Thoughts worth sharing

If you have a minute go and read this post at Life Version 2.0.
It really is an issue that I’m sad to find is just as much of a problem now as it was seventeen years ago when I had my first child.

I don’t find that it is as much of a challenge when my girls have wanted to wear “boy” clothes or play with “boys” toys as I ever did when my son wanted his nails painted or to play with dolls. These things for all of my children were something I was quite happy to provide to them, but I did find that social commentary and policing was more strongly enforced when my son wanted to step outside the norms. It seems that gender norms are much more guarded around our male children because they might *gasp* become soft or even gay by allowing them to have “girls” things, it’s so utterly ridiculous that it sets my brain on fire. I’ve tried to set a good example and show my children that these lines divided between masculine and feminine are arbitrary at best and insidious thought policing at it’s worst. Whether I’ve been successful I don’t feel I’ll really know until my children are adults and finding their own way in the world, then if I’m lucky I’ll see them standing firm in their choices regardless of cultural narratives. I hope that by making a stand for them it will no longer be an issue for my grandchildren.


6 thoughts on “Thoughts worth sharing

  1. Great post and great link Lila (as always). miss s is not at an age where she is making choices at 19 months but I like to think I’ll be open to what ever she wants to wear (I’ll just have to start being must more selective with her colour palette in her wardrobe – yes I would think to be that anal, no, I probably couldn’t get myself to be that organised!) I like putting her in dresses cos I love them and in summer, they are easiest to dress her in but I if I do buy new clothes, I tend to buy unisex with the view of siblings coming along. Being an academic in Film/ media has made me realise how insidious gender influences are (don’t get me started on music videos) and how important the parental role is but wow, actually being a parent is hard. I remember one of my supervisors struggled when her four year old girl just wanted to wear pink and tote a glittery handbag (that she stole from the side off the side of the road from a council pickup!!) around for a year. She went with it but it just about killed her.

    • Thank you! I’m not anti dresses by any means but I do try to avoid pink, I think because it was forced on me by family when we announced we were having a girl I’ve been even more conscious of the subtle normative push through clothing and other things since we had Eve. I don’t doubt I’m going to have my own glittery handbag incident and I hope I can get through it without taking Eve’s enjoyment away. That balance can be hard to find.

  2. For some reason, I always feel really proud when Olive chooses the non-girly option. And kind of embarrassed when she goes the girly one …. I see in friends who have boy and girl kids, subtle differences in the way they parent the different sexes. So sad really. (And, of course, only having one girl, I have no idea how I’d go at it, either.) Kellie xx

    • I know exactly what you mean, I find the whole “exuberant play is for boys nurturing is for girls” quite confronting when I see it in someone’s parenting (my ex was particularly bad for that). I find it hard the Eve squeals when we walk past the pink girls toys in target, even though she does the same for the Lego. I think you’re doing an amazing job with Olive and if you chose to have more I know they’ll be awesome too!

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