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In which John talks about the difference between raising girls and boys. The AFC Wimbly Womblys take on Cheltenham Town.

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Hello and welcome to Hank Games without Hank. My name is John Green, I'm the manager of AFC Wimbledon, and in a stunning turn of events, it is raining in England. But we will persevere against... Who are we playing today Meredith? Cheltenham or something? Some of these English towns seem to have made up names, it needs to be said. Um, we're playing some team in League 2 and we're going to beat them, because at least so far, that seems how we do. We gotta do something about that one guy's haircut. Can't believe there's a player on AFC Wimbledon that has that bad of a mohawk. And I hope that if he's watching right now that he isn't hurt by that. But if he is, someone needs to say it, sir, it's time. Oh Meredith likes it, so maybe I'm wrong. What do I know about contemporary fashion? Meredith thinks that mohawk is hot, so. Yeah, maybe that is the case.

Let's see how good the handshake is here. We've got a nice, uh, Ian Lowcroft, Lowcroft, is our referee today. No handshake today. We're top of the table! [singing] ♫ We're top of the League, we're top of the Lee-ee-ee-eague, AFC Wimbledon, we're top of the League. â™« Uh, we're starting today the same crew that we started a few days ago. They're tired, but whatever. Life is hard and full of disappointments.

You'll see there that we've got central backup, Aliza Bennett, Lizzie Bennett, the first woman to play League 2 football I think in history, but for sure for AFC Wimbledon, a team that's only been around since 2002. And um, Lizzie Bennett and I had a talk yesterday after the previous game, and she explained to me that she is nothing like the character Lizzie Bennett in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and that she prefers not to be called Lizzie but to be called Aliza. To which I said, I'm sorry, but the fans want to call you Lizzie. So that's what we're gonna do. But anyway, she's super cool, and you know, raised in a family of boys, has five brothers, no sisters, and had a lot of funny stories about that. She's English, nice English girl. 

So today I wanted to talk about, uh someone suggested this as a topic, I thought it was interesting, uh given the emergence of Aliza as the first female Wimbly Wombly, I thought I'd talk about the difference between raising girls and boys, um. In uh, ahh he was offside! The disappointment is palpable, if I just, you see I should've hit the yellow button a little bit faster. Oh, that old Y button always, always befuddling me. Um, so, the short answer, look I'd like to think that we are relatively progressive parents. You know, we don't, we don't really want to put a ton of gender expectations on our kids, and my daughter is five months old, so I don't know yet is the short answer. I have been astonished by how much Henry likes trains and dinosaurs and trucks and how little, how uninterested he is in things like dolls. But then again, when I was a kid I was super interested in dolls and Hank had a significant collection of My Little Ponies, so I think that it all just depends on the kid. And um, you know, in terms of, there's lots of different ways to parent your kid and I think it's kind of wretched when people tell other people how to parent. Um, it's hard enough without getting a lot of contradictory advice from like a million different places. So I don't, yeah, that's not the way to go.

C'mon, ohhh. That was a terrible shot, he just didn't have any power behind it. That's not the way to go. That was Other John Green with his beautiful red mop of hair. Just failing to get it done. But I mean Other John Green and I also had a talk after yesterday's game because he set Bald, he had three assists in that game and he set Bald John Green up, but Bald John Green scored all the goals and I said I hope it isn't- OH NO! What a save! Oh! That's our keeper, his name is Warner. We call him Warner Chilcott because he just likes to disappoint people. Just like noted evil drug company Warner Chilcott. Beautiful. That's a fantastic save. By the way, we're looking for sponsorship opportunities, Warner Chilcott, if you're interested I will change my opinion about you as a corporation. All you've got to do is sponsor the Wimbly Womblys. With the money in turn sponsoring AFC Wimbledon. Um, oh look at oh, just he's all toughness. That's Francomb by the way. Oh there he is! Six clean sheets.  League best. Warner Chilcott, tough as nails.  Doesn't negotiate prices of drugs. I don't know we're still working on that, on what the songs are going to be there or whatever. Um, you suggestions as always are welcome, there's a link to a forum where we're talking about this stuff. Um, in the doobly-doo below.

Yep, so basically my experience, and I'm still, you know, very early on in this so, you don't really know.  You know, for one thing, you don't really know, when they're this little, you don't know for sure that your kid is even gonna end up being a girl. You know she probably will, but if she doesn't that's fine. Like, I think that it's just so, it's, there's enough pressure on kids without putting on more pressure about who you're supposed to be in terms of what you interests are supposed to be, or you're supposed to like princesses, and you're supposed to like whatever, and um, and feeling anxious about that. That said, I understand how it's hard not to feel anxious about that.

You know, like Henry's current favorite color is black. Which is a little worrisome in and of itself, but for a long time his favorite color was pink. Which of course is totally fine, but still there's a little part of you that's like Uh, I don't want you to get made fun of though. Um, so you just have to push really hard against that, I think. so you know. I found Sarah- UH! It had to be but it wasn't. That hasn't been difficult for Sarah at all. But it is a little difficult for me, like just, it just speaks to how like deeply ingrained misogyny and gender expectations are in all of us. Like when you don't want to think that but then you, yeah it's really really hard to push all the way against. So I can see how it would be hard for parents.

