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gender.

November 16, 2012

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how freaky people get about clear gender lines, especially now that I have a baby.  There seems to be a big thing about what can ‘be for boys’ and what can ‘be for girls’, and crossing that boundary is a huge no no.  I grew up in a house where HeMan’s castles were regularly overrun with My Little Pony, or Barbie’s Corvette was commandeered by GI Joe or my personal favourite, Python Patrol. (Anyone?  Cobra?) Python Patrol (the bad guys) were always my favourite to play with.  And we still have them.  Jord had a man doll.  (Still around, people. It lives in his basement.)

I recently read a blog post about nail polish.  The blogger was writing about how her son wanted to have nail polish, and she let him.  The question asked was, would you?  Several people commented on the post and the answers varied.  Lots of people had comments like, ‘I wouldn’t let my girl wear nail polish,’ or ‘no, because nail polish has chemicals.’  Both completely missing the point.  The point is…would you let your son do something that is completely ‘girly’ or not?  There was a comment from a reader that spoke to me.  It said:

I know a lot of people disagree with the above, or with giving their boy something pink, or their girl something manly.  (I’ll maybe get into the double standard another day) I grew up in a house where self-expression to an extent was encouraged, welcomed and appreciated.  My dad wore short cut off jean shorts…if that’s not expression, I don’t know what is.  And I can SAFELY say, that if either my brother or I had turned out gay, straight, bisexual, in love with trees or a female truck driver or a male ballerina, they would have loved us just the same.  Self-confidence comes from a great role model, not from a toy or TV show.  Caring and kindness are learned, and don’t just happen.  Independence comes from making choices, learning from mistakes and being your own person.  It doesn’t make sense to me to pigeon-hole boys to trucks and girls to dolls.  So what if he wants a tutu?  And who the hell am I to tell him no?  I want him to grow up to be confident, caring, kind and compassionate.  To be a good person, with a good heart, who takes care of others, but not before he can take care of himself.  And trying to limit him to be a certain way scares me.  I’m not saying I am going to paint his room pink or start dressing him in dresses.  But seriously, if he asks for one, a dress he will get.

There are so many amazing things that have happened during my lifetime.  Things that were considered ‘girly’ are now becoming more popular for both genders, like figure skating or gymnastics.  They are athletes, and both train hard and exhibit huge capabilities of strength.  Man or woman, both sports are intense.  Not girly.  Women have been rocking the trades, and have been choosing professions like welding, sheet metal, electrical and plumbing.  More men are selling Avon and Mary Kay.  Humans are supporting each other and stepping out of these ‘gender roles’ we’ve set out for ourselves.  We’ve realized that anyone can swing a hammer.  Anyone can dance.  Anyone can wear a dress, high heels and lipstick.  And we’ve discovered that more and more, we’re okay with it, and can actually support each other.  I think we’ve come a long way in a good direction.

I feel some comments coming on…express yourself!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2012 10:59 pm

    I took Jack for a haircut the other day and hair dresser kept trying to hand him cars and trucks but he wanted the big pink I don’t know what it was cute thing. When I reached past her boring cars to pass him the pink cute thing she looked horrified and offered him a purple car as a compromise. He simply ignored her and happily held onto the pink cute thing. I really don’t think gender has anything to do with it. If given the option between something bright and cute versus dull and not cute it seems an obvious choice. Mind you if you’ve seen my video on Facebook then you would also know my 1 ye old us adept at applying lipstick. Lol

  2. November 17, 2012 12:59 pm

    I love you and this is excellent! All babies can love everything and everyone… it’s best we preserve that as long as we can!
    And Jordie’s doll still scares the crap out of me whenever I go into the games room downstairs… I wish he had a doll that didn’t look like Chucky’s cousin!

  3. Daniello permalink
    November 19, 2012 10:04 pm

    I feel the exact same way. And we have the same parents (replace jean cut-offs with straight up ginch). In fact, Charlie wore nail polish about 2 months ago! The only thing I worry about, is others picking on him. I would love to think that I am raising a strong, confident boy who won’t be affected by other’s hurtful words, but I know that doesn’t always work out. Everyone gets affected by others comments at some point in their life, I just want to make sure he is fully equipped before I set him twirling in his tutu out into the world.

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