Flyer for story of a boy sexually molested by a womanBOYS TALK ABOUT IT 4.0

“To date, I Didn’t Tell Anyone About It” — Anonymous 005

I had my little experience of sexual abuse when I was growing up. I hope my story will inspire someone. Well, it all started when I was a little boy. I was molested by both male and female. First, it was a female.

She was our family friend. When I was a boy, she would carry me to her room, and start to rub my tiny penis on her vagina.

Well, she thought I wouldn’t know, but she forgot that as a kid, my mind and brain were so sharp to retain things. To date, I didn’t tell anyone about it. If not now that I am telling you.

I wonder why she engaged in such an act with me. She used to be a very beautiful young lady then, she could have gotten any man of her choice. Why little me?

Are you a survivor of a similar sexual abuse or any other form of sexual abuse? You can share your story with us for Project Boys Talk About It 4.0 via the link below:

Project Boys Talk About It 4.0 Story Sharing Form

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feminism and the boy childBreaking Borders

Where Feminism Meets The Boy Child: The Humane Approach

By: Ìbùkúnolúwa Dàda

Image Credit: UNESCO

As a child, my mum treated us so well that I thought girls were saints and the holiest beings after angels. I even wanted to be one until a girl stole my money in primary school, followed by a series of other terrible things from the same sex (I did terrible things too). Regardless of these, I still like the girl-child but I do not want to be one anymore. And this is only because I am terrified of the pain that comes with menstruation and childbirth. That’s all. Just the biology. Hence, my opinion is that there is nothing wrong with masculinity, femininity, or humanity but how generations have cultured the sexes and stereotyped them with roles and acceptable vices.

We must understand that these stereotypes are so ingrained into our society that even the Oxford dictionary puts ‘similar words’ to masculinity to include ruggedness, strength, virility, vigor, muscularity, toughness, and robustness; and we all know words that are attributed to females–yeah, pretty much the opposite. Growing, I had issues with this disparity and didn’t know there was a word for it until I heard Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s cut it in Beyoncé’s Flawless, and I became a feminist.

As a feminist and a boy-child, here are some ways the cause meets the boy-child.

The Hard Guy and The Radical Feminist

The hard guy is that person that has been cultured by generations of norms that the boy-child is meant to be emotionless, tough, carry the socioeconomic weight of his family, society, and country alone if possible; nature has ordained him to be the ruler of every environment and all females and “effeminate” men must bow before him.

On the other hand, the radical feminist believes that the boy-child is responsible for all the oppression women go through and that he basks in his male privilege. They believe–like I did as a child– that all women are saints; the boy-child has something inherently wrong with him and his ‘toxic’ masculinity which inevitably turns him into a hard guy, and that he needs transformation.

This is where the line begins to blur, good intentions begin to fade, and you have people tweeting statements like the one in the screenshot below.

This sect of people consists of misandrists who have most likely met a lot of misogynists who carry the ‘toxic’ usually thrown behind ‘masculinity’. It is sad that misandrists are mostly confused as feminists. And though some radical feminists can turn this misandry- blue-litmus-paper red, other feminists have issues with the radical feminist theories, noting that they are anti-male.

The Psychoanalytic Feminists and the Damned Boy-Child

Patriarchy is not a blessing to the boy child as some many like to think and the Psychoanalytic feminists while trying explain this, damns the boy-child. They believe that the boy-child is broken by the patriarchal system which puts his upbringing in the care of his mother and later takes him away to become the hegemonic leader destined for his sex. This transition, they believe, unconsciously affects the boy-child and makes him see the girl (his mother) as no more than a love object for nurture. An example of this is the way wives are seen as properties in the Yoruba culture and you find males formed in the heat of the societal pressure on masculinity view their girlfriends, and even wives, the same way.

