Mama’s Boy: One Son’s Journey into Gender Equality
In celebration and appreciation of the roles women play around the world.
By Christopher Hook, Strategic Growth and Engagement Officer, Promundo-US
In celebration and appreciation of the roles women play around the world, this piece presents results from a new survey of 1,201 adults 25–45 which looks at the ways men in the US are responding to calls for gender equality, and what more there is left to do.
My mom, Debra Lynn B. Hook, has always been a role model, and not just for me. For 31 years, she’s been filling the pages of newspapers all over the country with tales from the front lines of motherhood.
That means my life has been in plain view. From my first words and first steps, and those of my two siblings, from eating all my Easter candy in one sitting against her explicit instructions, to awkward phone conversations with my first girlfriend, first job, first apartment, and stumbles through young adulthood, she’s reported it all. And in great detail. Now I help her edit her columns, which means I have the opportunity to delete the awkward stuff. She usually lets me.
One embarrassing moment came when I was about 12 years-old, and per usual, was avoiding my chores. She found me in the laundry pile, not folding, and took me to task. I then took it upon myself to announce my displeasure: “Fine, LADY!”
The earth stopped spinning in that dank basement. She picked me up by the armpits and placed (would be the gentle word) me on the washing machine, at eye-level. “Don’t ever talk to me like that again,” she demanded. I nodded. And that was that. Once I found my breath, I did the laundry. And I learned a lesson about respect.
And so it’s gone: a childhood of lessons, taught with love and wisdom, transmitted through my mother who had to learn them the hard way, herself the product of a tough-as-nails, second-generation Lebanese single mother, raising four girls on a small salary in 1960s South Carolina. My mother, the kindest, gentlest, strongest person I know, has been with…