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Lecture 9

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Social Sciences
Geraldine Voros

Social Sciences 2O03: Canadian Children Nov. 14 2012 Lecture 9: Mothers and Sons conc’d & Conway’s Women as Victims (Part 3) & Fathers and Sons introduced Mothers and Sons con’t - Last week o We have been pushing boys far too soon to sep from home – from primary caregivers (usually still mom)  Ages 5-6  Don’t be a wimp  Be a solider  Big boys don’t cry  Don’t be a mama’s boy  Believe this is essential for them becoming a man  No way jose! o Second shove in adolescence  Push them to be the cool guy – expected to handle himself well o Should be offering boys a retreat without dishonour, but we don’t - 5 things we do to fuck boys up o Abrupt sep of boy from mom/family o Too little preparation with regards to what lies in store  Don’t tell them the routine – far more abrupt! o Too little emotional support  Expect them to stand alone  Girls ask for help 3 times more remember  Girls – cry – help  Boys – cry –shutdown o Not enough opportunities for them to express their feelings  Don’t ask them enough how they feel about things o No understanding that they can retreat without dishonour  Treat it like a non-option for them o Also  Expect boys to live to old fashioned stereotypes of what it is to be a man  Bravodo, hero, macho type mentality  Not only do we abruptly sep them from everyone else, we expect them to stand alone an  Do all this but expect them to have a sensitive side too – should be able to talk to us and tell us what they feel  Want them to be the old fashioned hero and “real boys/authentic boys/real men/authentic men” – new idea of tender, loving, sensitive individual  Double standard! o They don’t know how to deal. When am I supposed to be old- fashioned, when am I supposed to be sensitive?  Holding up a pos mirror and a neg mirror  We would prefer the real boy, but at the same time we emulate the macho hero guy - How to do better by the boys? Looking at the power of the Mothers and Sons rela o Empowerment  If we have an empowered mom they are capable with empowering their sons  Empowered mom: o Has the most recent and modern understanding of what it means to be a mom in western soc now o Understanding that they are capable of so much more than being moms o Can achieve in public and private sector o Rounded out, are their real authentic selves o Informed women  Empowered mom can raise authentic/real boys o Authentic mom = authentic sons o These women can help raise an emotionally and psychologically stronger son o These boys are more confident – have a leg up o The double standard of masculintity  Idea that boys have to be both the macho guy and the sensitive guy o What is a mother to do? what about the boys of the future  Mother is the first big teacher in boys life  The first teachers – begin to socialize son and define his masculintity  How do we (moms) socialize to marry tough and sensitive?  Sensitive: Moms give boys attn. – make themselves avail, be unfailing source of love, comfort and support o = Forming a Real boy  Tough: Empowered Moms o Embrace idea of equality btw the sexes o Fight for rights in public and private sector o Women who have rediscovered or discovered their own voices  Found in themselves great resilience, assertiveness, determinitation, personal strength, toughness  Usually associate these things with masculinitity  Thrrefore, these moms have found their masculine side  Want a father for their kids who is a nurturer  Who will be an attentive, accepting, listening father to her kids o = Integrating the macho guy into the Real Boy  Context of the culture: These women understand the peer pressure to not be a “mama’s boy” and understand that it is important to raise an authentic boy.  How far can they go? Don’t want to put kid at risk, but know that being authentic is better o Understand the “Boy Code”  Being macho, masculine, non-mama’s boy hero is important to boy peers  Residual culture that would shame him for expressing his feelings  Walking a tight rope o If she can walk that tight rope, she can raise a boy who is more confident, more reliant, higher s-e, lower rates of psychopathology, overall better at school than boys who are raised as traditional boy code boys o Who is confused? Mothers and the rest of us – soc as a whole  Raising boys is important, but it is something the research is still playing catch up on in terms of educating soc  We have the research telling us there is better ways of doing things, how to rasie functional kids, but there is no test or liscence people need to take in order to have kids o We assume that people know how to raise kids  But they don’t, and we don’t licence them  Moms: were (usually) never a boy o Is the primary caregiver of this boy but doesn’t know what it is like to be him  Physically, horomonally etc.  Her resp to raise him right  Precarious situation o But if she is educated, she can look to the research for help  Therefore, research can help o Single moms with sons (divorced/sep/widowed/always on their own)  Focus a lot on doing good job with kids  May be because she doesn’t have a male reference group (husband) so she has to care more  Most single moms have excellent instincts on what to do/how to ask for help and when etc.  