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October 08, 2006

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I couldn't agree more Kristen! I can't believe I missed this post.

As a mother of a son and a woman who works at a grassroots feminist organization that helps women experiencing abuse, this hits verrrry close to home for me. Raising a son is a huge responsibility.

My 5 year old recently marched in a fundraising walkathon for our charity and was so proud. All the men that joined in raised more than most of the women partly because it was so remarkable (read: unusual) for a man to raise money to end woman abuse. It was very cool.

Yes, we need to help our daughters build self esteem and live a life of equality ... but part of that will only happen if we raise our sons to be good men.

I feel the exact same way. I work for a feminist non-profit agency that helps survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. While women can talk about the cause, it will be men that will be able to hold one another accountable.

My husband considers himself a feminist. 5 months ago, we had a son. I keep on saying that he is going to be a feminist, too. I think that is one of my expectation for him as he gets older (besides leading a happy life). We can always use more men on the side of equality.

Honestly, I think this process has already begun. I look around at the men close to my age and younger and I see a lot of men who are different from the older generations. They look at people... like they're people; women, gay, multi-ethnic, whatever. Sure, there are still some jerks with hangups and old-school ideas. But frankly, most of the people I know look on those guys with a sort of pity... as in, "He's, you know, old-fashioned." nudge nudge

My youngest brother is 22 and a lot of his friends have an even more open attitude than what we (children of the civil rights movements) grew up with. And thank god for that! The old fogeys in charge of everything have to die out sometime, right?

You are so right, my friend, so right.

Women have battles to fight, but our most important allies are men. And, we can never forget that men suffer under the same system that we do - they're trapped and restrained, in their own way. Boys need their mothers to champion them as human beings, who will grow up into the kind of men who will do us, and our daughters, proud.

Thanks for this.

Actually, my husband is very good at this.

You are absolutely right. While it may not be the exact same message, we DO need to teach all of our children, regardless of gender these simple truths. There are things that all children need to know in order to be safe in the world as it is today and there are things they need to know to be good citizens of that same world whether they are boys or girls.

Just cruising through the posts and there seems to be a majority of 'wishes to raise boys who respect women and womens rights, etc'

But how about just making a better guy?

If we can get away from the 'fuck the 'man' (white dude!)' bit for a while and away from this polar opposite image of breeding whipped meek men....

Lets just raise good humans.

It takes all of us...absolutely. Just as it takes women to champion the rights of a man to father his kids while staying at home, it requires a man shaking his fists at the Pat Robertsons of the world to inspire women to take their rightful places of leadership in the external world. We all gotta work together, baby. As a mother of three sons...I salute you!

This is always in my mind as this boy grows inside of me. It is just important to raise our boys to respect and fight for women as it is to raise girls to fight for themselves. I hope that by being a strong woman and having both me and ZD sharing the effort our son will come to understand that men and women are equals. it is just as important to break down the steritypes for boys as girls.

I agree- you can definitely do it. I can't wait to hear about it either!

Great post.
Very nicely said.

And a woman who could raise a man with this kind of strength of character would be the baddest ass feminist EVER. ;) You can do it.

Great post. You're right that men have to buy into feminism for it to work, just like white people have to work against racism. The problem, I think, is when the language we use alienates people who might otherwise be our allies.

For those commenters who are saying that white men are somehow disadvantaged now, just look at Congress or the list of the richest people in the U.S. Believe me, white men are well represented in the halls of power.

Oh and a big congrats on the little boy! And as we are the first generation of true parenting partners, I think this next generation of blues will surprise us with new levels of confident goodness.

Yes. As a mother of a son, I've also been thinking about this. And I agree, I think it starts with us. I think to a somewhat even greater degree, it starts with our husbands. That's what I'm beginning to see here...

http://roomconqueso.blogspot.com/2006/10/window-into-our-home.html

And Mothergoosemouse says this fantastically in her Setting a Good Example post here...

http://mothergoosemouse.com/2006/10/05/set-a-good-example/#comments

Wow, congrats on the boy news!

I truly believe that parents play the strongest role in the raising of good people, male or female.

It's minority based on status, my friend.

And it sucks.

This is a tad off topic - kind of sort of - but are there any other women out there who cringe and get just a teeny bit pissed off when they are lumped into the "minority" category just because of their double X chromosome?

"Women, handicapped individuals and individuals of color, hispanic descent or of other minority status are encouraged to apply."

Um. Excuse me? Aren't women like...50% of the population? How does that make us a minority and (on paper in this context) on par with mentally challenged individuals?

Piss me right off.

How do folks feel about the "having to make numbers?"

