Feminist mum …

So, the other night at dinner, the boys and I were sat around the dining room table.

Shooting the breeze.

As is the usual case every night.

They were talking about whatever it is boys talk about and I was in what can only be described as my happy place … drinking my after dinner tea, eating a Crunchie and listening to them witter on. Each one getting progressively louder as they tried to make their voices heard over one another.

I popped in to the kitchen to start cleaning up leaving my youngest son practically shouting at the top of his lungs so that his brothers could hear him. The kid is loud enough as it is without shouting so I’m sure the whole street could hear him by this point.

I was just about to tell him to speak in his quiet, indoor voice when I heard him say it.

“You’re just like a stupid girl …”

It took me a moment to comprehend exactly what he’d said, but when my two older boys immediately turned to me eyes wide open, I knew I’d heard him right.

“You’re just like a stupid girl …”

And, you could have heard a pin drop as my head spun around like something out of the Exorcist and I looked at my youngest in disbelief.

Oh no, he didn’t.

Did he really just say that?

The teen mumbled something like, “he’s in trouble now.”

And, the tween said something under his breath like, “here we go.”

You see, they’ve had the talk before and they knew full well what was about to come … my feminist mama speech.

What did you say?” I asked the precocious one.

“Nuffin’,” came the response.

“Do you think mummy is stupid?”

“No,” he looked at me shocked.

“Well, mummy’s a girl. Right? And you just said girls are stupid so doesn’t that mean you think I’m stupid.”

“No, mummy. You’re cool.”

“So girls are cool?”

“Yeaaaaaaaaah,” he replied with a cheesy grin.

“You never call anyone stupid okay?”

“Okay. I wuv you mummy.”

*getting on my soap box*

As the mother of all boys, I really feel that I have an obligation to raise them to be respectful of women … starting from an early age.

I want my sons to see women as their equal and not like some “stupid girl.” It really bothers me to hear that comment.

Ugh.

It bothers me even more when I hear other parents tell their young sons, to stop crying like a girl. What message does that send? That all girls do is cry? That they are weak?

Ugh.

It also bothers me when I see a chocolate bar with the advertising tag line “NOT FOR GIRLS.”

Ugh.

Unfortunately, I could go on and on about such things that bother me. It’s 2011 and there are still inequalities in our society between men and women that whether it’s done subconsciously or not, can be compounded by such thoughtless messages. And, if I can do something about that … starting with my young men … then I will.

*stepping off said soap box*

12 thoughts on “Feminist mum …

  1. I read this with interest:

    I have brought my girls up to accept everybody as equals. I know that their schooling has emphasised this ethic year after year too.

    It was when I overheard P tell A that she was “such a les” that I snapped!

    Later that evening I had a heart to heart with P. She explained that these insults “are just words”. She went on to say that all the kids in her school go around calling each other “gay”, “spac” “les” …the list went on :-(

    It was like being transported back to the 70s.

    I have no explanation

  2. I am so with you on this, the word stipid is banned in The Mad House and as for girls, well the boys are aware that I am the superior being in the house!

  3. My daughter often calls me stupid, it drives me mad. I always say the same thing to her. I don’t call you stupid or anyone else please don’t talk to me like that. deaf ears.

  4. hmm. It’s a worthy soap box to stand on. I have three girls and they are never made to feel any less of a person because of their gender. Likewise my son, who has physical and learning disabilities is made to feel a valued member of the family.
    Unfortunately, childhood does involve hearing and using a lot of new words and it’s down to us to let them know that some of them are inappropriate.
    Ellen, at lovethatmax.com is actively campaigning against the use (more in the US I think) of the word Retard and has met rebuttals which say “it’s just a word”. From adults this is appalling but from children, initially, this is just the way it is.

  5. Well done to you for challenging something that I’m sure many would have just ignored. Words have such power and, even if they’re said without much thought, they can be incredibly hurtful. By the sound of it, your boys already understand this, which is testament to you doing a grand job. x

  6. I have a houseful of male creatures and I’m with you on this. It’s not calling people stupid that bugs me – it does, but that’s another issue. It’s the fact that ‘girl’ stupid or otherwise is an insult. I’m trying to work on that one too. If you have any suggestions please help.

  7. When the sonographer told me my second child was a boy I admit I felt a little bewildered. I’m the eldest of three girls with strong matriarchal role models – what do I do with a boy? Well I’ve tried to do the same thing as I have done with my daughter. The results haven’t always been the same.

    The insults fly around the car and dinner table, back and forth , I hate the label ‘stupid’ and it gets treated as a swear word, I too seem to repeat what they call my ‘soapbox speech’ but they have ended up just making up their own language.

    I’ve tried to decode it, it doesn’t seem gender or sexuality based (why has the term ‘gay’ as an insult made a sudden comeback in the playground, the 7-10 year olds are obsessed?)

    So you sazzer your such a plummerainian seems a much better alternative?

  8. I think it’ll be better to rename this post. It should be called something like “next generation boys”. You do well. And it’s not only for present time but it also will have its feedback in future. I am sure your boys will be perfect husbands. You should just find the way to put your thoughts into their heads, but there is one thing you need to keep in your mind: do not insist too much. It may lead to contrariness. I hope you have a long-term plan, aren’t you? I wish you make your idea come true.

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