Excuse me? I don’t need a child to take care of me. I know, he might reply, I’m just trying to – trying to what? Teach him to be a man? Teach him that grown women need looking after? And that he, as the one with the penis, is just the person to do it?
For six months while we’re pregnant – if we get pregnant – we’re vulnerable, yeah. And while we have kids, okay, yeah, if we’re attacked, one of us should protect, hide, get the kids to safety. We could both fight, but the kids need one of us alive. Though of course who does what need not be determined by sex. If I’m closer to the gun and you’re closer to the kids – be reasonable! But otherwise, for the other 594 months of our lives…
So whatever it is you think you’re trying to teach the boy, it’s at my expense. He grows up to think – hell, already at thirteen, he thinks he’s more capable, more competent than me. Than a thirty-five-year-old – woman. And since everything tells him to, he generalizes: he comes to think he’s more capable, more competent, than all women. And the patriarchy lives on.
It’s interesting that when there are two boys in the family, it’s the older one who’s told “Look after your mom and your sisters and your younger brother.” There and only there is age a factor. But only for the males. Why doesn’t dad say the younger sisters? Is it that, like blacks, we all look alike?
Which is why I love Sarah Connor (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Even when her son is sixteen, she’s the one protecting, looking after, him. And why not? She’s twice his age. And he’s no less ‘a man’ for it – John still manages to be capable, competent, interesting, sexy-in-progress. True, they’ve added the ‘He’s more important, she’s more dispensable’ factor, perhaps because without that, male viewers would consider John emasculated by her protection. But still.
(“Tell me again why are the boys in here and the girls are in there?” “‘Cause one of the boys is still wanted for murder and one of the girls is harder than nuclear nails.” “And the other one’s a cyborg.”)