Why Girls Hate Boys

Today’s conversation with my nearly 8 year old son:

Me:  Let’s invite Taven to your birthday party.

Son: No, Mom. Don’t you know I have a huge crush on her?

Me: Well, yes.  That’s a good reason to invite her. Plus, she can play with the other girls.

Son: I have a crush on every girl I see.

Me: That makes you a boy. (Then to DH) Doesn’t it, honey?

(husband nods in agreement)

Son: I know why girls hate boys.

Me: Really?

Son: Because girls want to BE boys.

Me: Where did you hear that?

Son: From a movie. It’s actually about dogs and cats. Cats hate dogs because they want to be dogs. (Bolt)

End scene.

I’m not sure why I was shocked by this conversation. Perhaps it’s because it was so bizarre and yet it hit so close to home. When my son said girls hated boys, I didn’t challenge his premise, I just asked how he knew it. There is something about an androcentric world that makes women feel like the defective ones, like the left-handed person in a room full of right-handed desks (yes, I’m also left-handed). Also, I was amazed that my son could take a quote about dogs and cats and apply it to boys and girls as a social commentary that reflects much of my experience growing up at school and at church.

I’m torn between my gut level instinct to embrace the notion that “girls  hate boys because they secretly want to BE boys” as my truth and seeing it just as the way immature responses to discrimination can often look from the outside.

For example, when I was in 9th grade, our local TV station came to the school the morning of a football game. I was hanging out with some friends from my volleyball team and the camera crew came up to me and asked me if I was excited about the football game that night. Instead of smiling and cheering for the football players I said something like, “No way! football sucks, volleyball rocks!”  It was probably not my most shining moment, and I remember getting a lot of negative feedback from teachers (the football coach, of course), and other students.  They thought I was a poor sport and that I was jealous of the football team.

Even at the time, I knew I should have expressed school spirit and supported the football players, but I was deeply upset that as a girl on the volleyball team, I didn’t have an equal opportunity to be highlighted for my efforts. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the language to articulate my pain at the discrimination, so I ended up looking like I hated boys because I wanted to BE one.

And perhaps I did, especially at church. The boys in my ward appeared to have a privileged existence. They got to go camping every month, advance in the priesthood which included many meaningful responsibilities, all the while holding the upper hand when it came to male-female relationships.  It appeared to be quite the sweet gig.  Despite their crotch-scratching, poor social skills, and farting noises, there were definitely times I wished I was a boy. It looked like everything was so much easier for them. Because of my inner conflict I was pretty mean to the boys in my ward as well. I’ve had a lot of regret for my behavior over the years, but I’m just now beginning to see that my acting out was a way to express my anger with the sexual discrimination that I felt.

In the end, I’m glad I had this conversation with my son because it forced me to dig up these uncomfortable memories of my adolescence and examine my behavior in a new, feminist light. This examination has allowed me to be more charitable to myself for acting badly during the most awkward stages of my life.  It also helped me focus more closely on the way I teach my three sons about how to treat girls, even the ones who appear to hate them.  Perhaps my experience as an angsty teenage girl will come in handy as I mother three sons.  I can only hope so.

Jessawhy

Jessawhy is a wife, mother, community volunteer, activist and student. She is currently working towards a Physician Assistant degree.

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25 Responses

  1. Olive says:

    So what did you say to correct your son? I’m endlessly shocked at how young kids pick up these ideas. My friends little girl recently asked her why God loves boys more than girls. Its just so sad.

  2. jks says:

    This post and the first comment is not resonating with me or my experience with my kids (up to age 12). I am trying to find reasons for why my experience might be different. I never wanted to be a boy……I didn’t care for camping or sports though. I never played with boys at school although my class was 80% boys. I don’t recall ever being jealous of them.
    My children are girl, boy, girl, boy so I think perhaps there is less mystery about the opposite gender? I don’t think my oldest daughter thinks her brother is jealous of girls and I don’t think my son thinks my daughter wants to be a boy.
    I try to help my kids have positive gender identity but at the same time help them know their gender doesn’t limit them. I signed my son up for football camp this summer and asked my daughter if she was interested. She said no. If she is ever jealous of football players I hope she realizes that if she had actually wanted to play I would have made it happen (I even made my husband promise this before we had kids….I married a college football linebacker and had visions of daughters built like football players so if they were built like them they ought to be able to play if they way).
    Anyway, this post makes me glad to have boys and girls back and forth. They get to see that their housework is the same no matter what gender and they get to see that we don’t play favorites. Our household feels pretty even when it comes to gender power.
    As for crushes, my daughter has had them for years. My 10 year old son hasn’t had one yet. I guess it is an individual thing.

