At first, I was simply struck by how parents seemed to see children through the “lens of gender”, as the psychologist Sandra Bem put it. Then, after the birth of my second child, I was astounded one day at playgroup. About a dozen young children were sitting eating and the playgroup leader’s daughter, a boisterous five-year-old, started to lead them in a chorus of shouting and foot stomping. For some reason, only the other girls joined in; my two sons and the few other boys carried on eating quietly. “Aren’t boys noisy!” one of the mothers exclaimed over the girlish uproar.
I was also surprised – especially given how politically correct we all supposedly are – by how quick parents were to chalk up their children’s behaviour and traits to some deep gendered core. When among our group of friends the second crop of children came, a common question was, “Are they different?” Of course, the answer was always yes. But while the parent of two sons or two daughters would answer by talking lengthily about the unique, idiosyncratic personalities that made up the essence of Jack-ness or Sarah-ness, parents with one of each, I noticed, would often say instead, “Oh yes. Boys and girls are so different.”
My mom does the same thing whenever my brother acts up. Regardless of how many stories I’ve heard in the past relating to my abominable screaming rants, now that my brother does the same thing, it’s always “boys are so different than girls! you were never like this”. And I just have to sit there, dumbfounded, and pretend I didn’t hear that.
“If you believe in the inherent dignity of people, in justice and human rights, then feminism is for you. It says that rape isn’t natural for men, that men aren’t inherently violent, and that women aren’t just naturally insecure about their bodies and other issues. The best of us is to be found in feminism.”—
and travel to our nation’s capitol for a reason I hate.
New city in a new state, and so far all I want to do is leave, but I have duties to fulfill before that can happen. These mainly consist of being a good daughter for 6-8 months total, before I leave my mom again to do something I know she will never approve of. Or, at least, that’s the plan.
I’ve always wanted to live on the east coast, but I never thought it would happen. Now that it has, I can’t help but feel dissatisfied. I’d never meant to come here alone. Anyway, I’d always dreamed I’d be further north, around the Boston area. Not on the brink of the true “south”.
It’s about time for me to stop bitching and try to get some sleep.
Hopefully tomorrow will bring about new faces, voices, and opportunities…something beyond a prospective paycheck.
And, I suppose, giving this place a chance wouldn’t kill me.