Lately, I have been reading a lot online about gender roles and the effect that feminism has had on the way that we raise our kids. The more I read about it, the more I realize that although I consider myself a fierce member of Beyonce’s crew of Independent Ladies, I find myself confused about how to properly apply that to the raising of my kids.
Just yesterday when my son was playing at the park with a group of friends, I heard him scream “get her!!!” while chasing an adorable little girl around the yard. With sights and sounds reminiscent of a good old fashion witch hunt, I was mortified that my boy was the torch wielding villager leading the charge. I immediately pulled him aside and asked him why he had to “get her”? His answer of course, was because she was a bad guy. At that point, I should have recognized that my son saw this little girl as a worthy opponent able to hold her own, and moved on, but I didn’t. What I should have said next was “okay then, go get her” what I actually said next was “don’t go get her, instead why don’t you save her?” As soon as the words came out of my mouth I was desperate to take them back. Well done Erin, you’ve single handedly set the feminist movement back about 40 years. Hillary, and the rest of the women out there smashing glass ceilings are all fist bumping in your name.
The more I replayed the moment in my head, the more I questioned why I said it and what it means. On one hand, I agree with most people who think that perpetuating the idea of a damsel in distress is terrible for girls and boys of any age but at the same time, there is a part of me that wants to raise a man who understands the value of the women in his life and wants to protect that. So the question that I have for you today is: Should we be encouraging our boys to continue traditions like ladies first, or should we just let chivalry die?