Monday, December 10, 2007

Gun shy

As the mother of two girls, at times, I have looked jealously upon those who have only boys, knowing they don’t have to deal with the negative female stereotypes perpetuated by the omnipresent princess craze.

I have envied the fact that they will never have to stand in a toy store and watch their son coo over a Bratz doll dressed like a cheap streetwalker and try to explain to their child that no, Santa is not going to bring you one of those (fucking ugly horrible nasty sleazy hootchie) dolls.

I have on occasion peered over the fence at the very green grass of the parents of boys while thinking about how they don’t have to worry about their seven-year-old sons asking to wear belly-baring shirts or eyeliner or high heels.

But yesterday, all of that envy faded away.

We were at the home of our dear friends who have two adorable sons. The men were outside hanging Christmas lights and my friend and I were inside with the kids. As she dashed upstairs to put her younger son down for a nap, I was left in the living room with Peanut, Loaf and their older son.

He opened the toy chest in the center of the room and pulled out two shiny toy guns and handed one to Peanut.

“Do you like guns?” he asked.

She took it gingerly in one hand and rubbed its sleek silver surface with the other.

“Sure,” she said.

He raised his gun with one hand pointed it at her. “BLAM!”

“I know your mom and dad say you’re not supposed to point those at people,” I interjected, not really knowing for sure if that was indeed the rule, but he acquiesced and pointed it toward the empty kitchen instead. “There’s a bad guy in there. BLAM!”

Not knowing quite what to make of it, Peanut held hers like a baby doll, cradling it in her arms.

“You hold it like this,” he corrected her, showing her how to wrap her hands around the handle and lace her fingers through to the trigger. She obliged smiling sweetly.

The effect was unnerving. There she was – my angel - my gentle, happy child with her giant green eyes, soft creamy skin and rose petal lips holding a gun like a character out of Pulp Fiction. Even though the guns were styled to look like futuristic laser guns and not the bullet-bearing variety that kill so many in today’s world, seeing her like this made my blood run cold. I shifted uncomfortably on the floor while chewing the inside of my lip. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

“Why don’t we find something else to play with,” I suggested carefully, not wishing to call too much attention to the fact that Mommy doesn’t like toy guns. The last thing I wanted to do was draw more attention to it.

“OK,” she agreed dropping it on the carpet and picking up a toy keyboard instead. To my relief, she didn’t touch either gun again for the rest of the day and neither did Loaf.

So while I still worry about the amount of influence Disney has on my girls, and the oversexed dolls and clothing being thrust upon them at much too young an age, I know now that the parents of boys have their own set of challenges to deal with. I think I can stop looking over that fence now.



Anonymous Rocas said...

Growing up, my son never wanted a gun or gun like thing and yet today at 18 years of age, he likes to do all his battles with controllers and an internet connection. I understand that more than half of the team he is playing with are girls (who I have seen can really whoop some ass).

5:01 PM  
Blogger Unruly Jets Fan said...

I would rather take the two girls. I have one of each. Although a perfectly normal boy, I sometimes stare at him and wonder about that. My daughter can sit there and draw a picture or color in a book for two hours. He cannot eat a cookie without destroying the kitchen.

Kim, by the way, great blog! It is really funny and you write terrificly.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

I completely understand how you feel. Sometimes I think when our 2nd comes along I hope it's a boy. Then we spend time with friends who have boys... and I completely hope for another girl. They just generally seem calmer.

I do have to say that I wouldn't mind if the huge baggy flannel shirt look came back into style by the time Zoe is a teenager. I was at the mall and saw a group of girls who had to be about 13... but before looking too closely I would have thought they were all college students. Scary.

9:35 PM  
Blogger alejna said...

I hear you. I fear the day that my toddler daughter will show an interest in princessy stuff. And the later threat of Bratz dolls freaks me out even more. (I hope, I hope that the fad is long past by the time my girl is 10 or so.)

While the princess and Bratz crazes scare me, they don't scare me as much as the potential for actual danger that comes along with some of the boy-toy subculture. (I just read another post on this topic that you might find interesting, too.)

10:37 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

My little guy isn't into gun culture, but he's still just so much ROUGHER than my daughters - and he's the class gentle guy! It's funny, the differences.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Yep, any way you shake it parenting is tough. Doesn't matter if they are boys or girls.

2:42 PM  

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