Monday, April 06, 2009

Putting out the fire with gasoline

The last two weeks or so have been a textbook case of the blogger's paradox: the more interesting life is, the less time there is to write about it.

I'm going to skip the recap for now and move on to what's filling my mind now: this girl that is growing within Mama.

The ultrasound worked its magic again, making this pregnancy suddenly tangible. Watching our child move around, watching her legs kick and her hands flex, brought her into my consciousness as a whole and yet unfinished person. As I was with 3B, I'm overwhelmed with a protective urge akin to that of Black Boys on Mopeds, which came on just as I was writing this.

Protective, but not restrictive. I want our children to laugh in the rain, to run in the waves, to sail the bright seas and through the night skies, to walk up all the roads their feet carry them to, and to hang upside down in trees softly soughing and swaying.

I want them to feel the delicacy and power of an abiding love blooming and taking root in their hearts, to find a home in the wilderness, to know the joy they bring to the world, and to live lives of wonder--I want them to enjoy all the gifts they have given me.

Just as seeing 3B made me see the world anew again, look at boys and men again and see what it was I didn't want him to become along with what I dreamed he could be, seeing our girl has given me new eyes again.

Honestly, it's rekindled a simmering anger at male-female inequities. Why isn't there still a professional women's soccer league? Why aren't there full length equivalent bike races for women--a women's Tour de France? Giro? Vuelta? or even Tour of California, where the women were relegated to a criterium? Why no professional softball league--or no women in baseball?

As I write that out, I'm reminded of all that has come since I was a boy. There was a professional women's soccer league. There is the WNBA. There are women making a living as professional bike racers. And in education, there should be greater consternation about how we're failing our boys than concern for the advancement of girls.

But still, I'm angry, which doesn't bother me. Anger is fuel for the fire that powers the engine of progress.

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  1. Anonymous4:17 PM

    Those who can (athletes, legislators, etc.) will hopefully work to create the things that are missing in our society. I'll work to raise my own children to believe that gender doesn't restrict us in much other than biology. And I'll try to model that myself.

  2. I always felt I was a progressive sort of a person, supportive of gender equality, until I had daughters, when I realised how much more active I need to be, how much more aware of what I say and do I need to be.

    For example, my default upon seeing a teddy bear is to call it 'he'. I'm not suggesting that trying to be a bit more careful about this kind of thing is majorly significant, but I do think it matters.

    I consider it a duty to ensure that my girls never feel constrained to do anything because of their sex. Except "who can piss highest up the fence" competitions...

    As a man, I don't feel this has to be at the expense of boys - and you're right to point out that boys are less well served by education than girls (here in the UK too) - it really is equality that we should strive for.

  3. I agree with you about every small step making a difference. We refer to dolls as boys around 3B largely because he is a boy. I'm assuming that the same dolls will become girls for our daughter. Dolls are easy like that.