Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guest post: Sons

A warm welcome-back to deliverance, who joins us again with a new guest post :)


“wishes for sons” by Lucille Clifton

“i wish them cramps.
i wish them a strange town
and the last tampon.
i wish them no 7-11.

i wish them one week early
and wearing a white skirt.
i wish them one week late.

later I wish them hot flashes
and clots like you
wouldn’t believe. let the
flashes come when they
meet someone special.
let the clots come
when they want to.

let them think they have accepted
arrogance in the universe,
then bring them to gynecologists
not unlike themselves.”

Male privilege is something I encounter on a daily basis at my job. It often comes in the form of a phone call with a curious son on the other line—“If my girlfriend and I had sex on the 8th, but she also had sex with someone else on the 12th, how could it be *my* child?!” In this process of protecting himself, he is avoiding the responsibilities which come with being a sexually active adult.

Women don’t have the option of walking away. Our bodies are bound to such consequences.

In other instances, male privilege oozes from the walls of the waiting room. Impatient sons position themselves on our comfy couches in ways which look all too forced—they appear pouty, bothered, and cast rude stares. “What takes this long? I have things to do!” If only he could know how inconvenient it is to have something unwanted growing inside of you.

When I was in college, one of my Women’s Studies professors shared with me one of her hopes for third-wave feminists: “You need to involve boys and men. We need to make them aware of how gender roles influence their own lives, too.”

Lucille Clifton and my college professor both were communicating something similar: These are our sons. We need to be teaching them better.

Every once in awhile I am reminded. A son comes into a session, scoots his chair close to his partner’s, and listens intently. He does not interrupt her, talk over her, or insert his own opinion wherever he feels compelled to make his voice heard.

He does, however, sincerely ask—with open and interested eyes—“What can I do to take care of her?” This kind of son sometimes asks a myriad of medical questions, about the process her body has to go through. He holds her hand, the entire time.

There are sons who are concerned about the well-being of women. There are sons who honor women. I just wish there were more.

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