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Gendering baby

18 Sep

So, 21 months old, and our baby loves:

  • Cars, and trucks, and things that go. Seriously. This morning, he was all ‘motor..cycle? drive?’ Backhoe, drive? This is a kid who loves things on wheels.
  • His baby stroller. When wife purchased this, we were all, ‘aawww, yeah, baby’s going to love this.’ And then when BB opened it and realized what it was, he actually did a dance of joy. A dance. Of. Joy. Since then, stuff has gone into the stroller, Winnie the Pooh goes into the stroller, the stroller gets rolled around everywhere, when we go outside he wants to take along the stroller.
  • Mama’s shoes. Loves walking around in them.

I’ll talk about this in the abstract rather than in the specifics, since for me, most of what he’s doing is just ‘toddler stuff’ rather than ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ stuff. Still, what is amazing about gender is the fact that some of these preferences are going to be taken as natural expressions of his personality, while others will be taken as a ‘phase’ or about something other than his gender. We were in the park last weekend, for friend’s kid’s birthday party. I noticed baby walking a baby double-stroller (DOUBLE-STROLLER!!) with the (now 2-year-old) birthday boy. The boy’s grandmother, sitting next to me, jokingly looked over at them and said, ‘look at those two wussies.’ Funny right?

By the way, did you know that the song “William Wants a Doll”, from Free to Be You and Me, was based on a story that itself was made into a film?

A shocking inversion of the grandma from the song to reality, right?

Oh, and for what it’s worth (and to me, a lot) the ‘someday he is going to be a father, too’ formulation actually solves the problem only insofar as you define the problem as William needing to be a straight man. If William wants the doll simply because he likes being feminine, grandma’s advice to William’s father isn’t going to help.


On ‘having it all’

1 Aug

I hear much discussion has been taking place about Anne-Marie Slaughter’s treatise on work-life balance.

I think, well…what Jessica Valenti says.

Key paragraph: “Here is what is wrong, what has always been wrong, with equating feminist success with ‘having it all’: It’s a misrepresentation of a revolutionary social movement. The notion that female achievement should be measured by women’s ability to ‘have it all’ recasts a righteous struggle for greater political, economic, social, sexual and political parity as a piggy and acquisitive project.”