Monday, May 23, 2011

The Cultural Impact on Anti-Feminism

I was taught the importance of being your own independent woman. Take my mom's four female first cousins, for example. Three of them kept their maiden name. And they aren't young. This slow moving progressive process has a lot of hiccups.

While we try very hard to teach our children that gender has no specific identity, they learn it through books, television, neighbors and tons of media sources.

I was watching my two and four year old niece and nephew the other day. Where some parents are splitting the responsibilities unevenely, their parents are pretty equal. They witness both parents cooking, cleaning, working, etc.

So when I took them to pick out cupcakes, I was literally shocked that my nephew requested a cupcake with a soccer ball. Where did he even hear the word "soccer ball?" This is not in his household vocabulary. My niece chose a cupcake with a kitty cat! I thought she was going to pick the alligator. I was disappointed. Not in them. But in what they are exposed to. Even in Madison. And I was so thrown off that he knew what the ball was - and was even able to indentify what type of ball - that I gasped and told the cashier I had no idea where he learned this. It was as if he had said a swear word.

Upon my sister's return home, I told her about this situation. She was slightly annoyed. It was clear that as hard as you try, even in Madison, Wisconsin, there are still old-fashioned people who think a ball is for a boy and a doll is for a girl.

When I was in the fifth grade, I listened over and over to my parent's record, "Free to be You and Me." I repeatedly sang the song, "William wants a Doll." Listen to the lyrics sometime. At the age of ten, I was taught that if a boy wants a doll, give him one!

While American Girl is a huge phenomenan, especially here in Madison - why not try buying one for your little boy? Kids may be genetically engineered. But if your little guy wants a doll, so be it.

Teach children to embrace anything. And don't code things as pink/blue. Remember, when I have a child, their name will be "Sam" and you will not know the gender....

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Social Media Flaws

I am pretty sure that when Zuckerberg started facebook, he never thought it would become an obnoxious, announcement driven online media tool to congratulate your two year old for having a birthday today. Here are a few sample updates:

1) I can't believe my baby is two today
2) Happy birthday to Aiden/Jaden/Heyden/Cayden! My baby is two!
3) Two years ago today was the best day of my life! Happy birthday little guy!

These updates were never intended to be on facebook. I joined facebook way back when you had to have a college e-mail. Now everyone uses it. And I get that it has resulted in some really wonderful things. My father reuniting with a high school friend or keeping in touch with my family in New York is a great tool.

I am not so sure that a two year old can read that his mother is wishing him a happy birthday on the world wide web. I know I am being insensitive because clearly, I am not a parent. But if I was, I wouldn't be blogging or probably on facebook much. (I am guessing).

And my sister who is on facebook (one is, one isn't) has children who have absolutely no internet presence. You wouldn't know from looking at her facebook profile that she has kids.

I am just wondering if any parents have considered starting a social media site for the kid sharing thing. A lot of people find it highly annoying to see a profile photo of a sonogram.

And on another note, the reason I started writing this entry is because facebook has become a lot of things. And one of them is the ability to "friend" people who you don't really keep in touch with. And you are "friends" but you still don't write to each other or acknowledge much. I don't see the point in this.

If you are going to be "friends," then at least keep in touch. Write on each other's walls. Acknowledge their statuses. Tell them you want to get together. So when I find myself snooping through a high school friend's photos, I will let them know on facebook that I am paying attention to them. If we aren't talking via FB, then I am unfriending them.

Since I joined facebook, I have unfriended about 100 people. I still have too many friends. I just don't see a point on being friends if we aren't talking. At all.

And maybe if you want to wish your little one a happy birthday, just do it in person.

Just a few thoughts about facebook.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Parents, My Fans

My parents are my biggest fans. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have moved to Madison. And this is for many reasons. One being that they took us here a lot growing up. And two because they were incredibly supportive of my decision to move here on a whim.

And that's how they have always been. Supportive. I am lucky.

When I talk with my current closest group of friends and we discuss our the marriages of our parents, two of them say their parents don't sleep in the same room anymore, several have divorced parents who don't get along. And this week, I asked a newer friend if her parents are still together and she responded with "They are but they shouldn't be." And might I add that we are in a generation where you have to ask each other if your parents are still married?

So while my parents are not together any more, they get along which is really nice. And you know, they are happy. And now that I am older, I can accept that and appreciate that they seem like they have really nice separate lives.

When we were in New York a few weeks ago, I gave a little toast to my parents. (I love giving toasts. Especially with an intimate group of friends after a glass of wine). And I said that we should toast my mom and dad. Because they did a really nice job (I think) of raising three daughters who turned into successful professionals.

And my parents have always had a lot of faith in me. They gave me the confidence that I have.

While a lot of my friends complain that their parents are crazy, or fight all the time, or whatever the issues are with them, I do really consider myself quite lucky. And I see a lot of value in their lives as a divorced couple.