The gift that keeps on giving, Clementine Ford, wrote a letter to her son.
Given that this organ has significantly more experience of being raised and raising male children, we’ve taken the liberty to reply on behalf of the young lad;
To my darling boy
Did you just assume my gender just because I have a penis????
Seriously though, thanks for noticing.
The first thing you need to know is that I love you. My love for you is a constantly evolving creature. It has made its home in my heart, but it travels through every part of my body finding new places to set down roots. Every night, I think to myself that it’s impossible for me to love you anymore than I already do; that my body is so full of love for you that it simply can’t fit a shred more in. And every morning I wake up and realise that, just like you, it’s grown just a little bit more in the dark.
I love you too, Mum. Can I have a Nerf gun for my birthday please?
At first, I didn’t know how to have a boy. I know how cruel the world can be to girls, and that this cruelty in turn affects the boys who don’t conform to what it is people expect them to be. I knew that no matter what kind of boy you turned out to be (if indeed you turned out to be a boy at all),
I’m sorry, what does “if indeed you turned out to be a boy at all” mean? And can I have a Nerf gun? One of those with the red light sights would be great.
it wasn’t guaranteed you would be treated kindly for it. To be girlish as a boy is to be deficient in some way. To do things ‘like a girl’ is to be embarrassingly lacking in skills and ability, a shameful waste of all the promise your masculinity is supposed to deliver on. The boys perceived to be ‘too feminine’ by a society terrified of what soft, gentle masculinity might mean are frequently subjected to the twin tyrannies of homophobia and misogyny. We will always provide shelter for you from other people’s fear and bigotry, but not every boy is so lucky.
What’s a “homophobia” or a “misogyny”? Is it like the Zombie Blaster that Jaxson at Pre-School got for his birthday? That’s a cool gun.
You’re only little now, and you probably think I have the answers to everything. But by the time you read this, you’ll be old enough to realise that I’m just as confused about life as you are.
Is that why you visit “Auntie” Jane and what you talk about at her clinic every Wednesday?
I can only tell you what I’ve learned along the way. Here’s what I know.
Your kindness and empathy are valuable. You have both of these things in spades, and you must hold on to them. If you trust what they tell you, they’ll help you to make the right choices.
Mum, I’m two years old. How on earth at this stage can you know how much empathy and kindness I’m going to have?
If I do prove you right though, can I have that Nerf gun?
Power is not gained by taking something from another person. Don’t use women as a way to reckon with your own feelings of inadequacy or anger. We are not the conduits for male pain.
Why would I feel inadequate or pain (other than because all my mates have Nerf guns and I don’t)? Who said I was going do that to women, why would you assume it’s an option, aren’t you going to bring me up to be a nice boy?
Violence is not the way to solve your problems. You’ll meet people along the way who think it’s normal for boys to scrap with each other, to use their fists to settle disagreements and try to come out the winner. These people are wrong. Violence is ugly and brutal, and you are neither of these things.
Jaxson punched me at pre-school last week because I took his pencil. I punched him back. What should I have done instead, Mum?
We all need to be held sometimes. Homophobia is such a destructive force in men’s life. It teaches you to avoid each other’s touch and to shield yourselves from platonic male affection. It’s okay to hug another man. It’s okay to cry in front of each other. It’s okay to say you love each other. Be stronger than the message that tells you sharing basic human emotions with another man makes you somehow less of one.
What’s a “homophobia”?
Respect women. Unless we succeed in radically changing the world in the next twenty years, understand that women have legitimate reasons to be afraid of you sometimes. This isn’t a reflection on your behaviour (I hope) but a response to the realities of the world they live in. Instead of getting upset about how it makes you feel, work with them to help make it different.
Seek intimacy. Sex should be a conversation between consenting adults. You are not owed anything by anybody. Recognise that there is infinite pleasure to be had in making sure your partner or partners are enjoying themselves, and exploring your mutual desires together. They can say no at any stage. So can you.
Why are you assuming my default position is that rape is ok? 99.9% of men don’t rape women, why do you, my mother, think I would be one of the 0.1%?
If I’m not a rapist, can I have a Nerf gun now?
Embrace sensitivity. Don’t let a world that’s frightened of soft men succeed in breaking you. We have too many broken men. We need men like you, men whose strength comes from being gentle. Have faith in this.
Jaxson has invited me to a play date at his house. If the weather is good we will play Nerf guns in the garden otherwise his older brother will let us play Call of Duty on the Xbox.
Can I go please?
Remember, your life is no more valuable than anyone else’s. But you can live in a way that brings value to everybody.
These are the things I’m trying to teach you.
Ok Mum. Oh look, Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles is on TV.
I want this world to be different for you. I want you to have more choices about the kind of boy you want to be. Boys will be boys, but we have so far collectively failed to let you all be anything other than the most rigid, damaging and reductive form of boy that we possibly can. What if we tried to do things differently?
I don’t understand. What are you asking me to do?
Boys will be sensitive. Boys will be soft. Boys will be kind. Boys will be gentle. Boys will respect girls. Boys will be accountable for their actions. Boys will be expressive. Boys will be loving. Boys will be nurturing.
Who says I have to be all of those things?
What if I’m not?
Boys will be different from everything the world has so far told them they have to be in order to be a man.
Okaaaaay. Is there a manual I can read? Oh, please don’t point to those boxes of unsold copies of your book that we’re using as a coffee table.
To my darling son, my light and my life. I will not be the one who hands you the knife and shows you how to carve out the parts of yourself that don’t fit. To the sons of my friends, to my nephews. To the boys who want butterflies painted on their cheeks, the boys who twirl in dresses and the boys who always pick the sparkly shoes: we can do this together.
I didn’t ask you for any of these things. I just want a Nerf gun. Oh, and can I play rugby league with Jaxson next season?
Are you ready?
For a Nerf gun fight? Hell yeah!
The extreme left, the Cultural Marxists, do very little other than project, don’t they?
Is there any chance someone could call Social Services and get them to initiate an intervention in that poor boy’s life?