I Hear the Craziest Things: Political Incorrectness

I’m not a militant feminist. In my life, with the men–with all people–in my life, I like taking care of them. I like them taking care of me. We take care of each other and respect each other and make sure everyone’s needs are met. We try to spoil and pamper each other as much as we can. And when we can’t we work our butts off together every day to make the harder-fought-for stuff happen.

That said…

It’s crazy how easy it still is for the world not to take women seriously. On  a daily basis. Even in the silliest of examples, there remains an obvious inequity between the sexes in this country (and don’t get me started on the rest of the world). The very core of how we think of the masculine and “fairer” sexes still needs to sort itself out.

Chick-fil-a is a prime example. It’s been my son’s favorite restaurant since he was old enough to choose flavor over texture in his hunt for the perfect chicken nugget. They make of the best milkshake on the market. And they offered an amazing promotion this year. Daddy and Daughter Valentines Night, so dads could bring their littlest sweethearts in for some special family time a day or two before he takes mommy out for the big day. Sweet, right?

cupid arrow back

I guess that left Mommy and Son home that evening eating whatever mom managed to whip up from her Betty Crocker cookbook. Mom’s special night with her boy(s)? Guess it had to happen somewhere else. Is this because women don’t pay for Valentine’s meal? Girls don’t need to learn early in life to treat the special men in their worlds to something wonderful every once in a while? Boys don’t need to learn from the same cradle as their “fairer” siblings that they, too, can be showered with attention and affection by those they love, even if it’s not a manly, crotch-scratching football game or whatever?

I buy my now fifteen-year-old Chick-fil-a gift certificates for every holiday. So his next nugget or spicy chicken biscuit or shake is my treat. I let him know he’s my sweetheart. My life. It would have been nice to do that in person this Valentine’s. To drag him inside while he pretended it was too much, so we could spend a little Mommy and Son time together, just the two of us. Which we did earlier this week. But we didn’t have a stuffed cow walking around giving everyone flowers or a clown making balloons or a room full of other moms and sons saying it was okay for us to care that we had this time together, like the dads and daughters did. Guess that just would have been too lame.


On a less “kicks and giggles” note, I watched a CNN segment the other day about the current flood of reports of male high school athletics coaches doing things they shouldn’t with female students. Yuck. I mean, really, before we go any further, these guys should be locked up in prison long enough for someone bigger and stronger and more masculine to do something they shouldn’t with their head coach selves.

But getting back to the “I hear the craziest things” portion of the program, one of the panel discussing the trend, a woman no less, was asked how situations like this could be prevented in the future (especially how the hard-working, innocent coaches who keep their hands off their athletes could still do their jobs in such a prevailing environment of suspicion). Her answer:

Each male head coach needs a female assistant coach to balance things out. Someone who can be in charge of handling the sensitive times where girls are being transported to and from events, are in locker rooms, etc…

Okay. Sounds like a good plan. Because there’s no concern that a female adult might do something inappropriate when left alone with a high school student. Well, unless you count the women who’ve gotten pregnant by their male students in the last ten years alone. But those were boys, you say. This would be adult women watching girls, not the opposite sex.

Right. Because, and here’s where the particular bent of my feminism may piss some of you off, there’s no chance that a female high school sports coach’s sexual persuasion might make THAT very dynamic just as risky (if she were the type of adult who didn’t know where the lines were drawn and didn’t care if she broke them) as putting a man in charge of coaching girls.

I mean, really? If I were a lesbian and gave the commentator’s statement more than a seconds thought, I might have been pissed. Do we still not even allow ourselves to see that sexual preference is a choice? That just looking at someone’s outward appearance shouldn’t decide for us what that person is all about? That the whole male/female thing isn’t a lock for everyone, just because it might happen to be for us? Just because we’re talking about a woman. And in this case, it’s not even the point.

The reality of the problem CNN was covering isn’t about opposite sex coaching relationships needing to be watched more carefully. It’s about ALL relationships with children needing to be monitored more closely. By everyone. It’s about too many adults in our world thinking with their glands and their own messed up experiences, and not giving a flying flip how they mess up a kid while they’re making themselves and their sad lives better. And it’s about our schools and governments and, yes, our parents needing to be more involved in monitoring all coaches and teachers–running background checks, not leaving literal strangers alone with our kids on trips, etc, and not expecting someone else to raise our children for us.

