I have to be honest. When I found out I was having a boy in 2012, I was little disheartened. And I was also a little disheartened a couple of months ago when I found out I was having another boy. I mean, we’ve got enough boys in this world, right? (We certainly have an overwhelming number of boys in our family and circle of friends. As a side note, I overheard an old wives tale this past weekend that a boon in the birth of boys means a war is on the horizon.) And wouldn’t it be great to help put more strong, smart girls into the world?
It is a tough world for girls these days. I should say that it still is a tough world. For many reasons – but I’d like to focus on some abusive things that happened recently.
First, the awful and disgusting behavior that the Penn State frat engaged in. A former member of the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity shared printouts from a private Facebook page with police that showed, by and large, pictures of unsuspecting women in various stages of undress. And read this Washington Post article if you really want to be upset. When talking about it with one of the few mothers among our friends with a daughter, I imparted the advice I would give to my fictional daughter as she matured: be friends with decent people – people who you trust would take care of you if you happened to get too drunk or out of control, who would find you if you went missing – and make sure if you go out, that you are with those decent people.
The second thing is the abuse that somewhat anonymous Twitter users unleashed on Ashley Judd after she made comments about a recent Kentucky basketball game. Men harassing women with completely off-topic and misogynistic threats and attacks on social media is not new. But Ashley Judd used (and is using) the attacks against her to highlight the unbelievably disgusting and hateful way women are treated by strangers. I hadn’t really followed her career or personal endeavors previously, but it turns out she is smart and well-spoken. Read her take on the ordeal here. She even pursued the attackers, despite everyone generally agreeing that nothing could ever happen – to (at least) this avail:
Many from @twitter: We’ve investigated and suspended the account you reported as it was found to be participating in abusive behavior.
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) March 20, 2015
I’m so inspired by how she has handled this that (1) I’d like to nominate her to be an honorary Runitlikeamom, and (2) I picked her favorite team, Kentucky, to go all the way in my March Madness bracket (OK, that wasn’t a tough thing to do). And I’ll just think she’s the daughter I would have put into this world.
Amidst this recent horrendous behavior of what I’m guessing to be mainly college-aged privileged boys, it occurred to me that having two boys of my own affords me a more critical opportunity to change this world – an opportunity to raise boys who will become respectful and strong young men, who will challenge the behavior of their peers and who will stand up for women when they are being abused, taken advantage of, mistreated or disrespected.