When I stopped insulting my sons with: “like a girl”.

 

After all of the ainshyt and slausy things I have been guilty of during my life, and trust me.. there are plenty, I have been blessed with the awesomeness of having two sons.

During the beginning when my eldest was very young, he would often cry and become very emotional  about things as a young child would at the age. As a child should even. Now rather than talk to my son and cheer him up or simply… communicate properly as a father should in those instances, I immediately went for the timeless tried and true insult which has been used to reign in the emotions of all boys to men since the beginning of time:

“Stop acting like a little girl.”
” Stop crying like a little girl.”
” You’re acting like a little girl.”

afro_child

Each time I said these little insults to my young son in the beginning, My wife being the proud woman that she is would pull me to the side and tell me how she did not at all care for how I would tell our son to stop doing xyz ” Like a girl” as if being a girl was anything undesirable. As if being female was something that should be equated to being negative. Of course.. I wasn’t hearing it. I’m a large Alpha male and the word of the Alpha Male is law. I am a man and my job was/is to raise strong and able men at all cost and  I wasn’t trying to hear  any limp wristed namby pampby new-aged bullshyt  that women talk about when it comes to raising kids because hey… what do women know about what it takes to be a man or how to raise them properly.  Therefore i ignored her.

But then I said it one time too many and the Lioness within my wife made her appearance.

lioness-wief

damn baby daaaaaaaaaamn!!

This time my wife caught me not in a discussion of emotions but one of facts and examples which I wasn’t able to justify why: ” Like a girl” wasn’t a big deal or a real insult.

She asked me frankly: What is it that is so awful about being a girl.  As a woman, how am I supposed to feel when you frame a discussion as if being like me is bad?

…if we had a daughter, what would you tell her? What is she supposed to NOT act like? And if we had a daughter, how should she feel listening to you tell her brothers not to be anything like what she is? If your boys are doing something you don’t like, how should she feel when you say:”stop acting like a girl…”

I thought about it.  What WOULD i tell her? How SHOULD she feel when I tell someone not to be like what she is? How would she supposed to feel about framing what she is as an insult?

I was wrong. What I was doing was wrong.

I never used: “like a girl…” in any negative fashion when speaking to my sons after that because not only do words have power but we have created a little system in this world that relentlessly seeks to demean anything associated with being female.

” stop being a pussy.” Last time i checked, the Vagina was a resilient piece of awesomeness.  That shyt allows LIFE through it. Kick someone in the balls and the fight is OVER. No continues left.

” You’re acting like a real bitch right now…”
” Man you sound like a lil girl…”

Now i’m not here to preach to you or try to convince you that there is anything wrong about telling boys to not “act like a little girl” or stop doing xyz action”like a little girl”.

Not going to tell you to do anything differently than what you’re doing. Not going to tell you what you’re doing is wrong.

but what’s right about it……..

 

Slaus
When not responding to the dictate:" Will the Defendant Please Rise.." CEO and Creator of OHN;Slaus, is a comic illustrator and Social Media whore who spends his free time building legos, playing video games, drawing fantasy characters and being abused by his wife, two sons and cat.
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  • Omelette!

    Self esteem and public esteem are inextricably linked, it’s not enough for you to have it, others have to recognise, and for others to recognise it… in a continuing cycle…

  • SY

    Holy Shit! Slaus all deep and shit this morning!! *slow clap*

  • Aaron D. Stallworth Jr.

    dude. Well done. Well Done.

  • Riley_Free_Man

    Very nice post. Point taken.

  • Chocl8t

    “LIKE”

  • rmc_futurephd

    Great post. It reminds me of when some people of color associate intelligence with acting white. As if white individuals have a lock on intelligence. It’s used in a negative connotation that perpetuates the hegemony that already demeans so many intelligent and beautiful people of color in our society. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • originalwharris

      This is exactly what I thought of! I can’t tell you how many times I was told I acted or sounded white!

  • msvonnz

    Love love love!

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    I know you said that you’re not out to change anyone’s viewpoints, but I hope your post does just that. I hope it sinks in where it’s most needed.

