In a birthday tribute to Realisa’s Fifth Year, my gift is a rare and unmitigated ranting. I don’t rant in this space. I don’t want to rant here. But I believe in the serendipity and providential forces of this universe and I accept that when things converge I should be listening. There is no way for me to be politically pigeon-holed but I would lean left before I lean right. My sway is absolutely influenced by the social tenets of the two groups. Thus the origin of my rant and indignation. Fox News posted this article. I stumble upon the article from a friend’s Facebook posting and simply CANNOT get it out of my head.
I was once the kind of doe-eyed, naive feminist that thought HOW we socialize our children is how we achieve and equalize power between the genders. Give the boys dolls and the girls guns. It certainly worked for me! As a little girl, I was just as likely to traipse off to the park with a bucket and 100ft of rope than to stay indoors with Mary Catherine and play with our Barbies. Maybe more likely. I had the kick ass, widely coveted toy of the block: a toy automatic machine gun that made noise and had sparks shooting from its nozzle.
I also had a metal, push pedal car. And stilts. My sister had a unicycle. Distinctly non-girlish toys. It simply has to be the consequence of those traditionally male toys that I went to college and then medical school and am now a successful physician and business owner. Right?
Except I also played with Barbie. I had a case of hand made clothes. My Granny was a master seamstress and alongside all her debutante gowns and Mardi Gras costumes, she sewed, crocheted and hand beaded my Barbies a haute couture wardrobe. And I had Baby Tender Love. And a purple sparkle bike with pink and white handle bar tassles. And I took lessons on how to twirl a baton. I wasn’t allowed to wear pants or shorts to school until junior high. I wore while gloves to church and white shoes were only worn between Easter and Labor Day. I learned to bake. I reproduced and had babies. And I am absolutely certain that I am undeniably feminine and womanly. I like pretty things, girly things. I also like a ultimate fighting and MMORPG games and Linkin Park. I understand my power.
It’s why I rage at the proposition and supposition served up by these Fox News experts that a mother endangers her sons fragile maleness by painting his toe nails pink. Are we freaking kidding? As if maleness is so fragile that it can be shattered irrevocably with a bottle of OPI. The reverse logic would be true then….a girls “femininity” would be destroyed if you taught her how to bag a deer, gut a fish or do the brake job on her car.
In an era where the “male space” is perpetually encroached upon by girls and women….and as a mother of two sons I am keenly aware that so much of their developmental space is shared with girls……don’t we want our sons to learn to seize their space and claim their identity and it be based upon their free will? And as a mother of two boys, I learned very quickly that how I socialize them (or attempted to socialize them) is negated by something intangible and inherently MALE. Maybe it’s as simple as testosterone. We’re talking about giving boys the same freedom we gave girls 40 years ago. Girls got to cut their pony tails off, put on pants, wear sensible shoes, become police officers and astronauts. Girls play competitive world class soccer and ski down hill. A girl is a Secretary of State. One was once the governor of Alaska. One day a girl will be president and she’ll bring her vagina and functioning reproductive organs with her and a different kind of screwing on the top of the desk in the Oval office will happen.
Are we going to suggest these two men are sissies?
I want the same wide aperture of freedom for my sons. The wonderful and amazing gift of this world is the freedom to chose your path, become autonomous and differentiate into a creation of your own choosing. America differentiated from the British Empire. Despite the outcome of the Civil War, the South and the North or two very different worlds: kissing cousins who talk behind each other’s backs but related nonetheless. Women have won the right to be whatever they want. I am a mother AND a doctor. I challenge this notion that any woman was ever “just a mother”. She was and is so much more than “just a stay at home mother”. Mother is hard. But mothering is also not the only way to define a WOMAN. We are not our genitalia. And if my sons have pink toenails…..even if I paint them pink…..I know their male genitalia won’t involute and vanish. I have this image of Joe Nameth in panty hose and think…..a man is a man. A woman is a woman. How we dress, eat, work, play or group doesn’t define or contain us.
Know thyself. Be true. And if I want a pink tutu and a blue, plastic Mattel sub-machine gun……that’s my prerogative. It’s my birthday.