Parents, teachers, and other people around them play a large role in a kid’s life, socialization, and development. A lot of what happens in childhood can matter for a lifetime, so it’s really important that everybody involved try their best to raise a mindful human being. However, it’s easy to mess up. After all, nobody’s perfect. What matters is recognizing these parenting mistakes and improving. Recently, artist Damian Alexander created a comic pointing out one specific area that he thinks everybody should pay more attention to when raising kids. Boys adoring female role models.
And you couldn’t find a better person for the job. Damian grew up in a pretty artistic family and got a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art. Also, he experienced all of this first-hand. “Growing up, my favorite character was Matilda. She was so smart, and I related to her feeling out of place in her family,” Damian told Bored Panda. “The telekinesis thing was also really exciting for me. Then there’s Anne of Green Gables, Hermione from Harry Potter, Mary Poppins, Mulan, and so many more female heroes. I think it’s because girl characters tend to use creative problem solving instead of outright violence, and I found that a lot more engaging.”
His family never seemed to care much or take notice of it. “If I wanted a doll or something though, they’d direct me toward an action figure. They did it, complying with the social norms. Boys in my family would also turn up their nose if I wanted to play as Princess Peach in Super Smash Bros.”
And that’s the problem. Damian thinks that sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and gender bias are a huge part of why society thinks a boy shouldn’t look up to women. “A lot of men undervalue women and see them as less than. Probably because we have this toxic cycle of telling little boys they can’t admire women, and then having them grow up to disrespect women. A lot of parents also think if their son likes female superheroes, he’ll suddenly turn gay even though that’s not how that works at all.”
“Just let kids like what they like,” the artist said after being asked how society should break this gender role stigma. “If a little boy admires Elsa, just let him and don’t make a fuss about it. I’m so tired of seeing parents in the toy section direct their sons away from the doll aisle, saying, “Nope, that’s for girls!” Each time they’re planting the little seeds of misogyny in their kid’s head.”