or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Sexism and our sons
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sexism and our sons - Page 4

post #61 of 105
Actually, CMB123... I really was not addressing you personally.. except when it came to the Lesbian quote..

How on earth would I have known you were a single lesbian and joking?

I get the joke... but I stick to my point... there ARE those in the feminist movement who DO ultimately think I am complicit with patriarchy for loving men. And, I don't discount what they say..... those are often the voices that force me to push my own boundaries... but it puts me between a rock and a hard place at times, because I do love men.

Beyond that, though.. I was musing over the entire thread, not singling out one person.

I also NEVER suggested we repress our anger at patriarchy. I said I think it is a valid question to ask how and whether that anger SERVES us when it comes to the raising of our sons... and to consider whether we should move toward TRANSFORMING that anger.. at least when it comes to dealing with our boys.. and other people's boys.
post #62 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by guerrillamama
Am I making sense?

Yes, a great deal of sense.. very interesting point.
This stuff is COMPLEX.
post #63 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by guerrillamama
For example, just about every day we walk through a gauntlet of cat-calling day laborers. They have to stand there all day, waiting for their underpaid demeaning jobs, I sympathesize.
This is so totally OT but can I just say that I totally love that you think about this? I do. I love that the point is that what they are doing is offensive but that you are still feeling where they are coming from. Ah, so nice!

I know that people hate the "I didn't read all the replies but..." but I didn't read all the replies. But...

My son is 3.5 and I am definitely raising him to be a feminist. Mainly we just do this in a matter of fact way. He is way into firetrucks and all things related, so we always talk about firefighters not firemen. Luckily when my MIL took him to the fire station there was a female firefighter there!

The other week at LLL a little girl brought barbies and Noah wanted to play with one. She said "These are girl toys." I was about speechless. I said "Noah likes to play with them too." And he did.

I think it is very important for boys to be feminists.

Oh man, I just read some of the topic review and I have got to read the whole thread. See I don't think I have this anger towards men. I grew up with really strong women role models (not saying you all didn't) and I really think I always felt that I was as good, if not better, than any guy out there. [don't take this to mean i don't have issues. i do, but just not about guys being smarter or more capable than me.]
post #64 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by asherah
I also NEVER suggested we repress our anger at patriarchy. I said I think it is a valid question to ask how and whether that anger SERVES us when it comes to the raising of our sons... and to consider whether we should move toward TRANSFORMING that anger.. at least when it comes to dealing with our boys.. and other people's boys.
Wow.

Edited to add: I keep trying to add to this, but it just stands on its own.
post #65 of 105
yes, good point, but what does "transforming our anger" actually look like, what does that mean in practical terms?
post #66 of 105
ok, i thought about it for a few moments, and one idea I have is to understand how my son can help to break the cycle, by my including him in the struggle, through activism but daily kind of activism, how every decison, who and what we give money to , what news we believe, what we choose to do with our time, how everything has some level of responsibility, not in a obligation boring work way, but seeing everything in a larger perspective, doing things intentionally and consciously... I think allowing him to be conscious and explain to me how he feels and then respect him with discussion and offer my perspective.... but not contain his expereince. allow him to be in the world and also learn our real history not whats being taught in history books in most schools....
hmmm I am not doing a good job of explaing this, i need to think further, but maybe theres a kernel of sense in there somewhere.
post #67 of 105
I don't know.
I don't have all this figured out.

I do know that one can do only so much with anger. Anger can be a powerful force for transformation. But if you STAY there.. and only there... it tends to turn destructive.

And I do know that I don't believe raising boys out of/in anger is going to do much to create the world I want for my son.

I don't think viewing other boys with suspicion is going to help my son create trusting, healthy relationships with either men OR women.

So I am wondering if I can fight patriarchy from a place of love and hope instead of always from anger.

Can I start to see boys as allies and agents of change?
Can I treat them as my hope for a different future.. instead of as potential predators (not that I see them that way anyway.. but others seem to).
Wouldn't they be more likely to turn out trustworthy if I start by trusting them.. and giving them safe space to be gentle, to cry.. AND to roughhouse without judging them?

