I am unashamedly a feminist, and the Captain and I strongly encourage Munchkin to pick things she loves, regardless of their intended gender. Honestly, the whole idea that a child “should” like one colour or another based on their genitalia is really bizarre to me. A child is more than the sum of what’s in their pants, and just as adults have diverse interests, likes and dislikes, so too do children.
So far, Munchkin LOVES dinosaurs, animals (especially dogs and cats, since we have those in the household), bugs, spiders, big machinery and trucks, “driving”, twirling, dancing, playing daddy’s drum kit, water, climbing the slide by herself, helping us cook, cleaning (she’s shaping up to be better than I am), and generally making mess and noise.
She’s not a huge fan of drawing, prefers painting herself and us than anything else, loves playing in dirt but is a bit hesitant about dirt on her hands at first.
Her interests are so broad, and we see no reason to discourage any of them, particularly based on outdated gender stereotypes.
Yesterday, the Captain took Munchkin shopping for a bike seat and helmet. When it came time to pick a helmet, the shop assistant took them straight to the pink helmets. Now, there is nothing wrong with pink. It’s an awesome colour, one of my favourites. But other colours are awesome too! Blue, green, purple, orange, yellow, red – there are so many great choices for kids, that I don’t know why the choices have become so narrow.
Capt’n insisted on letting Munchkin choose her own helmet, which the assistant seemed a bit dismissive of. But she knew what she wanted! She left all of the pink helmets and went straight for a really cool bright blue one with animals on it.
However, even after she had made it clear that was what she wanted, the assistant kept pushing the pink ones on her. This makes me pretty mad, not only because her choice of something to go on her own head should be respected (as long as it’s safe), but because by questioning her choice, the message is that the blue helmet is not something she “should” like. She “should” want the pink ones. Why? Because of her genitalia. That’s it. Not her brain, not her interests, not her passions.
We need to stop reducing our children to one small element of what makes them who they are. They are amazing, diverse, curious little creatures and that should be encouraged, not discouraged.
Luckily, Munchkin is a bit young to understand the social pressures on girls and boys to like different things, but that won’t last forever. There will come a day when she begins to understand what is being pushed on her, and either start to conform or (like me) rebel against it. Neither of those is a good option, because both of them mean that she is not free to be herself.
Free our children up to love what they love without fear of judgement, and watch them shine.