I’ve Been Thinking a Lot

About the future.  Specifically, how I can get strategies in place to prepare for stuff that will come up as my kids get older.  Because the things that will come up, in the main, scare me shitless.  We live in such a patriarchal fog that virtually everything that is to come will bring with it shit that will intersect with my feminist mothering in a bad, bad, scary way.

What strikes me when I think about this stuff (in the nanosecond I think about it before I decide it’s ‘wine time’), is that for all my desire to parent my daughter and my son the same way,  that patriarchal fog gets in the way of even that.

I was talking about rape last time, and it got me thinking about the (supposedly) thorny issue of consent (which to my mind isn’t actually very thorny at all, but hey, I’m simple like that).

So I was thinking about consent and sex, and then about my kids journeying into the sexual arena (when they’re, like, 30 40 or so…) and how to teach them about sexual integrity.

And here are my initial, knee-jerk thoughts:

To Boogie I would say: Don’t do anything you’re not absolutely sure you want to do.

To L’il Boo I would say: Don’t do anything unless you’re absolutely sure that the other person wants to do it to.

Recognise anything there?  See that glaring assumption that my boy (my beautiful, sweet boy) will be the one who ‘wants’ it and my girl (my feisty, strong-minded girl) will be the one who isn’t sure if she ‘wants’ it or not?  Oh, Patriarchy, you fucker, you.

There, in a nutshell – the Patriarchy’s influence on how I view my children.  In my head almost (thank goddess for the ‘almost’) automatically, my boy will be, not the ‘aggressor’ (not if I have anything to do with it – and I do), but he will be the ‘leader’ of any sexual situation he finds himself in.  By contrast, Boogie will be the ‘follower’.  Bizarrely, these initial thoughts remain even if I assume my children will both be gay.

How fucked up is that?

It’s rapidly becoming ever clearer to me that nothing, not nuttin‘, can be taken for granted.  Not a single initial thought can be trusted.  Not a single thought can pass through my stereotype-primed brain without it then having to be filtered repeatedly  for Patriarchal crappiness.  My brain is becoming the human equivalent of a Fluid Catalytic Cracker (which, if you’re interested is this)

Did I mention feminist mothing is fucking exhausting?

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About MistressofBoogie

Feminist. Loud-mouth. Sometimes those two are linked. Sometimes not. View all posts by MistressofBoogie

6 responses to “I’ve Been Thinking a Lot

  • maternalselves

    I just don’t want to even think about these things yet! head in the sand for now…I remember reading this through blue milk but can’t find it now, but here is the original post – it might still be as you say biased towards thinking the boy as the potential aggressor, but I really liked it as a good way of teaching anti-rape behaviour from the start…http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/if-shes-not-having-fun-you-have-to-stop/

    • mistressofboogie

      I really like the whole ‘yes means yes’, it makes such perfect sense to me. All the rapes where the man is ‘satisfied’ (if only for himself), that she ‘wanted it really’, she was just a bit ‘shy’ or something would fall by the wayside if consent could only be deemed to be given by an unequivocal yes. And yes, of course, that level of forthrightness seems weird to the mainstream now because rape culture is so entrenched, but pass a law to that effect and watch that change. This is such an effective way to effect change – who even thinks about smoking in a pub theese days? In a few short years, it’s gone from the norm to not even being thought about – smokers don’t even bother complaining about it any more!

  • TMae

    LOVE THIS. I was thinking about this the other day in much simpler terms: gendered clothing. I was considering the way that my son will “learn” what appropriate “boy” behavior is. And then I ran out to buy him some shorts in the BOYS clothing department. And I thought, “Self, for all your ‘Screw the patriarchy’ rhetoric, you sure are towing the line.” And I had an internal debate with myself about HOW to combat all of these ingrained perceptions. Of COURSE I will shop in the boys department for my son, after all he has a penis and penis’ belong in the BOYS department.

    Anyway, I realize this is much less important than thoughts of sex and gender, but I think the thoughts all fall along the same continuum. I consider myself to be ABOVE most of the patriarchal crap, because I’m aware of it. And then I fall face first into it and want to cry.

    So, yes, feminist mothering is DAMN hard.

    • mistressofboogie

      Oh, if only it wasn’t all on the same continuum! Falling face first into Patriarchy is an occupational hazard for a feminist mother. The only option is to swear a lot (if you’re me), then drink a lot (again, if you’re me) and then make drunken resolutions to never, ever to do it again (again, that might just be me). The problem for me with clothes is that I’m someone who just prefers straight, no-nonsense clothes without frills and ruffles and crap and who’s favorite colours are blue, grey and black, and so I always shopped a lot in boy’s departments for my daughter’s clothes and feel it equally natural to shop there for my son. The question then becomes (because nothing is ever simple!) should I make a point of shopping in the girl’s department for my son for the sake of ‘gender equality’ (or feminism or whatever) even though I don’t particularly like most of the clothes there? Because, like, I do like some of them…But then why should I feel obliged to force myself to make a political point at my own (and my son’s) expense? It’s at this point that my brain suffers from a series of mini-explosions and I have to have a lie down.

      • TMae

        EXACTLY. Do I dress my son in girl clothes in order to make a statement? To some extent I think, “YES” because 40 years ago, when parents started dressing their girls in pants, or “boys” clothing, they got weird looks and harassed. So if we don’t dress our sons in girls clothing, the divide between girls and boys clothing will never be bridged. BUT then I walk into the girls department and I choke. Because it’s pink, and sparkly, and has lots of princesses and unicorns. And it seems so hyper-feminine. Like, 30 years ago when I was a kid, my clothes were fairly neutral by today’s standards. I wore dresses, but they were navy blue with anchors on them, or yellow with flowers. I had all colors of the rainbow represented in my wardrobe. Today, I feel like every cultural stereotype of femininity vomited all over the girls department. Pinkification, if you will.

        And in the U.S. girls can dress as boys (as long as they retain some outward appearance of femininity; long hair, demure disposition, etc.) and not be punished (socially). Boys, however, will likely be eviscerated by their peers, or their peers’ parents if they wear a My Little Pony shirt to kindergarten.

        Annnnnd my head explodes and I need a cocktail.

  • Just Shut It « Adventures in Boogieville

    […] little while ago, I wrote about my knee-jerk reactions to giving my children sex education.  One knee jerked in the direction of assuming that Boogie […]

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