Today’s post is a little bit of a vent. Equality is slowly and painfully getting established (and we’re lucky here in the UK) but it’s such a frustratingly slow process. And not just for girls. Right now, we’re shouting for the boys.
We know that girls have it tough on so many fronts – we’re helping our own girls fight for respect and fair treatment, after all. But, while boys benefit from a lot of the traditional set-up, it’s not all easy for them. And the message that they don’t have to be ‘tough guys’ doesn’t seem to be making much progress at all.
We’ve come across a couple of examples in our business life recently that has really brought this home to us.
Boys deserve lovely stuff too
Firstly, part of our recent blog post on what to pack for uni really struck a chord with our lovely social media followers. On the list was a few items to cheer up your uni room – throws, lights, and the like. And we pointed out that a cosy, visually pleasing room was just as important for boys too. It doesn’t have to be “masculine”, dark colours and tech-friendly gadgets. Boys deserve bright colours, soft fabrics and mood enhancing décor too!
Feel-good products are not just for girls
Secondly, we’re also about to launch some new wellbeing and self-care teen gift sets (we’re SO excited!!) and it has been a real eye-opener when researching contents for boys. We always hold a lot of discussions with teenagers behind the scenes for any new product. This time we found that there’s a real resistance to openly admitting that boys might want to use products that make them feel good. But there’s no real reason at all that this should be the case. Amongst our three, we’ve got one that loves to watch Netflix in the bath with one of his sister’s bath bombs and one that loves to study with the calming scent of a diffuser or candle. Just as it should be! Yet somehow we still see this as ‘unmanly’. So frustrating!!
No need to be a ‘tough guy’ and hide your feelings
And the emotional side of things is even harder to witness. Boys should feel comfortable showing how they feel in the same way that we expect and encourage teenage girls to. The teenage years are incredibly turbulent to live through and doing it while bottling feelings up is so much harder.
This article from the HuffPost archives sums the problem up beautifully. As it points out:
“Research shows that boys are even more emotionally expressive than girls as infants, but this changes as children age — likely because boys are socialized not to be as expressive.” And that a boy who is expressive of his emotions, “is still often called weak or overly emotional.” Which is all simply heart-breaking.
So how can we help? By being open and honest in discussing our own feelings. By making sure that we respond to all expressions of emotion with careful body language as well as words. And by making time and opportunity to discuss how life is going on a regular basis from a young age, so that it becomes the norm.
If you’d like some insight into how it feels to be a teenage boy battling through this, we found this article written by a teenager really interesting.
We really hope that by talking about this, we can add another voice to those calling for change. And we’d love to start a conversation – please do leave us a comment with your thoughts.
Louise & Anna x