Monday, September 12, 2011

Boy Power

Why are there girl power movies, but we don’t see boy power movies? So many books and movies have a theme in which a young girl does things to show that she’s able to do just as much as any boy can do. They’re usually cute stories that encourage girls to see how special and beautiful they really are. There’s nothing wrong with that, but why aren’t their movies for boys like that? And what would one look like if there were?

I think part of the problem is that there is a tendency to lower the bar. While people say that girls can do anything that boys can do in order to encourage girls to live their dreams, they downplay many things that boys can and should be doing so that it looks like girls don’t have as far to go. That might help to encourage girls to take charge, but it has the opposite effect on boys. Tell a boy that something he’s doing is easy enough a girl could do it and it no longer seems like it is worth his time. Tell a boy that something he does that we wouldn’t encourage a girl to do isn’t really that important and he won’t do it.

Girl power movies are designed to promote a girl’s self worth and to encourage her to pursue her dreams, whatever they may be. If we were to write a boy power movie, it wouldn’t be so politically correct. Instead of fighting the airbrushed pictures that magazines tell girls represents beauty, a boy power movie would have to take on a bigger challenge. Consider the attitudes we would like to encourage in boys. At the top of that list is responsibility. I don’t mean we want them to take responsibility for their actions, though that is important. One of the great problems today is that young men aren’t being taught to take responsibility for their families.

Look at the number of young men who will get a girl pregnant and then won’t do their part to help raise the child. Look at the number of men who allow their wives to be the spiritual leader in the home. While it is important for mothers to teach their children about God, fathers have the responsibility of seeing that their families are in church and are learning about God. A father should be an example to his wife and children in Christian service. Children should have memories of being at church and working beside their fathers so that when they grow up they too will take on those responsibilities.

And young men need to be taught to be gentlemen. They should learn to treat women with respect. They should learn that a man should never hit a woman. A man should offer women and his elders his seat. Men should open doors for women and otherwise make her life easier. A man should never use bad language in front of a woman (or anywhere, for that matter), even if her mouth is filthy. A man should stand up when he shakes hands. (That’s one I need to work on.) A man should remove his hat when he is inside.

Perhaps the most politically incorrect of all, young men should be encouraged to lead. In all the effort to tell girls that they can do anything, I think we’ve forgotten to tell boys they have a responsibility to be the leaders in their families, in their churches, and in their communities. Some step up the challenge because it because naturally to them, but boys need to learn that leaving it to the girls is not the best option.