International Women’s Day 2019 is shouting about #BalanceforBetter. To create a gender balance in every aspect of daily life; from within the Government, the workplace, the Boardroom, media coverage and so on. Lets put it this way – the list is pretty endless. This balance is essential for society to thrive and grow in a more uniformed way. Our Columnist Kim has put it perfectly on how gender in-balance can be created from day one.
I was brought up with this stupid saying “pink to make the boys wink”. So I love the idea that boys and girls these days don’t have to ‘Man up’ or act girly any more. If you’re a girl and you want to play dress up army and blow up your mums kitchen, that’s totally fine. And if you’re a boy and wish to have a tea party with EVERY soft toy in the house, dragged through the dirt into the garden and placed all over the only place you have to yourself – only to be left out in the rain thus leaving you with a distressed 5 year old (yes, this has happened to me on more than one occasion, I never learn). Then that’s fine too.
What did catch my eye in the media however, was the new craze to bringing up your wee ones ‘Gender Neutral’. Known as the parenting that lets your child have the freedom to choose what they relate to the most. It’s said to give your child the freedom to be themselves. There are different levels…. I haven’t kept up to date with these guys, however I see this as the extreme side of gender neutral parenting. A Canadian couple who called their child Storm and chose not to actually reveal to friends and family the gender of their child. They are doing this as “a tribute to freedom and choice”. (I am not going to lie as a parent I would find this emotionally and mentally exhausting but possibly because I am so wrapped up in society ‘norms’).
Then we have parents who I adore, the ones who, should their little boy want to wear a dress or a headband to the shops, so be it; You shall go to the ball! Or if little Amy wants to be Hulk – smash away darling. This kind of parenting I believe is the real deal. I find it more to be the parents that have something to say about this as the problem in society.
I once took my daughter to a toy shop aged 6 and stood in front of the doll aisle, she was inconsolable. Sienna was under the impression that she had to buy something from that aisle. She really wanted a truck. Of course she got the truck (that got lost after three days) but on what planet should our children ever think that certain things are for them? With that said I am however skeptical about a child not having a gender from birth. I don’t know, maybe it is just me and I am too old fashioned but Sienna would have easily resembled as a boy up until the age of 11/12. What if I had allowed her to do this? Fast Forward another 12 months and a stint of growth and some episodes of Pretty Little Liars and she has asked me if she can have her eyebrows waxed and wants a designer school bag! (Help me please mothers this is my first and only daughter). This to me if I had not assigned her a gender at an early age, could have really confused her now at this age.
The idea of Gender Neutral does surface from how we as parents and adults perceive the child – making and sending out assumptions which subconsciously is sending out vibes and ‘sorting’ our children into categories that will decide their personalities and possibly choices in the future.
So will we now be looking at creating a #BalanceforBetter from within or own four walls? Thoughts are welcome beautiful parents of the earth x
By Kim Whitworth
Image by Pexels