This kind of warped ideology is enshrined in this statement I came across while researching:

“Tragically, Manhood in the Making ends up telling men that what they have to offer the world is not their loving presence in the lives of their families and larger community but their deaths on a battlefield-be it military or economic”

This is what patriarchy tells the boy child.  However, some feminists disagree with psychoanalytic feminists making the boy-child the victim in their approach.

Multidimensional Feminists

This set looks at feminism in tandem with the boy child through the lenses of class and race. In addition to fighting for the equality of the sexes, they fight for males in marginalised races, sexualities and other identities. They believe these men are unable to attain their full masculine potential due to their environment.

Liberal Feminists and The Simp-Sins

Unlike the radicals and psychoanalysts, the liberal feminists do not believe there is an inherent problem with the boy child. Liberal feminists recognize the harms of patriarchy and how it affects the girl- and boy-child. They believe that solution is creating a more egalitarian society and push for changes in laws, childhood education, the media, government, and every other area that would help achieve equality. Their approach is that we–boys and girls–can learn and unlearn to make societal structures better for all genders.

And this is where the Simp-Sins come in. It is a term I coined for the “hard guy” cohort that condemns the boy-child that believes in a ‘ridiculous thing’ as equality with the girl child, or being emotionally available to their loved ones. Attributes that really sound like being human to me. However, please note, this is no excuse to be an actual ‘Simp’ that grins in a commensalistic or parasitic relationship (of any kind)

chart to prove points on feminism and the boy child
Masculinity and Feminine traits cultured by the society (source: Hofstede (2001), Culture’s Consequences, 2nd ed.  p 297)

Post-Modern & Post cultural Feminists and The Effeminate Boy-child

Have you ever thought that a boy-child could be feminine, the girl-child masculine or either sex having a blend of the two qualities? Maybe? You might just be a Post modern/Post Cultural feminist. These people believe that the problem with patriarchy stems from ascribing masculinity solely to the boy-child and feminity to the girl-child. And, since the qualities ascribed to masculinity and feminity are not mutually exclusive to the sexes, therefore, humans carry the androgyny adjective (which is a combination of masculinity and feminity). This means that a boy-child can be more ‘feminine than the girl child, and the girl child more ‘masculine’ than the former.

And this brings us to the “effeminate” boy-child. Because he is more in tune with his feminity, he is given this tag that is meant to emasculate him. He is sidelined because he likes pink, prefers to hug his friends (female and male), wears make-up, or is more emotionally intelligent–a trait has become a must-have for any leader. It can then be baffling why the society cultures the hard-guy, who is destined to be a leader, to not have this trait.

Conclusion

Back to my childhood story, I realised that I never wanted to be a girl; I just wanted to exude the qualities that are attributed to the girl-child. And I do not need to be in a female body to do that because all of the qualities ascribed to feminism and masculinity are that of a human. Therefore, I enjoin us to be human and push for a more egalitarian society. Because it is only then that the boy-child, girl-child, and the society will be truly functional.

 

References

Brown, A. M., & Ismail, K. J. (2019). Feminist Theorizing of Men and Masculinity: Applying Feminist Perspectives to Advance College Men and Masculinities PraxisOnline Submission42(1), 17-35.

Gardiner, J. K. (2005). Men, masculinities, and feminist theory. In M. S. Kimmel, J. Hearn, & R. W. Connell (Eds.), Handbook of studies on men and masculinities (pp. 35-50). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Gilmore, D. D. (1990).Manhood in the making: Cultural concepts of masculinity. Yale University Press.

Gibson, J. W. (1991). Feminist ideas about masculinity.

