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Author Topic: The Grass Is Greener When You Have a Penis  (Read 1828 times)

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Offline Fury Aphrodisia

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Re: The Grass Is Greener When You Have a Penis
« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2017, 01:53:11 AM »
I have to admit that as a mother to two VERY young boys, this subject scares the crap out of me.

Because as a society, we haven't figured out balance yet. Some of us are blowing up animal testing facilities while others are expediting the DLP (*Cough, cough*... no subtle keywords, just trying not to die of the fumes). Some of us are fighting over religion in schools and others are just fighting over religion. We have educated homeless and idiot 1%'ers and the world keeps spinning and we keep trying to find that balance point that works for everyone.

Toxic masculinity.

The time I've spent on Tumblr, most recently for the promotions team, has been inundated with posts about toxic masculinity. There've been a few I've seen that have made the feminist in me so incredibly happy. One post reminding people that sometimes, men like to lay and have their hair stroked, their shoulders rubbed, their own snuggles and that's okay. One reminding men that they can be romanticized too: If a female can want to be a princess and doted on and told that she's beautiful, why can't we tell our men they're little princes and beautiful and yeah, they can totally rock that colour of pink without being the subject of a stand-up comedy routine. Wear that man-bun, put clips in your hair, wear them skinny jeans, go see a rom-com because YOU want to.

Enough with the "man card" bullshit!

If we don't make room for each other, no matter where on the gender spectrum you belong, then you will always be trying to figure out what your default settings are, and that's a lot of wasted time because we HAVE NONE. I'm not a cis-gendered, white, straight Christian female. I'm also not a black, trans, gay atheist man. You can't check a whole bunch of boxes and have an idea of what I'm allowed to like.

My oldest son has had a love affair with My Little Pony for years now. He talks to his friends about it all the time and sometimes it gets him weird looks. But the moment that truly brought me to tears was for all kinds of emotional roller-coaster reasons. My son was talking to one of my cousins (not my favourite cousin, I'll tell you that), telling her how he loved Rainbow Dash because another aunt (that one I actually DO adore) bought him a Rainbow Dash doll. She asked him if he was a Brony and HER MIDDLE CHILD looked at her and said "he's not a brony, he's Connor. That's defined as being a kid, who just so happens to like a TV show. There's absolutely no difference between that and your junior high Power Rangers crush."

I hated that she decided she had to attack my kid for liking something she asked "Isn't that too girly for a boy?" I loved that her own kid shut her down like that (And extra points for being savage af). And above all, I just felt humiliated guilty.

Before my oldest son was born, I told people I was glad I was having a boy. My reasoning? "I'd rather watch Transformers than have to pretend like I know anything about My Little Pony." I'd already decided that BECAUSE I was having a boy, I'd never have to learn anything about the show. Because - and this is a heavy bit for me, too - I DIDN'T F'ING LIKE THE SHOW WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL! Yeah, okay, that was the eighties, but that's not the point. Point is, I'm not a fan of pink. It's too girly and I was always expected to like it because I was a girl so I did the natural thing. I rebelled when i was four and I never went back. I spent so much time determined to hate it that I missed out on a lot of things I liked and wanted because I couldn't let the girly stuff win. And because of that, I was determined that I would never give in, until the day I had to add another team into the mix. The "my boy likes pink" club.

Now, to be clear, my kid will flirt with every girl, he'll profess his love to anything that seems remotely female and talk at length about how he gets along with boys sometimes, but he loves girls cause girls are wonderful. Maybe he feels an affinity for them, but we're also talking about the kid who blew kisses to the cute blonde lifeguard when he was a year old, so I dunno. I feel like he's straight, but he'll let me know how that goes later. More to the point, I never considered that his love of MLP had anything to do with his potential masculinity. He's just a person and he likes it. Whatever.

And now I think about how, years from now when he's in maybe his sixth season of lacrosse (he just finished his second and he's four now), when he's been in school for a few years, when he's got friends that see more of his likes and dislikes, maybe he'll decide he doesn't like it anymore and that's fine, we grow out of things. Maybe he'll decide he doesn't like Glitter Force and Mia and Me, Monster High and Ever After High and Shimmer and Shine and My Little Pony. Maybe he'll decide that's not for him. But wow, do I ever hope it's never because he fears what someone else is going to say.

I really hope that the reaction of my little ... cousin? (I never know how to refer to them.. second cousins? I think...) Anyway, I hope that is the start of a trend of people, willing to let us be humans and not have to categorize us based on what we're physically like in order to determine what we're allowed to appreciate. For now, my little woodland sprite is about as happy, friendly, emotional, easy to bruise and genuinely tender as any human being could hope to be.

My youngest? He's definitely the more solid, more stoic, rougher-edged sort, even at this time in his life. He is more judgemental and more... I don't know, I suppose the only way to describe it is to atribute traits that are traditionally masculine. I can only hope that he knows he's allowed to like MLP too, if that's what he likes. That he can open a door, pull out a chair and pay for a meal because it's a nice thing to do: That he's just as entitled as any woman to enjoy someone treating him in turn when it comes time someone else wants to do a nice thing for him, as well. That if he wants to wear form-fitting clothes made of pink spandex, so be it.



