I'm Raising My Daughter Without The Gender Binary, & Here's Why

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    <P>As a pre-teen, my wardrobe consisted largely of my big brother’s hand-me-downs and loose-fitting T-shirts from PacSun and the Billabong shop. I eschewed skirts for sweatpants and board shorts, and I wore my Converse with pride.</P>
    <P>I was raised to adhere to the gender binary in the conventional sense of the term. I grew up believing that girls were meant to enjoy playing with dolls and wearing prom dresses uk, while boys could have fun with trucks and airplanes. In my mind, girls grew up to be homemakers, while boys grew up to become astronauts, businessmen, and general money-makers.</P>
    <P>So it made sense why my 12-year-old self became something of a tomboy: it just seemed like a lot more fun. For years, my brother and I would play video games that targeted little boys, kick soccer balls marketed at boys, and collect miniature green military action figures made with boys in mind. I still remember my mom praying (like, literally praying to God) that He would help me become a lady.</P>
    <P>As my newborn daughter Luna celebrates her 1-month birthday, I cannot help but wonder what “male” or “female” interests she might have someday. Will she like velvet skirts, or suspenders and denim dungarees? Will she prefer ballet or hockey? Will she want to be a pilot or a nurse? I’d like to think that socioculturally, we’ve moved beyond such dichotomies, and that she can like both or neither without facing any judgment. But I know that we haven’t, not entirely. And while I know I cannot save Luna from being judged or facing others’ assumptions based on her gender presentation, I do hope to raise her free of the gender binary in as many small ways as possible.</P>
    <P>One crucial part of this mission will be allowing Luna to develop her own sense of style. As Luna grows up, I will become less involved in the selection of her wardrobe, but for the time being, my partner and I are calling the shots, and I hope to call them mindfully.</P>
    <P>Before Luna was born, I curated shopping carts on BabiesRUs.com and Macy’s filled with princess-like dresses and skirts. I imagined how fun it would be to put her in sparkly outfits and daydreamed about the day she’d want to play with makeup. But then something clicked, and I realized that I didn’t want Luna to think that femininity or womanhood are limited to dainty dresses and frilly things.</P>
    <P>While I would never want to correlate such aesthetics with weakness or fragility, I want Luna to know from a very young age that her femininity (or lack thereof) is for her to define. If I only dress her in pink and buy her dolls and prioritize Barbie over Bob the Builder, my actions won’t be mirroring my goals. So I hope to put her in all kinds of clothing: sure, she’ll wear cheap prom dresses, but I also want her to wear items from the boys and unisex sections, such as suits, bowties, blues, baseball caps, and tartan rompers. I won’t seek to define her style, because she’s too young to have one. Instead, I’ll help her wear anything and everything, until she’s old enough to make these choices for herself.</P>

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