Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Ode To An X Chromosome

This afternoon is (mercifully) my last session with the little girls. We're "editing." Then, when we're done, I'll take all the footage away and start editing it for real. I don't want to take any of the control away from the kids, but seriously -- they're all ten years old, we've had four hours to "write" and "shoot", the thing is a dog's dinner no matter what; at the very least, I want to put together a couple of minutes to make them giggle at themselves.

Every time I go to work with the girls, I'm struck by the same thing: they're all so natural about themselves. They're at the very end of childhood, adolescence bearing down in the immediate future, at that moment right before they do what practically every girl I've ever known has done. They hit eleven or twelve, maybe thirteen if they're fortunate, and they just seem to collapse in on themselves. The confidence drains away, the inhibitions take over, and they turn into walking knots of self-criticism and self-doubt. Do boys do that, too? Maybe they just express it differently. I hate to see it happen, though. Right now these girls are totally at ease with who they are, don't see anything particularly wrong with themselves, and seem totally free to be silly and goofy without a hint of the self-consciousness that will overwhelm them soon. In a couple of years many of them won't be able to conceive of a sense of self-value that derives from anywhere other than the attention of boys, the approval of parents and teachers, and the unrelenting demands of the beauty industry. But I can never figure out where that collapse originates. Is it internal or external? Is it inherent to femaleness, or is it something we learn? And how could you ever prevent it?

Speaking of girls, it appears that my new housemates will be having one. Apparently they had a sonogram yesterday, and they're now 95% certain that their little larva is female. I overheard the name they've chosen, but I can't quite believe they're actually considering it, so I'm not going to repeat it yet. I keep getting names wrong here anyway, so I'm working on the assumption that I mis-heard and will be corrected forthwith. Because nobody actually names a kid Lulabelle.

I knew it would be a girl, though. How? Well, every single fucking person I know who's had a kid has had a girl. Within my circle of friends and the first tier of acquaintances -- including, say, ten babies so far -- every single damn one has been a girl. I know of not one single boy born to anyone I know first-hand within my generation. Statistically, there should be at least four; but no, not even one. I find this disconcerting, because while my own aspirations toward motherhood are somewhat weak and will likely as not falter in the face of life's other pressures, on the off chance that I had a kid myself, I'm pretty sure I'd prefer a boy. Not that I have any problem with a girl, but I've always tended to get along better with guys, and that seems like the one place where I might really need that extra help. The absurdity being, of course, that as a bearer on only double-X chromosomes, I would have utterly no say in the matter. I could maybe avoid getting knocked up by a guy with a lot of sisters, but otherwise it's beyond my reproductive domain.

Not that any of this is especially likely to happen anyway.

I spent most of yesterday napping; today or tomorrow I'm hoping to take a walk over to N. Mississippi and have a proper look around. If I'm going to be here for upwards of a year, I want to get to know the neighborhood. With spring at hand, I want to get out and do more stuff, see some new parts of the city, expand my proverbial horizons. I need to meet some more people, too. I have a decent clutch of friends here, but almost all of them are over-scheduled and underpaid, and the one who isn't is a hermit and thus useless for exploratory outings. What I really need is a pizza-and-movie buddy. Where do I find one of those?
3:15 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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