My step-son was born and raised in Germany. This Momma came into his life when he was about 5 years old and I am grateful that I did. He is an important and cherished part of this crazy extended family I belong to.
We are almost at the end of our time together. In a little under 48 hours, two of us will fly east and he will head back west to catch his international flight. The way things go in airports these days, it should take about the same amount of time.
Most of the time, when the three of us are together, we laugh. Well, that’s not exactly true. We talk about language, international politics, economies of the world, baseball, and annoying, trivial things like why we can’t get the debit card to work to pay his share of the student apartment. And, we get silly and stupid and laugh a lot.
In that silly and stupid spirit, I suggested he take a photo with a Las Vegas showgirl. Click To Tweet
So, in that silly and stupid spirit, I suggested he take a photo with a stereotypical, feather-clad Las Vegas showgirl. I was kind of surprised at his response. The first time, he said “no,” and we let it go. His dad and I thought he was being shy and self-conscious. The next day, we encountered the same situation and got the same response. Only this time, he turned the tables on me.
The Tables Are Turned
“How does dressing up in revealing costumes and taking pictures fit with your views as a feminist?” he asked.
“It’s her body. It’s her right and I hope she makes a lot of money,” I replied.
“But it’s exploitation,” he said.
“I don’t think it is. Even if I were more attractive, it’s not a behavior I would choose, but I put the practice somewhere on the continuum of voluntary sex workers and she can do what she wants,” I tried again.
He can be stubborn.
“I won’t do it. Don’t you see? It is like paying for sex. It’s her choice to offer but if I pay, it’s exploitation.”
There are four boys (now grown men) each with a fierce feminist streak that amazes and inspires me. Click To Tweet
Humble Pie a la Mode
At that point, I had nothing to say to my favorite 20-something but, “You’re absolutely right. I’m not too good at seeing things from the male feminist perspective.”
Talk about eating humble pie and having a proud mom moment at the same time… wow. Actually, in a blended family that includes four “boys” (now grown men), I have only been involved with the upbringing of one. With the others, I have tried to be a cheerleader and a friend. But, each and every one of them has a fierce feminist streak that amazes and inspires me.
And to the other mothers who raised the rest? All I can say is “right on, sister.”
I love this story! After all of the #metoo stories, I thought how important it is to have what I call “The Other Sex Talk” – the one that MOTHERS need to have with their sons. About valuing women, listening when women say no, getting consent and treating them with respect in all circumstances. Thanks for raising another good man!
I hope that conversations about gender, gender roles, stereotyping, empathy, communication, and consent are an ongoing part of conversations between parents and kids of all genders. That’s one of the things I love watching all of the other young men in this family and their parenting styles. As I said in the piece, I can’t take much credit for this guy — I’m only Mom 2.0 — but his biological mother hears lots of compliments from this part of the family.
What a great story Andrea! I love how open and communicative you are with your stepson! And those golden nuggets you just got to love. thank you for sharing your heart and soul!
Thanks, Debra. I think that’s the main advantage to the ‘cheerleader and friend’ mode. We joke about my “mom” moments but have always been clear about who the “real deal” is.
I I am always caught off guard when my adult kids turn the table on me and feed me back my own beliefs !
I love this Andrea! You have raised a very intelligent young man.
Thanks — bio mom gets the credit. I get to stand on the sidelines and cheer him on.