My son is male chauvinist pig.
In his six years on this planet, I’ve done my best to teach him about gender equality, but my lessons seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
Girls Do Not Rock
I first noticed his sexism while listening to Run-DMCs Rock Box. N, his younger brother, X, and I flailed around our game room as the bass thumped and the guitars blared. We were having a good ole time until, my daughter Nee came upstairs to see what the commotion was.
Realizing we were only dancing and not operating a jackhammer, she joined the fun. N froze and glared at his sister. Then he marched over to where she was bustin’ a move and wagged a finger in her face.
“You can’t dance with us,” N said.
“Why not?” asked Nee.
“Because this is boy music,” he replied. “And you’re a girl.”
Nee immediately began to channel Gloria Steinem and launched into a rant about her being able to dance to whatever music she wanted to. I quickly intervened in order to prevent NOW from picketing our house.
I pulled N out of harms way and sat him on my knee.
“Listen, son,” I said gently. “Your comments to your sister were inappropriate. Music is universal and there is no such thing as boy music or girl music.”
“But girls can’t dance to music that rocks,” he said.
“According to whom?” I asked.
“According to me,” he said puffing out his chest. After letting out a long sigh, I continued to explain to N that boys and girls have equal rights and made him apologize to his sister for making such a sexist statement. After this incident, I thought that N has learned his lesson.
I was wrong.
My Son Wants a Wife
He started to oink again while my wife was teaching him how to fold the laundry.
First let me explain our division of labor. I sort and wash the clothes. My wife, KayEm, folds them and puts them away.
“Why are you teaching me how to do a girl’s job?” he asked earnestly.
“What did you say?” KayEm asked.
“There are no boy jobs or girl jobs,” KayEm explained. “We all contribute to this household. Besides, I’m teaching you how to be self sufficient. Folding clothes is a skill you need to know.”
“Can’t I just get me wife to do it?” he asked.
KayEm snapped and gave the young lad a thorough lesson on gender equality. After she gave him the business, KayEm called me at work.
“You need to talk to YOUR son,” she demanded. I agreed to counsel the boy when I got home.
A Final Lesson
At dinner that night, I asked N about the laundry incident. He looked across the table at his mother, and then lowered his head.
“Your comments really offended your mother,” I said.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“You come from a family of strong women and I don’t want you to diminish their strength by thinking that women are inferior,” I said.
He stared at me with a confused look on his face. Realizing, that he did not comprehend the message I was trying to convey, I said it in a way that he could understand.
“Just fold the clothes.”
Join the conversation: What have your children learned about gender roles?