January 22 2013
This New York Times headline makes me want to shake somebody:
I Don’t Want My Preschooler to be a Gentleman
The article is by Lynn Messina, a novelist living in New York, according to her tagline. Here is her horror story:
My 4-year-old son, Emmett, swallows a spoonful of cereal and asks me if I know what a gentleman is. Surprised, I tell him I have some idea; then I ask what the word means to him.
“A gentleman lets girls go first,” he says, explaining that every day at naptime all the girls go to the bathroom before the boys.
His explanation, along with the quiet solemnity with which he delivers it, is completely endearing and yet it makes my heart ache. This adorable little boy, who is only beginning to learn the ways of the world, just got his first lesson in sexism — and from a teacher who, I don’t doubt, believes she’s doing something wonderful for womankind.
Poor Emmet. He may grow up to be one of those oafs who ungallantly elbow women aside to save their own lousy skins in a crisis.
Ms. Messina is particularly upset that the boys have to wait and let the girls use the bathroom first. (Does this mean tots have coed bathrooms? If so, there’s your problem right there. We just formed two lines in elementary school because there were gender specific bathrooms.) In describing distaff hardships, Ms. Messina invokes the 77 cents wage gap, which, as Mona Charen points out, is a “canard cannot be killed no matter how many times it's been shown to be bogus.”
But great job, feminists. You have mostly killed chivalry. Now your middle school daughters can be asked for [sexual favors] by their classmates. And many, with no dads at home to protect and guide them, comply.
When they get to college, the first thing they'll learn is how to avoid date rape.
But, as I say, great job. Because we don't want women "exalted out of sight."
One thinks of Bertie's odious, feminist mother in the Alexander McCall Smith Scotland Street series.
Bertie longed to escape her cluthces and the pink dungarees she forced him to wear, and one can only wonder if poor Emmet will have similar experiences.