Today, a conversation with friends led to a question that led to an epiphany, of sorts. It was just a simple question, asked by a friend who was curious. I made a statement about one of my children and she wondered why I thought that. Easy enough….
It wasn’t easy, though. Her question gave me pause. Why do I think that? What does the child do that leads me to believe the future will be this way?
And then, I realized…with horror…that the reason I thought that way was because I had pigeon-holed my child. I was functioning under the (faulty) premise that xyz behavior/mannerisms resulted in abc adulthood. I was ashamed to admit to my friend that I, *I, the open-minded, laid-back, hippiy-dippy*, had not only completely fallen prey to society stereotypes and gender bias, but had actually spoken them aloud without a second thought. Until that moment, I had no clue how ridiculous I was being.
I read articles all the time about not giving in to the very deep gender roles we have in this country. In fact, just last week I read THREE of them! And yet, here I was making assumptions about my kiddo simply because there were occasional things done/said that weren’t strictly “boyish” or “girlish”. I also now recognize that some of this came about when I had my third child, who is hands-down the most rough and tumble person I’ve ever met. Well, besides my best friend’s youngest child, who is equal in that arena. At that point, something in my brain seemed to equate certain behaviors as distinctly “boy” or “girl”. Or, maybe it was present before that. Either way, I’m not sure why and I’m certainly not proud.
What I am, though, is thankful that my friend asked that seemingly simple question and that I saw what I was doing before it’s too late…I hope.