Raising a Redditor
Andrew’s class earned themselves a Pajama Day. I’m not sure exactly how this prize is unlocked, but apparently it has something to do with filling a jar with marbles. “Ten marbles to Hufflepuff for correctly spelling SITS! Twelve marbles to Slytherin for deciding not to eat the paste today!”
Andrew thinks that Pajama Day is one of three major holidays. Christmas, Halloween, and Pajama Day. Thanksgiving? Yeah, it’s fine, but it’s clearly second-tier to Pajama Day.
I knew we were going to have a problem when he came downstairs in his baseball pajamas. They’re cute. Blue flannel pants printed with baseballs and bats. An orange jersey that says … oh, geez, does it really say that? An orange jersey that says, “Boys Rule the World Phys. Ed. Dept.” How had I not noticed that before?
I’ve considered myself a feminist for as long as I’ve known the word. Growing up, my best friend was a girl, and I always had a basic awareness that there seemed to be different standards for boys and girls, a different set of rules. And I knew that was stupid.
Adulthood has made the different sets of rules even more clear, and there’s little that’s been as personally frustrating and infuriating to me as watching my friend pushed out of a job when she had a child. The systematic way in which she was undermined so that she’d have to wonder, “Was this my failing? Did that really just happen?” was truly disgusting.
Gay men often seem to have difficulty with the concept of feminism and sexism. There’s this casual idea that if you’re gay, you just can’t be sexist, so when you say and do sexist things, you don’t really mean them that way. It’s just a joke. I’m constantly disappointed when gay men fail to understand that homophobia is a subset of sexism and misogyny. Homophobia only exists because people believe in these fundamental differences between the genders and try to enforce them.
So I’m not sure how Andrew has worn that shirt to bed so many times without my seeing the message. But this morning, I had this image of him wearing it where other people would see it, and I was horrified. I checked with Austin.
“So … Andrew’s shirt. I’m not imagining that, am I?” I asked.
“Nope,” he said. “Not imagining. He can’t wear that to school.”
It was almost time for school, so there was no way to switch shirts without a conversation. We brought down a new shirt, one with a baseball on it, so he could still wear it with his pajama pants. He wasn’t happy about it.
Austin tried to explain that the message on the first shirt kind of says that boys are better than girls, and that doesn’t seem like a very nice thing to say. Andrew sulked, but he gave in and switched shirts. But not without a parting shot:
“I don’t know why you care. The girls would all know it’s just a joke.”
I explained to him that some of the girls might not think it was a funny joke, that it seemed more like a mean joke to me.
And then I whispered to Austin, “Dear god, we’re raising a redditor.”
(Secret Spirit Day Bonus: His t-ball shirt is purple!)