It starts early. The other day I had the TV on and that H&M commercial with the girl running around in a bikini came on. My son Miles turned to look at the TV screen, and suddenly, the biggest smile spread across his little face. Initially, I thought this reaction was so cute. Recognizing a beautiful woman in a bikini should be way beyond his years, which somehow made the whole situation adorably odd. To be honest, I actually still find it funny, however, it also got me thinking about how our children take in and process imagery at a young age. Now that Miles is getting older, we will need to be particularly mindful of what he is exposed to. I know he is still a baby, but my son will grow up in a completely different world than I did. With social media, and access to information at childrens' fingertips today, I simply cannot imagine what Miles will have at his disposal in 10 years. But the lessons need to start early, not in 10 years.
As a woman of a male, I have the extra honor of teaching him to be a Man. I say "Man," with a capital "M," because I believe this is a title, that not every male is worthy of. Amongst other things, a Man is strong (but understands the right ways and circumstances to apply his strength), humble, intelligent, confident, thoughtful, respectful, and a gentlemen. It will be our job as parents to make sure Miles grows up respecting women as equals and as beings to love and care for. Although he will be bombarded with images of sexualized women, I want to raise a Man who understands a woman's true value and treats her accordingly. So, bikini commercials be damned!...But it looks like I may have my work out for me. LOL.