And you know obviously I think about that a lot with um, with people who, like identify outside of the gender binary or people who, you know, are trans or whatever, um you know that, it's just really hard for everyone involved. Unless you are blessed to have an unusually, like, parents who are really really progressive and have had a really broad experience. Oh we've gotta score here. We've gotta score! Get it, yes! Ah, they love each other, they love each other! Go hug him! Yes! Tackle him from behind. Oh, it's so beautiful to see, two men, who are so in tune with each other. They go home every night together, they have dinner together, you can see, you can feel the love in a pass like that. [singing] ♫ John Greens, John Greens, Bald and Other John Greens, they're the best forwards that Wimbledon has ever seen. â™« Oh it;s beautiful. That's so gorgeous, oh it makes me so happy.

Um, yeah so I think it's really difficult for parents because you know, they raised this, they raised a kid thinking Oh, I have a girl, this is a girl, like that's the first thing you find out about your kid. You find out at like the 18 week ultrasound, and everyone asks you, after like you know, is your kid healthy, the next question is, is it a boy or a girl, and you say oh, it's a girl, it's a boy, whatever. It's so deeply ingrained in you, this gender identity as a parent that I understand why it's challenging for some parents. That's not an excuse, like you have to love your kid and support them and understand. But I think that's about all of us kind of, as a world becoming more aware of transgender people and in the same way that homosexuality is sort of just really really almost like a secret phenomenon, even when I was a kid, like we didn't see gay people on TV, we didn't see people in our media, we didn't see gay people starring in our football teams. We have to have that same conversation around gender identity and stuff and sex. 

So yeah I think for me, at five months, it's not very different. It happens that Alice is like a really great baby and lots of fun to be- get it! I've got to make some substitutions. These guys are exhausted. Relatively tired, uh tired, she is though, she sleeps the appropriate amount of time for a baby. Um I think we're going to bring in P Sweeney, bring out Francomb, maybe it's time to bring in Old Jack Midson. Yeah I think it is. And I really I like Ya Ya Ya Ya Ya Bamba. So we'll really, we'll just be less Moore. I'm making three substitutions at once just after half time, you know, like a real football club would. So uh, yeah I think. Oh God, panic, panic, everything worked out better than expected. All thanks to Buckminster Fuller, go get it. One of the great inventors of the world, and look at him. He's also a tireless defender. Oh, beautiful Bucky Fuller. I love it. OH gosh. Oh panic, we needed a good save and we got one, Warner Chilcott at it again.

I think a lot of the differences emerge over time, but many of the problems we face are human problems that aren't restricted to gender, but I think there are some things that, but to be honest I want both of my kids to know about the patriarchy, I want both of my kids to know, to understand how misogyny functions in the social order, and that's really important to me, whether you're talking about boys or girls. I think the main thing right now is Alice is so sweet. But I don't think that's resulted from gender. Or maybe it is, I don't know. I don't know. She's very very sweet and super fun to be around and she really only cries when she's mad about something. She's so specific and lovely and not like actual regular humans you know?  Like-

What? what, what did I do wrong? Am I being penalized for being so good loo- oh I was off-sides. That's fine I guess. But I mean look how far I came back from that offside position to tackle. So OK, let's make all our substitutions. All at once, good job boys. Alright. Yeah I think that down the road there will probably be more differences. I know less how to shop for female type people than men- I hate it when I do that when I pass out of the back like that and I apologize. That was terrible and I gave up possession. Oh, and an unnecessary slide tackle, this is just ridiculous. There we go, it finally all came together and we're back in the hands of Worner. Or, at the feet I guess I should say.

For me, the question is more about- oh offside again! For me the question is more about how to raise a kid, rather than how to raise a boy or a girl kid and hopefully I don't put too much gender expectations on them and like let them be the person they're going to be and let them know that they're loved and stuff. And the truth is, you know, the truth is- great pass there Meredith, huh? Um, the truth is that's what the vast majority of parents do. It's hard to see when you're young, and certainly no parent is perfect and parents screw up their kids in all kinds of ways and there's no exception to that and I'm going to screw up my kids in so many ways, um I'm going to infuriate my kids. It's going to be difficult and you know, and I get that.

But all parents, or almost all parents, truly are doing their best and maybe most of them, almost all of them, love their kids very much and are only trying to do right by them and it's only a challenge of actually doing that on a minute by minute basis and trying to live with the values of your family and your own, they way you were raised. It's just a complicated mess and it's hard to see that when you're a kid because you just need your parents to take good care of you and you need your parents to be understanding and be generous to you and when you become a parent you're suddenly like oh my god, I've glimpsed the horror I've put my parents through. One of the first things I did after Henry was born was call my parents and just be like, I'm so sorry. What was I thinking? This was not easy, what you guys were doing, and I acted like it was such a gift to you, to allow you to parent me. When in fact, oh it must be so annoying. And of course it is really rewarding to be a parent and I don't want to take anything away from that but like it's hard work and it's kinda thankless work.

However, we have people banging down the door at AFC Wimbledon telling us how great a job we did because we didn't win gloriously today, in Cheltenham Town, but we did win! Huzzah, huzzah! Thank you to Warner Chilcott today for helping us and thanks to John Green the goal scorer, and thank you all for supporting the Wimbly Womblys. Best Wishes.