One day my boy will be a teenager…I’m scared 

Not to sound like ones of those old people at the park lamenting their lost youth and complaining about the lazy, disrespectful youth of today, but teens today are awful. They’re nastier and dirtier than I ever remember teens being “back in my day”.  

I blame the internet and cell phones. And maybe even our parents for making our live easier than theirs.  I also blame current parents for making our kids’ lives too easy. 

I just learned today that kids are using fruit emojis for sexual innuendo.  Fruit!  If you can’t trust cartoon fruit on your kid’s phone, what can you trust?  Granted, I’m a little late to this emoji knowledge bomb party, but in my defense, my kid is only 5 and forbidden to have a cell or a girlfriend until he’s 30. Nonetheless, I am shocked and appalled, mostly at the 2nd part of this newly acquired knowledge, these texts start as early as age 12.

Twelve!  Hear it with me, 12. Know what I was doing at 12? Reading Babysitters Club books, riding my bicycle, and watching MMC on Disney channel.

On top of that, all this easy access to data and social media has created a mob-belief that children are more self-important and possibly more famous than children really should believe themselves to be. They also seem to think they’re older and more mature than they are. They think and behave as if they are tiny adults.  All of this is a recipe for disaster and we don’t help matters. 

Parents today want to be their kids’ bff. I admit it, I watched every minute of Gilmore Girls thinking, when I have kids I will be Lorelei. But then I started seeing where being your kid’s bff gets your kid, and that scares me.

One day my precious loveable little boy will be a teenager and that scares me. Number 1: I’m scared he will become numb to all the sex and violence in the media. Number 2: I’m scared what even more technology and even more “everyonr gets a trophy” will do to the already dangerous levels of self-importance and entitlement of each new set of teens and young adults. 

The fears I cannot escape

We live in a world of hate. There’s so much of it everywhere I turn. As a child, I used to cry watching movies about slaves and immigrants because they were treated as if they were less than dogs. As a young woman, I used to cry watching people treat people as less than dogs. 

We live in a world where people will spare no expense making the puppy feel pampered while bargain shopping for the childcare workers responsible for their children. Government cuts funding to schools, creating overpopulated and under-staffed classrooms. No one has time for raising kids. No one has patience. Life is too expensive. Too many hours have to be worked to keep a job because if you can’t work them, there’s always someone else to put in your position, and then how will you buy all the stuff? 

Children are being raised by television, video games, social media, and partipation trophies, creating a generation of self-centered adults believing life and society owe them something. And in case you have an overwhelming urge to be a nuisance to society, there’s always a post or a tweet with a built-in audience ready to egg you on.

I used to cry at the things people do to one another. I used to cry at the hatred of the human race. And then I had my precious, innocent boy. Now I cry at the thought that my influence on who he becomes is less than the influence of the words he hears at the park or grocery store and the images he sees on the news. I cry because my boy, my precious, innocent, curious, loving boy may one day be swayed by all the hatespeak and false idols and the only thing I can do is hope I am doing enough good in the world to sway him from the hate. 

The F-word not spoken in mixed company and how it’s formed me as a women

Until I was college I had no idea who the suffragettes were aside from the four sentences granted them in my high school honors history text book. I knew they fought for the vote but no clue as to the ultimate peril they put themselves through to get that vote. And about the vote, why did they want it so bad? It didn’t seem to be working out for us anyway.

And then I took a gender communications class in college. I thought it’d help me understand how to speak to mixed company better. As it turns out, it was taught by an uber feminist who really seemed to have very little concern how the other half communicates. More and more the class seemed to become an oultet for her to push her feminist agenda. I didn’t care about feminism. I’d learned enough to know it was a dirty word. Almost better to be labelled a rapist then a feminist. Didn’t those jocks keep getting away with date rape and then applauded for the escape while feminists were described as crazy extremists?

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In the movie Suffragettes, Carey Milligan has a great line about war being the only language men understand. It was true in 1918 and it would seem still today.

When it was time to do my capstone project this feminist teacher was part of my review board. I thought I’d annoy her and debunk her teachings. So I reasearched. I read books and scoured the internet and journals.

My plan had back-fired. I couldn’t debunk her. What changed my mind? Which feminist philosopher won me over? None. All. It wasn’t the philosophy of it or the how and the why. It was simple history.

A mother was not allowed to be the custodial parent to her children in the event of a divorce until recent history and by recent I mean within my grandmother’s adulthood. ADULTHOOD. Not her lifetime, her adulthood. In the 1950s a woman’s husband could sign her up for a lobotomy simply for the crime of wanting something more than the life of a housewife.

Look up the term hysterical and it’s historical significance to women. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Here’s a clue, it was once thought the uterus was the cause of a woman’s “blues”.

We’ve had the vote for nearly a century yet we still get paid less than men. I know, an unpopular topic among men and highly paid females. We still hit a glass ceiling if we choose not to play the game like men. It’s somehow shameful to be feminine, both in males and females. Tomboy girls are accepted but according to my sister, I’m a bad mom for letting my niece paint my son’s nails.

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We continue to live in a society that promotes rape culture by blaming the victim and slut-shaming. If an unqualified woman gets a promotion over another woman she obviously did some naked overtime, but put a man in that position and there’s a different story to tell. We tell our girls no tanktops in school or the office because it’s distracting, rather than tell our boys to pay attention to the task ahead. Every girl in every social class is trained to walk nowhere alone and never drink from a glass you’ve turned your back on but how many boys are trained to not attack a girl or drug a drink?

Men still feel a sense of dominion over women. Don’t believe me? Ask 10 men if they’ve ever been with a woman who was the breadwinner and how did that make them feel. Ask college boys how many dates they expect before they expect  a return on their investment.

We may have won the vote but until the history of that warrants more than four lines in textbook, Suffragettes should be shown in every middle and high school.