I have been thinking a significant amount, lately, about my decision to raise my female children with the cultural expectation that they will, around the age that they begin to experience pubescent growth, be thrown a "Red Party."
This has become rather like a tenant of my Humanist "faith." I believe that coming-of-age is a time of our lives that nearly every human culture acknowledges and celebrates in some meaningful way.
As I have had my own experiences of becoming a "female adult" within the culture of my youth, and I have observed the experiences of other females "becoming adults" within the differing cultures of their youths, as a Humanist Minister I have thought a great deal about the culture of "coming of age" that I would like to create for my own children someday.
Let me first describe, at least in part, my vision of a "Red Party."
This will be a planned event (likely prepared for six months to one year before it takes place) where every female-identified human that the young girl chooses to attend, is invited.
Every attendee wears Red, in some form, which symbolizes the beginning of the young girl's adolescent journey into womanhood, and shows support of everything the color Red symbolizes (blood, life, love, passion, beauty, etc.).
The "female-identified attendees" may be of absolutely any age, birth through death. They may be the girl's younger siblings, nieces, cousins, friends, or classmates . . . they may herald from the siblings, nieces, cousins, classmates, friends, peers, or co-workers of other girls or women that she knows.
The primary concern is that these are the individuals from whom the girl who is coming-of-age would be interested to hear advice about "what it means to be a woman."
This is a Red Party! A Celebration of Womanhood!
No matter the ages of the attendees, each individual is expected to wear red, to bring something symbolizing womanhood, and to offer some token or type of advice pertaining to how to be a woman.
My own vision of what this event would entail is that the women preparing the party (likely the mother(s), aunt(s), sibling(s), cousin(s), and/or friend(s)) would prepare every type of food for the evening that is reminiscent of womanhood . . . they would bake bread, prepare their favorite dinner dish (casserole? meatloaf? pasta? salad?), and enlist each other attendee to the party to bring a dish, side, dessert, or drink that is reminiscent of womanhood to that person.
As the Red Party begins, guests arrive and share what they have brought to contribute to the meal, and why. As the meal progresses, once every invited guest has arrived, a toast is proposed (likely by the woman/women organizing the event) -- the young girl is given a virgin version of a "Red Party" drink that all the other women are enjoying, and the young girl gives the first toast!
She toasts to something that she loves about being a young woman, or something she looks forward to about becoming a woman. The meal & drinks continue, and each female-identified girl or woman in attendance shares a story/experience/piece of advice, and proposes a toast in honor of the young woman who is coming of age. They are all encouraged to share something about being a woman, and/or something about how the color Red is related to being a woman.
Finally, the main vision that I have regarding the purpose and cultural importance of this "Red Party," is that the young woman who has "come-of-age," and who is being honored and celebrated at this party, will have the opportunity to ask any and every question that she may have about "womanhood."
If she has any questions about how to deal with "getting a period," or how to interact with her peers (male, female, gender-queer, etc.), this is her ultimate chance! She can ask younger friends or family members what they perceive to be the "most important" things about being a "woman." And she can ask older friends or family members what they perceive to be the "most important" things about being a "woman!"
This is her coming-of-age occasion. The time of her life when she will be surrounded by girls & women she loves, who will bring her food & shower her with gifts, and openly and honestly consider & answer any question she may have!
So, now that I have described my vision for a "Red Party" for young women, we come to the reason I am asking -- even begging! -- for input, please, on this post!
Especially, input from boys, young men, and male-identified adults!
I realize that I am a woman, and have identified and accepted myself as a girl or young woman since at least the age of three! So I feel quite qualified and comfortable crafting a coming-of-age celebration for women, identifying as a woman myself.
And so, the primary question that I have is: How would Male-Identified youth prefer or desire to celebrate and/or acknowledge their unique coming-of-age experience(s)?