Please don’t call my toddler son a heartbreaker.
Or a ladies man.
Or a lady killer.
Or say “watch out girls!”
Or make comments about him flirting with you, when he’s just smiling.
Or make any other comments about his future sexuality that is far, far from being developed.
I know you mean well. I know you’re trying to make a comment on him being handsome, and I appreciate that. And I agree – he’s beautiful! His eyes are like blue gems and he’s got his dad’s perfect nose, he’s got full lips, and I’m starting to see a hint of dimples in his chubby baby cheeks.
But that’s the thing, he’s a baby. Please just let him be a baby. Comments like the above are not only gross, but entirely sexist. I don’t want my son growing up with the idea that being a ladies man, or a lady killer, or a heartbreaker is a good thing. Because it’s not. I want him to treat the girls and women in his life with respect and kindness. I don’t want him to see them as things to be conquered, used, and thrown away. I want him to see them as friends, allies, and equal human beings. And while those these comments may seem harmless, the words we say are indicative of the greater beliefs that we as a society uphold. And with movements like #MeToo still fresh on our minds, with women coming forward everyday to talk about the abuse they suffered at the hands of men more powerful than them, and with my own past experiences of being treated in ways that made me feel like I was an object, I REFUSE to allow that mindset to seep into my son’s life. Because people like Harvey Weinstein weren’t born wanting to abuse others, but instead, were raised in a society that allowed them to feel like they could get away with abusing women, and it starts when they’re young and told that they’re going to be a ladies man as if that’s a good thing.
Boys will not be boys, they will be kind humans and the best way to ensure a better future for the women of tomorrow is to start with raising kinder, more caring little boys today.
So it is my hope that my son will not break hearts, but mend them. That he’ll only be a ladies man in the sense that women feel comfortable around him and can trust him. And that he’ll treat his future partner (whether it be a woman or a man) with the respect, love, and dignity they deserve.