That sort of solution takes time and effort and a commitment to our children that supersedes our own needs and priorities and jobs. And we all have too much already pressing on our time. But we have to do it. Men and women alike, we all have to keep an eye on each other and our kids to make sure the next generation grows up healthy and ready to, please Dog, see the world a little more clearly than we currently do. Forget the male/female dynamic. Let’s just treat each other like equals and and get on with it, and get involved enough to stop the predators who will hurt our kids if we give them half a chance. Period.

Looking at it any other way is just crazy, right?


8 Responses to “I Hear the Craziest Things: Political Incorrectness”

  1. Robb says:

    Well said. There is a greater fear/concern for men taking advantage of underage girls than the other way around, partly from stereotypes, but partly from reality that this happens more often, not that women never are the aggressors/abusers.

    I also understand the concern over dad/daughter promotions leaving mom/son out of the picture, but I’m guessing this is driven in part by the reality that it is more common for dads to be less involved in their children’s lives, especially with their daughters. But I wonder if a mom/son showed up and asked for the same specials/treatment, if the Chick-Fil-A staff would have obliged or said “Sorry, this is only for men with their daughters.”

    • Anna says:

      I do get all that, Robb. And you make good points.

      But the overall prevalence in our society to marginalize (told you, feminist rant day) one segment of our population, or one type of relationship, in deference to another comes from deep within. It’s a constant surprise to me how easily this sort of thing filters into our consciousness, and how little we stop to think about what it means. Yes, Chick-Fil-A would have served me and my son if I’d asked.

      But why should I have to ask and make a point and/or a scene on a special day? Why do we assume that men are more likely to be agressors/abusers, just because those are the types of stories the media covers more frequently, I suspect because the’re often the type of stories viewers expect? What about families with daughters and no daddy? How did those little girls or those mothers feel when they read the signs plastered all over their favorite restraurant and wondered if their non-traditional world would be welcome that night?

      It’s a way of seeing the world, a way of thinking, that’s still changing very slowly. It’s a point of view from which to begin a conversation, and at times the conversation our society is having is still so dated it stuns me. You know?

  2. Brooklyn Ann says:

    I agree with a lot of this. There’s a fun “Dad and kids” activity at my kids’ school almost every month. For moms, we get volunteer work, the PTA (if we’re rich) and the 5th grade puberty presentation for the girls. W00-H00!

    When ranting about how I want doughnuts and pizza and fun, my husband came up with an interesting theory.

    He thinks these dad events stem from the days when dads weren’t involved with their children. Which I get, but it’s still an irritating bias. Especially since I’m the one who took over the mom role for his daughters.

    • Anna says:

      I’m with you BA. It’s not the events themselves. They’re sweet. It’s the underlying blindness of the rituals and even our “automatic” responses to these things that floor me. We can all see where we’ve come from, if we take the time to look closely enough. Then we have to make an effort to decide where we want to go from here, and chart a new path away from ingrained bias.

  3. Years ago we had a hockey coach who decided to have a “father/son” campout. For me, this was great. For entire weekend it would be just me, my baby boy at the time all of five years old and my 11 year old daughter. But for some on the team, not so great as their fathers were not present in their life, for whatever reason. So what happens then? Sounds like a silly thing, but from someone who lost her father at a very young age its something that has always gotten under my skin.

    Way back when I was doing my student teaching, I was helping head the D.E.C.A. club and we were getting ready for a big trip where the students would do their public speaking, marketing plan, or other business competitions. There was also a fun night where it was my job to have the students come up with a “talent” lip sync thing to go against the teachers. Big thing, me female teacher and all my students were young men ages 14-18. We were told never to be alone with a student in any situation, never hug or touch a child and always have a member of the opposite sex present. This was back in the late 80’s.

    I have no idea what my point is anymore other than I find way too many things flawed in our society.

  4. Argh–when I mention for me it was great about the campout is because my DH took the other “boy” on the hockey team on the campout while I stayed home with out other children…

  5. Mary Preston says:

    To PC or not to PC. Both arguments can be skewed out of all proportion. It’s not we ‘normal’ people that stuff it up. There is such a thing as being to sensitive, but then bad people do bad things & then where are you left.

  6. cc says:

    As a society we still need to iron out some kinks with gender equality and some peoples perceptions of what roles we play.

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