise and educate children without either doing anything to them against their will, or making them do anything against their will.”

TCS holds that all human beings are fallible and can make mistakes” says Fitz-Claridge – even parents. Since we only really learn from our own experiences – both successful and unsuccessful ones – it is very important for a child to be given the opportunity to make his or her own choices whenever possible. Rather than always providing ready-made answers, parents are encouraged to act as sources of information and options, allowing their children to live in as open and free an environment as possible in which new ideas can be explored and old ones criticised. In conflict situations parents and children should work together, openly and rationally discussing their opinions and feelings in order to find a common preference – a mutually agreeable solution – to the problem at hand.

What about discipline?

But isn’t this way of parenting much too permissive and won’t it simply spoil the kids? Surely children can’t be expected to teach themselves the necessary social skills they will need to become successful adults.

I’ll be honest: I’ve often been surprised that Josef and Benjamin don’t use swear words in public. Sam and I decided that it would be hypocritical to behave differently in front of them than we would naturally. So, on occasion, we do swear front of them. But we also make a point of always talking to them about it once the dust has settled. We’ve explained that many people find swearing very offensive and why, but we’ve never told them not to do it themselves.

Kohn argues that “kids don’t need us to back off and let them do whatever the hell they want, any more than they need us to control them. The real alternative to doing things to kids is to work with them.” He believes that parents should give kids more opportunities to make their own choices from early on in life: “Too much control by us means too little opportunity for them to develop internal regulation. The way kids learn to make good decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions.”

That doesn’t mean parents should be submissive to every whim of their children or should never say “no”. According to A.S. Neill, “in the disciplined home, the children have no rights. In the spoiled home, they have all the rights. The proper home is one in which children and adults have equal rights.” That is not to say that parents don’t know more about the world than their children – of course not, but they shouldn’t be in a position to make all of the decisions autocratically or solve family conflicts and disagreements by simply “putting their foot down” regardless of the circumstances.

With rights, of course, come responsibilities as well. At the end of last year our whole family sat down together to design a “chore chart” that now adorns the kitchen wall. On it are listed all of the things that need doing around our house on a regular basis. Feeding the cat, washing the dishes, packing away toys and emptying the hamster cage – that sort of stuff. Every time any one of us does one of these chores we give ourselves a tick in the appropriate column. Nobody is forced to do any of the chores, but the chart gives all of us, including the children, a sense of what needs to be done to keep our household going. Everybody has bought into the idea of household tasks as teamwork and none of us wants to be seen as not doing our bit.

There is no such thing as a rule book for anarchistic parenting and, in fact, most practitioners place a high premium on spontaneity, a do-it-yourself spirit and experimenting with whatever options present themselves in any particular situation. If you’ve read this article and are shaking your head at what to you sounds like idealistic and unrealistic claptrap, than this way of raising children is probably not for you. But perhaps you are just intrigued enough to bring up the concept of anarchic parenting with the rest of your clan one night around the dinner table and the next time you feel straight-jacketed by parenting conventions, why not let a little anarchy into your family life?

Democratise Your Family

Participatory democracy at home is an integral part of anarchistic parenting. Here are some simple steps to democratise your family’s interactions:

Hold regular and spontaneous family meetings in which every member of the clan can voice his or her opinion on the issues of the day. Make sure that everyone, even the littlest family member gets a chance to speak their mind. Try to arrive at mutually agreeable decisions by consensus and if that doesn’t work, have a vote.

Come up with your own list of family rules, rights and responsibilities with which all of you can agree and post it up on the fridge door. Keep it realistic and do-able and remember to have some fun while you’re at it!

Rather than having parents dish out punishments based on their own opinion alone, get together and discuss why certain behaviour is not acceptable and try to come up with practical ways to avoid it happening again in the future.

Play by the rules yourself. A parent who docks half of his pudding because he was three quarters of an hour late for picking the kids up from school, for example, has just made his children realise that he also respects their rights, just as he wants them to respect his.

Further Reading

Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishment to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn.

Future Generation: The Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends and Others by China Martens.

My Mother Wears Combat Boots: A Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us by Jessica Mills.

The Essential Hip Mama: Writing from the Cutting Edge of Parenting edited by Ariel Gore.

Screw the pledge February 13, 2008

Posted by Andreas in activism, anarchism, Life, News, Parenting, Politics, rant, Society, South Africa.
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South Africa’s Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, has just unveiled the pledge which “will be recited during assembly in all schools”. Here it is:

We, the youth of South Africa, recognising the injustices of our past, honour those who suffered and sacrificed for justice and freedom.

