I've been avoiding reading it... mainly because I encountered it after other people were already talking about it. At first that stops me, because you don't need me to point to it, but sometimes I get around to it anyway. Who knows why?
Well, in this case, I'm a mother of sons, and I raised them when the President of the United States was an admitted sexual predator — in the 1990s — so maybe I can help. Is it harder to raise boys than girls when we know our country's leader preys on young females? I'll leave to the side how much we really know about Trump's sexual predation in comparison to Clinton's. Monica Lewinsky was young and an underling in the workplace Clinton ran, but she seems to have sought him out and fallen into enthusiastic love. Trump bragged about just starting kissing women who let you do it. Clinton exposed his erect penis and said "kiss it" to a woman, Paula Jones, who did not let him do that.
Enough of that comparison. I want to concentrate on the supposed special problem of raising boys. I haven't read Piazza's article yet, only the title. I'm just guessing that her idea is that if you have a girl, you can use the powerful man to teach her what she's up against and steel her for the struggle. If you have a boy instead... what's the problem? Maybe Piazza will say that he's going to identify with and emulate what is a bad example.
But how do you know the girl wouldn't look to the President as exemplifying the kind of man she should admire and seek out? And how do you know the boy wouldn't accept your teaching that the President is a bad role model from which he should strive to distinguish himself?
[INSERTED INFO: At this point, I begin reading the article.]
Piazza originally thought she'd be raising a girl — as she puts it "a small woman" — at a time when we had a female President, which seemed especially nice, but even after Trump got elected, she seemed to think she knew what she would do — teach the girl to work "harder and smarter and better than the men around her" and "to fight for equality and respect."
But then she had that moment when she had to think about the baby being the gender that was not the one she'd been fantasizing about:
Piazza — like Billy Bigelow in "Carousel" — flows with ideas of how to raise a child whose sex matches her/his own but is flummoxed at the prospect of dealing with the opposite sex. She says:
What terrifies me is the idea of raising a boy with good values when a man who represents the male stereotypes we've been fighting for generations is in the White House. A man who bullies both men and women in person and on Twitter. This man could dominate our news cycle for the next eight years. I can't hide his bad behavior from our son.Oh, come on. The behavior the 70-year-old Trump is going to demonstrate in the White House is not the sudden kissing he talked about years ago when he was off-camera in an "Access Hollywood" van.
How can I explain to a little boy that the year he was born, the President of the United States was an admitted sexual predator who treats women (including his own daughters) as "pieces of ass"?... How do I explain that grabbing a woman by her genitals is not an acceptable salutation when the man in charge of the country normalized it?Since President Trump will be out of office by the time your child is 8, I'd suggest not talking about any of that. Piazza frets about "explaining sensitivity and nonviolence" to the boy. I'd suggest demonstrating it, beginning by not going out of your way to express contempt for the President.
A child — boy or girl — lives with real people, and these people set the example that the child will copy. It's not really very much about explanations and characters on television. How about not putting on the television and not talking about politics and sex in front of young children? Give them a real, comprehensible, simple, gentle environment that is on their level.
Piazza worries about explaining "the president's picks for attorney general and CIA director voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act." Frankly, she shouldn't try to explain that to anyone, since she doesn't even understand it herself. Votes against the Violence Against Women Act were not votes for violence against women. If you don't know why, at least have some modesty and restraint about your potential to confuse and unnecessarily rile other people.
Let children be children. And let adults who don't want to understand law — including things like federalism — have some peace. Your hysteria is not helping.
Piazza says: "I want to make a good little man." That's a decent, worthy goal. Start there. I would quibble with the notion that a mother "makes" her baby into the adult that baby will grow to be. It's not scientifically true and, ironically, it's probably not good feminism, but I understand the poetry of "I want to make a good little man."
Piazza gives respect to her husband, the boy's father. He seems to be a good man, whoever made him good. Perhaps his mother made him good, in part, and maybe his wife too. Maybe he made himself good. But Piazza is lucky to have a good man. If the boy has a good father and a good mother and they make a good home and set a good example, that's giving the boy almost everything, and there's nothing to be terrified of from the President, however good or bad he might be in your mind or in reality or in the political movie we'll watch on television and the internet if we don't limit our screen time.
Perhaps if Piazza had a bit more respect for conservatism, she wouldn't look to the President to do so much for her. He's off there, tending to the matters that belong to government, working and bumbling and succeeding in the way human beings do. You might like some or none of what he does. But you and your husband and your home are what matter to a little child, and the fact of his being a boy and not a girl is a diversion of pregnancy.
When he is born he won't just be A Boy. He'll be a particular boy, a particular individual, not the stereotype you dwell on when you have so much time to think about him when he's there but not really there in his pre-birth form. Respect the boy. Respect the person. Respect your own home and the worthiness of your family. Love your husband and let him show his love for you.
Explanations are overrated. The power of the presidency is overblown. Find love and meaning where it really is.
It's much simpler than you're willing to say, perhaps because you have a career writing columns about feminism and politics. That's nice for you, but be careful. It's a brutal template, and you are having a baby.