he might like dolls.
I hope he helps his dolls
drive his trucks.
Someday his sister's frilly tutu
will fit him
and he might want to wear it
which means we'll have to find one to fit me too.
I hope he will dance like a maniac.
Maybe he'll play football and hit very hard.
Maybe he'll ice skate and leap very high.
I want him to grow up and be
himself all along the way.
And keep the optimism and
curiousity and imagination of
so I can keep clinging to it too.
Boots and blue and ammo belts,
swing a hammer and
Little boys are like this
Little girls are like that.
Raise your fist, son,
to those who tell
you The Rules for (y)our gender.
Be Martin Luther,
King, do not bow to old patriarchs,
at venerated notions of manliness.
To be a man is to be yourself.
That is what I want you to be.
Do not prove your masculinity by
Hugh Grant and rom coms.
(Thou dost protest too much)
do not destruct
yourself or others.
Build up, be a bridge, open doors
There is a time to fix
and a time to listen.
Be a leader, and remember
to let others lead too.
A loud voice doesn't make you a leader. Sing.
There is an art director who got in
for photographing her young son
bright pink nail polish, which he liked.
"There's got to be a
between boys and girls,"
the wise ones say.
"Otherwise it gets confusing.
We've got to protect those differences
and keep things un-confusing."
Which made so much sense
a century ago.
They have their drinking fountain, and
we have ours,
spoke Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896. And that's how things were,
for another 58 years.
Hunters and gatherers,
Protectors and warriors
to the caregivers, the
matrons and mothers and childraisers.
It is embedded from an early age
what toys and colours and traits
innocuously, innocently, an open feedback
loop of preconceptions turned into actions that
create self-fulfilling reality.
Boys are about Action.
Girls are about Talking.
My problem is not that there is no historic or biological reasons for differences between gender.
is when these traits are treated as inviolable facts, as raison d'etre for how one gender or the other responds to a given situation in life.
If Johannes grows up loving yellow Tonka trucks and camouflage attire,
that is fine.
If Johannes grows up loving pink dolls and purple kilts,
that is fine.
Being a man is developing the self-confidence to be yourself, to like what you want, to live how you want, to approach life with your own rulebook, not one that's been handed to you by a centuries-old code of gender expectations.
There is a troglodytic paranoia that for a
to grow up playing with the wrong things or
liking the wrong toys
will turn him into something not...
Be kind. Be respectful. Be curious and imaginative.
Those are my commandments, son.
There is nothing,
that will ever make me disown, or
turn my back on my son.
is when people make assumptions about what kind of person
he will be.
He is eleven months old,
and the wise ones make their assumptions already, because
that's the way Little Boys are.
Why are so many fathers disengaged from
their children's lives?
They grew up with embedded ideas and
expectations of what Men do
And raising children is still looked at by many
as a Woman's Job.
Dad can step in at some point when the kid's
old enough to start hunting, playing football,
or dating cheerleaders, and
catch him up on "the guy stuff."
Another cycle continues.
"This is who I am expected to be,
therefore that must be who I am,"
the implicit idea.
"You're not a normal guy," I have heard,
an ambiguous compliment?
Thank you, I think.
I am not betraying my gender. I am proud to be a Man.
Conan, I roar.
I am proud to be me.
There are many like me, similar,
and with raised melodic gorilla voices,
maybe our sons will someday be the
Men of strength and kindness, confidence and humility,
proud to acknowledge the beauty in the world
to build lasting relationships of love and respect.
Son, I love you. Let's go paint our nails.