I have made it my mission to make sure my daughter is as well-rounded, open-minded, and curious about the world as possible. She is almost a year old and who knows if any of these small, superficial efforts I'm making now will make a difference later on in life, but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping they keep her concept of self as limitless as possible.
I don't want her to grow up and only want to buy toys in the pink aisle because they are girly and I don't want her to grow up and abhor the color pink because it is girly. There has to be a balance. For the moment we find it by mixing a super-soft, fun StarWars t-shirt from the boy's section with a fantastic sequined skirt from the girl's section.
We bought both the pastel colored and primary colored duplo blocks for her. Lo and behold, anything she makes with the combination of colors looks more beautiful than it would have if it was solid pink or red and blue.
We read board books that are fiction and non-fiction, because when I was teaching I was amazed by how the girls in my classes would only read the story books, and how the boys would latch on to the non-fiction books.
All of this might seem silly, especially for a baby. But when I look around at the babies around me I can't help being a bit stunned by the all pink, all blue world these little boys and girls live in.
My parents did not impose these gender norms on me as heavily as many other parents did, but even without growing up in a world of pink, I had strong opinions from a very young age of what girls did and what boys did, and I think it really limited me.
For example, I didn't want to play basketball at the YMCA when my dad tried to sign me up, because I thought that was for boys. Instead, I signed up for a cheerleading clinic, which I HATED. So from the age of nine, I wrote off both sport and dance activities as things I didn't do. This was totally ridiculous and totally self-imposed.
I hope lots of open dialogue and the encouragement to explore things that are stereotypically considered masculine and feminine will keep my little girl from being as silly as I was.
Project 52: Newfoundland is...
52:1: Mostly Grey and Wet
52:2: Childhood Dreams Coming True
52:3: An Opportunity for Growth
52:4: Shifting Priorities
52:5: Blue Bays
52:6: Early Fog-filled Mornings
52:8: Pajama Parties
52:9: Far Away From Grandparents
52:10: An Opportunity to Save
52:11: Staying Creative
52:12: Succumbing to Autumn
52:13: Friendly Neighbors
52:14: Bedtime Rituals
52:15: Lots of Paperwork
52:16: Soup Weather
52:17: Little Wonders
52:18: Remembering the Past
52:19: Making New Friends, But Keeping the Old
52:20: Feeling the Holiday Spirit Early
52:21: Playing House
Check out Styleberryblog's Project 52 here.