One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

November 7, 2010

No, MY Son is Gay

I’ve blogged for eight years now and I’ve been a mom for over eleven years – so I’ve definitely done my share of blogging about my kids. Whether that makes me a mommy-blogger or not, I don’t know – but I will agree that choosing to blog about your kids is a touchy thing. You have to understand that the internet is a smaller world than it seems, in spite of all its vastness. Anonymity is usually an illusion and even if you truly have it, you can’t guarantee that you’ll hold onto it. And once something hits the internet, it’s there forever. There are the tricky issues about how, no matter how conscientious a parent you are, you are still stewing in a patriarchal stew of adult privilege over children. Most of us feel like we own our children’s lives and experiences to a degree that is really not fair or rational (if we consider them as people within their own right).

However, when people get all indignant about “bad mommy bloggers” oversharing and not considering their child’s welfare enough, well, I smell mom-shaming.

So here’s an example, a pretty thoughtfully written post by Nerdy Apple Bottom about her five year old son who wanted to be Daphne from scoobie-doo for Hallowe’en. And she thought it didn’t have to be a big deal. And then was disappointed to find that the people who did make it a big deal were other mothers.

I think she manages to make the cogent argument that the disapproving mothers’ concern, couched in terms of, “he will be bullied and you have to put your foot down to protect him from that” was the primary bullying they received.

And yet now there is a mini-blogstorm of “What a terrible mommy-blogger to share such a thing without even thinking about her son’s privacy.”

Yet none of the internet concern-bullies with their “you should not have put this embarrassing picture of him on the internet because he will be bullied” see the irony.

The Caroline Howard post at forbes is really one of the greatest examples of it because she uses pointlessly put-downy phrases and pretends that the whole thing was a political statement for the mom instead of, (as Nerdy Apple Bottom says in the post prior to her rant) something he wanted to be since before last Hallowe’en. And then when people call Caroline out on it in the comments, she keeps insisting that no, obviously she’s on the same side politically, she’s just concerned for the child’s privacy.

Honestly? I think this comes back to what we were discussing about when you say something is fine, but secretly think, “for those people.”

“Oh for sure there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s fine for those people to be gay. But only a monster of a mother would let anyone think her kid is.”

Hey, here’s a quote from the original article that obviously didn’t get through to some people: “IT IS NOT OK TO BULLY. Even if you wrap it up in a bow and call it ‘concern.'”

Acting like you should be ashamed of anything that seems gay or transgendered is bullying. That’s why I had that talk with my kids (and hope to continue having that talk) about how the worst thing you can do if someone says you’re gay is get defensive or keep your head down and say nothing. That’s why I am blown-away impressed with my friend’s eleven year old daughter who, when some boys called her and her friends lesbians, leveled them with a calm, “do you even know what that word means? No? Well I think you’re pretty ignorant then.”

There are a lot of blogs that do make me wish we were more circumspect about putting our child’s lives on the internet and about respecting their ownership of their own lives, privacy and experiences. But in this case, my response is more, “well, what?” Nobody would be freaking out about any other kind of Halloween costume pictures making it on the internet, boy as boy-appropriate costume, girl as girl- or boy-appropriate costume. I do hope that Nerdy Apple Bottom makes her son aware that the picture is out there so he’s never blindsided by its existence and that she has ongoing dialogue with him about the negativity that you might encounter from wrong-headed and bigoted assumptions that people make, but I’m not concerned about his privacy because she hasn’t revealed anything that is actually about him, other than what he dressed as for Halloween the year that he was 5.

Has she exposed the story to a wider audience and thus, potentially, more sources of ridicule – well yes. Was that irresponsible and negligent? Are you kidding me? When we protect our children from persecution with preventative persecution in the form of “hush don’t let anyone see you do that”, we do nothing to make the world a better place and we do nothing to build in them the skills and strength that they will need to face it in the future. Your child WILL be persecuted for something, will face discrimination some day and if, as parents, we serve them the watered down version at 5, then they will never believe they deserve any better.

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  1. TruthSeeker

     /  2010-11-07

    THANK YOU ! ! ! !
    This is a brilliant column and your advice to youngsters on how to respond to bullying should be part of the “It Gets Better” campaign. Please consider doing a video for kids (and parents) about strategies and tactics to ward off bullies and anti-gay remarks.

    http://www.itgetsbetterproject.com/

    http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject

    Reply

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