Friday, July 08, 2011

Sexism and the Classics

My children all attended two very conservative schools, filled mostly with very conservative students from very conservative families -- and by very conservative, I mean both politically and morally (religiously). I confess, I am a sexist -- in that I believe there are certain things that are better delegated to members of either gender - I can change a lightbulb, if there is a male in the building, I think it should be delegated to him - I can take out the trash, if there is a male in the building, I think it should be delegated to him - My husband can do laundry, he does his laundry, he never does the household laundry (towels, bedding, etc.) - My son can assist with first aid (bandaids, etc), but I usually ask one of his sisters. I do not teach my children that there are specific gender roles, or that they are incapable of anything because it should be done by the other sex, in fact I have many times encouraged my girls to learn about changing tires, oil, mowing the lawn, and I have encouraged my son to learn about baking, cooking, laundry, and have insisted that they do both.

My two youngest children are absurdly sexist - chauvinistic even - they stun people with the shit that comes out of their mouths. Youngest daughter to the History Channel a couple of days ago "Silly History Channel, women can't be spies, no intrigue ever happens in the kitchen" - my son to me yesterday "you don't understand because you have a vagina" (yes he really does talk to me that way, and yes I laugh hysterically-his dad not so much). I had blamed this on their right-wing, filled with fundamentalist bible-thumper schools. I was right, but not because they have teachers that praise George Bush and Jerry Falwell in the same sentence, and not because they have friends who might actually secretly have several mom's. Turns out that the somewhat rigorous reading requirements at their High School includes "a favorite" (not something you hear from a 19 y/o boy often), and my son chose to re-read this classic novel about a week ago, as he was reading it this morning, he started demanding from his sister that she get busy making him some food (which she gladly agreed to do) and then revealed the real culprit... Pearl S. Buck, 'The Good Earth'. Who knew?

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