Why I’m Glad I Had Boys

Sometimes I’m grateful I don’t have a daughter.  I’m not a massive fan of pink, for one thing, and I have it on good authority you end up inundated with pink if you happen to conceive a female of our species (for some inexplicable reason).

My pink-aversion isn’t the main source of my relief, though.

I can’t imagine bringing up a girl, trying to instill her with confidence and good self-esteem whilst simultaneously trying to keep her safe in this world.

Not when a presidential candidate apparently thinks being a star means he can grab women by the genitals and kiss them without waiting (for what…consent?).  And when his obvious lack of respect for half the population of the world doesn’t even seem to register as a reason not to vote for him to so many people.  I won’t even go into the other horrendous possible crimes he has committed against women and girls.

Not when Brock Turner can shove his fingers inside an unconscious woman and writhe around on top of her and only have to serve three months in jail.  And when his swimming times seemed to be considered relevant details to the reporting of the sexual assault.

Not when Ched Evans – who admits he lied to get a key card to the room of the woman he callously raped ‘had sex with’ and barged into the room without knocking; did not speak a single word to the incredibly drunk woman before, during or after the act; and then fled via the fire escape – can be found ‘not guilty’ of rape based solely on the poor woman’s previous boyfriends’ accounts of sex with her (after those ex-boyfriends so altruistically came forward with this information following a reward of £50,000 being offered for such information).

And now, not when a t-shirt with the slogan ‘NO MEANS NO Well maybe if I’m drunk‘ was deemed acceptable to be sold and widely advertised online.

t-shirt-slogan

How about just being honest about what the t-shirt creators really thought?

How are parents supposed to raise girls knowing even now, even in 2016, they are viewed as objects that can be used for the sexual gratification of any man who passes?  When their bodies are seen as public property to be commented on, leered at and grabbed?  When judges, the media, and even the general public are more outraged by the possibility of white, rich males losing social standing than by female victims being raped or assaulted?

That’s why I have felt glad to have sons rather than daughters.

But doesn’t that just make me part of the problem?

The very fact I have sons means I have the opportunity to make sure at least two of the next generation’s men see women as people with lives and feelings of their own.  I can make sure they understand about bodily autonomy and consent.

Then I panic.

My boys are autistic.

They struggle more than other people with the concept of personal space, they find it harder to identify with other people and to understand their thoughts and feelings, they have poor impulse control.  And they’re growing up in a society where lewdly assessing another human being on their worth based purely on whether you’d like to have sex with them and then broadcasting this information to them and anyone else in the vicinity via shouting/whistling/honking car horn regardless of whether this person seems in any way interested or might be startled or even intimidated by this outburst is apparently a ‘compliment’ (according to a number of men and women I know).  I start to worry about how I can possibly instill a healthy, respectful attitude towards women in them.

But I think, perhaps, I should relax a little.

The cubs have parents who are both aware of all the issues surrounding attitudes towards women, sex and consent and who are both happy to be counted as feminists.

I like to think as their mother and a significant adult female in the their lives, I demonstrate I’m worthy of respect and consideration.  Similarly, as their father and male role model, Wolf is an example to them of a good man who is not only considerate towards women himself but who challenges misogyny when he sees it in others.

And all this is, of course, in the context of us teaching both boys to kind and caring and considerate in general.

More and more we’re giving the cubs bodily autonomy themselves (though, I admit it’s hard when your children have sensory problems around having their teeth cleaned and are demand-avoidant with regards to going to the loo or getting dressed/undressed etc.).

Most importantly, though, we’re happy to have honest conversations with the cubs.  We already talk openly about a host of topics with them and I’m sure that will extend to discussions about consent and respect in time.  Since communication is key to any change, I think this is such a crucial part of getting away from rape culture.

The are so many things to worry about when raising children: financial concerns, the terror all new parents feel when they look at their sleeping baby and can’t see their chest moving (because the little buggers always seem to hold their breath the moment you look at them), trying to force vegetables in them and make sure they clean their teeth, making sure they understand Han shot first.  It’s one big bundle of worry.

Hopefully, this is one thing I can stop worrying about.

