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Archive for the ‘ugh!’ Category

I’m so not a fan of “holidays” that are trumped up opportunities for commercialism. For me, Halloween is one of them, though not as bad as some.

We don’t do much in our family for Halloween, though Q usually has some sort of costume — last year, an entirely purple fairy. This year, a vampire. Mighty flexible in his presentations, that kid!

What irks me the most is how maddeningly stereotypical we (society) are about costumes and costume choices for kids. We expect boys to be pirate and girls to be princesses. Or perhaps boys to be lions and girls to be cute puppies. Or pandas. But the moment a girl dons a ghoulish costume or a boy puts on a fairy costume (or a tutu, for that matter), it’s shocking. Furthermore, that girl is accepted, and is perhaps “daring” to take on such a scary identity. The boy — the on in the fairy costume — he gets little more than sideways glances, perhaps a few whispered comments passed behind his back. Because society isn’t okay with that type of crossing the lines. Not for boys. And Halloween just turns a huge magnifying glass on those dynamics. Hence contributing to my distaste for the holiday. Call me uncool, lacking in the ability to have a good time…fine. All I’m saying is read between the lines a bit, and Halloween provides us a perfect chance to do just that.

 

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This photo fails to capture the accompanying patent leather shoes.... 🙂

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Is this really necessary? I like this company usually, but please.

Is this necessary?

Is this necessary?

I usually like this company. They do some good stuff, but really.

Please.

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As Bruce Springsteen plays in the background and the wife and I work on dualing laptops, I HAD to add a few thoughts about the Super Bowl. I’ve been a waxing and waning football fan since my early youth. Diehard Redskins fan. Then not so much. Then in college and a bit after it wasn’t “cool” to admit you liked football. Too violent for a Quaker college, you know? Living now in Massachusetts, I am fond of the Patriots, but not avidly so. But I always enjoy a good Super Bowl. I think because of the hype. And the often-hilarious, over-the-top commercials.

Today, as I tuned in late, the very first commercial I saw was about a new diet Pepsi — just for men. What? Excuse me? It’s the diet drink just for men. Yes, those men definitely need their own diet drink. Yes, I know that the viewer demographic for the SB is overwhelmingly male. And of course the commercials are created with that audience in mind, but come on. Ridiculous. How emasculating to drink “regular” diet beverages (mind you, I’m not a fan of anyone drinking any diet beverages — got that X? — because of the horrible fake sweeteners)….of course a man needs a diet beverage that will make him feel manly, even if he’s trying to cut the calories.

Don’t really know what else to say, but yowza! this world is insisting on becoming more and more gendered and divided along gender lines every moment. Ugh!

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I know we want to protect our kids. You can tell from these pages that I definitely do. But “protecting” them by way of cutting out soup subsidies, so to speak? Totally ridiculous. Think of the message this is sending to children, no matter what their family make up, gender expression, sexual preference.

Oy!

(Thanks to Mombian for this tidbit)

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"girly" pink legos

Phew! Now that legos come in pink, Q will play with them. Just what I’ve been waiting for. Because you know, since he loves pink so much, he hasn’t been willing to play with them before, given the color choices.

Kidding. Totally kidding.

Frankly, I’m disgusted. Pink legos. And the pink legos are to make a house/dollhouse, replete with flowers. That definitely has to be pink. To attract the girls. All the warships/spaceships/star wars stuff — that’s fine in black and grey because it’s for boys. Just another insipient message to our kids about what they should like or what they should play with depending on their color preferences. Or, vice versa, what kinds of colors they should like, depending on their play preferences. Can’t we just let these poor small beings be? Choose what they want? Like what they like? Jeez.

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I’ve written before about the relative safety of our lives here. Q rarely gets comments about how he dresses, who he plays with, what he likes to play. We don’t get comments about being a queer family. There are others like us around. All in all, we are extremely lucky to have been able to create this life for ourselves.

So, I’m always particularly intrigued when there are those tiny comments. Mostly in the form of insinuations. The latest type of insinuation is about right and wrong. A few times folks have commented on Q wearing either the “right” clothing or the “wrong” clothing. I think it’s often cloaked. Something like, “skirts aren’t good for running around and sliding,” or something like that. But really it’s a comment about the skirt, because generally girls don’t get those kinds of comments if they are wearing skirts. So, a few of those have crept in recently. They interest me because of the insinuation in the comment, but also because I think that insinuation is actually not always conscious. Sometimes, but not always.

And though I know it’s conscious, the conversation about Proposition 8 is also one full of insinuations. Straight marriage is best for children. Insinuation: gay marriage is bad for children. Another insinuation: marriage creates a certain home environment. Why don’t we just tear off the layers and talk about the homes that are best for children? Unfortunately, that would completely pull the foundation out from under the pro-prop 8 arguments, of course. So the arguments insinuate instead.

The ultimate shame, though, is that these insinuations are insidious. Insinuations about skirts being wrong for boys plants seeds among boys who wear them and boys who don’t about what the “right” thing is for them to wear. This, as opposed to focusing on the core, which is about kids wearing things that make them feel self-expressed.

Insinuations about good marriage only being between a man and a woman plant seeds that there is a “right” kind of marriage and a “wrong” kind of marriage. This, as opposed to focusing on the importance of codifying loving relationships.

I watch for those insinuations around my boy, and I hope that more of us watch for them in the messages that fly around us every day.

Listen carefully

Listen carefully

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Seeing the differences

One of the amazing bonuses to being Q’s mom is how he has helped me to see even more of the engrained, gendered roles out there in the world. Not that I can say I bought into gendered roles at all prior to him coming along, but having him has shone a light on all of those things. Things as simple as messages that insinuate that women are the chefs in families. Or that men are the sports fans. Seemingly benign, but not really, when you dig deep down.

Since the election I can’t stop thinking about the passage of Proposition 8 and how it removes the chance that queer folks had for equality in the domain of marriage. Now gay marriage in CA, MA, and now CT is still far from equal in terms of federal law, but it is/was such a huge step in that direction. The passage of Prop 8, however, is yet another way that we’re sending messages to children and others about differences. If you’re queer you’re not entitled to things that straight folks are. You’re not as good. You’re not deserving. These are messages similar to “women are the chefs,” only magnified about 1000 times.

So please take action. We’ll be protesting on Saturday. Please join us in your own cities and towns. Or spread the word. Or right a letter. Something. This is the time for action. Right now. Not next week or next year. Help to fight the messages that are children are getting about how they can live their lives in the future, how their friends can live their lives, how their parents should live their lives.

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