I don't have all the answers. Heck, I hardly have any answers. I am totally baffled by the whole gender question... But I have learned that the paradigm I have always been comfortable with doesn't necessarily serve me as the mother of a boy.
post #68 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by asherah
So I am wondering if I can fight patriarchy from a place of love and hope instead of always from anger.

Can I start to see boys as allies and agents of change?
Can I treat them as my hope for a different future.. instead of as potential predators (not that I see them that way anyway.. but others seem to).
Wouldn't they be more likely to turn out trustworthy if I start by trusting them.. and giving them safe space to be gentle, to cry.. AND to roughhouse without judging them?

.
I definately think we can do all of those things. I see hope everyday when I interact with my son. When we get together with our family friends with boys and there's a whole group of them together (from age 4-19) all raised by feminist parents, and I see the difference in them. They are growing up with parents who have been doing the things YOU have said you hope to do.

I think transforming anger into something positive is what many of us are doing already... living differently than the mainstream, following our instincts as mothers, listening to our children, living intentionally according to the values we hold dear, sharing those values with our children, working toward change one day at a time.
post #69 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by asherah
I don't know.
I don't have all this figured out.

I do know that one can do only so much with anger. Anger can be a powerful force for transformation. But if you STAY there.. and only there... it tends to turn destructive.

And I do know that I don't believe raising boys out of/in anger is going to do much to create the world I want for my son.

I don't think viewing other boys with suspicion is going to help my son create trusting, healthy relationships with either men OR women.

So I am wondering if I can fight patriarchy from a place of love and hope instead of always from anger.

Can I start to see boys as allies and agents of change?
Can I treat them as my hope for a different future.. instead of as potential predators (not that I see them that way anyway.. but others seem to).
Wouldn't they be more likely to turn out trustworthy if I start by trusting them.. and giving them safe space to be gentle, to cry.. AND to roughhouse without judging them?

I don't have all the answers. Heck, I hardly have any answers. I am totally baffled by the whole gender question... But I have learned that the paradigm I have always been comfortable with doesn't necessarily serve me as the mother of a boy.
ohhh totally, I know where you're coming from. I certainly do not see little boys as predators, I am continually amazed at how gentle, sweet, helpful, loving, and cooperative my son is. It saddens me to know that all boys are most likely like this when they are young, and somehow they get conditioned otherwise, but I def. have hope that things are changing. I do not have a lot of anger always in my life. I got a lot of that dealt with in my teens and twenties. BUT I still have righteous anger at all the F-up situations in this world and I won't ignore that, that will not help me or my son, or create a better world. I am working on transforming that anger, too, in a way it inspires me to always be conscious and question everything, not just go along with the status quo....
I really irrates me when EVERYDAY some stranger (or someone we know sometimes unfortunately) says stupid stuff about "how boys are" it jsut drives me crazy! I used to just roll my eyes and didnt have the energy to say what I thought, but lately I've decided that I HAVE To!, b/c ds hears it. He is being conditioned by people saying things, like how if he likes to get dirty and play in puddles, he is "a proper boy", and that he is so active "all boy" , or that b/c he likes trucks lately, that makes him some kind of valid boy. it just drives me nuts! i know most times stuff just slips out, and the people aren't sexist in general (sometimes), but I still need to point it out...
Theres also more insidious stuff too, about his emotions and feelings that I try to be conscious of. Like I got caught off guard when his grandparents were visiting and grandpa was sitting on the couch and steffen really needed a mama nurseing break to get grounded again and he like to lay down on the couch w/ me to nurse sometimes and he went over and pulled grandpa off and then, tried to get me to get me up on the couch and grandpa grabbed him and starting roughhousing, and steffen was not happy with this, and tried to get away, but grandpa just saw it as part ogf the game, and kinda overpowered him and jokingly was like "where you going/!" and of course steffen couldn't get away and got very upset, and started to cry. Grandpa didn't take his feelings seriously, he just laughed. Then I grabbed steffen and we nursed and he was fine, but still shaken up. He wasnt used to this mandatory roughhousing or being denied nursing, even if only for a minute.... But I saw in that case and others how esp. grandpa doesnt take feelings seriously. when ds would get upset, he would joke and rough house, never just let him be....
and ds has never liked roughhousing, when he is around other kids doing it, he just is still and maintains his space, he seems to not understand it, which is how i've been too as a kid. theres too many other things that interest him. he loves to be outside all the time and be active, just not into roughhousing, and i;m kinda surpriesed when people say its something "that boys just do"

