I consider myself a feminist. My wife has always been my partner – my equal in all things. I raised my daughter to believe that she could achieve anything that she desired. I have supported women’s rights (equal pay/equal opportunity) in the workplace. I stand firmly against any and all discrimination against women.
And yet I love that my grandson and I enjoy the fun that we can only have because we’re boys.
Noah is big on gender identification. I’m not sure if this is learned or just in his nature. Example: he thinks boys or men should always have the blue clothes/cup/plate/bowl/crayon/toy while girls or women should have the pink whatever. He likes to group men and women separately: “The boys should sit on this side and the girls should sit on that side”. He is very happy when he and Daddy do “just boy things” together.
He loves his mommy and his sister and his Nana and his girl cousins but sometimes a boy just needs to be a boy. Whether that means playing in the dirt or climbing a tree (which girls can do with equal ability – just don’t tell Noah) or pretending to be a super-hero, a pilot, a carpenter or a policeman (again, all things girls can do, too). He just likes being a boy and likes to distinguish himself from the girls in his 4 year-old world.
He and I have a “He-Man Hideout” in my backyard. It’s really just a garden bench but it becomes an airplane cockpit or a super-hero mission control station or simply a hiding place where no girls are allowed (expect his sister who has been granted exclusivity). I’ll admit I cherish our time together on that bench, listening to his imaginative exhortations. He is the MAN IN CHARGE. At least in the He-Man Hideout.
I’m not too concerned that his adult years may be consumed by cigar bars or strip clubs or fraternities or any other all-male enclave. Good parenting and common sense will curb that unlikely possibility. I’m certain that he will grow up to be the thoughtful, loving and respectful man that his father is. He will love women for their strength, intelligence, kindness, and generosity, as well as their beauty (just look at the examples he has in his family).
Still there is something wonderful about being a boy in a boy’s world and I am thankful that he’s let me in on occasion.