Do well facilitating kids in all “boy stuff” like sports etc  Real issue is not the presence or absence of a father, but the mother’s att towards men in general  Is she hostile to men? Depdent on them? Controlling of them? o Leaves boy at disadvantage o Confuses the son with regards to developing his own sense of gender  Empowered woman are pos for boys o Speaks to the qualities in functional men that she respects  How boy largely learns in a positive fashion what it means to be a real boy o Proof: single moms during WWII in Canada  The boys raised in these homes were one of the best generations of young men in Canada  Because moms had a very pos attitude towards men  Respected them for going off to war – were fathers and husbands loved by their ladies  Mothers would share storeis about the good characteristics of their men with their sons  Deved in their sons a clear understanding of traditional masc characteristics that are favourable and these mothers emulated the feminine side of the father which was loved and missed while they were away o All mothers – have to look at their own assumptions about boys and masc  Have to look at our own thoughts about masculinity  Look within ourselves at what masc means to us  Look at our personal histories of masc o What was our father like?  Distant? Hardworking? Authoritarian?  Doesn’t lend to raising a real boy  Two-faced? Player? Lookism – a value of a woman depends on how pretty she is?  Doesn’t lend to raising a real boy o These wives become somewhat flirtatious with their kids  Empowered women understand better how to facilitate kids to become best they can be – authentic boys  Son of empowered women o Have the most optimum possibility of becoming real boys  Have to teach boys about communication  Have to use and internalize the language of feelings, feeling vulnerable/dependent, that it is ok to talk about problems, that it is ok to share ones troubles with someone else, retreat without dishonour  Have to dismantle myths about boy code o Different styles and languages of love  Boys have a unique language for emotions/feelings – action language  When you sit a boy down to talk – he won’t talk  When you do an activity with the boy – he will talk to you on a personal feeling level o Go for a walk with the dog, go for a drive, go fishing, cook a meal etc. o Got to hang out with the boy to talk with him  This talk is important to fully dev boys o Time-silence syndrome of boys  When boys have a problem they are ruminating on they often follow a pattern to deal  First – I don’t want to talk about it – leave me alone – goes to room o Mom – stick around for now, don’t bug him  Later – he chooses to come out – still sad and disappointed, wants to fix it – not sure if he wants a convo or what o Mom – hang out, ask him if he is hungry or whatever, not if he is ok  Not – what’s wrong, lets sit and talk it out o Convo is never direct or obvious – always comes about organically – turns around to talk about his issue later  Approach has to be subtle – have to know that he is leading the convo, will get to the problem when he gets there  When he does talk to you about issue o Mother contributes the “mother tongue”  Lending them the language they need  Did someone bully you? Did it make you feel upset?  Begin to suggest the words or clarify the words or concepts in the convo that they need o The power of moms  Clearly immense, as seen from above  When a mom gives her son love and support, what is going to happen is that he is going to understand that as he becomes an authentic man, if he has that empowered, informed mom, this is going to be a man who will be able to share his feelings in an authentic way  Be forthright about what he likes or doesn’t  Able to share his genuine self with family and friends and collegues as he grows older and works  Will test very high with regards to confidence, success  Will achieve more edu than the average male  Will be successful in meeting soc’s expectation of him  Will not betray his real/authentic self  - Tips on how to prepare boys for the real world o Talk openly about the boy code  There are diff boys out there, some are nice, some aren’t  Talk about teasing, taunting, bullying  Mother tongue – give them the words they need to describe their experiences  Talk about issues – don’t judge, react  How to problem solve boy code issues  Has to know he is on your side  Willing to encourage him  Strategize with him  Invest in him o Teach others about the problem of the boy code  Educating fam/friends/neighbours  Letting boys play “girl” games o Dads getting mad at boys for doing that  Educating educators  Letting boys play dress up etc. o Teachers need to know that parents are ok with this o Empowered mothers can facilitate this  Empowered Mothers as trail blazers in educating boy code problems o Talk about the men you love and why you love them  Speak about the positive things that you love in the men that are close to you because these are the role models for your boy  How they are Real Men = thigns you can do to be a Real Man o Rotate parenting resp  So that parents are not constrained by gender  Showing how men doing feminine things, women doing manly things  Both parents express masc and fem features o When your boy is hurting, don’t hesitate to ask him whether he would like to talk  Avoid shaming your boy if he refuses to talk with you  Honour your boy’s need for that time-silence  Be close by for when he needs to talk o When your boy seeks reconnection, try to be there for him o Experiment with connection through action  Action language o Don’t hold back  Show them love and affection Conway Part 3: Women as Victims - Page 104: o Gap between rhetoric and action  We speak about women being able to fulfill themselves and be indep individuals (authentic selves) but find that the actions of soc don’t match up with this  E.g. A woman needs a B.A. for a job that a man needs a community college