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February 11, 2009

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Parisienne Mais Presque

Very interesting.

Growing up, I was always more comfortable in the "male" world, too. escaped the minefield of adolescent female friendships by making friends with guys in middle school and high school. Usually the geeks, too. I chose a career in the computer industry, so for much of my professional life I've been surrounded by men, and their ways of interacting (even if somewhat different in the US and in France) have usually felt more comfortable to me.

(For a very long time, I was the only woman on a team of ten or so men. I joked that when I left on maternity leave it would be Lord of the Flies.)

But, I chose to attend a women's college, and never looked back.

I suspect that I need more female interaction than I tend to find naturally. I miss my female friends in the US, and I haven't made many here in Paris. But sometimes achieving true, honest interaction between women, and cutting through all of the superficial stuff, just seems to take so much effort... or maybe I'm just not brave enough? Heh.

Christi

Wow. Parenting a boy and a girl, a lot of this resonates with me. I too find I've made my peace with the swordplay a little easier than I've figured out the intricacies of best friends and makeup.

Like you, I like being a woman, but I do take issue with some of the ways in which women are socialized to treat each other and men. I dislike how men are pushed into a narrow range of behavior, often condemned for being either feminine or too masculine. I like your way of accepting and allowing men to be who they are.

I think women, on the other hand, are often held up to unrealistic examples of a different kind (the supermom and career woman who does it all in full makeup without ever having a hair out of place.) At least, that's something I'm struggling with, and I'm not sure what I'm teaching my daughter about it.

Anyway, it's refreshing to read a viewpoint similar to my own, and insightful as always, Hedra. Thanks.

Katie B.

I would like to hear more about this. I like men, I always have, but I have trouble with the whole guy thing. I suppose it's partly because I grew up with a father and brothers who weren't particularly into things like sports, and then had a close male friend who processes more like a woman than his wife does! (to be fair, she processes more like a man does...) I guess my real issues is wondering how to define and support masculinity without leading to either machoism or overfemininity. This is a major reason I wanted to have a girl so badly - I know about girls, but I don't know about boys!

I like women, too... except for some of those really vicious social behaviors we can get caught up in. You know what I'm talking about! They're probably a major reason I've generally preferred male company, much as I treasure my close women friends. I, too, am much more comfortable with swordplay than makeup... although I hope that her exposure to the SCA leads her princess phase (I know it'll come) to be more fairytale than Disney. *sigh*

I'm guessing that the best idea is to simply support your kids as they present themselves, within reasonable limits - your triads are fabulous for those! That's pretty much how I've always dealt with adults, but this whole parenting thing is still scary, unexplored territory for me. Am I on the right track there?

hedra

Katie B, I think that's really the core, yes - support and accept who they are, follow the triads (I like that term). Not wincing inwardly while doing so requires a degree of self-awareness, homework on ourselves, and calm. That's my stuck point on this, I think.

If you want a good book for handling the boy-culture stuff, either for kids or other adults, Real Boys is a fabulous read. It gets to the core issues quickly, and shows how to be in there with guys/boys and do so effectively, and how to take advantage of the best 'boy culture' has to offer, while limiting the overstating/harsh side.

Hmm. Actually, I should break out my copy of Reviving Ophelia, too - same kind of depth, different gender. Both books are insightful looks into how gender functions in the US.

Now, take that outside the US, and you have entirely different pictures (or at least somewhat, depending on where outside the US you go).

eden

Hi Hedra,

Visiting you from Ask Moxie, I am so, so sorry to hear about your friends going through the cancer/newborn situation.

Five days before my baby was born in May last year, my husband was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma; a mass of tumours was found in his intestine. He had a day-pass from his hospital to attend the birth, and started chemo that same week. It was so utterly traumatic that I am only just starting to deal with it now.

Baby is almost nine months old, has a daddy who is in remission, yay!!

I would love to send an email to your friend, let her know that she is not alone.

Many thanks!

hedra

Thanks. I'll check to see if she's okay with that sort of thing! Glad your DH is in remission, here's to having the full 5-year all-clear. :)

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