I am a firm believer in all things gender neutral. Although I was never able to go on to grad school-it was my intention to neuropsych test the basis of gender differences. It is my hypothesis that there is very little difference between the genders. It is my opinion that the gender stereotypes we do see are largely that-socially implicated stereotypes of what a “boy” and “girl” are.
I have attempted to raise my children in an environment that is gender neutral. For my son’s first birthday I bought him a doll. For my daughters first Easter I bought her cars.
My 4 1/2 year old son’s favorite color has been pink for as long as he could express it.
Today, during preschool he played with moonsand and filled out an “about me” piece of paper.
Sarcastic Boy: “Today we played with moonsand. It was fun”
Me: “What is moonsand?”
Sarcastic Boy: “I’ll show you when we get out (of the car). It’s on my shoes”
On the “about me” sheet were questions like: Whats your favorite food? (Mac and cheese) What makes you special? (my Daddy loves me) Where do you want to visit? (Disneyland)
The question I zero’d in on was: What is your favorite color? Blue
Immediately I felt a loss and a longing for my baby boy back.
It seems to me there has been a loss of innocense in Sarcastic boy. It seems he has been influenced by peers and social pressure. I panicked and saw the immediate horizon where pink is for girls and blue is for boys, that trucks are for boys and dolls are for girls. That all the social gender stereotypes would begrudgingly be forced upon my son’s shoulders. He couldn’t like pink, he couldn’t like to play with his doll, he couldn’t like to paint or bake or twirl around with ribbons. He had to like blue, he had to like trucks.
I felt as though that all my hard work and effort these last 4 1/2 years to raise him to be gender friendly was all for nothing.
I felt hatred for the school system and for what Sarcastic Boy will be forced to become.
When we got home, I gently probed him for more information. I asked him what his favorite color was-and when he replied “blue” I asked him what about the color pink?
Without hesitation, Sarcastic Boy announced that he likes all the colors, blue and pink and purple and green.
Ahh, perhaps I am doing something right.