anyway- thats my rant for the day!
post #70 of 105
I do think we need to compare the pain and consider the pain our boys are going through. This pain is what they carry into adulthood. Us not tending to boys pain is why we have men than cannot deal with their pain.

This pain is why more men are sexual predators. This pain leads to more men being killed and to kill. This pain is why men are 4 more times likely to commit suicide.

Most feminist talk just about violence against women. All though I think it is important to address these issues we also need to address the issue of violence against men. Men are killing men at higher rates than women. I think it we can crack into the clues against male on male violence we will have a major break through against violence on women. Our sons are more likely to be killed by another male than our daughters.

Mothra talks about minority women being hit in all directions but what about minority men? Who is filling our prisons? Minority males. It is not only poverty that is causing this but sexist expectations to perform.

I think once we start acknowledging and dealing with what boys go through we will make better men, we must understanding their frustrations and fears. There is a portion of men that are women beaters because of their fears of rejection and being alone. They do anything to obtain control/power so they won’t be alone. My father beat my mom. He does not beat his second wife, why? Because he (they) has learned and understands his fear. He understands how his fear came about and why he felt he needed to control things. He is afraid of being alone. He always felt isolated and alone.

I am not saying girls and boys go through the same thing. I don’t think their experiences really can be compared but they both desperately need to be understood.

Less violent society always have been societies that felt secure. I think is one key to breaking cycles of violence. Is giving both sexes security. Men do no only feel they don’t measure up to other men, but very importantly they worry about measuring up to women. So it is not just as simple as changing male society (patriarchy). We also have to change women and what they expect from men.

Men/boys are asked and expected to perform and to prove themselves financially and/or physically. Women/girls (I am going to start using males and females to simplify) are as much at fault for this as men are. Overwhelming amount of females still expect the guys to pay for the date to be at least financially superior (or have potential for financial superiority over other males). If you look in high schools females are more likely to give attention to males that prove their superiority by sport/competitions or financially. We need to help our daughter not get hooked into looking at the physical and financial potentials (superiority) of males because it sets the expectation on males to perform and isolate their selves in what is or modern patriarchy. We have to guide our boys through the girls that reject them because they are the sensitive guys, nerds, et. I think we all understand rejection. I think society has over looked male rejection and how it affect males for the long term. How it makes them insecure, lonely, isolated, and depressed.

I think we also need to understand that sexism against males is different than females. Young males are more often put on drugs for ADD/ADHD. Young males get penalize more often for aggressive behavior (male aggression is using physical. Until recently female aggression by verbal and emotional needs have been ignored.). Society is just now start to deal with bulling, first this was only the typical male form of bulling. It is just now we are starting to deal with the typical female version of bulling, verbal and emotional. These things are because of our own sexist views, things that like another poster said Victorian issues.

Young men are more often followed around stores and harassed by police and security. Why? Is it a sexist belief that men will steal more often. (Which with what I am discovering men and women still different things.)

A grown man will more often not win custody of children for the sole fact he is male. Males are told in court they cannot possibly raise their daughters. But you don’t hear this towards females not being able to raise their sons. Custodial mothers have more power to get a dead beat dad than a custodial fathers.

Try to be a custodial father and get WIC. WIC’s system can be very sexist.

