Why Do We Keep Saying Boys Are Easier?
Throughout our history, parents have preferred boys to girls. When boys carried on the family name and ensured the continuation of the family line, they were the key to a family's success and happiness. But for the past 50 years, our male preference has stayed relatively the same. It's the 21st century, American moms and dads are still hoping their little ones will be boys, by a 40 percent to 28 percent margin.
We think boys are easier. With boys, they say, you don't get all the drama that comes with girls. You don't have to deal with petty fighting, hormonal imbalances, and the ups and downs of girl life. You don't have to worry about her teenage years, when she fights to dress a certain way and starts dating boys.
How does this anti-girl rhetoric affect our expectations as parents? And what exactly does it say about our girls?
Pregnant with her third daughter, a mother I know routinely endures comments from people who insist boys would be so much easier. They reassure her that maybe next time, she'll have that long-awaited boy. But she and her husband like having girls, and they don't want their daughters to think that somehow a boy would have been the more preferable option.
There's nothing wrong with dads dreaming of a son to play sports with, teach the tools of his trade to, and carry on his family name. I hope to have a daughter some day for the same sort of reasons.
Our seemingly lighthearted comments about the "ease" of sons and the "difficulty" of daughters, though, are steeped in a troubling worldview.
LZ Granderson wrote for CNN that he hadn't even left the hospital with his new bundle of joy before a nurse told him how blessed he was to have a son rather than a daughter. Granderson said:
At the core of this line of thinking isn't safety – it's sex. When someone offers this piece of advice, it's with the thinking that girls have to be protected from boys who will say and do just about anything to get in their pants. What's typically missing from this discussion is the challenge to parents – particularly fathers – not to raise a liar and a cheat.
True, parents of boys do not have to worry about them coming home pregnant, but does that mean an unplanned pregnancy can be considered "the girl's problem"? After all, a boy's girlfriend did not get pregnant asexually. That's why I'm Tebowing day and night, hoping my 15-year-old has the will to stay away from sex – even though the world all around him tells him there's something wrong with him if he does.
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