  • Pernell Glover

    Please don’t throw hateful comments at me, I would like a peaceful dialogue-but the term “like a girl” is not an insult to women/my wife/my daughter…it is an identity-Men should be men and act like men thus women should do likewise. If I tell my son to be a man and not act or do like a girl it’s not to put down women but it is to make him a man and teach him man responsibilities. Not being a chauvinist but their are roles to be played and if both man and woman are acting like a “girl” or acting like a “boy” then where is the balance? Teaching your son to act like a man in turn is telling him not to act like a girl. (respectively)

    • Chocl8t

      So by your logic, crying and any displays of emotion that isn’t anger or rage is “acting like a girl”? I ask simply because it is this mindset, despite its intent, has so many men emotionally stunted. They simply do not know how to deal with the vast array of emotions outside of rage and anger so they shut down and I struggle to see where that is productive.

    • Chocl8t

      Oh, I have to strongly disagree with you that it isn’t meant as an insult, if not to girls/women, most definitely to boys/men. If you do anything that is remotely associated with “female” roles and someone says to YOU…”stop acting like a bitch”, you and I both know that is meant to demean YOU. Just saying…

      • TracyTrips

        there are so many things wrong with ‘stop acting like a little bitch’ when that is said to a child…the LEAST of which is referring to a boy as a girl.

      • Pernell Glover

        I never use the b-word and I solely meant the term “acting like a girl” I can’t wrap the 2 together because a girl is one thing and a bitch is another. Your first point on dealing with emotions is accurate and I don’t have an answer for it but I would rather raise a son who has the stereotypical man traits that allows him to assess an issue suppress emotion and deal with it all the while being a comforter, supporter, and provider for his family and when the moment allows go to God and cry to Him. Due to a lack of this women have had to be so strong but that was not the blueprint….

        • TracyTrips

          oh I wasn’t aiming that at you. I was just sayin it in general :)

        • notconvincedgranny

          Suppressing emotion is the reason why the suicide, heart attack and stress-related illness rates are higher among men than among women. The question isn’t the ability to assess situations, but the willingness to be vulnerable. For too long men, black men in particular, have been compelled to hide behind a facade of invulnerability; for that matter, black women have been crippled by the myth of the “strong black woman,” and guess what? I’m going to use the Queen’s We going forward. We remain estranged from each other because having and expressing feelings is viewed purely in the pejorative. Let me rephrase that: expressing the ability to be hurt, acknowledging a soft spot for fear someone will perform a jab from which we may never recover is the ultimate no-no. But it is also the ultimate in intimacy, a state we too often confuse with sex. Being open and honest about how we feel in the moment need not involve tears, and we should not belittle each other for letting the cleansing flow.

          • Pernell Glover

            An amazing discussion that has revealed a cancerous infection among our families. I honestly see everyone’s point…however we are missing one valuable piece or peace…God. I do not suppress my emotion-when my family is going through something, when I am faced with a dilemma, when a challenge has me brow beaten and distraught-I go to God. We need to teach our young men who will be father’s to go to the Father. Yes-my children bring all their problems to me, my wife unloads all her stuff on me and instead of crying “like a girl” (had to use the phrase) I pray like a man! We forget to teach our children about where our help comes from. Like I continue to say it is an identity factor-if I tell my son that phrase it is not to belittle women but it is to call out the man in him.

            • notconvincedgranny

              Then I ask you to refuse to use that phrase, because I have to believe that a strong man has an equally strong woman helping him with that yoke; that your prayers include your entire family; and that you understand that by placing woman on the negative side of the statement you are negating the strength of your partner, his mother, and his future partner.

              • Pernell Glover

                Once again I reiterate my last statement in that sentence that is continued to be ignored–it is an identity factor–not to belittle women and not to put them in the negative but it is for him to identify being a man…We spend so much time on mincing words but it all leads to the same thing–we want our boys to be boys and our girls to be girls.

                • notconvincedgranny

                  And you find something deficient in being a girl. Try this: the comment is offensive, for reasons you don’t understand. Can you simply respect the fact that no matter how you twist the intent, the result is still a negative statement about women?

                  • Pernell Glover

                    Okay-I will take that–I can’t tell you what is offensive and what is not to you. But I will say the message is not geared towards women-so women should not be offended by a concept that is not even applied to them. But you know it exist and the perception that it indirectly effects you although not proven is a cause for your concern-I get it and as a man and like men do should do instead of going back and forth and trying to prove a point–we change hear understand and change.

    • Omelette!

      I’m not sure that what you are has to be defined by what you’re not. If an identity is an “act”, then it’s a performance, not real. How about focusing on positive virtues and qualities? In any case; what actually makes a man a man?