There is sexism in our Medicare/Medicaid system. My brother got a vasectomy through the tax payer’s system, at one point, he was told by his case worker just have his wife do it. This is not only sexism against his wife but him. He is being a responsible male but our system made it hard for him. Our system favors women on getting sterilized. Is this women’s fault? NO!! Is this men’s fault? NO!! It is both sexist fault.

Males are expected to give their life for our safety and protection, the existence of a draft is a perfect example of sexism against males. If a male does not register he can be thrown in jail, denied federal monies for grants, drivers license, federal jobs, et. If there was a draft that did this against only women we would say it is sexist. For women to be truly empowered we need to be held to the same accountability. I personally would like to see draft registration system completely demolished but the point is it is sexist to only have one sex accountable this way.

There is sexism in how males often choose jobs. Males are expected to provide for their families. This forces males to take jobs that are more likely to kill them. We acknowledge the sexism in low paying jobs for females but what about the sexism in men being more likely to die on the job supporting his family.

We talk about the sexism in pharmaceutical/medical about not studying women but what about the sexism that men are/were expected to be the guinea pigs of science? Or the sexism of funding for studying cancers. Males are far more likely to die from prostate cancer than females of breast cancer but breast cancer research is funded more. The sexism of allowing circumcision. It was mention about women’s body being at hostage what about our little males? Males are still likely to die at least 7 years younger than woman, yet nobody is up in arms about this (I am very disturbed by this because there is racism and sexism against men in this issue.) Please understand I am deeply worried about my daughters getting breast and/or ovarian cancer but it scares me that my son could get ignored. We promote women’s health. We have a woman’s health department but not a men’s one, yet men die at younger ages. I am frighten my father was given a Viagra prescription prostate cancer. We women have every right to be angry and fight against a system that won’t pay for birth control or look into female sexual dysfunction but at the same time we need to be afraid for our male’s health. Males are more likely not be taught about testicular cancer self checks. Media teaches females about breast self checks but we ignore our males need to learn about testicular self checks Why is a female breast exam any more important? This ignoring and ignorance is caused by sexism against men.

Society has been addressing sexism in schools against females but what about males? There is enough brain science that proves the brain differences between males and females. This affects learning. Young males are biologically slower than females when it comes to skills of writing and reading yet these issues have not been addressed? Why because it is against little males. We talk about female science and math deficiencies in schools but were is the mentioning of male deficiencies in reading and writing? It is not being mention because it is a male issue, ignoring an issue because of it being just a male issue is a form of sexism.

We are empowering females against date rape. We are working hard against sexploitation of girls but what about our boys? Our society makes it ok for young teen males to have sex with older woman. They are gaining experience we do not acknowledge the fact how this can harm them. That is wrong, and it is a sexist view. I saw a cover of a magazine (Teen People I think) today and it had a teen actor/singer with a title “What turns him on”. I could see the uproar if it was a teen girl with that title. It is not only men making it ok for young males to be sexually active but women also. It totally ignores that emotional issues male teens have with sex. We totally ignore how early and/or unwanted sex effects our males. We know how it affects our girls but sadly miss how it affects our boys.

I see sexism like racism a river flowing in all directions. Until we address all the issues and empower all the people then we will truly have a better society. It is not just as simple as looking at the wrongs against one sex. It is not just looking about the wrongs caused by one sex. Nor is it as simple as looking at the wrongs against males. It is many issues that are deeply intertwine with each other.

I think many feminist fail to see how males need to be empowered. They need to be empowered to show emotions. They need to be empowered to say no I want to be a family man and put them first. They need to feel safe, like women need to feel safe. I think understanding male fear will help us make change. I think understanding how males feel pressure to perform by females and other males will help us understand why so many males are angry, violent, and suicidal.

