…all right, it’s roles, not “rolls,” but the gender role thing can really make me steam at times. I try not to scald my nearly 9-year-old in the process. But then there are the occasional moments of gender education like yesterday.
Let me preface by saying that my daughter likes to watch various shows, both animated and live-action, on Netflix that are geared toward the younger crowd but not necessarily as young as she is. As long as there’s nothing too outrageous going on in them, I don’t fret too much. I was being taken to R-rated movies like “The Enforcer” when I was her age by my mom (God rest her beautiful soul) and I managed OK, so I think my daughter can handle a few tween/teen-level references. However, in an unfortunate scripting choice, one episode of a show she likes led to this:
Little Goddess: Daddy, what are cahawnies?
Little Goddess: (Plays back the previous 10 seconds of the scene for herself) Oh. Cojones. What does that mean?
Me:Um. I’m not sure how to answer that. OK. I’m not going to give you details. It’s a Spanish word that refers to a part of the body and that’s as far as I want to go with this. But the phrase as it’s being used means to “man up” or “be a man”…basically, be tougher or more assertive.
Little Goddess: OK. Thanks.
Me: Now, wait. I’m not quite done. Remember that things like that…things that suggest you should be more manly to be tough…that’s not accurate. Women and men are different, but neither is better than the other. Not even tougher, really.
Little Goddess: All right, Daddy. Jericho told us the other day that his mom said “Men and boys are stronger than women and girls.”
Me: Physically and biologically, men usually have more muscle in the upper body and are stronger in that way, but by the same token, women often deal with pain much better. Both are toughness.
Little Goddess: That makes sense, Daddy. Today, when we were doing Field Day at school, we were playing tug-of-war and the boys won, but afterward they were all (rolls her neck and shoulders dramatically) “Owwwwwwww” and “I’m sore.” And we girls, our hands were all burning and stuff but we were just laughing and smiling and saying, “Whatever.”
So, that’s how I got from “cojones” to a lesson in gender roles and their usually idiotic nature. May all such lessons go so smoothly in the future. And may she not ask me about cojones again until she’s at least 16.