After Manly was born, our fabulous congregation asked people to bring us meals. The first of these was brought by a very sweet woman named Isabelle*. During the conversation about our little Manly, the subject of gender was introduced.
“In describing the birth of her first son (after two daughters),” Isabelle commented, “a friend of mine related to me her experience. She said she felt something so powerful when she looked down at her boy. Something she did not feel with her daughters. She felt the weight of responsibility in rearing her son to become a man, a righteous Priesthood holder, and future missionary.”
I simply nodded my head after this account and respectfully changed the subject.
After Isabelle left, and we sat down to eat the delicious meal she had prepared, Mr. B asked me what I thought about Isabelle’s story.
I gathered my thoughts, put my fork down, and leaned back.
“I was a little dismayed at her friend’s description,” I intoned.
“Why?” He asked.
“Her friend’s insinuation of her son’s importance, over her daughters, was, frankly, preposterous,” I responded.
“I agree,” he said.
We then launched into a discussion about gender inequality. I won’t bore you with minute details, but I will, briefly, summarize our thoughts and feelings toward this issue.
We want our daughters to pursue higher education. We want them to gravitate towards those subjects that are too often void of women influence: Math and Science. We want our daughters to know they are equally as intelligent and worthwhile as their brothers. We want them to be satisfied, and feel honor, in becoming a mother one day.
Yes, I hope that my daughter’s will become mothers. I hope that they see my sacrifices as necessary and important. I want to them to know the exquisite worth of mothers.
A false tradition in our culture is to slightly value men over women. The feminist movement strove to fight this sentiment. It won on some grounds, but failed in other ways. Men still garnish higher wages. Women are still highly underrepresented in Politics (especially in the White House, although Pres. Bush and Pres. Obama have set a precedent by bringing in more women into high power positions). And, frankly, baby boys are often valued over baby girls.
When mothers are expecting girls, they will hear comments like: “Oh, girls can be fun, but I prefer boys because they are less emotional.” Really? Girls are more emotional? They obviously have not met my brothers. (Or my husband, and I mean that in a very positive way. He is far better at precisely defining his feelings than I am.) Comments like the one mentioned only promote the undermine a woman’s worth. Comments like that make me cringe.
As for Isabelle’s friend and her experience, I will be open and honest with you. I did feel something different when I looked upon Manly for the first time. I felt the overpowering love from the beginning. However, this had absolutely nothing to do with his gender. It had to do with the overall birthing experience. The staff and the doctor worked vigorously to ensure I was not only comfortable, but given full power in determining how my experience went.
With the Queen, my experience was less than ideal. Something I will share eventually, but suffice it to say, it was rough. She was also my first. I was overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. Now, I have the same amount of love for both my children. My little Queen brings me such joy with her “chatter” during the day. Manly brightens my day with his smile. And, I feel equally responsible for their futures. I expect much of them. I know they will be intelligent (because I am, of course!). I know they will be examples to their younger siblings, and to their peers. I know they can reach the stars.
I feel no difference when thinking about their futures. I want them both to recognize their capabilities and work hard to achieve their dreams. I will seek to foster educational plans in each of their hearts. I will not allow gender stereotypes to interfere with their plans.
I hope to nurture my daughters’ and my sons’ mental development. I want them to be highly successful at whatever occupations they choose to enter. (I secretly want them to pursue difficult courses to prove that they can do it.)
I also hope to continue and debunk the gender “myths” I find in my own thinking.
*Name has been changed.
Social whatever Saturday has been moved to Monday on account of a guest post. It will be super, I promise!