degree for o Inequalities still exist thruout soc o Fight for the modest real gains through a sort of trench warfare o Almost on a case by case basis fighting to gain ground inch by reluctant inch - Page 105: o When a woman has a child, they put less time and energy into education, career training and advancement  Woman still largely the primary caregiver – so having a kid the onus falls on the mom, so she doesn’t have as much time for the rest of her life o Scale down career aspirations o New feminism can never fully achieve equality for women as long as women continue to be primarily responsible for child care  Can fight for equal rights all you want but if children still fall on the woman – it will never be equal in terms of opportunities for growth btw men and women o An a-biological notion of equality with men failed to fight for and secure a system of family supports  Everything is equal unless you guys have kids  Have to renegotiate everything when you have children – renegotiating it unequally (onus on the woman) leads to inequality  Who will look after the kid? o Need to be like Europe, we need programs to help working deal with family obligations - Page 106: o Underemployment – low pay, job ghettoes, residual responsibilities for the children after family breakdown – all results with the women having to face the feminization of poverty  Women at greater risk for underemployment, but can be even further exaggerated when we have kids  A-biological notion of equality again o Gov’t cuts have negatively affective women’s progress - Page 107: o Children learn more from observing the instruction rather than being taught  We could be doing everything in an intact family for equality – negotiating a new order etc. – but kids could still get a sexist stereotype  If our children are sexist in attitude, it is because we still live our daily lives in a sexist and stereotypical manner  i.e. T.V . – sexist, reading material – sexist, tasks performed at home – sexist in nature - Page 108: o Mis-education / Mis-socialization of children  Due to children observing (above) o 1980 adolescent girls still see their lives in very traditional and romanticized terms  Romanticizing the traditional family  Women still living a double-consciousnessness  Distraction about appearance/lookism/expectations of romance when the energy should be channelled towards education and bettering self o Teenage pregnancy a problem – children having children o Structural oppression vs. internalized oppression: concept of unjust burdens  In the public sector  Structural oppression  Quiet unjust burdens that lay on women in terms of the social structure o E.g. childcare needs for working mothers, pay differentials – charged the same for items as a man, but he worked less time than you to make that amount of money  In the private sector  Internalized oppression  In your family is there oppression? Learned helplessness? Are you still into lookism? Romanticizing femininity in a bad way?  Do you realize what this costs you?  How this prohibits you from being as empowered as possible, from being as informed as possible? o Masculinity taken to the extreme can harm – can result in violence, but Femininity taken to the extreme can harm only women = waste of their use of time and thought i.e. lookism, - self denial, - inhibition  Internalized oppression The Double Burder - Page: 114: o Women’s work in the private sector – unpaid work o Housework – endless, invisible, unrecognized and taken for granted o Sharing the tasks? Women still do more.  More housework  More childcare  Women do the hard stuff, men do the leisurely childcare  Men enjoy more leisuretime  Yet cost to replace wives high. - Dual Career Families - Page 115: o Men spent 1/2 the time women do regarding housework o Men spent 1/3 the time women do regarding childcare o Passive leisure time: men enjoy much more i.e. watching T.V. - Page 116: o Working married women spent 3 & 1/2 hours on housework each day o Men spend 1 & 1/2 hours o Stress and resentment is up for women in partnerships  Women actually do more housework with a partner than they do on their own  Would expect it to cut it half with a partner, not increase o Stress becomes worse with the introduction of a child  Childcare problems - having a child affects mothers’ careers  Mothers gave up transfers – turned down promotions  Balancing job and domestic obligations a hazard - Page 118: o So far longevity (life cycle) does not appear to be affected by long term employment (stress) o Three strategies for dealing with the double burden: 1. Cut back the commitment to work 2. Relinquish career aspirations 3. Cut corners at home – women surrendered and discontinued putting pressure on men in an effort to ease domestic tension a. Takes too much time to get the husband to help, so women gives up on his help and does less work o The most important component of marital bliss (for ladies) is rooted in a husband’s willingness to share domestic and childcare work fairly  Hard for men to realize that the secure way to a woman’s heart is through the mop, pail, laundry room and kitchen sink o This failure to realize the dynamics of a domestic partnership results in more women than men initiating divorce  Men’s failure to accept fair sharing of domestic and childcare tasks has presented women with a hard choice: 1. Either accept the double burden to sustain the family or 2. Opt for divorce and a period of single parenthood.  Easier to get out of the marriage than go over the same arguments again and again in terms of housework  Might try 1
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