Sunday, March 4, 2013
Dear Alex -
Last night you're watching television – Nick at Nite. The70s Show comes on later around 9pm and you ask if you can watch it. You're a very precocious kid and it IS Nick at Nite, so I say fine as long as I watch with you.
You love it. It's hilarious.
You love Fez. You love Kelso. You love Eric's Dad. You are unphased by *circle time* because any improper or more adult behavior if implied and not shown. Fine. We're good.
This episode is about Jackie and Kelso breaking up. At the VERY end of the show, Kelso is singing a love song and one of the other boys makes a joke and uses the word "whore".
"Mommy-what does whore mean?"
I literally hang my head down, close my eyes, take a breath and mumble "ughh……" and I can hear your snickering. You know you've hit a good one!
SOO – I tell you.
Like always –when it comes – it's time. So I tell you a few things. I tell you:
A boy or a girl can be called a whore.
A whore has at LEAST two "meanings". The first one is a person who charges money to have sex with another person. We speak at length about the morality of that – how it's complicated – how despite the fact I think people with free will can make any decision for themselves (as opposed to the obvious forced behavior not of their free will being NEVER acceptable), I personally would be sad if myself or someone I loved was selling their sex. This was hard to explain why because it's so personal based on morals, culture, upbringing, experience –and then we speak of tolerance and judging other decisions.
Which led us to the second meaning.
The word being used to judge others –boys or girls – for ASSUMEDLY having MORE sex than the person judging thinks is acceptable. Pretty obvious what is so wrong about all of that - things based on assumption, name calling, judging, etc. The light bulb goes off and you get how the word was used in the show now and why (they were being mean and judging to someone's behavior regarding sex, despite the fact that no money was ever involved –the word has become *ugly* and thus used to be ugly).
Then we talk about how there are other words for it. Prostitute, hooker and how in the Rap songs that "ho" is slang for whore. More lightbulbs go off.
Then we talk about how it's used more to judge women than men. (Now THAT is a whole new conversation that we will delve into more as you get more into pre-teen –that is 100% sexism and culture.) We talk about why the word is so ugly and can hurt someone badly- how powerful it's become and how important it is to realize that to avoid hurting someone with it. How low a base of expression it is.
You're good- you feel awesome every time you learn something you believe is "adult". You sheepishly smile and ask me if you can say "just one joke".
I know this is normal, you connecting the meanings to make sure you have it right, your reaction to dealing with some of the discomfort of the subject, etc. Sooo - I allow it. You say "Whore. It's what you call your girlfriend when she breaks up with you!" I barely smile - agree you "used the word right" and we move on, back to recycling the pain of such humour on the subject of the joke. Basically it's just not the right time for me to be "lightening up" about a joke on it - but I love how honest you are and how safe I make you feel to talk and learn.
So this morning at breakfast I tell Dad (who was out last night) about the show, the word and our conversations. I think it's key you get the male father perspective on this subject as well. Dad
freaks a little, then smiles and laughs at my challenge last night and then takes over. He comes later to tell me how THAT conversation went down.
Dad is huge on the true origin of a word in language and how culture affected it. So he spoke of how selling sex was seen to upset the "original order" of things. People don't like that –there was long felt feelings regarding sex in society – heavily influenced by religion. So you had sex for children, not fun. You had sex with your spouse only. You deal with any issues and do not go elsewhere – whores or otherwise. Etc. Then as society evolves – much of this changes. Some does not. It depends on your generation, your culture, your geographical location/culture, your history, your upbringing, your experiences. Etc. The word morphs into a negative connotation of a lack of self – respect (again, does not necessarily have to be true – does not mean that everyone that chooses to sell their sex literally has a low self-esteem – and granted, that is a very adult concept we didn't delve into this area as much….we'll get there once you are more prone to be struggling with being sexually active, etc.) – hence used to name call.
Of-course last night we also had discussions about why your Dad gets weird when you play in my closet with me and want to try on my flashier things like orange snakeskin shoes and jewelry and shiny pants- but hey –that's another discussion and letter entry I'll do later.
I love you more than life itself. I love your father for joining me in this unorthodox path of teaching you the TRUTH – in FULL – REGARDLESS of how uncomfortable it might be for us at times – because when you bring it to us, or we stumble into it, or even invite it, kiddo – YOU DESERVE THE TRUTH.
So proud of you – and us. On to the next adventure!
oh yeah -and check out this:[link]
idea i had for a series and never did - it's beyond awesome