Apparently some folks don't know that technically my kid will be a quarter Asian. But will pass as white...

Are white men just finally getting their due? Is evening things out for minorities (or the way we are trying to do it) just not working?

What what what?

Nothing to add to all the wonderful comments except, "What she said!" and CONGRATULATIONS!

I'm entering the wonderful world of rearing a boy right along with you. So glad to be sharing this journey!

Congrats on the little man. :)

Unfortunately I can tell ya that he is going to have to work longer and harder than a woman, minority or handicapped in some instances. White males are regularly passed up for promotions because corporations have to 'make the numbers' for the others. And the above mentioned can do NO WRONG in certain work places... meaning they cross the boundaries and will get slapped on the wrist, asked to attend counselling, but it's very very difficult to fire a woman, minority or person with any handicap.

White males do not have it made...

Really? No one does. We have to make 'it' ourselves. :)

With such an amazing mother, your son is hereby invited to be my daughter's prom date some time around 2025.

With such an amazing mother, your son is hereby invited to be my daughter's prom date some time around 2025.

And talk to any black, asian, bisexual, MINORITY person and tell them that being a white man in this country isn't easier than what they are in terms of social status, etc and I imagine you'll find that YES, it does stand that being WHITE MALE is still the privileged majority.

AND if you think minority scholarships and affirmative action have changed things, think again.

We still make about 70cents to the white male dollar.

And yes, I have tons of privileges as a mostly white female (though technically bi-racial).

But I'm still a minority as a woman. If you don't believe that, then we still have a long way to go, apparently.

If supporting the rights of all humans (women included) is being political, than ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY.

And as for the negative stereotypes of women... of course. I find it ridiculous and harmful all at the same time that the myth of the "emotional" woman = weakness = unmasculine.

It's a misnomer of the worst kind and I hope my son will NEVER believe that about women. Sure, our brain chemistry is different, but let's not make it change how we view people.

Wow, I was thinking the same thing about my son, how he's going to grow up a white male ... and what that will mean when he becomes an adult.

As for the rest of your post, I say, Motherhood Power!~

let me respectfully disagree with Melissa's comments and introduce my own. I'm a white male and I can say without hesitation that I receive the benefits of that status on a daily basis. And I think it encompasess everything from how I get paid more than women in my industry for doing the same job to the way I'm treated by salesmen when I accompany my wife to a car repair shop.

I think it's interesting that people often debate what feminism actually is to them, not whether they are a feminist or not. Most of the "websters" definitions seem pretty vague to me.

I've always considered feminism to be largely a reaction to the failures of many men to live up to their moral obligations in a variety of settings. It's by no means a universal definition; it's just mine. Frankly, it may be every bit as vague as any other definition. But I'm convinced that the feminist movement exists as a pursuit of justice and fairness, not domination.

I think the most important thing one can do as a parent is to give a son clear guidelines on what his moral obligations are and help him understand the consequences of failing to meet those obligations.

I know a lot of poor white men. I know a lot of uneducated white men who were turned away from Presitigious Universities because their grades weren't good enough. I know a lot of young black men who got into great colleges on full-ride scholarships from the NAACP. I make more money than a lot of white men that I see, including my fiance.

This "the white man has privledges I can't aquire and is keeping me down" mentality is largely outdated and is an easy way to scapegoat frustrations. Unless your last name is Bush or Pulitzer or Kennedy, then being a white man really doesn't give you that much of a leg up. What we really need to do is get some interacial relationships going on in the Kennedy/Bush/etc. branch. But don't forget that those families have daughters, too, who are afforded luxuries and privaledges that neither you nor I will ever see... because they are white, female, Kennedy's. Not because they are white females.

And here you are discussing not how to raise a son to be a self-thinking, conscientious individual, but a puppet of your own political motivations. If your son grows up and does not directly espouse your polical viewpoint, will you love him less? I've seen many mothers who treat their sons terribly while their daughters are clearly favored. Is this a fair way to treat a son? Not what I would aspire to.

Just a side note. Heather reminded me of the rather distasteful tee shirts I see little girls wearing:

Girl Power!
Girls Rule!
Boys Stink
Boys Lie
Boys Are Stupid

It makes my blood churn, I tell you. Is this anyone's idea of how to raise strong children who believe in gender equality? It's not mine.

How well do you think a couple of tee shirts on my toddler reading "Girls R Skanks" or "Girls: Dumber Than Hair" or "Boys Beat Girls Any Day!" would go over on the playground or at nursery school? This particular trend of boy-bashing at such a tender age really sets the bar pretty freaking low by telling (and showing) girls - and boys - that it's okay for the XX chromosome set to rag on the XY gang.

