A friend recently posed a question on Facebook: What strategies have you used to teach middle-school boys about valuing the worth of girls/women?
Teach boys self-worth and how to value themselves, first, and as an extension, how to value others.
Teach both physical and emotional intimacy. A lot of these things can and should start before middle school, but middle school is better than never.
Teach them the realities of how women are mistreated/undervalued in society (pay disparity, job inequality, etc.), and why it’s important to advocate for those with less power.
Explicitly teach them to value their bodies and women’s bodies via age-appropriate sex education, which includes discussing the realities of the porn industry and how it affects our valuing of sex and women. This also includes explicitly teaching consent (CLICK HERE for pointers on NOT Raising Rapists).
Ensure parents are on board with what you’re teaching and that they’re reinforcing these messages at home and especially in the media their kids are exposed to.
Teach boys to hold others, especially other males, accountable for their sexism and/or misogyny.
The time to be a leader isn’t later. The time to lead is now. Their ability to lead is now. During the preadolescent years, parental influence is paramount. But during the middle-school years, we tend to see a shift in how children internalize parental vs. peer values, so the earlier parents can model and make their ideals meaningful, the better. Likewise, the more we can help adolescents hold each other accountable on some of these issues, the better, because their peer groups become considerable influencers as they age.