Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I heard that her boobs weigh twenty pounds!

On a quick trip to my local H&M, to return an extremely poorly constructed t-shirt, I was faced with my first "yikes! I'm raising a boy" moment. Standing in the t-shirt racks, my back was to a group of three junior high school aged boys, gathered around waiting for their mums or girl friends, or maybe shopping for themselves, giggling back and forth about girls at their school.

"All the swim team ones have huge boobs" "I know, have you seen so and so? I heard that hers weigh twenty pounds" "Eww gross" "Yeah, I like 'em smaller" "Ewww"....

At first I was just amused at the show each boy was putting on, trying to suss out whether his peers expected him to be titilated or disgusted by their classmate's massive mammaries. Then I was pretty much grossed out by how disrespectful the whole thing was. Then I thought "Oh crap, is that Oliver in thirteen years?"

After all the stressing I did during my pregnancy, about how to raise a girl, I really didn't leave much space or energy for worrying about the implications of raising a boy.  Little by little I'm realizing that there's just as much to think about when it comes to helping guide a little boy through the process of becoming a man (duh!).

I remember boys talking like the ones I encountered when I was that age, and I don't honestly remember it affecting me much either way. And my brother (who I consider to be a man who is respectful of women, if not his sister) confirmed that this was pretty normal chatter, no big deal. Boys will be boys... right?



  1. noooo! this makes me frightened/want to puke. and me kid's just 2. what the heck is a mom to do?? if i heard B talking like that about little girls(!!)
    I'd want to smack him. that's the wrong reaction, right? ahhh!

  2. I think about this sort of thing all the time. How can I raise a boy who is respectful of women and understands the power he holds because he is a "he." I can only hope that having strong male role models in his life will make an impact, but I think the whole "boys will be boys" still has a lot of truth to it. We can't control everything, right?

  3. PS - I can only imagine what kind of people are going find this post as a result of weird google searches.....

  4. Meredith, I can understand the initial smacking impulse. It is such an icky, twerpy way to behave. And it is true, pre-teens are really little girls (and I suppose, by extension those boys are "little boys", which maybe gives them a bit of an excuse?)

    Randalin, I'm trying to get my page views up with the name, obvs. ;)

    But seriously, it is absolutely true that strong male role models will be crucial. I suppose it is like everything in child rearing, you can model the behavior you know to be right, try and surround yourselves with others who will do the same, and then give up control beyond that.

    I also really struggle with your first statement. It is so important to me that Oliver understand the imbalances of power that exist in our culture, but it is also important to me that that be balanced, to ensure that rather than a sense of guilt, he has a deep sense of justice and equality.


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