So, what does it mean when a man starts out by saying, “I cried like a 7-year-old girl with a skinned knee?” I’m really asking this. I’ve actually been asking this of many people ever since I saw a blog post start out with that line. I’ve been asking men and women, Asian American and not and my very unscientific poll shows women rolling their eyes and saying, “What?!” and men rolling their eyes and saying, “So what.” Again, very unscientific. There were a number of men who did respond by saying, “What?!” and they all either work with me or, at least in one case, is married to me.
Having had to parent both a 7-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy I can attest to the fact that both cry like mad when they skin their knees. The only difference is when the child (girl or boy) is told by the parent/authority figure to “stop crying”. Have you ever skinned your knee? I’ll never forget watching an acquaintance tell his son to “stop crying like a little girl”. I made a mental note that afternoon to pray for that young boy’s future wife.
It’s a little comment, which on my “good girl” days I can let it slide. But I’m growing weary of being a “good girl”. I love crying, connecting my soul and body to actually act out what it is feeling, experiencing. I want less to be “good” and want more to be “true” to the woman God intends me to be.
Now pass me a bandaid and some tissue, please.
Your critique is duly noted. Perhaps I’ll re-phrase as simply “7y/o with a skinned knee” should I use the cliche in the future. If it’s any consolation to you, I cry often and have no qualms about it.
Cute blog post! I wandered here via Al Hsu, who recommended your book to me because I have an Asian American Christian chick lit novel coming out in September. (He also mentioned Nikki since we both live in the San Francisco area (I’m in San Jose).) I’ve ordered this book and I’m looking forward to reading it!
I’m not sure what to make of your response. Are you annoyed? Sincere? I find no consolation in the fact that you cry often and have no qualms about it. My point is that even cliches carry weight – intended or not. Why didn’t you first choose to write “7 y/o with a skinned knee” if you didn’t intend any gender bias by it? What added impact did it have to connect crying inconsolably to a girl? That is the deeper discussion we give to issues of race, but somehow gender isn’t afforded the same. I’ve just started reading your blog, and I’ve appreciated how you’ve invited Anna to the mix, and addressed issues of gender as a whole. My take was clearly just one of several, and the only one who chose to take note of the opening phrase. Only time will tell how open we all are to listening to one another with different viewpoints.
I appreciate this post. On easter my nearly 4 year old cousin was running like mad all over the house. He bumped something and cried hysterically. Both of his parents looked him in the face and said, “It’s fine. Big boys don’t cry.” They didn’t even give him a moment to express his hurt or surprise. Poor kid. I’m trying to affirm Emma and reflect back to her what I see her feeling even in toddler explosions. I try to say, “I know Emma. You’re sad and Mom’s sorry.” Even as a girl my mom would just say something like, “Well you did it,” or “That’s the way the cookie crumbles, or “I’m sorry” in a tone that said it’s not worth discussing because I can’t do anything about it. Girls or boys, men or women, we all need help expressing our feelings and navigating them!