A young feminist writer named Toria Sheffield claims new dad George Clooney suffers from "unconscious sexism." In a recent interview with Extra, Clooney said the following about his son, Alexander, and his daughter, Ella: "They're born with personalities. Ella is very elegant and dainty she has these big beautiful eyes, she looks like Amal…He's just a thug, he's a fat little boy, he laughs louder than everyone in the room, it's the funniest thing."
Sheffield feels that as a society "we'd be remiss" by not pointing out the "gendered" ways in which Clooney describes his children. "At just four-months-old, Ella is being praised for her "elegance" and beautiful features, while Alexander is jokingly referred to as a "loud thug." She adds, "We're sure Clooney meant no harm with these descriptors; he very likely didn't think too much about them. And therein lies the problem — this is how subtle and pervasive gendered and sexist language is in our culture [emphasis in the original quote]."
Funny. My husband and I, subconscious sexists that we are, used to describe our son and daughter similarly to the way Clooney describes his.
Our favorite story of the difference between our kids is a scene we have captured on video in which our son, who's three years younger than his sister, is following her on all fours around a coffee table. As the older sibling, our daughter is enjoying being the leader of the pack and is also on all fours. They're both having a grand time going around in circles.
Or they were, until our son — who was indeed so large that I couldn't carry him in my arms past two months, whereas our daughter was a slight little thing — thought it would be great fun to thrust his head like a bull into his sister's head! He was genuinely shocked to find that his sister didn't think this was great fun. On the contrary, she burst into tears and had no clue why her brother would think that such an act was not only fun but a perfectly normal thing to do.
The lesson learned that day by both of our children was one that is now, 15 years later, considered blasphemous: Boys are rough and tumble, and girls are delicate.
Oh, the horror of such gendered assumptions! But assumptions they are not. It is only folks like Sheffield, who have yet to have children of their own, particularly one of each sex, who have drunk the Kool-Aid. They firmly and resolutely believe that simply recognizing the differences between boys and girls makes parents culpable in a subconscious conspiracy to thrust children into a box.
I no longer feel anger about the insanity of it all. I feel sad. I feel sad and sorry for the propaganda young people absorb in a culture that denies biology outright. My only comfort is knowing that when these impressionable young folks have children of their own someday, they will see the magnitude of the lies they've been fed.
Until then, we can only laugh at the absurdity of their claims.
Suzanne Venker (@SuzanneVenker) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is an author, Fox News contributor, and trustee of Leading Women for Shared Parenting. Her fifth book, "The Alpha Female's Guide to Men & Marriage: HOW LOVE WORKS," was published in February.
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