Friday, July 28, 2006

My Son the Feminist

One of the bloggers I read regularly calls herself Redneck Mother. Now, I don't know what her definition of redneck is, but she definitely doesn't line up with my definition of redneck, which would be mostly unflattering with the occasional Jeff Foxworthy joke thrown in for balance. She's one of my favorite progressive Texans, and I'm not just saying that because I covet her rooftop PV system either. Anyway, she does this thing on Fridays where she brags about her kids. Now, normally I'm not much of a braggart because I think my kids are fairly ordinary (Stop laughing! I'm going somewhere with this!) overall, hitting most of the normal milestones in a fairly average fashion. But occasionally one of them will do or say something truly astounding. Which, of course, is the only reason I really have a blog, to help me remember these flashes of brilliance from my progeny.

Okay, so now that proper credit has been given, I'm sure you are all wondering what evidence I have that my son has turned into a hell on wheels feminist. I submit for your approval the following conversational snippet:

Setting: Kitchen Table, Mom & Ebo perusing the Sunday paper

Ebo points to a target ad: Gah! I hate those kinds of shoes!

I remained silent, briefly pondering the rather conservative pumps he was jabbing his finger at disapprovingly. Had he, perhaps, acquired Yo's foot fetish? Despising all shoes that actually conceal the toes he so adores? Bowing at the altar of the strappy sandal in all their faux-feet-in-bondage fantasy fodder? My horrific worst case scenario was abruptly (and mercifully) halted by the continued jabbing of Ebo's finger.

Ebo: Those shoes! Those shoes there? You see those shoes?

Mom: Yes.

Ebo: I hate them and all shoes like them!

Sensing that things might turn blog worthy, I decided to milk it for all it's worth by asking the most obvious leading question I could think of
Mom: Really? How come?

Ebo: They are BAD! They are REALLY bad! These shoes do so much damage! They're bad for your feet! And they're painful! Did you know that these shoes can actually throw off the CURVATURE of your SPINE...and cause FOOT PROBLEMS! Plus they just look uncomfortable! (His face morfs into his most withering sneer.)

This is going well! I decide to play devil's advocate just to see where else it goes.
Mom: Well...I don't know, these wedgies are kind of cute and they're not so bad, they give you more support!

Ebo: NO! They are ALL bad! God, I just hate it when I see women wearing heels! I just want to tell them to stop, you don't have to do this! Why would anyone buy something that causes them PAIN! God, it's like foot binding! They ought to be illegal! (He actually carried on like this for some time, I really can't even do this rant justice, I don't know why I try! I'm pretty sure the laws of physics got mentioned at some point.)

He pauses for breath.

Mom: Well, that's true, they are pretty bad. Some people just don't mind suffering for fashion I guess.

Ebo: See, that's just stupid. That is just, beyond stupid! I think women should wear shoes that make them comfortable. These shoes do NOT look comfortable. Like those shoes you bought the other day! (He said accusingly and sounding more then a little disgusted.) I could not believe you bought those shoes! You can barely walk in them!

Mom: (A little sheepishly, wondering geez, how did he get to be such a feminazi when I'm so lousy at it?) Well, I know, it wasn't what I was looking for. I just needed something quick to wear to the wedding, I didn't really have time to look, I just grabbed something and it wasn't really what I was looking for...

Ebo: I just hate to see you looking so uncomfortable, Mom. Women should be comfortable.

Trying not to gush with pride, I recover my inner snark.
Mom: Well that's a very enlightened attitude son, but don't worry, I won't be wearing them very often. Just once in awhile, for dad... and you can take comfort in the fact that I won't be standing in them for very long.

Ebo: Thank you, I did not need that image in my head. But at least you guys love each other, that's good.

Mom: Well I'm glad we've had this little talk, I had no idea you felt that way about high heels!

Ebo: (directing his withering sneer towards me) Well, duh?! You raised me to be a feminist, what were you expecting?

At some point in time I might like to thoroughly deconstruct this conversation. I'd like to ramble on ad nauseum, telling how I've tried to raise my son with feminist values, how I've always tried to be a "good enough" parent, how I've worried that I was failing miserably; covering up my apprehension with the toss off at attempted humor "The jury's still out on my parenting skills!" But today, I just want to leave it right here, in this space, at this time. I just want to freeze this moment so I can replay it again and again and again. I want to shout it from the rooftops! My son is a feminist! He gets it! He really gets it! WOOHOO!!!

Damn, he makes me proud!


Blogger KCB said...

Awesome! Give yourself a pat on the back (and your son, too).

You must share your secrets to raising feminist boys. My biggest nightmare is that my two won't "get it."

7/29/2006 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

Your son is my new hero. For years I tried to wear heels, and I had an office job, where it was almost required, not by a dress code but peer pressure. I put up with sciatica, muscle spasms in my feet, and my back finally cried NO MORE. I can't even bring myself to look at the pairs that remain in my closet.

You're raising a wise and wonderful young man.

7/29/2006 8:24 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Welcome KCB & Barbara! Thank you, but I'm not sure I can take the credit here. He's always been the nurturing one of my boys. I was more surprised by the fierceness of his stance then his sensitivity to the issue. As I say, the jury is still out on PJ!

7/31/2006 1:06 PM  

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