      • Pernell Glover

        What makes a man great question and I hate to answer a question with a question but I will in this case-assuming that you are into the opposite sex, What do want in a man? How do you define a man? Whatever answer you come up with some of those qualities have to be offset by a woman’s qualities-that creates the balance. Then and only then will you understand what it means when you tell your son whom you are raising to be a man to “stop acting like a girl”

        • Omelette!

          I would have been interested in your answer, I’m sorry you chose not to respond to my question, I may have learned what makes a man a man. So here’s another question by return; what makes a parent a good parent?

          • Pernell Glover

            ok-What makes a man a man and a good parent…I was raised to #1. Respect women-treat them as a gift from God for that is what they are.#2 Be a provider-physically and mentally-every need supplied. #3 Instruct- guide his family in the way they should go…raising a son to follow in these traits and a girl to look for these traits in her spouse. To do those things a strong woman is needed to support him in his responsibilities-it requires a balance–I teach instruct build up my children and love them in this respect-my wife nurtures and allows them an opportunity to release their emotions in away only a mother will receive them-I too allow them the opportunity to let their guard down but those are random moments when they need more…your question is so deep because a good parent relies on his/her help to complete the process-it is tough to do it alone.

            • Omelette!

              Thanks for responding so generously. Most of those qualities aren’t really masculine or feminine; they’re parental, or seem so to me. I get the impression you’re not tied to something rigid though you do want to be the main motor for what happens, it’s something you would like to see work. Do you have a daughter too? Are you inclined to steer her toward a particular role?

              • Pernell Glover

                You know it is not a perfect science-I have a son and a daughter-I divorced their mother when they were 2 and 3 and was single for 3 years before i remarried…I think I do steer her to be more feminine although she plays basketball and Lacrosse, we teach the importance of doing hair, doing nails, wearing dresses the right way, and being a little girl who will one day be a woman-We also teach my son to dress respectively (wear a belt) keep a hair cut-but open doors and hold them for all ladies young and old, carry bags and things for women–just to be a gentlemen-if you’re at the dinner table stand up when a women approaches the table to sit down–these qualities are lacking in today’s society. In the end my babigurl will be what she wants but yes under my care I am inclined to influence her actions.

                • Omelette!

                  It sounds like you’d be mortified (to put it mildly), if anyone were to try to diminish her aspirations in any way (or his), given your support and guidance otherwise. As you said, in the end they will be what they choose to be, provided they know what’s possible.
                  “It is not a perfect science” – and there we have it.

                  • Pernell Glover

                    As any parent would-we try while we have influence and when they are on their own they will discover new things. They may try those things out and find them to be better/or worse and revert back to what they were taught or they may combine them to fit the environment and social climate…(good convo and I’m glad you made me answer your question)

    • JustSlaus

      Thanks for the response and dialogue.

      Since ceasing to use Like A girl as an insult, I have instead begun instituting pride in their name. Rather than even say: like a man, I tell them that I need them to be strong. I need them to act like a Caldwell, and Caldwells don’t sit and cry too long about things. We try to figure out how to make things better and how to get stronger. Can you do that? ”

      They usually channel that and smile with pride at their surname and they puff up.

      No where was it necessary to equate negative traits as female.

      Just my opinion and how I do things. I’m a scientist so I live by facts and examples. There is really no logical reason to use Like A girl in our house.

      Thanks for the discource.

      • Omelette!

        Genius!

      • Pernell Glover

        That is actually a better approach-make it name based it adds pride to the concept. Once again I reiterate that it is not a negative slight on women just an identity based comment…at any rate good thought provoking post

  • TracyTrips

    SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT Just TRY to do it like a girl. You might not succeed when MY girl is around you.

    • Pernell Glover

      I love this!!! Never restrict or limit a person based on their sex or gender…this is good!!!

      • TracyTrips

        I’ll be honest. We tell my daughter to not do something ‘like a girl’ all the time. It’s turned into kind of a joke. I will tell her she is throwing like a girl and she will zing the damn ball to me and tell me ‘YEAH I THREW IT LIKE A GIRL’ . It motivates her to show you that she did, in fact, do something like a girl and she kicked ass at it. This is not ANYTHING we ever taught her or encouraged her to do that is just what something in herself told her to do.

        Don’t get me wrong. She will throw fits and put a desire in me to throat punch her like nothing else in the world…but when that little bag of hormones thinks that a boy is better than her at something? She will move heaven and hell to outdo him.