That's not equality. It's just reversal of abuse and I find it really abhorrant.


The girl, the boy. The 2.5 parents over-involved in your life! Sounds like you are ready for the next phase of politicism. I like your perspective. It's healthy, fresh, even. I suggest it go hand in hand with those who are angry, sad, mad and without fist shaking men around...or whatever different avenues we all have to travel to get to where we exact the change we want to see in the world.

posts like these are why motherhood uncensored is priority reading. on a daily basis. even when it's about your spreading ass. ;-)

as soon-to-be mother of two boys, and big ol' feminist, I;m with you. And not in a Laura Bush "boys are being left behind" kind of way.

If you can;t find a good man, raise one, and all that..


one question. when you say this part:
"They can speak to the masses where a woman is turned into an emotional hormonal freakazoid. They can rationalize when we are labeled as "just women."

you're being ironic, right? right? right?

CONGRATS. You are absolutely right and this is something I think about all the time. How to raise him to not be all of the things I see going wrong around me.

Congratulations! I think your son is going to have all the right tools to help change this world. For my daughter's sake, I thank you already! You are so right. If men and boys were to stand up for their fellow wives and sisters, the battle is won!

Nicely put. But how to bring about this movement?

Having three boys myself I must applaud you. Soceity has forgotten about our boys....thank you for remembering.

Bravo! Wonderfully said. I don't like hearing the John Mayer song "Daughters" for that reason. I completely disagree with the line of "Boys will be strong. They'll carry on." or something like that. Just the idea that boys don't need as much love and affection as girls bothers me. The only way we ensure a better life for our children is to show affection and caring for all our children. I know they are also saying that more girls are going to college now than boys. What does that say for us all? I often wonder if boys are getting the bum end of the stick with all this "Girl Power." I love raising my daughter to be a strong confident woman, but I wish for her to marry a strong, confident man, like her father. I know he got that way from the way his parents raised him.

Congrats on discovering the XY chromosomes within :) Your son is already ahead of the game by having such an independent, determined, and successful mother as his first and most enduring image of what a woman is.

Bravo, Kristen! Excellent post and congrats on your son.

Amen, Suebob, amen.

Congratulations on your son! I have a three year old daughter and a 10 month old son. I worry about them both the same. I, too, want my son to grow up to be a good man. I can only hope that I am raising them both to be good, strong and smart men and women.

Whether you are a mom or a dad, if you have a son, it is YOUR DUTY to raise him to embrace equality and respect for the other gender.

If you don't have a son, perhaps you have a nephew or other young male in your life? If so, you owe it to the human race to show him that women are not to be subjugated and to set a good example for him.

All in my humble opinion, of course...

Congratulations on your coming boy!

As a mom to a toddler boy, I've also thought a lot about what it means to raise a son, and how what I teach him will affect how he behaves to women in decades to come.

There was a book I read a long time ago where a woman had managed to escape her abusive husband and was raising her small children alone. A newcomer was commenting to a neighbor - "Ah, she's broken the (abuse) cycle. She's an independent woman making her own way now."

The neighbor replied, "Yes, but did you see how she treats her son? She dotes on him so much, over the girls. She's raising the next generation of men who think they deserve the world."

That has stuck with me for years. It's our responsibility to raise good men and women.

Two sons in this house. It is my goal in raising them to be intelligent men who can see through bullshit, know right from wrong, and are willing to fight for it.

"But perhaps we need her husband, her brother, her father, and her son to stand up for what's right for their mothers, daughters, and wives."

YES. Teaching our daughters is only half the battle. We must teach our sons as well. And perhaps provide a little remedial education to our spouses (heh).

Somebody make a comment to me a while ago that went something like "Wheres the next female president? OH yeah she is dancing half naked next to fifty cent in his most recent video." This topic evokes a lot of thinking for me..i think ill drop a post about it soon.

PS.. Can you tell Hillary over at "Im with Socrates" i have no way to view her blog and id like to request a username and password lol. =)

Congratulations. It is a wonderful thing to have a son.

It is terrifying to think that he will be seen as , like you say, part of the Great White Male Majority, aka "everybody's asshole".

It breaks my heart when boys are told to "be a man" or "don't cry, what are you, a GIRL?" God help the misguided shithead Little League Coach who ever refers to my kid as The DaisyPicker in Left Field.

Boys are still forced to register for the draft, and there's that whole circumcision bit. Just out of the womb - that'll be vitamin K, innocculations, footprints and oh yeah, do you want a genital mutilation with that? (We did. I'm not judging. I'm just saying.)