  3. Caroline says:

    Interesting.

    I don’t know if I ever have wanted to be male. Have I wanted the same privileges and opportunities as men? Absolutely. But I’ve always identified so strongly as female that I don’t think it’s even occurred to me wish otherwise. I’m sure I didn’t think about it like this as a teen, but I now worry that females are in danger of falling into a trap of valuing maleness more than femaleness if they consciously want to be male.

    As for your questions about whether gender dynamics affected your niceness, I have similar questions. When I think of my super nice husband, I’ve wondered whether being in a position of privilege (male) makes a person a little less territorial, a little more generous, than someone who feels a bit threatened or disadvantaged (female) because of the overarching patriarchal system.

  4. TMD says:

    Must everything be the product of alleged discrimination and an ‘andropocentric’ world? After all, your ‘girls wanting to be boys’ discussion could be equally well explained by Freudian psychology. Likewise, the injustice of disproportionate public focus on football is no less felt by high school male wrestlers, swimmers, runners, tennis players, golfers, and–yes–volleyball players than by female volleyball players. Last, the idea that all men (indeed, most men) are “priveledged” purely by being male remains a canard of college womens’ studies courses and their upper-class female denzians, entirely at odds with empirical reality. For most men, life has always been quite difficult, and is becoming more difficult. See for instance (if merely a ‘pop’ publication) http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-end-of-men/8135/

  5. Jessawhy says:

    Olive,
    Yes, I corrected him later in the conversation, but I was just so shocked by his comment that I spent some time thinking and writing about it.

    jks,
    Having both sons and daughters has to help a lot in this area. I should have mentioned in the post that I am the oldest of 3 daughters (at the time. I have a brother who is 14 yrs younger than me) and my 8 year old is the oldest of 3 sons. I find that he doesn’t really understand girls. Your comment about girls having crushes as well is a good point. I should have handled his comment differently. Despite my feminist leanings, I am surrounded by boys and often find myself forgetting I’m a woman (except when I read Exponent).

    Caroline,
    Thanks for the comment. I remember your post about your husband being nicer. I’m still thinking about how jealousy fits into wanting to be male. It’s not the same, but especially as a young person, it seems like those feelings could be easily confused with each other.

    TMD,
    I appreciate your comment, although it smacks of impatience.

    Your sports point is fair, although I would say that boys on other teams at least have the anatomy to be football players whereas girls don’t.

    As far as men being privileged, my second example was in the LDS church where men are clearly privileged.

    I’m actually quite shocked that you would comment on a Mormon feminist blog with this,

    “the idea that all men (indeed, most men) are “priveledged” purely by being male remains a canard of college womens’ studies courses and their upper-class female denzians, ”

    I haven’t checked out the link yet, but I’ll try to read it.

  6. TMD says:

    Jessawhy,

    I reached your post via another blog. If there is impatience, it is with the lack of nuance of the kinds of feminist theory you seem to apply. This un-nuanced theory presuppsoes that difference is inherently suspect and involves priviledge (but ignores basic psychological tendecies to see the different as better), sees the world in simple binaries (while some men may be “priveledged,” others aren’t, just as some women are more “priveldged” than others), and has a tendency to be a bit myopic and focused on formal “rights” rather than the realities of social life and interaction (Virginia Woolf, for instance, cast herself as a ‘victim of patriarchy’ despite being far more privledged (financially, socially, etc.) than either her maid or just about any working class man in Manchester.) Hence I disagree with the contention that men, certainly all men, purely because they are men, are so obviously privledged in the church.

  7. Dora says:

    Well, Virginia Woolf may have been more privileged than her maid, or those beneath her in the social hierarchy of the day, but she was certainly less privileged than the men in her same social strata. Just as her maid was less privileged than her social equal. That still puts women, at that time, with less “privilege” than men.

