Monday, March 4, 2019

Scouts, Razors, and the Man Cold

Let me start this with a phrase that will turn some people off based on the content of this blog, "In the era of #MeToo"...

I will preface a good bit of the rest of this by saying that I do fancy myself somewhat of a feminist. I don't subscribe to the idea that women having the same rights and opportunities that I have somehow steals rights and opportunities from me. Admittedly, I'm also a white male, so privilege is stacked up here. Oh. Stacked up about 6'7". One has to note that there is a lot of privilege here.

So, on to the title of this entry. The title of this changed when I woke up with a brutal cold and I thought, what the heck? It kinda fits. The trope goes that men have a minor cold and cannot get out of bed, whereas women will be fighting three kinds of pneumonia, the flu, possibly meningitis, and gangrene, but still getting the kids off to school with lunches while tending to her barely ailing husband.

This has always annoyed me. In fact, there are quite a few things we'll talk about that have bothered me. This is probably because my dad, who is my greatest role model, rarely missed a day of work. While he'd tell us he was sick, he didn't act any different unless it was REALLY bad. My wife will tell you that I often will get sick and not even tell her until I'm over it. Often, I don't take medicine. That's not because I'm against meds, but I frankly want to know when my symptoms are subsiding, not be unpleasantly surprised when they come back six hours later.


Hi. I'm Ty Peteranetz, Eagle Scout. When I was on my Eagle Board of Review as a 15 year old, two questions really stuck. One we were coached on how to answer. That question was, "What will you do after you are an Eagle Scout?" or something like that. The coached answer is, "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle."

The other one that has really stuck with me was something like, "Do you think that girls should be allowed to join Boy Scouts?" My answer was simply that I thought they should. Now, before you start accusing me of having 15-year-old boy reasoning for that, I did, but more important to me was the fact that the Girl Scouts don't have an award with the prestige of the Eagle award.

Now in the world where Boy Scouts has officially changed their name to Scouts BSA, and all levels of scouting are open to young women, I'm thrilled that this has been a topic of conversation within the scouting community for better than twenty years. I'm sad it took so long, but glad it happened.

Again, it absolutely doesn't dilute the award with more people now able to attain Eagle. I'd be proud to be in attendance at the first Eagle Court of Honor where a young woman is awarded the rank I've proudly held since 1997. In fact, Scouting BSA, if you're reading this, please get me in there.

Finally, the razors. NO I WILL NOT BE BOUND BY THE ORDER OF MY TITLE! That Gillette ad. Oof.

First off, I loved it. One of the phrases that has really driven me nuts since I became a teacher is "Boys will be boys." Here are my problems with that phrase: 1) It excuses behaviors that boys absolutely can control and 2) It makes it seem as though boys are not capable of doing otherwise.

K. So let's start at the beginning. What really happens with this is that behaviors that are inexcusable with girls or even less-masculine boys are allowed because "that's what boys do". Why? Why do boys do that? Because we allow it. Because boys, specifically certain boys, are expected to break the rules for some reason.

To the second point, there have been quite a few times lately where it seems like men are treated as incapable of self-control. I feel like it never struck people that the self-control men seem to lack is learned in adolescence when we say that boys will be boys, as opposed to teaching them correct decorum.

In that Gillette ad, we're suddenly rewarding men for acting human. As mentioned previously, I love the commercial. I actually love the run of corporations making social stands. When I first watched the commercial, I found myself actively rooting throughout. For what? I don't know. I was excited.

This isn't quite where I found this ending, but I never felt comfortable in the traditionally masculine stereotypes. I played volleyball and tennis in high school. I was also 6'5" and weighed less than 170 pounds when I graduated high school. Football, for example, wasn't really going to work for me.

Toxic masculinity is problematic. I'm not saying I haven't partaken in it from time to time, but it's not good. The fact that more and more you're seeing a wide array of examples of what it means to be a man, or woman, or whatever, means more and more people can be comfortable with themselves.

I'm glad these things are changing. I know I come from a unique perspective, but I'm glad that more and more people are finding opportunities. We're not even close to where we need to be, but each step can be celebrated.

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