I think if we take time to understand how males feel trapped and isolated by other males will only help us. Males might have an business advantage on the golf course but this supposed advantage is also isolating. They can mention they are getting divorce yet not share emotions much less work through emotions on the golf course. Were a female would be more likely to allow this emotional freedom. If a female could not do this on the golf course she could in other female circles. Male circles are more shut up and buck up.
post #71 of 105
I have to say I do fear for my son being viewed as a predator. He is a gentle boy. He is 10.5 and he loves babies. We were at a children’s consignment shop today. There were 3 newborns. My daughters ooohhhhed and awwwwed them. The owners daughter did also. When my son came near these babies the mother pulled the babies closer in/away from my son. I then heard one mom tell the other that something is not right with him. (He is a boy so he should not like babies).
post #72 of 105
post #73 of 105
Another super long post, and technologically retarded me not knowing how to do the quote thing.

Marsupialmom, about the only thing I agree with you on is that we need to work with our sons as much as we work with our daughters.

I will admit, I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for much of the other stuff, barring the cancer issues, and minority men being targets.

I will not accept any excuse for men who are sexual preditors, or beat their wives (or anyone else) especially the excuse that it's the womans fault!!!! I don't care how emotionally stunted, or if they don't feel "safe", or if their wife is a jerk, or if the woman was wearing a short skirt....IT'S WRONG!!
post #74 of 105
Marsupialmom said it perfectly. To think that women are the only ones that face sexism is pure arrogance.
post #75 of 105
Thread Starter 
cmb, I don't think Marsupial was making excuses. Do you believe that violent, predatory , and abusive men are born or developed? If you believe they are just born that way, then I guess there's nothing to talk about. But if you believe they are socialized that way, then there is a WHOLE LOT to talk about in terms of what causes those problems and how we can prevent them. ITA w/ Marsupial - the socialization that males are not allowed to express their feelings or taught how to deal w/ them in a healthy manner is a big factor. That is absolutely a feminist issue. How is that "making excuses" or "blaming the victim"?

cmb, I'm curious why you don't have sympathy around the other stuff. I wouldn't want the other stuff to take focus away from women's issues, which have been so severely neglected for so long, but does that mean the other stuff is not important or painful or unjust? I feel like I'm missing something in your thought process, so please elucidate.

Marsupial I do agree w/ everything you said. (Except the custody thing. The fact is that when men actually fight for custody they are much more likely to get it. Probably because they tend to have more money and can afford better lawyers, in additin to a sexist system that sees women as weak, irrational, etc.) That was a really enlightening post.

I don't see this as an either/or at all. I am very concerned about all those things as a feminist. I want to work against sexism in all its forms. I can be outraged and fight against all the injustices on your list at the same time as being outraged and fighting against sexism against females. I can understand that males suffer from all those injustices on your list as understanding that males have an unavoidable systemic privilege in this society. I hope to teach my son to recognize and call sexism out in all its forms, including his own privilege. I hope that makes sense.

I also wanted to agree w/ Musing above -- I always say the best way to turn anger into a positive force is thru activism, and I do. I would add that one really really really important thing I think I can do for my son is to have close platonic male friends (to show him grown men who I love and trust and can have emotional intimacy with) AND to call them out on their inevitable sexist b.s. I do have several close platonic male friends, who I have, on many occasions, called out on their sexist b.s. It is super hard. But it wouldn't be a true friendship if I couldn't do that. And when my ds is old enough to understand, it will be absolutely priceless for him to see grown men actively struggling with their sexism. That's the kind of role model our kids need.
post #76 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmb123
Another super long post, and technologically retarded me not knowing how to do the quote thing.

I will not accept any excuse for men who are sexual predators, or beat their wives (or anyone else) especially the excuse that it's the woman’s fault!!!! I don't care how emotionally stunted, or if they don't feel "safe", or if their wife is a jerk, or if the woman was wearing a short skirt....IT'S WRONG!!
I am not making excuses. I just think or predators, violent men, jerks are not born that way. They are made that way. And the last time I looked around it is not only men raising our children. There comes a point that it is only the male’s personal responsibility. But I am concerned how they got from point A to point B, this is everybody's (both sexes) fault. When we understand why we can prevent the abuse/violence. If we don't understand why so many boys are failing in reading and writing skills we cannot have these boys turn into men that can hold jobs that support their families. If we do not acknowledge that are boys are frustrated and made to feel worthless by our school systems they will turn into frustrated and scared men.

