Pedrinho Fonseca: Advice to dads of boys

Brazilian photographer Pedrinho Fonseca in the project BBC''s 100 Women

My childhood was full of sexism

I was born in the North-East of Brazil, in a poor region, which has preserved in itself the worst since the colonial rule of Portugal — the concept of domination and dominance. Our land was populated with white rich men, which turned the Africans into slaves, and subsequently left us with a society that was supposed to follow the same logic.

Photo: Pedrinho Fonseca


Men in these lands lived with the understanding that they are the owners, that they have their own property, whether it's a piece of land or people, most often women. The main task of these men is making money. Women were supposed to serve them.

Many centuries later, we live with the same setup: we can do what you want, but women are created solely in order to appease us. Such a distorted perception of the world has led to the fact that an entire generation of Brazilians have absorbed the ideas of sexism.



But with the advent of the family of our son, joão I realized I needed to teach him different things that he grew up with a completely different worldview.

Men — miners, at home they sit idly by, ignoring any household duties such as cleaning, cooking, washing dishes, grocery shopping. It is their responsibility to go to work in the morning, return home and go to sleep. And every day the same round. This situation is absolutely natural for many generations in Brazil, and for many it is completely acceptable now, especially in the North-East.

In this environment raised me. This is what I used. And I even don't ask no questions why, because this state of Affairs is firmly entrenched in our culture.

This perception of the world — where men have the right to vote, and women not — collapsed when I was born my older child. I realized that here was a man who too can go for this established by the society of way. And I couldn't let that happen. In my house there was another man, and for me it became a symbol of possible change. For him and for me.


Advice to dads of boys

1. Invite the son to wash the dishes together. Then can move on to cleaning the apartment (including the bathroom!). Still later try to cook something together. It's very funny and fun, and it is likely that after some time your son will understand that in matters of household duties gender is not important.

2. Play football with him and his buddies, but don't forget to invite and girls. In team!

3. Never, remember, never interrupt the mother of your son, when she speaks. Remember that he will follow your example.

4. And please tell him constantly that women don't like violence. In fact, no one likes.


Photo: Pedrinho Fonseca


You know, I never before realized the role played my mother in my life. But suddenly I saw her in a completely different light: she raised me almost single-handedly, was and my mom and dad for me. All day she toiled, cared about me, prepared, comforted, gave me so much love and affection.

I've never thought about the fact that relationship partners can have a political and ethical component. But suddenly I realized that we can fight for gender equality. Thanks to my wife I realized what the power of women. And listening to her opinion about how household responsibilities and global women's issues, I realized that joão can go a different way. Which once I did not go.

Photo: Pedrinho Fonseca


I realized thatgenderequality in society is not achieved until we begin with the education of our children. And when I show his attitude, his love for the son when we are engaged in household duties and divide them equally (joão two younger sisters) when he realizes that the woman, her body should be treated with respect, then I understand that the son begins to see the world differently. Not the way I and most of my generation. But as we have to learn everything.

Does joão some sexist things? Yes, it happens when it is forgotten. He is still a child, and grows up in a society saturated with stereotypes. For example, he told me about one time in high school when during recess all the kids ran to the football Playground, but the boys said the girls found something else to do. Over dinner he said that he felt like he did something wrong, but couldn't understand what. We talked with him and explained that the mistake was that they made the decision for girls than they need to do, and a mistake to think that football is "not for girls". The son listened, asked questions, and the next day, returning from school, he said he approached the girls and apologized for what happened.published


Also interesting: Andrey Maksimov: Children, who are ordered grow up to be slaves

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