Yesterday, I published my conversation with one of America’s great mothers, Frat Mom. If you read it, you know that she’s a shining example of maternal instinct, knowledge, and advice.
Today, I came across the New York Times blog about motherhood called, “Motherlode,” (I’ll let you all make your own jizz jokes about that) and a post with a title that screamed obnoxious liberal essay.
Now, before I dive into this mother’s outrageously over-thought, oversensitive worldview, I should note that I am obviously not a mother, nor will I ever be, because I have balls. Because of my having balls I do not presume to tell a woman how to raise their child (unless they’re smoking crack and trying to pawn their baby for more crack, or something). If a woman chooses to be a lame and obnoxious parent, that’s her right. However, if a woman chooses to be a lame and obnoxious parent, and then present the logic behind why she is a lame and obnoxious parent, then I see no reason why anyone can’t shit all over that mother’s terrible logic.
Without further adieu…
I Don’t Want My Preschooler to Be a ‘Gentleman’
He’s fucking four-years-old. At this point shouldn’t all you want him to be is behaved? Polite? Potty trained? Or would even those be too “gentlemanly” for her?
Don’t be a gentleman, little Billy. Go to school and flip off the teacher, steal kids’ milks, throw a tantrum, and piss your pants! THIS IS WHAT YOUR MOTHER WANTS.
Of course that sounds like a young Rowdy Gentleman, and I’m not sure she would find that preferable.
But I’m sure that isn’t what she means, so we shouldn’t spend all our time laughing at the stupid, response provoking title.
My 4-year-old son, Emmett, swallows a spoonful of cereal and asks me if I know what a gentleman is.
I respond “No, but it has the word ‘man’ in it so it sounds HORRIBLE! DO NOT BE ONE! YOUR PENIS IS YOUR CURSE!”
Surprised, I tell him I have some idea;
But I’m not completely sure, because even though it’s a pretty simple idea, I like to complicate things by over thinking them. I tend to approach literally every situation by wondering, “How can I make this about the plight of women?” For example, I was planning on cutting up some hot dogs for my son for lunch, Oscar Mayer Wieners. I thought to myself, “Why wieners? Why give it a name that’s slang for a phallus, which is a man thing, WHICH MEANS IT’S EVIL! Granted, the phallus slang is derived from the meat being called wiener, and not the other way around, but still, at this point that’s irrelevant and it’s just unfair. So why not give Oscar Mayer hot dogs a name that’s also slang for an elongated clitoris? Is there catchy slang for long clits? If not then that’s a whole other feminist issue I’ll need to delve into.”
then I ask what the word means to him.
“A gentleman lets girls go first,” he says, explaining that every day at naptime all the girls go to the bathroom before the boys.
His explanation, along with the quiet solemnity with which he delivers it, is completely endearing and yet it makes my heart ache. This adorable little boy, who is only beginning to learn the ways of the world,
See, this is where she should have stopped, because this little boy “who is only beginning to learn the ways of the world” is incapable of giving a more complex answer because HE IS IN PRESCHOOL! For the love of God, let it go. He didn’t say, “Do you know what a bad guy is? Black people.” He said a gentleman lets girls go first, which, technically, is true.
just got his first lesson in sexism
No, he got a lesson in being a nice guy, and maybe his first lesson in how to treat and win over a girl, which you’re now trying to erase. Stop cock blocking your son, lady.
and from a teacher who, I don’t doubt, believes she’s doing something wonderful for womankind.
She knows the teacher, so maybe the “I don’t doubt she believes” crap isn’t as presumptuous as it sounds. Still, I think the teacher is more likely simply justifying an arbitrary reason, and setting an actually decent example in the process, for one group to go to the bathroom before the other so that the kids don’t bitch. Personally, I appreciate that. I went to Catholic school, so for us everything was justified as, “Because Jesus! SHUT THE HELL UP!”
She isn’t the only one.
Start to complain about your preschooler adopting gentlemanly behavior and you quickly discover how out of step you are with the rest of the world.
That’s because you actually are out of step with the rest of the world.
What do you think the over/under on eye rolls she gets a day is? 100? 150?
Almost everyone I mention it to thinks it’s lovely and sweet. What’s the harm in teaching little boys to respect little girls?
But really, what’s the actual harm?
The implication, of course, is that I’m overreacting, and as a parent, I’ll admit to being prone to the occasional bout of hypersensitivity.
It’s nice to hear that you’re self aware. Now if you could just ratchet that up by about 1000%.
For months, I grumbled that the inappropriately breathy tone of Cinderella on Emmett’s LeapFrog Princess laptop was warping a generation of impressionable young minds.
Why is your son playing with something called a “LeapFrog Princess laptop?” You can’t be serious that you think playing with a Disney Princess toy is a better way for your son to learn about how to respect women than actually respecting them in the real world.
