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caption: Author Sonora Jha 
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Author Sonora Jha
Credit: Courtesy of Sonora Jha

Raising boys the non-toxic way: a how-to manual

There’s a thoughtful meme floating around online. It says “I hope my son is never the reason someone’s daughter is questioning her worth.”

That may prompt the question: what parent wouldn’t hope the same? But something happens with many boys. Something our culture can’t seem to control, yet.

The expression “boys will be boys” is a truism and a deep-seated one. The times they may be changing, but many of us still hold it to be self-evident that the way of the world is for boys (and men) to misbehave, come what may. If that troubles you, if you seek ways to raise boys to reject toxic male behavior, to exhibit kindness and concern for others, and to be accountable for their actions, here is an excellent primer.

Sonora Jha is the author of the memoir How to Raise a Feminist Son: Motherhood, Masculinity, and the Making of My Family. The writer Rebecca Solnit, who we featured recently on Speakers Forum, calls it "A beautiful hybrid of memoir, manifesto, instruction manual, and rumination on the power of story and possibilities of family."

Jha spoke recently with author Ijeoma Oluo about the themes her book explores, including what research tells us, her personal stories of raising a son, and how to counteract common cultural, familial, and media messages that reinforce a toxically masculine status quo.

Sonora Jha is a professor of journalism at Seattle University. Ijeoma Oluo is the author of So You Want to Talk About Race and the recently-released Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America.

Town Hall Seattle presented this event on March 7, 2021.