Once again, I have been labeled a “man-hater” and now some people seem to think that I am raising my young daughter to hate men as well. NEITHER BELIEF IS TRUE!
First, I do love MEN. I thoroughly dislike BOYS. I wish I did hate men. It would make my life so much easier. Instead, I find myself wasting precious brain cells dreaming of imaginary men who are intelligent and yet still have the desire to learn. I imagine a man who is passionate about a dream but still able to view the world openly. Mr. Imagination is a man who is emotionally mature enough that not every sentence is a sexual innuendo or fart joke, and of course, he is loyal to the people who are important and rely on him, and has the integrity not to use people like waste receptacles.
However, currently my world does not provide “relative easy access” to men such as this. I know they exist. The one’s I know personally are happily married or in long-standing relationships. I know, crazy isn’t it? I know good men and freely admit it. On a daily basis, I deal with boys half my age. Boys who are still discovering that they can go into a liquor store and walk out with a case of beer, to which they immediately start guzzling down in case someone might take it away. Boys who have not left the nest. Not my kind of man. That’s one reason I don’t date. The other is quite simply, lack of money. I am too broke to date. I can’t afford a baby sitter, and I can’t afford to take someone out. I’ve heard the argument that I shouldn’t have to pay to take out a real man, but truthfully, I don’t trust it. I would rather have the ability to pay my way, as I don’t like to assume anyone will give me anything.
So why do people think I hate men? Because I have high standards is the only thing I come up with. I don’t hold on to the past, but it has shaped me and my desires. My father is a highly decorated criminal. He’s done unspeakable things to many and even been convicted. However, he’s a smooth talker and has been able to convince the world that he is harmless or that he was the true victim. However, I know the truth. It took me years of separation to get his hook out of me. Then I became very cognizant of the words that someone says, versus their actions. Actions do speak louder than words.
My ex-husband was another piece of work. I was not fully free of my father when I fell for his smooth words, too. He was very similar to my father when it came to head games. I cringe when I look back at the woman I was with him. I let him demean and mistreat me daily and yet I thought that’s what love was. You see, I had no reference for love growing up. Eventually, things got so bad and scary that I extricated my daughter and myself from the situation.
Now my beautiful daughter is growing up in a world without a significant male role model. There is not a man in her life to regularly remind her she is special. Instead, she is one of three girls in a classroom of 25 children. Yes, that means 22 of them are boys five to six years old. Strangely, her kindergarten class is similar to my male dominated world. Statistically, in her class, if something bad happens or breaks, a boy did it. The girls find themselves dominated, teased and often forced to “act” like the boys in order to fit in with the group. The two teachers can only do so much, and yes, I’ve talked with them at length. They’ve separated some boys to help alleviate much of the damage that was happening.
Still, my daughter would come home sometimes feeling frustrated or sad that the boys call her names or pull her hair. She would act out behavior that I did not appreciate her learning from her classmates. Burps, farts, booger, butt and “girls are icky” talk are not acceptable. I tried to boost her morale by reminding her that she is not less than any boy is. In a way, she’s stronger because she is facing adversity that the boys likely never will. I try to build up her personal faith and belief in herself and remind her she can do anything regardless of what any boy may try to say. It’s working for the most part but became a struggle when we started going to birthday parties of her classmates. The parents of these boys would try to correct me and say “No. Girls are not better. We are all the same with the same opportunities.” Or other similar comments. Now, that is a great belief. However, it is not true. I want my daughter to grow up believing all doors are open to her, but I can’t lie to her about having the same smooth road. The truth is this world is still a man’s world. She will have to prove her worth professionally in a way her classmates won’t have to. She’s always loved to play with helicopters and jets, and yet even now, boys and some parents preach to her those aren’t “girl toys.” When she asks me if she can play with them still, I say “Of course,” but she’s confused because she’s proud not to be a boy and doesn’t want to act like a boy.
Because I am trying to raise a strong, self-reliant and positive girl in a world of mostly boys, I have been labeled as a man-hater raising a man-hater. It’s not true. I love men, but just haven’t found one who fits my world. I’m raising my daughter not to hate men, but to have her own inner strength and faith in her abilities that a man’s world cannot destroy. It’s different raising a strong woman than a strong man. In a man’s world, some doors just automatically open. Strength is expected. Raising a strong woman requires mentally shoring up her defenses against a world of negatives. Someone will always be there to tell her she’s not smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, tall enough, light enough, dark enough, tough enough or domestic enough. As women, we are subjected to subliminal messages everyday that we are not good enough in some regard. Now I’m being told I’m not good enough to be a mom for a young girl because I want her to have her own inner strength that can contend with the negativity she is sure to encounter as she grows.
It doesn’t mean I hate men. It doesn’t mean I’m raising a man-hater. I’m raising a strong woman. Mayhap the people labeling me have issues with strong women.