Things I Will Not Tell My Son

Things I wont tell my son watermark

I am new to feminism in the sense that I have never thought about my beliefs or perspective as being a movement with a label. I have always just considered myself a person who believed in equality and stood up to social injustice. I wanted to make a difference, I still do. Most of my post-secondary schooling is in the field of social work. It was not until the birth of my son did I have what people might call my feminist awakening. I realized that there was in fact a label to what I stood for. There was a name for the injustice I encountered more often than I would like to admit.

As I have embarked more consciously on my feminist journey in the past year I have found myself in an interesting spot. I seem to have become more aware of my perspective and more inclined to act upon on it now that I have a child. Bringing a life into this world was a journey in itself but I now find that I am riding a slippery slope I did not realize was there. I am the mother of a boy which has coincidentally made me a more mindful feminist.

Like any good parent I try to watch what I say or do in front of my child. I want to set the right examples and hope that I am making the right decisions. It is not as easy as some parents make it look, believe me. While parenting my son I have learned more about myself in this past year than I have in all of my twenty-three years on this planet. It was suddenly too easy to see my faults, quirks, insecurities, and societal boundaries embedded in me. I am sure much of what I realized was in part due to the anxiety issues I struggled with more predominantly postpartum or maybe it all just made me more cynical.

I opened my eyes to many things in the short time my son has been here. One of the many issues I have been more aware of recently is the very real problem our society seems to have with gender roles. I am not sure if the reactions or thought processes I had were normal in the sense that the majority of parents with sons have them or I am one of the few. I found myself getting increasingly annoyed with blue clothing and people questioning my child’s gender like it made a difference. Apparently people need to know so they can fit you in a box, even before you are a year old. The problem with boxes is that not everything is perfectly square. In fact, I would wager that most things are not.

There is only so much you can do at home but I will do my best to encourage my child to be true to himself regardless of the messages he will get elsewhere.  It is so wrong to place these constraints on children. I am tired of feeling a little guilty when I walk in to the “girl’s section” in the toy department to buy my son something he will enjoy. Why should I? It pains me to know that one day he may be made fun of or told he is wrong for liking the color pink, wanting to cook, or playing with a baby doll if that is what he chooses to do. It bothers me that one day  it  will not be okay for my son to show that he is hurting but the little girl next door will be consoled and reassured. The last I checked we are all humans and some of the most human qualities are to have feelings, opinions, and choices and to be able to act on them. In my ideal world people would just be people; there would be no glass ceiling, rape, gender roles, or prejudices.  Unfortunately, we do not live in such a world and that is why I will do what I can in my own home. I do not want my child to grow up feeling like he needs to conform to the limited view of masculinity that we have. Being the parent of a son in a masculine society has made me be more aware of what I say and how I say it, not only to my son but to everyone.

And this is why I have compiled a list of things I will not say to my son:

  • “Man up”- This goes right along with sayings like “grow a pair”. Everyone’s feelings are valid and should be acknowledged. Courage does not come from having testicles neither does being a leader. Setting an impossible standard of “masculinity” that every male needs to live up to is plain silly.
  • “Don’t cry/ Crying is for ‘pussies’”- Since when does having a vagina mean you are the only one that is allowed to cry or show your emotions? When we are hurting it is a natural reaction to cry. It is a stress reliever and a coping mechanism. Why on earth should that be gender specific? Humans have the ability to do this, humans have feelings, and every feeling is valid.
  • “No, that is a girl’s…. “- Whatever. I will not tell my son he cannot do or have anything because it is not for boys. That is just ridiculous, sexes do not own rights to colors, toys, activities, hobbies, or fashion.
  • “Boys will be Boys”- I will not give my son an excuse to misbehave. There is no old boys club in my home and I expect my son to respect others no matter where he is. I will encourage my son to be inclusive. Men should not get away with acting inappropriately because of their genitals, neither should women.

4 Comments

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster

    February 19, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    I didn’t want to know the sex of either child before they were born. My husband and I frequently heard, “But how will we know which colors to buy?”

    I answered several times, “The fact you’re asking is a great reason to remain in the dark.”

    My son was recently told he was a girl if he liked pink. I had to struggle to translate my answer into 5yo terms, but it had two key parts: (1) There is nothing wrong with or strange about being a girl, so that’s a weird statement. (2) That is patently false, and anyone who thinks such things is going to miss out on a lot of joy and wonder for the sake of concealing parts of themselves to fit in.

    He brought it up again yesterday … while happily drawing with his pink pencil.

    1. Apparently a Mom

      February 19, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      I think you did a wonderful job explaining it to him. I fear I wont be so good at that when the time comes.

      I needed to know, I can’t stand not knowing but mostly for the need to feel prepared. I wante dot be sure to pick out a name. I wasn’t able to handle the surprise of the sex with so many other surprises. I’ve wondered if I could wait to find out with the next one if we do have one. I’m still not sure I could do it 😛 Even if I do, i might make it a surprise for everyone else and let on like I don’t know. At least then everyone else will be surprised lol

  2. #mandie

    November 3, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Lol no watermark it’s not your original photo and your blog was taken of a scarymommy blog.

    Not original at all.

    You opened the can of worms by attacking a fb page claiming original content so when we created our own you and your friends proceeded to harass us.

    So do you mean to tell me that every single post that we make that’s not watermarked anyone can claim it as their own….. I don’t think so, Mark Zuckerberg would have to take down all the pages and groups and lose how much money over what unwatermarked posts that anyone can claim is there’s. Yah like his lawyers hadn’t already looked into intellectual property laws.

    I have a photo shop file of the picture your using and you post this picture without my consent I claim you are fringing on my intellectual property and want you to take the picture of your blog!

    1. Apparently a Mom

      November 3, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Okay, first of all, I created the image, I should know. I haven’t replaced it yet because I have a child, I am a mother, I don’t have time at the drop of the hat like you apparently do.

      Well considering the original is on my computer file dates from creation, you aren’t very funny in fact, all I did was sit down for a moment to look at my news feed to come across my own picture on a page I am active on and have never had a problem with before. So, I did what anyone would do, as for credit or ask to have it removed. I don’t even know what scarymommy is and I definitely didn’t steal any of my content. This is what I do, I don’t have to steal people’s content unlike you. I never asked anyone to “harass” you. In fact I didn’t even ask anyone to contact you or the page. I actually asked just the opposite. I also have the proof of that. I asked you nicely to either credit me for my work or take it down. You hold no legal right to any of my work. Water marked or otherwise. A watermark does not do anything which is why I didn’t put it on my earlier work. I didn’t attack you. I asked that my work be credited or removed. I haven’t slandered or harassed you, I haven’t done anything to you or your page. I stopped contact once my wish was met. Anything else was done of others accord, just as you decided to then steal my image and recreate it as your own. People saw what you did and acted as they wished, even against my wishes. What can I do? Nothing, I don’t care to spend time dealing with someone of your standards. It speaks may more to your character than my own. I wouldn’t steal anything from your Facebook page and plaster it for others without credit. This post and everything on this blog is completely 100% original content and I’m proud to say that.

      If you’d like to go on and live the way you do, that’s your choice. I’m not having anything to do with it. I don’t know why you feel the need to continue this. You removed the picture instead of crediting me and I left it be, that’s all I wanted.

      Are you done now? I’d like to know what sort of vendetta you have to come here and leave a comment. You stole MY image and all I asked you to do was take it down. I think you need to take a step back and breathe. Who has time for this? My image was the one that was stolen and I’m not doing anything to you, so you feel the need to be here why? Your time would be much better spent doing something productive.

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