But I don’t think it’s an overreaction to resent the fact that your son is being given an extra set of rules to follow simply because he’s a boy. His behavior, already constrained by a series of societal norms, now has additional restrictions. Worse than that, he’s actively being taught to treat girls differently, something I thought we all agreed to stop doing, like, three decades ago.
Yeah, we’ll see who’s Ms. Big Feminist when she’s on a sinking ship. Women and children first? Fuck that. Children first then ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE!*
*Ed. Note: I would still die.
Your son isn’t being taught to treat girls differently, he’s being taught to be nice. In reality, holding a door open for a woman, pulling out a woman’s chair, whatever, is a courtesy, it’s an option, one that is perfectly acceptable to decline, and I assume you decline all the time. The reason it seems sexist to you is because your son was given an oversimplified explanation because your son, bear with me here, IS IN FUCKING PRESCHOOL AND DOESN’T HAVE THE MENTAL CAPACITY TO UNDERSTAND ANYTHING MUCH MORE COMPLEX THAN THAT.
That the concept of selective privilege has been introduced in preschool of all places — the inner sanctum of fair play, the high temple of taking turns — is mind-boggling to me. How can you preach the ethos of sharing at the dramatic play center and ignore it 20 feet away at the toilet?
It’s not selective privilege, it’s just an excuse to let one group go before the other while teaching a lesson about being nice so that your son’s teacher doesn’t have to a) listen to kids bitch about not getting to go first and b) not have to take everyone to the bathroom at the same time, which would result in chaos and lots of missed toilets.
Yet as much as this double standard offends me as a mom, it’s nothing compared with how much it infuriates me as a feminist. Forty years after the tender, sweet, young thing in “Free to Be You and Me” gets eaten by a pack of hungry tigers after asserting that ladies should go first, we are still insisting on empty courtesies that instill in women a sense of entitlement for meaningless things. Many women see gallantry as one of the benefits of their sex; I see it as one of its consolations.
Consolations? Here we go, let’s bring it back to her wheelhouse, I smell an income disparity argument.
Letting girls use the bathroom first isn’t a show of respect. It is, rather, the first brick in the super high pedestal that allows men to exalt women out of sight. A true show of respect is paying us equally for the same work, not 77 cents on the dollar, which is the current average.
BOOM! There it is! God I bet that felt good for her.
By the way everyone should watch this video on gender income disparity from conservative economist Thomas Sowell right now and then tell her to shut the fuck up.
That’s the world I want my son to live in and I seriously doubt it will ever happen as long as women believe men should hold the door open for them.
You already live in that world.
Global economic considerations aside, the real tragedy is that these girls aren’t being taught the fine art of yielding to others.
Aren’t they? Did they not hear the explanation that the boys were given? That letting the girls go first is a nice thing to do? Could they not simply draw the conclusion that it would be nice if they did it too? I might be giving them too much credit though, like you. After all, THEY’RE IN PRESCHOOL WHY IS THIS AN ISSUE!?!
Nobody is giving them the opportunity to be gallant. Instead, these fabulous little creatures, who absorb everything joyfully and tear through barriers gleefully, are being fitted for the same old corset. The stays are a little looser but the whalebone is just as rigid.
And this is why my heart aches when I listen to Emmett proudly explain what a gentleman is — because what he’s actually so proud of is his part in perpetuating millenniums of sexism.
So while he finishes his bowl of cereal, I tell him that I think a gentleman lets other people go first.
Which in your son’s super specific case, is girls, because it involves going to the bathroom.
If two boys reach the top of the slide at the same time, a gentleman lets the other one go first. Furthermore, I say, it would be very nice if his teacher decided to alternate on a daily basis who uses the bathroom first at naptime. The girls, I assure him, wouldn’t mind waiting a few extra minutes and it would give them a chance to feel gentlemanly. But the concept of a gentlemanly girl is beyond him and he shakes his head.
I’m going to just say it again, because fuck it. He’s in preschool, OF COURSE it’s beyond him. 99% of the world is beyond him.
It’s churlish to argue, so I let it go, and when, a few hours later in the park, I see him grab his soccer ball from a girl his own age, I feel a ridiculous rush of relief at his ungentlemanly behavior.
Your son’s a dick after all, thank God, amiright?
But what if it’s actually a product OF his previous gentlemanly behavior? What if he said to the girl, “YOU CAN’T HAVE THIS BALL YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM FIRST BUT I CAN HOLD MY PEE THAT MEANS YOU ARE WEAK AND I AM STRONG! THE BALL GOES TO THE MIGHTY! FUCK YOU!”
See, you don’t know.
Then I cross the field to remind him yet again how to share.
Ugh, that was exhausting.
In fourteen years, someone make sure this child gets a bid, just to spite this lady.
[via The New York Times]