Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What it means to be a boy

I never realized how into gender people were until I had a baby. It starts in utereo. Once word got out that I was having a boy, my house started to fill up with baby blue onesies with footballs on them.

Now that he is a little older and beginning to show interest in things, I can’t help but feel that serious gender molding has begun. For instance, he is very interested in wheels of all sorts. He’s fascinated by them. If there is a toy with wheels on them, he crawls over to it and immediately starts maneuvering it. He likes to see things move. He turns the toys over to observe the wheels. He seems to be doing mini experiments like blocking the objects path to see what will happen.

Family and friends have observed this and delightfully exclaimed, “Look at that. He loves trucks!” They have shown their support by filling our house with plastic dump trucks.

However, I really think it’s the wheels and not the trucks that he is interested in. I think he would be just as fascinated with a pink Barbie convertible as with a Pick up truck. I have a friend who is in a wheelchair, and he seems just as interested in her chair as he does his trucks.

But boys liking trucks is socially acceptable, and I can’t help but wonder if he doesn’t respond to their approval. I also have an inkling that our family and friends are relieved that a couple of lesbians are raising a boy who likes boyish things. I wonder if this is how gender imprinting starts.


A "Mother of Two" said...

I think you are right. People still automatically give boys balls and trucks and girls dolls and doll houses.

It starts from the minute they are born.

Housewife said...

I dunno. I thought the same until Adam turned Eve's Barbie into a gun.

He also banged more than she ever did.

Wait until he has an erection and come running into the room screaming, "Look Mama, Look Mommy! IT'S HUGE!"

And the day will come and he will...

Mermaidgrrrl said...

This is exactly the reason we didn't find out the babys sex at the ultrasound - I didn't want anyone to project gender qualities onto our baby before it is even born... including myself. It's too easy to start thinking "oh a boy - they'll play football with LM" or "a girl - someone to cook and sew with" because of my own conditioning. I would rather birth this baby without any preconceived notions of who they are! I love how much it's challenging those around us that we haven't found out the sex too - they are really struggling to think outside the box for gifts to buy us and are having to confront their own gender stereotyping ideas.

rhea_becker said...

I have heard that kids recognize gender from the age of two! That means they would notice a boy wearing a dress and think it's wrong, that kind of thing. I hate the whole way gender is thrust on kids and our culture. So damaging.
The Boomer Chronicles