  8. CatherineWO says:

    Jessawhy, this is an interesting post. Having raised one son and three daughters and now the grandmother of many, I tend to think that your son’s statement could just as easily have been made by a girl of the same age, about boys. But I do understand your concern. I think it is natural for there to be competition between girls and boys, though I wish that were not the case, and the one tends to think they are better than the other at that age.
    I do believe that adult men, especially in the Mormon Church, are more privileged than women. They certainly have more power. But whether or not male children are more privileged than females, I think depends on the home and school situation and on your definition of privilege (which is perhaps part of TMD’s quibble).
    Your post made me stop and think about how I felt at that age, which was so long ago I am hard-pressed to remember. However, I don’t think I really wanted to be a boy, because I always wanted to be a mom. My mom loved being a mother and spending time with her kids, though she worked full-time most of my childhood, so I guess I picked up that from her. I had four brothers and I was never asked to do more housework or cooking than they were and I was certainly given equal opportunity and encouragement to excell scholastically.
    On the other hand, when I got to college (BYU), I became painfully aware of gender inequality. That’s when I started wishing I was a man, or at least that I had the privileges of a man. That’s when I began to ask the question, “Why did God give me a brain if I’m not supposed to use it?” Because it seemed apparent to me at the time (early ’70s) that women in the Church weren’t supposed to be intellectuals.

  9. Ardis says:

    This resonated very strongly with me, not because I ever actually wanted to BE a boy, but because people assumed that I did because of some of what I wanted out of life.

    Rather than making it personal, though, my illustration is one that turns up on the blogs a lot: Women very often complain that the boys get so much more in the way of a youth program than the girls do — more time, more money, more attention. We all remember that the boys always seemed to be getting ready for or coming home from camping and high adventure trips, while all we got to do was bake brownies One. More. Time. or have a lesson on table manners.

    When these conversations come up, someone is sure to say that they tried to plan a major camping trip for the girls in their ward, but the girls didn’t want to go, didn’t want to get dirty. So, therefore, girls are complaining needlessly, and lets get back to baking brownies.

    Well, offering most girls a major camping or high adventure trip is acting as though they want to be boys when that’s not the case at all. What they want is what the boys’ camping trips represent: a major commitment of time and planning, the close attention of leaders, money spent to do things right, and a fuss made over them when they achieve. But they don’t want to be boys and do the things boys do; they want that attention and planning and money and fuss devoted to something — whatever that is — that girls enjoy doing.

    Thanks for a great post.

  10. Ziff says:

    I disagree with the contention that men, certainly all men, purely because they are men, are so obviously privledged in the church.

    Well, I guess one way to not have to deal with uncomfortable implications of differential treatment is to just deny the differential treatment exists in the first place. Even if it’s blindingly obvious.

  11. Kevin Barney says:

    “I have a crush on every girl I see.”

    I had to laugh at that statement. I never would have actually said such a sentence, but it pretty accurately reflected my feelings as a boy. I tended to crush easily, just as your son does. Thanks for the smile.

  12. Alisa says:

    Interesting discussion, Jess.

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Mostly due to the current economy and the poor labor market for DH’s profession, I find myself continuing to work FT in my profession while DH is the SAHD for our baby. It’s interesting to watch the SAHMs praise my husband for his gentleness and patience and general wonderfulness as he is the primary caregiver to our son, which is all true. Even my sister with her toddler and five-week old baby was complimenting my husband on how good a father he is to our baby, even though as a mom she works so hard she’s almost all spent up.

    What I find interesting is that no one is profusely complimenting the women who are doing the same work. When a man does it, he’s wonderful. I feel similarly about my career. I fight with feelings of guilt and find myself working hard to pull off the working mom thing (pumping itself is a huge time sucker at work that working fathers don’t worry about). Yet men seem to be praised for their work as providers, particularly in church, while I feel my work goes unnoticed and unappreciated, except by my wonderful DH. But I still feel like I’m fighting upstream as far as the Church’s prescirbed role for me goes many times when I read a General RS talk or VT message. I am thankful for every GA who praises his working mom who made ends meet.

    So do I sometimes want to be like my husband and stay at home to do what he does? Yes! Mostly just because I would love be the primary caregiver. But also would like to receive the same acknowledgment, admiration, and praise DH gets for what he does domestically. But the catch is, if I did that stuff, I wouldn’t be treated the same way. What I would like is similar acknowledgement and thought in whatever I do, knowing that I am busting myself to be the best woman, manager, wife, and mother I can be. Isn’t that what we would all like as human beings, regardless of gender – to be acknowledged for the positive contributions we give to our families, our employers, or society?