We will respect and protect the dignity of each person, and stand up for justice.

We sincerely declare that we shall uphold the rights and values of our constitution and promise to act in accordance with the duties and responsibilities that flow from these rights.

!KE E:/XARRA//KE

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it. Sure, and I’m all for people reciting it as often as they like – with the emphasis very much on the word “like”.

In my opinion, forcing kids to regurgitate this, or any other “pledge”, every morning, whether they want to or not, turns the idea of committing ones self to certain principles into a cheap and meaningless exercise in pop psychology at best. At worst, it’s an attempt at brainwashing.

The whole thing will probably be counterproductive – I know I would have absolutely hated having to recite any formulaic pledge every day. What about kids who refuse to say the pledge? Will they be forced to, will they be punished, or identified as unpatriotic traitors and publicly humiliated?

If the country’s constitution is the issue, then let kids engage with it properly. Let them dissect it and critique it and take from it what they like… make up their own minds and then defend it if they feel that way inclined.

Really meaningful commitment to any idea can only come from a genuine personal investment, never from mindless indoctrination. Let the kids think for themselves – they are well capable of being compassionate human beings without being force fed even the most well-meaning formulae.

Besides, does anyone else find it just a tat ironic for these sorts of decrees to come from politicians – frankly (and yes I am generalising here), a bunch of people up to their elbows in corruption, regularly outed as criminals, who have just gotten rid of one institution (the Scorpions) that kept on exposing their dirty laundry. As far as influencing a future generation goes, I think their actions will speak louder than the words of any pledge.

All I ever learned at school February 7, 2008

Posted by Andreas in activism, Life, Parenting, Society.
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Fellow blogger LawGeek recently posted a compilation of YouTube clips of people (mostly kids) revealing how to cheat at school. Classic, I think. Reminded me a bit of that Madness song Baggy Trousers: “All I learned at school was how to bend not break the rules” – ok, there might be a fair bit of actual breaking involved here as well… Find the post here.

My Dad’s a Mom September 13, 2007

Posted by Andreas in Life, Parenting, South Africa, Work.
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This was part of a story I wrote for Fit Pregnancy magazine recently.

My Dad’s a Mom

Driving my sons to school the other morning, six-year-old Benjamin started an all too familiar interrogation routine: “Dad, why do you always take us to school and pick us up after, and why do you pack our lunchboxes? Timmy’s mom does that for him…” “Well, you see our mom works in town and she’s there all day and…” “But you work as well and why do you always bath us and…”

Just as I was beginning to feel a bit like the Big Bad Wolf posing as the Grandmother under Little Red Riding Hood’s verbal barrage, eight-year-old Josef came to my rescue: “In our house dad is kind of the mom, Ben”.

For the last few years I have been the primary parent in our family. I hate that term, “primary parent” – it practically makes my wife, Sam, sound like a second-rate absentee parent, which she definitely is not. There just doesn’t seem to be a more appropriate phrase to describe fathers who do the majority of the hands-on parenting work in a household.

Everyone knows what a working mom does, but a “working dad” is just a bloke who goes to work every morning, like every other guy. In fact, I remember being a working dad myself.

Sam quit being an attorney when she first fell pregnant and by the time Benjamin arrived, had built a successful new career in freelance writing. Pretty soon she was earning more than I was and had to shoulder most of the parenting work on top of it.

I never did get used to the angry and profanity-laden phone calls from Sam, terminated by an abruptly slammed-down receiver before I could get a word in myself. I felt guilty for abandoning her with this physically and emotionally draining double-job every day.

I gradually started taking over some of the kiddy chores: nighttime bottle feeding and nightmare-consoling (Sam sleeps like the dead, so I didn’t really have much choice there), bath time and so on.

Today, as Joey so perceptively explained to Ben, I’m the mom. Sam has successfully kick-started a new full-time professional career in town and I do all of the things that mom’s are usually expected to do: mom’s taxi, coordinating extra-murals and play dates, getting everyone, including Sam, up and ready in the morning, lunch boxes, etc.

My job is flexible enough for me to do the Mr. Mom thing without too obviously neglecting my work responsibilities (anyone from work reading this: if you don’t tell on me, I’ll keep quiet about you being pregnant, if you know what I mean…).

Other aspects of being a male-mom have been less straightforward. I have it on good authority that The Land of Mother may be a difficult enough place to break into even if you’re a woman. For a guy it’s like a fairytale castle with magically unscalable walls.

Mothers tend to be very protective of the safe-space they have carved out for themselves over the millennia and I’m the last person to begrudge them this haven. They have, after all, long been on the receiving end of patriarchal neglect and non-appreciation for the monumental task of reproducing and sustaining the very basis of our entire society.