Why is this villainous? Why is it, to forgive the term, wussified? Why is it, "Cut your hair and get a job!"? These are our men, with hearts of heroes and we still have them stuck under the stairs like they're living with the Dursleys.

I'm so afraid that everything which makes my child so unique, so incredibly loving and generous and kind and genuine and brave and sweet is going to get beaten out of him by people with a list of expectations of him that's longer than the one they keep for themselves. People who will want him to be forced to live up to what they have decided is going to be his legacy.

We have to stop being so hard on our men, because if we don't we're going to leave no room for ourselves beside them from cramming them into smaller and smaller spaces. We have to stop being so hard on them, because if we don't, we're going to end up finding they can no longer fill the spaces that the world needs them to fill. We have a space in this world exactly the shape and size of the personality of each of them but if we keep battering at them, they're not going to be able to be all we need them to be. There's a Connor-shaped hole, a Mike-shaped hole, a Declan-shaped hole, a Steve-shaped hole and so on, and so forth. What will you fill it with if we keep searing away strips of your personality to be a shape WE decide is meant for us?

While I can't help you on the concept of how a man could possibly stand up to the idea that there might be molestation issues (as a mother, this is the one thing about my kid's life that terrifies me the most - there are people out there who will specifically go out of their way to destroy innocence entirely by breaking and abusing my kid and it is my only job in this world to make sure that they don't grow up having to either live with that memory, worse not living with it, or doing that to someone else and I can't tell you how much fear rises in my throat even considering it, that fear will never, ever go away and I'm sorry, but every person, regardless of gender, age and relationship will have to surmount that or die trying), I also don't want my kids to grow up isolated. There is no easy answer for that. But I do hate how uncomfortable a lot of my male friends are around kids and that makes it even harder for a woman to trust a man, especially if she has kids but even if she doesn't.

Hell, a lot of my own dates have been so terribly awkward and purposely resistant to being around my kid that it's ended otherwise wonderful relationships. If I had an answer for this, I'd share it, because it honestly makes me so frustrated, but I'm not about to throw my kid at someone I don't know and not do my due diligence in making sure my kid is safe. It runs hard against every instinct I have no to protect them.

In the end, we put so much pressure on men that we can't be surprised when they reach their breaking point. When they spiral downward into unhealthy habits, when they seem to sink into various black spaces. We can't be surprised when they seem unapproachable or simply exhausted with the attempt at being part of society. When they become hostile or rebellious to a point when they can no longer be reasoned with. But what I can tell you is that  there is hope.

There are those that are beginning to fight back, it's more common an understanding now than it was fifteen years ago (my high school career). It is something that people are fighting as feminists or egalitarians. It's something fought in schools and social clubs. It's fought in legislation that creates a more even playing field. It's fought in every "trendy" TV show and movie that defies gender roles, throws off the tired tropes of lazy writing and introduces us to new ideas. The few holdouts are doing no one any favours. The same fundamentalists telling me to be still and silent among men are the ones telling you to stick out your chest and man up and while it seems like they have a plethora of voices, consider that these are but a few loud voices who have left a mark on too many people.

Consider that you are hearing the death throes of the toxic thoughts. Consider that you deserve someone to play with your hair and let you know you're a Disney prince, someone to see you and feel like making the first move, someone to hold your door and pay for the movie and hold your hand as you tear up in the theater and never once in all the time they know you, ever ask you if you feel any less because the thought never occurs to them.

On behalf of anyone who's never told you, you are the definition of you and that's as masculine, manly, pretty or soft as you want it to be. When I say you're perfect the way you are, it's not by my standards that it's measured. Who you are, really are, what you think and feel and want and appreciate are perfectly you and those are the only standards you ever really have to live up to in your life.

If I'm allowed to be as strong as you, you're allowed to be as soft as me.

Offline Fury Aphrodisia

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Re: The Grass Is Greener When You Have a Penis
« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2017, 01:56:16 AM »
One thing I will add is that through the wonder of the internet and the slowly-emerging idea of the global village, I've noticed that a lot of places are being forced to critically examine these concepts in terms of their own societies and the pushback serves to measure how deeply felt the stirrings are.

Offline RedRose

Re: The Grass Is Greener When You Have a Penis
« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2017, 09:56:34 AM »
Everyone can decide how they want to be.

Maybe I'm that old school Euro, but I DEFINITELY want someone who will open the door, pay for the movie, make the first move... And I wouldn't feel seductive (as opposed to friendly, or familial) if it wasn't the case ;) My grandfather still opens the door for my grandmother. That doesn't mean he doesn't do his share of the chores still now and didn't do quite a lot of child rearing, handling the mornings on his own since "he had to get up anyway".

Offline Amelita

Re: The Grass Is Greener When You Have a Penis
« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2017, 10:34:37 AM »
I hope to instill a greater sense of self worth, independence and gender equality in my girls (and boy) than for that to be a real factor in their relationships.