You are a boy. And while I know there’s a lot of negative things about gender stereotypes and all that, I want to talk to you about what being male means to me. Masculinity, in my opinion, is a responsibility. Because humans are built differently based on gender, males tend to be bigger and physically stronger. So, because you are given strength, you are responsible for being gentle. The gift of strength needs to be used for protection and fierce love, and I hope you know I expect that of you. You are a white boy. You’re the oppressing class. So I expect you to use your privilege to protect weaker parties and give them what you can. I expect this of you.
I want you to know all this because I have a burning anger in me today. A friend of ours, (I won’t name her to protect her identity, but you know and love her), came to me yesterday and told me that a man had violated her. A man who professed love and was supposed to be her friend. And when he texted her later, he apologized. Not for assaulting her, but for the ‘misunderstanding’. And I realized that he probably regretted doing something his girlfriend might find out about, but probably didn’t think of himself in the category of rapist. We live in a society where women are told what a huge, emotional, connective experience sex can be. Men are told that it’s not that big a deal. So when women are altered forever, there are men that merely regret the ‘misunderstanding’, if they regret anything at all.
That man didn’t temper his strength with gentleness, with listening. He didn’t think about what she wanted. He didn’t think about the spiritual thing that he was marring. And if I do anything right as a parent, you will never make that mistake. I’m not going to be a Puritan about sex, I’m not going to tell you to wait until you’re married, I’m not going to add the stigma of guilt to sexuality. But what I am going to tell you is that sex is spiritual. And if you hold that idea in the same tender hands that a woman does, it will both be using your masculinity to protect and nurture, but it will also be a beautiful connection. I want that beauty in your life when you’re ready and you have someone you love that’s ready too.