I understand why a he-mom like myself would find it somewhat of a challenge to gain access to the circle of trust that mothers have established in nursery, pre-, primary and high schools around the country, but boy it can be trying at times – it’s like a driver’s test that nobody ever told you existed.

At kid’s birthday parties, most moms just don’t really know what to talk to me about. I tend to feel as though I’m wearing a conversational halo that sucks away anything a mother could possibly want to say to me. Maybe they think that I just wouldn’t be interested in the latest skinner about the headmistress and the buff new PT bloke, or in who’s kids are bullies or little bitches, or which hairdresser charges least for extensions, when in actual fact I really, really am (well, I could probably do without the hairdressing advice).

The great unspoken question that stifles all communication between mothers and the dad-masquerading-as-mom, especially at a new school, is: “Where on earth is the mother?” I can see the potential answers bouncing over their furrowed brows:

“He’s a widower – the poor man.”

“They’re divorced – the rotten bastard.”

Seriously. Having seen Sam join me a little late at a school play once, a fellow mother remarked to her during the interval: “You two get along amazingly well for a divorced couple.” Had it been the other way around, I would have been duly recognised as a hard-working and understandably late, husband and father.

And then, I guess there are just some things that mothers and even teachers are just not comfortable talking to a man about. The other day, Sam got a call from Ben’s pre-school teacher that she claims to have been the most embarrassing moment in all her life (a most ridiculous proposition, as anyone who has spend more than five minutes with my wife will happily attest to).

The teacher, who is the kindest person and wonderful at her job, and who speaks to me every day of the week but hardly sees Sam, just couldn’t get herself to tell me that two or three cockroaches had been emerging from Ben’s school bag every morning of the last week, to Ben’s great embarrassment and his class mates’ daily entertainment.

I’m probably being unfairly harsh. Being gender-challenged in the mothering league can’t possibly be as difficult as it is for a working mother to get a little well-deserved respect and acknowledgement in the macho world of “real” work.

I am glad to report that, given a little time and mutual acclimatisation, even a male-mommy like me will be happily accepted into The Motherhood. These are, after all, caring people by definition, and once you’re in, the sky, or in this case the chairwo/man of the PTA committee, is the limit.

In flagrante delicto May 17, 2007

Posted by Andreas in Life, Parenting, sex.
2 comments

I just found this on my computer. It’s several years old, but still quite funny, I think.

It’s about two o’clock on a weekday night. We’re having our own brand of make-up sex after a lengthy argument-fight-discussion. It’s late and we’re not worried about disturbing anyone, so we’re being relatively loud. Moaning, talking, heavy breathing.

We’re both about to summit that last steep incline, about to plunge off the other side in an exhilarating rush of sensory overload just to ramp off the end of that roller coaster, the edge of the world, and float weightlessly in frothy clouds of orgasm when she exclaims “Fuck baby !”

My first thought is “Yeah…you got that right !”, but then I look at her face and see her freaked eyes pointing towards the hallway. (Picture the scene if you must: missionary position sex, her head gently drooping over the edge of the mattress at a slight angle, me still with no eyes in the back of mine.)

My second thought sends eerie shivers down the length of my spine: “It’s a burglar. We’re dead!” I turn my head and see his silhouette against the backlit doorway…our four-and-a-half year old son.

For a split-second all activity seizes. He seems to take in the tableau in front of him, and then he shuffles on past our bed and into the en-suite. A moment later I hear the tingle of boy-wee against porcelain. I’m off. Visions of a mentally scarred teenager in ten years from now flash through my mind. In the half-light of the bathroom, I kneel down next to him. “Did mommy and daddy wake you up ? We were talking and…hugging.” Part of me wants to talk straight. I hate the hypocritical lies and half-truths parents disseminate amongst their children, but then the image of him telling his pre-school buddies that he caught his parents fucking the other night just jars a little too much.

I take him back to his bed, and after getting him a bottle of chocolate milk, continue my interrogation just a little longer: “Did you feel funny when you walked into mummy and daddy’s bedroom just now ?” “Yes. I felt funny, because I had to make a wee.” Grmph ! “Is there anything you want to ask me about ?” After a short pause: “Yes, next time we go to the beach, can we…ramble, ramble, ramble.” Either he really doesn’t have a clue, or his little mind has already pulled a serious con-job of suppressing the evidence. We might never find out, but his therapist may, one day. In the meantime we’ll be getting a lock for the bedroom door.

