Welcome to the life of an American female. Aimlessly wandering the road of youth and adulthood, she shares her tales of growing pains, discoveries and ideas. There might also be a pinch of happiness, a dash of light, and a micro-amount of wisdom within. The author is not liable for any psychological damages you may incur while reading this blog.

The author put it best when she said, "My humor is like a good martini - extra dry and sometimes served dirty."

Saturday, November 30, 2013

On Gender Roles and My Future Little Me

I am currently expecting our first child -- a little girl. We're super excited, and we've been blessed with a lot of gifts for our future little one. A friend of mine (a psych major) and I were discussing gender roles the other night, and how society just "expects" little girls to wear frills and pink. She got a lot of weird looks when she bought a "gender neutral" outfit for our little one, and I had people asking if I was "sure I was having a girl" when I registered for some clothes that were blue, green, or otherwise "non-girl." I see no reason our little girl can't wear blue, green, or camo if she wants.
Camo's cute!

I wore lots of colors growing up. I wore muck boots and camo and fished and rode the tractor with my dad. I helped with the cows and learned how to bait a hook, although it took longer for me to get the hang of taking the hook out of the fish's mouth. I ran barefoot in the yard every chance I got, and was more interested in mud fights than boys. I also loved Lisa Frank, lime green, and tiger stripe print. I played with Hot Wheels, Lincoln Logs, Legos, and stuffed animals. I had a handful of dolls, and I played with them, too. I was always told to "act like a lady," but my parents never tried to reign in my "tomboy" behavior. Unless they were putting on a quite the show, they were quite okay with my affinity for "girl" and "boy" activities. I was, after all, a good ol' country girl.

I also knew how to keep it cool.
You know I'm rockin' those shades.
My daddy taught me how to change the oil in my car, how to do basic work in lawn mowers and tractors, and my mama taught me about keeping up a house and gardening, although it would be many years before I could actually keep a plant alive, much less get produce from it. I got bumps and scrapes and scars from my misadventures in the woods. I got a tick once. I stepped on lots of splinters, thorns, and spurs; and I learned that grabbing nettles firmly and confidently does NOT make them hurt any less.
Ain't you ever climbed a hay bale before? 
I loved climbing hay bales, going hunting (although I cried over everything I ever shot), and bird watching. (Actually, it was more like bird identifying. We would sit at the dining table and watch the birds gather around the feeder and look them up in "the bird book.") I also learned how to knit, crochet, sew, and cross-stitch. I taught myself how to play violin and loved to read. I like to think I was a pretty well-rounded kid. Much of that is due to my parents just letting me be a kid. I had rules and chores, sure, but they didn't try to force me to be anything I didn't want to be (like a girly-girl). I could play in the dirt all I wanted, so long as I didn't track it in the house and I kept my nails clean.

Clearly, we didn't know a lick about shop safety,
but we sure knew how to fix a non-broken wagon!
That's what I want for my little girl. I don't think forcing her to be a girly girl (although she has no say how I dress her as a baby!) or expecting her to have the same likes I did as a child is a healthy parenting approach. I want her to have respect for herself and others, but by all means, please, be a child! Please, run and play and get dirty! You can never get those carefree years back, so the longer I can delay her immersion in the overwhelming expectations of the world, the better. Nothing hurts worse than hearing a little girl say she's fat, or that no one likes her, or that she is anything less than what she is.  Let's let kids just be kids, for as long as they can, okay?

See, I still knew how to look the part of a lady!

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