Today’s intro is by Chairman Mom team member Monica Engel.

A while ago I read a New York Times article about everything the author Manohla Dargis had learned and unlearned about being a woman from the movies. How women like to be kissed, the types of roles they fill to support the male hero, and that by and large the movies just haven’t figured out how to drop the sexism to portray them well or realistically.

I now think of this article while I watch a movie, as well as the zigzagging patterns of learning and unlearning that we, particularly women, have to navigate through life, not just the movies. I think of how blissful it is to be a kid and discover something for yourself before society comes crashing in to tell your malleable little mind otherwise. You want a new t-shirt that doesn’t imply a certain gender or should-be interests? Sorry, here is your section to shop in. Notice all the pink and bold “princess” and “sassy” labels to display to the world. You’d rather be a pilot than a princess? But there are only male versions of those on TV. A police officer? It says policeman in the book (you need a man to protect you after all). A superhero? As long as you can look sexy while fighting crime.

I have a vivid memory as a four-year-old before society tried to re-educate me. I woke up with some sort of rash on my stomach on a Saturday, and since a doctor lived next door, my mom walked me over that morning for him to take a look. On our walk home she noticed a worried look on my face and asked what was wrong since the rash appeared to be nothing serious. Eyes wide and without dropping the puzzled look I replied, “Mom, I didn’t know boys could be doctors!” She has since told me of her internal victory dance in that moment as she knew society had not gotten its hands on me yet.

Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:

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