        • Pernell Glover

          This is good! It is obvious you are doing a great job and love your daughter very much–I think she takes it as a put down and it motivates her because she is doing something that typically guys do-so in order to succeed she can’t do it like a “girl” in a weak way but like a girl-“this girl” in a competitive way…and that is something that must have been in her DNA

          • TracyTrips

            she takes after my husband. Stubborn motherfuckers. LOL I always say if she doesn’t end up in the penal system she will be a very successful adult.

            • Pernell Glover

              That’s wassup! Sounds like he has a strong presence in her life!!!

  • Guest

    Why is it so wrong to point out that men and women are built two completely different ways and meant serve two completely different purposes on this planet. You know what…………
    http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa321/bsmuv/812520_zps87b3ffbb.gif

  • BSmuv

    Why is it so wrong to point out that men and women are built two completely different ways and meant serve two completely different purposes on this planet. You know what…………

    http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa321/bsmuv/812520_zps87b3ffbb.gif

    • TracyTrips

      ‘meant to serve two completely different purposes on this planet

      I’mma need you to clarify darlin’.

      • http://www.bsmuv.com BSmuv

        You know, sometimes I just think folks take this whole men and women are equals thing way too far. The attitude of wanting to totally white wash the fact that men and women are built very differently and for good reason. Folks sometimes wanna be all super sensitive about something said until there is a situation that benefits a woman to apply a double standard.

        “You throw like a girl” – honestly there is a major difference in between the way boys and girls throw an object. Even the body english is different.

        “Stop crying like a girl” – are we really gonna have to talk about how women will break out crying about seeming nothing on a hallmark card commercial?

        “Stop acting like a bitch” – are we really gonna need to talk about the thousands of ways women will bitch and complain about a situation, not wanting a solution, just wanting to wallow in it and you to just listen and wallow in it as well.

        “Stop acting like a girl and get X done” – are we really gonna have to talk about the fact that men are suppose to be physically stronger than women and be able to accomplish X task, verses whining about it’s too difficult?

        “Man up” – do we need to talk about the man having to go face whatever danger there is present at the time in a protective role (home invasion/ mugging situation/ emergency evac) allowing the weaker sex to enjoy said protection.

        At the end of the day, I guess I am just not buying the hyper sensitivity, white washing of roles society continues to attempt to jam down people’s throats. This ‘everyone’s a winner’ non-competitive, self entitlement, pussification that has been going on in ‘Merica the last 20 years. Call me a Neanderthal all you want, but when it comes time to kill that creepy crawly on the wall you hate or there is a thud in the night that needs investigating, just take stock in how you are reacting to said situation BEFORE you ask/ assume a man needs to hand it.

        • JustSlaus

          ……..
          ::blink::

          This post literally spoke nothing about “equality” of men and women. Not anywhere in my writing was that mentioned therefore it’s not even part of this.

          Not insulting women and furthering a negative narrative has nothing to do with Treating men and women as equals. That position is just as foolish as a white person saying they are sick of all this PC shit because someone complains that it is wrong to call a black person a nigger. That guy outright disrespecting me has nothing to do with being PC. It’s about not being a punk ass. Just like this conversation. This has nothing to do with male and female equality. The bottom line is that it’s foolish to keep shoveling the shit that negative traits of weakness are synonymous with women, whilst negative traits of males are given a pass.

        • JustSlaus

          To each their own. But if you can look a little girl in the eyes when she asks you WHY you consider her to be inferior and rationally explain why everything about her is a bad thing, so be it.

          • http://www.bsmuv.com BSmuv

            I wouldn’t call her inferior, different but not inferior. What is the problem with women being weaker in some areas than men and men being weaker in other areas that woman aren’t? Then exploiting those differences to motivate someone to conform to a socially acceptable behavior pattern. I mean double standards be damned at this point, cause that is what this all boils down to at the end of the day. Forcing people to respond or act in a fashion deemed socially acceptable in order to be labeled a decent human being. As a man you are expected to act like X if not you are acting like Y which is something completely opposite of your expected behavior pattern.

        • JustSlaus

          If you wanted to, you could take every one of those examples and use the, as reasons as to why black males are simply inferior to all other males by comparison……but I think you’d have a problem with that.

    • Beffa

      *sigh*

      It is not so much that there are “defined” (by whose standards I don’t know) gender roles it is from how I take it that if a guy is doing something that is considered “female/girly” then it is a negative for him to do so. That’s just dumb.

