Can you be a Musketeer withouth a pen.i.s?

Monday’s post did make me angry.

Granted I wrote it when I was angry, by the time I posted it I was less angry.

It really was something that sits with me, and makes me angry – some days more than others.  Some times I see a child dressed in a particular way and I think “what the hell?” and sometimes I want to choose an outfit for my own child and I think “yeah, I am not sure what that message is sending ….”

My earlier post might have come out in a bit of a splutter as it has been sitting in my head for some time, and when ever I see these images or I hear someone say “stop acting like a girl!” I get really angry.

Most part because I am a girl.

To indicate that “someone acts like a girl” is often used when you are trying to say someone is acting silly/childish/weak/inferior.

When Connor cries or get’s upset, Kennith is quick to say: “Stop behaving like a girl!” or “You are crying like a girl now!”  (this is not trying to paint him as the villain, I am indicating what is said in our house as an illustration, odds are it is said in your home as well, and pretty much everywhere actually.)

It really makes me angry. Like seeing red angry.  That is when he is not being a good egg.

I have raised the issue with Kennith, and have decided to no longer raise the issue with him, and instead raise it with the kids – we can call it direct intervention or circumvention, which ever is easiest to digest in couple
therapy.

There are so many derogative terms associated with women and girls.  And we feed them to our children often without realising it.

“Boys don’t cry – girls do!”

“Stop acting like a girl, be brave!”

“haha you are being such a girl ……”

Most of them I do not even register any more.

Today when I fetched Georgia, she was spluttering and telling me that one of the boys at school told her she could not be “one of those people who guard the king and queen with a feather in their hat…” and she was
really upset.

I love lateral thinking word games.

Connor said: ‘ Robin Hood’

I went: ‘A Musketeer’

Georgia said, yes, a musketeer that was what she was thinking of.

Bless that girl.  I have no idea why she wants to be a musketeer, and this is the first I have heard of this particular ambition or career move.

The boys at her school said that she could not be a musketeer because she was a girl.

And GIRLS cannot be musketeers …. well clearly because some well-meaning person told these little boys that.

They in turn told Georgia, and Georgia was not really settling for NOT being a musketeer just because some snotty dirty boy told her she couldn’t be.

When I arrived to fetch Georgia at school today, she was standing with of 4 boys having a heated conversation and clearly this is what it was about.

I am not really a feminist and am not planning on pulling out that soap box nor my copy of Virginia Wolf and brandishing it about in the name of suffragettes everywhere!

But it is important for my girls to know that they can do anything and become anything they want (not want others decide they can be, because “that is what girls do.”)

At the same time I want Connor to know that because he is a boy, does not automatically make him superior to girls.

I gave Georgia a lecture in the car drive home today, that if she wanted to be a musketeer that was fine, it was no problem at all, she could be anything she wanted to be.  Nothing was limited to her “because she was a girl.”

I also explained to her that to be Queen she did not need a King (as most fairy tales go).

I explained that the present Queen of England, is Queen in her own right, and that her husband is actually Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and he is not a King.

She is the Queen, he is only a Duke – so that is how that works out.

<I also gave her a quick history lesson on Queen Elizabeth, and how she became Queen.  And though there was pressure on her to marry as she was of the ‘weak sex’ she knew she could rule Britain and continued to do so until she died – unmarried, though we can have a very long conversation about the Virgin Queen title.>

In no way am I trying to foster an environment of female domination – or “chicks rule the world” but I want my girls to know that of all the things standing between them and become a musketeer (if that is what they
really want) is not a va.gina and bre.asts.

Granted, it might be some other factors, but it is not going to be because they are girls.

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20 Comments

  1. Celeste,
    Sometimes feels like a never-ending battle – to respect and be respected.
    Btw, I back-linked you in my latest post. Keep up the great blog.

    Reply
  2. Sharon

     /  July 7, 2011

    I agree with you 100%!

    Reply
  3. Anything you can do I can do better… I also don’t see why there should be this divide. Our roof is leaking and I’m fed-up of it. I told my husband if I weren’t 20 weeks pregnant, I’d be up on the roof fixing it myself! And he knows I would.

    I’d like my children to grow up as well without limitations and people/tv/society telling them they have to fit in a box because of gender. It’s nonsense!

    Wrt poledancing… That’s another topic altogether!

    Reply
  4. Tania

     /  July 6, 2011

    Yay! A Butch fight! He he he he he ( We are also very guilty of telling our nearly 10 year old son to stop crying like a girl, etc., we do the same to our 3 1/2 year old daughter and tell her to stop behaving like a boy and be more sweet and gentle! )

    Reply
  5. @kennith – you have not been to the right men-pole-dance-places yet.

    I am also pretty sure if any of your kids want to explore the pole dancing career you will steer all of them in the direction of guarding the queen with a feather in their hats.

