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Reader’s Choice ’12: The MOB Confronts Cattiness Against Boys

Call Ariel K. Price a bookworm, and she’ll consider it a compliment.

Ariel K. Price

Ariel K. Price

Ariel is an editor, writer, and reader. Her passion for words is her life’s work.

She’s also a feminist. Here’s an excerpt from her comment when she first read the post she selected for Reader’s Choice:

“This is why so many men don’t take feminism seriously: they just see a bunch of angry women who want to hurt them. As a feminist, I know it is in my best interests to show love and graciousness to men, while also fighting for my equal treatment and respect.”

Exactly. Ariel’s Reader’s Choice is:

The MOB Confronts Cattiness Against Boys 

my skills make boys run

click to read The MOB Confronts Cattiness Against Boys

readers choice

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Water Park

Water park, great equalizer of humanity.

water park double tubes

tubes for two

Waves of humans stripped down to the skivvies we call bathing suits. Nothing and nowhere to hide.

The throbbing sun bakes this oasis, this jewel of blue on the drought-worn prairie. We flock to the relief of the pool. We gather at the watering hole: elephant, antelope, crocodile, hyena.

My child, energized by the water and the people, skips between activities. I follow as his guardian and his insurance that he won’t swim alone today.

We begin with the obstacle course. Training for American Ninja.

water park lily pads

lily pads

Children slip across floating lily pads. They scurry and swing along rope webs. They drop and dog paddle ferociously to the finish line.

I observe, taking note of my offspring’s competitive streak. Between his father and me, he didn’t stand a chance of missing that trait, poor thing.

Herds of middle schoolers run together in co-ed packs. High school girls saunter like giraffes in triads, while high school boys buzz in larger, amorphous groups, joking and oblivious to their surroundings.

Tattoos litter bodies. They punctuate skin and recoil like secret sin exposed in the sunlight.

water park my shadow

toes and shadow

A dragon crawls around a woman’s torso. A cross marks a man’s bicep. A clover nips a lady’s ankle. And on another man’s chest, the infant footprint of his son who now swims beside him, a baby no more.

The hip, young women have accentuated their navels with piercings. Glittery rhinestone stars. All I can think of is how this will look should these girls grow up to bear children. Their tummies bulging with pregnancy, I imagine the star navel rings popping like buttons on shirts. Timers on turkeys.

Soon my child is ready to move on. Bravely I stand, the only person older than 16 in line for the slide.

water park orange slide

orange anaconda

There are two water slides. The orange closed tunnel and the blue open air. Like closed and open MRI machines.

My child screams with delight as the giant, orange anaconda swallows him whole. Down into its narrow, black throat he disappears. I’m next in line.

I’m usually not claustrophobic, but the tunnel seems too long and too dark. I whiz around curves and pray for light. I wonder if this is what it feels like to die.

A burst of sun and water and the snake spits me out. Has my child survived?

He’s already back in line to slide again.

water park torrent

thrill of the day

We traverse the lazy river. We revisit the obstacle course, and I think it must be his favorite thing. Then we see it.

Children run to the foot of the great bucket. The alarm bell rings faster and faster as the bucket tips. A torrent of water splashes down on the crowd of shrieking kids. They disappear in the flood. They scatter as the water dissipates and drains away.

This. This is the thrill of the day.

I stand beside my child the next round. We watch the white water crash toward us. Drench us. Wash and cool us.

We are alive. And for a split second this summer, I am a child again.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. 1 John 3:1 NIV 1984

Joy by Newsboys.

What’s your favorite summer memory?

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The MOB Confronts Cattiness Against Boys

meangirlstshirt

my skills make boys run

Walking through Target when a t-shirt catches my eye in the girls’ department.

Excuse me?

I’m a proud member of the MOB (Mothers Of Boys). I don’t see a shirt in the boys’ department reading, “My Skills Make Girls Run.” That would never be tolerated. As a grown-up girl, I’d be unhappy if it were.

Then there’s the sign I saw in Kirkland’s.

Where’s the one reading “Boys Rule: Your IQ Test Has Come Back Negative?” Kirkland’s would be boycotted post-haste if that sign ever made it to the shelves.

chicks rule sorry

sorry. your IQ test has come back negative

The battles for women’s suffrage, educational equality, and Title IX were difficult. Necessary. Admirable.

Today women earn only 77 cents per dollar earned by men working the same jobs. Women hold only 17 percent of the seats in Congress. Women are victimized by domestic violence . Poverty rates are highest for families lead by single women. There’s still work to be done.

Is this how we want to do it? By using little girls to demean little boys?

The notion that it’s acceptable to degrade boys isn’t new. I love the old Schoolhouse Rock songs and often feature them in my posts. My seven-year-old son and I can sing the lyrics to nearly all of them.

But there’s a line in Unpack Your Adjectives that makes me want to crawl under the table. My heart breaks as my son laughs along, unaware of the politically-loaded, mean-girl, angry-woman sentiment behind it:

“Girls who are tall can get taller,
Boys who are small can get smaller,
Till one is the tallest
And the other’s the smallest of all.”

This is 2012, not 1950, 1969, 1975 when Unpack Your Adjectives first aired, or Thelma and Louise’s 1991. The vitriol is overkill.

Women pursue education. They earn more advanced college degrees and bachelor’s degrees than men.

Women join the workforce. More than 70 percent of all mothers with children younger than age 18 work outside the home or are looking for work outside the home.

Women hold power in the voting booth. In the 2008 presidential election, about 66 percent of women voted compared to 62 percent of men; that’s 70.4 million women compared to 60.7 million men.

Girls play sports. A 2008 report from the Women’s Sports Foundation found 69 percent of girls participate in organized and team sports. That’s nearly equal with the 75 percent of boys who participate.

Sisters, hear me when I say I’m indebted to you. Now can we please celebrate the partial victories, keep on keeping on, and leave our kids out of the combat?

chicks rule. you're right. you're not worthy

you’re right. you’re not worthy

Think about what we’re communicating to our daughters. What we’re allowing to happen to our sons. Will this attitude ameliorate animosity or deepen it? Solve inequality or perpetuate it?

Teach respect. Work for equality. Rise above the hurt and the hate. Burn the cattiness with all the gusto once used to burn the bras.

My son isn’t responsible for your pain. No amount of discrimination justifies using our children as pawns in an ongoing, grown-up fight.

And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:16 NIV

Sweet Child O’ Mine by Sheryl Crow.

This is just my opinion. What do you think?

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