    Freud was right only to a certain extent. Women don’t have penis envy – sexually mature women can clearly be happy with their own equipment – but we envy the priveledges the penis represents: the power of self-determination, legal/civil/human rights, and respect in society. And these aren’t essentially tied to any one sex, but to an artificial system that deserves to be examined and updated or replaced.

  13. Deborah says:

    Ardis wrote: “Well, offering most girls a major camping or high adventure trip is acting as though they want to be boys when that’s not the case at all. What they want is what the boys’ camping trips represent: a major commitment of time and planning, the close attention of leaders, money spent to do things right, and a fuss made over them when they achieve.”

    Ardis, you articulated that beautifully. Thanks.

  14. Erin says:

    Hm, interesting thoughts and perspective. I think it took me a while to realize my feminism because I had a seemingly unusual experience growing up. My class was severely female-dominated (it wasn’t until high school that we had more than three guys in the honors track classes, and that’s only because we joined with another town. Even that only added 4 or 5 more) and many of my teachers were obviously feminist and constantly encouraging us to put our abilities to good use. I think because of the influence of my school setting it didn’t even occur to me to question whether girls were as good or as important as boys, even at church. I guess I received sufficient attention and recognition at school to negate the lack of it at church. Only once church became my primary social sphere did the inequities begin to jump out at me.

    Oh, and Ardis hit the nail on the head here:

    “Well, offering most girls a major camping or high adventure trip is acting as though they want to be boys when that’s not the case at all. What they want is what the boys’ camping trips represent: a major commitment of time and planning, the close attention of leaders, money spent to do things right, and a fuss made over them when they achieve.”

  15. Cassie Lynne says:

    I agree with Deborah full heartedly. Ardis defined and clarified a very abstract truth.

    Reading these posts made me, also, reflect back on childhood and some of those feelings of confusion when treated less than the boys.

    When my older brother/best friend turned eight and became involved in the Cub Scout program, I envied him so. I wanted badly to be a part of all his den activities, and more than anything, I wanted a uniform. They looked cool and I knew from watching my him that the badges represented something real. Plus, pack meetings were great fun, as long as there were enough treats for the little sisters.

    When I turned eight, I became an Achievement Day girl. My dedicated leaders put together a program for us to teach us skills of motherhood. It was a great idea and I commend them for taking that effort (for those are the types of women we need in there), but when looked at against the boy’s program, it’s faults are all too apparent. It was lacking greatly in organization, funding, depth, and overall, lacking in purpose. It did not provide any sense of belonging or identity or being a part of something great. There were no truly memorable activities nor traditions. We certainly never created anything that need not be eaten. Instead of being commended for our growth in front of our families at a fun and uplifting ceremony, we were given a pony bead at each activity we attended. We were to put the bead on a yarn necklace with a tole-painted heart bead in the center. How embarrassing! Even as and eight-year-old in the 90’s, I had enough sense to know it was ugly. I could also assess the stark difference in monetary value of my awards and activities to that of the boys’. We moved away a few years later, and my next ward did absolutely nothing besides cookie making and filling out four generation sheets. Talk about a waste of time.

    I must say, Cub Scouts had a bigger positive influence on my life than the girls program ever did. I learned more from the time my mom was a den mother and I, the six-year-old little sister, got to tag a long than I did from my own program. I saw the work of achieving goals in real life as my brother went on to Boy Scouts. Scouts is a very established program that has undergone much change throughout time, and I realize this is one thing that has made it a success. If programs for the younger women are ever going to reach that point, it’s about time they get started.

    Talk of Freud’s penis envy and the comments about envying the boys for what seemed as privileges as well as their important responsibilities got me thinking about when I first started to harbor hard feelings towards the priesthood. In my family I never felt as though women were less in any way because they did not bear it. It wasn’t until I’d had multiple YW lessons on the priesthood, covering every aspect one could possibly think of to speak on, and my leaders repeatedly assuring us, in their non-lesson-voices, that motherhood was just as important. They were thoroughly unconvincing. That is when I started to think that the other Mia Maids might be on to some shameful truth. If a teacher has to throw in the often repeated disclaimer to the lesson, it’s not being taught correctly, which usually is not fault of the one presenting it.

