Sunday, February 18, 2007

Boys rule, TV drools

A few weeks into kindergarten, my son casually informed me: "Girls are cool; boys are dumb."

This felt like a gut punch. "Where did you hear that?" I asked.

"I don't know. Maybe at school?"

"Well it's not true," I said. "Girls are cool, but boys are cool too -- way cool. You are definitely a cool kid. And you're all smart."

He looked at me and took this in. "Okay," he said, and zoomed off to crash some trucks.

I thought this kind of gender nonsense was as passe as moon boots and Nixon. I wonder why, in this lovely new millennium, this kind of thing ever became part of my son's frame of reference. Why, as he's entering kindergarten, did he have to get smacked with the notion that he's dumb because he's a boy? This is a child whose vocabulary doesn't even include the word dumb -- I'd never heard him say it. This is a child who's always felt empowered. At age two he proclaimed, "I am as big as the air!" And age three, he distilled democracy and the election process to its bottom line: "I am the boss of the country!"

And so I'd like to track down the parent of the child or children who said "boys are dumb," who afflicted my son by proxy, and give them the Kim Possible Kung-Fu treatment, in the same way I'd want to Kung-Fu someone who negligently infected my boy with a deadly virus. They caused my boy, at age five, to doubt his worth. To deflate. To consider for the first time that he's not as big as the air. And that is definitely not cool.