Mann, S. A., & Patterson, A. S. (Eds.). (2016). Reading feminist theory: From modernity to postmodernity. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Pease, B. (2000) Recreating men: Postmodern masculinity politics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

https://hbr.org/2015/04/how-emotional-intelligence-became-a-key-leadership-skill

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/10/09/are-men-and-women-equally-emotionally-intelligent/?sh=43ed50d07939

http://www.thefamuanonline.com/2022/02/14/feminine-men-face-hurdles/

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Boys Without Borders celebrating 2 years of boychild advocacyFeatures

Celebrating Our 2 Years of Boy Child Advocacy: Of Our Volunteers and What We Stand For

One thing we can take from so many readings, especially those that aim to preach of a world that is in itself unfair, is that life is not particularly fair to anyone. Whether we want to take different phenomena into reality, the truth still remains that there will always be mishaps along the way. However, in this world that has so much been tagged as unfair, we, as humans, can strive to do things that would make us come close to the reality of perfection, balance, sanity, and equality.

It is this quest to bring about an active change in society, one which can pride itself on the fact that the humans that live within it, are part of the keepers of sanity and peace, that Boys Without Borders (BWB) has set out achieve. The Organisation has identified boys, their orientation, sensitisation, education, and advocacy as key ingredients in achieving a perfectly balanced society that is free of many mishaps.

The goal of raising functional men is one that BWB is committed to achieving. This is carried out without any prejudice towards the female gender. In fact, BWB is not an organisation set out to rival any female-oriented organisation. We rather aim to put the spotlight on the boys whilst claiming that though the issues raised concerning girl-child are valid, those of the boy-child are neglected and deserve to be under the perusing eyes of the society, with solutions preferred, In summary, the plights of the boy-child are very much valid, and ours is a boy child advocacy group dedicated to raising societal awareness about those plights.

For two years, BWB continued steadfastly in its aims and objectives of boy child advocacy via community outreaches, school outreaches (where boys themselves are spoken to), the organisation of public symposiums, the printing of educative pamphlets, the releasing of bi-weekly article publications called Breaking Borders, Letters to the Boy child, and Boys’ Trybe (nuggets that are uploaded on our socials). Also, there is the Boy’s Trybe HQ, an online community where gender-based trendy issues are discussed.

Having done all these, it feels just like yesterday, the stern realisation that the dust of time whizz past just after every sunrise hits everyone. Indeed, the joyous realisation that this great organisation is now in her second year of striving to achieve its goals dawns on us.

To commemorate our second year anniversary, we decided to ask our volunteers to talk about their view of the Organisation, the exciting times, their challenges, and how impactful Boys Without Borders has been as a boy child advocacy group. They have quite a lot to say.

Something About Our Founders

“I remember the words of my friend and co-founder of this organization, Solomon, when he reached out to me about joining the organization. He said, “You remember what we both discussed about the need to form a boy child advocacy organization to build a good society and thus, a better Nigeria? Bro, I believe joining Boys Without Borders will be a good step towards achieving the goal.”

The joy of contributing to building a positive society, particularly from the boy child angle, has been my driving force when undertaking any task as a member of the organization. Honestly, it has been a wonderful experience so far, having to meet and work with people I have no prior relationship with; the team vs team banters, and so on. Also, I’ve got to learn practical things that I can employ when raising a boy child in the future. I pray BWB grows stronger and better.”

(Oloruntoke Opeyemi, Assistant Team Lead, Logistics Team)

“It’s amazing how far BWB has come as an organization committed to boy child advocacy. In the words of Solomon, one of the Co-Founders, we’re making impacts, outreach by outreach, school by school, boy by boy. Being a member of BWB has helped me channel my being and resources into contributing to social good. I love how we maintain a formidable spirit online and offline. As the organization starts its 3rd journey, I hope that we have enough resources and opportunities to tap into to help us reach the heights we want to reach and make impacts as much as we would love to. Happy Birthday, BWB!”

(Theophilus Alawonde, Content Development Team)

Starting Like it is Nothing But Realising the Vision

“It’s been a beautiful journey. I started like it was no big deal. I mean, I just wanted to volunteer, and that was it. But then, after going through the Content Guidelines, I realised it was more than just volunteering but about impacting lives. I realized after my first school visitation here that the boys seemed really excited to have people come to talk to them. What we do is uncommon. I have learned, unlearned, and relearned in this journey. I wish BWB many more years to come. I love this family.”