  16. wendy says:

    I never wanted to be a boy until I became a mother. It’s not that I didn’t want to be a mother, I just thought the responsibilities of fatherhood would suit my personality better than the responsibilities of motherhood.

    Spending a year working full-time while my husband was at home helped me to see the stresses of providing for a family a little more clearly, and I longed to return to the privilege of being at home. Maybe it’s a case of the grass always being greener?

  17. Matthew Chapman says:

    It is interesting how perceptions differ.

    Here in our (left-wing liberal progressive [smiley-indicating-drollery] California) stake, the young men, and especially the young men’s adult advisors, envy the young women their summer camp and YW program.

    The boys have “Scout Camp” which primarily involves getting dirty, smoky, and tired.

    The girls have “Young Women Camp” which is apparently (I have never been, only heard the stories in Testimony meeting) a crucible of spiritual growth which ends with an hours-long testimony meeting, involving much weeping and rejoicing and manifestations of the Spirit.

    This year (and the boys are very excited and honored) will mark the first time in six years that the Bishop of our ward will attend Scout Camp. He attends Young Women Camp every year.

    There is also a High-Adventure, week-long, 50-mile hike available every other year for the young men in the Stake. It is only available if the young men will take responsibility and essentially plan it themselves. Realistically, it happens every four years. Once again, it is not happening this year.

    Anything similar that the young women can plan themselves will also be supported. A few years ago, a number of LDS young women became involved in an exchange student program with Japan. Several LDS families hosted (non-LDS) Japanese students in order for these young women to qualify. Fund-raising was also involved. In the end, only one young woman in the Stake went all the way with her commitment, and spent a month in Japan, but it was a valuable experience for the rest.

    In the Young Women’s classes, those who have had some outstanding achievement in after-School Sports are recognized in opening exercises on Sunday.

    For a while, our ward did the same thing in Priesthood Meeting opening exercises, but it was discontinued, as it was (a) only related to the personal lives of the boys, and not directly to their Priesthood callings and (b) but an undue emphasis on the Aaronic Priesthood in what is a combined Priesthood meeting.

    The Young Women are still recognized in opening exercises.

    I have four boys. The girls do not hate them, and have not hated them since each were in pre-school. I attribute this to the following:

    (1) They are each unfailingly polite and well-mannered.
    (2) They each invite their friends, both boys and girls, to their birthday parties, indiscriminately, year after year, through grade school, junior high, and high school.
    (3) We have seen to it that each of them have been taught how to dance: ballroom, jazz, modern, swing, and hip-hop. They will invite any girl of any age and appearance to dance with them at any of the youth dances.
    (4) They are as cute as puppies.

  18. el oso says:

    So what are some recommended activities that would satisfy Ardis’s brilliant comment? In our stake, they have girl’s camp, a fashion show, and a few random activities on the ward level. The adventure and wow factor is a little bit lower.

  19. Ardis says:

    I don’t know what a specific activity would be, but I can identify some characteristics:

    1. The girls must go away from home and stay together somewhere for a day or two, or, better, a week. It might be only as far as the dorms of a nearby university, but they need to sleep away from home and be away from their parents’ direct supervision and feel in charge of their own time and lives (under the usual level of YW supervision, of course).

    2. While there must be elements of fun, the activity has to be more than mere entertainment. It needs to revolve around learning certain skills, or rendering service, or completing a task of some kind.

    3. The skill/service/task must matter, not be a trivial thing tossed off with little planning and little effort. It has to be worthwhile so that the girls feel they are making a difference in the world, or learning/doing something that is truly significant to them.

    4. The girls need to actually do something, not sit and listen to other people speak about what they have done. (Nothing wrong with an engaging pep talk or inspirational gospel message, but that can’t be the main point.)

    5. There needs to be a specific goal or list of tasks to be completed or things learned or done by each girl, preferably something they can do some preliminary work on before they go, and that will result in something tangible or measurable by the time they come back.

    6. There ought to be some kind of tangible souvenir or record of the activity for each girl — something that records the achievements with more specificity than pony beads on a yarn necklace, something that serves the purpose that merit badges on a sash serve, to indicate not only volume of achievement but also type of achievement. It needs to be presented to each girl in an impressive way, not just passed out during a YW class a few weeks after the event.

