I had very good talks about gender topics over the last weeks: about identity, biological gender, sex and personality. Because of course the question of “Is it a boy or a girl?” stayed and since it is clear that we are expecting a girl, two other questions followed: “How do you think about pink?” and “Will she have to wear her hair long too?”
In brief: if you ask me, the colour pink is one of the minor problems in this context and if I would force my daughter to wear a certain haircut I guess something went fundamentally wrong. 😉
I already dived into this gender topic once before when I read “The Bingo Theory” but this time I went deeper and again I did my reading research. Unfortunately for you the book from Margaereta Stokowksi “Untenrum frei” is German only so my translation here is cut short.
What stroke my eye was and is that still many mothers, moms-to-be or women in general think that this topic is something you should care ablout specifically, when you are female and/or are expecting or having a daughter. But equalitiy is not a feminine topic only. If you ask me it is more the contrary as over that last decades girls (of a certain peergroup) were educated in an emancipated way to raise them as confident humans who know their rights (better than their mothers’ generation). Good thing so far. Unfortunately most boys did not undergow such an education as somehow mothers forgot that there are two players in this game and the masculine side needs to learn too.
This leads to more emancipated women than men at my age or lets say in my generation which can be troublesome, when it comes to relationships. Women my age ask for an emancipated partner but many men that age think about emancipated women as… hm… well they feel stressed by them as they never learned to think about their topics. Emancipated women are demanding for men their age who just grew up raised as confident individuals.
It also means, that we are now fine with girls in boy clothes, but we still feel strange with a boy in girly pink skirts. Also really long hair is something super rare on boys.
Girls can hug and kiss their girly friends, boys still react slightly homophobic to such behaviour.
Pretty boys get comments like “You would have been a beautiful girl!” as if being pretty is something which belongs to girls and is wasted on boys. And so on.
So young mothers, have a look at your boys! Your future daughters (or sons?) in law will be grateful.
Merle’s gender branding
There will be pink in Merle’s wardrobe. Because we came to the conclusion that pink is just a colour. And we add pink to her wardrobe for practical reasons: we get a lot second hand and pink is always among these colours. If we don’t sort it out it is easier for us to get less pricy clothes for her and everything still matches. Pink is always available, so is white and you see this is the other colour we have a lot for her.
Same goes for her nursery which was intended to be only white, grey and yellow/gold. But we added pink/coral to the colour concept to make things fit. We know that there will be pink gifts for her. It makes life easier and as I am a highly asthetic motivated person I need things to fit and follow a straight design to please me. I would love that too with lets say green and leaf patterns, but this is way harder to get and therefore you need more time and more money… Something I am not willing to spend for something I, yes, like, but which is also only clothes and kid’s room.
For the long hair: If she wants to grow it long, she will have it long. If not, we will cut it. Hair is one of the first body parts a child can decide about on its own. And I remember how it was to have to wear short hair when I wanted it long. So it is up to her, but of course my preference is long hair and I might secretly cry, when she plays hairdresser and cuts her own her with her paper scissors…
Our daughter will be who she wants to be and I will do my best to help her find out the answer to this tricky question. I am not fanatic about colours, but I want her to grow up with a free mind seeing all her oportunites. As you see, me too I love wearing glitter dresses. But I also love men’s pullovers and working jeans. It depends on the moment. And I am happy to choose whatever I feel comfortable and/or pretty with. I often wonder if men would love to wear more glitter and so on too if it was not for the gender stereotypes which repell them. Just like the sparkly wardrobes in The Hunger Games for example. Just for the fun about fashion. Wh not?
I don’t want to form a child who feels like being neither really male nor female as gender identity is important in my eyes. But there are far more ways to teach her that than only by clothes, colours and toys.
I want her to grow up knowing that she is a girl and that is perfectly fine. But also knowing that being a boy would be fine as well. I want her to be free in her choices and preferences. And I want to help her find out what her preferences are because she knows what kind of human she is not what kind of gender.
In first line she is our child. And then, long after that, she is our girl.