Monday, September 30, 2013

What not to wear (or do. or think.)

My newly minted high school freshman came home from her first day of school with so much information crawling out of her that, to be honest, I tuned a bit of it out. Then she started talking about the assembly with the school principal. The all girl assembly wherein they were talked to about being "appropriate".

I bristled. Non-conformists tend to do that so I didn't pay too much attention. I even offered up an explanation as to why the head of her school would be telling 14 year old girls why dressing a certain way can send "the wrong message". I said, "well maybe she's making up for the dumbness of the people who see you? Maybe she's saying they may think a thing you didn't mean by the way you look?".

She stared at me. Pissed. And went on to tell me that the boys get no such talk. That the boys are given a complete pass and aren't asked to absorb any responsibility for the way they act when they see girls just being girls. That it was made patently clear that the girls are responsible for sending the message and the boys are merely the receivers.

Uhm. WHAT?

She also said that the principal specifically called out girls who have large breasts and said those girls should be particularly careful about the clothes they wore so as not to draw too much attention.

Now my kid is 13 years old. She's accelerated a grade and a full year younger than her peers. She's also 5'5", 125 pounds and wears a 36D bra. And the message she gets on her very first day of high school is that she is somehow responsible for the perceptions of everyone who sees her?

I watch some TV,  I read magazines and I am an internet whore. I see the way young women are marketed to but to hear that this was blatantly happening in our schools was a bigger shot to the gut than a Dorito-taco-nacho-supersized-supreme-big-mac.

And it got me thinking about how we deal with the burgeoning sexuality of our middle-school and high-school aged kids. How what my kid heard from her female principal about her being solely responsible for unwanted advances based on the way she's dressed is leashed to the bigger elephant in the room, the still aggressive push to teach abstinence in schools.

Go to school, cover yourself. Don't think about sex. Wait till you're ready. Cover yourself.  Go home. Do your homework. Study. Don't have sex.

The current approach to sex ed is saying "No" as a defensive move.

My vision for my daughter and her friends and every other young, sexual being out there is "No" as offense. "No" because her sexuality and sexual actualization, sexual pleasure should not be tied to another person.

When she goes on a date, I don't want sex to be the only thing on her mind, clouding her away from who she is, who she wants to be to the world, what she wants to learn from other people. I want sex to be wholly and completely in her control.

Telling our kids to abstain but giving them no alternatives is maddening to me! I can't imagine how it feels to the hormone fueled young people it's people preached to.

We are sexual. We are here to breed, to reproduce and propagate the species and we do that with sex and as much evolution we've gone through, our lizard brains hold TIGHT to that mission.

We can't remove sex; we have to re-frame it and hand it back to our daughters a complete package that is theirs to control no matter how they look/dress/are.

More to come.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My eternal +1

This having a kid thing really has its perks. The other night, the delicious oldest daughter let me take her and a friend to a concert. She keeps doing this, by the way. She keeps letting me in, listening to what I have to say, and then saying a whole bunch of brilliant stuff back that opens more and more avenues of connection. Connections thick like her glossy locks and her stares that see to everywhere.

So, with her approval, off we go to see Walk the Moon at Terminal 5 in NYC. Now this is a band I crammed into my head like Play Doh last summer. Is there a superlative for the word 'repeat'? Because I need that word. Because that word is what I did with their album last summer and seeing them live with my daughter dropped me right back in that mobius strip of over and over awesome.

I don't think I'm alone when I say that getting old doesn't really appeal to me (and I mean, losing touch, relevancy, a connection to popular culture). This is so hard to articulate for some reason. I think maybe because when I was Ruby's age I remember looking to everyone else for myself.

But that now that I am who I am I can BE WHO I AM. I can!

This show was my favorite so far. Ruby was familiar with the venue so she staked out our spot. She held her ground and dug in deep and the kid nailed it. Every once in a while I'd move my eyes from the stage and check our crew and we were all up to our eyeballs in the show. All singing and dancing and jumping and fist pumping and smiling and sweating.

That I get to have this now, this revelry in my vessels...

She gives this to me. My child. She listens and opens the door for me and makes a super cozy spot on the couch right next to her so we can be and get our brains blown open with talent and grace and humility and gratitude.

During the show I fell in love with everyone about a thousand times. And every time that girl of mine looked my way or touched me I won the whole world.