Match Point: Bringing Up Equal Girls, Boys

Are strong girls or enlightened boys more at the disadvantage? Raising Cain and April.  — BadWitch

GUNG HAY FAT CHOY! CHINESE NEW YEAR OF THE HARE

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — What an interesting blog you have. My question is this. Is it better to raise strong girls or enlightened boys? My friend and I debate this a lot and I think you’re doing a boy a disservice in our society if you raise him to be too sensitive to women’s equality. I’m not an anti-feminist, just the opposite and a die-hard since the 60’s. I don’t know if this matters in the least, but we’re both 64 and looking at our grandchildren. Power Nana

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Dear Power Nana,

Hmm, you’ve confirmed my previous suspicions that this is a generational thing. I was really surprised when I first heard this being debated in my early 20s, and it still surprises me as I’ve been afforded the ability to sustain my delusion that things have changed for the better in our society for both genders. My main suggestion is that you not project your own stereotypical gender biases on your grandkids.

Tow your (what I perceive is your real albeit conflicted) own line consistently, that both genders are better served when males are made more sensitive by being enlightened to other people’s challenges, and that independently strong girls are made even stronger when there are enlightened males around to attract and work/live with. They sound like Yin-Yang to me, as in physics, you can’t have one without the other. I don’t mean any of this in an idealistic Nirvan-y sort of way, but purely as (if you’re going to (attempt to) raise them with your consciousness) a logical extension of this thinking.

Raise them all up,

BadWitch

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Dear Power Nana,

I’m interested why you believe raising boys sensitive to the issues women face with inequality would be a disservice. To who? Listen, in this case you’ve got a boy that is sure to be popular with the ladies, may later lead an important charge regarding paycheck fairness or the equal rights amendment (that has yet to be ratified) and sees the world through the glasses of balance and respect. Where’s the issue?

I do believe that raising boys to be too overly sensitive, i.e. overly coddled is not at all a good thing. There is a great book called “Nurture Shock” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman that talks about the issues for children unable to experience life’s little disappointments who later are unable to cope when big issues like job and family are on the table.

As the adults raising children it is important to instill them with the very qualities we hold dear. Our job is to help them become the incredible people they can be by giving them all the guidance we can—especially where it comes to fairness, equality and respect for all.

Teach them what you know. There future girlfriends and spouses will thank you for it.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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