      If a man is doing something that some consider to be feminine then it should not be taken as something negative. It should just be a man doing what a man wants to do at that moment.

      let me brace myself ….

      • TracyTrips

        If I walk in and see Alpha painting his toes there will be an issue tho.

  • JustSlaus

    What’s hilarious is that somehow people take my point as it being wrong to point out that men and women are different when not in a single noun or verb do I say that or even address it in any way.

    I ask you this: why is it right to equate doing things incorrectly as being like a girl? What is cool about it?

    When my sons cry about things I now sit them down and explain to them that no one wants to listen to you when you are crying. It’s not always fair but when little boys cry too much, people don’t respond to them. Do you want help? Do want things to be better? Then I need you to calm down and be strong. You can cry about it or you can do something about it. Which one seems like a good idea? ” 9 times out of 10 they begin to suck it up and I help them figure out how to do something about it l.

    No where was it necessary to equate females with negativity. No where.

    • Omelette!

      There you have it.

    • Pernell Glover

      Brother I attempted to answer your question with my response-and maybe this isn’t toward me…but I agree it is not a negative or meant to be offensive toward women…but I see nothing wrong with telling your son not to act like a girl

      • JustSlaus

        But understand that whether we mean things as an insult and what they truly are, are two different things.

        Not here to change your mind. I’ve just yet to hear sound reasoning behind why Like A Girl is something we need to tell boys

        • Pernell Glover

          Good point-define a girl and define a boy then you may have your answer…if your definition of the two are the same then by your standards you are correct…if there are differences then you may find your answer there depending on the definition.

          • http://dontshootmessenger.blogspot.com/ JediReturns

            I think the point is defining adequate and inadequate by gender rather than defining gender characteristics. You can tell a child they can’t wear certain clothing or hairstyles that promote gender ambiguity if that is your choice, It may mean dealing with other issues later, but at least its gender specific. There is nothing about performance of physical or intellectual functions that are gender specific in terms of effort and quality of performance. I was scarred because I threw, hit, ran, tackled, and cried “like a girl”. Hearing it didn’t make me better, it made me bitter. I led the league in batting and felt like a failure because I only had two home runs. Men hit the long ball. So my sons have never heard “like a girl” in any negative sense. I have watched WNBA games with them and pointed out the superiority of their skills and decision making as a whole over NBA players. But always a reason to respect others achievements. Trying to treat my daughter as equal to her brothers I found myself saying “man up” a few times, but once I realized I sounded like an idiot I stopped. I just present the best role model, male or female, like I do with her brothers.

            • Pernell Glover

              much respect to you and your parenting technique-sounds like you are in tuned with your children’s emotions and you’re doing a great job…Those emotional scars were a learning process for you–what you felt through those words you made sure you did not pass it on…I see the point and I understand the message–and it’s all perception you raise great points and so did the author of this blog. There is still a need to define boys/girls in raising them to be men/women and the statement while perceived offensive does not have to be

      • caratime2

        Would you have a problem if someone told their child/spouse/friend not to “act black”?

        I mean, they don’t intend it as negative or offensive to Americans of African descent, but – you know – they’re Euro/Asian/whatever, therefore…. o.O

        • Pernell Glover

          Color and sex are 2 totally different things…Telling someone to be a man and telling someone to be black is not in the same category at least not to me–I really stay away from every issue being compared to the civil rights movement

    • SY

      You can cry about it or you can do something about it. Which one seems like a good idea?

      My mother told me this ALL THE TIME, and I think it helped promote the independent woman I am. I am not a crier now (well except that one time when I was pregnant) and if tears feel the urge to come on I think waste time crying or fixing. I teach all 3 of my children the same thing. I think this is EXCELLENT! #GOOD PARENTING

  • JustSlaus

    As I said before, I’ll try not to change a single one of you. Feel free to raise your children as you see fit. In my home we require everyone to be a better human being whilst being better men and women or little boys.

    • Omelette!

      I think that’s a beautiful, wise and humane philosophy for people of any age.

  • http://dontshootmessenger.blogspot.com/ JediReturns

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=nNxeRBi1KvM

    My current fitness goal is to beote like a girl… this girl.

  • originalwharris

    *applause*

  • http://themultifacetsofblujewel.wordpress.com BluJewel

    ^5! I do my best not to demean either gender; however, I must admit that there are times I really want to ring the neck of my godson’s mother for how she endlessly coddles the boy! Geesh!