A World Ruled by Women


My son came back from his biology lesson looking fed up. “Soya contains oestrogen!” he said, “Aren’t there any foods that contain testosterone?”

I laughed at my son because I know he is hoping to find a wonderfood that will make him superbly tall and strong (preferably overnight). I asked him what food he thought was the most masculine.

“A bacon sandwich.” he announced, “But it has to be made by a woman – and a woman who stays in the kitchen!

He was kidding me (a bit) but I felt a little sorry for him too. It has often been the subject of discussion between us. His life to date has been full of dominant women, and not that many men. Our family is full of powerful women, holding down jobs whilst running a household; the men are simply less visible, and sometimes absent. His primary school was almost entirely run by women, many of whom wasted no time in telling him that “boys were noisy and naughty” while “girls were neat and good”. Even his secondary school has a large number of women in senior leadership positions. Worst of all, he is surrounded by girls of his own age outperforming the boys (and mostly taller than him).

All this female power and success may cheer me up, but it is dismal for a boy like him. He would like to live in a more male world, a world in which being male was potent and glamorous, not lumbering and inept. I tried with all my might to raise my children as human beings first, gender last, but it never worked out that way. Being a boy has always defined him: he could no more leave it behind than the bindweed in my garden could wind clockwise.

I sometimes try to explain to him that the adult world is quite different from the way it appears to him at fifteen. Being male is not so much of a handicap in our society, I say wryly, whatever men would like to tell themselves. You will not spend your entire adult life in a world dominated by women. That is not the way it is, not at all.

But of course he doesn’t really believe me – and anyway, has a more pressing concern. Even if the world were ruled by women, will he eventually at least be taller than most of them?

  1. dhonour said:

    As mother of 2 boys, I spend A LOT of time thinking about things like this. I don’t know if you read an earlier post of mine called Riding in Cars with Boys, but that touches on some of it. Boys and young adult men are almost expected to be naughty and loud and rough and we, as mothers, are expected to smooth out the roughness and tame the aggression. But it’s that very aggression and roughness and competitiveness and fearlessness which is why ADULT men are in the positions they are in. So around and around you go. Like you say, we do our best to raise human beings, but you can’t take the testosterone out of the boy, any more than you can take the wanting everyone to get along, neatly and quietly, from the mother. He’ll find his way, questioning the world and your surroundings is part and parcel of being a teen. It’s great he is surrounded by strong women. Oh, and make sure he knows how to make his own bacon sandwich!

  2. Joy said:

    Poor lad! I agree that he will find his way as he looks for it and I think he’s lucky to have a wise and understanding mum supporting him (and teaching him how to make bacon sarnies too)

    It would be great to have more men at primary phase, but they can’t be magicked out of thin air. Also, sadly,. the current climate tends to encourage suspicion of men who want to teach little children – which makes it difficult.

    Could he make me a bacon sarnie too? 🙂

    • I can see a whole career opening up before him, making bacon sarnies to order. I think if he turned it on its head and marketed it as a handsome young man making sandwiches for *women* then he might not only make his fortune, but gain some wonderful girlfriends along the way…

      But on a more serious note, I do agree with you Joy – it’s not the fault of the men, or the primary schools, that few men teach at that level – it is a cultural thing. Nor, of course, is it the fault of the women who do (often wonderful) teaching there that they can’t be men! But at the same time, it does feel as if we are missing something – that many boys do want to spend time being taught by men. The good thing is that fathers spend so much more time with their kids than they used to.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


With Celenia Delsol

(Un)Diagnosed and still okay

The life and times of Bridget's family as the navigate an unexpected journey with a rare genetic syndrome


A blog about mental health & mental healthcare


Mental health blog by a service user with bipolar disorder. Winner of the Mark Hanson Awards for Digital Media at the Mind Media Awards 2013 and the Mood Disorder category in the 2012 This Week in Mentalists Awards.

Brotherly Love

A personal exploration of autism from a brother’s perspective, including family relationships, philosophy, neuroscience, mental health history and ethics

Side by Side

A web magazine for friends, families and advocates of mental health

The Chatter Blog

Living: All Day Every Day: Then Chattering About It


Stroke and visual impairment


humourless mummy, cuddly feminist


truth slayer

Lily Mae Martin

Life in particular

One Pissed Off Rhino

You wouldn't fight a rhino with a fork - all you'd end up with is one bent fork and one pissed off rhino.

The Riddle Ages

An Anglo-Saxon Riddle Blog


What ships are for...

Thunderhawk Bolt

That weird kid from school... all grown up

The Small Places

Life in particular

The Bipolar Codex

Kate McDonnell: Art, design and bipolar disorder

%d bloggers like this: