I know that you can’t please everyone, but I think that from time to time, it’s good to get a reminder of this.
I recently read an article in which a public school in Rhode Island was banned from having Daddy-daughter dances and Mother-son ballgames because of gender discrimination. The ACLU filed a suit on behalf of a single mom whose daughter couldn’t go to the dance.
No matter what happened here, someone was going to be unhappy. Those on the side of these dances and ballgames support them based on tradition and bonding with your child. Those against these events cite gender discrimination, supporting stereotypes, and exclusionary behavior. I see both sides; I do. However, I don’t believe that everything has to be “fair.” From what I’ve seen (and I have a lot more to see, hopefully), life isn’t fair. Things don’t fall into easy categories. Someone is going to be excluded sometime, whether it be by policy, individuals, or accident. Someone will be excluded. We can’t legislate fair. We can try, but I disagree with any type of black and white thinking. I don’t think that these dances/ ballgames were either good or bad. If someone was unhappy with them, perhaps they could have tried to come up with a more flexible solution.
It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback something like this and criticize the decisions made by others. I wasn’t there and don’t know the whole story, so I hesitate to say, “well maybe this” or “maybe that.” What I can say is that I think that as a society, many of us have forgotten that “fair” does not mean “equal.” “Fair” means “free from dishonesty, bias, or injustice.”
So, I guess the question comes down to whether or not we should acknowledge gender differences. They exist. I know that I talk about different things with my female friends as opposed to my male friends. Toddler girls and toddler boys interact with toys differently. Should gender be homogenized? Should we all just be the same? Or is it okay to have differences? I realize that I’m oversimplifying what this issue is really about. The issue isn’t about differences per se. The issue is that one mom felt it wasn’t fair that her daughter couldn’t go to the dance without a daddy.
Honestly, when I hear about stuff like this, I’m a little disturbed that everyone has to miss out on something they were probably looking forward to because one person couldn’t go. Isn’t that a perfect illustration of our “me first” society? If I can’t do it, neither should you! I think you can probably tell which side of the issue I come in on. It’s a live and let live thing. I can’t walk across a stable surface without tripping over my feet. Does that mean that other people shouldn’t be allowed to play sports? I can’t stand up to use the bathroom. Does my jealousy mean boys should be legislated to sit down?
What do you think? Tell me in comments.
It is a sad circumstance. On the one hand, these events are traditional and a great bonding opportunity between a parent and child. But on the other hand, they can be heartbreaking for a child who doesn’t have a father or mother. The definition of “family” has changed so much that in everyday situations it may not be so hard because differences have become more generally accepted, but events like this have the potential to really hurt some kids and make them feel left out, especially for those who suffered a recent loss of a parent.
I’m torn, because like you I can see both sides. But it is a shame to stop the events altogether, when so many enjoy them. For me, it’s not a gender issue at all, it’s only about what is best for the kids. The question is: is it better to let some kids rejoice in the relationships they have, at risk of hurting other kids who may not have those relationships?