‘Stop Turning Little Boys Into Girls’: Mom Takes Heat for Message to Kids But She’s Not Backing Down

Mom blogger Desteny Morris has a few controversial opinions about how some parents are raising their boys. And she doesn’t care much if people don’t agree.

Image Credit: Desteny Morris

In a post on her blog, Desteny writes about how she felt when she learned she was having a daughter. This led her to reflect on the differences between raising a daughter versus raising a son. She writes:

“I’m a firm believer in the idea that boys and girls are very different. And I believe they should be treated as different people. Boys should be raised as if they will one day be men and girls should be raised as if they will one day be women.”

Desteny went on to explain that her daughter would still learn skills that might be considered “manly” (like changing a tire or hunting) and that her son would have to learn some so-called “women’s work” (like cleaning and cooking). But for the most part, she says that she would want to raise her son to become, “the kind of man I would be proud to see my daughter marry.”

This kind of man, Desteny explains, is increasingly hard to find these days, and she believes she knows why—because too many parents are raising their sons to be oversensitive and overly emotional. In other words, “treating your sons like girls.”

Desteny’s blog entry, with its declaration that she would never let her son wear a tutu or believe in bullies, ran afoul of some moms with a very different philosophy. On the parenting site Kidspot, one writer took Desteny to task for her position, calling her article “bigoted” and taking it apart piece by piece. She ends by writing:

“Next time you decide to stereotype an entire gender with your offensive sweeping statements, I suggest you do at least two minutes research first.”

A few comments on social media and Desteny’s blog reflect this sentiment, calling her views “disgusting,” expressing sympathy for her hypothetical son, questioning how she plans to raise her daughter, and generally accusing her of being a bad mom. One commenter wrote:

“Your destructive, bigoted approach is the reason there are so many broken men in the world. Thank god you didn’t actually have a son.”

Despite the criticism, Desteny is defiant. She says parents who embrace a philosophy based on total acceptance are doing their children a disservice. She tells Independent Journal Review:

“A child is like a sponge. Everything you allowed them to do molds them into the adult they will one day be. … But guess what? Not everyone is going to accept him. And they shouldn’t have to. Tommy’s parents raised him to believe that they would and now he’s living a life of confusion. ‘Am I really a man? Or maybe the makeup and dresses make me a woman?’ … By allowing Tommy to do whatever he wants because it’s what he wants to do, his parents are setting him up for failure in the real world.”

Being accused of dealing in gender stereotypes doesn’t faze Desteny, who says she doesn’t really see that as a bad thing. She points out that this was common a hundred years ago, telling Independent Journal Review that she can’t help but feel that, “society was filled with better people for it.”

Image Credit: Desteny Morris

Desteny says that her own marriage fits this stereotype and she’s happy that it does. She tells Independent Journal Review:

“I consider myself lucky to have found the stereotypical male! I would have no respect at all for my husband if he wore his emotions on his sleeve, let people hurt his feelings, or was unable to defend himself and protect his family.”

While she knew that her post would get a response, Desteny was surprised by the level of vitriol directed at her. Under the circumstances, she finds the response a bit hypocritical:

“All these people preach open mindedness and acceptance of people who are different. Then they turn around and aggressively attack me for having an opinion that differs from their own. People have also gone so far as to make fun of my name and claim it to be the sole reason my opinion is not valid! As if we’re back in elementary school or something.”

There is one place where Desteny feels she misstated her position slightly. In her effort to discourage coddling boys for small hurts, she gave the impression that she wouldn’t comfort a son in the same way as her daughter. Actually, her parenting style is more gender-blind than any of her critics might guess… just not on the side of encouraging sensitivity. She explains to Independent Journal Review:

“I said something about not showing boys the same empathy that only girls should be shown, but it’s not something I practice. I’m not going to coddle my daughter or baby her, but I am more open to other parents coddling their daughters than I am parents coddling their sons.”

In the end, Desteny’s post might be less about raising boys than about how our society has changed… and how she thinks we’re worse for it. It’s not just about raising men who don’t cry. Desteny tells Independent Journal Review that we’d all be better off if we cried a little less:

“I honestly believe that, gender aside, there are only a handful of acceptable reasons to cry. Very few things that happen to us in our lives should hurt us enough that we respond with tears… Men and women shouldn’t be going around crying because they had a bad day or someone hurt their feelings.”

She says: “Suck it up and find a different way to express how you feel. Or better yet, don’t be so sensitive. Don’t let those things bother you so much.”

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