    Reply
  6. Nicky

     /  July 6, 2011

    Oohh, I’m so guilty of this. I admit I am HEAVILY influenced by my partner- he is very very against any “girlie” behaviour that our son displays, as dad is extremely homophobic. We encourage being a “typical boy”, but having said that, he is very much your “typical boy”, regardless of what we say/do. I do often tell him to stop being a baby though, because he cries and nags and whines ALL.THE.TIME. Not for important things(because I would never tell him to stop crying if it were something serious, like being sad or hurt or whatever) ;no, he cries because he doesn’t want to brush his teeth, wants to watch tv when we need to leave for school, etc. So I don’t feel too bad about it, because he is nearly 4 years old, if there’s anything he would like, I will glady give it to him(within reason) if only he spoke to me reasonably.

    Reply
  7. karen

     /  July 6, 2011

    I couldn’t agree with you more. My daughter chose a ‘dinosaur’ theme for her birthday party this year, and there was a whole line of little boys all waiting to tell her (in a kind way), that girl’s aren’t allowed to choose dinosaurs as a theme. She should choose ponies or princesses next time. Luckily she handled it quite well and wants a ‘tigers’ theme for next year. So ‘tigers’ it will be.

    Also, I loved your previous post about the way girls are portrayed. I’m also having trouble getting nice clothes that don’t have some bitchy or sexy remark printed on them. sigh. Not appropriate for seven.

    Reply
  8. I am raising my girls as well to be anything they want to be!
    A “musketeer” is a grand career choice, and I would soldier her on!
    Thanks for raising the issues!
    You go, girl! 😀

    Reply
  9. Flip you know, I like the term “girl” a lot. It hink of myself as a girl, not as a woman or any other term. It’s a “young at heart” term – so for me it’s positive.

    Girl, go run and get “Barbie an the 3 Musketeers – the DVD – in it Barbie actually becomes a musketeer. Bless Georgie’s little heart – the Princess wants to be one too.

    BTW – that’s what I like about Barbie theses days – she can be anything. Have you seen astronaut and vertinary Barbie?

    Reply
  10. John B

     /  July 6, 2011

    Some tasks / job / responsibilities are Blue and some are Pink. we need to accept that, not better or worse – pink or blue (let’s not get into colour and gender stereotyping). Guys fix a leaking tap better, carry a bag of cement better and so on, girls decorate better and so on. lets all accept that (generally).

    girls cannot be boys and boys cannot be girls, end of story.

    having said all of that, we should not limit options. if a boy wants to be a nurse / secratary, cool. if a girl wants to be a carpenter, cool. but lets accept that they are different.

    We should rather encourage girls and boys to play to and pursue their talents, abilities and passions, whatever that is. if she wants to play soccer and study mechanics, fine.

    I would assume that when connor is having a hard time, is emotional or crying, you handle him different to Georgia, because he is a boy and is different to Georgia, but not superior / inferior. different.

    I may be drifting, my point was girls are different to boys, not inferior.

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  July 6, 2011

      I think that that is the issue, they are different, and I do take congnisense of that. However I do not want either of them to grow up where they are limited because they are a boy/or a girl.

      Yes, and odds are I do not have it down to a fine science …. as I dress my girls in pink … and Connor in manly blue ………

      Reply
      • Kennith

         /  July 6, 2011

        Well I dressed Georgia this morning and she is wearing Navy and Black…

        Look at me, not genderising the task of dressing the kids, but also dressing her in gender neutral colours!

        Reply
    • countess

       /  July 6, 2011

      i agree

      Reply
  11. Kennith

     /  July 6, 2011

    How come can girls do anything…except carry the gas heater up stairs when you were freezing your ass off last night?

    Last time I checked…boys and girls were different…not better or worse, just different!

    Like women pole dancing…very cool.
    Men pole dancing…not so cool.

    If someone one said to me…”you pole dance like a woman” – that would be a compliment! If I told you, “you pole dance like a guy”…huge insult.

    It is not personal or sexist, it is just about context.

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  July 6, 2011

      For the record, when you were out I carried the heater up and down the stairs …. if you are there I prefer you to do it so I do not break a nail …….

      Reply
      • John B

         /  July 6, 2011

        perhaps girls shoudl not have nails, so they can do what boys do……

        Reply
    • countess

       /  July 6, 2011

      no one likes a Mr Smug Kennith!

      Reply
  12. Claire

     /  July 6, 2011

    My hubby also tells the boys to “stop acting like a girl” – I have never really thought about it, but I tend to say “stop being a baby”.
    BUT what disturbs me most about telling them to stop acting like a girl / baby is that we are (perhaps) stopping them from expressing their emotions. If they are sad / scared / worried, we call them girls / babies – why not just allow them to express that emotion ?

    After all boy or girl, emotion and dealing with it is an important part of their lives..

    Bit off topic, but that is my main problem with the sentence, maybe cos I only have boys and it is socially accepted that they may do anything (except perhaps become ballet dancers – which I have no problem with BTW)

    Reply
    • We tend to use the “stop acting like a baby” bit often. And yes, maybe that isnt the way to go about it. I think it”ll be a conscious effort to stop myself to say that when the twins are in full on tantrum mode.

      Reply

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