Friday, May 11, 2007

A boy for him and a girl for me

Can someone explain this statement to me?

Because if you can explain it and where it comes from, I would appreciate it. Because I am having a hard time understanding it. This is something I've heard in the past few years, not a quote from the fifties. Is it just a midwest thing?

Specifically, I spoke with someone who was unhappy to hear he was having a daughter, because the daughter would be his wife's.

It seems to me that most parents are lucky to have a healthy child growing up in a safe, nurturing environment.

Yes, there are still lots of gender roles and stereotypes. I may yet write about my company's dress code as a glaringly obvious example of different standards for men and women. Women struggle to make gains in public life, balance family concerns and be successful in their careers if they choose.

So in American society, it comes as no surprise that men and women are different.

But the idea that someone's daughter wouldn't be "theirs" since their wife would raise them or that a son would be the husband's - just sounds odd and foreign to me. Frankly, I think it smacks of sexism. It limits what the son and the daughter can do and what things they will enjoy. So your daughter enjoys watching football with you? Or your son enjoys cooking? Who cares??!?

Maybe this is so foreign to me since my parents raised me to think for myself and to question. I don't remember being told I couldn't have a career (when many parents told their girls they would be wives and mothers). To some extent, my parents don't follow strict gender roles.

I remember my Mom visiting my apartment in college and flipping over the vacuum cleaner to fix it. I had just mentioned that it wasn't working. My dad would let us watch while he fixed the cars. He would prop up the car hood and show us where the radiator fluid went, how to check the oil. They worked very hard to make sure I got the best education possible. Never did they say - why waste the money for college on our daughter! She'll just get married anyway.

I guess all I'm saying is, it is a little sad to hear a mom say that the son is not hers or a dad say his daughter is not his. I think it leaves out just how complex these relationships are. And children really benefit from both parents (and people in general) who love and support them. No matter what gender they are.

6 comments:

AZ Awakening said...

Aerin I agree with everything you posted her except for one thing. In the modern US workplace I think the balance of leadership is tilting towards women. Most of the bosses I have had in the 11 years since graduating from college have been women. The new challenge in the American workplace is how do men react to playing second fiddle more and more?

I have a beautiful daughter and I am striving to raise her like your parents did with you. I can't imagaine being sad about having a daughter, she amazes me everyday.

C. L. Hanson said...

Here in France it's the opposite:

There's so much Freudianism in the air -- it's weird the degree to which Freud's theories have taken root in the popular culture -- that people will say things about how a girl loves her father more and a boy prefers his mother. So I get two and my husband gets none, yay!!!

(Tongue-in-cheek for that last bit... ;^) )

Liseysmom said...

I have a son and a daughter. I treasure my relationship with both of them, and I know my husband does as well. My daughter, though very much a princess with a love for everything pink and sparkly, will also tell you she is a WARRIOR princess.

Aerin said...

Thanks AZ. I was thinking specifically of mormon parents and leadership telling their daughters they could be wives and mothers. I did meet some women in college where their parents specifically bribed them to not marry before they graduated. And this was in the 90s. And no, they were not mormon.

chanson - It's interesting that the French are more freudian about it. I hadn't thought of it that way.

liseysmom - that's what I don't understand - I thought all parents thought that way - treasuring the relationship with their child. Guess not.

northnode said...

I think it does more than smack of sexism; it's the most limited thing I've heard of in awhile. It saddens me to think of any Dad being unhappy because he's having a daugther.

az awakening - I think the balance of power amongst genders depends very much on what industry you're in. I also note that even though in many sectors women are promoted to higher positions than was once possible, they still are not typically paid as much as men in those same jobs are paid.

kristen said...

I also thought about this recently because my softball coach and his wife are expecting a baby. All the girls on the team wish the mother will have a girl, and the guys wish the father will have a boy. They keep teasing him-- "I hope you have twin boys so that you can play football, basketball and softball with them" This is on a team where we have some hard core girls who can really play softball.