Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Last night while bathing 8 year old Chaya, she asked, "Why are boys' bodies and girls' bodies different?" I answered stupidly, "I don't know, why do you think?" (I thought maybe she heard something in school.) "I don't know," she shrugged. "Maybe it's because boys and girls grow up and do different things," I suggested. "Yeah," she said. "Like girls grow up to be movie stars and boys grow up to be fix-it men." "Or maybe," I said, "It's because boys grow up to be rabbis and girls grow up to be mommies?" "Or rebbetzins," she smartly rejoined.
That closed the conversation - for now. But I know there will be a time when it's opened again, and this simple answer will not be enough.
I belong to a message board for frum women, and this topic comes up from time to time. I'm surprised by the things I learn from the women who post. Many women write that when they were (religious) teens, they heard all about this from their peers in school. Some ladies from uber-chassidish homes say they only learned about it before they got married (and a few were extremely disturbed and upset). Some ladies wrote that their mothers gently told them, when they asked. I think I'm going to end up being one of those latter mothers. Chaya is too smart and too curious, and I know the day will come when the truth must be told.
I just hope it doesn't happen anytime soon.