Payal Desai is a 37-year-old mom, middle school teacher, and content creator who has gone mega-viral for her "No Dusty Sons" series on TikTok, where she shares the different lessons she's teaching her young sons so their future partners won't have to step in and do it later.
Here's a perfect example: Payal teaching her sons to pick up after themselves so their future partners aren't the ones doing all the cleaning.
Or, teaching her sons to navigate the grocery store so their future partners don't ever get the dreaded phone call saying, "I can't find the milk."
Or, (my personal favorite), teaching her sons that it's perfectly normal for women to have body/facial hair!!!
Dusty thinks he can bully & laugh at girls for body hair? Never here. As a girl who has been self conscious of body hair since THIRD GRADE, this one was very important to make. #bodyhairshaming #dustyson #dustydaughter #trending #momsoftiktok #raisingboys #raisingsons #raisingboysright
♬ original sound - Bryan
The music, the stare at the end...these videos are a work of art.
And not only that, they also send an important message! Payal's series emphasizes how parents should make a concerted effort to teach their children to be self-sufficient and emotionally mature regardless of gender. That way, they aren't creating an unfair divide when it comes to domestic and emotional labor in their future relationships. And, whether we want to admit it or not, young boys and girls are often raised differently. Many people assume that boys are "easier" to raise, which (in my opinion) can lead to many gaps in maturity when they become full-grown adults.
BuzzFeed reached out to Payal, who said that she noticed a difference in the way people raise young boys vs. young girls in her own upbringing, her career in secondary education, and as a parent. "After becoming a mom of sons, I wanted to ensure they grew up with respect and empathy for themselves and girls. I also knew I wanted them to emulate what they see at home between my husband and I — an equitable partnership built on communication and collaboration."
As for the inspiration behind her series, Payal actually created it as a more positive offshoot of the "your dusty son/daughter" trend on TikTok. "I told my sister how I was wanting to jump on this trend, but didn't want to phrase it in a way that would put down a future partner of my sons. She shared the initial idea, 'teaching my son to clean up after himself so your daughter doesn't have to deal with a man who was catered to his whole life.' It instantly took off on both TikTok and Instagram. We then brainstormed so many more ideas pointing at lessons in social-emotional learning, household tasks, and overall empathy for a future partner."
Payal's not lying when she says her content blew up. Collectively, her videos have millions of views and each one has thousands of comments praising her approach to parenting:
However, there have been a few commenters claiming that Payal's content is hypocritical, which she brilliantly shuts down in the video below:
Replying to @theshininghotel I keep saying I won’t clap back to the comments but then here I go…
♬ original sound - Payal Desai
"On social media, someone will always misconstrue the message. You cannot please, inspire, or influence all. I am grateful for the moms and dads who are empowered by the content to do things just a little differently to shift the messaging from what we grew up with," Payal told BuzzFeed.