Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gender Agenda

Piggy tails and a bright yellow shirt- complete with fairy and
butterflies. He's a pretty boy.
I've written a bit about gender and how we are raising Rowan before, but as he gets older and watches movies and meets other kids who are not necessarily raised the way he is, he is being exposed to the way that our overculture wants boys and girls (and men and women) to desire and behave.

Purple funfur vest, glittery leg warmers. Rowan calls it his
"spah-kul spah-kul". Oh yeah- and a basketball.
My son loves bright colors (including pink and purple), things that sparkle, and dolls. He also loves trucks, his firefighter and hard hat costumes, balls of all sorts, and legos. In short, he is a well-rounded small human being. I am not going to limit his toys, clothes, or friends to fit some societally-proscribed gender agenda.
There are many reasons why I don't approve of this ever-pervasive influence in Rowan's life: it polarizes gender into two distinct "opposite" camps when in reality, gender is not dualistic, nor are there "opposites". It creates expectations that are rigid and possibly harmful for both boys and girls (boys cannot cry or express emotions, girls need to become objectified to have value). It is not natural or normal, and I point to the constant media and corporate enculturation (who are constantly enforcing these expectations and ideas on us) as proof. If these things had a universal truth, they would not need lobbying efforts and constant reinforcement.

One of the unfortunate side-effects of this gender campaign is bullying. Kids pick up the rigid barriers that we adults have created and enforce it through verbal, physical, and emotional violence with each other. That link is one of the reasons why I hesitate to send Rowan to public school. I applaud the efforts of that courageous public school teacher. Hard work, that. I want my son's education to broaden his horizons, but often school does the exact opposite. I'd rather have him socialize with kids whose parents have an awareness of diversity of all sorts and will be cultivating relationships and connections that will help with socialization.

Recently, my sister sent me a link that delighted me- a child bucking the system! Gotta love it.

For those of you who think it might be easier to raise a boy than a girl in this culture (I used to believe that, too) I encourage you to watch this video.

What he mostly prefers to wear: nothing.
Raising a white (seemingly cissexual and heterosexual) male in this culture, one that wants him to dominate and minimize others is hard. Helping him retain his full humanity in the face of people calling him a "crybaby" for expressing his fears is maddening.

I look forward to possibly raising an amazing girl one day, but right now, raising a fully human boy is hard enough. My son will be free to express his gender, sexuality, and ideas in any way he chooses, and to have loving parents supporting his exploration and conscious choices all the way.

We, his parents, are encouraging all things that he expresses an interest in: right now that's music and dance, playing with balls, being outside, playing in water, coloring, tractors and trucks, and cooking. Wanna bet that little boys and little girls the world over his age share those interests?


  1. Amen! I will share your post on my Facebook page.

    Thank you for making, expressing the links.

    May we raise free, strong-thinking children.

    Blessed be.

    Keep being brave and strong- take a rest for yourself when you need to!



  2. This is wonderful! It sounds as if you have a truly balanced and openminded approach.


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