Friday, May 20, 2011


I've always worried about having sons.  The breadth of socially acceptable behavior for boys is much narrower than it is for girls.  Alyssa can be a girly-girl, she can be a tom-boy, she can be a mix of both.  All socially acceptable. Jackson can be a boy, just a boy.  No variations for boys.  And even though there is more variation within genders than between them, what I'm hearing lately from Jackson is 'boy' means 'anti-girl'.  I find it a little scary.  The rigid gender role doesn't fit all boys, but it is ingrained early and fighting it is swimming upstream. 

With Jackson in the last few months, we've had lengthy discussions about whether girls could be 'awesome like boys' and argued whether his toys are 'boy toys'.  I know not everyone is going to think like I do...that Tinkerbell, balls, hairdryers, Lightening McQueen,  dolls, and light sabers are for everyone (not just for one gender or the other)....but I just wish all kids could play with whatever they wish without worry.  I do suspect that Jackson uses the 'boys toys' excuse so he won't have to share with his sister, but not only do I want to nip the anti-girl attitude in the bud, but I never want Alyssa to question whether she should play with something because it has been called "a boy toy".  I'm not a fan of having to convince my own kids to break free from what others (especially 4 year old classmates) just be! 
Apparently Jackson thinks it is okay to play with anything,
while he thinks Alyssa should only play with 'girl toys'.
And then to the concerns about gender expectations and societal influences, we add in Matthew.  Unique. Not typical. Different.  Oh, my sweet baby Matthew. 

I want to raise my kids to believe in and act for equality and it feels like I'm fighting major societal forces against that.  I want all my kids (all kids really) to feel comfortable in their own skins, playing with whatever they wish, being their authentic selves and not be concerned with what other people may think. I guess I just want them to be "Free to Be You and Me".

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