05 May 2009

Being a Boy

*Warning: not my usual type of post. It's pretty heavy for one of my posts.

As some of you know, one of my favorite songs (I have at least ten) isWhen I Was a Boy by Dar Williams. A lot of times I think about how the boys seem to be losing things that they like to do because boys aren't supposed to do that. (Wiz and his pink stuff, Game Boy trying so hard to be "a man".)

But today as I was driving back from Spokane, I thought about me. I wasn't a tomboy, but I'm trying to claim being a boy again. I'm tired of fear: fear of worrying about how I look
(And now I'm in this clothing store, and the signs say less is more
More that's tight means more to see, more for them, not more for me
That can't help me climb a tree in ten seconds flat
fear of going places alone or at night
(And I remember that night
When I'm leaving a late night with some friends
And I hear somebody tell me it's not safe,
someone should help me
I need to find a nice man to walk me home.)
or any of the other things I am supposed to fear.

We lose so much as women as we grow up from androngynous children's bodies to women's ones. We stop being only responsible for us: we're responsible for what other people think about how we look and responsible for what they feel or do. And we become fearful, even if there's no real reason for it in our own lives. We know what has happened to other women.

So, I'm gonna be a boy. I'm gonna walk (or ride) home from knitting without a nice man walking me home. I'm gonna ride my bike wielding nothing but a cell phone and my driver's license all by myself. Heck, I'm even gonna ride my bike at a breakneck pace down the hills I climb (not ten seconds flat, but still).

Be a boy. Or be a girl again. It's probably good for all of us.


Anonymous said...

Funny coincidence--I just posted some obliquely connected thoughts about role models. That Dar Williams song is excellent, too.

Go boys--be yourselves. Go you.

Kate said...

It must be going around. I've been thinking a lot lately about fear and trying not to banish it, but not to let it be the main reason I do something (or not do it).

I read your post--I am wondering where the role models are. The available ones aren't exactly good ones.

LCinSunnySoCal said...

I try to let myself do and be what I want without too much definition. Times when I feel like being girly, I do. Times when I feel like watching sports with a beer in hand (well, fake beer!) I do that. My daughter has the joy of still being tomboy when she wants, and letting her ponytail out and being a girly girl when she wants. You've said it very eloquently. I deal with my own fear a lot. My dh and dd are pretty fearless, and they've only just begun to learn how much fear I live with, and how much I let it make my decisions for me.

I'm going to let your post simmer, and re-read it in a couple days. Nice stuff. :)