Monday, June 30, 2008

Trying to raise a man the right way

The other day we went to a BBQ and Jonny was playing with a whistle that you put in your mouth like a pacifier to blow on it. It was in the shape of big, red lips. He didn't care what it looked like, he just wanted to make the whoowheeee noise. I was on the deck with Tony, with all his Navy coworkers, when out comes Jonny. He jumped out onto the deck, kicking his leg up at the same time, doing this little dancing hop, blowing his whoowheeee whistle. Everyone laughed, which then caused Jonny to dance around some more, ran off the deck onto the lawn, dancing the whole way. Then the jokes started.

"Heh Et1 (People in the navy call each other by their rate and rank type dealie, even in social settings, which I find weird) I would be worried about that boy of yours" Guffaw, guffaw, guffaw. "Hey look he even has those fruity little crocs on" Tony is obviously embarrassed that his son had the audacity to, you know have fun. He turns to me and jokingly said "What you teaching him when I'm not home" It was all in good fun, but you know it just left a bad taste in my mouth. I then "jokingly" said "Oh you guys leave him alone. Every little boy I have ever met has loved to dance, but it's this shit right here" waving my hands around the group "that makes boys think acting like this is weird, so they suck it up, and hold it in, and then become emotionally hollow, and turn out like you clowns" The other women were like "yeah right on" Everyone laughed and moved on.

I just don't understand why this happens. What is WRONG with a 4 year old boy dancing with his whoowhee whistle?

Now granted, these were all young guys without kids. I think what bothered me the most was Tony's reaction to it. It seems to be such a male thing to tear the other guy down all in good natured fun. We see it all the time among men. Anyone that dare act different or be sensitive gets ragged on. Gotta get home to help the little lady clean the house? Pussy. Like to bake? Sissy. Like wine instead of beer? Nancyboy. Like to wear a pretty, pretty dress while grocery shopping? Well I don't want to type what you'd be called.

Men just seem to have a pack mentality. Almost like Mean Girls with penises. Yet, they excuse it as just harmless fun. Maybe because I don't have a penis, I don't understand? All I know is that I don't want my son to feel like he can't be himself or he'll be laughed at, unless that is his intention. A lot of time it is. He likes to make people laugh. I don't think that he really "got" that they were laughing at him in a mean way. I think he just liked being laughed at. He's four, he's not scarred by it or anything.

It was just Tony's reaction. Him turning bright red. Not stopping them. Not protecting him. I don't know maybe I'm making more of it than I should. Tony's dad used to call him Polack, and I was horrified. I thought what an awful thing to call your child, an everday reminder that you think they're essential stupid. Tony says it wasn't a big deal, and I just think as a man, you have to take that kind of stuff, and not show it bothers you.

I want to raise both my kids to be themselves. It's ok for a girl to be herself, but for a boy, it's not. It's such a shame.

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