Oh, and by the way, while my observations influence my opinions, and I've probably observed your children (if you have any and I know you personally), I am in no way being critical of you. I'm merely discussing a phenomenon. Let it be known.
As an anthropologist (if that doesn't ever sound pretentious...), I have learned about the aspects of cultures that go into creating gender roles in a society. It's made me rather hyper-aware of what people expose children to (people as in not just the parents, because it takes a village) that causes them to develop into or fill certain expectations when it comes to gender in our society.
Side note: it irks me when pregnant people get asked what "gender" their baby is. Maybe people are afraid to use the word "sex" in public, but "gender" is not a genetic trait, it's anthropologically defined as cultural roles that are created (presumably by a community) to define a person (male, female, transgender, fafafini, khusre, whatever). So I make it a habit to specifically ask, when I need to know (perhaps annoyingly so, who knows), "What sex is the baby?" End rant.
Back on topic. So. This topic is always on my mind. And apparently, it was a trending topic over on Apartment Therapy last year, and they conveniently gathered loads of samples for me so I don't have to find them for you. Check them out here.
If you're too lazy to read through them, here's the basic premise: our culture (pan-American) has determined that young boys must be into blue, trucks, dogs, dinosaurs, tools, sports, etc. Young girls must be into pink, flowers, glitter, princesses, babies (animal and human), fashion, and HIGH SQUEAKY VOICES IN CARTOONS. Ahem. Obviously, these "definitions" bother me a bit. And apparently they bother a lot of people. But sometimes it goes so far on the opposite direction as to be rather hypocritical, at the very least attempting to redefine something that you're attempting to ignore (which isn't helpful). For example, someone's son asks for a doll or a pink toy, YOU'VE GOT IT BUDDY! If a girl asks for a fairy Barbie or whatever, NO WAY.
|Really, some people.|
When I look back on my childhood, the only pink articles of clothing I remember specifically are my Nala shirt, a pink pair of shorts, and a pair of jelly sandals that a friend gave me for my birthday (and I never wore those things together, thank goodness).
|Lion King is always relevant.|
I suppose my irritation is three-fold. First of all, the rabid children's toy and clothing market needs to take a chill pill. It's only fueling peoples' paranoia. Second of all, as parents and other influential people in a child's life are perfectly entitled to give gender-specific items, they need to exercise self-control in both the quantity and the importance they (not the child) stress on it. And third, while I fully support parents raising their children to be miniature but improved versions of themselves (heck, that's what I'm going to do, narcissistic as it may be), I think it's important to let children make some decisions on their own about what they are interested in. If all they ever know is what is narrowly assigned to their prescribed gender role, they can't grow three-dimensionally. That's why I love neutral toys like Legos, stuffed animals, books, and science toys. Also I am a dweeb.
Post-script: I am not taking into account any influence that friends, grandparents, and gift-givers of all sorts will have on my children. I'm very aware it will exist, and influence is influence. My child is an individual of their own and will make decisions based on what they decide they enjoy. If my daughter wants her lawn mower painted pink, so be it. And you won't find me dressing my son in dresses à la Ernest Hemingway's mother.
PPS: The woman across the divider from me here at the public library is a mouth-breather of the worst sort. It reminds me why I don't spend that much time in public. Bleh.