be encouraged to express their emotions and misgivings about themselves, and that school and well as home must play a part in bringing about these changes in attitudes and practices. Redefining constructs of masculinity and identity consciousness-raising for both girls and boys must become valued priorities for education in order to recognize the pressure, limitations, and confinement imposed by each stereotypical role. Although gender identities are filled with emotional contradiction, it is important to reexamine beliefs about mother-son interdependence, separate valued traits that deserve to be honored from those that are obsolete and dysfunctional, and encourage the development of emotional intelligence.
As long as we willingly reward oppression or privilege, marginalizations, competition, and violence in our homes and schools, we are supporting the authorial voice of gender hegemony. As educators, illuminating issues related to mother-child relationships points to the need to develop courses where issues of gender are central and where critical and reflective discussion about gendered realities in school settings and across diverse racial and class populations can occur. In the end, mothers must also question their own reluctance to speak out against a school system that inhibits, restricts, diminishes, or denies diverse gendered needs and experiences. As my son points out: “I think it is important for men to communicate more than they do. My vision of an ideal masculinity includes more openness, more communication, no chauvinism, and no competition. I think heterosexual men have a lot to learn about caring.”