I’m a dismal failure as a feminist. It’s only recently that I cared about reproductive rights because it never occurred to me that Roe v. Wade could actually be challenged. It never dawned on me that people would actually try and legislate my uterus. I’m still mostly stunned when a fuss is made and I almost don’t believe the Catholics when they say they don’t want to pay for birth control. It’s like reading The Onion… only after a certain point I realize that some evangelicals are, in fact, so very worried about the next life that they’re willing to ruin this one.
Jane and I were in the car alone today, and there’s something magical about silence in the car. It begs to be broken and Jane heeds it’s call. We talked about friends of the family who got caught drinking. The boy was given a hard time and some moms don’t want him in the house (understandable), the girl was labeled a slut and Facebook has been abuzz for two weeks. School is misery for her.
I asked Jane why she thought consequences were different for boys and for girls. She had a lot of theories, and concluded with “Some things just are.”
Then we talked about Valentine’s Day and the fact that Daddy had asked Alexander if any girls sent him love notes while chiding him, but sounded worried when he asked her if she’d received any cards. We both smiled, because we know her dad loves her and we both want her to be happy, but it’s understood that a girl’s purity is to be prized while a boy who has many conquests is a hero. Who the boys are supposed to be with has always mystified me, but it’s been this way since the beginning of time. My time anyhow.
I didn’t apologize to Jane for her father’s concern just as I won’t undermine his parenting with Alexander. I don’t think my husband was wrong, or right. I think it just is.
Some things just are a certain way, and even if you disagree with them you don’t have to be loud or argumentative, you just have to be. Sometimes not calling girls slutty or acknowledging that really sexy women are beautiful is a loud statement. Sometimes it’s enough.
Sometimes you just sit in the car with your 13 year old daughter who is trying to understand why her friend who happens to be a girl is marked as a tramp while her friend who happens to be a boy is kinda cool, when they made the same dumb decision.
Jane told me about how girls will just talk to you and boys will wait like five minutes to answer back. When I tried to make sense of how it could take five minutes for them to answer she rolled her eyes and said, “iChat mom.” Oh. Yes, five minutes, of course. She let me know that it’s a power thing and we talked about how some relationships will always be unequal. She said the boys were trying to keep the upper hand. It was remarkably insightful.
She shrugged as she got out of the car for volleyball. “Everyone says they want equal rights and stuff, but I’m not sure why they want to play sports with the boys. They can’t even play basketball right and they have to dribble a 360 before they even take a shot and then they miss because they were too busy showing off to just play the game right. So maybe things already are equal because girls together are better.”
Which almost made sense.
It’s a marvelous time to be her mother.