Raising Gender Pirates
My son told me a story the other day. It was about a girl who was hunting for treasure! She went to the pirates and asked to join them, but they said she couldn’t because she was a girl. So she went off and found the treasure herself (a chest full of buttercups and coins), then took it back to the pirates to show them she was good enough to join them. They were surprised and happy and let her come aboard, and then she found even more treasure!
I am slightly verklempt to have a child who is making up stories like this. (And no, he hasn’t read Captain Abdul’s Pirate School, though I keep meaning to get him a copy, or come across any stories that I know of about girls being rejected due to their gender and then proving they’re as good as anyone. It’s a bit Feminist 101, but hey, he’s 5 – I’ll take it!
I’m realizing that in some ways it’s more of a challenge to raise a feminist boy than it would be a feminist girl. As a girl, all of these things are much more real, much more visible. For a boy to get it requires empathy and logic working hand in hand, and to be taught to see the things made invisible by his male privilege. At his level of attention and abstraction, that can be a challenge! Hearing stories like this, though, make me think we may be doing okay.
Date: March 24, 2012