I am also concerned about how violent women are made. I am concerned about the woman that just takes the violence/abuse not only of men but of other women.

I don’t think addressing one issue of a problem sexism (women’s) is going to cure our worlds ills. I am going to re-use the example of slavery (it might not be the best but the only one I can think of at the moment). If the north had said it is ok not use Africans but you can still use Indians we still would have a problem of slavery. Or if we allowed indentured servitude (a form of slavery) we would still have a problem of slavery. If I sat here and said we abolished slavery with the Civil War so it no longer concerns us totally ignores modern slavery and how it affects us.

As for feeling safe is not just for males but females. If a male is has freedom to express himself he is less likely to have pent up anger that he takes out on women or another man. If a women feels safe the same thing will happen. More often that not a woman that is not afraid of having her food/life line removed is won’t put up with crap. There are exceptions. There is a portion of women (self supporting) that will stay with an abusive man because they are afraid of being alone. So I just don’t believe in dealing with ONE issue. People do odd things out of fear.

******
Now as for quoting there is a button towards the bottom of this post that will say quote. It will put up 2 sets brackets like this [ ] In the first it will say quote=my name in the last it says / quote. If you type these out you can quote various sections.
post #77 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by guerrillamama
cmb, I don't think Marsupial was making excuses. Do you believe that violent, predatory , and abusive men are born or developed? If you believe they are just born that way, then I guess there's nothing to talk about. But if you believe they are socialized that way, then there is a WHOLE LOT to talk about in terms of what causes those problems and how we can prevent them. ITA w/ Marsupial - the socialization that males are not allowed to express their feelings or taught how to deal w/ them in a healthy manner is a big factor. That is absolutely a feminist issue. How is that "making excuses" or "blaming the victim"?
The reason for the "making excuses" remark was from the part where she said her Dad beat her Mom, but not his new wife, because now he feels "safe" It came off as "it's ok, he had a reason" to me.
I absolutely believe that violent, predatory, and abusive men are developed. And I absolutely agree that it is a feminist issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guerillamama
cmb, I'm curious why you don't have sympathy around the other stuff. I wouldn't want the other stuff to take focus away from women's issues, which have been so severely neglected for so long, but does that mean the other stuff is not important or painful or unjust? I feel like I'm missing something in your thought process, so please elucidate.
The post had a very "blame the women for the men's wrongs" and "it's not their fault" kinda feel to me at the time I read it. Marsupialmom's last post, convinces me this was not the case, I must of had my panties in a bunch this morning (note to self, no going on MDC before coffee)


Quote:
Originally Posted by guerillamama
I don't see this as an either/or at all. I am very concerned about all those things as a feminist. I want to work against sexism in all its forms. I can be outraged and fight against all the injustices on your list at the same time as being outraged and fighting against sexism against females. I can understand that males suffer from all those injustices on your list as understanding that males have an unavoidable systemic privilege in this society. I hope to teach my son to recognize and call sexism out in all its forms, including his own privilege. I hope that makes sense.
Yes that makes sense. Couln't have said it better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guerillamama
I always say the best way to turn anger into a positive force is thru activism, and I do.
YES!!!!!!
post #78 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom
Now as for quoting there is a button towards the bottom of this post that will say quote. It will put up 2 sets brackets like this [ ] In the first it will say quote=my name in the last it says / quote. If you type these out you can quote various sections.
Wahoooo!!! Did you see my last post!!! I'm so dang excited!!!!!!!!! THANKS!!

If you didn't see it in my last post, I'm totally with you. Thanks for the clarification.
post #79 of 105
Thread Starter 
Nice quoting action, cmb! (I especially love it when you quote me *flutters eyelashes* )
post #80 of 105
Especially when I'm quoting you AND agreeing with you right?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Sexism and our sons