March 9, 2009

Boys Don't Suck

Today I got a chance to watch one of the recent Momversation videos titled "Are Boys Getting a Bad Rap?". I really enjoy the Momversation videos (check them out here if you haven't already), and am often left with thoughts and opinions, but this one really made me want to share.

When I found out that I was having a boy, I admit I was a little disappointed. I didn't love my baby less, and I was still super excited, but I always wanted a little girl. I think that this is mostly the result of two things: the great relationship I have with my mother, and the fact that I have never been exposed to a mother-son relationship that was as close/as good as my relationship with my mother, so I think subconsciously I may not have thought it was possible. I also don't have any brothers, and had no IDEA how I would go about raising a boy!

Well, now my little boy is three years old. For the first few years of life, let's be honest, it doesn't really make a difference what sex your child is. Other than the toys they play with and the clothes they wear, babies and toddlers act very similar whether they are male or female. But every month, every year that goes by, I know we are getting closer to a time in life when it WILL make a difference he's a boy, and

Rebecca of Girl's Gone Child and Dana of Mamalogues both participated in and posted about this Momversation. In her post, Rebecca says "Just like when a man disrespects a woman it shows his weakness, so does a woman disrespecting a man show hers." I like Rebecca's view that we should concentrate on men's rights or women's rights - we should be enforcing HUMAN rights. Every person deserves to live without being made to feel bad for their sex, color, or any other thing they were born with - as Rebecca says, all human beings should be treated with respect.

In Dana's post, she writes "I mention in the video that there seems to be a prevalence of "man hate" in our society - one example is found in television where the majority of the sitcom dads/male figures, et al. are made to look like total buffoons." I find this to be a very interesting point, especially after recently reading the book "Self Made Man" by Norah Vincent. In the book, she talks about going to Men's Movement meetings, and it's pretty amazing to read. She talks about how women have had their movement, but men are deprived of some things - being able to feel what they feel and the ignorance most people seem to have about the issue. I think that this is exactly what we're talking about. By showing boys from a young age that "Boys Suck", we're hurting their feelings early and then telling them to "man up". Not only that, but if you're told that you're supposed to act a certain way from an early age, that men are jerks, pigs, whatever, then what are the chances you're going to act it out in some way? I'd say they're pretty high.

I've seen the art Rebecca talks about, and the shirts Dana talks about that say things like "Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them.", but I have never thought about what it would be like to try and explain that to my child. I totally agree with Dana that if there were a shirt that said "Girls Suck" people would be up. in. arms. So why is it acceptable to send these messages to our little boys? I mean, seriously? Do you remember the whole Barbie says "Math is hard" debacle?

Watching this Momversation made me sad. I feel lucky at least that I can be aware of these issues so that I can prepare my son, and try to nurture him to know that those things aren't really okay and that we won't support them. Instead of putting anyone down, we should be empowering our children. Boys are awesome. Girls rock. That's what we should be telling our kids.

Can't we all just get along?

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