I recently read an article called “Moms: Let Your Boys Be Boys!” by Nik Holman and, as a mom of boys (nay, a mom of humans and as a sister/daughter/wife/friend), I’ve got a slight issue with it. Wait – let me rephrase: I’ve got a big, gigantic, massive issue with it.
Nik, here’s why (and I’m going to link your article ONLY so that others can have context and also laugh as loudly as I’m about to: www.totallythebomb.com/moms-
My issue with this term, and this article (which, for the record, was written by a man) is that it breeds boys who think it’s okay to get away with crappy behaviour because they were born with XY chromosomes. It excuses inappropriateness, rudeness, or immaturity with a flick of the wrist and a no-big-deal attitude. Yes, kids are immature. KIDS are immature. Not just boys. But whether it’s as kids or once they’ve grown into teens and adults, males should be held to the same standards as females. There’s no place in this evolving world for men who act like little kids and who do things which are socially inappropriate or even legally wrong… Oh wait, yes there is. It’s called jail. Right.
Anyhoo, so the article begins, “I have a daughter and she’s perfect. She does all the right things. She is obedient. She is mindful and kind. She plays nicely with friends…” Yeah, okay, I’ve read enough. Not a great start, Nik. First, I highly doubt she’s perfect. Let’s be real. Yes, sure, our kids are “perfect” in our eyes but wait, no, they’re just not and we know it. I’m sure she has meltdowns in public, has pooped herself countless times after being potty trained, and she puts up a fight when she has to take a nap some days. Second, “She does all the right things.” What does this mean? She does the “right” things girls are expected to do, like sit quietly, not speak up, be kind and sweet no matter what? Yuck. But yeah, that’s what the author means.
A) No kid is an angel, and to even claim it is absurd and to make every. other. parent. out there feel like we’re raising wild animals – and as if that’s not okay. Kids are animals at times! ALL of them!!! Boys, girls, girls who identify as boys, and boys who identify as girls. All. of. them. B) Can’t believe I even need to say this in 2017 but I will because apparently I do. Expecting girls to be all of these things is clearly perpetuating stereotypes that we are currently trying to fight against with little things like, oh, I don’t know, the massive WOMEN’S MARCH that just happened. And expecting boys to “be boys” is maybe even worse. We’re further perpetuating stereotypes that boys HAVE to be tough, rough and tumble, stoic, out working in the trenches instead of cooking or cleaning, so on and so forth. Basically going against any gender equality progress we’ve made in the past 20 years or more and encouraging jerk kids to become jerk adults.
But it goes on. “Boys are physical and they’re mean and they want to figure this stuff out. They can’t do that with you breathing over their shoulder, judging them for everything you’re not comfortable with. It doesn’t matter if you’re comfortable with it, or not. You don’t know how a boy is feeling, you don’t know what a boy is thinking, so stop raising them with your effeminate world view.” Yes, he’s talking to us, moms, because he later says he blames men for not raising the children and leaving it up to moms! So it’s our fault, moms! Of course it is. Can you feel your effeminate blood boiling? Our world view is what is ruining our boys for the rest of the world, making them feel real feelings, cry real tears, and apparently not be able to change a tire (as he mentions later in the article). Got it. Thanks for opening our eyes, Nik.
Furthermore, boys are mean? Really? I didn’t get this memo. My boys are as sweet as pie, except when they’re not. 😉 Really though, my oldest Van hugs and kisses his brother Gunnar when he’s crying. He pats his head when he’s hungry to calm him down as I get his food ready. He alerts me when his brother is awake up in his room so that I go and get him. He lets other kids go ahead of him on the slide at the playground; he waits his turn in line for water at school after recess. He holds hands with his friends and cousins and is in tune with others’ emotions. But you’re right, Nik, this sounds like a mean by nature kinda kid. Or maybe an effeminate one. Take your pick, I’m proud of him.
My boys aren’t perfect, and they’re not exclusively mean, kind, patient, dirty, clean, loud, or quiet. Just as girls do, they possess a spectrum of qualities that make them perfectly imperfect, and I’d have it no other way.
PS. Nik – I’ve got some great reading for you, pal. Oh, and for anyone else who’s interested: