I have two boys, 6 and 2, and a baby girl. There are going to be differences in how I raise them. My 6yo is very physical, in both good ways and bad. He is very affectionate, which is good. But he is also prone to throwing things and hitting when he gets angry or upset. The fact that he doesn't get in MORE fights is a testament to his amazing willpower and our guidance. I KNOW that his first instinct is to act out physically when he gets upset.
He has always played with girls more than boys, and part of that is simple geography. Our neighbors have always been girls, and he plays with them at school, too. I have said to him, while talking about hitting and such, that it is NEVER okay to hit a girl. NEVER. And I made it specific to girls, too. That might be un-feminist of me, but there is an imbalance of power between boys and girls in this society, even on the playground. That difference will become more pronounced as he grows older, but hopefully will be less pronounced than it was for my generation. I want him to understand, now, at age 6, that it is NEVER okay for a boy to hit a girl. NEVER. And yes, it is less okay for a boy to hit a girl than another boy. We don't ignore the issue of him engaging in physical altercations with other boys. We tell him over and over that hitting is rarely the answer, and that he should only do so ino rder to defend himself, and only if he can't get away to tell an adult. But we emphasize that he should never hit a girl. As he gets older, we'll talk more about sexism and his role in fixing it. Feminism isn't just for daughters.
I think men learn respect for women by seeing women that respect themselves and are respected by the men in their lives. I don't expose my son to sexist, racist, generally crappy men. Someone told a story of calling their mother a nasty name and their father talking to him about it. My dad did the same thing with my brother once, and I doubt he's forgotten it.
Like it has already been said several times, I'll do what I can to make sure that my sons are not abused in any way, themselves. I think the statistics about male victims of sexual abuse are seriously underreported. I think it is rare for a person who has never been abused in any way to become an abuser. Rape is about power, not sex.
Also, when the time comes, my husband and I will talk to them about how NO means NO means NO. Never have sex with a girl who is drunk, no matter how many times she says she wants to and no matter how many times you've had sex with her before. Never assume that a girl wants to have sex, get her express consent. (Yes, you can ask. My husband asked me the first few times we had sex. No mixed signals.) Obviously the conversations I have with my daughter will be a bit different. There isn't much chance of her forcing herself on a man. I'm not sure how I'll deal with that. I still have a lot of reading to do.
Sorry if this is disconnected. Getting close to time to go get my kid from school.