What does all this mean? Let me show you.
Things like color have been socially constructed to represent certain genders. Pink=girl; blue=boy
If you attend a baby shower, you may purchase a gift matching these designated colors. What if you don't know the sex of the baby? How can you assign the gender if you don't know the sex? Chaos, right? How can you tell if a baby is a girl or boy if the color, or a bow on the head, or a baseball and bat on the outfit, don't tell you? It doesn't have to be that way. And, what is the consequence for failing to meet gender norms? Bullying, hate, discrimination, violence. So, let's take a note from this little girl, Riley:
I think Riley asks some great questions. Why is pink marketed to little girls? Why aren't super heroes marketed, gifted, acceptable for little girls? Don't we all need super heroes in our lives? Granted I was the little girl who played with soldiers and semi trucks in addition to barbie playhouse and My Little Ponies. But really, have you stopped to think about this? Have you questioned the way we socialize our children through the toys purchased and/or the clothes provided (even if you do allow the child to choose out of those clothes)? How your nieces, nephews, cousins, are gendered?
So, you say you'd still like your little girl to wear pink and your little boy to wear blue? That's okay. I'm not the judge and jury here. I'm simply trying to make you think, question, and investigate our world. I encourage you to think also about the ways you might/do react to individuals, even very young (children) who break gender norms. Look at the below links (video and online postings) and think about how you would react. Think about how you would explain it to your children. Better yet, what would you do if your own child came to you requesting to dress the opposite of his/her assigned gender? And, as a side element, I'd like to discuss further the difference in biological male children wishing to meet female gender norms and biological female children wishing to meet male gender norms. It seems to me that little boys wishing to live, dress, act, or talk like little girls are more strictly policed and criticized. Why is this? So, as you read through this, read other articles, watch videos, it seems to me the problem is with adults, not with kids.
Think about how your responses to these questions *may* affect the perpetuation of strict gender norms and may contribute to hate, prejudice, discrimination, and bullying.
I've ordered her book and plan to read it. I think the struggles she faced/continues to face are normal. I also think she's doing an extraordinary job allowing her child to be who he wants to be. But, some great questions are introduced. What do you think?
Article to check out: 'Genderless' Baby--Baby Storm
Then there is the below ad from J. Crew (which received quite a bit of scrutiny ad criticism):