It’s an interesting phrase isn’t it? “As the mother of sons…” it usually tends to pop up when I discuss gender issues.
It rang ever so clearly after me and the Princess were talking about the recent gender rights campaign.
“Mom, can men get raped?”
“Yes baby, they can get taken advantage of just like anyone else.” She seemed momentarily satisfied, until she asked.
“Mom, does gender mean female?” it’s a funny question.
“No baby, gender is whether or not you are man or woman. So our gender is woman and the boys are men.” she shook her head, and creased her eyebrows.
“So if all this is for women, who fights for the boys when they get raped?” I was halted…
The conversation didn’t end, she kept asking questions, I kept trying to answer realizing that the more she asked the less wise I felt.
Yes as a mother of sons, it is never lost on me the prejudices encouraged by such slogans as “Teach your sons not to rape”, “Teach your sons not to hit” Slogans whose implications about the implicit nature, of my father, husband and sons is so deeply negative.
It becomes even more stark as I look at the way my daughter approached the whole gender issue. She is not above calling for adult help or even throwing a punch at any dude trying to touch as he ought not, easy to accept any task or dare which will disprove the phrase “…like a girl.” I tend to feel sorry for the poor village boys who deny her play in their rough housing or games on the sad little premise that she is “just a girl”. She is strong and I am ever proud of the woman she will become.
But I, at the same time have inadvertently cowed the aggression right out of my boys. As seen in my older son, who refuses to lift a finger in self defense against the little bully girl who, relentlessly teases him, rips his shirts and grabs his junk whenever she feels like. Who gets away because of the gentlemanly antiquated notion that not only can’t a girl be the aggressor, but that he, as a boy, should take any abuse dished out by virtue of the fact that the Y sperm won the race.
Now think bigger, think on the fact that the male, has been completely omitted from the gender discussion as more than the villain of our tale. The Term Gender, when we speak of Gender issues and Gender violence tend to not include our boys, our men.
As a mother of sons, this isn’t something I can stand for. And while the phrase is meant to undermine any view of gender issues opposed to the norm that I might have, as me and women like me, based solely on the fact that some of our progeny are possessors of the ‘evil’ penis, have no way of seeing clearly the issues at hand.
But you see as much as I would like to, as much as I would love to blame feminism and fem-nazi-ism, and liberal thinking, the truth is, the disparity between my boys and my girls, is my fault. If it was my daughter being bullied and molested I would be front and center in the principle’s office, I would cry with a vengeance for the little pervert’s blood, or at least his suspension. But a son?
A son gets. “fight back” a son gets, “how you go let a girl have you so?” when I have taught him to above all else value the girl, even the little bully girl, with the scruffy appearance and the gangsta mentality, simply because they are girls. Because he is the son, of a mother of a daughter, who failed to seek equality for the sons.