Gender Neutrality and the Reaction I've Gotten From It

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As most people who read my blog will know by now, I have two girls. Both of them are smart, cute, funny in their own way. And neither of them are forced into a gender stereotype. I don’t have to worry about the infant as of yet with this, but my oldest? She’s already expressed what she’s into, what she likes to watch and play with and wear. She loves Ninja Turtles and My little Pony… Avengers and Ariel… X-Men and Bubble Guppies. She loves a lot of things. I have never once told her what she should or shouldn’t like. All the pics in this blog are her, by the way, even in the banner. As you will see, she likes a broad variety of things. 

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And yet, there are those who would say I’m confusing her. By showing her things ‘meant’ for boys to play, I am making it harder for her to distinguish her role, her place in society, etc. (Believe me, I’ve heard a lot.)

And to that I say… who cares? No, really. Who really cares if my kid wants to do something generally designed to be a man’s job, like work on cars like her daddy, or if she wants to do what I do and teach children?

I don’t get the commentary that my daughter will become confused for her interests. (News flash, so far she is well aware that she is a female) She never rubs it in anyone’s noses or acts differently because of her interests, she’s a normal kid who likes all kinds of things, and those things include hot wheels and Spiderman. And again… nothing wrong with that.

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I don’t believe women were meant to fit into these gender specific roles that society has made for us. I sure as hell am not the best housekeeper. I am however an awesome baker. My other half isn’t the best with baking (understatement of the century…) but he IS great with cooking AND fixing cars. (I got LUCKY huh!) My daughter is, like her mother, the world’s biggest klutz, and also not great with getting her hair brushed or wearing dresses and keeping them nice, like her mother. She’s very rough and rumble, ready to rock and roll, wants to play sports with her daddy, you know, that kind of girl.

And I love it. Seriously. The kid is STRONG for her age. When she starts preschool this fall, she’s going to be hell on wheels, I can see it now. She’s not going to take crap from her classmates.

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I have been called so, SO many hateful names for these reasons. I live in a very traditional area. Women stick to their gender roles usually, so seeing a girl with mud all over her face and hands and legs, playing with worms or action figures, the little church moms and grandma’s around here flip their lids. I get told she’ll never marry, she’ll never get a good job, she’ll be alone, she’ll become a lesbian, and so much more. She’s had an older woman tell her that her behavior was the devil in her. I then had to have a very loud discussion with this woman that she needed to stay away from my child, and that not everyone believes as she does.

All because my child is interested in 'boy' things.

My opinion is, instead of telling me or her that she’ll be picked on for her outfits, how about you teach your kids not to be jerks and pick on other kids for being a little different? Instead of telling me that her things will get taken by a boy, tell your son not to steal from little girls. I mean… you know… it’s just a thought.

That said, there is an extreme to gender neutrality. I don’t think that we should push neutrality on our kids to the extent some do. I’ve heard of women who get pissed when their girls want a Barbie doll. Or mad when their sons want Hot Wheels. Or getting pissed when a McDonalds asks if they want a boy or a girl toy.

I remember a case a LONG time ago, at least a year or two, I think, of a couple who raised a gender neutral child. The child had no gender and had no idea of their sex until YEARS from then. THAT is what I mean about it being too much, too extreme.

If your child wants to choose a toy, let them choose it no matter which gender it’s designed for. (And yes, toys are generally designed towards a specific gender, sorry to say it.) A toy is a toy. Who cares if Sally wants an Iron Man helmet, or John wants a tiara? Not a big deal if you ask me.

What are your views of gender neutrality? Should we be teaching our kids to be more open to more gender neutral children?

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6 Comments
Mommy to B&B Apr 13th '14

I love this blog :) I've been trying to figure out how to put my thoughts into words to do a blog about this lol so thank you!!! I totally agree with everything you said my daughter is just like this and my son is only 17 months but he generally likes girlier things just yesterday my daughter was watching ninja turtles in her room and my son was watching little mermaid in his lol everybody is telling me my son will be gay because when he brings me one of his sisters headbands I put it on for him and he loves it lol they don't say much about my daughter because she loves princesses and being in dresses but she will wear a dress and go dig in the dirt with her dump truck lol and yes I bought her a dump truck and my son took his sisters pink doll stroller and it's his favorite toy lol so thank you so much for this blog!!!

Riley+Abby Apr 14th '14

You covered this issue so well!

My SO and I have been dealing with this a little bit, mostly because my parents have been flipping out about us "trying to turn our daughter into a boy." All because he bought her a few Hot Wheels cars. This had stemmed from her absolutely loving the ones my nephew had, and SO figuring that if she actually liked to play with them, then she may as well have a few.

My parents have been brutal about it. They're very traditional as well, and have pulled the "Are you trying to turn her into a lesbian" thing as well. It's been driving me nuts, because we are just letting her play with what she enjoys. That's all.

So thank you for this blog! I really enjoyed reading it!

☆ The Flash ☆ Apr 14th '14

Thanks, I appreciate the comments!

I get a lot of the 'turning her into a lesbian' comments. I've taken to ignoring her, but I'm honestly not looking forward to her first days in school, because I know how cruel kids can be sometimes. My parents, thankfully, are on my side about it, they get her spiderman toys and cars, and princesses. Whatever she likes. My grandparents are the ones who give me mouth about it.

But again, thanks for the feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Joanne Tennick Apr 15th '14

I totally agree! My baby girl is only 4 months old but i hope we give her yhe confidence to choose toys and games she likes not just the ones she feels she has to play with. Thanks for a great blog!

☆ The Flash ☆ Apr 15th '14

Just noticed the typo on my comment!

*them. Not her. Ignore them. LOL Whoops!