The whole teen pregnancy thing affects boys too, and with a lot fewer warm fuzzies than young mothers get. Nobody calls young, unwed, clueless boys "brave" or "selfless" or "strong" - they just wave the Child Support pamphlets and bandy about the term "deadbeat dad".

My heart races when I think of all there is to prepare our sons for. Meantime, I try to enjoy them... they are ever so delightful.

Usually.

Excellent point. I think boys have really become neglected in our fight for the rights and freedom of the "minorities". Studies have shown that in schools today, girls actually have the edge on the boys, whereas it used to be the opposite. We definitely need to find the balance.

You're right, sons need to be raised right as well. My grandmother raised my father the wrong way - she never let him do "women's work", and she let him talk down to her. It's no wonder he turned into someone who thinks women are lesser beings and should do all the housework. Thank goodness I wasn't raised by him.

If I have a son, I'm sure my mother's side of the family (and me!) will be ready to help mold him into a man who believes in equality and sees no line between women's and men's work.

i love this. i try to raise blake with the knowledge of HOW to treat girls. what is okay to do and not do. and to stand up for the people getting picked on. girl or not, especially when he knows it isn't right.

i will continue my fight to raise him with morals in HOW to treat women, even when they pretty much ask to be treated like shit. i will fight against the magazines and television and the way women are objectified, to raise him that what is inside a woman, is what truly matters. and i will do this AS a woman, and boyfriend will do it too, as the daily man figure in blake's life. i think we lead by example. i think the majority of what is learned, is learned IN the home. that's where the battle begins, you know? outside influences are always around and it can be so frustrating at times- but we just do the best we can. i really hope blake continues to be one of the good guys as he gets older. and if he doesn't, mom and step dda will be on his ass. because it's not going to be okay to be a typical male pig dickhead in this house. lol

My hubby would go mad at the usual 'wonderful world of the white male' story....
He is a white male and is waiting for his glory...he thinks it is male bashing at its worst.

I think women need to take responsibility for the men they are raising and the world they are raising them in.

It is all fine and dandy to scream pig or oppressor or whatever....but that pig or oppressor has or had a mom.

The blogosphere is filled with women and mothers of all ages who must have had sons and who must have sons who are now adults.

Did they teach them in their feminist ideals...or was their feminist world veiled in secrecy for daughters eyes only.

We bitch and bitch about how are men don't understand us or don't do the dishes or don't diaper the baby...but we must wonder why they were not raised to think of these things as natural..as polite as being part of being married or attached or just in how to 'treat' a woman.

Maybe if we all DID focus on our boys as humans first...gender second..maybe the future WILL be brighter for our children..boys AND girls.

It seems that we don't give our boys the credit they deserve.

I have both a girl and a boy...I try to raise them equally...give them the SAME values and strengths...

Congrats to ya!
Boys are fun!

Ok, first, congratulations on your son... wonderful news!

Next, you are soooo right... men have it both easier and harder.

My daughter is half black, so I spent many years readying her for the treatment she will get from the old white boys club. Now, with a blond haired, blued little boy strapped to me (right now, in fact!), I've had to completely rethink gender and race roles. It is hard for women, but how do I raise my boy into a man who is sensitive to women and yet still a man? My brother and husband are men whom I like to see in the world. When someone is hurt or in trouble - real trouble once, like a car flipped over in front of us on the freeway - and they literally jumped out to help before I could even blink. How do I ready my little boy for that kind of responsibility when all I want to do is cuddle and nurse him all day? Yes, my sil jumped out to help, too (she is, after all, a nurse), but it's that kind of call to action men are expected to have that I don't know how to teach. And how do you watch your boys do that?

Right on, sister. I have often thought that there will only be equality when men feel free to act "womanly," when the term "pussy" isn't used anymore, when "sissy" isn't a concept.

For instance, why can women wear "men's" clothing (jeans, flannel shirts, work boots) and it is perfectly ok, but if a man wants to dress in soft flowing fabrics or with frills, it is looked at with shock and horror? Because to be manly is still the power position and to be womanly is STILL weak, ineffective, and silly.

Why do men love sports so much? Beyond a certain testosterone-driven competitiveness, perhaps it is because sports is the only realm in which men are given permission to express a full range of emotion - joy! fear! disappointment!

It has got to be a tough job, raising a man who is free to be a full-spectrum human being. The world will want to mash him down. If he wants to fully share power with his female partner, he will be called "pussy-whipped." If he wants to be silly and snuggly and sweet, he will be called a sissy. You gotta be ready for these things and ready to counter them with your approval and your love.

I salute you for wanting to try, and I give you my full support.

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