I've been thinking a lot about gender lately, especially as I notice changes in my 2 year old daughter and my own experience as a parent. I haven't found a way to organize these thoughts other than in a list; maybe something more will emerge.
My daughter adamantly calls all creatures "she." When presented with a name she does not recognize, such as an author of a new library book, she states with questioning inflection, "It is girl?" Of course she's at the developmental stage where she is evaluating and refining categories, and is very curious about boys and girls, men and women.
Piglet is a girl.
The driver in the car across the street, whom we cannot see, is a girl.
The beetle we almost stepped on is a girl.
My friend's 3 year old son likes to wear skirts. While helping them pick out skirts at a yard sale, I was struck by how consumed I had become with my own girl-child-rearing thoughts.
My daughter just recently asked, for the first time ever, "Do I look good?" I wasn't ready for this. I thought we had more time.
I've been sitting here on a bench outside, knitting, while listening to this podcast, Gender Shift.
I want to share a few snippets:
A young boy who likes wearing feather boas and surrounding himself with "prettiful" things, whose parents, at first, hid his girly toys. They wanted to protect him from kids who would tease him. Later they realized that they were not protecting him at all, but had instead created an environment of shame in their home. In this interview, they say they realized they had "built his first closet"
Many cultures acknowledge a third gender category.
I also just finished reading this thoughtful and courageous article in The Atlantic by Matt Duron, My Son Wears Dresses; Get over it Duron writes, "I’m a stereotypical “guy’s guy” and hyper-masculine to a lot of people, I guess. Which may be why it surprises them when they find out that my son wears dresses. And heels, and makeup. It surprises them even more when they learn that I’m cool with it."
This is on my reading list:
Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender-nonconforming Children