 

 

Linked with:

Marvellous Mondays badge by Hello Archie
Spectrum Sunday
Pink Pear Bear
If you liked this post feel free to share:

14 Comments


  1. I never wanted girls, and was more than happy when I had a son. One night he was very late home after being out with a group of friends. I was all ready to read him the riot act, when he explained that he had walked one of the girls home to make sure she was safe. I couldn’t have been more proud of him.
    Men are, by and large, physically stronger than women. They can use that strength to intimidate, hurt and abuse, or they can use it to protect and care. As long as your boys know that women are people and that all people should be cherished, I think you’ll do all right!

    Reply

  2. I am so glad that I saw your post, as my post today is all about how I should be raising my daughters – 4 plus a step daughter – to be able to cope in this still unequal world. Like you, I decided that as long as I am a good role model, they should grow up confident and strong. It is a huge responsibility though and with the recent events you talk about, a female’s position in the world seems even more precarious. Alison x #MarvMondays

    Reply

  3. Really thought provoking post not least because my son also struggles with boundaries and personal space. He is very controlling of his sister and she gets very upset with him and that does worry me a lot. I’m just hoping that as his undertanding and communication improves he will start to understand others feelings and their need for personal space and freedom to make their own choices. He is awaiting ASD assessment and has a chromosomal deletion and at present seems to have very little empathy for others. I think as parents its our job to ensure that both sons and daughters, are aware of how to stay as safe as possible and also know what it means to respect others thoughts and feelings.
    Stopping by from #marvmondays ☺

    Reply

  4. You are right, it’s scary bringing up girls. I have a 5 and an 8 year old, they are chalk and cheese and I know they will both deal with their life’s ups and downs differently. All I can do is I still as much morals in the now for the, to pass onto their friends and a quantises as they grow. #MarvMondays

    Reply

  5. I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said here and could say a lot more but it’s early and I don’t need to be angry right now. However, I am a mum of a girl and it will always be a worry for me. I want her to grow up knowing that she is worthy and deserves respect. I will never, ever tell her the stupid things such as ‘if a boy bullies you at school it means he likes you’ I will never teach her that violence means love. Hopefully, thats a start. #MarvMondays

    Reply

  6. Difficult thought-provoking post – I always wanted girls and was incredibly lucky having 3. I do realise the responsibility of ensuring they never feel second best and so far they seem to be well rounded, fantastic little people. I believe that if we try hard enough we can instil our beliefs into our young ones – Your boys have good parents to learn from! And our house isn’t too pink either!

    Reply

  7. Plus I meant to say, how horrific was that T shirt last week? Who on earth ok’d that? #MarvMondays

    Reply

  8. I think as long as you are teaching them the right things thats all that you – and any parent can do. It’s horrible that this world does view women in this way and all we are able to do is teach them the right ways now 🙂
    The main thing that I want to teach my daughter is to speak out and not be afraid to admit if anybody does any wrong doing to her 🙂 #MarvMondays

    Reply

  9. It’s so scary isn’t it I’m still shocked that he is in power. Vile man. I think all we can do is teach our children to be strong and respectful of others and hope that others do the same. Thanks for linking up with us. #bigpinklink

    Reply

  10. I’m a mum of two boys, and I’ve got to say I’ve shared the same worry. My eldest is 5 and already I’m having to explain to him that he shouldn’t do something just because his friend from school does it – heavens knows what it will be like when he’s 15, 25 or older! We’ve just got to do the best we can as parents and hope for the best! x #MarvMondays

    Reply

  11. I have a boy and two girls and I share your concerns about their futures. I’m trying to raise them the best I can and give them strong values but it’s hard not to worry with all these troubling examples before them.

    Reply

  12. It’s unbelievable really that all those things can have happened in 2016.
    I have a boy and a girl, but my daughter has PMLD and it really worries me how we’ll manage to get the balance of independence & while ensuring she has the right support (from us or others). She will definitely be more vulnerable to being taken advantage of 🙁
    I just have to live for ever and be there for her!

    Reply

  13. It is definitely a scary world right now. Although feminism has come so far, there are some areas that are actually going backwards. I think you are right not to worry though. Parents are the biggest influence in a child’s life and if you are aware, you instil those values in them, they will be fine. Thanks so much for linking for #SpectrumSunday. We hope you come back next time.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *