Sunday, June 14, 2009

White t-shirts soaked in water

Fourteen-year-old boys... hummmm... How do I put this?
... Full of testosterone.

Fortunately, I am here to refocus all that testosterone into constructive discussions about feminist thinking.

About a month ago, I took my son and his friend to Culver's for some ice cream after one of their choir concerts.

I hope they found our conversation enlightening...
Because frankly, I was enlightened in a way I would not have preferred.

Me: That was a fun concert. The 8th graders sounded great! I'm really glad you guys have stuck with it. But, why do they separate the girls out for a girl's choir?

Zach: Because there are so many more girls in it than boys.

Me: So what do you both do while the girls are practicing? Do you get to leave practice?

Carlson: Oh no... we get to sit and watch them. (He smirks) A lot of guys drop out after the 6th grade. They don't see the advantages.

Oh my.

Me: What do you mean?

Carlson: That we are one of the few guys in it... with all those girls.

Me: Ahhhh...

Zach: Yeah. Should I tell you what we do while we are watching them?

(double pause). I stare Zach in the eye, trying to decide whether I really want to know this or not. I decide I need to know - I don't want him to think he can't talk to me.

I brace myself.

Carlson: We sit there and imagine all of them wearing white t-shirts.

Zach: And then a huge flood of water dumping over all of them.

(triple pause)

Ok.. ok. I didn't quite think it would be that imaginative. I thought it would be something more straightforward - like they were thinking of them all naked. The wet t-shirt thing is a bit more... uhmm... something.

Me: (deep breath). Ok. That's interesting. Sooooo... this seems like a good moment to talk about objectifying women.

Zach: Oh my God, mom. I know... I know... women aren't objects. They are people.

Carlson looks at Zach and me - intrigued. Obviously he had not considered this before.

Me: Right. Exactly right. I mean, look at how society has influenced you to even think about your classmates being seen only as sex objects. The media bombards you unrealistic images of women - Women whose only purpose is to satisfy your fantasies. These women in your class have thoughts. They are intelligent, emotional, thoughtful human beings. You need to treat them as such.


Zach: Mom... Really? We're 14. Just let us have this, ok? Just let us have our moment.

1 comment:

  1. CARLSON: And then she turned to us and said, "This seems like a good moment to talk about objectifying women."

    CARLSON'S PARENTS: Should you be hanging around with this Zach kid?