Green family superbikes April 24, 2007

Posted by Andreas in Environment, Life, Parenting, Society, Sustainable Living.
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I’d really love to own one of these:

moederfiets

clever cycles

family bike

I’m sure the kids would love it, but I’m a bit concerned about how safe these would be on SA roads…

Back to school January 17, 2007

Posted by Andreas in Cape Town, Life, Parenting, Society, South Africa, Work.
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The boys are back at school today. Being the primary parent (I don’t really like that term since I know that Zen is just as “primary” as I am in our kids’ lives), that means I’m back in the school lifting routine.

Sometimes it feels as though I’m on the road all the time.

My typical day involves driving Joey and Ben to school in the morning and driving them back home in the afternoon with the time depending on their extra-curricular schedule on that day (my boss has let me sacrifice my lunch-break so I can do the lifting whenever it’s required).

On Wednesdays Josef does arts at Frank Joubert (absolutely loves it!), so I’ve got to take him there after school, fetch and take him home after an hour and then get back to work. At the moment that’s our only off-school extra-curricular activity, but I’m sure there’ll be more soon… and more driving for me.

The distances involved are not very big, but the time I spend in traffic, mostly in a rush to get to the boys or to get back to work seems endless.

Since I started doing this, I’ve really learned to appreciate this aspect of what’s traditionally considered as part of an urban mother’s (unpaid) job. The “Mum’s Taxi” bumper stickers suddenly changed from whiny cliche to an accurate reflection of my life, well part of it anyway.

So here’s to all the mums (and dads who are mums) out there, who keep this society running with no remuneration, financial or otherwise, and all too often no recognition or appreciation!

Gay boys December 13, 2006

Posted by Andreas in Parenting.
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In the car on our way to school the other day, I overheard my seven year old son Joey admonish his younger brother: “No no no Ben, Brett and Trent are gay boys and they do kiss each other like mommy and daddy!” Ben got it and the conversation moved on to more mundane things: “Punchbuggy yellow, safe!”

Helping our kids keep an open mind has always been one of our major parenting missions. For me that mostly boils down to exposing them to the whole muddled wonder that is human existence (the good, the bad and the ugly).

“Exposing” seems a harsh word to use, actually, since obviously I don’t mean throwing them into the toxic sludge that is the real world so that they build up some resistance that will protect them in later life.

What I hope is for them to be able to live a life in which doors and options are open, in which they can experience the fabulous variety of what it means to be human, in which all sorts of lifestyles and ways of thinking can be explored, talked about and lived. A life of opportunities and choices and one that they have the power to shape for their own needs, feelings and desires.

Not an easy task, I tell you, in a society where proverbial doors are slammed shut in your face on a daily basis and from quite a young age. Girls run funny, old people smell odd, men drink beer, lesbians hate men, Zulu men are masculine, English spoken with a Scottish accent is quaint, English spoken with an Afrikaans or African accent is a travesty, and so on and so on.

Kids are extraordinarily receptive to the world around them. I have to laugh at folks who say things like “children don’t notice the colour of people’s skin”. My sons are extremely aware of all sorts of human attributes, including skin tone: “Ashley has golden hair and is pinkish. Alex is light brown, but not quite as brown as Joshy” etc. They call it like it is, but don’t attach bizarre, one-size-fits-all value judgements to mere physical characteristics. Society grinds those into their subconscious slowly but surely in a myriad of different ways.

A friend of mine tells a cute story about growing up in the dusty roads of Ikageng township near Potchefstroom. He came home from playing outside one day, I guess he must have been about four or five, telling his mother how all the kids, himself included, had been playing in the street naked. His mom got a little concerned and asked if it had been just boys or if there had been girls as well. “I don’t know mommy,” he replied, “none of them were wearing any clothes”. In the absence of identifying items of clothing (dresses and skirts vs pants) he couldn’t tell the difference!

CrimethInc.

A lot of the stuff I’m trying to get at is said much better on one of my favourite CrimethInc. posters (adapted from a poem by Nancy R. Smith):

For every girl who is tired of acting weak when she is strong, there is a boy tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.

For every boy who is burdened with the constant expectation of knowing everything, there is a girl tired of people not trusting her intelligence.

For every girl who is tired of being called over-sensitive, there is a boy who fears to be gentle, to weep.

For every boy for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity, there is a girl who is called unfeminine when she competes.

For every girl who throws out her E-Z-Bake oven, there is a boy who wishes to find one.

For every boy struggling not to let advertising dictate his desires, there is a girl facing the ad industry’s attacks on her self-esteem.

For every girl who takes a step toward her liberation, there is a boy who finds the way to freedom a little easier.

Download the poster here.