Thursday, May 29, 2014
I haven't blogged for nearly two years. At least, I haven't written on this particular site on two years, and maybe now no one checks it anymore, and maybe I'm shouting into a fucking hurricane, but that's fine. I feel like shouting.
Friends, I'm riled up. I know I've touched on it before, chastising Zach Snyder for being a shitty, misogynistic filmmaker who splashed the ugly power imbalance inherent in my beloved geek community onto 30 foot screens everywhere. I know I've told you about my indignance having to defend my choice of body art. It's not really a secret that I think about this stuff, worry about this stuff, wonder how I teach my daughter to weather it, how I teach my son to combat it.
This shit is the outside of enough. I am angry. I am nearly forty years old, and I have been fighting this shit for three decades. I am fucking tired of it.
The day after it hit the news that some jackass attacked twenty people in California because WOMEN, my mom and sister shared a thing on Facebook. It was one of those stupid Pinterest graphics, you know the ones: a pithy "inspirational" quote in some all caps font over a montage of filtered photographs of other people's children. This one read, "RAISING BOYS. NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART." The pictures were of little boys doing mischievous things, borderline naughty things, things like getting covered in mud from head to toe, jumping off a rope swing, sticking a fork in an electrical socket, and holding hamburger buns up to their bare chests in an imitation of breasts. Things that make people shake their heads and chuckle, "Boys will be boys!" and go on about their merry way and then exclaim twenty years later, "I just don't understand! How could he have gotten this way? He must have been sick, SICK, to kill all those people while ranting at the top of his lungs about blond sluts who wouldn't fuck him!" I wanted to scream. Instead I took the very obvious, society-sanctioned course and... said nothing.
In one breath I tell my daughter that she is whole, strong, and complete and in another I am supposed to tell her that the fingertip rule at school is for skirts, not for shorts. In one breath I tell my son that he is a heart as well as a body, as well as a brain, and in the next I am supposed to advise him that the tears are for his ex-girlfriend to shed. He knows that girls owe him nothing, that there is no such thing as the friendzone. She knows that comics and building blocks are for everyone.
But I have to repeat it constantly, drill it into them the way that I was once drilled about how to survive an atom bomb. I am swimming upstream. I am angry, and I am tired. I am sick of wanting to scream.
Boys will be humans. Girls will be humans. Boys, most of them at any rate, will grow up to be men. Girls, most of them at any rate, will grow up to be women. We have to have each others' backs.