"Today at the shops the bag-check woman fussed over Tricky then said "You're too cute to be a boy" - Gender stereotyping now at a Kmart near you!"
Most people assumed I was saying that he had been mistaken for a girl and I was upset. She knew he was a boy because she'd already asked his name (quite possibly to figure out that very fact). I don't care when he gets mistaken for a girl, it honestly doesn't bother me... it has happened a few times, even after people have asked his name, because it sounds very similar to a girl's name.
Now I won't lie, a little part of me immediately swells with pride because my genetic material is partly responsible for creating a child who has been deemed 'attractive'. I will use his cuteness as proof that there is good in me somewhere.
But the rest of me, a much larger portion, is a little sad that even at age one he can't escape gender stereotyping. Society is already telling him how he should look and how he should act in order to be a boy. It's a little tiny pigeon hole that potentially takes away a lot of great experiences for him.
A few people on Twitter realized what I was saying and joined in with stories of friends/strangers/family members saying annoying, gender stereotyping comments. The ones that made me cringe the most were hearing that Tattoo Mummy's boy should get a haircut because only girls have blonde curls, and Cloud Love Baby who was told "with a squeal like that, he should've been a girl". Really? Boys don't have blonde curls? They can't squeal?
|Well he is cute...|
Map Guy and I were quite conscious of not buying gendered toys for Tricky, even though we knew he was a boy from his anatomy scan. We instead focused on bright coloured toys, blocks and books, LOTS OF BOOKS!
When he did receive a 'boy toy' car as a gift, I felt I should even it up a bit and brought out one of my dolls. He plays with them equally and I love it; making vroom vroom noises with the car then hugging his dolly. He is developing in to a sweet little boy who is rough and adventurous sometimes, coy and cuddly at others.
I'm not the first to talk about gender stereotyping, not by a long shot, but I hadn't yet experienced the effects of it myself until yesterday, and it just makes me more focussed on assuring that Tricky grows up to be who he wants to be, not who society tells him to be.
I will do everything in my power to make sure he has a balanced view on the world and doesn't learn that there are things just for boys or just for girls. At least not from me.
Do your kids have gender neutral toys? All toys? Do you mind when they get mistaken for the opposite sex?