There’s a blog post called How To Raise A Feminist Son over at one my guilty pleasure readings, Feministing, that is too juicy to resist commenting on. (Side note: am I the only guy who sees the word ‘Fisting’ in ‘Feministing’?)
My son is beautiful, smart, and extremely capable. Obviously, this terrifies me. I have spent a lot of time asking myself this very, very important question: How do I teach my son to not abuse his privilege?
To be sure, I recognize the privilege my son received by accident of birth. He was born to two white, middle-class parents. I have a college education, as does my current partner and my son’s father. He is an only child, and has four grandparents in his life that absolutely dote on him. There is a never-ending supply of love, learning, and involvement. My son has opportunities that many children are not blessed with.
My Comment: Liberal guilt is crushing the mother. As a result this boy will see several third world countries before his 18th birthday, his nose shoved into the trash debris of slums and ghettos to make sure he can never appreciate any future success. Also I wouldn’t consider having two mother’s an “opportunity.” Better than having one mother perhaps but not one mother and father, the most stable of family units.
We recently purchased a house, and to make the transition easier for him, we allowed my son to pick whatever color he wanted to paint his room. He originally picked pink. (My son adores pink, and spent most of his toddlerhood wearing pink and purple pajamas.) I agonized over the choice. There was a part of me that was overjoyed…my son obviously is confident in what he likes, and doesn’t feel the need to conform to what the world tells him about being a BOY. However, I flashed forward to the time when he would invite his male friends over, and they would tease him endlessly about having a “girly” room. The thought of my child being the subject of ridicule is horrifying, as I’m sure any parent can attest to. (Plus, who wants to repaint when he changes his mind in 6 months?!) Ultimately, he chose orange walls and pink trim. I still think about this incident, though, and ponder what it means to try to balance feminist parenting with living in the “real world” where kids can and do get hurt for being different.
My Comment: This boy is not going to have any male friends to invite over if he’s wearing pink clothing. I can only imagine the bulging vein that would develop in my brow if my little brothers begged for a pink room. The slapdown would be so swift and vicious that they would never consider it again. No brother or son of mine will be a beta boy on my watch. But at the same time I encourage my little brothers to grow their hair to shaggy length as opposed to the military cuts my Dad prefers and to pursue writing or artistic endeavors.
I bought butterball bro markers, crayons, and a drawing pad and for a few days it seemed like he was going go to be a Picasso, but since then the pad has found itself underneath a pile of books with his preference going to flash games he plays on the internet. No problem. But if he took an interest in dolls, pink, purple, flowers, makeup, dresses, strawberry cupcakes, or spontaneous crying or feeling I would immediately ridicule and embarrass him, calling him a “baby” and “girl,” asking him if he wants me to put on a big diaper and prepare a bottle of warm milk with honey for him to suckle on. They I will watch the hardened shell of alphaness develop, and nod my head up and down in satisfaction. I will not allow him to take on feminine pursuits that will set him up to be a sensitive wussbag who cries while watching movies like The Notebook. He will be a man, just like his big bro, and he will sleep with dozens of women and go through many STD scares until one day he gets so tired of banging that he settles down with a compliant girl who loves him unconditionally, cooks, and cleans. She will serve him while he has mistresses on the side.
My son is very sensitive. He cries easily, gets his feelings hurt often, and is generally more attuned to what is going on with people’s emotions around him. He has always been kind of my little empath, reacting to the world around him and showing every bit of what he’s feeling to anyone who may be paying attention. This causes MANY of the people around him, especially older men, to be very troubled by his shows of emotion. He has been told more times than I can count to “toughen up”, “act like a boy”, and “don’t act like such a baby, girl, (insert insulting feminine word here).” I get very frustrated trying to teach him that it is OK to be that way, no matter what the world is telling him he *should* act like. I am actually very surprised that more of the behavior hasn’t been conditioned out of him yet. I hope that reflects my never-ending support in him and how he choses to display himself. I dread the day when all the conditioning he has received about how to “act like a man” starts to take hold, and I see my beautiful son start trying to hide his emotions.
My Comment: I had to look up “empath” because I didn’t know what it meant. I figured it was related to the word empathy. Here’s Wikipedia: “…empaths are also able to project their own emotions, or to affect the emotions of others. As a result, empath is a term coming into common usage to refer to a person with a feeling expanded sensitivity or clairsentience.” In other words an empath is a woman. I’m sorry the donated sperm had a Y chromosome instead of X, but raising a boy to be a woman is child abuse, plain and simple.
I am very careful to correct people (mostly people that I know, although I have done it to strangers) when they ask my son “Oh, do you have a girlfriend?” that I do not presume my son’s sexuality, and he may very well end up with a boyfriend, or not want to have a partner at all. This is usually met with eyerolls or stern looks.
My Comment: We all know what sexuality she wants her son to be. *Wink wink*
I am outreach worker for a family planning agency, so my son has spent most of his life being immersed in a very liberal, pro-choice, diverse community. I have many friends of different orientations, ethnicities, backgrounds, and beliefs. I find myself wondering if I selfishly seek out people to be acquaintances so I can provide a diverse group of people for my son to interact with. I’m not sure how to balance my desire for him to grow up surrounded by different perspectives with the knowledge that I cannot use people’s lives to set examples for him. It’s a difficult line to straddle.
My Comment: A vagina will spontaneously erupt from this poor boy’s crotch.
Let’s be real. The title of her post should be “How To Raise A Gay Son.” That’s her outcome and that’s what she’ll get. Poor kid doesn’t even have a choice (“pro-choice,” only when it suits her). And you know her little empath is definitely going to be a bottom, letting Rico and Gary tag team him during weekend benders. Look, if my either of my little brothers become gay then I would love them not an ounce less, but I’d be a fool to encourage it.
I remember the day I caught my 11-year-old brother searching for “lesbeens kising” on YouTube. I scolded him, for his bad spelling. He’ll be alright.