It used to be all about the boys, but now apparently it’s all about the girls. It wearies me greatly to think of a child’s gender in terms of being fashionable or otherwise, but it would seem that once again, and somewhat unsurprisingly, I am out of step with society. I am talking here about the rise of the SMOG. The title is an acronym for ‘Smug Mother Of Girls’, and as it suggests, refers to an apparently growing group of women, who are convinced that while little boys are made of “Slugs and snails and puppy dog’s tails”, little girls definately corner the market in “All things nice”.
Now I’m not talking here about women taking a pride in their children as individuals, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong with that at all, after all it’s kind of in a mother’s job description. I am talking here about women who actively pity the mothers of boys, and are genuinely convinced that girls are some kind of superior species in every way.
My own mother was a bit like this. I am an only child, and obviously, a girl, and unsurprisingly, I was a delightful child (right up until I went to university apparently). When we found out that my eldest child was to be a boy, Mum was genuinely worried that she wouldn’t feel as much affection to him because she felt that she didn’t know how to deal with boys. All the gender stereotypes played out in her mind. She feared that he would be rough, hyperactive, loud and aggressive, inarticulate, and slow to learn. Now obviously due to my superhuman parenting skills (don’t laugh), and some help from a rather good genetic heritage, my eldest son is quite the opposite of all these things, and I’m not just saying this because I’m his mum.
But the point is, that for years we have been being fed this idea that little girls are in many ways superior to boys, in that the mature more quickly, mentally and physically. They tend to outperform boys at primary and secondary school level. They tend to be able to communicate their feelings more effectively, and to empathise with others more readily. But of course, as with everything in nature, the balance is redressed along the line, and boys start to outshine girls at university and while climbing the career and earnings ladder.
I must admit, as you may have gathered from some of my earlier posts, I do get tired of some of the superficial feminism that is bandied about these days, and I see the rise of the SMOG as a result of this. Of course in many parts of the world there is a real imbalance in the ways that men and women are treated, places where women are still denied an education, places where women and young girls are forced to endure the torture of female circumcision. It is true that there are many parts of the world where women are still considered to be second class citizens.
The way to redress this is not to pit the boys and the girls against each other in some kind of meaningless ‘my daughter is better than your son’ sort of way. In my mind the way to heal this rift is to develop mutual respect between the sexes, and encourage children to see the humanity in each other, before the gender or anything else. Unfortunately these SMOGs are providing a pretty poor example to their daughters, and I have every faith that one day these girls will grow up and tell their smug mothers not to be so darn silly.
Personally however, I am extremely pleased to be the mother of two boys. Not just because they are utterly delightful children in their own right, but also because there is frankly only room for one princess in this household, and that is ME!