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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Making fun of boys totally fair

By Treena Shapiro
Advertiser Columnist

I never thought I'd say that there's a downside to not being oppressed.

No, I don't want to be stripped of my job, my salary, my degree, my right to vote or any freedoms I enjoy.

I do want to be able to explain to a 9-year-old boy in terms he will understand why I think it's OK for girls to wear shirts that revel in their superiority over boys.

The T-shirts became an issue when my son Corwin begged me to buy his dad an "I beat your mom at Mario Kart" shirt as a testament to my poor video game skills.

Ha, ha, ha.

I struck back and suggested we buy his sister a shirt that said "Boys are stupid."

"That's so offensive," Corwin complained. "Why are they so mean? You have to write about it."

In general, I support a girl's right to offend any member of the opposite sex who happens to cross her path. In fact, I'd much rather see a little girl wearing a shirt that mocks boys than one that turns them on.

That's not a conversation I'm willing to have with a 9-year-old, though, so I used the equality argument instead.

The problem is that even smart boys like Corwin sometimes have a hard time seeing the big picture.

Women have made big strides in the past few decades, but men still dominate when it comes to high-level and highly-paid positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Maybe tomorrow's women will be propelled further faster if they obliterate the inferiority complex that apparently persists in some girls, especially when it comes to subjects like math and science. This "boys are stupid" thinking could lead to the obvious conclusion: Girls are smart.

Unfortunately, there was no way for me to bring this home to a boy who lives in a world full of bright and successful women, including his teacher, principal, doctors and even the governor.

His parents both have female supervisors and so does he. That would be me.

In Corwin's eyes, I'm the primary authority figure. He could be sitting six feet away from his dad and he'll still get up to find me in another room to open a container, help him with his homework or answer a question, except, of course, if it deals with video games.

My second-in-command is his bossy little sister, whose powerful personality forces all of us to bend to her whims and wiles.

So don't try telling Corwin that it's women who need to catch up. In his world, it's the men who are lagging behind.

It's not fair, he says, because everyone knows that boys are smarter than girls.

Uh-huh ... And he wonders why I support a girl's right to put boys in their place.

Reach Treena Shapiro at tshapiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.