A great organization focused on young men is helping to remind them of how unique they are—and how to become the best people they can be in a society that seems intent on defining them.
The MOST Club (Men of Strength) was created to help men learn more ways to prevent sexual and other violence in the United States today. Their mission statement is, “To mobilize men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence, especially men’s violence against women,” and their vision is, “To institutionalize primary prevention of men’s violence against women through sustained initiatives that generate positive, measurable outcomes in populations throughout the world.”
I have three sons. As a strong feminist, I am always discussing with my daughters the things that I think could help them in the future: how we don’t “slut shame,” not giving into any pressures of physical affection, making the choices for family and education that will fit best for themselves—not according to the expectations of others. But I sometimes forget that teaching my sons that they need not always adhere to the ways of society is equally important.
My sons will not be shamed into disliking an activity, color, or expression because someone, somewhere, decided it was “girly.”
My sons will know that emotion, in whatever form, is perfectly acceptable, as long as it is expressed in a respectful manner. There will be no “man-up,” ordered in my home.
My sons will see that members of both the opposite and same sex, those who choose a different gender, and those who just think differently, will be respected as human beings, merely for the fact that they are.
My sons will learn that respecting themselves is just as important as respecting someone else.
My sons will learn to recognize that not all traditions and “male” values will work for them—and that it is nothing to be ashamed of.
It is my hope that my sons will acknowledge that their sisters are just as important as they are, while remembering that their importance to me is unmeasured. That their possible contributions to the world are unsurpassed—that they alone hold the key to something. It is their right—and privilege—to discover just what that is.
Organizations like MOST help out a mother like me. While women fight for their freedom against sexual violence, men can be right beside them saying, “No more.” This is a new and vastly important generation that is moving along behind us. They can—and will—do things that we have been unable to. They are a generation of change.