    7. Leaders need to be enthusiastic beforehand, and give public recognition of achievement after the fact. If it’s the kind of thing that deserves local newspaper coverage, see that it’s done. If it’s the kind of thing that should be written up in a modest report to send to some relevant General Authority, see that it’s done.

    There probably wouldn’t be one particular activity that would suit very many groups — each group would probably need to find something that interests their girls.

  20. Jessawhy says:

    CatherineWO,
    The movie that the quote came from was what made me think that it was not a quote that could go either way. The dog with super powers meets the neglected (and mean) cat and while they do end up becoming friends, it’s the difference in their experience that causes the cat to say, “You know why cats hate dogs? Because they want to BE dogs.”

    At first I wasn’t sure the scene had anything to do with feminist social commentary, but just today I picked up a library book where a boy dog and a girl cat fell in love. It’s a pretty common children’s fictional scenario.

    I don’t disagree that in real life a boy could be heard saying the opposite, but I don’t think that boys really have vagina envy past the age of 4 or so (my friend does have a son who lamented his lack of female anatomy). Of course like other commenters have explained, I think penis-envy has more to do with envy of the benefits enjoyed by boys/men rather than their specific body part.

    I really liked that you said this to yourself at BYU, “Why did God give me a brain if I’m not supposed to use it?”

    I’d love to hear your feminist awakening story, if you’d care to submit it for the Exponent publication you can email me at awakenings@exponentii.org.

    Ardis,
    I agree with others that you have summed up the issues of YM/YW equality in the church. Very well said, thank you.

    Ziff,
    Thanks for chiming in. Sometimes I take for granted that others understand issues in the same way I do.

    Kevin,
    Yeah, he’s pretty funny. My son says the craziest stuff all the time. This post makes him sound really mature, but he still watches Sesame street and tells me that “it’s been like 100 years since you had a baby, Mom. It’s about time to have another one.” Um, no, your little brother is 2.

    As far as crushes, they just keep coming. We just went camping with some friends this last weekend. My son decided he was going to marry his friend (the daughter of my best friend. They’ve been hanging out since birth). They played boyfriend/girlfriend and it was pretty cute.

    Alisa,
    That sounds like a great topic for a post. I know Mark got lots of offers for help and compliments when I left him with the boys for a week last summer. He was actually a little offended. He wondered why it was so remarkable that a father could actually take care of his children for a few days that every ward member had to ask him if he was okay or needed a meal brought in.

    I think you’re right about the praise stopping when/if you become a SAHM. It’s only because as a woman, you’re NATURALLY the gifted nurturer so no one thinks to praise you at something that you can do blindfolded with one hand tied behind your back.

    Erin,
    I’m glad to hear that your experience in school was so equitable. My AP teachers were almost all men and the students were probably equally split, if not more boys. I know I felt equal to boys in academics, and so it’s not surprising that I had good friendships with boys in my classes.

    Cassie Lyn,
    Scouting is a huge issue for me. I’ve been in the calling twice now and my oldest son will start the program this month. I’ve actually considered keeping him out on the grounds that it’s unequal to Activity Days, but I know he’ll really love it and I think it would cause a lot of problems if I did that. Isn’t that the difficulty in being a Mormon feminist with only sons? My issues don’t have standing in the same way that would if I had daughters.
    Also, scouting is an issue of equality that lots of people (non-feminists, even) can agree on. It seems to be the older generation that are holding out keeping it in the church.
    I really imagine that my grand children will ask me incredulously, “The church used to partner with the Boy Scouts? Are you serious?”

    Wendy,
    You make an excellent point. My husband and I would both love to work part time, or even switch roles for a while like you’ve done. I think the grass is always greener is an excellent point. Years spent at home with my children has not improved my resume or sharpened my intellectual skills, but my husband has blossomed in his career and while it’s exciting to watch, I’m also envious.

    Matthew Chapman,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I did go to Girls Camp like the one you mentioned. While I did enjoy it, we stayed in cabins and didn’t have a real camping experience, which I would have liked. Also, one camping trip a year wasn’t nearly as cool as going monthly like the boys did.
    Regardless, the foreign exchange program sounds really cool.

    el oso,
    That’s a great question. I’d love to see some suggestions of activities or other ways to support and encourage our young women.