(Adewusi Esther, Team Lead, Feedback Team)

“I never really thought I’d be this committed to the goals of the organisation as I am now. I joined because I just had always thought I will volunteer in some organisation in my undergraduate days and I wanted to build my résumé. However, upon being a member of the organisation, I realised that BWB is the Organisation that this society needs.

Growing up on the streets of Mushin, many things that society has normalised as being part of the process of simply being boys are things that harm the boy-child.

These are things that BWB has made me see. A few months ago, when I got home, a brother told me he saw my status and my posts on BWB and quizzed me if indeed boys can be raped. I said yes, and this sparked a deep conversation among the adults in my house that day. That was when I knew that truly, our work is valid at BWB. I am proud of every day that I see I am a member of this Organisation. Love, from the Agbero Team. Lol!”

(Olamilekan Mashika, Team Lead, Content Development Team)

Loving What We Do at Boys Without Borders

“It’s been a beautiful experience overall and I’m grateful for the opportunity to impact. The most exciting moments are the school visitations. I have had the opportunity to attend two, and they were fulfilling. I love what we do and I’m proud to be here, giving the boy child a voice. A challenging moment will be leading the IDBC team. Asking myself the question, “am I making sense”?… I wish BWB more impactful years and I see us going global with more solid structures.”

(Abdulmojeed Kawthar, Content Development Team)

“It’s been a really great journey for me. I’ve met some amazing people through BWB, I’m really grateful for that. BWB makes me feel good about myself for being part of this greatness. I hope the organization gets stronger and better. I’ve only been to two outreaches and I can’t even choose which excited me more, loved every moment so much.”

(Olajide Amudat, Team Lead, Finance Team)

“My experience as a member of Boys Without Borders has been nothing short of amazing! I particularly enjoyed the IDBC2022 Public Symposium on Redefining the Narrative of the Boy child, which is quite pivotal in our modern society. It has really been an impactful experience joining BWB. We keep breaking borders!”

(Dele Olátúnjí, Feedback Team)

Joy and Fulfillment

“It’s been quite lovely, to say the least. Now that’s not to liken every day as a member of BWB to a party or anything like that, but rather to highlight just how fulfilling and exciting it is to be a part of something you genuinely believe in. The thought of us making a difference is one that puts a smile on my face. It has been reasonably challenging, but that’s to be expected of anything truly worthwhile. Here’s to more amazing years at BWB. May it only get better from here on out.”

(Jucal Adedokun, Assistant Team Lead, Content Development Team)

“It’s been wonderful! I really enjoyed all the times that we had physical gatherings; every time we visited schools. I’ve also learnt about the realities of neglecting the boy child.”

(Àjàyí Deborah, Feedback Team)

Best Decisions Made

“Being a member of BWB has been one of the best things that ever happened to me in the University of Ibadan. Though, I have not really been participating in the reaching out exercises, but the pictures and feedback I’ve been receiving are quite wonderful. So far so good, I haven’t experienced any challenges. As for the impacts, I have been working really well with the Feedback Team. I have helped in writing different questionnaires for the team.”

(Ogunkanmbi Oluwatobi, Feedback Team)

“Joining BWB last year is one of the best decisions I made. I have learnt teamwork, accountability, selflessness,, and responsibility. My major challenge is not being able to attend some of the events planned, but I hope that will change this new year. As BWB turns 2, I wish all of us a wonderful celebration and more progress and impact in the society. Up and up we go!”

– (Edet Blessing, Feedback Team)

Now that all has been said, we still remain unwavering in our boy child advocacy mission – a quest to raise functional men and have a society that is balanced. A society that is proud of itself, a society free of gender-based prejudices and the stains of the repeating trendy news on social media. We will remain committed to ensuring that the community is part of the process of raising boys into functional men who are useful to society. For us, boy child advocacy is a necessity.

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