ADDRESSING [insert issue here] should start in the classroom.

Those words must chill the heart of teachers or, at the very least, elicit lung collapsing sighs.

The teaching profession likely feels it's dealing with quite enough, thank you, without being the go-to sticking plaster for politicians looking to resolve the latest social concern.

Now, according to Sir Keir Starmer, teachers should be tackling misogyny in classrooms by teaching boys to respect girls.

Misogyny is a favourite topic of Sir Keir, he trots out pledges to support women on a fairly routine basis. 

Only in March Starmer said a Labour government would cut violence against women in half within the next 10 years, and prompt behavioural and cultural change in the Met police to stamp out misogyny there - both bold claims. 

Last year Keir Starmer pointed out, rightly, that "a fish rots from the head" in reference to the culture of misogyny and harassment in parliament. He criticised the Westminster government's repeated delays to disciplinary action against Tory MPs, saying meaningful change had to be "led and modelled from the top". 

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That it absolutely does. 

Rishi Sunak is less convinced, as you might expect, that Starmer has the chops to tackle the issue. The prime minister thought he was awfully clever in the Commons this week by jibbing at his Labour rival, "At least I know what a woman is". 

It is, absolutely, useful to the point of necessity to be able to provide a definition of the issue/demographic/thing you're trying to help. 

But whataboutery gets us nowhere, and when it comes to the issue of misogyny, whataboutery is rife. 

Despite many decades of feminists pointing out the way that sexism and misogyny creates structural inequality and damages the life experiences and chances of women and girls, there's a still a reluctance to accept the issue.

Sir Keir's education suggestions have been a hot talking point on social media and on radio and TV talk shows all week and the same themes emerge: girls are just as bad as boys; how dare we demonise boys; women are to blame for men objectifying them. 

The first step to addressing a problem is accepting the problem but that seems a step too far for many people. Perhaps because most people have men in their life who they love and who are decent. They take offence at the very idea of misogyny because it is offensive to themselves or to the men in their lives to think that those men might play a part in making life worse for women. 

The social media #NotAllMen trope exists for good reason. There is a valid point there though. It's human nature not to get on board with a policy unless there's something in it for you. 

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And there is something in it for boys in tackling misogyny. Look only at the levels of mental health issues and suicidal ideation in boys and see that the old masculine tropes of stiff upper lip and swallowing your feelings are harmful. 

Look at how girls are overtaking boys in certain subjects and see that gendered expectations and strictures are harmful to young men academically too. 

The popularity of so-called pick-up artists online, such as the now notorious Andrew Tate, shows how desperately young men are seeking role models and a definition of masculinity - but are finding answers in the wrong places. 

No matter how you stand ideologically on porn, there's absolutely no denying that it has skewed young men's perceptions of what they might expect from sex, and young women's obligations. 

We need to let young boys know that it’s ok to feel their feelings and to support one another and there are different ways to be a boy and a man. 

For a long time the focus has been on how women might deal with the consequences of misogyny: setting up women’s refuges and rape crisis centres, by setting up charities specifically for women, by setting up professional bodies to help women at work.

Sir Keir has falled back a bit on this himself. He said boys should hear "first hand" from victims of male violence. Sigh. More work for women. 

It’s only relatively recently that the conversation has shifted to being one about what men might do to tackle the issue at its root. It's a whole-society problem, though, and it needs a whole-society approach.

Sir Keir is right in that misogyny needs to be part of the school curriculum and, yes, there needs to be specific space to talk explicitly about the issue, such as in RMPS classes. It shouldn't only be a single subject issue. 

We need to have careful conversations about misogyny and rape myths and toxic masculinity, but that should be woven throughout the curriculum – whether it’s in English in the texts chosen or in history in the subjects studied. 

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I suspect teachers know this and don't need politicians to tell them. I cannot imagine these conversations aren't already being had. Another common theme to this week's discussion on the issue was the idea that these lessons begin at home, not in the classroom. 

Essentially, you want boys to treat their female peers with respect and as equals. Respect is a hard thing to teach.

You can talk about respect, certainly, but it's better that it is modelled. Not every boy has that role model at home so school is vital.

But, as I say, it's a whole-society issue. Whether you’re a parent or not, we all have a social responsibility to role model decent behaviour, we can all step in and have these conversations with boys and young men in our lives.

The bystander effect is a powerful thing - we can all step in when we see problematic behaviour and we can all support young men to do the same with their peers.

A casual "teach it in schools" isn't enough, it's a political hand washing of an issue. Tackling misogyny requires deeper thinking and definite action, for the sake of young women and young boys alike.