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  21. TMD says:

    I wonder how much of your feelings about unequal commitment/money, etc., are reflective of long-past experiences, and not current policies? I mean, where I am now a group of stakes own and operates a Girls Camp (cabins, a modern dining hall, frontage on Seneca Lake). At least once a year, each stake’s YM/YW spend a day doing maintenance there.

  22. Crick says:

    Ardis #9: I understand your sentiment and I was about to question whether the budget for YM is more than YW (I doubt it) and then started thinking of reasons why the YM might always be coming back from some adventure and that it might be that they have (in some wards) more gung-ho advisers but then it just got me back to the same old nurture-nature debate.

    The same goes for Olive #1…: Are we “endlessly shocked” that they “pick up these ideas” or that its inevitable because of our DNA that we “come up with these things”.

  23. Moriah Jovan says:

    I never wanted to be a boy. I wanted to be the lone girl in an all-male milieu, and I was and have been most of my life.

  24. Bryan H. says:

    I used to say things like your son when I was his age. I knew at the time that the things I said weren’t true, but I did it anyways because I knew that was the easiest way to get under the skin of the predominantly female authority figures in my life. All of my teachers at church and school, music lessons, my pediatrician, dentist, etc. were all women. Whenever they played favorites with the girls over the boys, which was bound to happen from time to time, it was easy to feel marginalized and that was one way to get back at them, so to speak. I wouldn’t read too much into it, but definitely offer a corrective so that he knows those are not acceptable things to say.

  25. Jordan says:

    I actually do want to be male. I’ve been considering the idea of transgender for a few years now and like to say “I AM male”. It feels so much better. As a kid I felt like adults didn’t respect me and didn’t think I actually had ideas worth listening too. And so I showed no respect in return. I was an angry child.
    Nonetheless, I question how much of this want is because of gender roles or because of my own personal feeling. I don’t like doing girl things. Especially not stereotypical girl things. But I also don’t stand up for women saying “See we don’t have to act the way you want us too” or something like that. In fact I feel sick when I hear/talk/see/read about women’s rights these days. I stand up for the guys more now, but mostly just for a new view on equality. (further explained later)
    I’ll tell you a couple hundred years ago people (both genders) actually believed women were born physically and mentally inferior. It’s like how white people are at risk for heart attack more than black people. It’s not racist; it has to do with the melon in your skin. And so this is how life was back then.
    Today, the biggest issues include the job situation, where women get paid 77 cents per every dollar a man would earn on average. And people are UPSET about this? I hate this! It makes me so angry. I just want to yell SHUT UP: We’re born demanding instant equality and it’s one thing that is so difficult to achieve. And so isn’t it close enough?
    Plus, women aren’t helping their status by rallying up people and making a big deal out of it. It only widens the gap between gender roles in society. It makes people too aware of this problem and puts it in a bad light.
    The real reason women are making less money is because of greedy people at the top of the companies. Even big-shot women are taking advantage of an old tradition to save more moolah for themselves. It makes me sick how big of complainers people can be! We’re demanding something that cannot exist- equality.
    So sometimes you just have to accept and go with the flow. Fight in quieter ways if it pleases you. The way some women (and feminist guys) talk makes me feel like we’re on our way to a matriarchy. And that’s incredibly hypocritical of the women pressing this. They want their freedom but they’re stealing from the men instead of creating a place of their own.
    As for gender identity and sexual orientation, this is a more complicated matter than I thought. I thought you were born a certain way, but now I realize your environment, your mentality (personality and mind), and your physicality (body, genetics, DNA) all affect your orientation and gender identity. And I’m pretty sure most of what affects my gender identity as a male has to do with mentality and environment.
    It’s as if there is a female box and a male box that society has created. We can’t abolish those boxes that quickly but we can work towards it slowly. And in the meantime I’d like to choose the lesser of two evils- male. That’s what it feels like to me at least. I just don’t like doing girl things.
    The difference between myself (potential transgender) and a lesbian and/or tomboy is that I can’t stand the physical feeling of being a girl. I don’t like the physical existence of boobs. It disturbs me. I do have attraction to other girls but I don’t want to be one.
    Anyways, your son could be right in some contexts. I don’t think we need to stress over this subject too much. We should work on letting it go because the more we stress and try to fix the boxes, the more we hang onto them. If you let go, it’ll just fade away. At last, that is my hope.

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